Saturday, March 08, 2008

Just for Today, March 9

Seek true peace, not upon earth, but in heaven; not in men, nor in other things created, but in God alone.
-Bk. III. ch. xxxv.

This is the principal comfort of a faithful soul, so long as she sojourns afar from Thee in this mortal body, being mindful often of her God, to receive her Beloved with a devout mind.
-Bk. IV, ch. iii.

Above the curtain of the clouds
Are skies serenely blue,
And thither, like the lark, I rise
Where no care can pursue,
So near, so near to Heaven's gate!
Then to the earth return,
Where to the hidden Fruit of Love
With longing eyes I turn.
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - March 9

Take care that the worldling does not pursue with greater zeal and anxiety the perishable goods of this world than you do the eternal.

-St. Ignatius
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for March 9, Jesus Is Struck

Jesus, the image of the invisible God, the equal of His Father, the splendor of His Glory.

Jesus, the reflection of the pure, noble countenance of Mary, Jesus whose Adorable Face will be for all time the object of fer­vent contemplation.

Jesus, struck by the vulgar hand of a sneering brute whose only object in striking the Innocent One is to gain the good graces of a vile judge....This hand...this cheek...this blow! The Master of all....The last of the servants!

But Jesus sees beyond the figure of the man who raises his hand. As St. Jane de Chantal said: "The blow came from above." Be­yond the hand of this servant, Jesus recognized and adored the hand of His Father. Are there no other blows but those given on the cheek? Certain shameful actions, certain preferences for crea­tures, are these not insults--not merely to the face of Christ but to His own adorable Person?

I have been chosen, by an inconceivable predilection, in prefer­ence to so many others, and how many times have I failed to love, turning my back on the invitation of the Good Master, forgetting to respond to His many attentions with a little love - and simply because it may cost me a trifle. Is this cowardice not as stinging as any slap in the face?
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Gospel for Saturday, 4th Week of Lent

Optional Memorial of St. John of God, religious
Old Calendar: St. John of God

John 7:40-53

Different Opinions About Jesus (Continuation)

[40] When they heard these words, some of the people said, "This is really the prophet." [41] Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "Is the Christ to come from Galilee? [42] Has not the Scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" [43] So there was a division among the people over Him. [44] Some of them wanted to arrest Him, but no one laid hands on Him.

[45] The officers then went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why did you not bring Him?" [46] The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this man!" [47] The Pharisees answered them, "Are you led astray, you also? [48] Have any of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in Him? [49] But this crowd, who do not know the law, are accursed." [50] Nicodemus, who had gone to Him before, and who was one of them, said to them, [51] "Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?" [52] They replied, "Are you from Galilee too? Search and you will see that no prophet is to rise from Galilee." [53] They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.


40-43. "The prophet" refers to Deuteronomy 18:18, which predicts the coming of a prophet during the last times, a prophet to whom all must listen (cf. John 1:21; 6:14); and "the Christ" ("the Messiah") was the title most used in the Old Testament to designate the future Savior whom God would send. This passage shows us, once again, the range of people's attitudes towards Jesus. Many Jews--not taking the trouble to check--did not know that He had been born in Bethlehem, the city of David, where Micah (5:2) says the Lord will be born. It was their own fault that they used this ignorance as an excuse for not accepting Christ. Others, however, realized from His miracles that He must be the Messiah. The same pattern obtains throughout history: some people see Him simply as an extraordinary man, not wanting to admit that His greatness comes precisely from the fact the He is the Son of God.

46. The truth begins to influence the straightforward souls of the servants of the Sanhedrin but it cannot make headway against the obstinacy of the Pharisees. "Notice that the Pharisees and scribes derive no benefit either from witnessing miracles or reading the Scriptures; whereas their servants, without these helps, were captivated by a single discourse, and those who set out to arrest Jesus went back under the influence of His authority. And they did not say, `We cannot arrest Him, the people will not let us'; instead they extolled Christ's wisdom. Not only is their prudence admirable, for they did not need signs; it is also impressive that they were won over by His teaching on its own; they did not say, in effect, `No man has ever worked such miracles,' but `No man ever spoke like this man.' Their conviction also is worthy of admiration: they go to the Pharisees, who were opposed to Christ, and address them in the way they do" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. On St. John", 9).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Just for Today March 8

This is not the work of man, but the grace of Christ, which can and does effect such great things in frail flesh, and what is naturally abhors and flies, even this, through fervour of spirit, it now embraces and loves.
-Bk. II, ch. xii.

Ever since I entered Carmel, suffering has awaited me at every turn, but I have always embraced it lovingly. At the canonical examination before my Profession I said that I had come to Carmel in order to save souls, and above all to pray for priests.

To attain an end, one must make use of the means, and Our Lord having made me understand that it was by the cross that I would win souls, the more crosses I met with, the more did my desire of suffering increase. I trod this path for five years, though no one suspected it. Jesus alone was to be given this flower, whose fragrance is all kept for Heaven, and so remains un­noticed upon earth.
-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme)
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - March 8

He who at the hour of death finds himself pro­tected by St. Joseph, will certainly experience great consolation.

-St. Teresa
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for March 8, Jesus Is Mocked

A God derided, reviled, become a plaything, one whose words, actions, and very silence are misinterpreted.

A God and yet, the object of ridicule, whose very endurance of suffering provokes coarse gaiety from the bodyguard.

A God struck, scoffed, jostled about, defiled, berated-and all that with impunity.

But what are the Angels doing in heaven while man makes sport of their King? Are they unconcerned at seeing the Lord of lords reduced to such a state? Will they make no attempt to deliver the Master, to withhold those arms raised in madness, to stop those scoffers?

No! the prophecies must be fulfilled, the God Man must go to lengths such as these.

Blows are succeeded by ribald tirades and scurrilous language. Someone blindfolds Him and the taunts begin again: "Tell us who struck You! Here! This blow! Who gave it to you? And that one? Here, you are looking! That one, that's a good one, even better aimed."

Jesus blindfolded. . . . Ah! what must have been His thoughts? He saw all these stupid infamies.... He saw me. Was I in­creasing the number of these derisive blows, or was I making expia­tion by a love that nothing could make waver?

Who, then, will efface all the horrors of that mockery? Where in all the world are there enough acts of love to compensate for all those ignominies?

My soul, have you finally decided to really love Him?
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Recalcitrant Priest Faces Church Sanctions

From the St Louis Review:
Disappointed that Father Marek Bozek has refused to return to his home diocese to be reconciled with the Catholic Church, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke said March 5 that he is forced to proceed with the canonical process of dismissing Father Bozek from the clerical state....

Also see this:
Decree of Extra-Judicial Adjudication
In the matter of the Reverend Marek Bogusław Bozek

Whereas I have diligently examined and considered all and each of the indications [indicia] and proofs, which have been assembled and certified in the acts of the case in question, and which have been lawfully presented before me in the extra-judicial penal process held regarding the Reverend Marek Bogusław Bozek of the St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation, domiciled at 1413 North Twentieth Street in the City of Saint Louis, with the postal code of 63106-3256, who has been accused of having committed the following canonical delicts:

1) Protracted contumacy in schism (cf. can. 1364, §2);

2) Pertinacious rejection of the Church’s doctrine, referenced in can. 750, §2, infallibly set forth, that women cannot validly receive the Sacrament of Ordination to the Priesthood; and refusal to retract the rejection of Church doctrine after due admonition by myself as Ordinary (cf. can. 1371, 1);

3) Simony (cf. can. 1380);

4) Prohibited participation in sacred rites [communicatio in sacris] (cf. can. 1365);

5) Simulation of the administration of a sacrament, apart from the cases treated in can. 1378 (cf. can. 1379);

6) Usurpation of an ecclesiastical office (cf. can. 1381, §1);

7) Illegitimate exercise of the priestly ministry (cf. can. 1384);

8) The external violation of divine or canon law, which because of its special gravity demands punishment, and which is coupled with the urgent need to prevent and repair scandal (cf. can. 1399); and

9) Public incitement of the subjects of the Apostolic See or an Ordinary to animosity or hatred toward the Apostolic See or an Ordinary because of some act of ecclesiastical power or ministry, and the provoking of the same subjects to disobedience against the Apostolic See or an Ordinary (cf. can. 1373).

