Saturday, January 13, 2007

Mental Prayer for January 14, Christ and "Why?"

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To understand the meaning of obedience.

The Idea: If I look long and hard at Christ the youth, I'll see Him showing me how to do what is probably most difficult for many people. I see Him showing me how to obey. Do I tend to think that I have most of the answers and really nobody "old-fashioned" is going to tell me what to do?

Yet - how can I imagine Christ even thinking His parents were "old-fashioned"? In a very real sense, compared to Him, they were behind the times. This sounds strange, but isn't it true? Why did He obey His parents? Because they were smart? 1 He was smarter. Because they were holy? He was holier. Because they were good to Him? He was their Creator.

The basic reason for His obedience, and so for all obedience, is this: They were taking the place of His Father.

My Personal Application: Let me take a good look at my obedience.

Do I obey those who are in charge of me?
Do I obey just because it's the way to stay out of trouble?

The real reason why I ought to obey is that those in charge take God's place for me. This is what Christ the youth teaches me.

I Speak to Christ: If you obeyed your parents and teachers, I know I should be obedient to those who are my superiors. But it is not easy. Of course you know this better than I do. So I need your help. Help me to learn from you and to see clearly the reason why I should obey.

Thought for Today: "I came to do thy will, O God."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Saturday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 2:13-17

The Calling of Matthew

[13] He (Jesus) went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about Him, and He taught them. [14] And as He passed on, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow Me." And he rose and followed Him. [15] And as he sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many who followed Him. [16] And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to His disciples, "Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?" [17] And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the
righteous, but sinners."


14. St. Mark and St. Luke (5:27-32) both call him "Levi"; the First Gospel, on the other hand, calls him "Matthew" (Matthew 9:9-13); but they are all referring to the same person. All three accounts describe the same event. Later on, St. Mark and St. Luke, when giving the list of Apostles (Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16), include Matthew, not Levi. The Fathers identify Matthew with Levi. Besides it was quite common for Jews to have two names: Jacob-Israel, Simon-Peter, Saul-Paul, Joseph-Caiaphas, John-Mark... Frequently, the name and surname were connected with some significant change in the life and mission of the person concerned. Did Jesus' saving intervention in this Apostle's life lead to a change of name? The Gospel does not tell us.

Levi-Matthew, as a publican or tax collector (Matthew 9:9-13), was sitting at the `tax office', a special place where one went to pay tribute. Publicans were tax-collectors appointed by the Romans. It was, therefore, an occupation hated and despised by the people; but it was also a much-coveted position because it was an easy way to become prosperous. Matthew leaves everything behind when Jesus calls him. He immediately responds to his vocation, because Jesus gives him the grace to accept his calling.

Jesus is the basis of our confidence in being able to change, provided we cooperate with His grace, no matter how unworthy our previous conduct may have been. And He is also the source of the confidence we need in order to be apostolic--helping others to be converted and seek holiness of life. Because He is the Son of God He is able to raise up children of God even from stones (cf. Matthew 3:9). Cf. note on Matthew 9:9.

17. The scribes and Pharisees reproach the disciples, and Jesus replies with a popular proverb: `Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.' He is the doctor of souls, come to cure sinners of their spiritual ailments.

Our Lord calls everyone, His redemptive mission extends to everyone; He affirms this on other occasions, using parables such as that of the marriage feast (Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24). How, then, can we explain the restriction He seems to place here by saying that He has not come to call the righteous? It is not really a restriction. Jesus uses the opportunity to reproach the scribes and Pharisees for their pride: they consider themselves just, and their reliance on their apparent virtue prevents them from hearing the call to conversion; they think they can be saved by their own efforts (cf. John 9:41). This explains the proverb Jesus quotes; certainly His preaching makes it quite clear that `no one is good but God alone' (Mark 10:18) and that everyone must have recourse to the mercy and forgiveness of God in order to be saved. In other words, mankind is not divided into two--the just and the unjust. We are all sinners, as St. Paul confirms: `all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23). Precisely because of this, Christ came to call all of us; He justifies those who respond to His call.

Our Lord's words should also move us to pray humbly and confidently for people who seem to want to continue living in sin. As St. Teresa beseeched God: "Ah, how hard a thing am I asking of Thee, my true God! I ask Thee to love one who loves Thee not, to open to one who has not called upon Thee, to give health to one who prefers to be sick and who even goes about in search of sickness. Thou sayest, my Lord, that Thou comest to seek sinners; these, Lord, are the true sinners. Look not upon our blindness, my God, but upon all the blood that was shed for us by Thy Son. Let Thy mercy shine out amid such tremendous wickedness. Behold, Lord, we are the works of Thy hands" ("Exclamations of the Soul to God", n. 8).

The Fathers of the Church see this calling by Jesus as an invitation to repentance and penance. St. John Chrysostom ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 30:3), for example, explains the phrase by putting these words in Jesus' mouth: "I am not come that they should continue sinners but that they should change and become better."
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, January 12, 2007

Mental Prayer for January 13, Time Off and Myself

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To see and understand Christ as model for my good times.

The Idea: Life is not all prayer, work, and study. There's a big section left, and it's just as impor­tant as the others - play. I've got to learn to watch Christ at recreation because He shows me what I should be like there.

Actually, if I'm honest with myself, I'll admit that this is the part of my life that is the hardest to do right. It's the easiest to get off on. I know I need real principles to keep my recreation what it ought to be. I can't imagine the boys and girls of Christ's age thinking that He was other than a normal boy. He must have been a good sport. But He certainly didn't tag along with just anybody and everybody. He didn't just "happen" to follow the crowd in every­thing they wanted to do. He looked around - He was intelligent enough to know how to have a good time.

My Personal Application: How do I spend my time? Am I a follower? Am I afraid to stand on principle ? Am I afraid to face the ridicule of the boys or the girls who think they are the only ones who know how to have a good time? If I'm smart enough, I'll be able to figure out ways of being a good sport and still be right. And even more, I'll learn how to make myself a leader in my crowd; a leader for the good that we can all do so much of.

I Speak to Christ: I really need your help now, Lord. Without you as a guide and without your help I'm a weakling and a follower so many times. I want to be a leader. Help me stand on my own two feet and use my recreation the right way for you.

Thought for Today: "I am the way... follow me:'
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Archdiocese may eliminate parish bookeeping and centralize accounting

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke is considering taking over bookkeeping for all 197 parishes in the archdiocese, modernizing a structure that's lasted for centuries.

His challenge will be to make the accounting of church money more efficient without giving the impression of a power grab.

"This is not about trust, it's not about Big Brother looking over their shoulders," said Frank Chauvin, chief financial officer for the archdiocese. "It's about making sure things are done right, and it's about accountability with parishioners."

Sounds like a very good idea...

