Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, June 24

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues


First Meditation - General Motives for Esteeming the Faith

I. It is a great boon to be a Christian. For, not least among the priceless treasures I possess in the Church is a complete science of salvation.

Any Christian with an ordinary knowledge of the Catholic Faith knows as much as is required to be known about matters of primary importance and neces­sity concerning human life: God, self, the immortality of the soul, the life to come.

He knows these capital truths with absolute certainty, infallibly, with greater assurance than if he perceived them with his bodily senses. It is not surprising; he is taught them by the only Person who has an essential and inalienable right to the title of Master: one is your master, Christ. (Matt. xxiii, 10)

"In old days, God spoke to our fathers in many ways, and by many means, through the prophets; now at last in these times he has spoken to us, with a Son to speak for him; a Son whom he has appointed to inherit all things, just as it was through him that he created this world of time; a Son, who is the radiance of his Father's splen­dour, and the full expression of his being."­(Heb. i, 1-3.)

And this knowledge, which is absolute, complete, immune from error, and at the same time the most human and divine; this knowledge, which, when per­ceived by the mind and embraced by the will and relished in action, constitutes the only real wisdom­ - spoken of in such lofty terms by Job and Baruch - is arrived at by faith alone. (Cfr. Job xxviii; Bar. iii)

II. Our Divine Lord turned to His disciples and said to
Blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.

For, amen, I say to you: many prophets and just men have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them. (Matt. xiii, 16-17)

This is the Beatitude obtained through faith, which enables us to see Christ, listen to Him and believe in Him.

I thank Thee, good Jesus, because by Thy mercy alone Thou hast so readily given me access to a happi­ness more perfect than was ever the lot of Elias and Isaias, of Abraham and David, through my more en­lightened and deeper knowledge of Thee. Trusting in Thy words, I have no desire to change places with the prophets of old, or with the most glorious kings, nor even with John the Baptist, because he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matt. xi,11)

Who am I, Lord, that Thou shouldst remember me and raise me to such a dignity?

Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed. (John xx, 29)

Blessed those eyes that saw Christ in mortal flesh along the roads and lanes, sitting down tired on the stones by the wayside, evangelising the poor and the little ones, like a father among his children; by His words imparting health to the sick and sorrowful, nourishment to hungering bodies and souls, new life to the dead; and dying Himself for us all. More blessed still, those eyes that beheld Him, those hands that touched Him, after He arose immortal from the tomb. Blessed were they, indeed. What should I not give to have been among their number!

Yet, I should not envy them; it is they, rather, who should envy me; because Christ has said: Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.

Jesus, I believe; with every ounce of strength of every atom of my being, I believe in Thee, even though I have not seen or touched Thee; with Thomas, on bended knees I confess to Thee:

My Lord and my God.(John xx, 28.)

IV. Let Thy inspiration, O Lord, teach me the real meaning of that Beatitude of Thine. Where is it to be found? What does it consist in? The Apostle St. Paul gives me the answer:
"What is faith? It is that which gives substance to our hopes, which convinces us of things we cannot see." (Heb. xi, 1)

St. Thomas Aquinas defines faith as
"a habit of the mind whereby eternal life begins,"
Habitus mentis quo inchoatur vita aeterna.

By faith then, I carry in my soul a lamp of light that never fails, a day that knows no setting, perennial youth, eternal life. Of course, I know that the full effects of faith are not as yet diffused throughout my whole being; they have not yet steeped my senses and faculties in a rushing torrent of delight; but as long as I persevere in a living, active faith, death's gentle hand will one day open the flood-gates that keep the stream pent up in the summit of the soul, and the trimphant waves will leap in unrestrained cataracts unto life everlasting.

Lord, I am determined to lose all rather than forfeit or whittle down one iota of my faith. Let every burning desire grow cold within me, every dream be shattered, rather than quench by a single sin the life that is radiant light in the lamp of my faith.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

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

Gospel for Saturday, 11th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 6:24-34

Trust in God's Fatherly Providence (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [24] "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

[25] "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? [26] Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? [27] And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? [28] And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; [29] yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. [30] But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? [31] Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' [32] For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. [33] But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

[34] "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day."

24. Man's ultimate goal is God; to attain this goal he should commit himself entirely. But in fact some people do not have God as their ultimate goal, and instead choose wealth of some kind--in which case wealth becomes their god. Man cannot have two absolute and contrary goals.

25-32. In this beautiful passage Jesus shows us the value of the ordinary things of life, and teaches us to put our trust in God's fatherly providence. Using simple examples and comparisons taken from everyday life, He teaches us to abandon ourselves into the arms of God.

27. The word "span" could be translated as "stature", but "span" is closer to the original (cf. Luke 12:25). A "cubit" is a measure of length which can metaphorically refer to time.

33. Here again the righteousness of the Kingdom means the life of grace in man--which involves a whole series of spiritual and moral values and can be summed up in the notion of "holiness". The search for holiness should be our primary purpose in life. Jesus is again insisting on the primacy of spiritual demands. Commenting on this passage, Pope Paul VI says: "Why poverty? It is to give God, the Kingdom of God, the first place in the scale of values which are the object of human aspirations. Jesus says: `Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness'. And He says this with regard to all the other temporal goods, even necessary and legitimate ones, with which human desires are usually concerned. Christ's poverty makes possible that detachment from earthly things which allows us to place the relationship with God at the peak of human aspirations" ("General Audience", 5 January 1977).

34. Our Lord exhorts us to go about our daily tasks serenely and not to worry uselessly about what happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow. This is wisdom based on God's fatherly providence and on our own everyday experience: "He who observes the wind will not sow; and he who regards the clouds will not reap" (Eccles 11:4).

What is important, what is within our reach, is to live in God's presence and make good use of the present moment: "Do your duty `now', without looking back on `yesterday', which has already passed, or worrying over `tomorrow', which may never come for you" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 253).
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, June 22, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, June 23

The Priestly Ministry

Catechetical Instruction

Second Meditation - Importance and Efficacy

I. The Glory of God and the salvation of souls are the priest's exclusive aims when acting as a priest, and there is nothing like the catechetical instruction for achieving them. There is not much fear that pride will enter into our conversation with children and ignorant people when trying to speak to them so simply, so com­pletely down to their level, that they understand us and listen with quiet eagerness. Such a method of convers­ing, however, will be to the eyes of the world, and even to otherwise sensible and talented people, some­thing contemptible and unworthy of attention.

The great advantage of this is that the catechist priest will have only the Glory of God and the enlightenment of souls to concern him; he will be carry­ing out the command that Jesus uttered so tenderly: Suffer the little children to come unto me. (Matt. xix, 14)

Lord, that is most consoling. When I am belittled in everyone's estimation because they see me stooping down for Thee to the little child, in reality I shall be ascending higher and higher in Thy esteem and love.

II. How necessary and irreplaceable this humble minis­terial duty is in the Church throughout every age! Who, if the interests of souls mean anything to him, can fail to see it? The primary evil, and the root of a great many other evils, is ignorance.

Those who never or very seldom approach the Sacra­ments - and they are legion - nor even go anywhere near a church, are mostly the victims of crass ignorance. And a very large proportion of those who hear Mass on Sundays and do their Easter duties, how imperfectly they understand what they are about!

Ignorance of things divine is a real epidemic these days. We are far indeed from witnessing the fulfilment of Isaias's promise:
The earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the covering waters of the sea. (Is. xi, 9)

What overwhelms us, with the deafening roar and uncontrollable might of a tidal wave, is supercilious ignorance.

