RoJer That » Christian » Hooray For Sunday!
We are off to the Holy Sacrifice of the mass! Check back with us later, and don’t forget to use MassTimes.org to find a Catholic church anywhere in the U.S., and see what time those churches offer mass, confession, and more!
Of great interest for Catholics:
Indeed! Thank you!
August 3, 1996, we visited Pope John Paul II and presented to him a specially commissioned statue of Our Lady Queen of All Hearts. He received it graciously, blessed the statue and our trio. We also presented him with the second of two albums containing many thousands of names of souls who wished him a Happy Spiritual Birthday celebrating his Baptism.
On the following Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, (today’s Feast day) he publicly exhorted the People of God with, “We should celebrate our Baptisms as we do our birthdays”. This was the theme of our campaign, Baptism, Our Spiritual Birthday. In the front page article of the Vatican newspaper, he raised it to Baptism, Our Divine Birthday. The theology behind this statement is that Jesus became Man to raise humanity to the Divinity. Through Baptism we become children of God but also members of the Body of Christ.
Thank you, Your Holiness. Pray for us and help us in all our undertakings.
Let’s get serious about the one true Faith and Pray for the Unity of all Christians.
TO ALL PROTESTANTS AND OTHER NON-CATHOLICS.
+ + + Pope Pius IX – Given at Rome, in St. Peter’s, on the 13th day of September, 1868, and in the twenty-third year of Our Pontificate.
You all know already that We, having been raised, not withstanding Our unworthiness, to this Chair of Peter, and therefore invested with the supreme government and guardianship of the whole
Catholic Church, divinely entrusted to Us by Christ our Lord, have judged it seasonable to call to Us Our Venerable Brethren, the
Bishops of the whole earth, and to unite them together, to celebrate, next year, an (Ecumenical) Council; so that, in concert with these
Our Venerable Brethren who are called to share in Our cares, We may take those steps which may be most opportune and necessary, both to disperse the darkness of the many noxious errors which everywhere increasingly prevail, to the great loss of souls; and also to establish and confirm daily more and more among the Christian people entrusted to Our watchfulness the Kingdom of true Faith, Justice, and the Peace of God. Confidently relying on the close ties and most loving union which in so marked a way unite to Ourselves and to this Holy See these Our Venerable Brethren, who, through all the time of Our Supreme Pontificate, have never failed to give to Ourselves and this Holy See the clearest tokens of their love and
veneration; We have the firm hope that this Ecumenical Council, summoned by Us at this time, will produce, by the inspirations of
Divine Grace, as other General Councils in past ages have done, abundant fruits of benediction, to the greater glory of God, and the eternal salvation of men.
Sustained by this hope, and roused and urged by the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave his life for the whole human race, We cannot refrain Ourselves, the occasion of the future Council, from
addressing Our Apostolic and paternal words to all those who, whilst they acknowledge the same Jesus Christ as the Redeemer, and glory
in the name of Christian, yet do not profess the true faith of Christ, nor hold to and follow the Communion of the Catholic Church.
And We do this to warn, and conjure, and beseech them with all the warmth of Our zeal, and in all charity, to consider and seriously examine whether they follow the path marked out for them by Jesus Christ our Lord, and which leads to Eternal Salvation.
No one can deny or doubt that Jesus Christ himself, in order to apply the fruits of his redemption to all generations of men, built
his only Church in this world on Peter; that is to say, the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic; and that he gave to it all necessary power, that the deposit of Faith might be preserved whole and inviolable, and that the same Faith might be taught to all peoples, kindreds, and nations, that through baptism all men might become members of his mystical body, and that the new life of grace, without which no one can ever merit and attain to life eternal, might always be preserved and perfected in them; and that
this same Church, which is his mystical body, might always remain in its own nature firm and immovable to the end of time, that it
might flourish, and supply to all its children all the means of Salvation. Now, whoever will carefully examine and reflect upon the
condition of the various religious societies, divided among themselves, and separated from the Catholic Church, which, from the days of our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles has never ceased to exercise, by its awful pastors, and still continues to exercise, the divine power committed to it by this same Lord; cannot fail to satisfy himself that neither any one of these societies by itself, nor all of them together, can in any manner constitute and be
that One Catholic Church which Christ our Lord built, and established, and willed should continue; and that they cannot in any way be said to be branches or parts of that Church, since they
are visibly cut off from Catholic unity. For, whereas such societies are destitute of that living authority established by God, which especially teaches men what is of Faith, and the rule of morals, and directs and guides them in all those things which pertain to eternal salvation, so they have continually varied in their doctrines, and this change and variation is ceaselessly going on among
them. Every one must perfectly understand, and clearly and evidently see, that such a state of things is directly opposed to the nature of the Church instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ; for in that Church truth must always continue firm and ever inaccessible to all
change, as a deposit given to that Church to be guarded in its integrity, for the guardianship of which the presence and aid of the Holy Ghost have been promised to the Church for ever.
