Saturday, September 25, 2010

Gospel for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 16:19-31

Lazarus and the Rich Man
(Jesus told them this parable:) [19] "There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. [20] And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, [21] who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. [22] The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; [23] and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. [24] And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.' [25] But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. [26] And besides in all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.' [27] And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house, [28] for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' [29] But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' [30] And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' [31] He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"

19-31. This parable disposes of two errors--that of those who denied the survival of the soul after death and, therefore, retribution in the next life; and that of those who interpreted material prosperity in this life as a reward for moral rectitude, and adversity as punishment. This parable shows that, immediately after death, the soul is judged by God for all its acts--the "particular judgment"--and is rewarded or punished; and that divine revelation is by itself sufficient for men to be able to believe in the next life.

In another area, the parable teaches the innate dignity of every human person, independently of his social, financial, cultural or religious position. And respect for this dignity implies that we must help those who are experiencing any material or spiritual need: "Wishing to come down to topics that are practical and of some urgency, the Council lays stress on respect for the human person: everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as another self, bearing in mind above all his life and the means necessary for living it in a dignified way lest he follow the example of the rich man who ignored Lazarus, the poor man" (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 27).

Another practical consequence of respect for others is proper distribution of material resources and protection of human life, even unborn life, as Paul VI pleaded with the General Assembly of the United Nations: "Respect for life, even with regard to the great problem of the birth rate, must find here in your assembly its highest affirmation and its most reasoned defense. You must strive to multiply bread so that it suffices for the tables of mankind, and not rather favor an artificial control of birth, which would be irrational, in order to diminish the number of guests at the banquet of life" ("Address to the UN", 4 October 1965).

21. Apparently this reference to the dogs implies not that they alleviated Lazarus' sufferings but increased them, in contrast with the rich man's pleasure: to the Jews dogs were unclean and therefore were not generally used as domestic animals.

22-26. Earthly possession, as also suffering, are ephemeral things: death marks their end, and also the end of our testing-time, our capacity to sin or to merit reward for doing good; and immediately after death we begin to enjoy our reward or to suffer punishment, as the case may be. The Magisterium of the Church has defined that the souls of all who die in the grace of God enter Heaven, immediately after death or after first undergoing a purging, if that is necessary. "We believe in eternal life. We believe that the souls of all those who die in the grace of Christ-whether they must still make expiation in the fire of Purgatory, or whether from the moment they leave their bodies they are received by Jesus into Paradise like the Good Thief--go to form that people of God which succeeds death, death which will be totally destroyed on the day of the resurrection when these souls are reunited with their bodies" (Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God", 28).

The _expression of "Abraham's bosom" refers to the place or state "into which the souls of the just, before the coming of Christ the Lord were received, and where, without experiencing any sort of pain, but supported by the blessed hope of redemption, they enjoyed peaceful repose. To liberate these holy souls, who, in the bosom of Abraham were expecting the Savior, Christ the Lord descended into hell" ("St. Pius V Catechism", I, 6, 3).

22. "Both the rich man and the beggar died and were carried before Abraham, and there judgment was rendered on their conduct. And the Scripture tells us that Lazarus found consolation, but that the rich man found torment. Was the rich man condemned because he had riches, because he abounded in earthly possessions, because he `dressed in purple and linen and feasted sumptuously every day'? No, I would say that it was not for this reason. The rich man was condemned because he did not pay attention to the other man, because he failed to take notice of Lazarus, the person who sat at his door and who longed to eat the scraps from his table. Nowhere does Christ condemn the mere possession of earthly goods as such. Instead, He pronounces very harsh words against those who use their possessions in a selfish way, without paying attention to the needs of others[...]."

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus must always be present in our memory; it must form our conscience. Christ demands openness to our brothers and sisters in need--openness from the rich, the affluent, the economically advantaged; openness to the poor, the underdeveloped and the disadvantaged. Christ demands an openness that is more than benign attention, more than token actions or half-hearted efforts that leave the poor as destitute as before or even more so [...].

"We cannot stand idly by, enjoying our riches and freedom, if, in any place, the Lazarus of the Twentieth Century stands at our doors. In the light of the parable of Christ, riches and freedom mean a special responsibility. Riches and freedom create a special obligation. And so, in the name of the solidarity that binds us all together in a common humanity, I again proclaim the dignity of every human person: the rich man and Lazarus are both human beings, both of them equally created in the image and likeness of God, both of them equally redeemed by Christ, at a great price of the `precious blood of Christ' (1 Peter 1:19)" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Homily in Yankee Stadium", 2 October 1979).

