Saturday, September 23, 2006

Mental Prayer for September 24­-Necessity of Prayer

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Plant deep in my soul, Father in heaven, a conviction that I must apply my mind to prayer.

The Idea: If you should fall out of a boat into a cold and choppy lake, wouldn't you call for help? ... and eagerly reach for the life preserver cast toward you? Such a picture illustrates our daily need for prayer.

For we will surely sink beneath temptations or be swept along by bad habits un­less we are steadied by God's strong hand. Now it is through mental prayer that we reach out for His help. "No one who is faithful to mental prayer can go on in a state of sin" (St. Theresa).

My Personal Application: Will I wait around until temptation strikes and then pray? Will the reason for being good actually hold me back when I am in the grip of temptation? I know they won't, un­less in calm moments I have soaked my mind well with the reasons for resistance. Then they will spring up and aid me in the moments of need. A bad habit can be overcome only by practicing, making the proper action a habit. Now I won't practice a good habit if I don't think about it often and give my­self reasons for it. This means prayer.

I Speak to God: O my Father, I must honestly say that I am in danger from many temptations: from things I see and hear, from others, from myself most of all. I know that you are ready to help me, but I must do my part. I must think over well the reasons for resisting and for attacking the enemy. Please help me to be so convinced of this that I will go "all out" to pray well.

Thought for Today: "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation" (Matt. 26: 41).
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Saturday, 24th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 8:4-15

Parable of the Sower. The Meaning of the Parables

[4] And when a great crowd came together and people from town after town came to Him (Jesus), He said in a parable: [5] "A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. [6] And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. [7] And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it. [8] And some feel into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold." As He said this, He called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

[9] And when His disciples asked Him what this parable meant, [10] He said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. [11] Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. [12] The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved. [13] And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. [14] And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. [15] And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience."


4-8. Our Lord explains this parable in verses 11-15. The seed is Jesus Himself and His preaching; and the different kinds of ground it falls on reflect people's different attitudes to Jesus and His teaching. Our Lord sows the life of grace in souls through the preaching of the Church and through an endless flow of actual graces.

10-12. Jesus uses parables to teach people the mysteries of the supernatural life and thereby lead them to salvation. However, He foresaw that, due to the bad dispositions of some of His listeners, these parables would lead them to harden their hearts and to reject grace. For a fuller explanation of the purpose of parables see the notes on Matthew 13:10-13 and Mark 4:11-12.

12. Some people are so immersed in a life of sin that they are the patch on which falls the seed "which suffers from two kinds of hazard: it is trodden on by wayfarers and snatched by birds. The path, therefore, is the heart, which is trodden on by the frequent traffic of evil thoughts, and cannot take in the seed and let it germinate because it is so dried up" (St. Bede, "In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc."). Souls hardened by sin can become good soil and bear fruit through sincere repentance and penance. We should note the effort the devil makes to prevent souls from being converted.

13. "Many people are pleased by what they hear, and they resolve to do good; but as soon as they experience difficulties they give up the good words they started. Stony ground has not enough soil, which is why the shoots fail to produce fruit. There are many who, when they hear greed criticized, do conceive a loathing for it and extol the scorning of it; but as soon as the soul sees something else that it desires, it forgets what it previously promised. There are also others who when they hear talk against impurity not only desire not to be stained by the filth of the flesh but are even ashamed of the stains that they already bear; but as soon as bodily beauty presents itself to their eyes, their heart is so drawn by desires that it is as if they had done or decided to do nothing against these desires, and they act in a manner deserving condemnation and in a way which they themselves previously condemned when they reflected on their behavior. Very often we feel compunction for our faults and yet we go back and commit them even after bemoaning them" (St. Gregory the Great, "In Evangelia Homiliae", 15).

14. This is the case of people who after receiving the divine seed, the Christian calling, and having stayed on the right path for some time, begin to give up the struggle. These souls run the risk of developing a distaste for the things of God and of taking the easy, and wrong, way of seeking compensations suggested to them by their disordered ambition for power and their desire for material wealth and a comfortable life involving no suffering.

A person in this situation begins to be lukewarm and tries to serve two masters: "It is wrong to have two candles lighted--one to St. Michael and another to the devil. We must snuff out the devil's candle; we must spend our lives completely in the service of the Lord. If our desire for holiness is sincere, if we are docile enough to place ourselves in God's hands, everything will go well. For He is always ready to give us His grace" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 59).

15. Jesus tells us that the good soil has three features--listening to God's demands with the good disposition of a generous heart; striving to ensure that one does not water down these demands as time goes by; and, finally, beginning and beginning again and not being disheartened if the fruit is slow to appear. "You cannot `rise'. It's not surprising: that fall!

"Persevere and you will `rise'. Remember what a spiritual writer has said: your poor soul is like a bird whose wings are caked with mud.

"Suns of heaven are needed and personal efforts, small and constant, to shake off those inclinations, those vain fancies, that depression: that mud clinging to your wings.

"And you will see yourself free. If you persevere, you will `rise'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 991).
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, September 22, 2006

More Helps in Mental Prayer

The Personal Application, the "I Speak to God" - everything in these prayers - is, remem­ber, only a help. Use them as much as you need them - no more.

If the first sentence in The Idea gives you some­thing to think about before God, something to pray over, never worry the least bit about going on to the second sentence.

When an idea strikes you that way, that is God talking to you, reminding you that there is something in that idea He thinks you need. You must never turn away from Him when this happens. You must not move on to another idea until that first one has soaked in fully, until there seems no more for you to get out of it here and now.

In the same way, if you get a lot of good out of one meditation, don't hesitate to use the same one over the next day. Stay with it as long as it helps you. Go on to the next one when you've finished. It's praying that's important - not getting through these different daily meditations.

Mental Prayer for September 23-In God's Service

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: God, teach me to understand that serving others is what measures my worth in your eyes, not fame or honor.

Mental Picture (cf. Matt. 20:20-28): A woman comes to Jesus with her two grown sons at her side. She bows low and speaks: "Please give James and John the top places of honor in your heavenly kingdom." Jesus shakes His Head. He tells her kindly but firmly that it is the Father who distributes the honors there. The other Apostles hear of the request and they begin to grow angry with John and James. Each wanted the first place for himself. Christ quickly settles the question: "Among the pagans those in authority make a show of their power. But among you, my followers, anyone who has authority must be only the servant of the rest."

My Personal Application: In doing charitable work or any other work do I unconsciously maneuver for the position that gives me the most promin­ence? Or do I simply try to do whatever will be of most help to others, whether this involves prominence or not? In doing anything in my parish am I content to know that what I am doing is right and good and is helping others, even when it is not publicized? Do I always have to be in the limelight? What is my real attitude?

I Speak to Christ: Lord, help me to realize deep down that you did not worry about honor but only about helping others. Help me make your goal my goal.

Thought for Today: The important thing in God's eyes is to work for others - for love of Him and love of our fellow man.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Islamic envoys to meet with Pope

From Catholic World News:
Sep. 22 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) will meet on September 25 with envoys from Islamic countries, and representatives of Muslim groups in Italy, to discuss protests generated by the Pope's speech earlier this month in Regensburg.

After reading the headline I immediately thought of this cartoon from a few days ago.

Bioethicist Debunks Term 'pre-embryo'

The McCormick professor of jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, [Robert P.] George was appointed to the President’s Council on Bioethics in 2002. He has spoken and written numerous books and articles on law, ethics and philosophy.

[Regarding embryonic stem cell research,] George noted that a human embryo is not something subhuman, such as a rock or a rhinoceros. "It is a whole living member of the species homo sapiens, in the earliest stage of his or her development," he said.
. . .
"Some people have suggested the blastocyst stage is not an embryo, but something that’s sometimes called a pre-embryo," said George. In fact, some supporters of Amendment 2 have used that term.

George discounted the use of the word, noting that the greater scientific community rejected its use several years ago, adding it’s more commonly used for political purposes.

In 1996, Dr. Ward Kischer, a human embryologist at the University of Arizona, wrote a letter to the nomenclature committee of the American Association of Anatomists, asking that the word "pre-embryo" should be rejected from inclusion in the Terminologia Embryologica, the official lexicon of scientific terminology used in the field.

