Saturday, August 04, 2012

Gospel for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: John 6:24-35

The People Look for Jesus

[22] On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but that His disciples had gone away alone. [23] However, boats from Tiberias came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. [24] So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

The Discourse on the Bread of Life
[25] When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You come here?" [26] Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. [27] Do not labor for the food which perishes, but the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you; for on Him has God the Father set His seal." [28] Then they said to Him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" [29] Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him He has sent."

[30] So they said to Him (Jesus), "Then what sign do You do, that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? [31] Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, He gave them bread from Heaven to eat.'" [32] Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from Heaven; My Father gives you the true bread from Heaven. [33] For the bread of God is that which comes down from Heaven, and gives life to the world." [34] They said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always."

[35] Jesus said them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."
26. Our Lord begins by pointing out that their attitudes are wrong: if they have the right attitude they will be able to understand His teaching in the eucharistic discourse. "You seek me", St. Augustine comments, "for the flesh, not for the spirit. How many seek Jesus for no other purpose than that He may do them good in this present life! [...] Scarcely ever is Jesus sought for Jesus' sake" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 25, 10).

This verse marks the beginning of the discourse on the bread of life which goes up to verse 59. It opens with an introduction in the form of a dialogue between Jesus and the Jews (verses 26-34), in which our Lord reveals Himself as the bringer of the messianic gifts. Then comes the first part of the discourse (verses 35-47), in which Jesus presents Himself as the Bread of Life, in the sense that faith in Him is food for eternal life. In the second part (verses 48-59) Christ reveals the mystery of the Eucharist: He is the Bread of Life who gives Himself sacramentally as genuine food.

27. Bodily food helps keep us alive in this world; spiritual food sustains and develops supernatural life, which will last forever in Heaven. This food, which only God can give us, consists mainly in the gift of faith and sanctifying grace. Through God's infinite love we are given, in the Blessed Eucharist, the very author of these gifts, Jesus Christ, as nourishment for our souls.

"On Him has God the Father set His seal": our Lord here refers to the authority by virtue of which He can give men the gifts He has referred to: for, being God and man, Jesus' human nature is the instrument by means of which the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity acts. St. Thomas Aquinas comments on this sentence as follows: "What the Son of Man will give He possesses through His superiority over all other men in His singular and outstanding fullness of grace. ... When a seal is impressed on wax, the wax receives the complete form of the seal. So it is that the Son received the entire form of the Father. This occurred in two ways; eternally (eternal generation), which is not referred to here because the seal and the sealed are different in nature from one another; what is referred to here is the other manner, that is, the mystery of the Incarnation, whereby God the Father impressed on human nature the Word, who is the reflection and the very stamp of God's nature, as Hebrews 1:3 says" ("Commentary on St. John, in loc.").

28-34. This dialogue between Jesus and His hearers is reminiscent of the episode of the Samaritan woman (cf. John 4:11-15). On that occasion Jesus was speaking about water springing up to eternal life; here, He speaks of bread coming down from Heaven to give to the world. There, the woman was asking Jesus if He was greater than Jacob; here the people want to know if He can compare with Moses (cf. Exodus 16:13). "The Lord spoke of Himself in a way that made Him seem superior to Moses, for Moses never dared to say that he would give food which would never perish but would endure to eternal life. Jesus promises much more than Moses. Moses promised a kingdom, and a land flowing with milk and honey, good health and other temporal blessings [...], plenty for the belly, but food which perishes; whereas Christ promised food which never perishes but which endures forever" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 25:12).

These people know that the manna--food which the Jews collected every day during the journey through the wilderness (cf. Exodus 16:13ff) -- symbolized messianic blessings; which was why they asked our Lord for a dramatic sign like the manna. But there was no way they could suspect that the manna was a figure of a great supernatural messianic gift which Christ was bringing to mankind -- the Blessed Eucharist. In this dialogue and in the first part of the discourse (verses 35-47), the main thing Jesus is trying to do is bring them to make an act of faith in Him, so that He can then openly reveal to them the mystery of the Blessed Eucharist--that He is the bread "which comes down from Heaven, and gives life to the world" (verse 33). Also, St. Paul explains that the manna and the other marvels which happened in the wilderness were a clear prefiguring of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:3-4).