Gospel for Friday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 2:1-12

The Curing of a Paralytic

[1] And when He (Jesus) returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. [2] And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and He was preaching the word to them. [3] And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men. [4] And when they could not get near Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. [5] And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven." [6] Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, [7] "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" [8] And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts? [9] Which is easier to say to the paralytic, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise, take up your pallet and walk?' [10] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-- He said to the paralytic-- [11] "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." [12] And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"


4. Many Jewish houses had a terraced roof accessible by steps at the back. The same structure can be found even today.

5. Here Jesus emphasizes the connection between faith and the forgiveness of sins. The boldness of the people who brought in the paralytic shows their faith in Christ, and this faith moves Jesus to forgive the man's sins. We should question how God views our faith: the faith of these people leads to the instantaneous physical and spiritual curing of this man. We should notice also that one person's need can be helped by the merits of another.

In this man's physical paralysis, St. Jerome sees a type or figure of spiritual paralysis: the cripple was unable to return to God by his own efforts. Jesus, God and man, cured him of both kinds of paralysis (cf. "Comm. in Marcum, in loc."). Cf. notes on Matthew 9:2-7.

Jesus' words to the paralytic--"Your sins are forgiven"--reflect the fact that his pardon involves a personal encounter with Christ; the same happens in the Sacrament of Penance: "In faithfully observing the centuries-old practice of the Sacrament of Penance--the practice of individual confession with a personal act of sorrow and an intention to amend and make satisfaction--the Church is defending the human soul's individual right, man's right to a more personal encounter with the crucified forgiving Christ, with Christ saying, through the minister of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: `Your sins are forgiven'; `Go, and do not sin again' (John 8:11). As is evident, this is also a right on Christ's part with regard to every human being in the soul's life constituted by the moment of conversion and forgiveness" (John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 20).

7-12. Here we find a number of indicators of Jesus' divinity: He forgives sins, He can read the human heart and has the power to instantly cure physical illnesses. The scribes know that only God can forgive sins. This is why they take issue with Our Lord's statement and call it blasphemous. They require a sign to prove the truth of what He says. And Jesus offers them a sign. Thus just as no one can deny that the paralytic has been cured, so no one can reasonably deny that he has been forgiven his sins. Christ, God and man, exercised power to forgive sins and, in His infinite mercy, He chose to extend this power to His Church. Cf. note on Matthew 9:3-7.
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, January 11, 2007

"Hounded too much"...

...and that's exactly what SNAP does best, especially when it, and it alone, decides who is guilty, evidence being irrelevant. A radio report today told of flyers being distributed by SNAP or collegues of SNAP in Clayton - in an apparent effert to get people to come forward with "claims" of abuse. And, who would not be surprised if some disturbed individual does come forward with fraudulent claims, especially with the support and coaxing of others?

Monsignor John Ecker, Vicar General for Yakima's diocese, said [Rev. Darell]Mitchell left his Missouri post "just because he's been hounded so much." He said allegations had been thoroughly investigated in the past, no legal action was taken, and church officials believe Mitchell fit for ministry.
. . .
"Children here are safer now, but Archbishop Burke should have removed him, never allowed him here and still owes Catholics an explanation for his secrecy and recklessness," said David Clohessy, SNAP's national director.

As posted previously, SNAP and Voice of the [Un]Faithful are largely involved in pursuing this priest despite the fact that no legal or criminal charges were filed...But that means little to SNAP or others of its kind - accusations are all that's needed.

Excerpts from the Post Disgrace.

Mental Prayer for January 12, Everyday and Myself

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To understand Christ as the model of work and study.

The Idea: Christ did not spend all His time on His knees. He labored too, and difficult labor it was. This is important because much of our life is difficult, and unless we learn to do what we ought to, even if it is difficult, what good is our prayer?

To pray to God, and tell Him all sorts of nice things, and then to be on the lookout for the easy way out of the difficult part of living is rather odd. Christ worked. It was rough work too. Making chairs and tables out of wood, with the ancient tools of the day wasn't easy. He certainly could have figured out an easier way - but He didn't. He didn't run away from his hard work by work­ing a miracle. He did His work. He studied His Scriptures, the story of His people, the prophecies, the psalms. He could have done it all the easy way, but He didn't. He lived a real human life.

My Personal Application: Here is one lesson I can learn from Christ the youth. The easy way out is not the best. Unless there are difficult things in my life, and unless I learn to do my duty even when it is difficult, my prayer won't really mean much in my life. And it won't mean much in the lives of others either if I am to give up or grow slack in my service for them when difficulties appear. What a hypocrite I am if I promise God a life of effort filled with His ideals, but actually always choose the easy way out. Difficulty is a test of my sincerity in prayer and actiou.

I Speak to Christ: Teach me to look at my work and study with your eyes - the way you did. I can do it, but I need your help.

Thought for Today: "Lord, that I may see" - ­see things as you see them.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Statement by the Archdiocese regarding Fr. Mitchell


Father Darell J. Mitchell, a priest of the Diocese of Yakima, Washington, who has been residing in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, has decided to leave his pastoral assignment at St. Ambrose Parish in St. Louis and to leave the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Father Mitchell has made this decision for personal reasons.

Father Mitchell resided in the Archdiocese of St. Louis for two years. Prior to his assignment at St. Ambrose Parish, Father Mitchell was in residence at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Clayton, Missouri.

After careful evaluation of Father Mitchell’s background, Archbishop Raymond Burke found him suited for parochial ministry in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and, with the permission of the Most Reverend Carlos A. Sevilla, S.J., Bishop of Yakima, gave Father Mitchell an assignment in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. As required by Article 14 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002, the archdiocese received from Bishop Sevilla a signed and notarized certificate of aptitude for priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, which certifies without qualification that there is nothing in Father Mitchell’s background or service that would raise questions about his fitness for ministry.

Any queries regarding Father Mitchell’s history of service in the Diocese of Yakima should be directed to Monsignor John Ecker, Vicar General of the Diocese of Yakima, at (509) 575-3713.


HT to Patrick K. for the link...

As heard on KMOX...Former Yakima Priest Resigns St Ambrose

The Yakima priest who was assigned to work in St Louis, has resigned his position at St Ambrose Catholic Church - so we are to understand from a KMOX radio report at noon today.

As recent Letter to the Editor of the Yakima Herald Republic about this matter states:
Time to move on
To the editor:
Judge ye not, less ye be judged. It appears by the recent articles in the Yakima Herald-Republic (Dec. 21, 22 and 23) that the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, and Yakima local group Voice of the Faithful believe they should be above the FBI, County Prosecutor and the Yakima Diocesan Lay Board, which found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing by the priest in question.

So what exactly does he need to come back and defend or explain? Counseling and medical care are confidential. Should we all be subject to divulge our personal lives after being found innocent of any wrongdoing? Rather, he should return to Yakima and sue for defamation of character.

The priest served his country in the Armed Forces and then went on to meet the many years of study to become a servant of his Catholic faith. These fellow members of the Knights of Columbus at Holy Family Parish, Herman Fischer, Jack Glesener, Art Wentz, Tony Ott, Bernard Novacek, John Puccinelli, Urban Beaudry, Ben Herres, Richard Clark, and Lou DeLuca, and I feel many parishioners have been insulted by this small group of outsiders and they could be better served by leaving the Diocese of Yakima and stop abusing a very good man who has been found innocent by all who have the authority to judge his role as priest and man of God. He who is without fault cast the first stone.