Therefore, after having weighed all of the proofs and the arguments with two assessors (cf. can. 1720, 2º), with only God before my eyes, I, by this my definitive sentence, consigned to writing, declare and pronounce, by reason of my lawful exercise of jurisdiction, the quality and preponderance of the proofs, which are extant in the acts of the case, and with moral certitude (cf. can. 1608, §1), that the Reverend Marek Bogusław Bozek is guilty of having committed all of the delicts indicated in nos. 2 through 9 above. Furthermore, by this my definitive sentence, I declare that the same delicts are fully imputable to the Reverend Bozek by reason of malice (cf. can. 1321, §§1-3), without exempting or mitigating circumstances (cf. cann. 1323-1324), within the time limits established by the Code of Canon Law, concerning both criminal (cf. can. 1362, §§1-2) and penal (cf. cann. 1363, §§1-2; and 1720, 3º) actions, and, therefore, are fully punishable.

Wherefore, with respect to the same Reverend Bozek, I declare and pronounce the following:

Firstly, with respect to the accusation that he has committed the delict of protracted contumacy in schism (cf. can. 1364, §2), I hereby decree and provide that said accusation against the Reverend Bozek be remanded to be heard and decided immediately, not by means of an extra-judicial penal process and decree, but by means of the ordinary judicial penal process, so that the expiatory penalty of dismissal from the clerical state may be considered (cf. cann. 1336, §1, 4º; 1425, §1, 2º; and 1364, §2). The Promoter of Justice of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis is hereby ordered to present to the Judicial Vicar of the Metropolitan Tribunal, as soon as is possible, the libellus of accusation against the Reverend Bozek for the commission of the delict of protracted contumacy in schism.

Secondly, that, because the Reverend Bozek has been found guilty of the most grave delict of simony, a crime committed against the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:18), any convention, lease, contract, quasi-contract, hiring, loan, or other agreement, even if only tacit or evidenced from circumstances, by which any monetary increase, benefit, assumption of debt, pension, insurance, legal service, or temporal advantage has been or will be provided in compensation for or in recognition of the celebration of a Sacrament by the Reverend Bozek is hereby declared to be null, utterly void, and unenforceable because it is contrary to Divine Law and the sacred canons (cf. cann. 1290; and 1333, §4; Codex Iuris Canonici Pio-Benedictinus, cann. 727-729; and Decree of the Holy Office, 2 March 1679, n. 45 [DS, n. 2145]). Any baptized Catholic who is party to, directs, engages in, votes for, or authorizes the creation or execution of any of the aforementioned simoniacal conduct commits that most abhorrent sin against the Holy Spirit and is, thereby, deprived of good standing in the Catholic Church and imperils the eternal salvation of his soul.

Thirdly, by reason of having committed all of the eight delicts indicated in nos. 2 through 9 above, the Reverend Bozek is to be punished by the imposition of the following penalties:

1) The mandatory penalty of a ferendae sententiae interdict;

2) The just ferendae sententiae penalty of restitution of all monies and material benefits, received by the Reverend Bozek, to their baptized and non-baptized contributors alike, as a result of the nullity, in both Divine and Canon Law, of any of the above-mentioned types of convention, which is claimed to exist between the Reverend Bozek and the St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation, or any other juridical or physical person, or third party.

Fourthly, and finally, for having attempted to concelebrate the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist with individuals not possessing valid Holy Orders or Apostolic Succession, the Reverend Bozek is hereby denounced to the Holy See, so that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith may exercise its reserved jurisdiction over the apparent commission of this added crime.

Wherefore, the Reverend Bozek is hereby notified that, if he desires to file recourse against this decree, he is required, for validity, to submit a petition to the undersigned for the revocation or revision of the same decree and sentence, within ten useful days from the publication of this same decree (cf. can. 1734, §§1-2).

So that all may know the contents of the present canonical decree, I order that this decree be published in the next edition of the St. Louis Review, which official publication of the Archbishop of Saint Louis, in accord with the particular legislation issued at Saint Louis, on the ninth day of November in the Year of the Lord 2007, constitutes notification by edict and execution of this my definitive Decree and Sentence.

Issued and read, at Saint Louis, on the fifth day of March in the Year of the Lord 2008.

SEAL (Most Rev.) Raymond L. Burke
Archbishop of St. Louis

(Rev. Msgr.) Henry J. Breier

Looks really serious to the common layman...Bozek is history. The St Stanislaus board needs to get its act together and rid itself of this man, pronto.

Gospel for Friday, 4th Week of Lent

Memorial of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, martyrs
Old Calendar: St. Thomas Aquinas, confessor and doctor

John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Jesus Goes Up to Jerusalem During the Feast of Tabernacles

[1] After this Jesus went about in Galilee; He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. [2] Now the Jews' feast of Tabernacles was at hand. [10] But after His brethren had gone up to the feast, then He also went up, not publicly but in private.

[25] Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, "Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? [26] And here He is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to Him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? [27 Yet we know where this man comes from; and when the Christ appears, no one will know where He comes from. [28] So Jesus proclaimed, as He taught in the temple, "You know where I come from? But I have not come of My own accord; He who sent Me is true, and Him you do not know. [29] I know Him, for I come from Him, and He sent Me." [30] So they sought to arrest Him; but no one laid hands on Him, because His hour had not yet come.


1-2. The Jewish custom was for closer relatives to be called "brothers", brethren (cf. notes on Matthew 12:46-47 and Mark 6:1-3). These relatives of Jesus followed Him without understanding His teaching or His mission (cf. Matthew 3:31); but because He worked such obvious miracles in Galilee (cf. Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-10, 22-26) they suggest to Him that He show Himself publicly in Jerusalem and throughout Judea. Perhaps they wanted Him to be a big success, which would have indulged their family pride.

2. The name of the feast recalls the time the Israelites spent living under canvas in the wilderness (cf. Leviticus 23:34-36). During the eight days the feast lasted (cf. Nehemiah 8:13-18), around the beginning of autumn, the Jews commemorated the protection God had given the Israelites over the forty years of the Exodus. Because it coincided with the end of the harvest, it was also called the feast of ingathering (cf. Exodus 23:16).

10. Because He had not arrived in advance of the feast (which was what people normally did), the first caravans would have reported that Jesus was not coming up, and therefore the members of the Sanhedrin would have stopped planning anything against Him (cf. 7:1). By going up later, the religious authorities would not dare make any move against Him for fear of hostile public reaction (cf. Matthew 26:5). Jesus, possibly accompanied by His disciples, arrives unnoticed at Jerusalem, "in private", almost in a hidden way. Half-way through the feast, on the fourth or fifth day, He begins to preach in the temple (cf. 7:14).

27. In this chapter we often see the Jews disconcerted, in two minds. They argue with one another over whether Jesus is the Messiah, or a prophet, or an impostor (verse 12); they do not know where He gets His wisdom from (verse 15); they are short-tempered (verses 19-20); and they are surprised by the attitudes of the Sanhedrin (verse 26). Despite the signs they have seen (miracles, teaching) they do not want to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Perhaps some, thinking that He came from Nazareth and was the son of Joseph and Mary, cannot see how this fits in with the notion usually taken from Isaiah's prophecy (Isaiah 53:1-8) about the Messiah's origin being unknown--except for His coming from the line of David and being born in Bethlehem (cf. Matthew 2:5 which quotes Micah 5:2; cf. John 7:42). In fact Jesus did fulfill those prophetic predictions, though most Jews did not know it because they knew nothing about His virginal birth in Bethlehem or His descent from David. Others must have known that He was of the house of David and had been born in Bethlehem, but even so they did not want to accept His teaching because it demanded a mental and moral conversion which they were not ready to make.

28-29. Not without a certain irony, Jesus refers to the superficial knowledge these Jews had of Him: however, He asserts that He comes from the Father who has sent Him, whom only He knows, precisely because He is the Son of God (cf. John 1:18).

30. The Jews realized that Jesus was making Himself God's equal, which was regarded as blasphemy and, according to the Law, was something punishable by death by stoning (cf. Leviticus 24:15-16, 23).