The disbelieving attitude of these Jews prevented them from accepting what Jesus revealed. To accept the mystery of the Eucharist, faith is required, as Paul VI stressed: "In the first place we want to remind you that the Eucharist is a very great mystery; strictly speaking, to use the words of sacred liturgy, it is 'the mystery of faith'. This is something well known to you but it is essential to the purpose of rejecting any poisonous rationalism. Many martyrs have witnessed to it with their blood. Distinguished Fathers and Doctors of the Church in unbroken succession have taught and professed it. [...] We must, therefore, approach this mystery, above all, with humble reverence, not following human arguments, which ought to be hushed, but in steadfast adherence to divine revelation" ("Mysterium Fidei").

35. Going to Jesus means believing in Him, for it is through faith that we approach our Lord. Jesus uses the metaphor of food and drink to show that He is the one who really meets all man's noblest aspirations: "How beautiful is our Catholic faith! It provides a solution for all our anxieties, calms our minds and fills our hearts with hope" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 582).
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.

Book 1: Meditation, Prayer, and the Particular Examen, 8/05

A Talk About Prayer* (Part 2)

On the words, "Our Father," the soul may consider what a great thing it is to be the son or daughter of such a great Lord and Sovereign, and what it is to have such a Father, Who is almighty, all-loving, all-good, able and desirous to help and benefit His child to the uttermost. Again, having such a Father in God, His only-begotten Son is become our brother, in Whom we are all brethren, coheirs with Him, and brethren and fellow-citizens with the saints and angels in heaven. And having such a Father and such brethren, we should have very great confidence that, if we are faithful children, all things will cooperate together for our good, and heaven will be ours hereafter; and any other such like thoughts that may present themselves to our minds. Then we can raise our souls to God in acts of love, thanksgiving, filial fear-" confidence, and joy, and spend thus as long a time as we desire before going on. And all this and much more on the first simple words, "Our Father."...

(Continued tomorrow)

* From Spencer's "The Little Grain of Wheat."

From "Prayer-Book for Religious"
by Rev. F.X. Lasance
Copyright 1904, 1914

Liberal remnant of Church sees red

The following appeared in the online version of the National Catholic Reporter on July 31.

If last week’s elevation of Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., to archbishop of San Francisco proves anything, it’s that attacking marriage equality puts a man on the fast-track to promotion in the Roman Catholic Church. A quick survey of the hierarchy’s most recent, high-profile appointments reveals a common denominator.

The trend became apparent in March, when Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., was given his papal orders to take over the reins in the historic Archdiocese of Baltimore. Lori, the longtime chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, no doubt earned his reward as chair of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty.


Just weeks after Lori’s promotion, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle made national news for exhorting pastors in his diocese to use their parishes to collect signatures in support of a repeal of Washington state’s newly passed marriage equality law. Only 10 days after this headline, Sartain practically became a household name when he was tapped to head the “reform” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Given the backlash the LCWR crackdown created, it might be a dubious honor, but it is nevertheless a powerful and high-profile position.

Before their respective appointments, each of these men publicly declared himself a culture warrior ready to do battle with lesbian and gay couples who seek to formally honor their commitments and protect themselves legally.

There almost seems to be an element of retribution in these promotions. Lori’s anti-LGBT zeal was unleashed on a state in which the Catholic governor, Martin O’Malley, was instrumental in passing Maryland’s marriage equality. Sartain was charged with leading the hostile takeover of women religious who were in trouble for (among only a few other reasons) not pushing the church’s agenda against same-sex marriage.

It is possible to interpret the elevations of Lori and Sartain as payback by the Vatican. But the Cordileone appointment is downright combative. For years, Cordileone has quietly made his mark as the USCCB’s fiercest opponent of same-sex marriage. Last year, his labor earned him the role of chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. And now he has been tapped to be the chief shepherd of a city known for its prominent LGBT population and its historic role in the LGBT liberation movement.

To read entire story, click here.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Book 1: Meditation, Prayer, and the Particular Examen, 8/03

A Talk About Prayer* (Part 1)

IN the first place, we will speak of the ways of making vocal prayer. Besides the ordinary way we have of reciting our vocal prayers, i.e., a simple repetition of the words, with a general attention to God and to the intention for which we are reciting them-there are two other ways, highly recommended by the saints.