"He was concerned some were trying to depict early human embryos as something other than what they are — namely individual members of the human species in the embryonic stage of development," said George.

In 2001, the committee decided to reject the words "pre-embryo," "pre-embryonic" and "individuation."

"The reason is simple. The term pre-embryo has no scientific basis for validity," said George. "There is no such thing as a pre-embryo. From the zygote stage forward, what exists is a human embryo."

"But to deny that embryonic human beings deserve full respect, one must of course propose that not every ... living human being deserves full respect," he said.

Thank God for Dr. Bob Onder who exposes the lies!

From the St Louis Review, an article by Jean M. Schildz

Local doctor challenges speaker's beliefs

Dr. Robert F. Onder of Washington University School of Medicine, president of the board of Missourians Against Human Cloning, challenged embryonic stem-cell research advocate William B. Neaves during a question-and-answer session following Neaves’ presentation.

The room grew tense as the exchange between the two men briefly became heated.

Onder said Neaves’ comment that legislators in Missouri tried to criminalize embryonic stem-cell research was not true.

“Jim Lembke’s bill in the House, Matt Bartle’s bill in the Senate sought to criminalize only cloning, cloning of human embryos for research, cloning of human embryos for reproduction. So no one in the last four years or before that that I’m aware of has ever tried to ‘illegalize’ all embryonic stem-cell research, only cloned human embryo research.”

Responded Neaves, “The presumption is earlier legislation in Missouri has already essentially defined a blastocyst as a person, as a child, and therefore any attempt to conduct research with those cells would stand the risk of contravening that.”

Onder acknowledged there was a Missouri revised statute that states that life begins at conception.

“And I should tell you that Lembke’s bill and Bartle’s bill have stated that anyone who participates in somatic cell nuclear transfer is subject to criminal action,” Neaves said.

Onder denied that, saying he had read the material in question the day before.

But Neaves persisted, “The definition that those folks applied to this is that that blastocyst in a lab dish is a person, is a living human being.”

Onder again said the legislation did not say that. He accused Neaves “of playing games with the terminology, with the definition of embryo. You’re misquoting the National Library of Medicine Web site dictionary. It does not make the mammal vs. non-mammal distinction.

“You are simply wrong in that respect,” Neaves said.

Continued Onder, “And likewise, Cloning, the journal Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences have all used the term ‘cloned’ to mean a cloned embryo, whether a cloned sheep embryo, a cloned human embryo.”

“Those journals use the term clone to mean a copy of any cell or any molecule,” Neaves said. He added that the presidents of the National Academy of Science and the Institute of Medicine “had authored a paper in Science three years ago that said ‘please don’t call it cloning because it isn’t cloning.’”

Both men raised their voices and spoke over the other. They accused each other of misrepresenting facts. Neaves ended the exchange by saying he had not come to engage in a debate with Onder and suggested they talk afterward. The statement was met with applause.

Onder charged afterward that Neaves “ignores a vast body of literature, including a journal called Cloning and Stem Cells that refers to SCNT as cloning. He ignores the fact that if you ask a fertility clinic doctor what he has frozen in the freezer, he’ll tell you embryos. If you ask a couple undergoing in vitro fertilization what they’re having made in the test tube, they’ll say embryos. Really what we have here is someone changing the terminology to distort the political debate in Missouri. Really what we have is these people misleading us — lying to us, honestly.”

A member of the audience later asked who Onder was. He reacted with surprise when told Onder was a physician. The man wondered aloud how two such people as Onder and Neaves could have such differing positions and said it showed just how confusing the issue of embryonic stem-cell research really is.

Lies and More Lies from Stowers Institute President

William B. Neaves, president and CEO of the Kansas City, Mo., Stowers Institute for Medical Research, said he does not believe a blastocyst is yet a human being. Therefore, he finds embryonic stem-cell research morally acceptable.
Here we have, in a 'nut' shell so to speak, the relativistic attitude of so many, whether it refers to faith or science, on what begets "truth" - and for far too many, truth is derived from one's own mind, what one purports to "believe".

For those who are unaware,
The Stowers Institute is the largest financial backer of the pro-embryonic stem-cell research group Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, having given $15.4 million of the $16 million raised to date, based on the latest campaign financing reports.

So, of course, this group is looking to gain financially from any future patents that can be obtained from killing human life for research. Although the claim is made that "the people" would benefit from future "cures" (cures which have yet to be realized and which are only the result of wild imaginations), no treatments would likely ever be available to those who need treatment the most - the poor. "The people" who really matter to this group no doubt, are those with money.

Neaves went on to say:
"The real issue for us is to come to our own conclusion about the moral status of blastocysts."

That's right...make up the truth yourself. Reach your own conclusions, write your own biology book...Unbelieveable!

"I personally believe a blastocyst is not yet the equivalent of a baby or a child with diabetes or a teenager with a spinal cord injury or an adult with Parkinson’s. I do not believe a blastocyst represents a human person."

Outstanding! Now I must admit that I personally believe that Neaves and Danforth and the other pseudo-scientists and pro-death politicians do not represent human persons...Therefore, these so-called men are non-human entities because this truth has been validated by my beliefs! I support an amendment which allows me free and unfettered access to conduct experimental research on these "creatures" at the taxpayers' expense...What utter idiocy.

The creature continues:
"However, I respectfully disagree with the concept that other people of faith who consider a blastocyst to be the same as a child or adult have the right to impose by law that belief on me.

Yet, this clown has no problem imposing laws and taxes on others merely because of his beliefs. This is the epitome of arrogance!

Those who oppose embryonic stem-cell research should refuse to have anything to do with it, he said.

Spoken like a true Nazi or a radical Mohammedan. Others opposed to such immoral laws would have to "submit" to taxation and the law because of his "beliefs"...And some are too ignorant or arrogant to see the irony. Pro-slavery and Pro-death advocates can take comfort that the spirit of Hitler is alive and well in Missouri!

Archbishop Burke on Amendment 2: A Moral Crisis for Missouri and Our Nation


As citizens of Missouri, we find ourselves in the midst of an unimaginably severe moral crisis. On this coming Nov. 7, the citizens of our state will decide whether the constitution of our state should guarantee the right to generate human life artificially in order to destroy it at its very beginning, at the embryonic stage of its development.

In short, we, the citizens of Missouri, are being asked to advance the culture of death in our state so that our tiniest brothers and sisters will no longer enjoy the protection of the law but will be made legally the subjects, the slaves, of those who wish to manipulate and destroy their lives for the sake of supposed scientific and technological progress on the way to the cure of certain dread diseases and the treatment of certain severe injuries.

A moral disaster in the making

The passage of Amendment 2 would be a moral disaster for our state. What is more, it would be a moral disaster for our nation. If Amendment 2 succeeds in the State of Missouri, which has the reputation of being pro-life, then the proponents of human cloning and the destruction of embryonic human life will surely be emboldened to undertake the same deadly initiative in other states of our nation.

Surely, the citizens of our state do not support government which denies the right to life, the most fundamental right, to a whole class of human beings, in order to advance the projects of a few. Rather, as truly pro-life, we citizens of Missouri must insist that our government serve the good of all, the common good, without exception or boundary.

With Abraham Lincoln, who fought bravely in the battle to overcome another form of slavery in our nation, we must resolve that our nation, "under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth" (Gettysburg Address). Lincoln fought to abolish the enslavement of fellow human beings who, because of the color of their skin, were used to advance the economic well-being of a few.

Let us fight to prevent the enslavement of fellow human beings who, because of their size, are proposed for use in the advancement of the well-being of a few.

The shepherd’s care

As shepherd of the entire flock of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, I have in my heart, in a most particular way, those who are innocent and absolutely defenseless. These tiniest, these youngest, of human lives are in my pastoral care. They are depending upon me to speak for them and to defend them, in every way possible, from the imminent threat to their lives.

They are also depending upon you, their brothers and sisters, to give them a voice and strength, which they have not yet developed for themselves but will develop, if they are only permitted to live. They are counting upon you and me to give them a voice and strength against the powerful forces which want to take away their most fundamental human right, the right to life.

As your shepherd, I write to you today and will be writing to you in the next weeks, in order that you will do God’s will for the sake of the defense of human life in our state by voting "no" to Amendment 2 on this coming Nov. 7.

