Saturday, August 16, 2008

Just for Today, August 17

Let curiosities alone. Read such matters as may rather move thee to compunction, than give thee occupation.
-Bk. I, ch. xx.

A novice had brought her, by way of recreation, an entertaining book full of illustrations, but the Saint refused it, saying: "How could you think that such a book would interest me! I am too near eternity to be distracted with trifles."
-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 of St Augustine for Auhust 17

But to enjoy the Wisdom of God is nothing else than to cling to it with affection...nor does anyone abide in that which he per­ceives, except by affection.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-August 17

Cry, says the Lord to Isaias, all flesh is g1ass.
Now, if all flesh is grass, it is as foolish for a man who exposes himself to the occasion of sin to hope to preserve the virtue of purity as to expect that hay into which a torch has been thrown will not take fire.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

Friday, August 15, 2008

Just for Today, August 16

Why dost thou stand looking about thee here, since this is not thy resting place? Let thy thoughts be with the Most High, and thy prayer directed to Christ without intermission.
-Bk. II, ch. i.

The Saint obeyed the Rule, and never looked about her in the refectory. As I found difficulty in being faithful on this point, she composed a prayer which was a revelation of her humility, for in it she asked for a grace which only I needed:
"O Jesus, Thy two little brides have resolved never to look up in the refectory, in order to honour and imitate the example Thou didst give them before Herod. When that wicked prince mocked Thee, O Infinite Beauty, Thou didst utter no word of complaint, nor even look at him. Herod did not deserve a look from Thy divine eyes, but we, Thy brides, desire it. Reward us with a look of love each time we make the sacrifice of not looking up, and do the same even if we fail in our resolution, for we will then humble. ourselves sincerely in Thy sight."
-Conseils et Souvenirs.
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 of St Augustine for August 16

Delightful it is to take a view of God's husbandry, and to feel delight in his gifts, and the labourers in his field.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-Introduction

I have chosen this little book to succeed, for the time being, the Meditations for Religious which was recently completed. Enjoy!

St Alphonsus Liguori was born at Marianella, near Naples, on September 26, 1696. As a boy he was quick beyond his years and made great progress in learning. At the age of sixteen he took his degree as Doctor of Laws. He then continued to prepare for the Bar, and about the age of nineteen practised his profession in the courts. I t is said that for eight years he never lost a case. Then, by some oversight, which he himself could never explain, he lost an important case, on which ₤100,000 depended. This was the turning-point in his life. He had always been a model of virtue, but now he felt himself irresistibly drawn to devote the rest of his life to the service of God.

Notwithstanding the violent opposition of his father, he began to study for the priesthood, and three years later he was ordained priest, having attained his thirtieth year. After laboring for six years in and around Naples, he was called by God to the work of his life. In 1732 he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the primary object of which is to give missions, especially to the poor and most neglected souls, and for twenty years the Saint was the greatest missioner of Southern Italy.

When he was sixty-six years of age, by a formal command of the Pope, he was consecrated Bishop of St Agatha. In spite of his many bodily infirmities he ruled his diocese with the zeal of an apostle for thirteen years. He then retired to his religious congregation, where he spent the remainder of his life. His holy death took place, in his ninety-first year, on August 1, 1787.

St Alphonsus is known throughout the Catholic world as a writer. It is by no means easy to understand how the Saint found time to compose his numerous works. A certain amount of light, however, is thrown on the matter from the fact that he made a very unusual and difficult vow--a vow never to lose time. He was, as the Church says of him, on fire with zeal for souls, and his zeal left him no rest.

St. Alphonsus was above all a practical Saint, and he sought in all his writings to give direct help to souls. His Moral Theology, written to help priests in hearing confessions, is one of the great treasures of the Church, and is found in the hands of confessors in every part of the world. His devotional books have been translated into almost all European languages. The Saint's heart was on fire with love of Jesus and Mary: he loved the divine Child; he loved Jesus crucified; he loved our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament; he loved the Mother of God. And the love that burnt in his own heart he sought to enkindle in the hearts of all men. And so he gave to the world his books on the Incarnation, the Passion, the Blessed Sacrament, the Glories of Mary, the Necessity of Prayer, and the Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ. Conscious that so many Christians forget our Lord because they forget death and the life to come, the Saint wrote his books on Preparation for Death and the Way of Salvation.

There is a peculiar unction about the writings of St Alphonsus, and on every page there is something that speaks straight to the soul. That is why Pius IX and Benedict XV recommended them so earnestly to all the faithful. For this reason, too, Bishop Hedley, in his best-known book, his Retreat, advises his readers to make use of the Saint's works, especially on the Blessed Sacrament and the Glories of Mary.

There are many, no doubt, who read the books of St Alphonsus from time to time; but it may be that they do not feel inclined to take up a devotional book of any size to read as a daily practice; or perhaps they have already read the works of the Saint which they possess, and would wish to know more of his spirit. In this little book thoughts will be found for every day of the year, taken from the various devotional writings of the Saint. It is hoped that their variety and shortness will make the reader willing to give the few moments necessary to keep in daily touch with the works of St. Alphonsus.

Whoever puts into practice the teaching of the Saint contained in these short extracts from his writings will without doubt avoid sin, lead a holy life, and attain a high degree of glory in heaven.
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.

First published 1927

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Living Up to Our Religion

By The Rev. H. G. Hughes

"I say then, walk in the spirit." -Epistle of the day.

Men of the world, my dear brethren, take more care about their worldly interests and affairs, and spend more time over them, than do Christians, in many cases, in regard to the things of eternal salvation. The only remedy for this is a firm and constant determination on our part to live up to the teachings of our holy religion, to be, in other words, thoroughly good Catholics; and I shall speak to you therefore to-day on this important subject.

Let us go back to the beginning of the Church's history, and imagine one of the friends and followers of our Divine Saviour standing at the entrance to the empty tomb of Jesus on the morning of His glorious resurrection. Imagine that he has lived, with the rest of Christ's friends, through the sad and terrible hours from the night when Jesus was betrayed to the desolate moment when the sacred lifeless Body was laid in the sepulchre.

Imagine that now, standing before that tenantless grave, he realizes with unutterable joy the truth of the angels' words: "He is risen; He is not here." And suppose that a flash of supernatural light floods his soul, and reveals to him the whole meaning of the life, death, and Resurrection of the Saviour of mankind. Then, if he had wished to sum up that meaning in one short sentence, he could not have done it better or more truly than in the inspired words of the Apostle St. Paul: "He was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification."

In those few words, indeed, is summed up the whole spiritual history of the human race, the whole merciful purpose of God in our redemption. And the mental vision of that disciple whom we have imagined thus enlightened would have to travel backwards and forwards, would have to cover the past and the future, in order to see in its fullness the meaning of the life and death of Jesus summed up in those words: "He was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification." "Sin" and "justification," those are the two reasons for the death and resurrection of God-made Man; the reasons why He became man and died, and rose again the third day. But those two words carry us back to the beginning of man's history upon earth, and on to the end of the world, when the work of God's redeeming Love shall be finished, and the number of the elect made up, and Satan and his followers chained at last and for ever in hell, never to work their mischief again.

Let us now, my brethren, as far as time will allow, imitate what we have imagined that disciple doing at the empty tomb. Let us cast our mental vision back to the beginning of man's history--to his creation by God. As for the future, some of what was future to the disciples of Jesus is present to us; we live in it, and I shall not ask you to go beyond it except by remembering that what Jesus is doing for us now is to have its final and complete effect only after the last great enemy, death, has been destroyed, and the new heavens and the new earth are come.