I have found no links which verify the KMOX report although KMOX reported that SNAP was busy handing out leaflets and that the Archdioces had confirmed the resignation.

We will update this as further details are made known.

Story from 21 Dec 2006

Post from 9 Jan 2007

A Blog for the Cause of Archbishop Sheen

David Delaney sends this email which needs to be shared, espcially amonng those who are familiar with this endeavor:

I work with the moderator for Fulton J. Sheen Theological Commission which is responsible for reviewing all of the Archbishop’s many works as part of the requirements for the cause. We were talking at lunch yesterday and I found out that the commission is in need of some help.

Please take a look at this post and consider doing a similar post on your blog with the moderator’s contact info. The wider the request is spread, the more possibility it will reach those with the qualifications/interest/time and would greatly help out the cause.

God Bless


Please check out the site, and if you can help, please prayerfully consider doing so.

Gospel for Thursday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 1:40-45

The Curing of a Leper

[40] And a leper came to Him (Jesus), beseeching Him, and kneeling said to Him, "If You will, You can make me clean." [41] Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I will; be clean." [42] And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. [43] And He sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, [44] and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people." [45] But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to Him from every quarter.


40-44. Leprosy was seen as a punishment from God (cf. Numbers 12:10-15). The disappearance of the disease was regarded as one of the blessings of the messianic times (Isaiah 35:8; cf. Matthew 11:5; Luke 7:22). Because leprosy was contagious, the Law declared that lepers were impure and that they transmitted impurity to those who touched them and to places they entered. Therefore, they had to live apart (Numbers 5:2; 12:14ff) and to show that they were lepers by certain external signs. On the rite of purification, see the note on Matthew 8:4.

[The note on Matthew 8:4 states:
4. According to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 14), if a leper is cured of his disease, he should present himself to a priest, who will register the cure and give him a certificate which he needs to be reintegrated into the civil and religious life of Israel. Leviticus also prescribes the purifications and sacrifice he should offer. Jesus' instruction to the leper is, then, in keeping with the normal way of fulfilling what the laws laid down.]

The passage shows us the faithful and confident prayer of a man needing Jesus' help and begging Him for it, confident that, if Our Lord wishes, He can free him from the disease (cf. Matthew 8:2). "This man prostrated himself on the ground, as a sign of humility and shame, to teach each of us to be ashamed of the stains of his life.

But shame should not prevent us from confessing: the leper showed his wound and begged for healing. If You will, he says, You can make me clean; that is, he recognized that the Lord had the power to cure him" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

On the discretion and prudence Jesus required regarding His person, see the note on Mark 1:34 and Matthew 9:30.

[The note on Mark 1:34 states:
34. Demons possess a supernatural type of knowledge and therefore they recognize Jesus as the Messiah (Mark 1:24). Through the people they possess they are able to publish this fact. But Our Lord, using His divine powers, orders them to be silent. On other occasions He also silences His disciples (Mark 8:30; 9:9), and He instructs people whom He has cured not to talk about their cure (Mark 1:4; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). He may have acted in this way to educate the people away from a too human and political idea of the Messiah (Matthew 9:30). Therefore, He first awakens their interest by performing miracles and gradually, through His preaching, gives them a clearer understanding of the kind of Messiah He is.

Some Fathers of the Church point out that Jesus does not want to accept, in support of the truth, the testimony of him who is the father of lies.]

[The note on Matthew 9:30 states:
30. Why did our Lord not want them to publicize the miracle? Because His plan was to gradually manifest Himself as the Messiah, the Son of God. He did not want to anticipate events which would occur in their own good time; nor did He want the crowd to start hailing Him as Messiah King, because their notion of messiah was nationalistic, not a spiritual one. However, the crowd did in fact proclaim Him when he worked the miracles of the loaves and the fish (John 6:14-15): "When the people saw the sign which He had done, they said, `This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!' Perceiving then that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus withdrew again to the hills by Himself."]
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, January 10, 2007

Mental Prayer for January 11, Christ, Prayer, and Myself

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To see and understand Christ as the model of prayer for a person my age.

The Idea: I'm going to look into the daily life of this young man of Nazareth. (Not too quickly, because I've got to give my imagination time to work.) Did Christ at 15 or 17 or 19 spend time praying as I am now? Certainly He did. He knew how important prayer was. How often every day He must have talked to the Father and the Holy Spirit. I can't even imagine what great prayer it was. Yet basically it's the same as my prayer: talking to God. And it's not necessarily
long prayers I see in His life, but a spirit of prayer. He never gets very far from His Father. Every morning He offers all His works, joys, and difficul­ties of the day to His Father. Every evening He thanks His Father for all He has given Him during the day.

My Personal Application: This I can do. I'm doing it right now. Of course, I can learn to pray better - not necessarily to pray more or longer, but better. I can get to know Christ and the Father better, and when I do, I'll be able to talk to them better and my prayer will make more of a differ­ence in my life, and in the lives of all those­ - more than I know - whom that prayer affects.

I Speak to Christ: Teach me, Lord, to understand the value of prayer. Help me to learn more about you and the Father and the Holy Spirit so my prayer will be better and my life more like yours because of it.

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

Gospel for Wednesday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 1:29-39

The Curing of Peter's Mother-In-Law

[29] And immediately He (Jesus) left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. [30] Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told Him of her. [31] And He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.

Jesus Cures Many Sick People

[32] That evening, at sundown, they brought to Him all who were sick or possessed with demons. [33] And the whole city was gathered together about the door. [34] And He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew Him.

Jesus Goes To a Lonely Place To Pray

[35] And in the morning, a great while before day, He rose and went out to a lonely place, and there He prayed. [36] And Simon and those who were with Him followed Him, [37] and they found Him and said to Him, "Everyone is searching for you." [38] And He said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out." [39] And He went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.


34. Demons possess a supernatural type of knowledge and therefore they recognize Jesus as the Messiah (Mark 1:24). Through the people they possess they are able to publish this fact. But Our Lord, using His divine powers, orders them to be silent. On other occasions He also silences His disciples (Mark 8:30; 9:9), and He instructs people whom He has cured not to talk about their cure (Mark 1:4; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). He may have acted in this way to educate the people away from a too human and political idea of the Messiah (Matthew 9:30). Therefore, He first awakens their interest by performing miracles and gradually, through His preaching, gives them a clearer understanding of the kind of Messiah He is.

Some Fathers of the Church point out that Jesus does not want to accept, in support of the truth, the testimony of him who is the father of lies.