One is to recite the words of the prayer, say, of the Our Father, very slowly and thoughtfully, attending to the sense of the words, and pausing an instant after each sentence or clause, in order to make the meaning of the prayer our own. It is well to get into the habit, in fact, when we are alone and have enough leisure, of saying our prayers slowly and thoughtfully, and with great exterior and interior reverence, even though at times we may find no devotion in considering the meaning of every sentence, but only have in our souls a sense of the presence of God. In that case it will be better simply to recite the prayer slowly, and with quiet recollection of the divine presence.

The other way of reciting vocal prayers, particularly the Our Father and the Hail Mary, is, in fact, a method of turning vocal into mental prayer. It consists in not merely reciting the prayer slowly, but resting at each sentence or petition, and meditating upon what is there said, or asked of God. It is the method St. Teresa taught her nuns, and is a most profitable as well as an easy way of meditating. Some people find it very difficult to make use. of mental prayer by the ordinary methods. They will not, perhaps, find this method so difficult. We will give a rapid sketch of the manner of meditating on the Our Father, and of some of the subjects of meditation to be found in it. Those who are not able to meditate by reasoning upon points, may find in this method great help and encouragement.

Upon the very first words of this divine prayer of Our Lord the soul may rest and find nourishment. It is not necessary, having begun the first words of the prayer, to go on and finish it; but if, during the whole time of prayer, the soul rests upon these or any other words, there let her stay as long as she is inclined. Afterwards, if there is any more time, let her go on to the next sentence or petition...

(Continued tomorrow)

* From Spencer's "The Little Grain of Wheat."

From "Prayer-Book for Religious"
by Rev. F.X. Lasance
Copyright 1904, 1914

Gospel for Friday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 13:54-58

No One is a Prophet in His Own Country

[54] And coming to His (Jesus') own country He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? [55] Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? [56] And are not all His sisters with us? Where then did this Man get all this?" [57] And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house." [58] And He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

53-58. The Nazarenes' surprise is partly due to people's difficulty in recognizing anything exceptional and supernatural in those with whom they have been on familiar terms. Hence the saying, "No one is a prophet in his own country." These old neighbors were also jealous of Jesus. Where did He acquire this wisdom? Why Him rather than us? They were unaware of the mystery of Jesus' conception; surprise and jealousy cause them to be shocked, to look down on Jesus and not to believe in Him: "He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not" (John 1:11).

"The carpenter's son": this is the only reference in the Gospel to St. Joseph's occupation (in Mark 6:3 Jesus Himself is described as a "carpenter"). Probably in a town like Nazareth the carpenter was a general tradesman who could turn his hand to jobs ranging from metalwork to making furniture or agricultural implements.

For an explanation of Jesus' "brethren", see the note on Matthew 12:46-47.

[The note of Matthew 12:46-47 states:
46-47. "Brethren": ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and other languages had no special words for different degrees of relationship, such as are found in more modern languages. In general, all those belonging to the same family, clan and even tribe were "brethren".

In the particular case we have here, we should bear in mind that Jesus had different kinds of relatives, in two groups--some on His mother's side, others on St. Joseph's. Matthew 13:55-56 mentions, as living in Nazareth, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas ("His brethren") and elsewhere there is reference to Jesus' "sisters" (cf. Matthew 6:3). But in Matthew 27:56 we are told that James and Joseph were sons of a Mary distinct from the Blessed Virgin, and that Simon and Judas were not brothers of James and Joseph, but seemingly children of a brother of St. Joseph.

Jesus, on the other hand, was known to everyone as "the son of Mary" (Mark 6:3) or "the carpenter's son" (Matthew 13:55).

The Church has always maintained as absolutely certain that Jesus had no brothers or sisters in the full meaning of the term: it is a dogma that Mary was ever-Virgin (cf. note on Matthew 1:25).]
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 02, 2012

Priests for Life to Defy New Obamacare Pro-Abortion Mandate

From LifeNews:
The pro-life Catholic group Priests for Life is the first to announce it will openly defy the new pro-abortion mandate the HHS department put in force today under the Obamacare health care law.

The new mandate compels religious employers to pay for and refer employees for birth control, abortion-causing drugs and contraception in violation of employers’ religious beliefs.