This is not the first time St. John refers to the Jews' hostility (cf. John 5:10), nor will it be the last (8:59; 10:31-33). He stresses this hostility because it was a fact and perhaps also to show that Jesus acts freely when, to fulfill the Father's will He gives Himself over to His enemies when His "hour" arrives (cf. John 18:4-8). "He did not therefore mean an hour when He would be forced to die, but one when He would allow Himself to be put to death. For He was waiting for the time in which He should die, even as He waited for the time in which He should be born" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang., 31, 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.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Just for Today, March 7

Happy is he whom truth teaches by itself, not by figures and words that pass, but as it is in itself. Our opinion and our sense often deceive us, and discover but little.
-Bk. I, ch. iii.

I have never acted like Pilate, who refused to hear the truth. I have always said to my Heavenly Father: I would willingly hear Thee, and so I beseech of Thee to answer me when I humbly ask: what is truth? Grant that I may see things as they truly are, and never be dazzled by them.
-Novissima Verba
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - March 7

You may fast regularly, give alms, and pray without ceasing, but as long as you hate your brother, you will not be numbered among the children of God.

-Ven. Louis de Blois
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for March 7, The Crowning with Thorns

It was about nine o'clock when the scourging was finished. The crowning with thorns took place soon afterwards, in the court of the guardhouse. Perhaps the soldiers, instead of leading Jesus directly through the portico which opened onto the Forum, made Him pass before the palace of the High Priests, who flayed Him with their sarcasms. From time to time Jesus wiped His bloody face with the robe they had thrown over His shoulders.

A throne was needed for the coronation ceremonies. They looked about and found the base of a broken pillar which they maliciously covered with stones and fragments of broken glass. Having brutally forced our gentle Savior to sit upon it, they tore from His shoulders the robe they had thrown around Him and placed on His back a dirty red cloak. The crown of thorns which they had fashioned resembled a mitre or a bonnet rather than a circlet. It was made of three branches of thorns carefully inter­woven, so that most of the spines were designedly turned in. The tormentors pressed on the top of the crown to force it down and even beat the helmet of pain with sticks. They sometimes snatched from the hands of our Savior the reed that they had placed there as a mock sceptre and struck Him violently on the head with it. Each time the thorns penetrated more deeply, the pain grew more intense, and the blood ran down His already swollen face.

At intervals Jesus opened His mouth, not to complain, but to drink in a swallow of air to relieve His burning fever. His eyes were raised pleadingly to heaven. All this He had foreseen the evening before in the Garden of Olives, and for an instant, His human nature had recoiled from it. All this had been present to Him every moment of His life. But it is one thing to anticipate suffering and quite another thing actually to endure it.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Bozek's Position on the Sacrament of Penance

Last year I had contacted Marek Bozek with an important question about information on St Stanislaus' "Communal Penances Services" being held prior to Easter.

Dear Fr Bozek:

Your March bulletin mentions that Communal Penance Services will be available March 31 and that several priests will be available to hear confession. Will these be Roman Catholic priests from the Archdiocese with the requisite faculties to hear confession and grant absolution?

Thank you for your help!

I really expected no response and was quite surprised to receive a rather timely answer:

As you know I do not posses any faculties from the Archbishop of Saint Louis. Typically that would mean I should [not] hear confessions. However, you must know very well, that the sacrament of holy orders is not based on the faculties but on the sacramental character of the ordination. I do not posses any regular faculties to celebrate Eucharist, but I do it every day.

Similarly, some of the priest present for the Penance Service will be men who were validly ordained in the Roman Catholic Church but do not posses any longer regular faculties granted by the Archbishop. In the past however, we have had priest/s in good standing, with the faculties, assist us with the Penance Service and I do hope it will be the case again.

Please, do keep me in your prayers as I pray for you,

Fr. Marek

Rev. Marek B. Bozek M.Div.

I mentioned this last year as I recall, and I decided to respond to the self-styled 'theologian' to see he even recognized the Council of Trent since he appears to be ignore of current disciplinary laws and well as irreformable doctrines.

Fr Bozek:

Indeed, I do know the teaching of Christ and the Church with respect to sacramental theology. And, what you have have stated regarding the Sacrament of Penance is incorrect, to say the least - merely being ordained is not sufficient. Since some seem to regard the current Code of Canon Law as irrelevant in this matter, I will go back to the 16th century and refer to the Council of Trent which, in fact, confirms that without faculties, no priest or bishop (except in danger of death) can be a valid minister of the Sacrament - hence, if there is no valid minister, there is no absolution. From the Roman Catechism (the Catechism of the Council of Trent), we read:

The Minister of the Sacrament of Penance
The Usual Minister

We now come to treat of the minister of this Sacrament. That the minister of the Sacrament of Penance must be a priest possessing ordinary or delegated jurisdiction the laws of the Church sufficiently declare. Whoever discharges this sacred function must be invested not only with the power of orders, but also with that of jurisdiction. Of this ministry we have an illustrious proof in these words of our Lord, recorded by St. John: Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained, words addressed not to all, but to the Apostles only, to whom, in this function of the ministry, priests succeed. (my emphasis)

This is also most fitting, for as all the grace imparted by this Sacrament is communicated from Christ the Head to His members, they who alone have power to consecrate His true body should alone have power to administer this Sacrament to His mystical body, the faithful, particularly as these are qualified and disposed by means of the Sacrament of Penance to receive the Holy Eucharist.

The scrupulous care which in the primitive ages of the Church guarded the right of the ordinary priest is easily seen from the ancient decrees of the Fathers, which provided that no Bishop or priest, except in case of great necessity, presume to exercise any function in the parish of another without the authority of him who governed there. This law derives its sanction from the Apostle when he commanded Titus to ordain priests in every city, to administer to the faithful the heavenly food of doctrine and of the Sacraments.

To this, there was no response - after a few weeks, I knew none would be forthcoming. I can only assume that he sees all of the laws of Church as "unjust and intrusive" and in dire need of being "broken to bring about reform within the institution." (Source)

Archbishop Burke is right in expressing his concern for the spiritual welfare of those who have been deceived and led in to spiritual darkness and possible eternal damnation.

Repairing Fr. Bozek's sacramental blunders (Dr Edward Peters)

Archbishop Burke, once again, is showing us all how it's supposed to be done.

In a remarkable gesture of pastoral concern for his people, St. Louis Abp. Raymond Burke, who for some three years has been trying to effect the reconciliation of a renegade Polish priest named Fr. Marek Bozek, has alerted the faithful who might be approaching Fr. Bozek for sacramental services, that any attempts by Fr. Bozek to celebrate the sacraments of Confession (1983 CIC 966) or Confirmation (1983 CIC 882-883), or to witness the weddings of Catholics bound by form (1983 CIC 1108), are invalid, and that such Catholics may contact his office directly for assistance in securing these sacraments validly and licitly.

I'll be discussing Fr. Bozek's situation, who as of today is officially careening toward laicization, with Al Kresta on WDEO AM 990 in Detroit / Ann Arbor, or listen live here.

Wish I could have heard this...

Posted at Dr Peters' blog here.

Very Serious Matters Regarding Bozek and his Supporters

Marek Bozek, the "hired" pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka church, who has no faculties to celebrate the sacraments, said in a news conference yesterday, "I will not subject myself to any more of this humiliating process."

This is a matter which he brought upon himself, yet he wishes to blame others. These are tactics that every immature child engages in when confronted because of his wrongdoing...

The renegade 'priest,' continued to dig himself deeper and deeper into irrelevance:
"Some laws are unjust and abusive and need to be changed and need to be broken to bring about reform within the institution," he said, comparing his actions to those of suffragettes and civil-rights marchers. "We do not violate any church dogma."

Bozek sees himself as a "reformer" when his actions clearly demonstrate that he anything but. His arrogance, antipathy for the Church, and disobedience are a cancer with the Church. While we should continue to pray for his conversion, he needs to be excised from the Church in the meantime in order to limit his detrimental and poisonous effects on the souls of others.