The responsibility is ours directly

In the battle to transform the culture of death in our nation into a civilization of divine love, that is a nation in which love extends to every brother and sister without limit or boundary, we often find it difficult to be heard. Our nation’s highest court, for instance, in the decisions Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton, handed down on Jan. 22, 1973, made procured abortion legal, for all intents and purposes, up to the moment of birth. In fact, the argumentation of these decisions has been used to justify the patent act of killing violently a baby at the moment of bringing the baby into the world, an abhorrent procedure which is antiseptically called "partial-birth abortion."

For more than 30 years now, we have been working to reverse these decisions of the Supreme Court, without success thus far. We will continue to fight for the right to life of our unborn brothers and sisters, calling our courts to be once again courts of justice for all, without the exclusion of the unborn.

In the present initiative of the agents of the culture of death, we ourselves will decide whether the initiative succeeds or not. We must, therefore, carefully and thoroughly inform ourselves in the matter and, then, exercise our civic duty to vote.

By voting, we will be able to act directly in the defense of human life.

By failing to vote, we will fail to act to safeguard and protect the most innocent and defenseless among us, whom Amendment 2 places under attack.

This is a time when the duty to vote is most serious. When our vote determines the safeguarding of human lives, it is a sacred duty.

In the present situation, we can do something to advance the respect for human life. Let us not fail to be there for our brothers and sisters who are depending upon us.

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke

This is such an important matter. Please inform all of your family member, friends and neighbors on just how important this matter is. (Note: all emphasis above is mine)


A Religion of Peace Update

It is more than regrettable to read the daily news, wondering how there came to be so many truly ignorant people on the one hand, and so many evil, manipulating, and lying people on the other. Having said that, here is today's news on the Religion of Peace:

Angry Muslims Burn Churches in Nigeria

Pax Christi Finds Pope's Statement "Regrettable" (then again, Pax Christi finds the Catholic Faith regrettable, and many Catholics think that the group Pax Christi is regrettable)

Cardinal Mahony (Does anyone else become ill when using the title "Cardinal" with the name Mahony?) sees "teachable moment" in the Pope's remarks...a teachable moment to "affirm the commonalities between the two faiths"...Oh, such a swell idea, your Emminence (Gag)..., there is also the possibility of pairing mosques and parishes together...??? This would allow the mosque to dominate and eliminate the parish, no doubt.

And, Pakistan clerics, (echoing numerous heretics, schismatics and apostates who still claim to be Catholic), say the Pope "must go"....for his, "insulting remarks" against Islam. They say the Pope should be "dismissed"...What irrational idiots - evidently, that's what it takes to be a follower of Mohammed...These Dark Age mental midgets went on to say
"The Pope, and all infidels, should know that no Muslim, under any circumstances, can tolerate an insult to the Prophet [Muhammad]. If the West does not change its stance regarding Islam, it will face severe consequences."
I suppose we are to be fearful of these clowns or of Satan's son, the delusional self-proclaimed "Prophet" Mohammed? What a freak show this is...Criminals rising from the abode of Satan - all of them...May they all return to whence they came!

Of course, there is so much more...

It's unfortunate that this virulent disease of Mohammedanism was not eradicated in the Middle Ages. It is a plague upon humanity.

Why Benedict XVI Did not Want to Fall Silent or Backpedal

If in Regensburg the pope cited the dialogue between the emperor of Byzantium and his Muslim adversary, he did so with deliberation. His thesis is that – then as now – religion must wed itself, not with violence, but with reason. An analysis by Pietro De Marco and a commentary by Lucetta Scaraffia.
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Friday, 24th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 8:1-3

The Holy Women

[1] Soon afterward He (Jesus) went on through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the Good News of the Kingdom of God. And the Twelve were with Him, [2] and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, [3] and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.


1-3. The Gospel refers a number of times to women accompanying our Lord. Here St. Luke gives us the names of three of them--Mary, called Magdalene, to whom the risen Christ appeared beside the Holy Sepulchre (John 20:11-18; Mark 16:9); Joanna, a lady of some position, whom we also meet among the women who went to the tomb on the morning of the Resurrection (Luke 24:10), and Susanna, whom the Gospel does not mention again. The role of these women consisted in helping Jesus and His disciples out of their own resources, thereby showing their gratitude for what Christ had done for them, and in cooperating in His ministry.

Men and women enjoy equal dignity in the Church. Within the context of that equality, women certainly have specific characteristics which must necessarily be reflected in their role in the Church: "All the baptized, men and women alike, share equally in the dignity, freedom and responsibility of the children of God.... Women are called to bring to the family, to society and to the Church, characteristics which are their own and which they alone can give--their gentle warmth and untiring generosity, their love for detail, their quick-wittedness and intuition, their simple and deep piety, their constancy.... A woman's femininity is genuine only if she is aware of the beauty of this contribution for which there is no substitute--and if she incorporates it into her own life" ([St] J. Escriva, "Conversations", 14 and 87).

The Gospel makes special reference to the generosity of these women. It is nice to know that our Lord availed Himself of their charity, and that they responded to Him with such refined and generous detachment that Christian women feel filled with a holy and fruitful envy (cf. [St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 981).
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, September 21, 2006

Mental Prayer for September 22-Daily Prayers

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To realize the importance of my daily prayers; the courage to live by that con­viction.

The Idea: Besides mental prayer, certain others prayers should be said daily. For instance, the Sodality requires: the morning greeting of three Hail Mary's to Our Lady, the Rosary or some office of the Blessed Virgin, an examination of conscience, and an act of contrition before retiring.

Being faithful to these or other prayers of one's prayer life will be a good proof that we are sincere when we pledge to serve Christ and Our Lady in a special way.

Just as a soldier is bound by his way of life to perform acts not required of civilians, so too a close follower of Christ, worthy of that name, will desire out of love for his Leader, to perform deeds of a more generous offering.

My Personal Application: Looking back over the past, do I find a habit of daily prayers firmly established? Or must I admit to myself that I am not what I profess to be?

I can be perfectly honest here alone with Christ. He knows me perfectly anyway. My morning prayers? My daily Rosary - is it daily? My examination of conscience - a real soul-searcher or a smooth glide over many faults?
What means am I going to take to remember these duties of my service?

I Speak to God: Lord, you know I have not been entirely faithful to these prayers. But you know, too, that I want to live up to the ideals I once set for myself. I don't want to be mediocre in your service. I want to do better, to be more generous, never to say "enough" to you.

Thought for Today: "My faithful Lord Jesus, let me be faithful to thee."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Indonesia Executes Christians

Although the headline claims the men were "Christian militants", the truth about that is in dispute...They were executed by firing squad.

Fabianus Tibo, 60, Marinus Riwu, 48, and Dominggus da Silva, 42, were found guilty of leading a Christian militia that launched a series of attacks in May 2000 — including a machete and gun assault on an Islamic school where dozens of men were seeking shelter.

Only a handful of Muslims were convicted in the violence, all for 15 years in prison or less.

The men told relatives and a priest during final prayers at their jail Thursday that they were innocent but ready to die.
The men, Catholics, were denied the Sacraments in violation, it appears, of Indonesian law. Pray for these men and for their families. Pray also for those in the country who have been deceived by the evil one - their minds corrupted, they will not be content even if every Christian is slaughtered.

NBC at Odds with Madonna's "Crucifixion" Scene?

It seems that creative differences over a controversial crucifixion scene in Madonna's current tour could spell the end for NBC's long-planned special on her concert.

NBC programming officials are expected to ask Madonna's camp to cut the scene in which she's hung on a cross wearing a crown of thorns while singing "Live to Tell."

Madonna's camp is expected to reject the change and then pull the show from NBC completely.

Soon to follow will be the charges of "Censorship"...

One wonders if this request by NBC might be fueled by fear? Is someone fearful of the possible outcry and murderous response of dangerous, scimitar-wielding, fanatical 'Christians'?

You know the ones I'm talking about (Rosie warned us about them) - those who delight in the righteously mandated acts of beheading pagans and infidels and those faithful 'martyrs' who are prone to wear suicide bomb belts and stroll the malls one last time before emarking on their journey to paradise after killing innocent people?

One would think that Madonna and her people would want to 'submit'. After all, per Ms/Mr/?? O'Donnell, "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state..."