For there is no truth. . . and there is no know­ledge of God in the land. (Osee. iv, 1)

The multitudes, with their leaders at the head, seem to be shouting to their God and their Redeemer: Depart from us. We desire not the knowledge of thy ways. (Job. xxi, 14.)

What will be the fate of so many wretched Christians who are ignorant of the doctrines required - necessitate medii - for salvation? What will befall those who have not the slightest interest in performing the essential duties of a Christian, simply because they do not know what they are?

III. But - you may say, or feel - I'm surely born for higher things. Look at my brilliant career, my talents, my power of imagery, my advanced and solid studies, my merits (and perhaps subconsciously) my desire for self-advancement and publicity: all this demands higher and wider scope for my energies.

Is there really scope for lofty enterprise in mealy­mouthed pimpering and pandering to frivolous mortals, in what the Code calls lenocinium, in the scattering of withered and stinking flowers of an empty and dated oratory? Are we to cater for a public
"quorum cibus nugae sunt" (St. Augustine: Lib. de cat. c. lv)

whose only taste is for puerilities? Or if we impart ideas, must those ideas be so flimsy and useless that they float away and vanish like pretty bubbles?

What nobler enterprise than to drill into the minds of the ignorant - ignorant but redeemed by the Precious Blood of Christ - ideas of the existence of the Supreme Being and His high Attributes, the divine origin of man and his ineffable, eternal destiny, and the treasures of Mercy locked up in the Heart of the Saviour?

Why, dear Jesus, oh, why do we Thy priests, after so many years of study and clerical training, after hav­ing pronounced solemnly on bended knees: Dominus pars haereditatis meae et calicis mei; why do we also have to pride ourselves on tinsel and empty vanity?

IV. Experience proves that the only means of restoring the Christian life to many places where it has ceased to exist is the religious education of the children. When the little ones take to the catechism class it is only a matter of time for them to be given their First Com­munion - and how the Church longs to see, and posi­tively commands, the union of Christ with souls at the first dawning of reason! - and afterwards to join in General Communions for children several times a year, to the accompaniment of festivities and ceremonies that children so love.

It is my duty to see that they learn appropriate hymns, to keep them in some sort of order, to announce the forthcoming event with a great flourish of trumpets, so to speak, getting the children themselves to do the trumpeting; and I should select a day when the whole parish can conveniently attend. It will not be long before I see the church crowded, either out of curiosity or from any other motive, and then I shall be able to speak to all and sundry, young and old.

Why should not we priests seize these golden oppor­tunities of making contact with lapsed parents by win­ning over the children? Unless a priest gives himself ridiculous airs or repels by brusqueness or apathy, the child comes to him gladly and naturally. Therefore, can anyone among us be justified in saying: "I can't do anything with these people," without a rebuff from God and from our own consciences: "The very thing you can do you won't, and you even despise it."

1. I shall read and meditate over and over again, and with a firm determination to carry it out as far as my strength and office allow, chapter one of Section (Titulus) XX of the Code: "De catechetica insti­tutione," canons 1329-1336.

2. With regard to the obligatory catechetical instruc­tion to adults, mentioned in canon 1332, I shall over­come its difficulties as well as I can. If the parishioners do not attend the Rosary in the evening, I shall have catechism for them during the Mass they frequent most, if there are several Masses in the same church; if only one, and I find no other way, I shall divide the homily: into two parts: seven minutes for the explaining of the Gospel and another seven for some point of doctrine; and the latter I shall expound with orderliness and methodical sequence, even though the second part of my instruction may have no visible relationship with the first.

3. Although I may not have the charge of souls I shall offer my services most readily to the parish priest to help him in this work of the ministry, thus fulfilling canon 1333, 2nd par.; and besides this, I shall not miss an opportunity of teaching the essentials for salvation to anyone ignorant of them.

4. In the conviction that unless the child in school learns the doctrinal formulas by heart - formulas that no individual teacher can safely change - he will never know the catechism, I shall try to enlist the cooperation of school teachers in this matter. I shall take every prudent measure my zeal suggests and requires in order to win over the teacher, yielding, if necessary, my per­sonal rights and points of dignity; and if he is not a good Christian I shall do my utmost to make him one; and I shall offer him my services in the teaching of Religion. The teacher and myself working together in harness would certainly do an immense good to souls and to the whole parish.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

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

America Needs Fatima Campaign - 80,000 Saint Benedict Medals

On June 29, American Needs Fatima (ANF) will mail 80,000 Saint Benedict medals to its friends and supporters as part of its Public Square Rosary campaign. The Saint Benedict Medal is considered the most powerful medal in the Catholic Church. It is exorcistic and strengthens souls who are tempted.

The medal, as it is known today, was first made in 1880 by the Benedictines of Monte Casino to celebrate the 1400th anniversary of Saint Benedict’s birth. Mindful of the medal’s exorcistic powers, ANF hopes they will protect Public Square Rosary participants from attacks of the devil.

This is important, since the devil hates the rosary. Through its recitation, his pride is defeated. Thus, he loathes its public recitation even more. It is one more wound to his pride and a jab in his eye.

Through the intercession of the Blessed Mother and Saint Benedict, the medal will serve as the walls of a castle in defense of those who honor her in the public square. May those who receive the medal correspond to the graces it brings them.
To learn more about the Public Square Rosary campaign, click here.

Poll: Giuliani leads among Catholic Republicans

Washington, Jun. 22, 2007 ( - American Catholics are somewhat more likely than other voters to support Rudy Giuliani in the Republican presidential primary, according to a survey commissioned by the Pew Forum for Religion & Public Life.

The Pew Forum found that among likely Democratic voters, Hillary Clinton gains the most support among self-identified Catholics. But the poll found few significant differences between Catholic and Protestant respondents in their judgments on the leading Democratic candidates...

APA Appoints Gay Activists to Monitor Reorientation Therapy

A Press Release from NART:
For Immediate Release
June 20, 2007

For more information, contact:
Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D., 818.789.4440

American Psychological Association Appoints Gay Activists to Monitor Reorientation Therapy

Encino, California -- National Association For Research & Therapy Of Homosexuality (NARTH) President Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D. has issued the following statement about the recent creation of the American Psychological Association (APA) "Task Force On Appropriate Therapeutic Responses To Sexual Orientation":

This new APA task force was created to monitor "reorientation therapies" - therapy for people who want to decrease their homosexual attractions and develop their heterosexual potential. But the APA has sent the foxes to guard the henhouse. Reorientation therapy is for people who don't want to be gay--and it is now being monitored by gay activists who believe there is no such thing as a formerly gay person!

NARTH nominated a list of highly qualified names to serve on this new committee, but none were chosen. Out of the six individuals finally approved by the APA, five of them are committed gay-affirmative activists who are openly hostile to the reality that individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction can be helped.

The eventual findings of this committee are already predetermined. I predict that once this task force finishes its investigation into "appropriate responses to sexual orientation," it will issue a report calling upon the APA to declare reorientation/reparative therapy to be unethical and harmful. It will then call upon all psychological groups to ban such therapy.

If this activist-committee succeeds in its efforts, thousands of individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions will be unable to have access to qualified therapists to aid them. This is a clear violation of patient autonomy and self-determination, and a blow to the same diversity that the APA claims to champion.

On-Line Catholic Dictionary Website

Catholic Dictionary Website Released!

Trinity Communications has released a new website:

This new website houses a complete Modern Catholic Dictionary (authored by the
late Fr. John A. Hardon) in cooperation with Eternal Life.

The dictionary is presented in a simple but attractive environment and can be both browsed and searched.