When God created man He endowed him with wonderful natural powers and faculties, with a wonderful beauty that in themselves made him an image and likeness of his Creator. He gave him an understanding capable of knowing God, a will capable of loving God, many powers of body and soul capable of being ranged in an orderly harmony of subjection to man's reason and will and brought into play in that which would have been in any case man's highest end0--the loving service of his Creator.

If God had left man in this natural condition, with simply his natural powers, and if man had served God with these natural powers, knowing God in the mirror of creation, loving God with a natural love proportioned to that knowledge, then man's reward would have been for eternity a very perfect, yet merely natural, knowledge of God through the study and contemplation of the works of His Hands, and a very great, but merely natural love of God corresponding to that study and contemplation.

There was no necessity for God to do more than this; no necessity for Him to call His creature to any higher destiny.

But God did not leave man with only his natural powers; He did call him to a higher destiny. When we open the New Testament, especially the Epistles of St. Paul and other Apostles, we find that we are called by God to a destiny so high and wonderful that even with our Christian faith to help us we can form a faint idea only of its nobility.

It is nothing less than the face to face sight of God in heaven, with all that this includes. And this means a direct knowledge of God--seeing Him, not in the mirror of created things, but "as He is." It means being adopted into the Divine Family of the Blessed Trinity; having God for our close, intimate Friend and Companion forever, sharing in God's own blessedness and happiness, sharing, by knowledge and love, the Divine Life itself.

But God would not bring man to this glorious end without some cooperation on man's own part; or, to put it another way, God willed to put it into man's power to earn this heavenly reward by loving service. Yet no service of man, not the best actions of man have any power in themselves to deserve a reward so high; and besides this, man has no natural power or faculty in his soul by which He could see God face to face, or know Him as He is.

That man himself should be raised to the capability and power of seeing God face to face, knowing Him as He is, loving Him with a love so intimate that the affection of lovers is but a faint image of it, and that man's actions during his earthly life should be raised to the capability of leading to this heavenly consummation, a supernatural gift was necessary, raising man's soul to a higher state, putting his actions upon a higher, supernatural plane.

That supernatural gift God gave to man at his creation; He gave it to Adam and Eve, our first parents. By that gift a heavenly gift poured out in their souls by the Holy Spirit Himself; they were made holy with holiness from God; they were made God­like, their actions supernaturalized and made worthy of the eternal recompense of the Beatific Vision; they themselves made not merely servants, but loved children of their heavenly Father; and Divine charity, supreme love of God filled their hearts. It was the gift of GRACE.

Brethren, you know the sad history of how all that was lost, for them and for us. It was lost by sin. Because of that sin we are born into the world deprived of sanctifying grace with its right to heaven, with its sonship of God. That sad lack of grace, with the deformity of soul which is the consequence, is what we mean by original sin. I need not dwell on the other consequences of the sin of Adam, on the perversity of will, the inclination to evil, the personal sins which these things lead us into, the physical evil and woe, and death itself that came into the world through sin; its worst consequence is the one I wish to dwell on now, the loss of sanctifying grace, and with that the loss of heaven and of God.

Brethren, St. Paul tells us how sin brought death into this world. Had it brought only bodily death, that would have been a small thing. But it brought the death of souls, spiritual death; the death of supernatural goodness and holiness in men's hearts; the death of supernatural knowledge of God; the impossibility of reaching that high and noble destiny for which we were made by God: it closed the gates of the heavenly life to men, and opened the gates of death and hell; it tore man from God, his Father, and made him the slave of sin and Satan.

But "He was delivered up for our sins." By His death Christ Jesus our Lord made atonement for all our sins, won back for us the lost gift of grace; gave us, too, in giving us grace, the gift of Divine charity, pardon of our sins, and the power of casting off sin and of winning heaven, made possible and more than possible for us the attainment of our sublime destiny--the blessed sight and possession of our God when this poor life is over.

And all this, dear brethren, is what we mean by justification. When these effects are found in a man's soul, brought into that soul by the out­pouring within it by the Holy Ghost, of the Divine gift and influence of sanctifying grace, we say that that man is justified. And this justification was won for all of us by the passion and death of our Redeemer.

But, my brethren, you may ask, and not unnaturally, "If the death of Jesus won our justification, how are the words of St. Paul true: 'He rose again for our justification'"?

Brethren, I reply that, while the death of Christ merited of itse1f all the blessings that we have as Christians, yet those fruits of the Passion have to be applied to each individual soul throughout the ages. They might have been applied to us, brought into our souls-­pardon, grace, charity, holiness might have been acquired had God so willed it, by a simple act of faith in the past.

But God has not chosen that they should be acquired regularly in that way. He has chosen a more wonderful way. He has chosen that the risen Christ should dwell and work among men now and always; that there should be on earth, and all over the earth, sacred places to which men can point and say: "Here dwells our risen Lord; there He works; there He may be found; there I can come to Him and there find His pardon, His grace and justification."

More than this, God has chosen that we should be brought into close and intimate touch and connection with our risen Lord, so that from the ocean of grace that is in Him, which flows from the Godhead into His sacred humanity, streams of grace should flow from Him into us.

Brethren, this is a reality. Christ said of Himself and us: "I am the Vine, you are the branches"; and as the sap flows from the main trunk into the furthest tendrils that are putting forth their young life, so the grace of Christ flows from Him to the least of His members. Members, I say, for so again we are, members of Him who is our Head. Again and again St. Paul uses this comparison of the human body to teach us this doctrine of the close union of redeemed souls with our Incarnate Lord. We are members, he says, of Christ; Christ is the Head. But members and a Head make up a Body--and, says the Apostle, "so also is Christ." Christ has a Body, and we are members of that Body; and St. Paul tells us again what that Body is. "Christ," he says, "is the Head of the Body, the Church.

The living, risen Christ, has a body, then, on earth, animated by His spirit; and from Him grace and charity and all spiritual gifts flow throughout the body to each member; that body is the Catholic Church--the Church of which the Apostle says that Christ purchased her to Himself upon the Cross.

Thus, then, is it true that Christ rose again for our justification. He rose, indeed, because the gate of death could not confine the Lord of Life; He rose that the humanity in which He suffered might receive the reward of glory; He rose to prove that His message was true; He rose that it might be known that when He claimed to be God He did not deceive us; He rose to give us the pledge of a future resurrection; but He rose also to live on in His holy Church, to gather unto Himself living members till the end of time.

And so that disciple whom we imagined at the beginning, looking forward would have seen what we see now--the glorious Church of God, with her holy Sacraments instituted by Jesus when He was on earth, as the means of conveying grace and pardon to us. Her Holy Sacrifice wherein day by day Christ is offered up and His merits put into our hands to plead for us here below; the Church, Christ's Body, His means of carrying on still the life of the Incarnation among us, of working His work of salvation and preaching the truths of life through His consecrated ministers. He was delivered up for our sins; but He rose again for our justification, and in His Church on earth for our justification He lives His risen Life.

Brethren, I beseech you to walk worthy of the vocation with which you are called. Children of light, children of the Catholic Church, members of Christ's Body, cast not away your glorious privileges by sin, by carelessness, by indifference. Be not less wise in your generation, that is, in heavenly things, than the children of the world in theirs. Oh, if all Catholics realized what it is to be a Catholic there would be no necessity to go and beg people to come to Mass, to receive the Sacraments, to listen to God's truth which only in the Catholic Church is fully known and taught. A Catholic can miss the blessings of Catholic life; by sin, by mortal sin, we can stop the channels by which Divine grace should flow into our souls.