Meaning and Kinds of Contrition

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

Most of you have heard of the great Italian poet, Dante, who was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. His masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is an account of his trip through heaven, hell and purgatory. An artist by the name of Dore has painted some of the scenes described by Dante. The artist has one especially striking scene showing Dante and his companion approaching the entrance of Purgatory. There stands a stalwart warden-angel with flaming sword, refusing entrance to all who are unworthy. Leading up to the entrance are three steps. These represent the three steps most necessary for a good confession, namely, contrition, confession and satisfaction.

Dante describes them:
"Thither did we draw nigh, and that first stair
"Was of white marble, polished so and clean,
"It mirrored all my features as they were.
"The second darker than dusk perverse was seen,
"Of stone all rugged, rough and coarse in grain,
"With many a crack, its length and breadth between.
"The third, which o'er the other towers amain
"Appeared as if of fiery porphyry,
"Like blood that gushes crimson from the vein."

What an apt picture of confession. The first step is of polished marble which shows a man to himself. It opens his eyes to his true spiritual con­dition. It tears away his mask. It shows him how he has offended God and why he should be sorry.

The second step, "darker than dusk," rugged, coarse and cracked, repre­sents confession of sin, the tearing up of the roots of sin, the rending and groaning which the revealing of our sins so often requires.

The third step, satisfaction, is like the letting of blood. It is the offering of oneself in reparation. It is accepting and performing the penance. Up these three steps one makes his way to true repentance.

Contrition, the first step, means a hatred of sin and a true grief of the soul for having offended God. The word "contrition" comes from the Latin which means "to grind" or "to wear away." Contrition grinds the heart in serrow.

There are two kinds of contrition - perfect and imperfect. Perfect sorrow for sin springs from a pure love of God. Imperfect contrition arises from a fear of God and His punishments. Perfect contrition fills us with sorrow and hatred of sin because sin offends Almighty God, who is all good in Himself and all good to us. Imperfect contrition makes us hate sin because by it we lose heaven and deserve hell.

All of us should know the act of contrition. Follow me as I repeat it:
"O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. And I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. But most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all" good and deserving of all my love."

The first part is imperfect contrition - we are sorry because we dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. The second part is perfect contri­tion - we are sorry because we have offended the all-good God. With confession either kind of contrition is sufficient. It goes without saying that perfect sorrow should always be our aim.

By way of illustration:
Suppose a little boy disobeys seriously enough to deserve a spanking. When his mother discovers his disobedience, he starts to cry. If he cries because he is afra1d of a spanking, he has imperfect sorrow. If he cries because he has offended his mother who has always been so good to him, he has something like perfect sorrow.

I cannot overemphasize the value and importance of making an act of perfect contrition frequently, even daily. Just as the daily examination of conscience helps us to realize our sinfulness, so the daily act of perfect contrition helps us to be sorry for our sins.

But this practice of a daily prayer of perfect sorrow has another all­ important value. It puts us in the state of grace. How necessary that is in a day when sudden death is possible at every moment and every corner. Every evening repeat with meaning and sincerity your act of contrition, adding always the resolution that you will go to confession when the opportunity offers.

Still another advantage of this practice is that it makes our good works and merits worthwhile in the sight of God. On the contrary, good works performed in the state of sin are not worthwhile. You benefit nothing for the next life from the good you do while in the state of mortal sin.

No wonder our Lord tells us: "There will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety-nine just who have no need of repentance."

No wonder Dante t>ictured contrition as the first step on the way to being restored to the friendship of God.

Be careful and conscientious but not worried about your sorrow for your sins. We have offended an all-good God. We ask His pardon. Do this every day. Do it sincerely. Then every day you will more likely do what God wants. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Sacraments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne,OFM (© 1947)

Gospel for Sept 21, Feast: St. Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist

From: Matthew 9:9-13

The Call of Matthew

[9] As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and He said to him, "Follow Me." And he rose and followed Him.

[10] And as He sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and His disciples. [11] And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" [12] But when He heard it, He said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. [13] Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."


9. "Tax office": a public place for the payment of taxes. On "following Jesus", see the note on Matthew 8:18-22.

The Matthew whom Jesus calls here is the Apostle of the same name and the human author of the first Gospel. In Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27 he is called Levi the son of Alphaeus or simply Levi.

In addition to Baptism, through which God calls all Christians (cf. note on Matthew 8:18-22), the Lord can also extend, to whomever He chooses, a further calling to engage in some specific mission in the Church. This second calling is a special grace (cf. Matthew 4:19-21; Mark 1:17-20; John 1:30; etc.) additional to the earlier calling through Baptism. In other words, it is not man who takes the initiative; it is Jesus who calls, and man who responds to this call by his free personal decision: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you" (John 15:16).

Matthew's promptitude in "following" Jesus' call is to be noted. When God speaks, soul may be tempted to reply, "Tomorrow; I'm not ready yet." In the last analysis this excuse, and other excuses, are nothing but a sign of selfishness and fear (different from that fear which can be an additional symptom of vocation: cf. John 1). "Tomorrow" runs the risk of being too late.

As in the case of the other Apostles, St. Matthew is called in the midst of the ordinary circumstances of his life: "What amazes you seems natural to me: that God has sought you out in the practice of your profession! That is how He sought the first, Peter and Andrew, James and John, beside their nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house. And--wonder of wonders!--Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seed of the Christians" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 799).

10-11. The attitude of these Pharisees, who are so prone to judge others and classify them as just men or sinners, is at odds with the attitude and teaching of Jesus. Earlier on, He said, "Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew 7:1), and elsewhere He added, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7).

The fact is that all of us are sinners; and our Lord has come to redeem all of us. There is no basis, therefore, for Christians to be scandalized by the sins of others, since any one of us is capable of committing the vilest of sins unless God's grace comes to our aid.

12. There is no reason why anyone should be depressed when he realizes he is full of failings: recognition that we are sinners is the only correct attitude for us to have in the presence of God. He has come to seek all men, but if a person considers himself to be righteous, by doing so he is closing the door to God; all of us in fact are sinners.

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).
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, September 20, 2006

Mental Prayer for September 21-Parish Spirit

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me to understand what parish spirit is and to contribute my part gener­ously.

The Idea: Just as a spirit is needed for the life of a body, so is a spirit needed for the life of a parish community. It does not exist automatically. It grows and matures through the effort of each individual parish member. My contribution in supporting a parish activity may be small or it may be great, but whatever the share is, I know that this parish is a part of the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. What I do to make this a better parish, I do in God's service. To show my love for Christ and His Church I should work with others in promoting every single parish ctivity or project, whether this is for a parish school, catechesis, publications, mission drives, pro-life activities, evangelization efforts, or any­thing else.

My Personal Application: Have I ever realized that my small contribution to parish life helps the work of the whole Church? Have I failed in engancing the parish community because of laziness?... because I was afraid to be a leader?... because I was too proud to be a helper?... because I could not cooperate with others? Does my selfishness hurt the whole parish? Then it should make me feel very small! What will I do in the future!

I Speak to God: When I think of all the good things that have to be done, my God, and of the little effort and time and interest, I have given, I feel ashamed. Help me to overcome my selfish attitude and to work along with others in my parish - and the Church. And bless us in the work we try to do for you.

Thought for Today: 0 Lord, help me to work hard with my brothers and sisters and for my parish community; through me let others be encouraged to do the same.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

An ITV Newsflash: Reaping the Whirlwind

From Inside the Vatican, October 2006
- by Dr. Robert Moynihan

Benedict's meaning in his Regensburg speech has been misinterpreted by almost everyone -- by those who condemn him, but also by his defenders...

"They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind."
--Hosea 8:7

"Ich hätte mir ein paar Worte der Differenzierung gewünscht. Zwei, drei Zeilen hätten viel bewirkt." ("I would have wished for a few words of clarification. Two or three lines would have accomplished a great deal.") -- Prof. Theodore Khoury, editor and translator of the book containing the dialogue of the Emperor Manuel II Paleologus with the Persian Muslim which Pope Benedict cited in his Regensburg speech September 12

Back in 1999, on May 14 in the Vatican, Pope John Paul II bowed as "a sign of respect" toward a copy of the Koran which was presented to him as a gift. When the book was officially "presented to him," the Pope (perhaps a bit perplexed concerning the appropriate protocol for such an official gesture) kissed it.