In the future, we hope to add collaborative tools by which users can suggest both the addition of new terms and refinement of existing terms.

Visit to view this exciting new venture.

This new creation is an example of Trinity Communications' dedication to serving and educating Catholics on the Internet.

To make a contribution in support of our efforts, you can quickly register and donate at our flagship website: Catholic Culture.

God bless,

Peter Mirus
Vice President, Trinity Communications

Catholic World News
A web service from Trinity Communications.
(c) All material copyright 2006 -- all rights reserved.

Catholic World News
For subscription information, visit
This is great news!

Rep. Russ Carnahan Seeks More Aid for Contraceptives

WASHINGTON — Rep. Russ Carnahan is on a collision course with the Roman Catholic church and the White House for seeking expanded funding of contraceptives around the world.

Carnahan, D-St. Louis, advocates doubling — to $150 million — foreign aid for distributing condoms and other contraceptives in developing countries...

He said boosting contraceptive distribution in developing countries will help stunt the spread of HIV and other diseases while at the same time rein in unintended pregnancies.
Carnahan is a shill for Planned Parenthood and refuses to recognize reality.

Carnahan said he's not concerned about potential backlash from Catholics, or anybody else.
Pride and arrogance. Must run in the family. One might wonder if he is at all concerned about standing before the Judgment Seat of God? By the way, his wife, Debra, is on the national board of Planned Parenthood.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, former archbishop of St. Louis, is among those seeking to keep the White House ban in place. He specifically assailed Carnahan's work in a letter this week to members of Congress.

"Beyond any particular empirical study, logic and common sense dictate that we cannot reduce abortions by supporting groups dedicated to promoting abortions. Such a policy is at war with itself," wrote Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia.
Logical thinking, common sense, scientific data, and basic morality are all foreign to the likes of Carnahan. One would have a better chance in talking to a wall.

Among those voting to lift the ban was professed Catholic Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis. Hasn't Archbishop Burke already had discussions with Clay?

Ordination Pictures from the Cathedral Basilica

More Photos by Rebecca Venegoni Tower: Ordination for two new priests of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest here

The Condition of Faith in Europe

Wlodzimierz Redzioch talks to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, who participated in the 8th Gniezno Congress.

The interview of Cardinal Bertone is here in Sunday Catholic Weekly.

Jesus Enthroned as ‘King, Friend’ of Archdiocese

SHRINE BLESSING — Archbishop Raymond L. Burke blesses the new Shrine to the Sacred Heart at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis on June 17.

Archbishop Burke's homily for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus can be read here.

CONSECRATING HEARTS TO HIS — Archbishop Raymond L. Burke leads the prayer by priests of the archdiocese and the faithful who attended the dedication of the new Shrine to the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis following the 5 p.m. Mass June 17.

Photos by: Rebecca Venegoni Tower

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke led the enthronement, blessing and dedication of the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the end of 5 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

The historic event included the unveiling of the cathedral basilica’s newest addition, the Shrine to the Most Sacred Heart.

The striking mosaic and marble free-standing shrine seemed aglow in the warm, golden rays of early evening sunshine streaming through the stained glass in the west transept.

A procession of priests, deacons and seminarians more than 50 strong came down from the main altar to form a crescent around the shrine. Men and women religious and a large crowd of faithful gathered around them.

Among those in attendance were several religious orders, including members of the Benedictines, Carmelite Religious of Trivandrum, India, Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, Daughters of St. Paul, Franciscan Sisters of the Martyr St. George, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Missionaries of Charity, Oblates of Wisdom and the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart.
This article from the Review can be read here.

St John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr

St John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr
By Michael Davies
The Neumann Press

Excerpts, Part 21: John Fisher's Martyrdom

The last four days of the Saint's life were sunshine. All his depression of soul had left him, so that his jailors marvelled at the joy and sense of freedom which possessed him. At five o'clock in the morning of 22 June, the Lieutenant of the Tower came to his bedside and found him fast asleep. Waking the prisoner gently, Walsingham broke the news of his execution with great courtesy and sympathy. The cardinal thanked him, and asked when it was to be. When he learned that the hour fixed was ten o'clock, he made answer:

Well, then, I pray you, let me sleep an hour or two, for I may say to you, I slept not much this night; and yet, to tell you the truth, not for any fear of death, I tell you, but by reason of my great infirmity and weakness.
And he turned over and went to sleep again. When he was awakened he called to his man to help him up, and commanded him to take away the shirt of hair he always wore, and to lay him forth a clean white shirt and all his best apparel, saying: "Dost thou not mark that this is our marriage day, and that it behoveth us, therefore, to use more cleanliness for solemnity of the marriage sake?"

When he came out of the Tower, a summer morning's mist hung over the river, wreathing the buildings in a golden haze. Two of the Lieutenant's men carried him in a chair to the gate, and there they set him down, while waiting for the Sheriffs. The cardinal stood up and leaning his shoulder against a wall for support, opened the little New Testament he carried in his hand. "O Lord," he said, so that all could hear him, "this is the last time I shall ever open this book. Let some comforting place now chance to me whereby I, Thy poor servant, may glorify Thee in my last hour"----and looking down at the page, he read:

Now this is etemal life: that they may know Thee, the one true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou has sent I have glorified Thee on earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do (John, 17:3-4). . .

Continued here. For those who are not familiar with the events of this courageous shepherd, you really should read on...Would that more bishops had the courage that this man had.

St John Fisher, Pray for us.
St Thomas More, Pray for us.

Amnesty International: What Part of Murder Don’t You Understand?

Father Tom Euteneuer’s Spirit & Life Column:
Abortion is murder. It is not a human right. An unwanted pregnancy for an unmarried woman, especially as a result of rape or incest or in a war zone, is a very difficult thing, but with enough love, care and effort it can be turned into a beautiful thing, no matter what the circumstances. Abortion can never be turned into a good thing. The pro-life movement says, “Why not love them both?”, but all efforts are taken to drown out the voice of reason...

Gospel for Friday, 11th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial: St Paulinus of Nola, Bishop
Optional Memorial: St John Fisher, Bishop, and St Thomas More, Martyrs

From: Matthew 6:19-23

Trust in God's Fatherly Providence

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [19] "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, [20] but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. [21] For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

[22] "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; [23] but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness."

19-21. The idea here is very clear: man's heart yearns for a treasure which will give him security and happiness. However, every treasure in the form of earthly goods--wealth, property--becomes a constant source of worry, because there is always the risk we will lose it or because the effort to protect it is such a strain.

Against this, Jesus teaches us here that our true treasure lies in good works and an upright life, which will be eternally rewarded by God in Heaven. That indeed is treasure which one never loses, a treasure on which Christ's disciple should put his heart.

Jesus closes the teaching contained in the preceding verses with a kind of refrain (verse 21). He is not saying that people should be unconcerned about earthly things; what He does say is that no created thing can be "the treasure", the ultimate aim, of man. What man should do is make his way to God, sanctify himself and give all glory to God, by making right use of the noble things of the earth: "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31; cf. Colossians 3:17).