No one, moreover, can be ignorant that from these discordant doctrines and opinions social schisms have arisen, and that these again have given birth to sects and communions without number, which spread themselves continually, to the increasing injury of Christian and civil society.
Indeed, whoever recognizes religion as the foundation of human society can not but perceive and acknowledge what disastrous
effect this division of principles, this opposition, this strife of religious sects among themselves, has had upon civil society, and how powerfully this denial of the authority established by God,
to determine the belief of the human mind, and to direct the actions of men as well in private as in social life, has excited, spread, and
fostered those deplorable upheavals, those commotions by which almost all peoples are grievously disturbed and afflicted.
Wherefore, let all those who do not hold to the unity and truth of the Catholic Church avail themselves of the opportunity of this council, whereby the Catholic Church, of which their forefathers were members, displays a fresh proof of her perfect unity and her
unconquerable vitality; and let them, in obedience to the longings of their own hearts, be in haste to rescue themselves from a state in
which they cannot be assured of their own salvation. And let them not cease to offer most fervent prayers to the God of Mercy, that he may break down the wall of separation, that he may scatter the mists of error, and that he may lead them back to the bosom of
Holy Mother Church, where their fathers found the wholesome pastures of life, and in which alone the doctrine of Jesus Christ is
preserved and handed down entire, and the mysteries of heavenly grace dispensed.
As for Us, seeing that We ought, in accordance with the duty of Our supreme Apostolic Ministry intrusted to Us by our Lord Jesus Christ himself, to fulfill with most fervent zeal all the offices of a good Shepherd, and with paternal love to follow and embrace all men
throughout all the world We therefore address this Our Letter to all Christians separated from Us, wherein We exhort and entreat them,
again and again, to hasten their return to the One Fold of Christ; for with Our whole soul We ardently desire their salvation in Jesus
Christ, and We fear lest We may one day have to render an account to the same Lord, who is Our Judge, if We do not, so far as is in Our power, show them, and prepare for them the way to attain to this eternal salvation.
Truly, in every prayer of Ours, beseeching and giving thanks, We cease not, day and night, to entreat humbly and earnestly for them,
from the Eternal Pastor of souls, the abundance of light and heavenly grace. And since, notwithstanding Our unworthiness, We are his Vicar here upon earth, We therefore wait, with outstretched hands, and with most ardent desire, the return of Our wandering children to the Catholic Church, that We may most lovingly
welcome them to the home of their Heavenly Father, and enrich them with his exhaustless treasures. Upon this longed-for return to
the truth and unity of the Catholic Church depends the salvation not only of individuals, but also of all Christian society; and never can the whole world enjoy true peace, unless there shall be one Fold and one Shepherd.
+ + + Pope Pius IX – September 13, 1868, + + +
Please join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.
Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch. The grave site was piled high with flours.
Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was considered a very smart cookie, but wasted much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he still was a crusty old man and was considered a positive roll model for millions.
Doughboy is survived by his wife Play Dough, three children: John Dough, Jane Dough and Dosey Dough, plus they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.
The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.
If this made you smile for even a brief second, please rise to the occasion and take time to pass it on and share that smile with someone else that may be having a crumbly day and kneads a lift.
His final words were, “Please pass the butter.”
Oh, that’s too bad. He had a heart attack here last year when we told him we didn’t want to see him anymore ’cause he was full of it. You know, full of junk!
Here is an edifying lesson regarding the Church and Holy Scripture.
Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical
Providentissimus Deus — On The Study of Holy Scripture
November 18, 1893
The God of all Providence, Who in the adorable designs of His love at first elevated the human race to the participation of the Divine nature, and afterwards delivered it from universal guilt and ruin, restoring it to its primitive dignity, has in consequence bestowed upon man a splendid gift and safeguard — making known to him, by supernatural means, the hidden mysteries of His Divinity, His wisdom and His mercy. For although in Divine revelation there are contained some things which are not beyond the reach of unassisted reason, and which are made the objects of such revelation in order “that all may come to know them with facility, certainty, and safety from error, yet not on this account can supernatural Revelation be said to be absolutely necessary; it is only necessary because God has ordinated man to a supernatural end.” This supernatural revelation, according to the belief of the universal Church, is contained both in unwritten Tradition, and in written Books, which are therefore called sacred and canonical because, “being written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author and as such have been delivered to the Church.” This belief has been perpetually held and professed by the Church in regard to the Books of both Testaments; and there are well-known documents of the gravest kind, coming down to us from the earliest times, which proclaim that God, Who spoke first by the Prophets, then by His own mouth, and lastly by the Apostles, composed also the Canonical Scriptures, and that these are His own oracles and words — a Letter, written by our heavenly Father, and transmitted by the sacred writers to the human race in its pilgrimage so far from its heavenly country. If, then, such and so great is the excellence and the dignity of the Scriptures, that God Himself has composed them, and that they treat of God’s marvelous mysteries, counsels and works, it follows that the branch of sacred Theology which is concerned with the defense and elucidation of these divine Books must be excellent and useful in the highest degree.
Now We, who by the help of God, and not without fruit, have by frequent Letters and exhortation endeavored to promote other branches of study which seemed capable of advancing the glory of God and contributing to the salvation of souls, have for a long time cherished the desire to give an impulse to the noble science of Holy Scripture, and to impart to Scripture study a direction suitable to the needs of the present day. The solicitude of the Apostolic office naturally urges, and even compels us, not only to desire that this grand source of Catholic revelation should be made safely and abundantly accessible to the flock of Jesus Christ, but also not to suffer any attempt to defile or corrupt it, either on the part of those who impiously and openly assail the Scriptures, or of those who are led astray into fallacious and imprudent novelties. We are not ignorant, indeed, Venerable Brethren, that there are not a few Catholics, men of talent and learning, who do devote themselves with ardor to the defense of the sacred writings and to making them better known and understood. But whilst giving to these the commendation they deserve, We cannot but earnestly exhort others also, from whose skill and piety and learning we have a right to expect good results, to give themselves to the same most praiseworthy work. It is Our wish and fervent desire to see an increase in the number of the approved and persevering laborers in the cause of Holy Scripture; and more especially that those whom Divine Grace has called to Holy Orders, should, day-by-day, as their state demands, display greater diligence and industry in reading, meditating, and explaining it.
Among the reasons for which the Holy Scripture is so worthy of commendation — in addition to its own excellence and to the homage which we owe to God’s Word — the chief of all is, the innumerable benefits of which it is the source; according to the infallible testimony of the Holy Ghost Himself, who says: “All Scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.” That such was the purpose of God in giving the Scripture of men is shown by the example of Christ our Lord and of His Apostles. For He Himself Who “obtained authority by miracles, merited belief by authority, and by belief drew to Himself the multitude” was accustomed in the exercise of His Divine Mission, to appeal to the Scriptures. He uses them at times to prove that He is sent by God, and is God Himself. From them He cites instructions for His disciples and confirmation of His doctrine. He vindicates them from the calumnies of objectors; he quotes them against Sadducees and Pharisees, and retorts from them upon Satan himself when he dares to tempt Him. At the close of His life His utterances are from Holy Scripture, and it is the Scripture that He expounds to His disciples after His resurrection, until He ascends to the glory of His Father. Faithful to His precepts, the Apostles, although He Himself granted “signs and wonders to be done by their hands” nevertheless used with the greatest effect the sacred writings, in order to persuade the nations everywhere of the wisdom of Christianity, to conquer the obstinacy of the Jews, and to suppress the outbreak of heresy. This is plainly seen in their discourses, especially in those of St. Peter: these were often little less than a series of citations from the Old Testament supporting in the strongest manner the new dispensation. We find the same thing in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. John and in the Catholic