On September 12 in Regensburg, Germany, Pope Benedict XVI, in a lecture to 1,500 university professors and students, cited an obscure medieval emperor engaged in a dialogue with a Persian Muslim, as saying with regard to the Islamic faith, "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

We all know what happened next. Protests throughout the Islamic world, and in Europe, and in America (the New York Times "pontificated" that the Pope should immediately apologize for his remarks).

Sheik Malin of Somalia called for the Pope's murder. Churches were set on fire in the Holy Land. An Italian nun was shot to death in Somalia (though it was not clear that the shooting was related to the Pope's words).

In Iran, Islamic newspapers suggested there was an Israeli-US plot behind the Pope's words. The daily Jomhuri Islami said: "If we do not consider Pope Benedict XVI to be ignorant of Islam, then his remarks against Islam are a dictat that the Zionists and the Americans have written (for him)." Fellow hardline daily Kayhan, whose editor-in-chief is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said there were signs of Israeli interference aimed at creating conflict between Islam and Christianity.

In Israel, Jewish rabbi Shlomo Amar (the Chief Sephardi rabbi) weighed in, expressing sorrow over "the deprecating things said against Islam" by the Pope. "Our way is to respect all religions, nations and peoples according to their customs," Amar said.

And (last but not least) in the Vatican itself, a monsignor (anonymous) was cited as saying, "Under John Paul II, this would not have happened."

So the Pope was attacked by secular humanists (the New York Times), by conservative Muslims, by a leading Jewish rabbi -- and by monsignors in the Vatican itself.

Talk about being isolated.

Benedict had (in a sense) "sown the wind, and reaped the whirlwind."

Gospel for Sept 20, Memorial: St Andrew Kim Taegon, Priest, and...

...St Paul Chong Hasang, and companions, Martyrs

From: Luke 7:31-35

Jesus Reproaches His Contemporaries

(Jesus spoke to the crowds), [33] For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine; and you say, `He has a demon.' [34] The Son of Man has come eating and drinking; and you say, Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' [35] Yet wisdom is justified by all her children."


31-34. See the note on Matthew 11:16-19.

[The note on Matthew 11:16-19 states:
16-19. Making reference to a popular song or a child's game of His time, Jesus reproaches those who offer groundless excuses for not recognizing Him. From the beginning of human history the Lord has striven to attract all men to Himself: "What more was there to do for My vineyard, that I have not done in it?" (Isaiah 5:4), and often He has been rejected: "When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?" (Isaiah 5:4).

Our Lord also condemns calumny: some people do try to justify their own behavior by seeing sin where there is only virtue. "When they find something which is quite obviously good," St. Gregory the Great says, "they pry into it to see if there is not also some badness hidden in it" ("Moralia", 6, 22). The Baptist's fasting they interpret as the work of the devil; whereas they accuse Jesus of being a glutton. The evangelist has to report these calumnies and accusations spoken against our Lord; otherwise, we would have no notion of the extent of the malice of those who show such furious opposition to Him who went about doing good (Acts 10:38). On other occasions Jesus warned His disciples that they would be treated the same as He was (cf. John 15:20).

The works of Jesus and John the Baptist, each in their own way, lead to the accomplishment of God's plan for man's salvation: the fact that some people do not recognize Him does not prevent God's plan being carried into effect.]

35. The wisdom referred to here is divine Wisdom, especially Christ Himself (cf. Wisdom 7:26; Proverbs 8:22). "Children of Wisdom" is a Hebrew way of saying "wise men"; he is truly wise who comes to know God and love Him and be saved by Him--in other words, a saint.

Divine wisdom is revealed in the creation and government of the universe, and, particularly, in the salvation of mankind. Wise men "justifying" wisdom seems to mean the wise, the saints, bear witness to Christ by living holy lives: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Christ Founded the Catholic Church

"He and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish they had made." St. Luke, 5:9.

"I believe in the holy, Catholic Church." Creed.

Some years ago there lived in Paris, Kentucky, a couple who had been married several years. Although they had been married for quite some time, they had managed to keep alive the spirit of their honey­moon, as the following incident proves.

The wife had gone on a trip to Europe. When she entered the Agricultural Bank of Paris, France, and presented a check signed by her husband, it was discovered that the check was made payable to "Sweetest of the Sweet."

"Who is this 'Sweetest of the Sweet'?" asked the cashier at the window.

Smilingly and sweetly she answered: "Why, I am."

The banker directed her to endorse the check. The good woman wrote her real name across the back of the check and handed it through the grill to the cashier. He told her that she must endorse it just as it was drawn.

Again she wrote. This time, right below her own name, she wrote: "Sweetest of the Sweet." The amount the check called for was handed over to her.

Later the check was framed and hung on the wall of the bank as a reminder of the tender and enduring love of a couple from the "Blue Grass" region.

Jesus Christ Himself has compared His relations to His Church to the relations between bridegroom and bride. Christ is to the true Church what a bridegrom is to His bride. And what a Bridegroom He is! In our story the bride was called "Sweetest of the Sweet." But in the case of the Church it is the Bridegroom who must be called by that name. Yes, He can also be called Strongest of the strong, and Bravest of the brave, and Kindest of the kind, and Purest of the pure, most Gentle of the Gentle, and most Powerful of the powerful.

The Founder of the Catholic Church was the most perfect Person who ever trod this earth. He was the sweetest and the strongest of the sweet and strong. The brief bit from the Bible which we have just read above shows Him sweet and shows Him strong.

In His sweetness He wanted to do something to help the apostles who had been fishing all night without success; like, perhaps, many in your parish. In His strength He worked a miracle by giving them an unheard-of catch of fish. Little wonder that Simon Peter and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish which they had made.

In fact, you and I and all the world and all history have been amazed at the life and works of Christ, the Son of God, who left His home in heaven, to live, labor and die for all of us, and to found a Church for all time. Take a look at some of the wonders He worked to prove that He was God. Before the very eyes of unfriendly, prejudiced observers, so numerous that the sick man had to be letdown through the roof, Jesus cured a paralytic. (St. Matthew, 9 and St. Luke, 5) Twice Christ multiplied bread to feed thousands. (St. Matthew 14 and St. John, 6) He cured a man blind from birth. (St. John, 9) Several times Jesus raised the dead to life. These wonders we read on every page of His story.

Note a few points about these miracles. They were worked before large crowds from different classes and nations of people, yes, even before His most bitter enemies who were constantly spying for a flaw or fraud in anything Christ would do or say.

These wonders were so striking and astounding that simple and un­educated people as well as the learned could see and appreciate. One or the other wonder might deceive a few or even many, but the almost countless wonders worked by Christ cannot find any other explanation but that they were worked by One with the power of God.

Why did Christ work miracles?

To prove that He was God. In St. John, 14:12, Jesus plainly tells His hearers that if they will not believe His teaching, they should at least believe His works: "Otherwise believe be­cause of the works themselves."

"If thou be the Christ," they demanded, "tell us plainly." Jesus answered: "If I do not perform the works of my Father, do not believe me; But if I do perform them, and if you are not willing to believe me, believe the works." (St. John, 10:37-38). Yes, Christ was the strongest of the strong; He was infinitely powerful.

The Founder of the Catholic Church was also the holiest Man who ever lived. We know not where to begin when we speak of the goodness of Jesus. He had every virtue without limit. He had every good quality, every grace and beauty of character one could imagine.

His tenderness toward the weak, the sinful, the poor, the needy - where, in all history will you find anyone who ever begins to approach Him? By way of contrast, stand the founder of modern Communism beside Christ. Lenin was a blood-thirsty, cruel, dishonest, proud tyrant. He was the very opposite of Christ. Naturally, the way of life which Lenin and others started will follow the same lines of cruelty and bloodshed. Daily we have new proof of that fact. And daily we have new proof that the life and character of Christ inspire to goodness.

As did no other, Jesus went about doing good. He gave His life for us. He founded a Church for us. And it is that very Church, founded by Christ, the peerless Character of all time - it is that Church which calls for our faith when we pray in the Creed: "I believe in the holy, Catholic Church."