Let it not be so with any of us, but rather let us drink in those blessings to the full, and cherish as our dearest possession that Divine grace that flows to us in the Church from Jesus, and will bring us to the sight and love of God in heaven.
Adapted from Plain Sermons by Practical Preachers, Vol. II(©1916)
Nihil Obstat: Remegius Lafort, S.T.D
Imprimatur: John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

News Updates, 8/15

Bishop Vasa calls catechists, youth ministers to spiritual vigilance
Faith foundation for youth requires our own spiritual care

Chicago's Cardinal George lifts veil on abuse
In sworn deposition, says: 'I have to accept the blame'

Dems new language regarding abortion praised
Catholic and evangelical leaders doing back flips

HIV-positive priest accused of sex abuse dead
Removed from ministry in 1999 following allegations

Catholic choir director charged with molestation
Photos of man and 6-year-old boy found on camera

Pope urges end to hostilities in South Ossetia
Pleads for start of negotiations between Russia, Georgia

Principal behind 'pregnancy pact' row quits
His comments were publicly questioned by the mayor

Sri Lanka shrine reopens after minesweeping
Area still dangerous as Assumption pilgrims gather

Catholic priest facing 30 sex charges
Australian cleric abused 18 boys as young as age 11

Jesus played cricket, manuscript suggests
Armenian account of the Infancy includes ball and club

Maryknoll priest summoned by superiors after participating in ordination of ‘priestette’

Last month, Dana Reynolds, a Carmel-by-the Sea woman who claims she is a Catholic bishop, ordained three “womenpriests” in Boston. On Aug. 8, Reynolds ordained another womanpriest, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, at a Unitarian church in Lexington, Kentucky. This “ordination,” however, was unique, for it was the first to involve a Catholic priest in good standing with the Church....

...Maryknoll priest Fr. Roy Bourgeois has challenged the Vatican by concelebrating with Dana Reynolds and delivering the homily at Sevre-Duszynska’s ordination service. In doing so, Bourgeois has become the first Catholic cleric in good standing to participate publicly in an attempted ordination of a woman....

Bourgeois’ superiors have summoned him to meet with them at Maryknoll, New York, on Aug. 28. Maryknoll superior general Fr. John Sivalon told the National Catholic Reporter , “We are asking our brother to come home and explain to us what happened....”

A member of Maryknoll for 42 years, Bourgeois said, “I am hoping that my community and our leadership will support me and women, that they will walk in solidarity with women who are oppressed.”
It seems that if this priest is to follow his erroneous conscience, then he must have the courage to leave the priesthood - he cannot possibly be a "priest in good standing" if his understanding of irreformable teachings of the Church are defective, especially when he publicly expresses his opposition to the Church. By his actions, he has severely brought scandal upon the Church and the faithful and has led others into error and dissent.

Gospel for Aug 15, Solemnity: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Old Calendar: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From: Luke 1:39-56

The Visitation

[39] In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, [40] and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. [41] And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit [42] and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! [43] And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? [44] For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. [45] And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

The Magnificat

[46] And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, [47] and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, [48] for He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; [49] for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. [50] And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. [51] He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, [52] He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; [53] He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away. [54] He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, [55] as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."

[56] And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.


39-56. We contemplate this episode of our Lady's visit to her cousin St. Elizabeth in the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: "Joyfully keep Joseph and Mary company...and you will hear the traditions of the House of David.... We walk in haste towards the mountains, to a town of the tribe of Judah (Luke 1:39).

"We arrive. It is the house where John the Baptist is to be born. Elizabeth gratefully hails the Mother of her Redeemer: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of my Lord? (Luke 1:42-43).

"The unborn Baptist quivers...(Luke 1:41). Mary's humility pours forth in the "Magnificat".... And you and I, who are proud--who were proud--promise to be humble" ([St] J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary").

39. On learning from the angel that her cousin St. Elizabeth is soon to give birth and is in need of support, our Lady in her charity hastens to her aid. She has no regard for the difficulties this involves. Although we do not know where exactly Elizabeth was living (it is now thought to be Ain Karim), it certainly meant a journey into the hill country which at that time would have taken four days.

From Mary's visit to Elizabeth Christians should learn to be caring people. "If we have this filial contact with Mary, we won't be able to think just about ourselves and our problems. Selfish personal problems will find no place in our mind" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By," 145).

42. St. Bede comments that Elizabeth blesses Mary using the same words as the archangel "to show that she should be honored by angels and by men and why she should indeed be revered above all other women" ("In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

When we say the "Hail Mary" we repeat these divine greetings, "rejoicing with Mary at her dignity as Mother of God and praising the Lord, thanking Him for having given us Jesus Christ through Mary" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 333).

43. Elizabeth is moved by the Holy Spirit to call Mary "the mother of my Lord", thereby showing that Mary is the Mother of God.

44. Although he was conceived in sin--original sin--like other men, St. John the Baptist was born sinless because he was sanctified in his mother's womb by the presence of Jesus Christ (then in Mary's womb) and of the Blessed Virgin. On receiving this grace of God St. John rejoices by leaping with joy in his mother's womb--thereby fulfilling the archangel's prophecy (cf. Luke 1:15).

St. John Chrysostom comments on this scene of the Gospel: "See how new and how wonderful this mystery is. He has not yet left the womb but he speaks by leaping; he is not yet allowed to cry out but he makes himself heard by his actions [...]; he has not yet seen the light but he points out the Sun; he has not yet been born and he is keen to act as Precursor. The Lord is present, so he cannot contain himself or wait for nature to run its course: he wants to break out of the prison of his mother's womb and he makes sure he witnesses to the fact that the Savior is about to come" ("Sermo Apud Metaphr., Mense Julio").

45. Joining the chorus of all future generations, Elizabeth, moved by the Holy Spirit, declares the Lord's Mother to be blessed and praises her faith. No one ever had faith to compare with Mary's; she is the model of the attitude a creature should have towards its Creator--complete submission, total attachment. Through her faith, Mary is the instrument chosen by God to bring about the Redemption; as Mediatrix of all graces, she is associated with the redemptive work of her Son: "This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to His death; first when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation and the Precursor leaps with joy in the womb of his mother [...]. The Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood (cf. John 19:25), in keeping with the Divine Plan, enduring with her only-begotten Son the intensity of His suffering, associating herself with His sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which was born of her" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 57f).

The new Latin text gives a literal rendering of the original Greek when it says "quae credidit" (RSV "she who has believed") as opposed to the Vulgate "quae credidisti" ("you who have believed") which gave more of the sense than a literal rendering.

46-55. Mary's "Magnificat" canticle is a poem of singular beauty. It evokes certain passages of the Old Testament with which she would have been very familiar (especially 1 Samuel 2:1-10).

Three stanzas may be distinguished in the canticle: in the first (verses 46-50) Mary glorifies God for making her the Mother of the Savior, which is why future generations will call her blessed; she shows that the Incarnation is a mysterious __expression of God's power and holiness and mercy. In the second (verses 51-53) she teaches us that the Lord has always had a preference for the humble, resisting the proud and boastful. In the third (verses 54-55) she proclaims that God, in keeping with His promise, has always taken care of His chosen people--and now does them the greatest honor of all by becoming a Jew (cf. Romans 1:3).

"Our prayer can accompany and imitate this prayer of Mary. Like her, we feel the desire to sing, to acclaim the wonders of God, so that all mankind and all creation may share our joy" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 144).

46-47. "The first fruits of the Holy Spirit are peace and joy. And the Blessed Virgin had received within herself all the grace of the Holy Spirit" (St. Basil, "In Psalmos Homilae", on Psalm 32). Mary's soul overflows in the words of the "Magnificat". God's favors cause every humble soul to feel joy and gratitude. In the case of the Blessed Virgin, God has bestowed more on her than on any other creature. "Virgin Mother of God, He whom the heavens cannot contain, on becoming man, enclosed Himself within your womb" ("Roman Missal", Antiphon of the Common of the Mass for Feasts of Our Lady). The humble Virgin of Nazareth is going to be the Mother of God; the Creator's omnipotence has never before manifested itself in as complete a way as this.