Father Frank Pavone told LifeNews his pro-life group doesn’t qualify for the narrowly-drawn exemptions in the mandate, so his organization will not comply with it and will run the risk of fines and other possible punishment.

“The unjust and unconstitutional HHS mandate, against which Priests for Life and 57 other plaintiffs have sued the federal government, takes effect today. We at Priests for Life do not qualify for the year that the government has offered certain groups to “adapt” to the mandate. And we are not “religious” enough for this Administration,” he explained. “But regardless of all that, we do not adapt to injustice; we oppose it.”

“Therefore today, on behalf of our organization and on behalf of myself personally, I announce our conscientious objection to this mandate,” he said. “Priests for Life has the highest respect for civil government and advocates the observance of all just laws. But this policy is unjust, and today I reaffirm our intention to disobey it.”
More here

ALL Catholics and other pro-life individuals should stand firm and oppose the regime of death peddlers who are intent on enslaving and controlling the lives of people who were once free. The time has come to resist and stand against the thugs and reprobates.

Book 1: Meditation, Prayer, and the Particular Examen, 8/02

For What and for Whom We Should Pray (Part 3)

(Continued from yesterday)
"Rohrbacher relates in his' Church History' that, among the pilgrims who flocked to the tomb of St. Thomas of Canterbury to seek favors through the saint's intercession, there was a blind man who prayed so fervently for the recovery of his lost sight that he was perfectly cured. After returning home, however, he began to reflect that the restoration of his sight might, perhaps, prove an obstacle to his salvation. He accordingly returned to the tomb of the saint, and, after fervently praying that were his sight ever to be injurious to his soul he should again lose it, he became totally blind once more. He acted most wisely, for it was much better for him to be blind than run the risk of losing his soul. Unguarded looks are often the cause of grievous sin, as is shown by the example of David and of many others.

"When our prayers for temporal favors, either for ourselves or in behalf of others, are not granted, we should consider God's refusal a real benefit rather than a misfortune. In beseeching God for temporals we should be indifferent as to the result of- our prayers, being equally ready to accept a refusal or a favorable hearing from Him. If such should be our dispositions, God, when refusing our request, will not fail to compensate us by bestowing on us more excellent favors which we do not think of asking.

“ 'In vain does a child cry for a sword or a live coal,' remarks St John Chrysostom; 'his parents justly refuse him what may prove very hurtful to him. In like manner, God justly and kindly refuses us what is injurious to us; but, in His goodness, He will give us something better instead.' Let us in all our prayers aim principally at the salvation of our soul, and we shall obtain also temporal favors from God, according to this saying of our loving Redeemer: 'Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and His justice: and all these things shall be added unto you' (Matt. vi. 33).

"For whom should we pray? We should, first of all, pray for ourselves, because our salvation is our first and most important duty. Although, by the law of charity, we are bound to pray for all men, there are, nevertheless, some for whom we have a special obligation or special reasons to pray. Children should daily pray for their parents, parents for their children, members of the same family and household or community for one another, inferiors for their superiors, both ecclesiastical and civil, and superiors for their inferiors. It is also incumbent on us to pray for our benefactors, both spiritual and temporal, for our relatives, for those who ask our prayers and who pray for us, for our friends, and for our enemies also, whosoever they may be or whatever evil they may have done or may wish us.

“We ought, likewise, to pray for the perseverance of the just and for the conversion of sinners, of heretics, schismatics, Jews, and unbelievers. It is a most praiseworthy custom to pray for the sick, for those who are in their agony, for all who are in danger of death, or in danger of losing their innocence, and for 'ill who are in distress, pain, trouble, or sorrow.

"It behooves us daily to remember in our prayers the souls in purgatory, particularly the souls toward whom we have some special obligation, e.g., the souls of our parents, of our benefactors, of those who are suffering on our account. We should endeavor to gain many indulgences for their benefit. If, during our life, we pray for them, God will, after our death, inspire compassionate souls to pray for us when we are in purgatory, for, says our divine Saviour, 'with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again' (Matt. vii. 2 )."


From "Prayer-Book for Religious"
by Rev. F.X. Lasance
Copyright 1904, 1914

Gospel for Thursday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 13:47-53

The Net

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [47] "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; [48] when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. [49] So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, [50] and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

[51] "Have you understood all this?" They said to Him, "Yes." [52] And He said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."