Read the inspiring story of George Washington, founder of our country: his honesty, his courage, his unselfishness. It will give added meaning and force to our American way of life. In the same way, think of Christ and His marvelous life, and it will give new force and fire to our faith in His Church. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Creed
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1946)

Mental Prayer for September 20-No Prayer Without Penance

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To see that prayer without penance is ineffective.

The Idea: Suppose a friend borrows my Cadillac and returns it - a complete wreck. He apologizes profusely, but refuses to pay any damages. He tells me over and over how much he has always liked me....

Prayer is really cultivating God's friendship. Sin offends God, smashes up something that belongs to Him: my life and my soul. I have to repair the damage. Being really sorry is one way of repairing. But I ought to do something more to prove I really mean my sorrow.

My Personal Application: How can I expect intimacy with God until the damages of sin are at least somewhat repaired? Penance is something I owe God. I can begin with difficult acts of obedience, even in little things: doing my work carefully and on time, other things I ought to do but find hard.

Again: acts of self-denial in food, kneeling reverently during my prayer. The more they cost, the more they show my sincerity to God. They prove that I really want to pray.

I Speak to Christ (on the cross): You have loved me more than others, You called me to be a follower of Yours, You died on the cross for me. In the future I want to cultivate Your friendship; so please teach me to pray. To show I really mean it, I'll do this this time today.

Thought for Today: "Unless you do penance, you will all perish" (Luke 13:5).
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

HLI: We Love and Support Our Pope

From Human Life International:
"This week the Catholic Church has been on the receiving end of evil and inhumane threats and acts of violence. We must meet these challenges with prayer and strength in solidarity with our pope...." states prominent Roman Catholic Priest.

(Front Royal, VA)—The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, issued the following response to the recent torrent of hostility directed at Pope Benedict XVI by Mohammedan jihadists.

“Human Life International has launched a new website to bring all Christians together in pray for our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in our moment of trial:

“The great debate between Christianity and Mohammedanism is reaching a crisis point. This week the Catholic Church has been on the receiving end of evil and inhumane threats and acts of violence. We must meet these challenges with prayer and strength in solidarity with our pope.”

“For his strength and well being in this critical hour we ask all Christians to offer prayers and supplication (1 Tim 2:1-4) on behalf of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI that he may continue to shepherd Christ’s flock out of a culture of death and into the Culture of Life.”

San Gennaro (St Januarius) Miracle

(AGI) - Naples, Sept. 19 - The miracle of San Gennaro's blood that liquefies happened again in the cathedral of Naples during the feast of the Patron Saint, which is the anniversary of the martyrdom which took place in 305 A.C. at the Pozzuoli solfatara. It was announced by the archbishop, cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, who is going to celebrate for the first time on this occasion, after the reading of the Gospel. At 9.20 the archbishop said: 'I would like to announce that a few minutes ago the blood started to melt.' The announcement was welcomed by an intense applause by the crowd in the cathedral.


Is the Code of Canon Law "divinely inspired"?

Dr. Edward Peters gives us a "two-fer" today!

I can list at least half a dozen good, even compelling, reasons to enforce and obey the canons of the 1983 Code of Canon Law; but one of those reasons won't be that the Code is "divinely inspired".

Dr Ed Peters: More on the Milingo mess

According to press reports, Cdl. Battista Re of the Congregation for Bishops has sent Abp. Emmanuel Milingo a letter warning him to leave his civil law wife by Oct 15, or "face canonical suspension." What's a bit odd is that, by 1983 CIC 1394, Milingo should already be suspended automatically (latae sententiae) for that offense.

So what is the "threat" in Cdl. Re's letter?

Mohammedan Extremist: the Pope should face execution

A notorious Muslim extremist told a demonstration in London yesterday that the Pope should face execution.

Anjem Choudary said those who insulted Islam would be "subject to capital punishment".

Even those who have not "insulted" Mohammedanism are subject to forced conversions, slavery, or death as in the case of Sister Leonella, who was gunned down in Somalia by jihadists.

Cardinal Pell: Islam, violence go hand in hand

Australia’s most senior Catholic has launched a stinging attack on Muslims, saying their aggressive reaction to the Pope’s recent comments about Islam highlighted the link between their religion and violence.

As the world braced for more Muslim anger over Pope Benedict’s remarks, Cardinal George Pell said “the violent reactions in many parts of the Islamic world” justified one of the Pope’s main fears.

“They showed the link for many Islamists between religion and violence, their refusal to respond to criticism with rational arguments, but only with demonstrations, threats and actual violence,” the Sydney Archbishop said yesterday.
. . .
“Our major priority must be to maintain peace and harmony within the Australian community, but no lasting achievements can be grounded in fantasies and evasions,” Cardinal Pell said.
Fantasies, evasions...such is what many leaders would have us embrace. Few are those who have courage to speak the truth.

The Regensburg Lecture: Thinking Rightly About God and Man

Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. | September 15, 2006

On September 12, on his visit to his native Bavaria, Benedict XVI gave a formal academic lecture at the University at which he formerly was a professor. It is a brilliant, stunning lecture, and it is a lecture, not a papal pronouncement. It brings into focus just why there is a papacy and why Catholicism is an intellectual religion. Indeed, it is a lecture on why reason is reason and what this means. The scope of this lecture is simply breathtaking, but also intelligible to the ordinary mind. In watching my computer and listening to various colleagues the day after this address was given, I felt a kind of hush in the air. Something important had happened, something more than the ordinary went on in Regensburg, something that was addressed to the heart of modernism but also to Islam, our current enigma. When I read the lecture, I understood why.
. . .
We would be fools if we thought that this freedom to speak the truth is not a serious problem in today's world, particularly when we speak of the Islamic world, a topic with which the pope begins his lecture. Indeed, this may be the first time since Urban II that a pope has formally taken up the question of Islam in any way.
. . .

Is Dialogue with Islam Possible?

Some Reflections on Pope Benedict XVI's Address at the University of Regensburg
Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. | September 18, 2006

Both before and since his elevation to the papacy, Benedict has taken a consistent approach to controversial issues: he locates the assumptions and fundamental principles underlying the controversy, analyzes their "inner" structure or dynamism, and lays out the consequences of the principles.
. . .

In the main body of the lecture, Benedict criticizes attempts in the West to "dehellenize" Christianity: the rejection of the rational component of faith (the sola fides of the 16th century reformers); the reduction of reason to the merely empirical or historical (modern exegesis and modern science); a multiculturalism which regards the union of faith and reason as merely one possible form of inculturation of the faith. All this is a Western self-critique.

But as the starting point of his lecture, Benedict takes a 14th century dialogue between the Byzantine Emperor and a learned Muslim to focus on the central question of the entire lecture: whether God is Logos. The Emperor's objection to Islam is Mohammed's "command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor asserts that this is not in accordance with right reason, and "not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature". Benedict points to this as "the decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion".

It is at this point in the lecture that Benedict makes a statement which cannot be avoided or evaded if there is ever to be any dialogue between Christianity and Islam that is more than empty words and diplomatic gestures. For the Emperor, God's rationality is "self-evident". But for Muslim teaching, according to the editor of the book from which Benedict has been quoting, "God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality".

Benedict has struck bedrock. This is the challenge to Islam. This is the issue that lies beneath all the rest. If God is above reason in this way, then it is useless to employ rational arguments against (or for) forced conversion, terrorism, or Sharia law, which calls for the execution of Muslim converts to Christianity. If God wills it, it is beyond discussion.

Gospel for Tuesday, 24th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial: St Januarius, Bishop and Martyr

From: Luke 7:11-17

The Son of the Widow in Nain Restored to Life

[11] Soon afterwards He (Jesus) went to a city called Nain, and His disciples and a great crowd went with Him. [12] As He drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, theonly son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. [13] And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." [14] And He came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." [15] And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And He gave him to his mother. [16] Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and "God has visited His people!" [17] And this report concerning Him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.


11-17. "Jesus crosses paths again with a crowd of people. He could have passed by or waited until they called Him. But He didn't. He took the initiative, because He was moved by a widow's sorrow. She had just lost all she had, her son.

"The evangelist explains that Jesus was moved. Perhaps He even showed signs of it, as when Lazarus died. Christ was not, and is not, insensitive to the suffering that stems from love. He is pained at seeing children separated from their parents. He overcomes death so as to give life, to reunite those who love one another. But at the same time, He requires that we first admit the pre-eminence of divine love, which alone can inspire genuine Christian living.