48-49. Mary's __expression of humility causes St. Bede to exclaim: "It was fitting, then, that just as death entered the world through the pride of our first parents, the entry of Life should be manifested by the humility of Mary" ("In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

"How great the value of humility!--"Quia respexit humilitatem.... It is not of her faith, nor of her charity, nor of her immaculate purity that our Mother speaks in the house of Zachary. Her joyful hymn sings: `Since He has looked on my humility, all generations will call me blessed'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 598).

God rewards our Lady's humility by mankind's recognition of her greatness: "All generations will call me blessed." This prophecy is fulfilled every time someone says the Hail Mary, and indeed she is praised on earth continually, without interruption. "From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs. Accordingly, following the Council of Ephesus, there was a remarkable growth in the cult of the people of God towards Mary, in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: `all generations will call me blessed, for He who is mighty has done great things for me'" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 66).

50. "And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation": "At the very moment of the Incarnation, these words open up a new perspective of salvation history. After the Resurrection of Christ, this perspective is new on both the historical and the eschatological level. From that time onwards there is a succession of new generations of individuals in the immense human family, in ever-increasing dimensions; there is also a succession of new generations of the people of God, marked with the sign of the Cross and of the Resurrection and `sealed' with the sign of the paschal mystery of Christ, the absolute revelation of the mercy that Mary proclaimed on the threshold of her kinswoman's house: "His mercy is [...] from generation to generation' [...].

"Mary, then, is the one who has the "deepest knowledge of the mystery of God's mercy". She knows its price, she knows how great it is. In this sense, we call her the "Mother of Mercy": Our Lady of Mercy, or Mother of Divine Mercy; in each one of these titles there is a deep theological meaning, for they express the special preparation of her soul, of her whole personality, so that she was able to perceive, through the complex events, first of Israel, then of every individual and of the whole of humanity, that mercy of which `from generation to generation' people become sharers according to the eternal design of the Most Holy Trinity" (John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 9).

51. "The proud": those who want to be regarded as superior to others, whom they look down on. This also refers to those who, in their arrogance, seek to organize society without reference to, or in opposition to, God's law. Even if they seem to do so successfully, the words of our Lady's canticle will ultimately come true, for God will scatter them as He did those who tried to build the Tower of Babel, thinking that they could reach as high as Heaven (cf. Genesis 11:4).

"When pride takes hold of a soul, it is no surprise to find it bringing along with it a whole string of other vices--greed, self-indulgence, envy, injustice. The proud man is always vainly striving to dethrone God, who is merciful to all His creatures, so as to make room for himself and his ever cruel ways.

"We should beg God not to let us fall into this temptation. Pride is the worst sin of all, and the most ridiculous.... Pride is unpleasant, even from a human point of view. The person who rates himself better than everyone and everything is constantly studying himself and looking down on other people, who in turn react by ridiculing his foolish vanity" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 100).

53. This form of divine providence has been experienced countless times over the course of history. For example, God nourished the people of Israel with manna during their forty years in the wilderness (Exodus 16:4-35); similarly His angel brought food to Elijah (1 Kings 19:5-8), and to Daniel in the lions' den (Daniel 14:31-40); and the widow of Sarepta was given a supply of oil which miraculously never ran out (1 Kings 17:8ff). So, too, the Blessed Virgin's yearning for holiness was fulfilled by the incarnation of the Word.

God nourished the chosen people with His Law and the preaching of His prophets, but the rest of mankind was left hungry for His word, a hunger now satisfied by the Incarnation. This gift of God will be accepted by the humble; the self-sufficient, having no desire for the good things of God, will not partake of them (cf. St. Basil, "In Psalmos Homilae", on Psalm 33).

54. God led the people of Israel as He would a child whom He loved tenderly: "the Lord your God bore you, as a man bears his son, in all the way that you went" (Deuteronomy 1:31). He did so many times, using Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, etc., and now He gives them a definitive leader by sending the Messiah--moved by His great mercy which takes pity on the wretchedness of Israel and of all mankind.

55. God promised the patriarchs of old that He would have mercy on mankind. This promise He made to Adam (Genesis 3:15), Abraham (Genesis 22:18), David (2 Samuel 7:12), etc. From all eternity God had planned and decreed that the Word should become incarnate for the salvation of all mankind. As Christ Himself put it, "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
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.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Krebs Responds to Bozek's "Underground" Network

In a recent email newsletter, Frank Krebs, pastor of the 90-member Sts. Clare & Francis in Webster Groves, an ECC (Ecumenical "Catholic" Communion) church, a breakaway schismatic group similar to other protestant demoninations, responds to the August 10th article in the Post Dispatch, "Hero? Heretic? Parish divided" by Tim Townsend. The article (which was blogged here) states, in part:
Bozek also has spoken with the Rev. Frank Krebs — pastor of the 90-member Sts. Clare & Francis in Webster Groves, which is separate from the Vatican — about joining Bozek's "underground" network.
Krebs responds, in part:
I have been working very hard for a long time to keep the lines of communication open among Jessica, myself, Marek at St. Stan’s and the two women priests, Elsie McGrath and Ree Hudson, at the St. Therese Community. We have talked about how we might cooperate and collaborate. And hopefully we will continue to do so. I think it is very important to keep the lines of communication open among those of us who have somewhat similar visions. (By the way I had lunch a week or so ago with the pastor at Sts. Peter & Paul Church, a member of a group called the ECC+USA; he is a wonderful man. I intend to stay in touch with him too.) But I have not been invited by Marek into “Bozek’s underground network.”

We are good friends and discuss our views on a variety of topics all the time.
Marek, in my interpretation, has a view of the church that is heavily influenced by his experience in Poland when it was under Soviet control and he was a boy. At that time and place the Roman Catholic Church was underground. It was vibrant and resistant to authoritarian rule. It was bold, defiant, and very much alive. He sees, I believe, St. Stan’s to be like that in relation to the Archdiocese of St. Louis. In scriptural terms he takes a very prophetic stance: bold and over-against the powers that be, but never thinking of himself as outside the group that is condemning him. He insists he is Roman Catholic....
[emphasis original]

Bozek rejects the Church and her teacings yet insists that he is Roman Catholic...Krebs seems to understand the absurdity of this claim, if I undertand his italicized "Roman" above...Krebs at least seems to have the cognizance to not make that claim. He still believes, hoever, that he is "Catholic" - just as so many others lay claim to the name.

Marek and I have a lot in common. We believe in an inclusive church. We both identify as Catholic and take that identity very seriously. We believe that if the people are the Church, they should certainly make decisions about how the Church should function. But I, and I believe I can speak for us at Sts. Clare & Francis and say “we,” see ourselves through a different lens. We are not underground because for us there is no need to be underground; there is no Soviet Union forcing us underground. We are in a church body (the ECC) where we can be Catholic and in full collaboration with our bishop and be just as inclusive and democratic as we want to be. We’re not fighting those kinds of battles. We’re putting our energy into building a Church we are proud of, not fighting one we are not proud of. So Marek and I have different perspectives, but we are still friends…and, to the extent we can be, collaborators.

Enough has been written about Marek Bozek - soon he will be laicized. Whether the members of St Stanislaus want access to valid or licit sacraments by a priest in communion with the Church founded by Our Lord remains to be seen.