22-23. Here is another jewel of Jesus' wisdom teaching. It begins with a sentence which is then immediately explained. The Master uses the simile of the eye as a lamp which provides the body with light. Christian exegesis has seen this "eye", this "lamp", as meaning the motivation behind our behavior. St. Thomas explains it in this way: The eye refers to motive. When a person wants to do something, he first forms an intention: thus, if your intention is sound--simple and clear--that is to say, if it is directed towards God, your whole body, that is, all your actions, will be sound, sincerely directed towards good" (St. Thomas Aquinas, "Commentary on St. Matthew", 6, 22-23).
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, June 21, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, June 22

The Priestly Ministry

Catechetical Instruction

First Meditation - Divine Example and Precept

I. It was Christ's delightful task in passing through this world to evangelise the poor (Luke iv, 18); therefore, to teach the rudiments of the Faith to children and to those who in this respect are also children, the ignor­ant, is a work of the ministry which is nothing less than divine. What need had our Divine Lord of exquisitely-couched and loftily-proclaimed orations, or of intricate reasonings, or very abstruse arguments, when talking to poor ignorant people and to crowds uninitiated in the doctrines of the Redemption?

Apart from a few discourses to the doctors of the Law within the precincts of the Temple, His doctrine was usually imparted in the form of catechetical instruc­tion: an instruction full of unction, of suggestion, and of astounding simplicity. The very places He chose to preach from, His gestures, His illustrations, His parables, even the questions and answers He welcomed from His listeners: they all breathed a sort of heavenly fragrance born of a charming familiarity, of a teaching that was homely and appealing to the hearts of little ones. It was the perfect catechetical instruction. No wonder He could say: Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart. (Matt. xi, 29)

My Jesus, ever God, and yet, ever a Child and humble with little ones: shall I disdain as beneath me what Thou didst so love and practise?

II. And if Christ in His catechising had to accommodate Himself to the people and come down to the level of an illiterate audience, what of the Apostles? Our Lord, we must remember, spoke to Jewish believers who knew the primary truths and the preliminaries of our Faith - the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, creation, etc., etc. - but what did those countless multi­tudes know or believe whom St. Paul evangelised? What could his sermons be but the rudiments of our Faith expounded in conversational style by the wayside, in the street, in the forum, and within the home?

The same procedure had to be followed, and still is followed today, by that galaxy of apostolic men who by their lives of self-denial and by the spoken word have in every Christian age been instrumental in widen­ing the boundaries of Christ's Kingdom so as to em­brace barbarous and savage peoples. Of mighty little use would they find the embellishments of our pompous rhetoric when dealing with members of a stunted civil­isation, with races that never knew civilisation, or which are in a state of profound decadence.

No, I shall not be ashamed to be a catechist; it is the catechists who have changed the world.

III. The Gospels are abundantly clear on this matter. Jesus preaches to the poor; it is the hallmark of His Divine Mission, the motto, so to speak, of His royal escutcheon. It is the poor, usually, who are the ignorant (particularly was this the case in our Lord's time) and Christ teaches them wherever He finds them: in the fields, on the mountainside, on the road, on the banks of the lake, in their homes, in their villages. (Cfr. Matt. ix, 35)

He instructs them by using commonplace objects of comparison: the cornfields swaying within His view, the fig trees that shaded the road; and He invents for the people's benefit examples and parables of unequalled loveliness, borrowing materials from occurrences of everyday life. He repeats His maxims time and time again, invites questions, and gives answers. In a word, He reveals Himself towards the poor as their great Catechist.

Shed Thy divine Catechist spirit, O Lord, upon every one of Thy priests, or at least upon a goodly number of them, and they will renew the face of the earth.

If my stupid pride and a false idea of my dignity have prejudiced me until now against the teaching of the catechism, with shame for the past I shall henceforth esteem this work of the ministry at its full value; as a work which is truly evangelical and absolutely necessary for the spreading and preservation of the Faith, and without which every other style of preaching is little better than a mere exercise of vocalisation.

It is a positive fact that the Church, now and always, needs far more catechists than famed orators.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

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

Abp Chaput: The Time for...Diplomacy with Politicians Is Over

WASHINGTON (AP) - Three years after a few outspoken U.S. Roman Catholic bishops tied together presidential politics, abortion and the communion rail, leaders of the largest U.S. denomination are starting to speak out again.

Only this time, the political climate is much different.
The climate might have changed slightly, but the issues are still the same.
As most of the country's 268 active Catholic bishops met for a private retreat this week in New Mexico, questions were building about how prominent their voices will be in the 2008 race.
. . .
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput said in an interview that official Catholic involvement depends on which candidates and issues emerge from the primary season. A vocal proponent of calling on Catholic politicians and voters to follow church teachings, Chaput also made it clear he thinks the time for behind-the-scenes diplomacy with politicians is over. [my emphasis]

How many years must pass while anti-life, anti-family politicians get a pass (and tacit approval to commit sacrilege and scandal)? We've endured almost 40 years of a general failure by bishops and priests to catechize Catholics and the world about the grave immorality of contraception, And this failure has resulted in the chaos we witness today, namely, abortion, homosexuality, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, and human cloning.

And who was one of the first bishops to speak out in the last election? Archbishop Raymond Burke!
In 2004, scrutiny fell on Democrat John Kerry, a Catholic who supports abortion rights. Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis did name names, saying he would deny communion to Kerry. Several other bishops, Chaput included, stressed that politicians should refrain from the sacrament if they support abortion rights, which they consider a “foundational” issue.

Of course, Kerry had no qualms or second thoughts about receiving "communion" when he attended protestant churches during his campaign.

Some bishops, Chaput said, felt pressured to take a stand after Burke's comments and proposed that no one speak out on important issues without consulting the bishops as a group.
These bishops, fearful and timid, lack the courage to speak the truth and defend the faith when confronted by rogue "Catholic" politicians and others. Many are like the hireling who, seeing wolves scrutinizing and preparing to attack the flock, run away to safety.

“I think a lot of folks just don't want the pressure to explain themselves,” Chaput said.
Many would say that they are weak, and possibly unfit for the positions they occupy.

John Allen Jr., a senior correspondent for the independent National Catholic Reporter, said U.S. bishops who want to withhold communion from Catholic politicians can find support in Pope Benedict's comments - made to reporters en route to Brazil this year - that essentially endorsed the idea that Mexican legislators who voted to legalize abortion have separated themselves from the church.
We can hope and pray that more and more bishops will be given the grace and courage to teach, sanctify and govern - in effect to be ready to become martyrs, figuratively speaking, for the Truth - which is Christ, the Lord.

We must not forget that it is our grave obligation to pray for our bishops and priests - to offer our daily sacrifices and hardships for them so that, if our acts of reparation be pleasing to God, He will shower his shepherds with abundant blessings. As they are made stronger and more courageous, so will be the faithful.

Dr Ed Peters: Annulment? What annulment? Really, what annulment?

Put two quiet canons together, Canon 1682 which requires that every "sentence which first declare[s] the nullity of marriage to be transmitted ex officio to the appellate tribunal" and Canon 1684 which states that only "after the sentence which first declared the nullity of the marriage has been confirmed at the appellate level. . .[can] the persons whose marriage has been declared null contract a new marriage . . ." and one begins to wonder whether Joe Kennedy’s annulment was really overturned by the Roman Rota.

And while we’re at it, exactly what about this case required 10 years to decide?
You can read the rest here.

Chinese authorities: Destroy Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carmel

A decree defines the sanctuary and the pilgrimages which stretch back over a hundred years involving over 40 thousand faithful each year as “illegal religious activity”. Catholics promise to resist this violation of their right. Perhaps the sanctuary grounds are wanted for the construction of hotels and villas.

Rome (AsiaNews) – Next June 16th pilgrims and faithful from Henan will not be allowed to go on pilgrimage to the sanctuary in Tianjiajing. The government from the province of Henan has in fact decreed that the historic sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel will be blown up with dynamite; a complete ban on Catholics organizing their annual pilgrimage; a complete ban on any religious gathering or function being celebrated in the area. A statue of the Virgin, over one hundred years old, is destined to be destroyed along with 14 stations of The Way of the Cross which punctuate the entrance to the shrine...