35. Many passages of the New Testament make reference to Jesus praying. The evangelists point to Him praying only on specially important occasions during His public ministry: Baptism (Luke 3:1), the choosing of the Twelve (Luke 6:12), the first multiplication of the loaves (Mark 6:46), the Transfiguration (Luke 9:29), in the garden of Gethsemane prior to His passion (Matthew 26:39) etc. Mark for his part, refers to Jesus' prayer at three solemn moments: at the beginning of His public ministry (1:35), in the middle of it (6:46), and at the end, in Gethsemane (14:32).

Jesus' prayer is prayer of perfect praise to the Father; it is prayer of petition for Himself and for us; and it also a model for His disciples. It is a prayer of perfect praise and thanksgiving because He is God's beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased (cf. Mark 1:11). It is a prayer of petition because the first spontaneous movement of a soul who recognizes God as Father is to ask Him for things. Jesus' prayer, as we see in very many passages (e.g. John 17:9ff) was a continuous petition to the Father for the work of redemption which He, Jesus, had to achieve through prayer and sacrifice.

Our Lord wants to give us an example of the kind of attitude a Christian should have; he should make a habit of addressing God as son to Father in the midst of and through his everyday activities--work, family life, personal relationships, apostolate--so as to give his life a genuinely Christian meaning, for, as Jesus will point out later on, "apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

"You write: `To pray is to talk with God. But about what?' About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions: and love and reparation. In a word: to get to know Him and to get to know yourself: `to get acquainted!'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way").

38. Jesus tells us here that His mission is to preach, to spread the Good News. He was sent for this purpose (Luke 4:43). The Apostles, in turn, were chosen by Jesus to be preachers (Mark 3:14; 16:15). Preaching is the method selected by God to effect salvation: "it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21). This is why St. Paul says to Timothy: "Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Faith comes from hearing, we are told in Romans 10:17, where St. Paul enthusiastically quotes Isaiah: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" (Romans 10:15; Isaiah 52:7).

The Church identifies preaching the Gospel as one of the main tasks of bishops and priests. St. Pius X went so far as saying that "for a priest there is no duty more grave or obligation more binding (to dispel ignorance)" ("Acerbo Nimis"). In this connection Vatican II states: "The people of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the living God (cf. 1 Peter 1:23; Acts 6:7; 12:24), which is quite rightly sought from the mouths of priests (2 Corinthians 11:7).

For since nobody can be saved who has not first believed (Mark 16:16), it is the first task of priests as co-workers of the bishops to preach the Gospel of God to all men (2 Corinthians 11:7). In this way they carry out the Lord's command `Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature' (Mark 16:15) (cf. Malachi 2:7; 1 Timothy 4:11-13; etc.) and thus set up and increase the people of God" ("Presbyterorum Ordinis").

Jesus' preaching is not just limited to words: He backs up His teaching with His authority and with deeds. The Church also has been sent to preach salvation and to effect the work of salvation which it proclaims--a work done through the Sacraments and especially through the renewal of the sacrifice of Calvary in the Mass (Vatican II, "Sacrosanctum Concilium", 6).

In the Church of God all of us should listen devoutly to the preaching of the Gospel and we all should feel a responsibility to spread the Gospel by our words and actions. It is the responsibility of the hierarchy of the Church to teach the Gospel authentically--on the authority of Christ.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Feb 12- Men's Evening of Recollection (Opus Dei)

Please plan to attend an Evening of Recollection for Men in the Chapel at Immaculate Conception Parish in Dardenne on Monday, February 12, from 7:30 pm until 9:30 pm.

Meditations will be given by an Opus Dei priest, with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction, and a brief talk by a lay member of Opus Dei on some aspect of the spiritual life.

This "mini-retreat" is a great way to deepen one's interior life and enter into a conversation with God.

For more information, contact John Minicky at (636) 978-2753 or Joe Faust at (636) 625-8531.
Evenings of Recollection are planned for the second Monday of each month.

Moral Strength from Faith, Hope, and Charity

Alter Christus - Meditations for Priests

Two great dangers are threatening the world today: pride rebelling against God, and (nearly its opposite) moral depression and lack of trust, consequent on the weakening of faith, hope and charity. - This remark which the Holy Father made in 1940 has lost nothing of its truth since then, on the contrary. As for us priests, the first of those two dangers does not touch us, personally. But what about the second one?


Has not every priest to guard against moral depression and lack of trust, lest it get a hold on his life and cripple his energies?

Is not every spiritual life exposed at times to the incur­sions of the "demon" of discouragement and pusillanimity? It may come upon us with the onslaught of temptations, hard to bear, difficult to shake off; with the apparent failure
of our efforts after virtues and perfection; with disappoint­ments in our ministry; with distressing sufferings of mind or body.

Besides, we witness so many tragedies, of individuals or whole nations; we are living in a period of dark lowering clouds throughout the world. . .

Yet we must always carry on bravely, with steady courage, undismayed by trials, untrammelled by sadness or fear. We owe it to ourselves, for our spiritual life and for our work; we owe it to our flock, who in their own troubles are so­ often sorely in need of the priest's steadying, uplifting influence.

* Let us examine ourselves and see whether we are not allowing ourselves at times to be weighed down by feelings of discouragement, . . . note the particular circumstances under which we are apt to weaken,... resolve to stand up against them.

How shall we combat effectively the danger of moral depression? By combating its cause: "the weakening of Faith, Hope and Charity" (Pius XII). For if these theological virtues are strong in us, our whole attitude will be one of great moral strength and courage, and nothing will ever prevent us from labouring on manfully, "sicut bonus miles Christi".

But for that it is necessary that faith, hope and charity should enter into our lives. We recite the acts frequently enough, probably. But perhaps they are too often mere formulas, mechanical, soulless. We must live our faith, hope and charity.

(1) Our faith must ever remind us of God's supreme dominion over the world: nothing happens but what God wills or permits; then, He is "our Father in heaven", we the children of His love; His designs upon us are always designs of mercy and love, even when we least understand them; no trials, no sufferings in our lives but are meant ultimately for our greater good as well as for God's greater glory. "Nec unus passer cadet super terram sine Patre vestro" (Matt. 10:30).

What strength and courage such thoughts of faith would give, if we remembered them vividly when tempted to lose heart!. . . Pius X was asked one day by Abbot Marmion to give him a motto for his own spiritual life; the Pope took a picture and wrote at the back of it; "In cunctis rerum angustiis, hoc cogita: Dominus est. Et Dominus erit tibi adjutor fortis."

* Do we live in that spirit?. . . Perhaps we might train ourselves to grow in it by taking for particular examen that "Dominus est" recommended by the saintly Pontiff. "O tardi corde ad credendum!"

(2) Unwavering hope and confidence must keep our hearts on high, superior to all the vicissitudes of life. If we live in the remembrance of the eternal reward which is the final, assured goal of all our efforts, and in the conviction that God's grace is always with us, equal to every task and duty, then we shall never be unmanned by trials and difficulties.

How easy to make light of these, if we feel like St Paul "quod non sunt condignae passiones hujus temporis ad futuram gloriam . . . ", and if we can repeat, with intimate conviction, his "Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat".