Another observation is in order - Krebs and others who have left the Roman Catholic Church may not consider themselves part of an "underground" network but, in actuality, by working outside the Church and against the Church, some might rightfully consider that as part of an "underground" effort or network. Krebs, being a Catholic ex-priest, should understand that.

"He who is not with me is against me..." Matthew 12:30.

Please continue to pray for those blinded by their pride, passions and sins and pray for the disaffected members of St Stanislaus.

Just for Today, August 15

They are filled with so great a love of the Deity, and such overflowing joy, that there is nothing wanting to their glory, nor can any happiness be wanting to them. All the saints, by how much the higher they are in glory, by so much are they the more humble in them­selves, and nearer to Me, and better beloved by Me.
-Bk. III, ch. lviii.

It is true that Our Lady is Queen of Heaven and earth, but at the same time she is more Mother than Queen. One should not think of her (as I have often heard it said) eclipsing the glory of all the Saints, as the rising sun makes the stars disappear. That would be a very strange thing, for a mother to overshadow the glory of her children. On the contrary, I believe that she will add splendour to the glory of the Saints.
-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 of St Augustine for August 15

MARY brought forth in the flesh the Head of this body, the Church brings forth the members of that Head in the Spirit.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Meditation for August 15, The Assumption

Note: This is the last of the Meditations for Religious. We started one year ago with these meditations and I hope to find something worthwhile to succeed these wonderful reflections.

The Blessed Virgin died from the burning desire of her soul to rejoin her Son; she died of love.

And the angels carried her blessed body into heaven.

As Mother of Christ the King, she is crowned queen of earth and of heaven.

From above she watches over poor humanity and waits for each one of us. At the moment of death, she will be present in spirit at my bedside, she whom I have so often invoked in my Hail Marys: Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

After the death of a Carmelite of Montreal, an act of resignation to death was found upon her heart. With all my soul I will make this act my own:

"I desire that my death may be an act of the most perfect adoration and of the most humble submission that a poor creature can render to its well beloved Creator. Yes, my God, may my death adore You in proclaiming your sovereignty. May my voluntary, free and loving resignation to it be agreeable to You. My soul bows down to accept it. I wish to die to obey You because You have thus decreed it. I wish to die because Jesus died. I wish to die for love of Him because he died for love of me. I wish to die because Mary, my sweet Mother, died. I wish to die when and how it pleases You, O my God, in the manner You wish, under the conditions You have determined, with all the physical and mental sufferings that You have apportioned and prc­pared in Your eternal foreknowledge. I ask only one grace: to die in the act of the most perfect love a creature can possess.

"I offer You my death as my profession, my irrevocable consecration. May this complete abandonment of my being into Your hands repair all my failures.

"If it is not too rash, I beg You to let me have my purgatory before dying. O my God, give me the grace to see You without delay at my departure from this life. Grant that my last act of love on earth may be followed by an act of love in heaven."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Reflections on the Assumption

Mental Prayer for August 15-Mary's Assumption

August 15 - The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Assumption-The Light of Our Life

Aug 15-Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

C-FAM: Secret Abortion Meeting Exposed

The Friday Fax has listened to tapes of a secret meeting of top pro-abortion litigators where they plotted how to take advantage of armed conflict situations to advance their radical agenda. We report today on this eye-opening meeting where these lawyers rather callously discuss how to exploit dire situations for their own ends.

You will recall that the Friday Fax broke a similar story a few years ago when some of these same players met in secret to develop a strategic plan to press abortion in legal systems around the world. That meeting was hosted by then president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, Janet Benshoof. Benshoof was the host of this meeting, too, only this time as head of a new group called the Global Justice Center. We won’t say how we came to listen to the tape, but perhaps not all of Benshoof friends are really her allies.

In a related story, we also report today on the annual report of the Center for Reproductive Rights. This report shows that this group is supported by all the major US foundations and the UN Population Fund in their legal war to make abortion the law of the world.

Need I say that these are both global exclusives? You really must SPREAD THE WORD!

Yours sincerely,
Austin Ruse

Moral Principles for Catholic Voters (Kansas Catholic Conference)

We, the Catholic Bishops of Kansas, exercising our role as teachers, offer the following guidelines to help Catholics form their consciences on matters related to our most basic obligation of citizenship: voting. The following guidelines are intended for educational purposes only. We do not intend to endorse or oppose any particular candidate, political party, or political action committee. Rather, it is our hope that these guidelines will show how our Catholic faith and human reason shapes our thinking, choosing, and acting in daily life.


Catholics live in the world, but they should not live by worldly values that give too much importance to power, possessions, and pleasure as ends in themselves (cf. 1 John 2:16). Catholics have the same rights and duties as other citizens, but are called to carry them out in light of the truth of faith and reason as taught by the Catholic Church. For example, they are called to respect human authority and obey those who govern society “for the Lord’s sake” (1 Peter 2:13-17).

In a democratic society citizens choose whom they vest with authority for the common good. A choice for one person over another for public office can significantly affect many lives, especially the lives of the most vulnerable persons in society, such as children in the womb and those who are terminally ill. Therefore, Catholic citizens have a serious moral obligation to exercise their right to vote, whether on the national, state or local level. The Second Vatican Council taught us that “all citizens are to bear in mind that it is both their right and duty to use their free vote to promote the common good” (The Church in the Modern World 75). What is more, we have a duty to vote guided by a well-formed conscience, and not simply on the basis of self-interest, party affiliation, or the personal charisma of any individual.


We are conscientious voters when we are guided by our consciences. Conscience is a law “written” by God on our hearts that disposes us to love and to do good and avoid evil (cf. Romans 2:12-16). The conscience is like an inner voice that has the authority of the very voice of God. We have a serious duty to follow the guidance of conscience. To act against the judgment of conscience when it is certain about what is good and evil has the same seriousness as disobeying God. It is important to remember however that it is possible for our conscience to be certain and at the same time incorrect about what is good and evil.

For this reason, we have an equally serious duty to properly form or teach our conscience so that it can correctly judge what is good and evil. We are obliged to seek the truth and then to abide by it. We need to make this inquiry all throughout our lives, as we grow and as the questions we face change or become more complicated. In seeking the truth, Catholics receive important guidance from the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters pertaining to faith and morals. We rely on the help of the Holy Spirit to apply these teachings to particular questions. In addition, we seek sound advice from others who share our values and who are informed on the issues.


In some moral matters the use of reason allows for a legitimate diversity in our prudential judgments. Catholic voters may differ, for example, on what constitutes the best immigration policy, how to provide universal health care, or affordable housing. Catholics may even have differing judgments on the state’s use of the death penalty or the decision to wage a just war. The morality of such questions lies not in what is done (the moral object), but in the motive and circumstances. Therefore, because these prudential judgments do not involve a direct choice of something evil and take into consideration various goods, it is possible for Catholic voters to arrive at different, even opposing judgments.

Notwithstanding a possible diversity of prudential judgments, each of us should guide our decision-making on such issues by a fundamental respect for the dignity of every human person from the moment of conception to natural death. This is a non-negotiable principle. It is the foundation for both Catholic social teaching and of a just society. Respect for human dignity is the basis for the fundamental right to life. It is also the basis for the right to those things needed to live with dignity, for example, productive work and fair wages, food and shelter, education and health care, protection from harm, and the right to move from one country to another when these things are not available to us at home. Because of respect for the dignity of the human person, Catholics are obliged to come to the aid and defense of the defenseless, especially the poor. Another guiding principle is the defense and promotion of marriage as the unbreakable bond between one man and one woman. Society is only as healthy as is the institution of marriage and family.

Good and evil in the above-mentioned issues can be determined by the use of right reason. While it is true that the Church’s teaching on these matters is clarified and strengthened by the light of the Gospel, throughout history persons of good will have understood these truths from reason alone, independent of the conviction of faith.