July 20-21, The Church Teaches Forum for 2007

Eternal Life presents
The 2007 Church Teaches Forum, July 20th - 21st, 2007
at The Galt House, Fourth Street at the River, in Louisville, Ky)

Conference Theme:
Am I My Brother's Keeper? - The Sanctity of Human Life

Main Celebrant, His Excellency Bishop Bruskewitz
Homilist: Bishop Robert Finn

BANQUET KEYNOTE ADDRESS (following 7:00 p.m. Banquet):

His Excellency Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz:
A Resume of Some Contemporary Issues in the Church and Their Solutions


Bishop Robert W. Finn:
Protecting Human Life - the Authentic Lay Vocation

Archbishop Burke:
The Mystery of Human Suffering and Euthanasia

Main Celebrant, His Excellency Archbishop Raymond Burke

Homilist- Reverend Edmund McCaffrey:
Winning the Battle for Life with Mary

Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk:
The Science and Ethics of Stem-Cell and Cloning

Father Arnsparger:
The Priest-Sentinel & Prophet of the Sanctity of Human Life

Make your reservations as soon as possible for a great conference.
Banquet and keynote address by Bishop Bruskewitz is $40.00.
Conference is $15.00.
Lunch is $15.00.

For tickets contact:

Eternal Life
902 W. Stephen Foster Avenue
Bardstown, Ky 40004 2402

On October 13th where will you be ?

Despite the fact that some recent posts have exposed upcoming pagan, heretical and/or sodomite events, here is one of many which a faithful Catholic would find worthy and beneficial as it offers praise and glory to God, love of and obedience to our Lord and King Jesus Christ, and venerates our Blessed Mother by praying as she asked us. From a recent email:
For some time now, we have been preparing a special campaign called our Public Square Rosary campaign. It consists of praying for our nation in public places on the 90th year anniversary of the miracle of the sun at Fatima, Portugal.

To make this event a success, I would like to invite you to be a Rosary leader on October 13th, 2007, for one of the 1,000 Public Square Rosary Rallies being held all across America.

As a devotee of Our Lady, you know that Our Lady appeared at Fatima in 1917 with a message for the world: do penance, amend your life, pray the Rosary, and offend God no more.

That message has not been heeded. God is more insulted than ever by pornography, immoral fashions, abortion, blasphemy, same-sex “marriage,” embryonic stem cell research and so many other offenses.

What better way to heed her message that to stand up publicly for Our Lady and pray the rosary? Please consider being part of one of the 1,000 Public Square Rosary Rallies. To become a Rosary leader, click here or call toll-free 1-866-584-6012 today.

Sound Familiar?

I hope not, but over at Fr Z.'s blog, he has posted what some think are Bishop Trautman's inclinations for Mass translations:

A reader (John Pritchett) has gotten his hands on a Trautman draft of the Mass, apparently the version relevant for white teenagers:
Mass of Trautman

Priest: Uhm, like, hey guys, we need to, you know, get started, so let’s do the cross thingy. OK, so now we’re gonna say sorry and stuff to God because, you know
what? Nobody’s perfect.
All: I’m sorry if anything I did was offensive. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. My bad.
Priest: Ok, let’s, like, talk to God now and listen to the stories in the book.
Lector: [lector reads the day’s selection] This is from that book from God.
All: Thanks God.
Cantor: Now you all are gonna repeat after me, like row row row your boat and I’ll sing some stuff from the book.
Priest: Uhm, This next part is really important so let’s everybody stand up and do the cross thingy on our heads, mouths and chest.
Hey, peace y’all.
All: Right back atcha.
[the priest reads the Gospel of the day]
Read all of it here.

Some Events Coming in August to Chicago & St Louis

For August 5, in St Louis:
Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of New Ways Ministry, will be speaking on August 5th at the Quaker Meeting House.

More information is said to be forthcoming soon - I really thought News Ways Ministry was well on its way toward death?

And the Chicago Archidiocese will be under siege on August 17-19, by the Women-Church Convergence as it/she celebrates her 25th Anniversary. There looks to be so many radical pseudo-feminists at this event, it's scary even thinking about it...I read the list of speakers and facilatators here, and the hair stood up on the back of my neck!

Here's an example:
On the eve of our 25th Anniversary, Women-Church is gathering to celebrate our unique contribution: Feminist Ministries. With input from influential women like Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Mary Hunt, Patricia Fresen, Bridget Mary Meehan and more, together we will explore the diversity of what feminist ministry is, what diverse forms it takes, and how we live out its call to empowerment in our lives in our world.

The weekend-long forum is an interactive, celebratory gathering sponsored by the Women-Church Convergence, a coalition of more than 30 Catholic-rooted feminist groups. Women of all faith traditions are welcomed to an inclusive, joyful celebration as together we will look at what has changed, what has been accomplished and what forms of feminist spirituality and ministry will lead us into the future.

The weekend will include panel discussions, topical working groups, feminist liturgies, and a Eucharistic banquet on Saturday night.
Now some may ask how is it possible to have a "Eucharistic banquet" if there are no priests there? Not to worry - this will be a make-believe "Eucharistic banquet" probably celebrated by make-believe 'bishop' Patricia Fresen and only God knows how many other make-believe 'clergy'...

These women and their enablers and supporters all need prayers for their conversion!

Oh, to have been there...

How about the "Women Led Liturgy" last week "Honoring the Earth"? As the web site says, "it's an opportunity for Catholic women (especially those called to ordination) to lead prayer."

A few highlights from the "Liturgy":
Opening Song: Mother Earth

Opening Prayer
At each invocation, all face east, then south, then west, than north and lastly center.
O Great Spirit send protection for the earth, and the sky and the sea, be within me and all around me.

Reading: Mother Earth from Womanprayer, Womansong
The earth was formless
and empty.
There was darkness
Over the deep.
God paused,
Her brooding spirit
over the face of the waters,
savoring the stillness,
embracing the mystical moment,
contemplating the indissoluble cord
binding Her to the earth.

God loved
the fruit of Her womb
with all its potential for good.
She broke the silence,
Let there be light!

But wait! There's more! How often do you get to be purified and witness the purification of the "sacred circle" by participating in a "smudging ceremony"?
Medicine Wheel
This month as we observe the summer solstice, we are honored to celebrate a small part of Native American heritage.
We turn to our sisters and brothers who have long reverenced this land.
Before we enter the sacred circle known as the medicine wheel,
Ree will purify the sacred circle and each of us by leading us in a smudging ceremony.

And lastly, the call goes out:
Women who are called to ordination are welcome to preside and give the homily. If you are interested please contact Marie Andrews...

If you were as unfortunate as I, and missed this event, there is another right around the corner at a midtown "Catholic" parish:

Women Led-Prayer opportunity for Catholic women (especially those called to ordination) to lead prayer

Our next liturgy will be July 21st at 9:00 am
at St. Cronan's Parish (1202 S. Boyle)

Gospel for June 21, Memorial, St Aloysius Gonzaga, religious

Thursday, 11th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 6:7-15

An Upright Intention in Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) [7] "And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. [8] Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. [9] Pray then like this: Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. [10] Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. [11] Give us this day our daily bread; [12] And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors; [13] And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [14] For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father also will forgive you; [15] but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

7-8. Jesus condemns the superstitious notion that long prayers are needed to attract God's attention. True piety is not so much a matter of the amount of words as of the frequency and the love with which the Christian turns towards God in all the events, great or small, of his day. Vocal prayer is good, and necessary; but the words count only if they express our inner feelings.