Archbishop Burke responded by stating:
"For him to make this distinction between dogma and discipline is a bit disingenuous," Burke said in an interview at the chancery. "He is knowingly and deliberately celebrating sacraments that he knows aren't valid. He has led people to believe he can forgive their sins, and he cannot. He is messing with very serious matters, and that's what makes this so sad."

Bozek also claims to have spoken with "valid Catholic bishops" who would incardinate him or take him on as a priest with faculties under their authority. One can only wonder what his meaning of "valid" means - Archbishop Milingo??????

"Given Father Bozek's canonical situation, (Liebrecht) isn't going to release him, and no bishop who is part of the Roman Catholic church is going to take him until he is reconciled with the church," Burke said. "It's just false for (Bozek) to say he's going to do this."

Perhaps, Bozek is incapable of speaking truthfully?

Standing next to William Bialczak, St. Stanislaus parish board chairman, Bozek said he would continue serving the parish.
The board stands fully behind a priest with no faculties, who administers invalid and/or illicit sacraments - they willfully mislead the faithful away from Christ and His Church. They have becomes agents of Satan, despite their claims that they wish to remain Catholic...How very sad...

Even Roger Krasnicki, who happened to be the Board spokesman at one time, now "gets it," at least to some extent - he said "he believed that Bozek wanted to split the church to gain followers who have a grudge against the Catholic faith."

"I think it's disgraceful," Krasnicki said. "I think he has shown his absolute rejection of Roman Catholicism and his desire to set up his own church."
Bozek and the Board of St Stanislaus have already set up their own Church which looks and feels Catholic but is, in reality, notihng more than another protestant offshoot...

What a treat for Lent! Bozek and his fans are so lost - pray for them!

Gospel for Thursday, 4th Week of Lent

Old Calendar: Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas, martyrs

John 5:31-47

Christ Defends His Action (Continuation)

(Jesus said to the Jews,) [31] "If I bear witness to Myself, My testimony is not true; [32] there is another who bears witness to Me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to Me is true. [33] You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. [34] Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. [35] He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. [36] But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted Me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear Me witness that the Father has sent Me. [37] And the Father who sent He has Himself borne witness to Me. His voice you have never heard, His form you have never seen; [38] and you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He has sent. [39] You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to Me; [40] yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life. [41] I do not receive glory from men. [42] But I know that you have not the love of God within you. [43] I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. [44] How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? [45] Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. [46] If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me. [47] But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"


31-40. Because Jesus is Son of God, His own word is self-sufficient, it needs no corroboration (cf. 8:18); but, as on other occasions, He accommodates Himself to human customs and to the mental outlook of His hearers: He anticipates a possible objection from the Jews to the effect that it is not enough for a person to testify in his own cause (cf. Deuteronomy 19:15) and He explains that what He is saying is endorsed by four witnesses--John the Baptist, His own miracles, the Father, and the Sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament.

John the Baptist bore witness that Jesus was the Son of God (1:34). Although Jesus had no need to have recourse to any man's testimony, not even that of a great prophet, John's testimony was given for the sake of the Jews, that they might recognize the Messiah. Jesus can also point to another testimony, better than that of the Baptist--the miracles He has worked, which are, for anyone who examines them honestly, unmistakable signs of His divine power, which comes from the Father; Jesus' miracles, then, are a form of witness the Father bears concerning His Son, whom He has sent into the world. The Father manifests the divinity of Jesus on other occasions--at His Baptism (cf. 1:31-34); at the Transfiguration (cf. Matthew 17:1-8), and later, in the presence of the whole crowd (cf. John 12:28-30).

Jesus speaks to another divine testimony--that of the Sacred Scriptures. These speak of Him, but the Jews fail to grasp the Scriptures' true meaning, because they read them without letting themselves be enlightened by Him whom God has sent and in whom all the prophecies are fulfilled: "The economy of the Old Testament was deliberately so orientated that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, Redeemer of all men, and of the Messianic Kingdom (cf. Luke 24:44; John 5:39, 1 Peter 1:10), and should indicate it by means of different types (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:11). [...] Christians should accept with veneration these writings which give _expression to a lively sense of God, which are a storehouse of sublime teaching on God and of sound wisdom on human life, as well as a wonderful treasury of prayers; in them, too, the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 15).

41-47. Jesus identifies three obstacles preventing His hearers from recognizing that He is the Messiah and Son of God--their lack of love of God, their striving after human glory and their prejudiced interpretation of sacred texts. His defense of His own actions and of His relationship with the Father might lead His adversaries to think that He was looking for human glory. But the testimonies He has adduced (the Baptist, the miracles, the Father and the Scriptures) show clearly that it is not He who is seeking His glory, and that the Jews oppose Him not out of love of God or in defense of God's honor, but for unworthy reasons or because of their merely human outlook.

The Old Testament, therefore, leads a person towards recognizing who Jesus Christ is (cf. John 1:45; 2:17, 22; 5:39, 46; 12:16, 41); yet the Jews remain unbelievers because their attitude is wrong: they have reduced the Messianic promises in the sacred books to the level of mere nationalistic aspirations: this outlook, which is in no way supernatural, closes their soul to Jesus' words and actions and prevents them from seeing that the ancient prophecies are come true in Him (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:14-16).
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.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Just for Today, March 6

In some cases thou must use violence, and manfully resist the sensual appetite, and not regard what the flesh has a mind for, or what it would fly from; but rather labour that whether it will or not, it may become subject to the spirit.

And so long must it be chastised and kept under servitude, until it readily obey in all things and learn to be content with a little, and to be pleased with what is plain and ordinary, and not to murmur at any in­convenience.
-Bk. III, ch. xi.

I began to feel a real affection for ugly, inconvenient things; for instance, I was delighted when they took away the pretty little water jug from our cell, and gave me an old one, all chipped. I also tried never to justify myself, but this I found difficult, as I wanted to hide nothing from my novice mistress.
-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme)
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - March 6

We easily lose peace of mind, because we make it depend, not on the testimony of a good con­science, but on the judgment of men.

-Bl. Bartholomew of Martyrs
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for March 6, He Prayed the Longer

When my prayer is not consoling I shorten it, reduce it, curtail it.

I must imitate Jesus at Gethsemane.

The actual meeting with the demands of His Father is certainly terrible, not that He had not accepted them from all eternity, but because His human sensibility is frightened in the face of them. What an odious race these human beings for whom He will sacri­fice Himself tomorrow! The majority of them will never under­stand, but among those who will understand, how many will have the courage to follow the Master to the Cross, to give love for love, to participate in the salvation of the world?

Among the best, those who have been the object of special predi­lection, of an exalted vocation, how many failures! There, close by, are the eleven asleep. As for the twelfth. . . alas!

Is Judas not now approaching in the darkness to betray Me, to kiss Me, to deliver Me up? As though I could not unmask him by My light. But the time is come! The work of death must be accomplished.

And Peter, tomorrow.... He loves Me, this poor, brave Peter, but how weak he is, and the cock will not crow three times before he has denied Me three times.

And Judas, the wretched suicide!

And the world, the poor world a prey to sin, and it will remain in its clutches all through the ages.... I will have sought in vain for faithful souls to love me. I shall find some, but oh! so few!

Father, Father!... What a terrible prayer!

And Jesus perseveres. He does not run away. He stays, He insists, and the more the horizon darkens, the more He prays.

In my disconsolate prayers, I shall think of another disconsolate prayer, that of my good Master in the garden, and I shall perse­vere. If possible, I shall pray more, and like Jesus, I shall pray the longer.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Bozek Wants New Bishop...

...Perhaps "Bishop" Patricia Fresen will accept him as the newest member of "womenpriests"?

A Polish priest at odds with St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke is refusing to participate in a process to defrock him.

The Rev. Marek Bozek, pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka church, was scheduled to meet with Burke on Wednesday. But in a letter delivered to Burke beforehand, Bozek said he could not in good conscience subject himself to what he called a "parody of a legal process."

He evidently believes that if he does not 'participate' in defending his heretical and schismatic actions nothing can affect his status as a "priest," - even if he remains defiant and obstinate about his status...Pride and arrogance often substitute for a presumed "good conscience."