A correct conscience recognizes that there are some choices that always involve doing evil and which can never be done even as a means to a good end. These choices include elective abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, the destruction of embryonic human beings in stem cell research, human cloning, and same-sex “marriage.” Such acts are judged to be intrinsically evil, that is, evil in and of themselves, regardless of our motives or the circumstances. They constitute an attack against innocent human life, as well as marriage and family. Pope John Paul II warned that concern for the “right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination” (Christifideles Laici 38).

Other examples of choices that always involve doing evil would be racial discrimination and the production and use of pornography. These actions offend the fundamental dignity of the human person. Concerning choices that are intrinsically evil, Catholics may not promote or even remain indifferent to them.


In light of the above, it is a correct judgment of conscience that we would commit moral evil if we were to vote for a candidate who takes a permissive stand on those actions that are intrinsically evil when there is a morally-acceptable alternative. What are we to do, though, when there is no such alternative? Because we have a moral obligation to vote, deciding not to vote at all is not ordinarily an acceptable solution to this dilemma. So, when there is no choice of a candidate that avoids supporting intrinsically evil actions, especially elective abortion, we should vote in such a way as to allow the least harm to innocent human life and dignity. We would not be acting immorally therefore if we were to vote for a candidate who is not totally acceptable in order to defeat one who poses an even greater threat to human life and dignity.


It involves duties and responsibilities. Our duty is to vote in keeping with a conscience properly formed by fundamental moral principles. As Bishops we are not telling Catholics which candidates they should vote for. Rather, we simply want to teach how we should form our consciences and consider the issues in light of these fundamental moral principles.


A Catholic Case Against Barack

Patrick Buchanan writes, in part:
....Before any devout Catholic, Evangelical Christian or Orthodox Jew votes for Obama, he or she might spend 15 minutes in Chapter 10 of [David] Freddoso's [new best-seller] "Case Against Barack." For if, as Catholics believe, abortion is the killing of an unborn child, and participation in an abortion entails automatic excommunication, how can a good Catholic support a candidate who will appoint justices to make Roe v. Wade eternal and eliminate all restrictions on a practice Catholics legislators have fought for three decades to curtail?

And which Catholic priests and prelates will it be who give invocations at Obama rallies, even as Mother Church fights to save the lives of unborn children whom Obama believes have no right to life and no rights at all?

McCain Says He’d Consider Pro-Choice VP

“I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party,” McCain said in an interview with The Weekly Standard.

“And also I feel that — and I’m not trying to equivocate here — that Americans want us to work together,” McCain added. “You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don’t think that that would necessarily would rule Tom Ridge out.”

He's not "trying to equivocate"? Then what's he doing?

News Updtaes, 8/14

Chicago's Cardinal George lifts veil on abuse
In sworn deposition, says: 'I have to accept the blame'

Democratic Party Puts Lipstick on Pig/People See Miss Universe!
Dems new language regarding abortion praised
Catholic and evangelical leaders doing back flips

Heaven Help Them All
Petition signers want University of San Diego to re-invite “feminist theologian” to honorary professorship

HIV-positive priest accused of sex abuse dead
Removed from ministry in 1999 following allegations

Catholic choir director charged with molestation
Photos of man and 6-year-old boy found on camera

Pope urges end to hostilities in South Ossetia
Pleads for start of negotiations between Russia, Georgia

Principal behind 'pregnancy pact' row quits
His comments were publicly questioned by the mayor

Gospel for August 14, Memorial: St Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr

Thursday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; St. Eusebius, confessor

From: Matthew 18:21-19:1

Forgiveness of Injuries. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

[21] Then Peter came up and said to Him (Jesus), "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" [22] Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

[23] "Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. [24] When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; [25] and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. [26] So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' [27] And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. [28] But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.' [29] So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' [30] He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay his debt. [31] When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. [32] Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; [33] and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' [34] And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. [35] So also My Heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

[1] Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, He went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.


21-35. Peter's question and particularly Jesus' reply prescribe the spirit of understanding and mercy which should govern Christians' behavior.

In Hebrew the figure of seventy times seven means the same as "always" (cf. Genesis 4:24): "Therefore, our Lord did not limit forgiveness to a fixed number, but declared that it must be continuous and forever" (Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. Matthew", 6). Here also we can see the contrast between the man's ungenerous, calculating approach to forgiveness, and God's infinite mercy. The parable also clearly shows that we are totally in God's debt. A talent was the equivalent of six thousand denarii, and a denarius a working man's daily wage. Ten thousand talents, an enormous sum, gives us an idea of the immense value attaching to the pardon we receive from God. Overall, the parable teaches that we must always forgive our brothers, and must do so wholeheartedly.

"Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offense that you can suffer from them is nothing compared to what God has pardoned you" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 452).
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, August 13, 2008

Just for Today, August 14

It is a very great thing to stand in obedience, to live under a superior, and not to be at our own disposal. It is much more secure to be in the state of subjection, than authority.

Many are under obedience more out of necessity than for the love of God; and such as these are in pain, and easily repine. Nor will they gain freedom of mind, unless they submit themselves with their whole heart for God's sake.
-Bk. I, ch. ix.

Dear Mother, you are the compass Jesus has given me, by which to reach the shores of eternity. I look at you, and then do Our Lord's will. Whilst allowing me to undergo temptations against faith, the divine Master has greatly increased the spirit of faith in my soul, by which I see Him living in you, and giving me His commands through you. I know that you make the burden of obedience sweet and easy, but I am convinced that if you began to treat me with severity, I should not change my attitude towards you, nor would my filial affection grow less, because I should still see God's will expressed in another way for the greater good of my soul.

-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme).
[emphasis added]
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 of St Augustine for August 14

THE world is loved; but let him be preferred by whom the world was made. Fair is the world, but fairer is he by whom the world was made. Sweet is the world, but sweeter is he by whom the world was made.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Meditation for August 14, Spouse of the Word

This ought to be much more than the title of Dom Marmion's beautiful book whose wise counsels I can read and meditate upon I with profit. It must be for me the very explanation and the rea­son for my life.

"Not to cling to anything, but with all my strength to unite my­self to the adored Word; to live for Him and do nothing but for Him; to let myself be governed by Him; to conceive of the Word the fruit that He wants me to bring forth; to be able to say in absolute truth the words of St. Paul: 'Christ is everything in my life, He is all my life; on that condition only will the Word rec­ognize me as His Spouse.'" Thus speaks St. Bernard in his eighty­-fifth sermon on the Canticle.

No one should be more eager than I to love the well-beloved of my soul. There must be between Him and me a constant rivalry as to who can love the other more. This was the way St. Therese of the Child Jesus understood her virginal consecration.

And not only will I love on behalf of myself with all my heart, but I will endeavor to add to my love a supplementary love to compensate for those who do not love.

One of Your holy spouses, the Venerable Ursuline Mary of the Incarnation, has written,
"Whenever I was in company and observed everyone busy having a good time, conversing on frivolous topics, I used to be deeply moved and I complained to our Lord. 'Everyone forgets You, my God, but I shall withdraw to embrace You for them.' I feel such a great sorrow that no one takes the trouble to think of Him Who is so close to us, thus leaving His Divine Majesty in oblivion, that I cannot express it. For is it sensible to let God alone in order to think of nothing? In truth, if I could only have taken all these hearts and wills how I would enkindle affection in them; they soon would have loved Him...all that I could do was to offer them to God--I wanted to try to satisfy for all."

I will be motivated by a like desire and will seek to give our Lord the greatest possible love.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Shift to Reduce Abortions In Democratic Platform?