[53] And when Jesus had finished these parables He went away from there.
47. "Fish of every kind": almost all the Greek manuscripts and early translations say "All kinds of things". A dragnet is very long and about two meters wide; when it is extended between two boats it forms double or triple mesh with the result that when it is pulled in it collects all sorts of things in addition to fish--algae, weeds, rubbish, etc.

This parable is rather like the parable of the cockle, but in a fishing context: the net is the Church, the sea the world.

We can easily find in this parable the dogmatic truth of the Judgment: at the end of time God will judge men and separate the good from the bad. It is interesting to note our Lord's repeated references to the last things, especially Judgment and Hell: He emphasizes these truths because of man's great tendency to forget them: "All these things are said to make sure that no one can make the excuse that he does not know about them: this excuse would be valid only if eternal punishment were spoken about in ambiguous terms" (St. Gregory the Great, "In Evangelia Homilae", 11).

52. "Scribe": among the Jews a scribe was a religious teacher, a specialist in sacred Scripture and its application to life. Our Lord here uses this word to refer to the Apostles, who will have the role of teachers in His Church. Thus, the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, are the "Ecclesia docens", the teaching Church; they have the authority and the mission to teach. The Pope and the Bishops exercise this authority directly and are also helped in this by priests. The other members of the Church form the "Ecclesia discens", the learning Church. However, every disciple of Christ, every Christian who has received Christ's teaching, has a duty to pass this teaching on to others, in language they can understand; therefore, he should make sure he has a good grasp of Christian doctrine. The treasure of Revelation is so rich that it can provide teaching which applies to all times and situations. It is for the word of God to enlighten all ages and situations--not the other way around. Therefore, the Church and its pastors preach, not new things, but a single unchanging truth contained in the treasure of Revelation: for the past two thousand years the Gospel has always been "good news".
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 01, 2012

Book 1: Meditation, Prayer, and the Particular Examen, 8/01

For What and for Whom We Should Pray (Part 2)

(Continued from yesterday) Father Girardey, dwelling on the subject of prayer, writes:
"Let us not be so solicitous for temporal favors, which, after all, may, as we have seen, prove hurtful to our soul, but let us rather pray for what is conducive to our eternal welfare. When we pray for temporals, and God, in His mercy, refuses them to us, it is because they would prove hurtful to us.

'But,' says St. Gregory of Nazianzen, 'he who asks God for a real favor (that is, for a favor that is necessary or useful for his salvation), obtains it, for God is bountiful and generous, and readily bestows His gifts.'

'When you pray,' says St. Ambrose, 'ask for great things; ask not for what is transitory, but for what is eternal.'

'We should pray,' says St. Augustine, 'in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ. When, however, we pray for what is injurious to our soul, we do not pray in the name of Our Redeemer. In praying for temporals we should be moderate and timid, asking God to give them to us provided they are really beneficial, and to withhold them if they should prove hurtful. Many, when they pray, invoke God, but not as God, for the object of their prayer is opposed to His glory and favorable to their passions. They seem to consider God as a mere servant of themselves and of their passions, such as pride, covetousness, and lust. Let us pray, not for temporals, but for heavenly glory and the means of attaining it. The most precious and excellent of temporal things are but insignificant trifles in comparison to what is eternal.'
(continued tomorrow)

From "Prayer-Book for Religious"
by Rev. F.X. Lasance
Copyright 1904, 1914

Gospel for Aug 1, Memorial: St. Alphonsus Liguori, bishop and doctor of the Church

Wednesday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 13:44-46

The Hidden Treasure; The Pearl

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [44] "The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

[45] "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, [46] who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it."


44-46. In these two parables Jesus shows the supreme value of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the attitude people need if they are to attain it. The parables are very alike, but it is interesting to note the differences: the treasure means abundance of gifts; the pearl indicates the beauty of the Kingdom. The treasure is something stumbled upon; the pearl, the result of a lengthy search; but in both instances the finder is filled with joy. Faith, vocation, true wisdom, desire for Heaven, are things which sometimes are discovered suddenly and unexpectedly, and sometimes after much searching (cf. St. Gregory the Great, "In Evangelia Homilae", 11). However, the man's attitude is the same in both parables and is described in the same terms: "he goes and sells all that he has and buys it": detachment, generosity, is indispensable for obtaining the treasure.