* But perhaps we often fail to raise ourselves to those supernatural thoughts in the actual trials of life? Or we hesitate to trust God fully, and falter in our confidence. How often perhaps we too deserved the reproach "Quare dubitasti?".

(3) Chief of all, it is charity, love for God, that gives strength indomitable and spurs on to magnanimity: "fortis ut mors dilectio ". Read St Paul to the Romans, 8:35 seq. "Quis nos separabit a charitate Christi, etc." and the Imitation of Christ, Bk II, ch. 5: "De mirabili effectu divini amoris."

Love takes away the sting from trials and adversities, because it makes us embrace whole-heartedly every mani­festation of God's holy will; it establishes us in the peace and serenity of complete self-abandonment; nay, it makes us rejoice in the Cross, because love of its very nature seeks to suffer for the beloved: "Sine dolore non vivitur in amore."

* Has divine charity such practical, logical effects in us ? . . . Is our attitude in life always an echo of our prayer "Fiat voluntas tua sicut in coelo et in terra"? . . . Does our love of God strengthen us for every trial as it did Christ for His Passion: "Ut cognoscat mundus quia diligo Patrem, surgite, eamus"?. . . Do we seek to enkindle that love (as the Holy Father bids us in his allocution) "in the flames springing from the Sacred Heart"?

** Recite with special devotion those psalms which express faith and trust and delight in God: "Dominus lux mea et salus mea: quem timebo?" (Ps. 26); "Quis praeter te mihi est in caelo? et, si tecum sum, non delectat me terra" (Ps. 72) - and so many others.
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 69.

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

Mental Prayer for January 10, A Real Human Life

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To understand the purpose of the hidden life.

The Idea: Christ came down to earth as a little child and lived a human life and died on the cross for me. He came to redeem me, and to show me how to get to heaven by imitating Him. Since He lived a normal life in a normal town, I can look to Him and say, "He is real. He really did live here on earth. He didn't just suddenly come and go." The thirty years are real years, as long as any years I live and as full of life. He really did grow up. And He was just a little child - as I was. Once He was 10 years old as I was. Once just my age now! I can imitate Him. I can try to follow and imitate Him. Because that's why He did it - to show me how.

My Personal Application: I'm going to be like Christ only if I can realize how real He was. I must try to get a picture of Him alive - praying, working, studying, talking, eating, playing, sleep­ing - doing all the things a normal person does. That's the first step in imitation - a good picture of what and Who I want to imitate.

I Speak to Christ: The reason why I am studying your life, Lord, is to get a good picture of you, a real, live, true-to-life picture so I can follow you. Help me work out this picture so you will really live for me.

Thought for Today: "And He grew in wisdom, age, and grace before God and men."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

An Email Update from Missourians Against Human Cloning


I hope you all enjoyed a meaningful Christmas and are rested and ready to continue our battle. I continue to be encouraged and humbled by the emails and calls we receive from coalition members eager and ready to do their part. We have a challenging road ahead but we have many reasons to be encouraged.

First and foremost, we have always had the truth on our side. We know that many in our state have only been exposed to the deceptive propaganda of the pro-cloners. Through all of YOUR efforts, we have forged a powerful, diverse coalition that will make a difference.

There is much to do and we need all of you to participate as you are able.

I hope to see you tomorrow at the Concerned Women for America of Missouri Lobby Day. The events begin at 11:00am in the First Floor of the Rotunda at the State Capitol in Jefferson City. This is a wonderful opportunity to show your support for a true ban on human cloning.

If you cannot attend the Lobby Day tomorrow, please contact your legislators and let them know that you:

1. Support the SJR/HJR sponsored by Sen. Matt Bartle and Rep. Jim Lembke to truly ban human cloning.

2. Oppose the state funding of embryonic stem cell research in any form.

3. Oppose the sale of MOHELA assets as the language of Amendment 2 makes it impossible for the legislature to insure the proceeds are not used for embryonic stem cell research.

A contact list for all the current legislators is available at the Missouri Legislator Lookup.

We need to continue to educate our fellow Missourians by writing letters to the newspapers and sharing information by email. The recent breakthrough in stem cell research provides another example of why we should not constitutionally protect human cloning and the funding of this research. Clearly, there continues to be more practical and ethical stem cell research opportunities that do NOT require the creation and destruction of human embryos.

Also, we will continue to educate Missourians about this complex and sometimes confusing topic through our dedicated speakers' bureau of experts. Please look for opportunities in your church or community groups. You can also host an event in your home where we can share the truth about human cloning. Contact our office at 636-536-9877 to schedule a speaker.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, plan to attend the Anti-Cloning Rally and Lobby Day on March 7th at the State Capitol. A flyer with information about this important event is on our web site.

Thank You,

Some Updated Articles on Priest from Yakima

These are updates to this post, Priest once under suspicion gets new post in St Louis, which appear to support a private comment that not all of the facts where known.
This Yakima Herald Republic story questions whether the St Louis Archdiocese is aware of all of the details of this matter:

Even though the incident happened more than three years ago, emotions churned again recently when news broke that the priest is working in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, where he is an associate pastor in a parish with an elementary school.

Yakima members of a Catholic group advocating reforms in the church, Voice of the Faithful, are troubled over the priest's assignment.

"That tells me there's a good possibility that St. Louis doesn't know the whole history of (the priest's) imprudent behavior," said Robert Fontana, VOTF coordinator.

When asked what documentation Yakima's diocese sent to St. Louis about the priest, Monsignor Ron Metha, diocese chief of staff, said he didn't know because he wasn't involved in the process.

While I, too, am loathe to associate in any way with VOTF, it appears that there's something to this story.

And then we have the testimony of the man who found photos of nude boys on the computer:

Following is testimony given in December 2005 to the Catholic Diocese of Yakima Lay Advisory Board by the person who discovered photographs of nude boys on a priest's computer in 2003. Names of people not previously mentioned in articles about the incident have been removed. Also, some changes have been made for the sake of brevity.

This, too, demands a full reading. If the testimony and the facts are true, then there are many questions, it seems, remaining unanswered.

Gospel for Tuesday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 1:21-28

Jesus in the Synagogue of Capernaum

[21] And they went into Capernaum; and immediately on the sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. [22] And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. [23] And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; [24] and he cried out, "What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God." [25] But Jesus rebuked him saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" [26] And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. [27] And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching! With authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." [28] And at once His fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

21. "Synagogue" means meeting, assembly, community. It was -and is- used by the Jews to describe the place where they met to hear the Scriptures read, and to pray. Synagogues seem to have originated in the social gatherings of the Jews during their exile in Babylon, but this phenomenon did not spread until much later. In our Lord's time there were synagogues, in Palestine, in every city and town of any importance; and, outside Palestine, wherever the Jewish community was large enough. The synagogue consisted mainly of a rectangular room built in such a way that those attending were facing Jerusalem when seated. There was a rostrum or pulpit from which Sacred Scripture was read and explained.