National Catholic Distorter reports:
New language in the Democratic Party Platform seeking a reduction in the number of abortions was hailed this week by a panel of religious and legal experts, including two long-time Republican opponents of abortion, as “historic,” and “courageous.” The new plank, the panelists said, provides “common ground” for all sides in the debate to work to lower the number of abortions....

But Catholics should read what Archbishop Chaput says, before becoming too optimistic that there might be a change within what has become known as the "party of death."

Sandro Magister of Chiesa reposts:
How to Conduct Politics as Catholics. The Denver Memorandum
A book by American archbishop Chaput is making a stir ahead of the presidential elections, against those who want to water down the faith or remove it from the public sphere. "L'Osservatore Romano" is the first to review it, and recommends that it be read "in the United States and elsewhere" [my emphasis]

News Updates, 8/13

“A rare privilege”
Latin Mass scheduled in Fresno on Feast of the Assumption

Episcopal diocese in Texas to go Catholic?
Priests petition Bishop Vann of Ft. Worth diocese

Ex-Anglicans: The wrong kind of Catholics?
Former Episcopal bishop's proposal was sabotaged

Vatican: No Yahweh songs at Catholic Masses
Jews hold Tetragrammaton to be unpronounceable

Ecuador archbishop receives death threats
Backlash erupts against opponent of proposed constitution

Muslim scholar's novel angers Coptic Church
Book panned as unfair and offensive to Christianity

Doors closed at church hit by vandals
Tabernacle ripped from wall, sacred items stolen

Chicago archdiocese settles suits for $12.7 million
Two lawsuits involved convicted ex-clergyman McCormack

Shadow hangs over Vietnamese Catholic festival
15 pilgrims plunged to their death in fiery crash

Gospel for Wednesday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of Saints Pontian, pope and martyr and Hippolytus, priest and martyr
Old Calendar: Saints Hippolytus and Cassian, martyrs

From: Matthew 18:15-20

Fraternal Correction. The Apostles' Authority

(Jesus said to His disciples), [15] "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. [16] But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. [17] If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the Church; and if he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. [18] Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven. [19] Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in Heaven. [20] For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them."


15-17. Here our Lord calls on us to work with Him for the sanctification of others by means of fraternal correction, which is one of the ways we can do so. He speaks as sternly about the sin of omission as He did about that of scandal (cf. Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. Matthew", 61).

There is an obligation on us to correct others. Our Lord identifies three stages in correction: 1) alone; 2) in the presence of one or two witnesses; and 3) before the Church. The first stage refers to giving scandal and to secret or private sins; here correction should be given privately, just to the person himself, to avoid unnecessarily publicizing a private matter and also to avoid hurting the person and to make it easier for him to mend his ways. If this correction does not have the desired effect, and the matter is a serious one, resort should be had to the second stage--looking for one or two friends, in case they have more influence on him. The last stage is formal judicial correction by reference to the Church authorities. If a sinner does not accept this correction, he should be excommunicated that is, separated from communion with the Church and Sacraments.

18. This verse needs to be understood in connection with the authority previously promised to Peter (cf. Matthew 16:13-19): it is the hierarchy of the Church that exercises this power given by Christ to Peter, to the Apostles and their lawful successors--the Pope and the Bishops.

19-20. "Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est: where charity and love resides, there God is", the Holy Thursday liturgy intones, drawing its inspiration from the sacred text of 1 John 4:12. For it is true that love is inconceivable if there is only one person: it implies the presence of two or more (cf. Aquinas, "Commentary on St. Matthew", 18:19-20). And so it is that when Christians meet together in the name of Christ for the purpose of prayer, our Lord is present among them, pleased to listen to the unanimous prayer of His disciples: "All those with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus" (Acts 1:14). This is why the Church from the very beginning has practiced communal prayer (cf. Acts 12:5). There are religious practices--few, short, daily "that have always been lived in Christian families and which I think are marvelous--grace at meals, morning and night prayers, the family rosary (even though nowadays this devotion to our Lady has been criticized by some people). Customs vary from place to place, but I think one should always encourage some acts of piety which the family can do together in a simple and natural fashion" ([St] J. Escriva, "Conversations", 103).
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, August 12, 2008

Just for Today, August 13

Behold, if all should be said against thee which the malice of men can invent, what hurt could it do thee, if thou wouldst let it pass, and make no account of it? Could it even so much as pluck one hair from thee?
But he who has not his heart within, nor God before his eyes, is easily moved with a word of dispraise. Whereas he that trusts in Me, and desires not to stand by his own judgement, will be free from the fear of men. For I am the judge and discerner of all secrets; I know how matters are; I know him that offers the in­jury and him that suffers it. From Me this word went forth; by My permission it happened; that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed (Luke ii, 35).
-Bk. III, ch. xlvi.

"When I am corrected," I said to her one day, "I prefer to have deserved it, rather than be unjustly accused."

"I would rather be unjustly reproved," she answered, "because having a good conscience I can then offer it joyfully to God; but afterwards I humble myself with the thought that I am quite capable of committing the fault in question. As you advance in the spiritual life you will not have to struggle so much, or rather, you will overcome difficulties more easily, as you will approach them in the right way."

"Your soul will have been lifted above creatures. I no longer care what is said to me, because I know how faulty human judgement can be, What is the use of justifying ourselves when we are misunderstood or misjudged? Say nothing, let the matter drop, one can even rejoice in being misjudged. The Gospel does not say that St Mary Magdalen defended herself, when accused by her sister of neglect­ing her duty as she sat at Our Lord's feet. She did not say: "Oh! Martha, if you only knew what happiness there is in listening to the words of the Master, you too would leave all to share in my joy and rest!" St Mary Magdalen, however, preferred to say nothing...O blessed silence, that brings such peace to the soul."
-Conseils et Souvenirs.
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 of St Augustine for August 13

ROUGH as it were is the way--it makes thee to be slow. Thou hast no mind to follow. But follow on. Rough is the way which man has made for himself, but what Christ hath trodden in his passage is worn smooth.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Meditation for August 13, On Asking for Advice

There are certain religious who believe only in their own judg­ment; they feel that they would lower themselves by asking advice, by submitting to the opinion of others.

To them St. Bernard offers a hard but just thought:
"Whoever has no other master than himself is the disciple of a fool."
He is right. However intelligent I may be, or however wide my experience, I need control. If it is true that a person often needs one smaller than himself, how strong a reason I have for needing someone greater than I, or at least my equal.

Over and above their office to command me, the superiors have also the duty to enlighten me. In questions of minor matters, or when it is impossible to disturb the superiors in an immediate case, it is useful to ask the advice of an authorized and wise person who may not be a superior.

This certainly does not mean that one must renounce one's in­dividuality in the true sense of the word. That would be to avoid one rock and hurl myself against another.

There are those who must seek advice and permission from others for the power to move their little finger. This is the absolute loss of the spirit of initiative, of normal, healthy liberty. It is a sort of passivity which condemns both the true notion of obedience and wholesome mistrust of self.

As with many other things, virtue here lies in the golden mean: to develop myself as fully as possible, but always within the limits of what my Institute requires; to allow free scope to my will and autonomy of decision, at the same time submitting to control or, at least, to advice in my actions, viewpoints and decisions.

In other words I must not be a lifeless instrument, but one teeming with an activity which promises the greatest results, that after hav­ing first developed myself to maximum power, I may still love to depend upon others.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Obama Lied About Abortion Record

Newly discovered documents from the Illinois state archives prove Democratic presidential candidate Barack [Hussein] Obama has lied about his opposition to legislation requiring health officials to provide care to babies who survived abortion as an Illinois state senator.... [emphasis added]

...Now there’s documentation showing Obama did vote against a version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act that contained language to protect abortion rights identical to the bill that passed 98-0 in the U.S. Senate....