9-13. The "Our Father" is, without any doubt, the most commented-on passage in all Sacred Scripture. Numerous great Church writers have left us commentaries full of poetry and wisdom. The early Christians, taught by the precepts of salvation, and following the divine commandment, centered their prayer on this sublime and simple form of words given them by Jesus. And the last Christians, too, will raise their hearts to say the "Our Father" for the last time when they are on the point of being taken to Heaven. In the meantime, from childhood to death, the "Our Father" is a prayer which fills us with hope and consolation. Jesus fully realized how helpful this prayer would be to us. We are grateful to Him for giving it to us, to the Apostles for passing it on to us and, in the case of most Christians, to our mothers for teaching it to us in our infancy. So important is the Lord's Prayer that from apostolic times it has been used, along with the Creed, the Ten Commandments and the Sacraments, as the basis of Christian catechesis. Catechumens were introduced to the life of prayer by the "Our Father", and our catechisms today use it for that purpose.

St. Augustine says that the Lord's Prayer is so perfect that it sums up in a few words everything man needs to ask God for (cf. "Sermon", 56). It is usually seen as being made up of an invocation and seven petitions--three to do with praise of God and four with the needs of men.

9. It is a source of great consolation to be able to call God "our Father"; Jesus, the Son of God, teaches men to invoke God as Father because we are indeed His children, and should feel towards Him in that way.

"The Lord [...] is not a tyrannical master or a rigid and implacable judge; He is our Father. He speaks to us about our lack of generosity, our sins, our mistakes; but He also does so in order to free us from them, to promise us His friendship and His love [...]. A child of God treats the Lord as his Father. He is not obsequious and servile, he is not merely formal and well-mannered; he is completely sincere and trusting" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 64).

"Hallowed by Thy name": in the Bible a person's "name" means the same as the person himself. Here the name of God means God Himself. Why pray that His name be hallowed, sanctified? We do not mean sanctification in the human sense--leaving evil behind and drawing closer to God--for God is Holiness Itself. God, rather, is sanctified when His holiness is acknowledged and honored by His creatures--which is what this first petition of the "Our Father" means (cf. "St. Pius Catechism", IV, 10).

10. "Thy Kingdom come": this brings up again the central idea of the Gospel of Jesus Christ--the coming of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is so identical with the life and work of Jesus Christ that the Gospel is referred to now as the Gospel of Jesus Christ, now as the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 9:35). On the notion of the Kingdom of God see the commentary on Matthew 3:2 and 4:17. The coming of the Kingdom of God is the realization of God's plan of salvation in the world. The Kingdom establishes itself in the first place in the core of man's being, raising him up to share in God's own inner life. This elevation has, as it were, two stages--the first, in this life, where it is brought about by grace; the second, definitive stage in eternal life, where man's elevation to the supernatural level is fully completed. We for our part need to respond to God spontaneously, lovingly and trustingly.

"Thy will be done": this third petition expresses two desires. The first is that man identify humbly and unconditionally with God's will--abandonment in the arms of his Father God. The second that the will of God be fulfilled, that man cooperate with it in full freedom. For example, God's will is to be found in the moral aspect of the divine law--but this law is not forced on man. One of the signs of the coming of the Kingdom is man's loving fulfillment of God's will. The second part of the petition, "on earth as it is in Heaven", means that, just as the angels and saints in Heaven are fully at one with God's will, so--we desire--should the same thing obtain on earth.

Our effort to do God's will proves that we are sincere when we say the words, "Thy will be done." For our Lord says, "Not every one who says to Me, `Lord, Lord' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven." (Matthew 7:21). "Anyone, then, who sincerely repeats this petition, `Fiat voluntas tua', must, at least in intention, have done this already" (St. Teresa of Avila, "Way of Perfection", chapter 36).

11. In making this fourth petition, we are thinking primarily of our needs in this present life. The importance of this petition is that it declares that the material things we need in our lives are good and lawful. It gives a deep religious dimension to the support of life: what Christ's disciple obtains through his own work is also something for which he should implore God--and he should receive it gratefully as a gift from God. God is our support in life: by asking God to support him and by realizing that it is God who is providing this support, the Christian avoids being worried about material needs. Jesus does not want us to pray for wealth or to be attached to material things, but to seek and make sober use of what meets our needs. Hence, in Matthew as well as in Luke (Luke 11:2), there is reference to having enough food for every day. This fourth petition, then, has to do with moderate use of food and material things--far from the extremes of opulence and misery, as God already taught in the Old Testament "Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food which is needful for me, lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, `Who is the Lord?' or lest I be poor, and steal, and profane the name of my God" (Proverbs 30:8).

The Fathers of the Church interpreted the bread asked for here not only as material food but also as referring to the Blessed Eucharist, without which our spirit cannot stay alive.

According to the "St. Pius V Catechism" (cf. IV, 13, 21) the Eucharist is called our daily bread because it is offered daily to God in the Holy Mass and because we should worthily receive it, every day if possible, as St. Ambrose advises: "If the bread is daily, why do you take it only once a year [...]? Receive daily what is of benefit to you daily! So live that you may deserve to receive it daily!" ("De Sacramentis", V, 4).

12. "Debts": clearly, here, in the sense of sin. In the Aramaic of Jesus' time the same word was used for offense and debt. In this fifth petition, then, we admit that we are debtors because we have offended God. The Old Testament is full of references to man's sinful condition. Even the "righteous" are sinners. Recognizing our sins is the first step in every conversion to God. It is not a question of recognizing that we have sinned in the past but of confessing our present sinful condition. Awareness of our sinfulness makes us realize our religious need to have recourse to the only One who can cure it. Hence the advantage of praying insistently, using the Lord's Prayer to obtain God's forgiveness time and again.

The second part of this petition is a serious call to forgive our fellow-men, for we cannot dare to ask God to forgive us if we are not ready to forgive others. The Christian needs to realize what this prayer implies: unwillingness to forgive others means that one is condemning oneself (see the notes on Matthew 5:23-24 and 18:21:21-35).

13. "And lead us not into temptation": "We do not ask to be totally exempt from temptation, for human life is one continuous temptation (cf. Job 7:1). What, then, do we pray for in this petition? We pray that the divine assistance may not forsake us, lest having been deceived, or worsted, we should yield to temptation; and that the grace of God may be at hand to succor us when our strength fails, to refresh and invigorate us in our trials" ("St. Pius V Catechism", IV, 15, 14).

In this petition of the "Our Father" we recognize that our human efforts alone do not take us very far in trying to cope with temptation, and that we need to have humble recourse to God, to get the strength we need. For, "God is strong enough to free you from everything and can do you more good than all the devils can do you harm. All that God decrees is that you confide in Him, that you draw near Him, that you trust Him and distrust yourself, and so be helped; and with this help you will defeat whatever hell brings against you. Never lose hold of this firm hope [...] even if the demons are legion and all kinds of severe temptations harass you. Lean upon Him, because if the Lord is not your support and your strength, then you will fall and you will be afraid of everything" (St. John of Avila, "Sermons, 9, First Sunday of Lent").

"But deliver us from evil": in this petition, which, in a way, sums up the previous petitions, we ask the Lord to free us from everything our enemy does to bring us down; we cannot be free of him unless God Himself free us, in response to our prayers.

This sentence can also be translated as "Deliver us from the Evil One", that is to say, the devil, who is in the last analysis the author of all evils to which we are prone.

In making this request we can be sure that our prayer will be heard because Jesus Christ, when He was on the point of leaving this world, prayed to the Father for the salvation of all men: "I do not pray that Thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldst keep them from the evil one" (John 17:15).