22. Here we can see how Jesus showed His authority to teach. Even when He took Scripture as His basis -as in the Sermon on the Mount- He was different from other teachers, for He spoke in His own name: "But I say to you" (Matthew 7:28-29). Our Lord speaks about the mysteries of God, and about human relationships; He teaches in a simple and authoritative way because He speaks of what He knows and testifies to what He has seen (John 3:11). The scribes also taught the people, St. Bede comments, about what is written in Moses and the prophets; but Jesus preached to them as God and Lord of Moses himself (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio"). Moreover, first He does and then He preaches (Acts 1:1)--not like the scribes who teach and do not do (Matthew 23:1-5).

23-26. The Gospels give us many accounts of miraculous cures, among the most outstanding of which are those of people possessed by the devil. Victory over the unclean spirit, as the devil is usually described, is a clear sign that God's salvation has come: by overcoming the Evil One, Jesus shows that He is the Messiah, the Savior, more powerful than the demons: "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out" (John 12:31). Throughout the Gospel we see many accounts of this continuous and successful struggle of our Lord against the devil.

As time goes on the devil's opposition to Jesus becomes ever clearer; in the wilderness it is hidden and subtle; it is noticeable and violent in the case of possessed people; and radical and total during the Passion, the devil's "hour and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53). And Jesus' victory also becomes ever clearer, until He triumphs completely by rising from the dead.

The devil is called unclean, St. John Chrysostom says, because of his impiety and withdrawal from God. In some ways he does recognize Christ's holiness, but this knowledge is not accompanied by charity. In addition to the historical fact of this cure, we can also see, in this possessed man, those sinners who must be converted to God and freed from the slavery to sin and the devil. They may have to struggle for a long time but victory will come: the Evil One is powerless against Christ (cf. note on Matthew 12:22-24).

27. The same authority that Jesus showed in His teaching (1:22) is now to be seen in His actions. His will is His command: He has no need of long prayers or incantations. Jesus' words and actions already have a divine power which provokes wonder and fear in those who hear and see Him.

Jesus continues to impress people in this way (Mark 2:12; 5:20-42; 7:37; 15:39; Luke 19:48; John 7:46). Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Savior. He knows this Himself and He lets it be known by His actions and by His words; according to the gospel accounts (Mark 1:38-39; 2:10-11; 4:39) there is complete continuity and consistency between what He says and He does. As Vatican II teaches ("Dei Verbum", 2) Revelation is realized by deeds and words intimately connected with each other: the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them; the deeds confirm the teaching. In this way Jesus progressively reveals the mystery of His Person: first the people sense His exceptional authority; later on, the Apostles, enlightened by God's grace, recognize the deepest source of this authority: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16).
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.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Archbishop Wuerl Washes his Hands of the Pelosi Scandal

Reminiscent of Pontius Pilate, D.C. Archbishop Washes Hands Over Nancy Pelosi Political Exploitation of Catholic Mass

What was his excuse for failing to bring an end to this scandal?

Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington and the Archbishop, told that the Archdiocese had nothing to do with the event. Gibbs said Archbishop Weurl did not interfere since Trinity University was under the jurisdiction of a religious order, the Sisters of Notre Dame, not the Archdiocese, and said she was redirecting complaints to Trinity.

Catholics and the general public must witness scandal compounded by scandal...Are fear and weakness the reasons for the failure of the Archbishop to fulfill his duties which are to teach, govern and sanctify?

Passing the buck, refusing to take action, blaming others for activities within one's own diocese demonstrates a quality unbecoming of a bishop - although that is what many have to come to expect from episcopal leadership, with a few notable exceptions. It appears that the Washington archdiocese has received another leader with the same "strength of character" as its former "leader", Cardinal McCarrick.

Pray for these men, that they might receive the grace and strength of Christ - His chosen Apostles and countless Christians who were (and are) willing to follow our Saviour without compromising the Faith - even unto persecution and death.

Mental Prayer for January 9, The Hidden Life

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To understand the mystery of this "hidden " life.

The Idea (cf. Luke 2:51-52): After Egypt - ­Rome? Athens? Jerusalem? No, Nazareth! Nazereth? Where is this little village? Who ever heard of it? God tying Himself down to this? A nice little village, yes... but... He was going to prepare Himself. You'd think the thing to do was to go to a big city... where a person could be a somebody... where He could meet a lot of influential people... add a little prestige to His name. After all, didn't people say afterwards: "Nazereth? Can anything good come from Naza­reth?" An unheard-of little town, and Christ comes from it to teach the kingdom of God and the way to His Father.

My Personal Application: Let tne think about this awhile. It is strange and difficult to understand, so I must ask Christ Himself to help me. This was done on purpose. Perhaps one reason was to make clear that I too - and anyone - can do God's will, God's work, no matter where He puts me. But in any case, God doesn't do things just for the fun of it, or because He just "happens" to. He knows what He wants... He knows what He is doing... and He knows the best way to do it. So, going off for thirty long years to a little unknown village hidden by surrounding hills is exactly what He wanted to do. Why? That's the big question.

I Speak to God: O God, I know you had a clear purpose in mind. I don't know yet exactly what it was, but with your help I'll try to find out during these next few days.

Thought for Today: Lord, teach me to learn to look at things the way you do.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

From Barbara Kralis: Cardinal Mahony's fishy fish lure

One of the chief symbols of the early Church is the fish symbol, the Symbolum maius. The Sacred and essential characteristic of the Christian fish symbol passes throughout time unchanged and preserved in Sacred Tradition. The holy, ancient, outward symbol represents our Lord and the Eucharist, in association with the loaves of bread and the fishes. The fish symbol was derived from the Greek word for fish, Ιχθυς [or ichthus], and became a holy acrostic for "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour." [1]

Contrary to Sacred Tradition, [2] Cardinal Roger Mahony's Archdiocese of Los Angeles 'Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Catholics' [MLGC], under his Episcopal authority, has robbed this ancient symbol of its sacredness, mutating and deforming the Christian Eucharistic fish symbol into a profane external sign of the homosexual subculture.

Cardinal Mahony instructs his nearly 5 million Catholic members to "see in the [gay] fish pin a sign of recognition of our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers." Is Cardinal Mahony trying to hook his already desensitized laity with this fishy bait?

---end of excerpt---
Such news is probably not much of a shock considering from whence this comes...While it is, no doubt, praiseworthy to condemn the abuses and failed catechesis and destruction of the faith that occurs under this man's direction, especially now that others have exposed more of this trash, we who read this might do Cardinal Mahony some good if we pray diligently for his early dismissal and his conversion to the Catholic faith, if it be God's will.

Once again, Barbara exposes the underbelly of the evil serpent who has overtaken too many so-called Catholic parishes and dioceses. May her call to the good cardinal not go unanswered:
Please do not continue to cause further scandal to the Catholic faithful by persisting in these abuses. Start the New Year 2007 A.D. by turning from error and instead faithfully and obediently follow all magisterial teachings and show respect for the Church's Sacred Traditions.