Unless Bozek recants and repents, he is history as far as the priesthood is concerned...Of course, there are other groups of rebellious, dissenting prima dona groups that he can join - Catholic, though, is a term which cannot be ascribed to them.

Local source.

Gospel for Wednesday, 4th Week of Lent

From: John 5:17-30

The Cure of a Sick Man at the Pool at Bethzatha (Continuation)

[17] But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working still, and I am working." [18] This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath but also called God His Father, making Himself equal with God.

Christ Defends His Action

[19] Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing; for whatever He does, that the Son does likewise. [20] For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel. [21] For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will. [22] The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, [23] that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. [24] Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

[25] "Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. [26] For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself, [27] and has given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. [28] Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice [29] and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.

[30] "I can do nothing on My own authority; as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will but the will of Him who sent Me."


17-18. "My Father is working still, and I am working": we have already said that God is continually acting. Since the Son acts together with the Father, who with the Holy Spirit are the one and only God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can say that He is always working. These words of Jesus contain an implicit reference to His divinity: the Jews realize this and they want to kill Him because they consider it blasphemous. "We all call God our Father, who is in Heaven (Isaiah 63:16; 64:8). Therefore, they were angry, not at this, that He said God was His Father, but that He said it in quite another way than men. Notice: the Jews understand what Arians do not understand. Arians affirm the Son to be not equal to the Father, and that was why this heresy was driven from the Church. Here, even the blind, even the slayers of Christ, understand the works of Christ" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang., 17, 16). We call God our Father because through grace we are His adopted children; Jesus calls Him His Father because He is His Son by nature. This is why He says after the Resurrection: "I am ascending to My Father and your Father" (John 20:17), making a clear distinction between the two ways of being a son of God.

19. Jesus speaks of the equality and also the distinction between Father and Son. The two are equal: all the Son's power is the Father's, all the Son does the Father does; but they are two distinct persons: which is why the Son does what He has seen the Father do.

These words of our Lord should not be taken to mean that the Son sees what the Father does and then does it Himself, like a disciple imitating his master; He says what He says to show that the Father's powers are communicated to the Son through generation. The word "see" is used because men come to know things through the senses, particularly through the sight; to say that the Son sees what the Father does is a way of referring to all the powers which He receives from Him for all eternity (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, "Comm. on St. John, in loc.").

20-21. When He says that the Father shows the Son "all that He Himself is doing", this means that Christ can do the same as the Father. Thus, when Jesus does things which are proper to God, He is testifying to His divinity through them (cf. John 5:36).

"Greater works": this may be a reference to the miracles Jesus will work during His lifetime and to His authority to execute judgment. But THE miracle of Jesus was His own resurrection, the cause and pledge of our own (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20ff), and our passport to supernatural life. Christ, like His Father, has unlimited power to communicate life. This teaching is developed in verses 22-29.

22-30. Authority to judge has also been given by the Father to the Incarnate Word. Whoever does not believe in Christ and in His word will be condemned (cf. 3:18). We must accept Jesus Christ's lordship; by doing so we honor the Father; if we do not know the Son we do not know the Father who sent Him (verse 23). Through accepting Christ, through accepting His word, we gain eternal life and are freed from condemnation. He, who has taken on human nature which He will retain forever, has been established as our judge, and His judgment is just, because He seeks to fulfill the Will of the Father who sent Him, and He does nothing on His own account: in other words, His human will is perfectly at one with His divine will; which is why Jesus can say that He does not do His own will but the Will of Him who sent Him.

22. God, being the Creator of the world, is the supreme Judge of all creation. He alone can know with absolute certainty whether the people and things He has created achieve the end He has envisaged for them. Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, has received divine authority (cf. Matthew 11:27; 28:18; Daniel 7:14), including the authority to judge mankind. Now, it is God's will that everyone should be saved: Christ did not come to condemn the world but to save it (cf. John 12:47). Only someone who refuses to accept the divine mission of the Son puts himself outside the pale of salvation. As the Church's Magisterium teaches: "He claimed judicial power as received from His Father, when the Jews accused Him of breaking the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of a sick man. [...] In this power is included the right of rewarding and punishing all men, even in this life" (Pius XI, "Quas Primas, Dz-Sch 3677"). Jesus Christ, therefore, is the Judge of the living and the dead, and will reward everyone according to his works (cf. 1 Peter 1:17).

"We have, I admit, a rigorous account to give of our sins; but who will be our judge? The Father [...] has given all judgment to the Son. Let us be comforted: the eternal Father has placed our cause in the hands of our Redeemer Himself. St. Paul encourages us, saying, Who is [the judge] who is to condemn us? It is Jesus Christ, who died [...] who indeed intercedes for us (Romans 8:34). It is the Savior Himself, who, in order that He should not condemn us to eternal death, has condemned Himself to death for our sake, and who, not content with this, still continues to intercede for us in Heaven with God His Father" (St. Alphonsus Liguori, "The Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ Reduced To Practice", Chapter 3).

24. There is also a close connection between hearing the word of Christ and believing in Him who sent Him, that is, in the Father. Whatever Jesus Christ says is divine revelation; therefore, accepting Jesus' words is equivalent to believing in God the Father: "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me, but in Him who sent Me.... For I have not spoken on My own authority; the Father who sent Me has Himself given Me the commandment what to say and what to speak" (John 12:44, 49).

A person with faith is on the way to eternal life, because even in this earthly life he is sharing in divine life, which is eternal; but he has not yet attained eternal life in a definitive way (for he can lose it), nor in a full way: "Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him" (1 John 3:2). If a person stays firm in the faith and lives up to its demands, God's judgment will not condemn him but save him.

Therefore, it makes sense to strive, with the help of grace, to live a life consistent with the faith: "If men go to so much trouble and effort to live here a little longer, ought they not strive so much harder to live eternally?" (St. Augustine, "De Verb. Dom. Serm.", 64).

25-30. These verse bring the first part of our Lord's discourse to a close (it runs from 5:19 to 5:47); its core is a revelation about His relationship with His Father. To understand the statement our Lord makes here we need to remember that, because He is a single (divine) person, a single subject of operations, a single I, He is expressing in human words not only His sentiments as a man but also the deepest dimension of His being: He is the Son of God, both in His generation in eternity by the Father, and in His generation in time through taking up human nature. Hence Jesus Christ has a profound awareness (so profound that we cannot even imagine it) of His Sonship, which leads Him to treat His Father with a very special intimacy, with love and also with respect; He is aware also of His equality with the Father; therefore when He speaks about the Father having given Him life (verse 26) or authority (verse 27), it is not that He has received part of the Father's life or authority: He has received absolutely all of it, without the Father losing any.

"Do you perceive how their equality is shown and that they differ in one respect only, namely, that one is the Father, while the other is the Son? The _expression `He has given' implies this distinction only, and shows that all other attributes are equal and without difference. From this it is clear that He does everything with as much authority and power as the Father and is not endowed with power from some outside source, for He has life as the Father has" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. John", 39, 3).

One of the amazing things about these passages of the Gospel is how Jesus manages to express the sentiments of God-Man despite the limitations of human language: Christ, true God, true man, is a mystery which the Christian should contemplate even though he cannot understand it: he feels bathed in a light so strong that it is beyond understanding, yet fills his soul with faith and with a desire to worship his Lord.
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, March 04, 2008

Just for Today, March 5

Nature is covetous, and is more willing to take than to give, and loves to have things to herself. But grace is bountiful and open-hearted, avoids selfishness, is con­tented with little, and judges it more happy to give than to receive.
-Bk. III, ch. liv.

Our Lord teaches us to: Give to everyone that asketh thee, and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again (Luke vi, 30). It is more pleasant to give of one's own free will than to be asked, although this is not very hard if the request is politely made. If, however, it is made in a tactless way, a soul that is not firmly established in charity will find a hundred and one pretexts for refusing. If she does finally comply, it is only after having impressed upon the petitioner how inconsiderate she has been, and what a great favour she is doing her. In short, she spends more time in stating her case than she would in performing the trifling service asked of her.
-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme)
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - March 5

Sometimes God leaves us for a long time un­able to effect any good, that we may learn to humble ourselves, and never to glory in our efforts.