14-15. In verses 14 and 15 St. Matthew gives us a sort of commentary of our Lord on the fifth petition of the "Our Father".

A God who forgives is a wonderful God. But if God, who is thrice-holy, has mercy on the sinner, how much more ought we to forgive others--we sinners, who know from our own experience the wretchedness of sin. No one on earth is perfect. Just as God loves us, even though we have defects, and forgives us, we should love others, even though they have defects, and forgive them. If we wait to love people who have no defects, we shall never love anyone. If we wait until others mend their ways or apologize, we will scarcely ever forgive them. But then we ourselves will never be forgiven. "All right: that person has behaved badly towards you. But, haven't you behaved worse towards God?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 686).

Thus, forgiving those who have offended us makes us like our Father, God: "In loving our enemies there shines forth in us some likeness to God our Father, who, by the death of His Son, ransomed from everlasting perdition and reconciled to Himself the human race, which before was most unfriendly and hostile to Him" ("St. Pius V Catechism", IV, 14, 19).
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, June 20, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, June 21

The Priestly Ministry


Second Meditation - Practical Points on Preaching

I. Who has to preach? Out of justice, according to canon 1327 [1917 Code], the obligation rests with bishops, unless they are legitimately impeded; and it is also their duty to enlist the services of suitable preachers, besides parish priests, to help them to perform this ministry of the Word in their dioceses in a becoming manner.

Parish priests, administrators and others of similar standing are also bound to preach, ratione beneficii, and they will offend God grievously and jeopardise their eternal salvation if they omit to preach for what grave authors consider a notable length of time.

O Sovereign Judge of the living and the dead! How many priests hast Thou rejected forever from Thy eternal dwellings for the crime of having refused Thy children the bread of the divine Word which was theirs by right of justice? How many villages, towns and counties have lost the Faith or have grown lukewarm and forgotten the fear of God, because they never heard the voice of their shepherds!

But though you may not be strictly bound to this task, if you have the canonical faculties, and if God has not entirely withheld from you the gift of per­suasion, offer yourself, within the limits of your ability and your position, as an angel of the good tidings, keep­ing in mind the great reward:
They that instruct many to justice shall shine as stars for all eternity. (Dan. xii, 3)

He that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. v, 19)

II. What should be preached? O Jesus, Model and Exemplar of the Gospel preacher, enlighten me; do not allow me to tarnish the chair of Truth - the only Truth that saves - with futile discourses of pretentious know­ledge, whether human, profane, or frivolous, or perhaps even mundane and diabolical! Lord, Thou dost never deprive me of enlightenment, unless I wish otherwise, because the guiding lights shine in the Church's com­mands:

Canon 1344, 1: ". . . it is the duty of the parish priest to preach to the people the Word of 90d in the customary homily."

Canon 1345: "It is to be desired that in all churches and public oratories where people assist at Holy Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obli­gation a short explanation of the holy Gospel, or on any other point of Christian doctrine, be given to the people."

Canon 1349: "The Ordinaries should insist that the parish priests have a mission given to their parishioners at least once in ten years. The parish priests, not excluding those of Religious Orders, are held to obey the Ordinary's regulations concerning these missions."

Canon 1347: "In sacred sermons there should be explained above all else the things the faithful must believe and practice in order to save their souls. Preachers of the Word of God should abstain from profane arguments. . . not preaching them­selves, but Christ crucified."

As if this were not enough, the Council of Trent will help us out with more detailed explanations:

". . . teaching the things that all must know for salvation, and announcing to them with brevity and simplicity of speech the vices they must turn away from and the virtues they must pursue, in order to escape eternal punishment and be able to obtain heavenly glory."
-(Sess. V. de Reformat., c. ii.)

"During the celebration of Mass let them ex­pound something of what is read therein, and declare, among other things, some of the mysteries of this most holy Sacrifice."­
-(Sess. xii de Sacrif. Miss., c. viii.)

"Let them explain, and have explained, to the people the efficacy and use of the Sacraments, and also instill into the hearts of all both the Sacred Scriptures and salutary warnings, leaving aside questions which serve no useful purpose; and let them endeavour to instruct the people in the law of the Lord."
-(Sess. xxiv de Reformat., c. vii.)

And following the mind of the above-mentioned Council, the catechism of Pius V, called also the Council of Trent Catechism has this to say:
"Greater care and diligence will have to be shown so as to enable the faithful to know and grasp the meaning of the ceremonies accompanying the administration of each of the Sacraments." (Part II, I6)

III. This, then, is the sum of what I, as a priest, can and ought to preach to the people from the pulpit, from the altar, and from wherever else I exercise the ministry of the Word: the Gospel, Catholic dogma, vices to eschew, virtues to practise, the Mass and the Sacra­ments with their deep mysteries and attendant cere­monies.

This is what is contained in the words verbum Dei. And since the life histories of the Saints are but a practical confirmation of these truths, there is also a place for panegyrics; and the Fathers themselves, in the panegyrics they preached, took occasion to explain some point of faith or morals.

O Jesus, imprisoned in the Tabernacle of Thy churches, surely it is a torment to Thee to listen to those who call themselves divini verbi praecones, heralds of the divine Word; to listen to doctrine which is so different from, and perhaps even opposed to, Thine own! Couldst Thou not say to the people, gathered to­gether so eagerly very often, what the Prophet said in his Lamentations?

Thy prophets have seen false and foolish things for thee: and they have not laid open thy iniquity, to excite thee to penance: but they have seen for thee false revelations and banishments. (Lam. ii, 14)

Have I been one of those false prophets? Have I been one of those who consider the Word of God not good enough for their flights of oratory, or of those who, while recognising its worth, wish to play to the gallery or win applause or line their pockets(*) by pandering to the fads and fashions of the hour, fearing otherwise to lose prestige?

IV. When must I preach? If piety were the very life of my life, and the salvation of souls my one ambition, I should have little difficulty in fulfilling St. Paul's stem command:

"I adjure thee in the sight of God, and of Jesus Christ, who is to be the judge of living and dead, in the name of his coming and of his kingdom: preach the word, dwelling upon it continually, wel­come or unwelcome; bring home wrongdoing, comfort the waverer, rebuke the sinner, with all the patience of a teacher." (II Timothy iv, 1-2.)

"Welcome or unwelcome" - opportune, importune - ­an expression used nowhere else in Holy Writ, and a reminder that when it is a question of announcing the Word of God human expediency is not to govern us; it is always in season.

Would you say this was an exaggeration? If you have ever allowed politics, patriotism, or any other passionate cause, to grip you, you know what little you thought of "opportuneness" when it was a matter of commun­icating your ideas.

But there are certain times when the Church im­poses on Her priests the duty of preaching, a duty sub gravi in se, and sub levi ex parvitate materiae:
Canon 1344, 1: "On Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation throughout the year it is the duty of the parish priest to preach to the people the Word of God in the customary homily, especially during the Holy Mass in which the attendance of the people is usually more numerous."

Canon 1346: "Local Ordinaries shall attend to it that during the Lenten season, and also, if they judge it useful, during Advent, sermons are more frequently given in the Cathedral and parochial churches. "

To which must be added the preaching of missions at least every ten years, and the Church's desire that there should be a brief explanation of the Gospel or some doctrinal point in all churches and public oratories where Mass is said on Sundays and Days of Obliga­tion.