"Anyone who understands the Kingdom which Christ proposes realizes that it is worth staking everything to obtain it [...]. The Kingdom of Heaven is difficult to win. No one can be sure of achieving it, but the humble cry of a repentant man can open wide its doors" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 180).
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, July 31, 2012

Book 1. Meditation, Prayer, and the Particular Examen, 7/31

For What and for Whom We Should Pray (Part 1)

ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI insists repeatedly that in all our devotions, at Mass, at Holy Communion, in an our visits to the Blessed Sacrament, we should pray for these four graces for ourselves, viz.:
the forgiveness of our sins,
the love of God,
the love of prayer,
and final perseverance.
When these graces are secured, our salvation is assured.

Furthermore, Religious should, in all their prayers and good works, unite themselves intimately with our holy Mother the Church, in her three intentions:
1. To glorify God; to venerate the Blessed. Virgin Mary, the angels and the saints; the Church triumphant.
2. To provide for the spiritual and temporal necessities of the children of the Church militant.
3. To procure the deliverance of theholy souls in purgatory, that is, to aid the Church suffering.
The Morning Offering of the Apostleship of Prayer is very efficacious.

"O my God, I offer Thee my prayers, works, and sufferings this day in union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for the intentions for which He pleads and offers HimselP in holy Mass, h thanksgiving for Thy favors, in reparation for our offences, and for the petitions of all our Associates."

Religious should say the beads, hear Mass, and offer holy communion frequently for our holy Mother the Church, for our holy Father the Pope, for bishops, priests, and superiors, for the needs of our country, for universal peace, for the conversion of sinners, and all those who do not belong to the one fold of Christ; and last, but not least, for the holy, suffering souls in purgatory.

Father Girardey, dwelling on the subject of prayer, writes:
"In praying for temporal favors for ourselves, we can claim unconditionally only the necessaries of life, for in the Our Father 'our daily bread' is equivalent to 'the necessaries of life, but does not include its superfluities or luxuries; and the words 'deliver us from evil' do not necessarily include, as we have seen, deliverance from physical evils, for the evil here meant is sin and all that leads to sin. We have no reason to hope that God wili hear our prayers for those temporal favors that may prove hurtful to our salvation, or that He will exempt us from certain corporal pains and trials, if such an exemption would lead us to sin or endanger our salvation. The granting of such prayers would be, not a favor, but a terrible punishment. We should, then, ask for temporal favors conditionally - that is, under the condition that they may promote our salvation, or at least not hinder it. We ought never to lose sight of this saying of our loving Redeemer: 'What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?' (Matt. xvi. 26.)...

(continued tomorrow)

From "Prayer-Book for Religious"
by Rev. F.X. Lasance
Copyright 1904, 1914

Monday, July 30, 2012

Gospel for July 31, Memorial: St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

Tuesday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 13:36-43

The Parable of the Weeds Explained
[36] Then He (Jesus) left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." [37] He answered, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; [38] the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the Kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, [39] and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. [40] Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. [41] The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will gather out of His Kingdom all causes of sin and evildoers, [42] and throw them out into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. [43] Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."
36-43. While making its way on earth, the Church is composed of good and bad people, just men and sinners: they are mixed in with one another until the harvest time, the end of the world, when the Son of Man, in His capacity as Judge of the living and the dead, will divide the good from the bad at the Last Judgment--the former going to eternal glory, the inheritance of the saints; the latter, to the eternal fire of Hell. Although the just and the sinners are now side by side, the Church has the right and the duty to exclude those who cause scandal, especially those who attack its doctrine and unity; this is can do through ecclesiastical excommunication and other canonical penalties. However, excommunication has a medicinal and pastoral function--to correct those who are obstinate in error, and to protect others from them.
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.

Book 1. Meditation, Prayer, and the Particular Examen, 7/30


The most necessary conditions of prayer, are humility, confidence, and perseverance. -St. Liguori.

He~ hath regard to the prayer of the humble. -Ps. ci. 18.

God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. -St. James iv. 6.

The prayer of him that humbleth himself shall pierce the clouds; . . . and he will not depart till the Most High behold.-Ecclus. xxxv. 21.

A contrite and humble heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.-Ps. I. 19.

Thou Who savest them that trust in Thee.-Ibid. xvi. 7.