-St. Vincent Ferrer
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for March 5, Jesus Hesitant

"Father! I cannot! It is too much! Take from me this chal­ice!" Was Jesus really hesitating? Did He really want to escape Calvary? Did He think that by crying to the Father in His ter­rible agony He would diminish the deluge of suffering that was descending upon Him?

Or was He thinking of me? Did He permit this human desire to enter His Agonizing Heart, that I might find it there and unite to it my involuntary aversions, my repugnances?

How strange is this bargaining of Jesus with His Father! "Father, reduce a little the price exacted. You see clearly all these humiliations, all these horrors, all these insults, all this blood! It is too much! Can I not save the world at a lower cost?"

- But my Son, did we not through our inconceivable love deter­mine this from all eternity? It is for these miserable or rather unfortunate creatures.... They must know how much they are loved. Sic Deus dilexit mundum.

- Father, Fiat!

And at this same time Judas is carrying out his shameful bar­gaining with the Princes and the Priests: "One hundred pieces of silver. - No, that is too much! - Sixty? - No. - Thirty? Let it go at thirty!" The price of a common beast!

Behold God! Behold us! Behold me!
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

[Ed. note: The dates of some meditations, because of Lent, may not correspond with the book.]

Lenten Reflection: The Forgiveness of Christ

"Thy sins are forgiven." St. Luke, 7:49.

Imagine that we are all invited to a banquet at the home of Simon the Phari­see. Since Jesus will be there, we accept the invitation. As we sit at table with the Master, lo and behold, there enters the room a woman of the streets, a public sinner.

Clasped to her breast is a box of perfume. She is trembling like an autumn leaf. She seems to feel that the eyes of all are upon her. Staring at her beautiful, swaying body as she hesitates near the doorway, wonder­ing what to do. Timidly, like a little girl on her first day at school, this fascinating creature tiptoes toward the table, raising her eyes for only a moment to see where Jesus is.

Espying Him, she rushes forward, sinks to the floor before Him, embraces His sacred feet, and, unable to restrain any longer the tenderness in her heart, she bursts into tears--tears of sorrow for her sins, tears of hope for pardon, tears of sweetness, the sweetness of being near the Lord, tears of gratitude, of a troubled heart finding peace, tears so abundant that they flow like water to wash the feet of the Savior. She wants to speak, to beg His pardon, to thank Him. But her lips tremble so that she cannot pro­nounce a word. Her tears have to do the talking.

What a picture--infinite Innocence, and infinite misery--Jesus and Mary Magdalene!

When the penitent has cried her eyes out, she knows not how to dry those feet wet with her tears. She sees no towel around, and her own gar­ments she considers unworthy to touch the sacred person of Him. She thinks of her hair, her long beautiful braids, so much admired for their silkiness. She unclasps the fastenings, slips out the pins. The black mass of tresses, like a waterfall, tumbles over her face, hiding her flushed cheeks and her swimming eyes. With the flowing curls she slowly, tenderly dries the feet of her new-found Lord and Master, as tenderly as a young mother washes her first infant for the first time.

Then, opening the box of ointment, she pours its precious fluid over Christ's freshly washed feet. The odor of the ointment filled the house. Though finished with her task, Magdalene still feels unworthy to lift her head. Meanwhile the host says to himself, not aloud, but to himself:
"This man, were he a prophet, would surely know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner." St. Luke, 7:39.

And He who can read hearts, read the heart of His host, and in answer told of a money-lender who had two debtors, one of whom owed a large amount of money, and the other a much smaller amount. The money-lender cancelled both debts. Jesus asked:
"Which of them therefore, will love him more?"

"He, I suppose, to whom he forgave more," Simon answered.

"Thou hast answered rightly," declared Christ. And then, pointing to the woman at His feet, Jesus speaks:

"Her sins, many as they are, shall be forgiven her, because she has loved much." St. Luke, 6:47.

Finally, turning to Mary Magdalene, stooping down to her, He speaks the sweetest words ever heard. Oh, we can see our Lord, we can even hear Him as He says:
"Thy sins are forgiven."

What joy in the heart of Magdalene! What peace, what delight, what rest in a soul restored to the friendship of God! Her sins are forgiven, washed away forever. Again her heart is pure and clean and happy. For all this peace, this inexpressible happiness, she must thank the God-man, the loving, forgiving Master, Jesus Christ, He who had come from heaven to bring forgiveness, to win forgiveness for all.

While Jesus walked this earth He often forgave sins. Not only to Mary Magdalene did He say, "Thy sins are forgiven," but to the woman taken in adultery, and to the man sick of the palsy. Despite the objections and criti­cisms of the Jews, Jesus forgave sins. We call our Lord "The forgiving Christ."

That same power of forgiving sins Christ gave to His apostles and to their successors, the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church, in the words:

"Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them." St. John, 20:21.

The sinner must do his part. Christ laid down two conditions for for­giveness. We cannot be forgiven unless, first, we are sorry and confess our sins to a priest, and secondly, unless we forgive others. The necessity of telling our sins to the priest in confession is seen from the fact that he cannot forgive some sins and not forgive others, unless he knows what those sins are. Forgiveness of others Christ always demanded.

Truly new and difficult was this command of Christ: "Forgive. . . For­give. . . Forgive." Yes, even seventy times seven times a day. Until Christ's day men were taught to hate their enemies, to render black eye for black eye, broken tooth for broken tooth. Christ commanded us to put away all hatred, all revenge, all grudges, all resentment, all bitterness. He insisted that we do good to our enemies, that we pray for those who perse­cute us, that we forgive those who injure us. Just because forgiveness is so difficult and at the same time so necessary, Christ preached it so often, even with His dying breath:
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." St. Luke, 6:37.

Nowhere is His command more clear than in the Our Father, when we pray: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

How often we say that prayer? Each time we ask God to forgive us as we forgive others. If we really prayed those words our conduct would be more like that of Christ. Like Him, we would always forgive. Remember, we are passing sentence on ourselves with those words. We ask God to forgive our offenses just as we forgive offenses against us. As our Lord once declared:
"For if you forgive their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you your offenses. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your offenses." St. Matthew, 6:14.

We make the conditions. Down deep in our hearts we all realize that to forgive is the more reasonable, the more Christ-like course to take. Every­body hates an unforgiving person; one cannot help liking the person who is ever willing to pardon. To err is human; to forgive, divine. Even the pagans realized this.

Many years before Christ's birth a certain Roman named Marcellus had offended the emperor Caesar, Caesar, the ruler of all the world. The of­fender was brought before the offended emperor. A famous Roman lawyer, Cicero, pleaded with Caesar:
"August Emperor, thy conquests are many and great, but if you forgive Marcellus you have gained your greatest conquest, a victory more honorable, more praiseworthy than all your success in battle. Why? Because to forgive Marcellus would be a victory all your own; it is a most difficult conquest too; it would excite more admiration and gratitude among the Romans than your triumphs on the field of battle."

Thus spoke a pagan to a pagan. Need I tell you that Caesar forgave Marcellus? Will we let a pagan put us to shame? Will we let a heathen who never heard of Christ be more Christ-like than ourselves who claim to be followers of the forgiving Christ?

Though forgiveness was not unknown before Christ, it was our Lord who gave us the strict command and the best example of forgiveness. Re­membering that Jesus was God as well as man, take a glance at the insults He received. His enemies whipped Him; they spat on Him; they struck Him in the face; they nailed Him to a cross.

As God, our Savior could have destroyed His tormentors on the spot. Instead He cried out:
"Father, forgive them."

That cry still rings in the heart of the true Christian. It rises in the heart, quivers on the tongue, it bursts from the lips of every worthy fol­lower of Jesus. Be a real Christian. Learn to pray: "Father, forgive them."

We have many stirring stories of Christians who learned from Christ to forgive. There was a valiant knight, Hildebrand, who was seriously in­sulted by one of his companions, Bruno. Hildebrand swore revenge. After weeks of planning he decided to get his revenge on a certain night. He took several guns and started for a lonely spot where he knew Bruno would pass. On the way he passed a chapel. Hildebrand noticed the door was open. He entered to await the time for his victim's arrival. He whiled away the time by looking at paintings. Three pictures caught his attention.