24-31. The dialogue between the rich man and Abraham is a dramatization aimed at helping people remember the message of the parable: strictly speaking, there is no room in Hell for feelings of compassion toward one's neighbor: in Hell hatred presides. "When Abraham said to the rich man `between us and you a great chasm has been fixed...' he showed that after death and resurrection there will be no scope for any kind of penance. The impious will not repent and enter the Kingdom, nor will the just sin and go down into Hell. This is the unbridgeable abyss" (Aphraates, "Demonstratio", 20; "De Sustentatione Egenorum", 12). This helps us to understand what St. John Chrysostom says: "I ask you and I beseech you and, falling at your feet, I beg you: as long as we enjoy the brief respite of life, let us repent, let us be converted, let us become better, so that we will not have to lament uselessly like that rich man when we die and tears can do us no good. For even if you have a father or a son or a friend or anyone else who have influence with God, no one will be able to set you free, for your own deeds condemn you" ("Hom. on 1 Cor.").
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.

An Easy Way to Become a Saint - September 25

Continued from yesterday...

Chapter 10. Thoughts on Prayer

God hears every prayer

Still another most consoling thing about prayer is that God hears every prayer. Every prayer well said, as any ordinary Christian can say it, brings us back a great grace, a favor, though we may not see it.

True, God does not always give us exactly what we ask, because He sees that it would not be good for us, but then He gives us something better, which He knows is good for us.

Good business men, wise statesmen, great generals, place all their trust in prayer....

[Continued tomorrow]
From An Easy Way to Become a Saint
by E. D. M. (1949)
The Catholic Printing Press
Lisbon, Portugal
With Ecclesiastical Approbation
13th June 1949

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gospel for Saturday, 25th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial: Our Lady's Saturday

Note: In Canada, October 19 is the optional memorial of St. Paul of the
Cross. The Feast of Sts. Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf, Priests,
and Companions, Martyrs, is celebrated in Canada on September 26.

From: Luke 9:43b-45

Second Prophecy of the Passion
[43b] But while they were all marvelling at everything He (Jesus) did, He said to His disciples, [44] "Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men." [45] But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying.

44. Christ predicts His passion and death a number of times. Initially He does so in veiled terms (John 2:19; Luke 5:35) to the crowd; and later, much more explicitly, to His disciples (Luke 9:22), though they fail to understand His words, not because what He says is not clear, but because they do not have the right dispositions. St. John Chrysostom comments: "Let no one be scandalized by this imperfection in the Apostles; for the Cross had not yet been reached nor the grace of the Spirit given" ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 65).
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.

An Easy Way to Become a Saint - September 24

Continued from yesterday...

Chapter 10. Thoughts on Prayer

Prayer is a pleasure

Few enjoy prayer for the same reason - that they have never learned to pray.

The first thing we must understand clearly is that when praying we are talking to God personally, intimately, really. God is looking at us, giving us all His attention, ready to give us all we need.

What an immense joy and consolation it is to realize that we are talking to God Himself. But so many pray as if they were gramophones, talking machines, not even thinking of the words they are saying.

Many say their prayers in haste! That surely is not speaking to God.

St. Augustine says that God prefers the barking of dogs to prayers said hastily.

We must pray intelligently, slowly, thinking of what we are saying. Then our prayer is a pleasure, for we know that it is pleasing to God and that it is bringing us great graces.

The writer had once a long private audience with Pope [St.] Pius X. He was all alone with the Pope in his private room. The Holy Father was most gracious and kind and gave him all he asked for and even more.

Yet we have a private audience with God whenever we pray. We are all alone with Him, and He is infinitely sweet and merciful. But how few enjoy this intimate, personal converse with God.

If they understood that they were actually speaking to God, they would not think it a penance to pray; they would not be so easily distracted.

The Arabs give us a lesson in prayer. When they pray to Allah, they are so wrapt up in their prayer that they think of nothing else. In fact, frequently their enemies, knowing this, choose the moment they are praying to rush on them and kill them....