Epistles; and most remarkably of all in t he words of him who “boasts that he learned the law at the feet of Gamaliel, in order that, being armed with spiritual weapons, he might afterwards say with confidence, ‘The arms of our warfare are not carnal but mighty unto God’.” Let all, therefore, especially the novices of the ecclesiastical army, understand how deeply the sacred Books should be esteemed, and with what eagerness and reverence they should approach this great arsenal of heavenly arms. For those whose duty it is to handle Catholic doctrine before the learned or the unlearned will nowhere find more ample matter or more abundant exhortation, whether on the subject of God, the supreme Good and the all-perfect Being, or of the works which display His Glory and His love. Nowhere is there anything more full or more express on the subject of the Savior of the world than is to be found in the whole range of the Bible. As St. Jerome says, “To be ignorant of the Scripture is not to know Christ.” In its pages His Image stands out, living and breathing; diffusing everywhere around consolation in trouble, encouragement to virtue and attraction to the love of God. And as to the Church, her institutions, her nature, her office, and her gifts, we find in Holy Scripture so many references and so many ready and convincing arguments, that as St. Jerome again most truly says: “A man who is well grounded in the testimonies of the Scripture is the bulwark of the Church.” And if we come to morality and discipline, an apostolic man finds in the sacred writings abundant and excellent assistance; most holy precepts, gentle and strong exhortation, splendid examples of every virtue, and finally the promise of eternal reward and the threat of eternal punishment, uttered in terms of solemn import, in God’s name and in God’s own words.
And it is this peculiar and singular power of Holy Scripture, arising from the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, which gives authority to the sacred orator, fills him with apostolic liberty of speech, and communicates force and power to his eloquence. For those who infuse into their efforts the spirit and strength of the Word of God, speak “not in word only but in power also, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much fulness.” Hence those preachers are foolish and improvident who, in speaking of religion and proclaiming the things of God, use no words but those of human science and human prudence, trusting to their own reasonings rather than to those of God. Their discourses may be brilliant and fine, but they must be feeble and they must be cold, for they are without the fire of the utterance of God and they must fall far short of that mighty power which the speech of God possesses: “for the Word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two-edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit.” But, indeed, all those who have a right to speak are agreed that there is in the Holy Scripture an eloquence that is wonderfully varied and rich, and worthy of great themes. This St. Augustine thoroughly understood and has abundantly set forth. This also is confirmed by the best preachers of all ages, who have gratefully acknowledged that they owed their repute chiefly to the assiduous use of the Bible, and to devout meditation on its pages.
The Holy Fathers well knew all this by practical experience, and they never cease to extol the sacred Scripture and its fruits. In innumerable passages of their writings we find them applying to it such phrases as “an inexhaustible treasury of heavenly doctrine,’’  or “an overflowing fountain of salvation,’’  or putting it before us as fertile pastures and beautiful gardens in which the flock of the Lord is marvelously refreshed and delighted. Let us listen to the words of St. Jerome. in his Epistle to Nepotian: “Often read the divine Scriptures; yea, let holy reading be always in thy hand; study that which thou thyself must preach. . . Let the speech of the priest be ever seasoned with Scriptural reading.” St. Gregory the Great, than whom no one has more admirably described the pastoral office, writes in the same sense: “Those,” he says, “who are zealous in the work of preaching must never cease the study of the written word of God.” St. Augustine, however, warns us that “vainly does the preacher utter the Word of God exteriorly unless he listens to it interiorly;” and St. Gregory instructs sacred orators “first to find in Holy Scripture the knowledge of themselves, and then to carry it to others, lest in reproving others they forget themselves.” Admonitions such as these had, indeed, been uttered long before by the Apostolic voice which had learnt its lesson from Christ Himself, Who “began to do and teach.” It was not to Timothy alone, but to the whole order of the clergy, that the command was addressed: “Take heed to thyself and to doctrine; be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.” For the saving and for the perfection of ourselves and of others there is at hand the very best of help in the Holy Scriptures, as the Book of Psalms, among others, so constantly insists; but those only will find it who bring to this divine reading not only docility and attention, but also piety and an innocent life. For the Sacred Scripture is not like other books. Dictated by the Holy Ghost, it contains things of the deepest importance, which in many instances are most difficult and obscure. To understand and explain such things there is always required the “coming” of the same Holy Spirit; that is to say, His light and His grace; and these, as the Royal Psalmist so frequently insists, are to be sought by humble prayer and guarded by holiness of life.