The first showed our Lord clothed with the scarlet cloak and crowned with thorns. Beneath were the words: "He returned not insult for insult."

The second picture represented our Lord tied to the pillar and wincing under the whips of His tormentors. Below he read the words: "When He suffered thus He threatened not."

The third scene was of our Lord on the cross, dying in agony. It bore this inscription: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

The knight was struck to the heart. He sank to his knees and prayed. Gradually his hatred disappeared. He waited for his enemy, not to kill, but to extend the hand of forgiveness.

During Lent we also look at pictures of our suffering Savior, especially in the way of the cross. Every time we stop at a station and behold the agonies of Christ, we must be determined to live worthy of our forgiving Lord.

Two Irishmen, neighbors, had a lifelong quarrel. One of them took seriously sick. His wife called the priest and explained to him: "Father, Pat has been fighting with Mike Murphy for years. Pat's going to die. Can't you patch up their quarrel?"

After more persuasion the priest induced the dying Pat to call in Mike for a reconciliation. In a few minutes Mike was at the bedside. He sug­gested: "Let's make up, Pat. Let bygones be bygones."

Pat agreed, rather reluctantly. Mike prepared to leave. As he ap­proached the door, Pat raised himself on one elbow in bed, and, shaking his other fist at Murphy, he shouted: "Remember, Mike, this counts only in case I die."

Too often that is the way we forgive - only in case we die. Well we know that we will never be forgiven unless we forgive. But our forgiveness is often false and insincere.

By way of contrast we take you to the Street of Love in Bologna, Italy. It received its name years ago from an incident in which the forgiving love of Christ triumphed over a mother's grief at the loss of a child.

There lived on this street a widow woman and her only child, a healthy, happy boy who was the joy of her life. One afternoon as the lad was play­ing in front of the house, a strange man came by. He interfered with the boy's games and made teasing remarks. The boy spoke up in protest. The stranger, either under the influence of drink or of anger, or of both, whipped out a small sword and stabbed the boy.

Coming to his senses, the murderer rushed into the nearest house, ran upstairs, and begged the lady he met there to hide him. The sight of the bloody sword sent shivers through the good woman who, nevertheless, took pity and found him a hiding place.
A few minutes later her boy's body was carried in. You can imagine that poor mother's feelings as she hung grief-stricken over her dead child, knowing that his murderer was in the same house. Grief and revenge and forgiveness fought for the first place in her agonized heart. At last the will of God won.

As the police pounded at her door, she went to meet them with these calm words: "I give you permission to search my house. Look for yourselves. See if you can find him."

But the police could not find the criminal, so well had she hidden him in her home. As darkness came, the heroic Christian mother brought food and drink to the killer and told him how to escape. Her parting words to him were these: "May God forgive you the same as I do."

Surely God would forgive that saintly woman herself, because she had fulfilled in an heroic way the first condition of forgiveness, namely, for­giving others.

The other condition is that we confess our sins to God's duly authorized ambassador, the priest. Oh, there are those who cannot and will not under­stand how Christ forgives sinners today, just as there were some who could not and would not understand how Christ forgave sinners when He walked this earth. Our Lord even had to work a miracle by healing the body of the paralytic, in order to prove His power to heal the man's soul of sin.

Is it reasonable to say that Christ forgave sins while He dwelt on this earth, but that you and I living nineteen centuries later, could not have our sins forgiven in a certain, definite and unquestionable way?

There are thousands of people who have ghosts of sins haunting their hearts. They would give anything, even life itself, to have those sins washed away. Often they have confessed to themselves in the privacy of their homes and hearts, but they want to tell it to someone else, yet be as if it were not told. They want to hear definite, official word of forgiveness. They want to talk to some soul physician who will understand, who will guide and correct and direct their wayward wills. They want to hear, as Mary Magdalene heard, the words that take away their sins: Thy sins are forgiven.

This story illustrates this desire for forgiveness. A non-Catholic, a very conscientious fellow, was near death. He sent for his minister to whom he confessed his sins in a general way. When the minister declared: "All-right, God has forgiven your sins," the sick man was not satisfied. ­

"I want you to forgive my sins," he told the minister, "for we read in the Bible, 'whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them.'"

The minister explained that he had not the power. The sick man called for a Catholic priest and asked him whether he had the power to forgive sins.

"Why, yes," the priest replied, "Christ gave it to me."

The man begged to be received into the Church. He made an act of perfect contrition, received absolution and a few days later died in perfect peace.

Like that dying man everyone of us wants to be sure that his sins are forgiven. We have that certainty in the Catholic confessional. There are certain conditions:
1. We must examine our conscience or think of our sins.

2. We must tell God that we are sorry. That is absolutely necessary for a good confession. You must be sorry.

3. We must make up our minds that we will try to do better. This firm purpose of amendment is also essential to a good confession.

4. We must tell our sins to a priest. Mortal sins we must tell - their kind and their number. We may also confess our venial sins.

5. We must perform the penance assigned by the priest. These five condi­tions we might remember by putting them on the five fingers of one hand. With that hand we reach out for the forgiving hand of God.

Christ is present in every tabernacle of the Catholic Church. But in another sense Christ is present in every confessional of the Catholic Church. In the person of the priest Christ is present there in that little house of mercy. There Christ listens to you as He listened to Mary Magdalene. There Christ's heart goes out to you as it went to Mary Magdalene. There Christ's words of forgiveness are spoken again to a sinner of today. There the peace and joy and calm that Magdalene received, you also receive.

Who can measure the countless benefits of this God-given sacrament, the peace-bringing, heart-easing, soul-uplifting gift of mercy?

How many souls have been set on the right track; how many families have been kept together; how many stolen dollars have been restored; how many hidden habits of sin have been broken; how many lives have been un­burdened of unbearable loads of worry and sin! This - only God can tell. And over it all is the seal of sacred secrecy.

The forgiving Christ lives with us - even today. Amen.
Adapted from With Christ Through Lent
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (©1951)

Gospel for Tuesday, 4th Week of Lent

Optional Memorial of St. Casimir of Poland, confessor
Old Calendar: St. Casimir

John 5:1-16

The Cure of a Sick Man at the Pool at Bethzatha

[1] After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. [2] Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethzatha, which has five porticoes. [3] In these lay a multitude of invalid, blind, lame, paralyzed. [5] One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. [6] When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there for a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" [7] The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me." [8] Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your pallet, and walk." [9] And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. [10] So the Jews said to the man who was cured, "It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet." [11] But he answered them, "The man who healed me said to me, `Take up your pallet, and walk.'" [12] They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, `Take up your pallet, and walk'?" [13] Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. [14] Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you." [15] The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. [16] And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because He did this on the Sabbath.


1. We cannot be certain what festival this was; it probably refers to the Passover, known the world over at the time as the national festival of the Jewish people. But it could refer to another festival, Pentecost, perhaps.

2. This pool was also called the "Probatic" pool because it was located on the outskirts of Jerusalem, beside the Probatic Gate or Sheep Gate (cf. Nehemiah 3:1-32; 12:39) through which came the livestock which was going to be sacrificed in the temple. Around the end of the nineteenth century the remains of a pool were discovered: excavated out of rock, it was rectangular in shape and was surrounded by four galleries or porches, with a fifth porch dividing the pool into two.

3-4. The Fathers teach that this pool is a symbol of Christian Baptism; but that whereas the pool of Bethzatha cured physical ailments, Baptism cures those of the soul; in Bethzatha's case only one person was cured, now and again; shown through the medium of water (cf. Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. John", 36, 1).

The Sixto-Clementine edition of the Vulgate includes here, as a second part of verse 3 and all of verse 4: "waiting for the moving of the water; [4] For an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and troubled the water' whoever stepped in first after the troubling of the water was healed of whatever disease he had." The New Vulgate, however, omits this passage, assigning it to a footnote, because it does not appear in important Greek codexes and papyri, nor in many ancient translations.

14. The man may have come to the temple to thank God for his cure. Jesus goes over to him and reminds him that the health of the soul is more important than physical health.