[Continued tomorrow]
From An Easy Way to Become a Saint
by E. D. M. (1949)
The Catholic Printing Press
Lisbon, Portugal
With Ecclesiastical Approbation
13th June 1949

Thursday, September 23, 2010

News Updates, 9/24

Obama protesters were arrested on university orders
'Notre Dame 88' get green light to grill college chief

German bishops set out rules to stop sexual abuse
Aim is 'to sensitize and empower' Church workers

Fifty-year-old sex abuse scandal hits priest
Now 88, cleric faces two charges of indecent assault

Priest disgusted by Cardinal Newman 'boyfriend myth'
Dispute about bodily remains forms part of controversy

Mexican bishop wins Norway's human rights prize
Hailed fearless defender of migrants, indigenous peoples

Exorcist: Satan has no 'horns, wings or a tail'
Advises to seek help if possession is suspected

Medjugorje seers to speak at Vienna cathedral
Authenticity of Marian apparitions under Vatican review

Diocese of Wilmington releases bankruptcy plan
100 civil trials from abuse victims seeking damages

Malaysia Christians denied right to build church
Small bamboo building was wiped out by flooding

Texas school board debates 'pro-Islamic' bias
Some demanding changes in way books portray Muslims

Gospel for Friday, 25th Week In Ordinary Time

From: Luke 9:18-22

Peter's Confession of Faith
[18] Now it happened that as He (Jesus) was praying alone the disciples were with Him; and He asked them, "Who do the people say that I am?" [19] And they answered, "John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen." [20] And He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered, "The Christ of God."

First Prophecy of the Passion
[21] But He charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, [22] saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised."

20. "Christ" means "anointed" and is a name indicating honor and office. In the Old Law "priests" were anointed (Exodus 29:7 and 40:13), as were "kings" (1 Samuel 9:16), because God laid down that they should receiving anointing in view of their position; there was also a custom to anoint "prophets" (1 Samuel 16:13) because they were interpreters and intermediaries of God. "When Jesus Christ our Savior came into the world, He assumed the position and obligations of the three offices of priest, king and prophet and was therefore called Christ" ("St. Pius V Catechism", I, 3, 7).

22. Jesus prophesied His passion and death in order to help His disciples believe in him. It also showed that He was freely accepting these sufferings He would undergo. "Christ did not seek to be glorified: He chose to come without glory in order to undergo suffering; and you, who have been born without glory, do you wish to be glorified? The route you must take is the one Christ took. This means recognizing Him and it means imitating Him both in His ignominy and in His good repute; thus you will glory in the Cross, which was His path to glory. That was what Paul did, and therefore he glorified in saying, `Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Galatians 6:14)" (St. Ambrose, "Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc.").
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.

An Easy Way to Become a Saint - September 23

Continued from yesterday...

Chapter 10. Thoughts on Prayer

Prayer is the greatest power in the World, even the prayer of the ordinary Christian.

Few, very few know how to pray, and yet it is so easy. Because they do not know how to pray, they are losing immense graces, immense blessings every day.

Thousands are going to Hell every day because they do not pray. Thousands and thousands are sad and unfortunate because they do not know how to pray.

Our morning and evening prayers, if well said, save us from countless evils and obtain for us countless blessings. Many Catholics have not the faintest idea of the immense importance of these prayers.

They have many pressing occupations, but the gravest of all their duties, the most important and urgent work of the day is morning and evening prayer. As a result of these prayers, God Himself and His Blessed Mother bless and protect us....

[Continued tomorrow]
From An Easy Way to Become a Saint
by E. D. M. (1949)
The Catholic Printing Press
Lisbon, Portugal
With Ecclesiastical Approbation
13th June 1949

News Updates, 9/23

Gov. Christie Veto Shuts Down Abortion Clinics in NJ
Part of Gov. Chris Christie’s belt-tightening plan for New Jersey was the termination of $7.5 million in public funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in the state...