Amniotic fluid yields stem cells

And there is no destruction of innocent human life!

Scientists reported Sunday they had found a plentiful source of stem cells in the fluid that cushions babies in the womb and produced a variety of tissue types from these cells -- sidestepping the controversy over destroying embryos for research.

Researchers at Wake Forest University and Harvard University reported the stem cells they drew from amniotic fluid donated by pregnant women hold much the same promise as embryonic stem cells. They reported they were able to extract the stem cells without harm to mother or fetus and turn their discovery into several different tissue cell types, including brain, liver and bone.

With such wonderful news, there are still those who prefer to destroy innocent human life to further their warped sense of "science":

"While they are fascinating subjects of study in their own right, they are not a substitute for human embryonic stem cells, which allow scientists to address a host of other interesting questions in early human development," said [Dr. George Daley, a Harvard University stem cell researcher], who began work last year to clone human embryos to produce stem cells.

Epiphany Declaration Published, Support of 1962 Missal by English Speaking Peoples

Jan. 8, 2007 ( - A group of English-speaking writers and intellectuals has joined similar groups in France, Italy, and Poland in a statement of support for Pope Benedict’s plans to broaden use of the pre-conciliar liturgy.

In a short 6-paragraph document released on January 6, and entitled “the Epiphany Declaration,” about 40 English-speaking intellectuals indicated their support to the widely expected papal document allowing wider use of the 1962 Missal. The signatories “express our enthusiastic support for any papal initiative” backing the traditional liturgy.

Gospel for Jan 9, Feast: The Baptism of the Lord

From: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

The Preaching of John the Baptist (Continuation)

[15] As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, [16] John answered them all, "I baptize you with water; but He who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Jesus Is Baptized

[21] Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, [22] and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from Heaven, "Thou art My beloved Son; with Thee I am well pleased."


15-17. Using excessive imagery, John announces Christian Baptism, proclaiming that he is not the Messiah; He, who is on His way, will come with the authority of supreme Judge that belongs to God, and with the dignity of the Messiah, who has no human equal.

21-22. In its liturgy the Church remembers the first three solemn manifestations of Christ's divinity--the adoration of the Magi (Mt 2:11), the baptism of Jesus (Lk 3:21-22; Mt 3:13-17; Mk 1:9-11) and the first miracle of our Lord worked, at the wedding at Cana (Jn 2:11). In the adoration of the Magi God revealed the divinity of Jesus by means of the star. At His baptism the voice of God the Father, coming "from heaven", reveals to John the Baptist and to the Jewish people--and thereby to all men--this profound mystery of Christ's divinity. At the wedding at Cana, Jesus "manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him" (Jn 2:11). "When He attained to the perfect age," St Thomas Aquinas comments, "when the time came for Him to teach, to work miracles and to draw men to himself, then was it fitting for His Godhead to be attested to from on high by the Father's testimony, so that His teaching might be the more credible: 'The Father who sent Me has Himself borne witness to Me' (Jn 5:37)" ("Summa Theologiae", III, q. 39, a. 8 ad 3).

21. In Christ's baptism we can find a reflection of the way the sacrament of Baptism affects a person. Christ's baptism was the examplar of our own. In it the mystery of the Blessed Trinity was revealed, and the faithful, on receiving Baptism are consecrated by the invocation of and by the power of the Blessed Trinity. Similarly, Heaven opening signifies that the power, the effectiveness, of this sacrament comes from above, from God, and that the baptized have the road to Heaven opened up for them, a road which Original Sin closed had closed. Jesus' prayer after His baptism teaches us that "after Baptism man needs to pray continually in order to enter Heaven; for though sins are remitted through Baptism, there still remains the inclination to sin which assails us from within, and also the flesh and the devil which assails us from without" (St Thomas, "ibid.", III, q. 39, a. 5).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Polish Archbishop Resigns, Admits Working with Communists

Polish Archbishop Resigns

WARSAW (Reuters) - The new archbishop of Warsaw on Friday admitted to having worked with communist-era secret services, in a row that has embarrassed the church in Catholic Poland and led to calls for his resignation.

In a statement issued late on Friday, Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, appointed by the Pope on December 6, appeared to back down from earlier denials in the row and to open the door for the pope to remove him from office.

"By the fact of this entanglement I have damaged the church ... I will respect any decision the pope makes," Wielgus said in a statement on the church's Web site that is to be read to churchgoers on Saturday.

"I damaged the church again when in recent days, amid a hot media campaign, I denied the facts of this cooperation."

More here...

Mental Prayer for January 8, St. Joseph-the Flight Into Egypt

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To understand the wisdom of St. Joseph.

The Idea: There is another lesson we can see in the story of the flight into Egypt. And that is the lesson taught us by Joseph. Joseph is the head of the house. He knows what is going on. He knows the difficulties of the trip across the desert. He knows how hard it will be to get his carpenter shop started in Egypt, and he knows that Mary and Jesus will find it very difficult there.

You would think he would argue a little with the angel to see if there was another way out. At least he would argue for the sake of his wife and Child. Besides, why did they have to go at night? He might have talked the angel into keeping Herod away for a few days to give him more time. He might have, but he didn't.

My Personal Application: Joseph was a lot smarter than we think. He knew that what the angel said was the best way and that he'd only complicate and delay matters by suggesting his own ideas.

Actually, once he was sure these were God's orders, he didn't even think of any other way of doing it. That's real wisdom: to know that what God wants is the best.

I Speak to St. Joseph: St. Joseph, help me to understand your kind of obedience... the intel­ligent kind of obedience that sees the will of God and knows it is the best... the intelligent kind of obedience that knows everything will be all right as long as Christ is with us, as He was with you.

Thought for Today: "And Joseph arose, took the child and His mother and went into Egypt."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Jan 27 - Catholic Lecture Series, Moira Noonan

Date: Saturday, January 27, 2007
Time: 9:00 a.m.

Holy Mass – 10:30 a.m.

Old St. Ferdinand Shrine
1 Rue Saint Francois
Florissant, Missouri 63031
Raised a Catholic, author MOIRA M. NOONAN began apprenticeship in New Age practices and ideas as a college student. For over twenty-five years she worked in Religious Science ministry, as a psychic counselor and a therapist. She became certified or developed expertise in such areas as Hypnotherapy, Past-Life Regression, Astrology, the Course in Miracles, Reiki, channeling, crystals, goddess spirituality, clairvoyance, and other occult practices.

In 1993, after a series of powerful conversion experiences, she returned to the Catholic Church, and is now a popular speaker explaining the deeper meaning and influences of the New Age movement.

Moira recently published her first book: Ransomed from Darkness: The New Age, Christian Faith, and the Battle for Souls.


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Gospel for the Epiphany of our Lord

From: Matthew 2:1-12

The Adoration of the Magi

[1] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, [2] "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East, and have come to worship Him." [3] When Herod the kind heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; [4] and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. [5] They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: [6] `And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'"

[7] Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; [8] and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the Child, and when you have found Him bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him." [9] When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. [10] When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; [11] and going into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. [12] And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.