"Christ knows He is surrounded by a crowd which will be awed by the miracle and will tell the story all over the countryside. But He does not act artificially, merely to create an effect. Quite simply He is touched by that woman's suffering and cannot but console her. So He goes up to her and says, `Do not weep.' It is like saying, `I don't want to see you crying; I have come on earth to bring joy and peace.' And then comes the miracle, the sign of the power of Christ who is God. But first came His compassion, an evident sign of the tenderness of the heart of Christ the man" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 166).

15. This mother's joy on being given back her son reminds us of the joy of our Mother the Church when her sinful children return to the life of grace. "The widowed mother rejoiced at the raising of that young man," St. Augustine comments. "Our Mother the Church rejoices every day when people are raised again in spirit. The young man had been dead physically; the latter, dead spiritually. The young man's death was mourned visibly; the death of the latter was invisible and unmourned. He seeks them out Who knew them to be dead; only He can bring them back to life" ("Sermon", 98, 2).
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, September 18, 2006

NBC and Madonna To Mock Christ and Christianity...

...presumably for "sweeps week". This is what I received today:

Following the lead of Rosie O'Donnell and ABC, NBC has decided to join in the bashing of Christians by airing a Madonna special in November. A specific date has not been released.

In the show, Madonna, wearing a fake crown of thorns, descends on a suspended mirrored, disco ball-type cross. When some Christian leaders complained about the mockery, NBC ignored their concerns.

Click Here to see a video and photos of the show.

Making mockery of the crucifixion of Christ has been a trademark of Madonna for many years. In 1989 she had a video for the hit song "Like A Prayer." The video featured burning crosses, statues crying blood and Madonna--representing Jesus--freeing a saint from his sexual repression by seducing him. This is the same Madonna who once said, "Crucifixes are sexy because there's a naked man on them."

Kevin Reilly, an executive at NBC, said Madonna considered the scene mocking the crucifixion of Christ the highlight of her show. "We (NBC) viewed it and didn't see it as being inappropriate." Madonna considers mocking the crucifixion of Jesus the highlight of her show and NBC agrees.

Take Action

1. Help us secure one million emails to NBC asking the network not to air the Madonna special. Click here to send your email.

2. Call your local NBC affiliate and ask them not to run the Madonna special.

3. Help get the word out about Madonna's mocking the crucifixion by forwarding this email to your entire mailing list and urge them to take action.

4. Print out the AFA Pass Along sheet and distribute at your Sunday School class and church. Ask your pastor to encourage members to send an email.

Mental Prayer for September 19-Two Missionaries

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To win souls for Christ.

The Idea: The Church's missions mean so much to her that she has assigned them two patron saints instead of only one! The first is a man who in the 16th century traveled many thousands of weary miles, up and down the coasts of Asia, preaching, founding churches, baptizing converts by the hundreds.

The other patron of all the Church's missions is a 20th-century cloistered nun who never preached, never baptized a convert, never even left her convent. But her quiet prayers and sacrifices brought unnumbered souls to God.

My Personal Application: "... give themselves wholeheartedly... to save and sanctify others..."­ Which kind of missionary shall I be?... a St. Francis Xavier or a St. Therese of Lisieux? The mission-minded Church of to­day has plenty of need for both kinds. When will I begin?

I Speak to God: Dear God, I promise to bring souls to you every day - some by my work, some by my prayers. Work with me. Help me pray.

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

Islam’s Unreasonable War Against Benedict XVI

In Regensburg, the pope offered as terrain for dialogue between Christians and Muslims 
“acting according to reason.” But the Islamic world has attacked him, distorting his thought, confirming by this that the rejection of reason brings intolerance and violence along with it. The uncertainties about the trip to Turkey

by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Monday, 24th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 7:1-10

The Centurion's Faith

[1] After He (Jesus) had ended all His sayings in the hearing of the people He entered Capernaum. [2] Now a centurion had a slave who was dear to him, who was sick and at the point of death. [3] When he heard of Jesus, he sent to Him elders of the Jews, asking Him to come and heal his slave. [4] And when they came to Jesus, they besought Him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy to have You do this for him, [5] for he loves our nation, and he built us our synagogue." [6] And Jesus went with them. When He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have You come under my roof; [7] therefore I did not presume to come to You. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. [8] For I am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, `Go,' and he goes; and to another, `Come,' and he comes; and to my slave, `Do this,' and he does it." [9] When Jesus heard this He marvelled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed Him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." [10] And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well.


1-10. "They besought Him earnestly" (verse 4). Here is an example of the effectiveness of the prayer of petition, which induces Almighty God to work a miracle. In this connection St. Bernard explains what we should ask God for: "As I see it, the petitions of the heart consists in three things [...]. The first two have to do with the present, that is, with things for the body and for the soul; the third is the blessedness of eternal life. Do not be surprised that He says that we should ask God for things for the body: all things come from Him, physical as well as spiritual things [...]. However, we should pray more often and more fervently for things our souls need, that is, for God's grace and for virtues" ("Fifth Lenten Sermon", 8f). To obtain His grace--of whatever kind--God Himself expects us to ask Him assiduously, confidently, humbly and persistently.

What stands out here is the centurion's humility: he did not belong to the chosen people, he was a pagan; but he makes his request through friends, with deep humility. Humility is the route to faith, whether to receive faith for the first time or to revive it. Speaking of his own conversion experience, St. Augustine says that because he was not humble, he could not understand how Jesus, who was such a humble person, could be God, nor how God could teach anyone by lowering Himself to the point of taking on our human condition. This was precisely why the Word, eternal Truth, became man--to demolish our pride, to encourage our love, to subdue all things and thereby be able to raise us up (cf. "Confessions", VII, 18, 24).

6-7. Such is the faith and humility of the centurion that the Church, in its eucharistic liturgy, gives us his very words to express our own sentiments just before receiving Holy Communion; we too should strive to have this interior disposition when Jesus enters our roof, our soul.
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, September 17, 2006

Alter Christus - Prudence in Zeal

Meditations for Priests

Zeal must be a dominant note in every priest's life. We should always try to grow in it. Last month we stirred up our fervor by the example of the great apostle of Ars. Let us proceed to examine some of the qualities that must mark true priestly zeal: for on the qualities of our zeal depends its power for conversion and the degree of holiness it brings to ourselves... Prudence is certainly one of these qualities. This cardinal virtue is of paramount importance in the exercise of our ministry: it makes us judge aright of the best means to carry out our apostolate and directs our conduct at every step we take towards that end. On the other hand, how easily zeal can be marred by the lack of supernatural pru­dence! Let us examine some of the safeguards it will bring us in our ministry.


One of the greatest dangers to which imprudent zeal exposes us is the modern heresy of putting external activity before interior life, of dissociating our work from the hidden sources of all its efficacy. Yet what is the priest's function except to be the channel through which the grace of God flows into souls? Consequently our chief concern is to keep united to God, that He may use us as His instrument: from Him must come the inspiration for our activity in the con­fessional, in the pulpit, in all our dealings with souls.

How foolish then for priests to sacrifice prayer to action, to let external work crowd out their spiritual exercises, on the plea of pressing needs of the ministry... "Wretchedly do they deceive themselves," exclaims Pius X in his Exhorta­tion to the Catholic Clergy, "alas, for such miserable blind­ness! "... Supernatural prudence will save us from this pitfall; it will make us look upon our hours of contact, with God as the most important ones even of our apostolic life: our daily Mass, which unites us to Christ in the oblation of the redeeming Sacrifice, our meditation and spiritual reading which fill us with His mind, our visits to the Blessed Sacrament and our holy Communions which bring us in such intimate contact with the "Fons vitae et sanctitatis."

* Besides looking on prayer as a means of apostolate, do we also regard the spirit of prayer as an essential characteristic of all true apostles?... Do we give all our care to the hours consecrated to intercourse with God?... Do we not easily admit pretexts of pressing work to hurry through our Mass and breviary, to curtail our thanksgiving after Mass and Communion, to omit medita­tion, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, rosary, examen of conscience? If so, let us stop wretchedly deceiving ourselves'.