Irish guidelines: No face veils in Catholic schools
Distinction should be drawn between hijab and niqab

Notre Dame announces new pro-life coordinator
Tasked with advancing Catholic identity of university

Vatican Bank president 'humiliated' by probe
Rome mayor expresses 'full confidence' in bank's leader

Catholic leader calls for peace in Venezuela
Cardinal asks parties to respect outcome of voting

Bishops rebuke Catholic profs' book on sexuality
Creighton theologians faulted for moral 'inadequacies'

Catholic bishops oppose housing law repeal
Statement reiterates that 'housing is a human right'

Gay advocacy group not 'legitimately' Catholic
Archbishop opposes open homosexuality in military

Will Pope 'bounce' Anglicans into Catholic Church?
Cardinal O'Brien predicts 'Benedict bounce' of vocations

Papal fever: Benedict may visit Ireland in 2012
Sinn Fein MP says he has 'some grounds' for belief

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gospel for Sept 23, Memorial: St Pio of Pietrelcina, Priest

Thursday, 25th Week In Ordinary Time

From: Luke 9:7-9

Herod's Opinion of Jesus
[7] Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, [8] by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen. [9] Herod said, "John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?" And he sought to see Him.

7-9. Except for the Sadducees, all Jews believed in the resurrection of the dead, as revealed by God in Sacred Scripture (cf. Ezekiel 37:10; Daniel 12:2 and 2 Maccabees 7:9). It was also commonly believed by Jews at the time that Elijah or some other prophet had to appear again (Deuteronomy 19:15). This may have been why Herod began to think that perhaps John had come back to life (Matthew 14:1-2 and Mark 6:14-16), particularly since Jesus worked miracles and people thought this power was the prerogative of those who had risen from the dead. And yet he was aware that Christ was working miracles even before John died (cf. John 2:23); therefore, at first, he was disconcerted. Later, as the fame of Christ's miracles spread, to have some sort of adequate explanation he decided, as the other Gospels tell us, that John must indeed have risen.
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.

An Easy Way to Become a Saint - September 22

Continued from yesterday...

Chapter 9. Meditation

The results of meditation

Meditation is like a kind and good friend who teaches us, advises us, encourages us.

This friend is in reality the Holy Ghost, who enlightens our understanding and strengthens our wills and gives us His graces and gifts, as He gave them to the Apostles.

We see our defects and humbly ask God to pardon us. We consider God's love and earnestly ask Him to make us love Him more and more. We see how blind we have been in the past regarding the truths of our Holy Religion. We beg the Holy Spirit to help us to understand Our Dear Lord's wonderful teaching.

Meditation made in this way is very easy and of the greatest importance. It is a grave obligation. Only those who are very ignorant are excused from meditation.


In order to aid those who wish to meditate, we shall now suggest some thoughts on a few important subjects that may help them. Remember what has been said: "Read a little, think a little, pray a little, apply the truths to yourself, make your resolution."...

[Continued tomorrow]
From An Easy Way to Become a Saint
by E. D. M. (1949)
The Catholic Printing Press
Lisbon, Portugal
With Ecclesiastical Approbation
13th June 1949

News Updates, September 22

Homosexual advocacy group not legitimately Catholic, military archbishop says
After receiving a letter from the group Catholics for Equality urging a change to the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy, the Archbishop for Military Services responded, saying that the archdiocese's position is “clear.” The prelate added that the group “cannot be legitimately recognized as Catholic.”

Pope's top bankers in money laundering probe
Police confiscate funds held by Vatican bank

Woman denies making Benedict XVI death threats
She intended to travel to London to shoot Pope?

Nevada court keeps Catholic sex abuse case
Las Vegas man says he was abused by Wisconsin priest

Minn. archbishop: Catholics oppose gay marriage
Launches campaign against the legalization efforts

Iowa Catholic leaders push for marriage amendment
Bishops looking to overturn state court ruling

Church prays for Sudan peace before freedom vote
Obama administration: south will declare independence

Cutbacks part of plan to save parochial schools
NY archdiocese trying to avoid the 'melancholy rite'

Church backs struggle to build first Milan mosque
Local Muslims have found an unlikely ally in Catholics

Pope's astronomer would baptize aliens
' matter how many tentacles it has'

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gospel for Wednesday, 25th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 9:1-6

The Mission of the Apostles

[1] And He (Jesus) called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, [2] and He sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal. [3] And He said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. [4] And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. [5] And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them." [6] And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the Gospel and healing everywhere.


1-4. This is the first mission the Apostles were sent on. Jesus wants them to gain experience which will stand to them in the mission they will have after He ascends into Heaven. He charges them to do what He Himself did--preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. This scene is commented on at greater length in notes on Matthew 10:7-8; 10:9-10; and Mark 6:8-9.