1. "King Herod": four different Herods are mentioned in the New Testament. The first is Herod the Great, referred to in this passage and in the next; the second, his son, Herod Antipas, who had St. John the Baptist beheaded (Matthew 14:1-12) and who abused our Lord during His passion (Luke 23:7-11); the third, Herod Agrippa I, a nephew of Herod the Great, who executed the Apostle St. James the Greater (Acts 12:1-3), imprisoned St. Peter (Acts 12:4-7), and died suddenly and mysteriously (Acts 12:20-23). The fourth, Herod Agrippa II, was Herod Agrippa's son. It was before him that St. Paul answered Jewish accusations when he was a prisoner in Caesarea (Acts 25:23).

Herod the Great, who appears here, was the son of non-Jewish parents. He came to power with the aid and as a vassal of the Romans. He was a consummate politician and among other things he rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem on a lavish scale. Herod the Great had a persecution complex; everywhere he saw rivals to his throne. He was notorious for his cruelty: he killed over half of his ten wives, some of his children and many people of standing. This information derives largely from the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote towards the end of the first century, and it confirms the cruel picture drawn in the Gospels.

"Wise men": these were learned men, probably from Persia, who devoted themselves to the study of the stars. Since they were not Jews, they can be considered to be the very first Gentiles to receive the call to salvation in Christ. The adoration of the wise men forms part of the very earliest documented tradition: the scene is already depicted at the beginning of the second century in the paintings in the catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome.

2. The Jews had made known throughout the East their hope of a Messiah. The wise men knew about this expected Messiah, king of the Jews. According to ideas widely accepted at the time, this sort of person, because of his significance in world history, would have a star connected with his birth. God made use of these ideas to draw to Christ these representatives of the Gentiles who would later be converted.

"The star had been hidden from them so that, on finding themselves without their guide, they would have no alternative but to consult the Jews. In this way the birth of Jesus would be known to all" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. Matthew", 7).

St. John Chrysostom also points out that "God calls them by means of the things they are most familiar with; and He shows them a large and extraordinary star so that they would be impressed by its size and beauty" ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 6). God called the wise men in the midst of their ordinary occupations, and He still calls people in that way. He called Moses when he was shepherding his flock (Exodus 3:1-3), Elisha the prophet ploughing his land with oxen (1 Kings 19:19-20), Amos looking after his herd (Amos 7:15).... "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).

"Like the Magi we have discovered a star--a light and a guide in the sky of our soul. `We have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.' We have had the same experience. We too noticed a new light shining in our soul and growing increasingly brighter. It was a desire to live a fully Christian life, a keenness to take God seriously" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 32).

4. In all Jewish circles at the time of Jesus, the hope was widespread that the Messiah would come soon. The general idea was that he would be a king, like a new and even greater David. Herod's worry is therefore all the more understandable: he governed the Jews with the aid of the Romans and cruelly and jealously guarded his crown. Due to his political ambition and his lack of a religious sense, Herod saw a potential King-Messiah as a dangerous rival to his own worldly power.

In the time of our Lord, both Herod's monarchy and the occupying Romans (through their procurators) recognized the Sanhedrin as the representative body of the Jewish people. The Sanhedrin was, therefore, the nation's supreme council which ruled on day-to-day affairs, both religious and civil. The handling of the more important questions needed the approval of either the king (under Herod's monarchy) or the Roman procurator (at the time of the direct Roman occupation of Palestine).

Following Exodus 24:1-9 and Numbers 11:16, the Sanhedrin was composed of 71 members presided over by the high priest. The members were elected from three groupings: 1) the chief priests, that is, the leaders of the principal priestly families; it was these families who appointed the high priest (the chief priests also included anybody who had formerly held the high priesthood); 2) the elders, or the leaders of the most important families; 3) the scribes, who were teachers of the Law or experts on legal and religious matters; the majority of these scribes belonged to the party or school of the Pharisees.

In this passage of St. Matthew only the first and third of the above groups are mentioned. This is understandable since the elders would have no authority in the matter of the birth of the Messiah--a purely religious question.

5-6. The prophecy referred to in this passage is Micah 5:1. It is worth noting that Jewish tradition interpreted this prophecy as predicting the Messiah's exact place of birth and as referring to a particular person. The second text thus teaches us once more that the prophecies of the Old Testament are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

8. Herod tried to find out exactly where the Child was--not, of course, to adore Him, as he said, but to dispose of Him. Such was Herod's exclusively political view of things. Yet neither his shrewdness nor his wickedness could prevent God's plans from being fulfilled. Despite Herod's ambition and his scheming, God's wisdom and power were going to bring salvation about.

9. "It might happen at certain moments of our interior life--and we are nearly always to blame--that the star disappears, just as it did to the wise kings on their journey.... What should we do if this happens? Follow the example of those wise men and ask. Herod used knowledge to act unjustly. The Magi used it to do good. But we Christians have no need to go to Herod nor to the wise men of this world. Christ has given His Church sureness of doctrine and a flow of grace in the Sacraments. He has arranged things so that there will always be people to guide and lead us, to remind us constantly of our way" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 34).

11. The gifts they offered--gold, frankincense and myrrh--were those most valued in the East. People feel the need to give gifts to God to show their respect and faith. Since they cannot give themselves as a gift, which is what they would wish, they give instead what is most valuable and dear to them.

The prophets and the psalmists foretold that the kings of the earth would pay homage to God at the time of the Messiah (Isaiah 49:23). They would offer Him their treasures (Isaiah 60:5) and adore Him (Psalm 72:10-15). Through this action of the wise men and the offering of their gifts to Jesus, these prophecies begin to be fulfilled.

The Council of Trent expressly quotes this passage when it underlines the veneration that ought to be given to Christ in the Eucharist: "The faithful of Christ venerate this most holy Sacrament with the worship of latria which is due to the true God.... For in this Sacrament we believe that the same God is present whom the eternal Father brought into the world, saying of Him, `Let all God's angel worship Him' (Hebrews 1:6; cf. Psalm 97:7). It is the same God whom the Magi fell down and worshipped (cf. Matthew 2:11) and, finally, the same God whom the Apostles adored in Galilee as Scriptures says (Matthew 28:17)" (Decree, "De SS. Eucharista", Chapter 5).

St. Gregory of Nazianzen has also commented on this verse, as follows: "Let us remain in adoration; and to Him, who, in order to save us, humbled Himself to such a degree of poverty as to receive our body, let us offer not only incense, gold and myrrh (the first as God, the second as king, and the third as one who sought death for our sake), but also spiritual gifts, more sublime than those which can be seen with the eyes" ("Oratio", 19).

12. The involvement of the wise men in the events at Bethlehem ends with yet another act of respectful obedience and cooperation with God's plans. Christians also should be receptive to the specific grace and mission God has given them. They should persevere in this even if it means having to change any personal plans they may have made.
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.