Because he hath hoped in Me,...I will deliver him and I will glorify him.-Ibid. xc. 14, 15.

But they that hope in the Lord, shall renew their strength.-Isaias xl. 31.

No one hath hoped in the Lord, and hath been confounded.-Ecclus. ii. 11.

They that trust in the Lord, shall be as Mount Sion.-Ps. cxxiv. 1.

Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped in Thee.-Ps. xxxii. 22.

He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, which is moved and carried about by the wind. Therefore, let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.-St. James i. 6, 7.

Go; and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee.-Matt. viii. 13.

All things whatsoever you ask, when ye pray, believe that you shall receive; and they shall come unto you.­-Mark xi. 24.

God protects and saves all who confide in Him.-St. Liguori.

They that hope in the Lord shall lay aside their weakness, and put on the strength of God; they shall not faint, nor even be fatigued, in treading the rugged ways of salvation.-Ibid.

Thou, O Lord, dost not pour the oil of mercy, unless into vessels of confi­dence.-St. Bernard.

The prayer of the just man is the key of heaven; his petition ascends, and God's mercy descends.-St. Augustine.

Trusting in the divine prom­ises, let us ever pray with confidence, not wavering, but strong and firm.-St. Liguori.

To obtain final perseverance, we must continue to pray to the end of our lives. If, by our negligence, we break the chain of our prayers, the chain of graces, on which our salvation depends, will also be broken.-Ibid.

Oh, how the con­stant application to God by prayer, and the confident expectation of receiving from Him the graces we stand in need of, enkindle in us the fire of divine love, ann unite us. to the divinity!-Ibid.

We must continue to pray until we receive the sentence of eternal salvation.-Ibid.

All our petitions should be made through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Ask in the name of Jesus Christ, through His merits, and in virtue oJ His divine promises.


From "Prayer-Book for Religious"
by Rev. F.X. Lasance
Copyright 1904, 1914

Gospel for Monday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 13:31-35

The Mustard Seed; The Leaven
[31] Another parable He (Jesus) put before them saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; [32] it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."

[33] He told them another parable. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened."

[34] All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed He said nothing to them without a parable. [35] This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world."
31-32. Here, the man is Jesus Christ and the field, the world. The grain of mustard seed is the preaching of the Gospel and the Church, which from very small beginnings will spread throughout the world.

The parable clearly refers to the universal scope and spread of the Kingdom of God: the Church, which embraces all mankind of every kind and condition, in every latitude and in all ages, is forever developing in spite of obstacles, thanks to God's promise and aid.

33. This comparison is taken from everyday experience: just as leaven gradually ferments all the dough, so the Church spreads to convert all nations.

The leaven is also a symbol of the individual Christian. Living in the middle of the world and retaining his Christian quality, he wins souls for Christ by his word and example: "Our calling to be children of God, in the midst of the world, requires us not only to seek our own personal holiness, but also to go out onto all the ways of the earth, to convert them into roadways that will carry souls over all obstacles and lead them to the Lord. As we take part in all temporal activities as ordinary citizens, we are to become leaven acting on the mass" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 120).

34-35. Revelation, God's plans, are hidden (cf. Matthew 11:25) from those who are disposed to accept them. The Evangelist wishes to emphasize the need for simplicity and for docility to the Gospel. By recalling Psalm 78:2, he tells us once more, under divine inspiration, that the Old Testament prophecies find their fulfillment in our Lord's preaching.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Book 1. Meditation, Prayer, and the Particular Examen, 7/29


Ask, and it shall be given unto you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. -Matt. vii. 7.

How much more will your Father, Who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask Him. -­Ibid. vii. 11.

For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth. -Ibid. vii. 8.

If you shall ask Me anything in My name, that will I do. -John xiv. 14.

You shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you. -John xv. 7.

Amen, Amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it you. -­Ibid. xvi. 23.

I can do all things in Him Who strength­eneth me. -Phil. iv. 13.

The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him; to all that call upon Him in truth. He will do the will of them that fear Him, and He will hear their prayer and save them. -Ps. cxliv. 18, 19.

By prayer is obtained the possession of every good, and de­liverance from every evil. -St. Bonaventure.


From "Prayer-Book for Religious"
by Rev. F.X. Lasance
Copyright 1904, 1914