[Notes on Matthew 10:7-8 states:
7-8. Previously, the prophets, when speaking of the messianic times, had used imagery suited to the people's spiritual immaturity. Now, Jesus, in sending His Apostles to proclaim that the promised Kingdom of God is imminent, lays stress on its spiritual dimension. The power mentioned in verse 8 are the very sign of the Kingdom of God or the reign of the Messiah proclaimed by the prophets. At first (chapters 8 and 9) it is Jesus who exercises these messianic powers; now He gives them to His disciples as proof that His mission is divine (Isaiah 35:5-6; 40:9; 52:7; 61:1).]

[Notes on Matthew 10:9-10 states:
9-10. Jesus urges His disciples to set out on their mission without delay. They should not be worried about material or human equip- ment: God will make up any shortfall. This holy audacity in setting about God's work is to be found throughout the history of the Church: if Christians had bided their time, waiting until they had the necessary material resources, many, many souls would never have received the light of Christ. Once a Christian is clear in his mind about what God wants him to do, he should not stay at home checking to see if he has the wherewithal to do it. "In your apostolic undertakings you are right--it's your duty--to consider what means the world can offer you (2 + 2 = 4), but don't forget--ever! --that, fortunately, your calculations must include another term: God + 2 + 2..." ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 471).

However, that being said, we should not try to force God's hand, to have Him do something exceptional, when in fact we can meet needs by our own efforts and work. This means that Christians should gene- rously support those who, because they are totally dedicated to the spiritual welfare of their brethren, have no time left over to provide for themselves: in this connection see Jesus' promise in Matthew 10:40-42.]

[Notes on Mark 6:8-9 states:
8-9. Jesus requires them to be free of any form of attachment if they are to preach the Gospel. A disciple, who has the mission of bringing the Kingdom of God to souls through preaching, should not rely on human resources but on God's Providence. Whatever he does need in order to live with dignity as a herald of the Gospel, he must obtain from those who benefit from his preaching, for the laborer deserves his maintenance (cf. Matthew 10:10).

"The preacher should so trust in God that he is convinced that he will have everything he needs to support life, even if he cannot himself obtain it; for he should not neglect eternal things through worrying about temporal things" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc."). "By these instructions the Lord did not mean that the evangelists should not seek to live in any other way than by depending on what was offered them by those to whom they preached the Gospel; otherwise this very Apostle [St. Paul] would have acted contrary to this precept when he earned his living by the labor of his own hands" (St. Augustine, "De Consensu Evangelistarum" , II, 30).]
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.

An Easy Way to Become a Saint - September 21

Continued from yesterday...

Chapter 9. Meditation

...An easy way to meditate.

Here is a simple and easy method of meditation, which all may use with advantage.

a) As we said when speaking of reading, we must choose for the purpose of meditation a book that we like, that suits us, that has a personal appeal to us; Each one chooses the book he likes best.

b) We begin our meditation by praying to the Holy Ghost for light and guidance. For ordinary Christians a very easy and beautiful prayer to the Holy Ghost is the Third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary. This in itself is a little meditation. We see how timid, how fearful the Apostles were, how rude, how slow in understanding Our Lord's teaching; above all how weak they were even after Christ's Resurrection. They remained ten days waiting and praying for the coming of the Holy Ghost. They had the doors closed in fear of the Jews.

Then the Holy Spirit descended on them, resting in the form of fiery tongues over their heads and gave them all His gifts and graces.

They were completely changed. No longer afraid, they went into the midst of their enemies and preached Jesus, the Son of God, whom these had crucified. They were no longer rude and ignorant, but full of wisdom and knowledge. They confounded the philosophers of Greece and Rome, they feared neither sufferings nor tortures, and were even pleased to suffer for the Name of Jesus.

These men who had been so timid, so rude, so weak were now able to convert the world.

This lesson is most encouraging, for we see what we too can do with the help of God, no matter how weak we are.

c) After saying this Mystery fervently, let us take up our book and read a little - slowly, carefully, attentively, turning over in our minds the meaning of what we have read, applying the lesson to ourselves. Then we pray, asking God to help us to understand what we have read.

Again we read a little, and pray a little, a second, a third time, each time applying the truth to ourselves.

d) Then we make a practical resolution, which we must bear in mind during the day.

e) Lastly, we must pray fervently to God to pardon our past faults and give us strength to avoid them in the future. What could be easier?....