The zealous priest gives himself unreservedly to the calls of the ministry, and so, being thrown forcibly into constant contact with the world, he cannot help breathing in its poisonous atmosphere. Here then is another danger from which prudence must safeguard him... No doubt God's grace is proportioned to our mission, and this assurance must dispel all vain fear in the performance of our duty. But, precisely, that grace includes the cardinal virtue of prudence: and only if we follow its dictates shall we be secure.

Prudence will make us prize our virtue above any good that might be achieved at its expense; it will make us avoid all unnecessary occasions of danger, and forearm us against temptations when they come to us unavoidably... This applies with special force to our virtue of chastity; because this "most precious treasure of the Catholic Priesthood" (Pius XI), imperatively demanded as it is by the sublimity of our functions and the nature of our ministry, is also exposed to many dangers by the very circumstances of that ministry.

* Are we firmly resolved to protect our virtue against all inroads from indiscreet zeal, convinced that even for our ministry what we are matters more than what we do? ... As regards chastity, do we take all precautions to preserve it from even the least tarnish? What is our habitual attitude on this point, in the confessional, in our visits to persons of the other sex, in our relations with boys and girls? Remember "qui spernit modica, paulatim decidet".


Prudence is also needed in our ministry to prevent the message of God from suffering at our hands. It may suffer in the purity of its object: our mission is to bring Christ to souls, to make Him reign in all hearts; anything foreign to, or unconnected with, this specific aim is not a legitimate scope. Supernatural prudence will make us keep clear of all such deviations: political aims, national and racial as­pirations, personal views and inclinations... "Non enim nosmetipsos praedicamus sed Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum."

Our message may suffer also from the manner in which we carry it to our flock. Prudence must save us from harsh­ness and undue severity as well as from compromising weak­ness, and from all indiscreet ways that may turn men away from our holy Faith: "Nemini dantes ullam offensionem, ut non vituperetur ministerium nostrum."

* Is our ministry always marked by that supernatural wisdom? Do we seek to grow in it by - the habit of reflec­tion, - our readiness to ask for and listen to advice, - above all, humble prayer: to the Holy Spirit "da nobis recta sapere", to the Sacred Heart" in quo sunt omnes thesauri sapientiae et scientiae", to Mary the "Mater boni consilii"? and "Virgo prudentissima"?

"Deus, a quo bona cuncta procedunt, largire suppli­cibus tuis: ut cogitemus, te inspirante, quae recta sunt; et, te gubernante, eadem faciamus. Per C.D.N."

Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 21.

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

Mental Prayer for September 18-Solitude and Silence

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: I ask a deeper realization of the need to find God alone in silence to pray well.

Mental Picture: Evening by the lake of Galilee... disciples gather up left-over fragments of bread and fish with which Christ has miraculously fed over five thousand people. Our Lord sends the disciples across the lake... dismisses the last of the crowd that wanted to make Him king. He is alone... He climbs into the shadows of the moun­tain... a deep silence surrounds Him. All else is gone... He is alone with His Father. He prays.

My Personal Application: Do I, every day at a definite time, turn aside from all else for mental prayer? Am I careful to make it in a place which is private and quiet?... where I can be alone with God? Do I really try to get rid of everything that might distract me?... noise?... people? Have I learned to be happy alone with God in prayer? Do I know how to go into the silence of my soul and find God there? Or am I care­less about trying to pray well?... indifferent to the choice of time and place for prayer? Am I reverent? Do I pay attention to God?

I Speak to God: Dear Lord, teach me to pray well. Help me to want to be close to you in prayer so much that I will make a sincere effort to find a place and time for my mental prayer when I can be alone with you in silence. Give me the grace to overcome distractions and reverently to pay atten­tion to you. I want to know you better, love you more deeply, follow you more closely... always.

Thought for Today: Dear Lord, teach me to pray well.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 8:27-35

Peter's Profession of Faith

[27] And Jesus went on with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He asked His disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" [28] And they told Him, "John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others one of the prophets." [29] And He asked them, "But who do you say I am?" Peter answered Him, "You are the Christ." [30] And He charged them to tell no one about Him.

Jesus Foretells His Passion and Resurrection. Christian Renunciation

[31] And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. [32] And He said this plainly. And Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him. [33] But turning and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, and said, "Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men." [34] And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. [35] For whoever would save his life will lose it: and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it."


29. Peter's profession of faith is reported here in a shorter form than in Matthew 16:18-19. Peter seems to go no further than say that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. Eusebius of Caesarea, in the fourth century, explains the Evangelist's reserve by the fact that he was the interpreter of St. Peter, who omitted from his preaching anything which might appear to be self-praise. The Holy Spirit, when inspiring St. Mark, wanted the Gospel to reflect the preaching of the prince of the Apostles, leaving it to other evangelists to fill out certain important details to do with the episode of the confession of Peter.

The sketchiness of the narrative still show Peter's role quite clearly: he is the first to come forward affirming the messiahship of Jesus. Our Lord's question, "But who do you say that I am?", shows what Jesus is asking the Apostles for--not an opinion, more or less favorable, but firm faith. It is St. Peter who expresses this faith (cf. note on Matthew 16:13-20).

31-33. This is the first occasion when Jesus tells His disciples about the sufferings and death He must undergo. He does it twice more, later on (cf. Mark 9:31 and 10:32). The Apostles are surprised, because they cannot and do not want to understand why the Master should have to suffer and die, much less that He should be so treated "by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes." But Peter, with his usual spontaneity, immediately begins to protest. And Jesus replies to him using the same words as He addressed the devil when he tempted Him (cf. Matthew 4:10); He wants to affirm, once again, that His mission is spiritual, not earthly, and that therefore it cannot be understood by using mere human criteria: it is governed by God's designs, which were that Jesus should redeem us through His passion and death. So too, for a Christian, suffering, united with Christ, is also a means of salvation.

34. When Jesus said "If any nam would come after me ...", he was well aware that in fulfilling his mission he would be brought to death on a cross; this is why he speaks clearly about his passion (vv:31-32). The Christian life, lived as it should be lived, with all its demands, is also a cross which one has to carry, following Christ.

Jesus' words, which must have seemed extreme to his listeners, indicate the standard he requires his followers to live up to. He does not ask for short-lived enthusiasm or occasional dedication; he asks everyone to renounce himself, to take up his cross and follow him. For the goal he sets men is eternal life. This whole Gospel passage has to do with man's eternal destiny. The present life should be evaluated in the light of this eternal life: life on earth is not definitive, but transitory and relative; it is a means to be used to achieve definitive life in heaven: "All that, which worries you for the moment, is of relative importance. What is of absolute importance is that you be happy, that you be saved" ([St.] J. Escriva, The Way, 297).

"There is a kind of fear around, a fear of the Cross, of our Lord's Cross. What has happened is that people have begun to regard as crosses all the unpleasant things that crop up in life, and they do not know how to take them as God's children should, with supernatural outlook. So much so, that they are even removing the roadside crosses set up by our forefathers. . .In the Passion, the Cross ceased to be a symbol of punishment and became insteada sign of victory. The Cross is the emblem of the Redeemer: in quo est salus,vita et resurrectio nostra: there lies our salvation, our life and our resurrection" ([St.] J. Escriva, The Way of the Cross, II, 5).

35. "Life": in the original text and the New Vulgate the word literally means
"soul." But here, as in many other cases, "soul" and "life" are equivalent. The word "life" is used, clearly, in a double sense: earthly life and eternal life, the life of man here on earth and man's eternal happiness in heaven. Death can put an end to earthly life, but it cannot destroy eternal life (cf. Mt 10:28), the life which can only be given by Him who brings the dead back to life.

Understood in this way, we can grasp the paradoxical meaning of our Lord's phrase: whoever wishes to save his (earthly) life will lose his (eternal) life. But whoever loses his (earthly) life for me and the Gospel, will save his (eternal) life. What, then, does saving one's (earthly) life mean? It means living this life as if there were none other - letting oneself be controlled by the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (cf. 1 Jn 2: 16). And losing one's (earthly) life means mortifying, by continuous ascetical effort, this triple concupisence - that is, taking up one's cross (v. 34}-and consequently seek ing and savouring the things that are God's and not the things of the earth (cf. CoI3:1-2).
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.