It is in this that the watchful care of the Church shines forth conspicuously. By admirable laws and regulations, she has always shown herself solicitous that “the celestial treasure of the Sacred Books, so bountifully bestowed upon man by the Holy Spirit, should not lie neglected.” She has prescribed that a considerable portion of them shall be read and piously reflected upon by all her ministers in the daily office of the sacred psalmody. She has ordered that in Cathedral Churches, in monasteries, and in other convents in which study can conveniently be pursued, they shall be expounded and interpreted by capable men; and she has strictly commanded that her children shall be fed with the saving words of the Gospel at least on Sundays and solemn feasts. Moreover, it is owing to the wisdom and exertions of the Church that there has always been continued from century to century that cultivation of Holy Scripture which has been so remarkable and has borne such ample fruit.
And here, in order to strengthen Our teaching and Our exhortations, it is well to recall how, from the beginning of Christianity, all who have been renowned for holiness of life and sacred learning have given their deep and constant attention to Holy Scripture. If we consider the immediate disciples of the Apostles, St. Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Polycarp — or the apologists, such as St. Justin and St. Irenaeus, we find that in their letters and their books, whether in defense of the Catholic Faith or in its commendation, they draw faith, strength, and unction from the Word of God. When there arose, in various Sees, Catechetical and Theological schools, of which the most celebrated were those of Alexandria and of Antioch, there was little taught in those schools but what was contained in the reading, the interpretation and the defense of the divine written word. From them came forth numbers of Fathers and writers whose laborious studies and admirable writings have justly merited for the three following centuries the appellation of the golden age of biblical exegesis. In the Eastern Church, the greatest name of all is Origen — a man remarkable alike for penetration of genius and for persevering labor; from whose numerous works and his great Hexapla almost all have drawn that came after him. Others who have widened the field of this science may also be named, as especially eminent; thus, Alexandria could boast of St. Clement and St. Cyril; Palestine, of Eusebius and the other St. Cyril; Cappadocia, of St. Basil the Great and the two St. Gregories. of Nazianzus and Nyssa; Antioch, of St. John Chrysostom, in whom the science of Scripture was rivaled by the splendor of his eloquence. In the Western Church there were many names as great: Tertullian, St. Cyprian, St. Hilary, St. Ambrose, St. Leo the Great, St. Gregory the Great; most famous of all, St. Augustine and St. Jerome, of whom the former was so marvelously acute in penetrating the sense of God’s Word and so fe rtile in the use that he made of it for the promotion of the Catholic truth, and the latter has received from the Church, by reason of his pre-eminent knowledge of Scripture and his labors in promoting its use, the name of the “great Doctor.” From this period down to the eleventh century, although Biblical studies did not flourish with the same vigor and the same fruitfulness as before, yet they did flourish, and principally by the instrumentality of the clergy. It was their care and solicitude that selected the best and most useful things that the ancients had left, arranged them in order, and published them with additions of their own — as did S. Isidore of Seville, Venerable Bede, and Alcuin, among the most prominent; it was they who illustrated the sacred pages with “glosses” or short commentaries, as we see in Walafrid Strabo and St. Anselm of Laon, or expended fresh labor in securing their integrity, as did St. Peter Damian and Blessed Lanfranc. In the twelfth century many took up with great success the allegorical exposition of Scripture. In this kind, St. Bernard is pre-eminent; and his writings, it may be said, are Scripture all through. With the age of the scholastics came fresh and welcome progress in the study of the Bible. That the scholastics were solicitous about the genuineness of the Latin version is evident from the Correctoria Biblica, or lists of emendations, which they have left. But they expended their labors and industry chiefly on interpretation and explanation. To them we owe the accurate and clear distinction, such as had not been given before, of the various senses of the sacred words; the assignment of the value of each “sense” in theology; the division of books into parts, and the summaries of the various parts; the investigation of the objects of the writers; the demonstration of the connection of sentence with sentence, and clause with clause; all of which is calculated to throw much light on the more obscure passages of the sacred volume. The valuable work of the scholastics i n Holy Scripture is seen in their theological treatises and in their Scripture commentaries; and in this respect the greatest name among them all is St. Thomas of Aquinas.