[Continued tomorrow]
From An Easy Way to Become a Saint
by E. D. M. (1949)
The Catholic Printing Press
Lisbon, Portugal
With Ecclesiastical Approbation
13th June 1949

News Updates, 9/21

2 Belgian bishops want debate on priest celibacy
Said they believe married men should not be excluded

Minn. archdiocese warns 'synod' not legitimate
Reminds faithful to 'shun any contrary doctrines'

German bishop: Church failed in abuse scandal
Widespread molestation problem 'recognized too late'

Catholic group opposes coverage for contraceptives
Reps for US bishops lobbying federal regulators

UK trip was personal triumph for the Pope
Papal visit was humiliation for secular fanatics

Hitchens skipping prayer day in his honor
Atheist cancels promo trip for 'Hitch-22: A Memoir'

Bill would lift military abortion ban
Senate vote set on restriction at base hospitals

Six men held in plot to kill Pope are released
Deemed not a credible threat, no charges filed

Churches closed by archdiocese exhaust appeals
Vigils' days numbered, parishioners' hope fades

Monday, September 20, 2010

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

From: Matthew 9:9-13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13. Here Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6, keeping the hyperbole of the Semitic style. A more faithful translation would be: "I desire mercy MORE THAN sacrifice". It is not that our Lord does not want the sacrifices we offer Him: He is stressing that every sacrifice should come from the heart, for charity should imbue everything a Christian does--especially his worship of God (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Matthew 5:23-24).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

An Easy Way to Become a Saint - September 20

Continued from yesterday...

Chapter 9. Meditation

...Why we must make meditation.

First of all, every Catholic should make daily meditation. St. Teresa says that the person who does not meditate needs no devil to throw him into Hell; he is going there himself.

2nd) Meditation is by no means hard to make, if only we learn how to make it, and this presents no difficulty.

3rd) If we do not meditate, we never see our faults, and so we never correct them.

4th) If we do not meditate, we can form no idea of the malice of sin, and as a consequence, we do not feel sorry for it; we do not avoid it.

5th) If we do not meditate, we do not see the awful danger we are in of falling into Hell. For this reason, thousands of men and women - men and women like ourselves - are falling into Hell every day.

6th) If we do not meditate, we do not prepare for death; we are afraid of death; we are afraid to think of it. That is just the reason why so many have bad deaths. Those who know how to meditate on death are no longer afraid of it, and moreover, they are sure to have happy deaths. "Think of your last end and you shall never sin" are God's own words.

7th) The greatest happiness anyone can have on this earth is to have a good friend, a true friend, a friend who can and is ready to help him.

God is really and truly our Friend in the truest sense of that word. He is our most loving Father, a most tender Father. Never was there a father or mother on this Earth who loved a child as God loves us. The day we understand this truth will be the happiest day of our lives.

We must always think of God as a God of tenderest love. Then we must love Him....

[Continued tomorrow]
From An Easy Way to Become a Saint
by E. D. M. (1949)
The Catholic Printing Press
Lisbon, Portugal
With Ecclesiastical Approbation
13th June 1949

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Updates, September 20

Pope's beatifies Cardinal John Henry Newman
Service for Victorian cleric held in front of 50,000

Excerpts from Pope's sermon on Cardinal Newman
'Gentle scholarship, deep human wisdom and profound love'

Vatican declares Pope's visit to UK a success
Benedict reached out to a nation wary of his message

Pope urges Catholics to make 'reparation' for abuse
Suggests helping abused children in the wider community

Pope meets victims of clerical abuse
Benedict expresses his 'deep sorrow and shame'

Pope pays tribute to Britons who resisted nazism
'It is deeply moving to be here with you on this occasion'

Spokane nuns feuding, trading accusations
Convents are affiliated with different breakaway sects

Edmonton archdiocese bans casino fundraising
Catholic schools told to find new ways to raise money

Minnesota bishop encourages Catholics to act against same-sex ‘marriage’ dangers
The bishops of Minnesota are “alarmed” by continuing attacks on marriage, Bishop of Winona James Quinn has said. He reported that Catholics of his diocese will receive a DVD and a letter from him to remind Catholics of church teaching and to explain the dangers of the legal recognition of same-sex “marriage.”...

Massgoer in Eucharist incident restrained
Objected to Communion on tongue at Latin Mass

Gospel for Sept 20, Memorial: St Andrew Kim Taegŏn, priest and martyr, and St Paul Chŏng Hasang, martyr, and their companions, martyrs

Monday, 25th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 8:16-18

Parable of the Sower. The Meaning of the Parables (Continuation)
(Jesus told the crowd,) [16] "No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. [17] For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. [18] Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away."