Conservative journalist David Freddoso said these documents are “absolute proof” Obama has distorted his position on the Born Alive Infant Protection Act....
The "Messiah" lied? Oh, no! All the talk of hope is but a screed of lies put forth to confuse the ignorant! With this advocate of infanticide there is no hope for the unborn - or for those born alive!

News Updates, 8/12

“Cease all religious activities or face legal action”
San Diego County orders closure of small church, but says it’s ok to open bar at same site

“Where the eyes of the nation will be focused”
Obama, McCain to meet this weekend in Orange County for first joint campaign appearance; pro-lifers plan “prophetic outreach”

Diocese to priests: No tickling or kissing kids
Decree also prohibits bear hugs, wrestling, lap-sitting

Pope theologian: Proof of God is beauty
Benedict XVI defends the truth of Christianity

Catholic church warns of fake bishop in Dallas
Swindler offers baptisms in hotel rooms for $100

20 Catholic pilgrims seek asylum in Australia
World Youth Day visitors looking to stay in Sidney

Another suit against Vermont diocese goes to trial
3 months after being socked with $8.7 million verdict

Anglicans back Rowan Williams in gay sex row
19 bishops came to defense of Archbishop of Canterbury

Solzhenitsyn and Wojtyla, tragic prophets
Their testimony transcended terrible truths

Black cats killed by satanists in Italy
Strays, pets vanishing from streets of Milan, Rome

Calif court: Parents have right to homeschool
Reverses decision, but says right could be revoked

Two More Face Excommunication at St. Stanislaus

Two more parishioners of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church face excommunication after being elected to the church's lay board Sunday.

In letters hand-delivered Saturday night, Bishop Robert Hermann, the Archdiocese of St. Louis' interim leader, warned eight parishioners who were running for positions on the board of their possible fate. Some of the parishioners returned home in the evening to find the letter taped to their front doors....

St. Stanislaus parishioners voted over two days this weekend to elect a new board, and on Sunday announced that four former board members — John Baras, William Bialczak, Stanley Novak and Joe Rudawski — had all been re-elected. Baras, Bialczak and Rudawski were the three board members who had voted to retain Bozek as pastor in June. Novak served an earlier term on the board. All four of their excommunications were upheld by the Vatican in May.

Richard Lapinski and Janice Merzweiler were the two new parishioners voted onto the new board Sunday. According to Hermann's letter, they now face excommunication....
Of these six, how many are there to "rubber stamp" whatever "Pope" Marek Bozek wants? How many of these new board members will cede parish control and resources to their self appointed messiah, the soon to be laicized priest? And who among them is really concerned for his own spiritual welfare and the spiritual welfare of his brothers and sisters in Christ? Certainly not the hired pastor who continues to lead them down the path of perdition!

It's encouraging to see that Bishop Hermann continues to show pastoral solicitude for the confused Catholics at St Stanislaus. Having been duped by an unscrupulous charlatan who wishes to lead parish members away from the Church of their fathers, the parishioners are being encouraged to shed the chains of dissent and rebellion which enslaves them.

Gospel for Tuesday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: St. Clare, virgin

From: Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

The "Little Ones" and the Kingdom. The Lost Sheep

[1] At that time, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?" [2] And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them, [3] and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. [4] Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

[5] "Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me.

[10] "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in Heaven their angels always behold the face of My Father who is in Heaven.

[12] "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go in search of the one that went astray? [13] And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. [14] So it is not the will of My Father who is in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish."

1-35. The teachings of Jesus recorded in chapter 18 of St. Matthew are often called the "discourse on the Church" or "ecclesiastical discourse" because they are a series of instructions on the way in which His Church is to be administered.

The first passage (Matthew 18:1-5), addressed to leaders, that is, the future hierarchy of the Church, warns them against natural tendencies to pride and ambition: even though they have positions of government, they must act with humility. In verses 6-10 Jesus emphasizes the fatherly care which pastors of the Church should have for the "little ones"--a term which covers everyone in need of special care for whatever reason (because they are recent converts, or are not well grounded in Church teaching, or are not yet adults, etc.)... God takes special care of the weak and will punish those who harm them.

Our Lord shows similar concern for those who are experiencing spiritual difficulties. Every effort, even an heroic effort, must be made to seek out the "lost sheep" (verses 12-14). If the Church in general and each Christian in particular should be concerned to spread the Gospel, all the more reason for them to try and see that those who already embraced the faith do not go astray...

Thus, the whole of Chapter 18, the "discourse of the Church", is a survey of the future history of the Church during its earthly stage, and a series of practical rules for conduct for Christians--a kind of complement to the Sermon on the Mount, (Chapters 5-7), which is a "magna carta" for the new Kingdom established by Christ.

1-6. Clearly the disciples still suffer from human ambition: they want to occupy key positions when Jesus comes to establish the Kingdom on earth (cf. Acts 1:6). To correct their pride, our Lord shows them a child and tells them that if they want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, they must decide to be like children: children are incapable of hating anyone and are totally innocent of vice, particularly of pride, the worst vice of all. They are simple and full of trust.

Humility is one of the main pillars of the Christian life. "If you ask me", St. Augustine says, "what is the essential thing in the religion and discipline of Jesus Christ, I shall reply: first humility, second humility and third humility" ("Letter 118").

3-4. Applying these words to our Lord's virtues, Fray Luis de Granada makes the point that humility is superior to virginity: "If you cannot imitate the virginity of the humble, then imitate the humility of the virgin. Virginity is praiseworthy, but humility is more necessary. The former is recommended to us, the latter is an obligation for us; to the former we are invited, to the latter we are obliged [...]. And so we see that the former is celebrated as voluntary sacrifice, the latter required as an obligatory sacrifice. Lastly, you can be saved without virginity, but not without humility" ("Summa De La Vida Cristiana", Book 3, Part 2, Chapter 10).

5. Receiving a child in Jesus' name is the same as receiving Jesus Himself. Because children reflect the innocence, purity, simplicity and tenderness of our Lord, "In children and in the sick a soul in love sees Him" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 419).

10. Jesus warns that giving scandal to little children is a very serious matter, for they have angels who guard them, who will plead a case before God against those who led them to commit sin.

In this context He speaks of children having guardian angels. However, everyone, adult or child, has a guardian angel. "By God's providence angels have been entrusted with the office of guarding the human race and of accompanying every human being so as to preserve him from any serious dangers [...]. Our Heavenly Father has placed over each of us an angel under whose protection and vigilance we are" ("St. Pius V Catechism", IV, 9, 4).

This means that we should have a trusting relationship with our guardian angel. "Have confidence in your guardian Angel. Treat him as a lifelong friend--that is what he is--and he will render you a thousand services in the ordinary affairs of each day" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 562).

12-14. This parable clearly shows our Lord's loving concern for sinners. It expresses in human terms the joy God feels when a wayward child comes back to Him.

Seeing so many souls living away from God, Pope John Paul II comments: "Unfortunately we witness the moral pollution which is devastating humanity, disregarding especially those very little ones about whom Jesus speaks."

"What must we do? We must imitate the Good Shepherd and give ourselves without rest for the salvation of souls. Without forgetting material charity and social justice, we must be convinced that the most sublime charity is spiritual charity, that is, the commitment for the salvation of souls. And souls are saved with prayer and sacrifice. This is the mission of the Church!" ("Homily to the Poor Clares of Albano," 14 August 1979).

As the RSV points out, "other ancient authorities add verse 11, "For the Son of Man came to save the lost"--apparently taken from Luke 19:10.
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.