Our Lord uses holy fear of God as motivation in the struggle against sin: "Sin no more, that nothing worse may befall you". This holy fear is born out of respect for God our Father; it is perfectly compatible with love. Just as children love and respect their parents and try to avoid annoying them partly because they are afraid of being punished, so we should fight against sin firstly because it is an offense against God, but also because we can be punished in this life and, above all, in the next.

16-18. The Law of Moses established the Sabbath as a weekly day of rest. Through keeping the Sabbath the Jews felt they were imitating God, who rested from the work of creation on the seventh day. St. Thomas Aquinas observes that Jesus rejects this strict interpretation: (The Jews), in their desire to imitate God, did nothing on the Sabbath, as if God on that day had ceased absolutely to act. It is true that He rested on the Sabbath from His work of creating new creatures, but He is always continually at work, maintaining them in existence. [...] God is the cause of all things in the sense that He also maintains them in existence; for if for one moment He were to stop exercising His power, at that very moment everything that nature contains would cease to exist" ("Comm. on St. John, in loc.").

"My Father is working still, and I am working": we have already said that God is continually acting. Since the Son acts together with the Father, who with the Holy Spirit are the one and only God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can say that He is always working. These words of Jesus contain an implicit reference to His divinity: the Jews realize this and they want to kill Him because they consider it blasphemous. "We all call God our Father, who is in Heaven (Isaiah 63:16; 64:8). Therefore, they were angry, not at this, that He said God was His Father, but that He said it in quite another way than men. Notice: the Jews understand what Arians do not understand. Arians affirm the Son to be not equal to the Father, and that was why this heresy was driven from the Church. Here, even the blind, even the slayers of Christ, understand the works of Christ" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang., 17, 16). We call God our Father because through grace we are His adopted children; Jesus calls Him His Father because He is His Son by nature. This is why He says after the Resurrection: "I am ascending to My Father and your Father" (John 20:17), making a clear distinction between the two ways of being a son of God.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Just for Today, March 4

Thou, O most sweet Lord, art bountiful to me above all desert, and above all I dare hope or ask for. Blessed be Thou, O my God; for though I am unworthy of all good, yet Thy generosity and infinite goodness never cease to do good.
-Bk. III, ch. viii.

It is not only trials that Our Lord makes me foresee and desire. For a long time I had cherished the hope of having a priest brother, but this seemed an impossibility, for, having lost my little brothers I could never have this happiness. And yet, God has even gone beyond my desire of having a priest brother who would remember me every day at the altar, for He has united me by spiritual bonds with two of His apostles.

This is how it came about. My first brother was given to me as a feast-day present by our Mother, St Teresa, in 1895. I was very busy in the laundry, for it was washday, when Mere Agnes de Jesus, then Prioress, took me aside and read me a letter. It was from young seminarist, who wrote that St Teresa had inspired him to ask for a sister, who would devote herself to praying for him and the souls who would be under his care. On his part he promised to remember the nun chosen every time he said Mass. I was chosen to be his sister, and the joy that filled my heart at thus seeing my hopes realized was unlike anything I had felt since my childhood, when joy could be too overwhelming for a little heart to contain. I had never known such happiness for years; it was as though a stringed instrument long forgotten once more vibrated to the touch.
-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme)
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - March 4

Do nothing, say nothing before considering if that which you are about to say or do is pleasing to God, profitable to yourself, and edifying to your neighbor.

-St. Ignatius
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for March 4, The Agony of Our Savior

Let us reverently visit the garden where Our Savior suffered His agony. Probably there are still growing in Gethsemane some olive trees which were witnesses of the sufferings of Christ.

About a hundred feet from the Church of the Assumption there is a grotto which, from the first centuries, Christians have ven­erated as the scene of the bloody sweat and the apparition of the angel. It is possible, of course, that Jesus came there after wan­dering for some time in the garden. On that sacred spot they erected a church which was eventually destroyed by the Saracens. The grotto was later transformed into a chapel by the crusaders.

It is a natural rock cave circular in shape, about twelve yards long and eight yards wide; a stone pillar supports the arch. When the grotto served as a press, the olives were thrown into the open­ing at the top.

Since 1802 three altars have been installed. A painting repre­senting the Agony of Christ bears the inscription: "Here, a bloody sweat came upon Him."

What a frightful scene these walls have witnessed: Jesus the Universal Victim is crushed and annihilated under the weight of my sins. An olive press! The press under which the Savior of the world agonized and writhed! Yes, assuredly He could say, "Father, I cannot, this is indeed too much!" Alas, He must drink this bitter cup to the very dregs.

"O Jesus, You said to Your confidant, Margaret Mary: 'I wish that your heart may be My resting place, where I can retire when others persecute Me and reject Me.'

"Let me offer You my poor heart as a garden of retreat. I will hide You there; I will console You there; I will love You there."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Gospel for Monday, 4th Week of Lent

Optional Memorial of St. Katharine Drexel, virgin (USA)

John 4:43-54

[43] After two days Jesus departed to Galilee. [44] For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. [45] So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed Him, having seen all that He had done in Jerusalem at the feast, for they too had gone to the feast.

The Cure of the Royal Official's Son
[46] So He came again to Cana in Galilee, where He had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. [47]When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. [48] Jesus therefore said to him, "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe." [49] The official said to Him, "Sir, come down before my child dies." [50] Jesus said to him, "Go, your son will live." The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way. [51] As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was living. [52] So he asked them the hour when he began to mend, and they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." [53] The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live"; and he himself believed, and all his household. [54] This was now the second sign that Jesus did when He had come from Judea to Galilee.


46. St. John is speaking about a royal official, probably in the service of Herod Antipas who, although he was only tetrarch or governor of Galilee (cf. Luke 3:1), was also referred to as king (cf. Mark6:14). The official, therefore, would have been someone of high rank(verse 51), who lived in Capernaum, a town with a customs post. This is why St. Jerome thought he must have been a "palatinus", a palace courtier, as the corresponding Greek word implies.

48. Jesus seems to be addressing not so much the official as the people of Galilee who flock to Him to get Him to perform miracles and work wonders. On another occasion our Lord reproaches the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum for their disbelief (Matthew11:21-23), because the miracles He worked there would have been enough to move the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon, and even Sodom itself, to do penance. The Galileans in general were more inclined to watch Him perform miracles than listen to His preaching. Later on, after the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, they will look for Jesus to make Him king--but they are slower to believe when He tells them about the Eucharist (John 6:15, 53, 62). Jesus asks people to have a strong, committed faith which, though it may draw support from miracles, does not require them. Be that as it may, in all ages God continues to work miracles, which help bolster our faith.

"I'm not one for miracles. I have told you that in the Holy Gospel I can find more than enough to confirm my faith.--But I can't help pitying those Christians--pious people, `apostles' many of them--who

smile at the idea of extraordinary ways, of supernatural events. I feel the urge to tell them: Yes, this is still the age of miracles: we too would work them if we had faith!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 583).

49-50. In spite of Jesus' apparent coldness, the official keeps trying: "Sir, come down before my child dies". Although His faith is imperfect, it did bring him to travel the thirty-three kilometers(twenty miles) between Capernaum and Cana, and despite his important position here he was, begging our Lord for help. Jesus likes the man’s perseverance and humility; he rewards his faith: "`Si habueritis fidem,sicut granum sinapis! If your faith were the size of a mustard seed!...' What promises are contained in this exclamation of the Master!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 585).

The Fathers compare this miracle with that of the centurion's servant, contrasting the amazing faith of the centurion--from the start--with the initially imperfect faith of this official from Capernaum. St.John Chrysostom comments: "Here was a robust faith [in the case of this official]; therefore, Jesus made him the promise, so that we might learn from this man's devotion; his faith was as yet imperfect, and he did not clearly realize that Jesus could effect the cure at a distance; thus, the Lord, by not agreeing to go down to the man's house, wished us to learn the need to have faith" ("Hom. on St. John", 35).

53. The miracle is so convincing that this man and all his family become believers. All parents should do what they can to bring their household to the faith. As St. Paul says, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Timothy 5:8). Cf. Acts16:14, where we are told that Lydia brought her whole household along with her to be baptized; Acts 18:8 mentions Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue doing the same thing, as does the prison warden (Acts16:33).
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.