[There is no commentary available for Luke 8:16-18. The commentary for the same parable found in Mark 4:21-25 states:]

16-17. This parable contains a double teaching. Firstly, it says that Christ's doctrine should not be kept hidden; rather, it must be preached throughout the whole world. We find the same idea elsewhere in the Gospels: "What you hear whispered, proclaim it upon the housetops" (Mt 10:27); "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole of creation..." (Mk 16:15). The other teaching is that the Kingdom which Christ proclaims has such ability to penetrate all hearts that, at the end of time, when Jesus comes again, not a single human action, in favor or against Christ, will not become public or manifest.

24-25. Our Lord never gets tired of asking the Apostles, the seed which will produce the Church, to listen carefully to the teaching he is giving: they are receiving a treasure for which they will be held to account. "To him who has will more be given...": he who responds to grace will be given more grace and will yield more and more fruit; but he who does not will become more and more impoverished (cf. Mt 25:14-
30). Therefore, there is no limit to the development of the theological virtues: "If you say 'Enough,' you are already dead" (St. Augustine, "Sermon" 51). A soul who wants to make progress in the interior life will pray along these lines: "Lord, may I have due measure in everything, except in Love" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 427).

[The commentary for still another similar parable found in Matthew 13: 12 states:]

12. Jesus is addressing his disciples and explaining to them that, precisely because they have faith in him and want to have a good grasp of his teaching, they will be given a deeper understanding of divine truths. But those who do not "follow him" (cf. note on Mt 4:18-22) will later lose interest in the things of God and will grow even blinder: it is as if the little they have is being taken away from them.

This verse also helps us understand the meaning of the parable of the sower, a parable which gives us a wonderful explanation of the supernatural economy of divine grace: God gives grace, and man freely responds to that grace. The result is that those who respond to grace generously receive additional grace and so grow steadily in grace and holiness; whereas those who reject God's gifts become closed up within themselves; through their selfishness and attachment to sin they eventually lose God's grace entirely. In this verse, then, our Lord gives a clear warning: with the full weight of His divine authority He exhorts us--without taking away our freedom--to act responsibly: the gifts God keeps sending us should yield fruit; we should make good use of the opportunities for Christian sanctification which are offered us in the course of our lives.
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.

Priest is excommunicated over 'ordination' of woman

[Bishop Thomas Olmsted], the bishop of Phoenix has excommunicated another priest.

The Rev. Vernon Meyer, who had submitted his resignation to the bishop earlier this summer, becomes at least the fifth priest to be ousted from the church under Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. He was not defrocked, which is a separate penalty...
Pray for the conversion of the heretics who repudiate Christ and His Church.

More here.

An Easy Way to Become a Saint - September 19

Continued from yesterday...

Chapter 9. Meditation

We here deal with the most important subject of our lives, viz., daily meditation.

Many Catholics do not even know that they are bound to meditate!

Our Lord Himself tells us why so few become holy, why so few become Saints. "The whole World," He says, "is gone astray because no one thinks in his heart." Remark the words of Our Lord, "No one thinks in his heart." That is, no one bothers to understand, to realize, to grasp in all their fullness the wonderful, the most consoling truths of our Religion. Willful blindness!

As we have already said, God has given us a most lovely Religion, which He made expressly to help us, to console us, to make us happy. It is not a difficult Religion, made only for Saints. It was made for us, poor sinners, to strengthen our poor weak natures, to console these hearts of ours which are thirsting for peace and happiness. This Religion, if only properly understood, will help us to overcome all our sins, all our defects, and it will make us solidly happy and really holy.

How is it that we do not understand this? Simply because we neglect our great duty of daily meditation, and therefore our ideas are vague and hazy and of little or no use to us. One clear idea is worth a thousand hazy ones.

The easiest and best way - the only way - to have clear ideas is to make a short daily meditation.

Meditation does not consist in thinking all the time. We read a little, think a little, and make short little acts, as we shall now explain. Nothing is easier....

[Continued tomorrow]
From An Easy Way to Become a Saint
by E. D. M. (1949)
The Catholic Printing Press
Lisbon, Portugal
With Ecclesiastical Approbation
13th June 1949