Have I by any chance incurred God's grievous Anger by omitting one or other of those official duties of mine during a considerable period? Have I sinned venially by omitting them occasionally without an adequate excuse? And even though neither office nor benefice obliged me, could I not have easily, and dozens of times, fallen in with the Church's motherly desire that during every Mass of Obligation the faithful hear the Gospel or Christian doctrine? Could I not at least have preached while another priest said the Mass? Why should the people, in their eagerness to hear the Word of God, have to run off to novenas and triduums where, very often, they get little more than sound and fury?

V. How must I preach? In the pulpit I can be elegant, most elegant, like an Augustine or a Chrysostom, so long as I adhere to the beautiful and terse rule given to preachers by Pius XI.

"Don't reel things off from memory; don't read; don't declaim - speak!"

And when one speaks he tries, if he is in his sane mind, to make himself understood and to draw his listeners' attention.

Above all, I must strictly observe, when in front of a congregation, canon 1347-2; which is full of heavenly wisdom:

"Preachers of the Word of God should abstain from profane arguments or arguments so deep as to exceed the common understanding of their hearers; and they should not exercise the evan­gelical ministry with skilled words of human wisdom, nor with a profane demonsttation of vain and ambitious eloquence, but in the power and strength of the Spirit of God, not preaching them­selves, but Christ crucified."

When God and men were expecting to hear eternal truths from my lips, and to see me taking the part of "herald" of the great King and announcer of Christ crucified, have I in the pulpit descended to the low category of a pander or a kind of spiritual procurer? If so, the curse uttered by Ezechiel would be most appropriate:
Thus saith the Lord God: Woe to them that sew cushions under every elbow and make pillows for the heads of persons of every age to catch souls: and when they caught the souls of my people, they gave life to their souls! (Ez. xiii,18)

Sew cushions under every elbow with my soothing words of flattery! Soft pillows for every head! I would allow souls to slumber in their sins, cradled by my soft-caressing "eloquence"! I would cast a net round souls for their destruction, in order to nourish my own shadowy reputation of a popular preacher!

Dear Lord! Would it not be better to be struck dumb or to tear my tongue out?

Besides observing in every point the above-quoted canons of the Code and of common sense, I shall earnestly apply myself to the study of Religion exactly as I have to preach it to the people, until I have a thorough grasp of it, sorted out ideas, given them definite shape in my own mind, and have become com­petent in the art of concise, lively, and energetic expos­ition.

O Jesus, Model of sacred preachers! Add to my efforts what it is Thine alone to give, because only from Thy Heart does it flow: that divine quality which no secular orator ever knew, that evangelical unction deriv­ing from the Unction for which Thou art named "The Christ," "The Anointed." The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, wherefore He hath anointed me." (Luke iv, 18)

(*) In English-speaking countries circumstances are usually
different, (Trans.)
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

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

July 8, 59th Annual Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Novena Speakers and Dates

Sunday, July 8
Rev. Eugene Morris
Episcopal Vicar for the Permanent Diaconate

Monday, July 9
Rev. Nicholas J. Muenks
Associate Pastor, St. Clement of Rome

Tuesday, July 10:
Rev. Stephen P. Giljum
Associate Pastor, Immaculate Conception, Dardenne

Wednesday, July 11:
Msgr. Patrick K Hambrough
Pastor, St. Mark

Thursday, July 12:
Rev. Timothy L. Bannes
Associate Pastor, Holy Infant

Friday, July 13:
Rev. Timothy P. Elliot
Pastor, St. Gianna

Saturday, July 14:
Rev. Timothy P., Cronin
Rector, Cardinal Glennon College Seminary

Sunday, July 15:
Rev. Edward M. Rice
Pastor, St. John the Baptist

Monday, July 16:
Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
The Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke Archbishop of St. Louis
Sunday, July 8th through Monday, July 16th

Rosary and Benediction at 7:15pm,
Holy Mass begins at 8:00pm

You are cordially invited to join Carmel of St Joseph in honoring Our Lady of Mount Carmel and asking her intercession during this Solemn Novena.

9150 Clayton Rd
St Louis, MO 63124

For more information and directions, click here.

TMLC on New School Policy Regarding Nativity Scenes

Thomas More Law Center Attorney to Address New York Press Conference On New School Policy Regarding Nativity Scenes

ANN ARBOR, MI — Thomas More Law Center attorney Brian Rooney will address a press conference on the steps of the New York City Hall this Sunday, June 24, 2007 as City Councilman Tony Avella announces a resolution to change New York City’s public schools anti-Christian policy, which bans Nativity scenes during Christmas, but specifically allows and encourages Jewish and Islamic displays during their respective religious holidays.

Avella’s resolution was prompted by the February 2007 refusal of the U. S. Supreme Court to overturn lower court decisions which held New York’s discriminatory anti-Christian policy was constitutional. His resolution will allow Nativity scenes to be displayed in an inclusive manner similar to how the Jewish and Islamic symbols are displayed in the City’s public schools.

Dr Ed Peters: What we don't know about the Kennedy-Rausch case

Canon law is not only much older than common law, but in many respects, it operates very differently from the legal system we Americans live in. Try to keep this in mind (I know it's hard, but really try) as a multitude of pundits weigh in on the most recent development in the Kennedy-Rausch annulment case. In brief, what we don't know about this case vastly outweighs what we do know, and that should give thoughtful people pause.

Read the rest at:

More Christians Targeted for Murder and Kidnapping in Iraq

8 Christian students and teachers are kidnapped in the Nineveh Plain
The group was travelling by minibus towards the village of Qaraqosh, in the North. Numerous cars stopped and surrounded them on the road; still no contact with the kidnappers. Yesterday in Mosul two Christians were assassinated in the quarter where Fr. Ragheed Ganni and his three sub deacons were murdered earlier this month.

Bishop Carl Moeddel Resigns Due to Illness

The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cincinnati, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Carl K. Moeddel, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

Bishop Moeddel, second in command to Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, is suffering from vascular dementia and will not return to ministry, according to a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Liturgical Translation: A Question of Truth

I must have been asleep for a couple of months for I have only recently discovered that Father (Monsignor) Peter J. Elliot, of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia, was appointed Bishop on April 30 and consecrated on June 15. What wonderful news!

Some of you may have his excellent books on the liturgy published by Ignatius Press: Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite, a manual on the proper celebration of the Mass;
Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year, on liturgical celebrations for the Feasts and Seasons throughout the year; and
Liturgical Question Box, which addresses liturgical questions submitted to him as a columnist.

Adoremus provides us with an address given by Msgr. Elliot at the international conference, Sacrificium laudis: The Medina Years (1996-2002), sponsored by the Research Institute for Catholic Liturgy in October 2005.

This is a MUST READ article, particularly for those who love the Truth and have yearned for the restoration of truly sacred texts in the Liturgy.

A Newsflash for Bishop Trautman

Also from the Denver Catholic Register, George Weigel responds to an article in the May 21 issue of America in which Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, USCCB Committee on the Liturgy chairman, called upon the faithful to “speak up!” about the new proposed translations for Holy Mass.

Weigel's response: "We are not morons."

Hard as that may be for some bishops, priests, and liturgists to grasp, I doubt it will silence the critics of Liturgiam Authenticum, the document from the Holy See which restores a meaningful and sacred character to our current feeble and questionable translations.

Abp. Chaput: Calling sin by a new name doesn’t change its substance

Magazine article on cohabitating couples ‘bafflingly naïve’

Why Saint Francis “Is a True Master” for Today’s Christians (Chiesa)

And why Saint Augustine is, too. From Assisi and from Pavia, the destinations of his two latest trips within Italy, Benedict XVI proposes the two great converts as models. And he criticizes their modern “mutilations.”
by Sandro Magister