When our predecessor, Clement V., established chairs of Oriental literature in the Roman College and in the principal Universities of Europe, Catholics began to make more accurate investigation on the original text of the Bible, as well as on the Latin version. The revival amongst us of Greek learning, and, much more, the happy invention of the art of printing, gave a strong impetus to Biblical studies. In a brief space of time, innumerable editions, especially of the Vulgate, poured from the press and were diffused throughout the Catholic world; so honored and loved was Holy Scripture during that very period against which the enemies of the Church direct their calumnies. Nor must we forget how many learned men there were, chiefly among the religious orders, who did excellent work for the Bible between the Council of Vienne and that of Trent; men who, by the employment of modern means and appliances, and by the tribute of their own genius and learning, not only added to the rich stores of ancient times, but prepared the way for the succeeding century, the century which followed the Council of Trent, when it almost seemed that the great age of the Fathers had returned. For it is well known, and We recall it with pleasure, that Our predecessors from Pius IV. to Clement VIII. caused to be prepared the celebrated editions of the Vulgate and the Septuagint, which, having been published by the command and authority of Sixtus V. and of the same Clement, are now in common use. At this time, moreover, were carefully brought out various other ancient versions of the Bible, and the Polyglots of Antwerp and of Paris, most important for the investigation of the true meaning of the text; nor is there any one Book of either Testament which did not find more than one expositor, nor any grave question which did not profitably exercise the ability of many inquirers, among whom there are not a few — more especially of those who made most use of the Fathers — who have acquired great reputation. From that time downwards the labor and solicitude of Catholics has never been wanting; for, as time went on, eminent scholars have carried on Biblical study with success, and have defended Holy Scripture against rationalism with the same weapons of philology and kindred sciences with which it had been attacked. The calm and fair consideration of what has been said will clearly show that the Church has never failed in taking due measures to bring the Scriptures within reach of her children, and that she has ever held fast and exercised profitably that guardianship conferred upon her by Almighty God for the protection and glory of His Holy Word; so that she has never required, nor does she now require, any stimulation from without.
We must now, Venerable Brethren, as our purpose demands, impart to you such counsels as seem best suited for carrying on successfully the study of Biblical science.
But first it must be clearly understood whom we have to oppose and contend against, and what are their tactics and their arms. In earlier times the contest was chiefly with those who, relying on private judgment and repudiating the divine traditions and teaching office of the Church, held the Scriptures to be the one source of revelation and the final appeal in matters of Faith. Now, we have to meet the Rationalists, true children and inheritors of the older heretics, who, trusting in their turn to their own way of thinking, have rejected even the scraps and remnants of Christian belief which had been handed down to them. They deny that there is any such thing as revelation or inspiration, or Holy Scripture at all; they see, instead, only the forgeries and the falsehoods of men; they set down the Scripture narratives as stupid fables and Iying stories: the prophecies and the oracles of God are to them either predictions made up after the event or forecasts formed by the light of nature; the miracles and the wonders of God’s power are not what they are said to be, but the startling effects of natural law, or else mere tricks and myths; and the Apostolic Gospels and writings are not the work of the Apostles at all. These detestable errors, whereby they think they destroy the truth of the divine Books, are obtruded on the world as the peremptory pronouncements of a certain newly-invented “free science;” a science, however, which is so far from final that they are perpetually modifying and supplementing it. And there are some of them who, notwithstanding their impious opinions and utterances about God, and Christ, the Gospels and the rest of Holy Scripture, would fain be considered both theologians and Christians and men of the Gospel, and who attempt to disguise by such honorable names their rashness and their pride. To them we must add not a few professors of other sciences who approve their views and give them assistance, and are urged to attack the Bible by a similar intolerance of revelation. And it is deplorable to see these attacks growing every day more numerous and more severe. It is sometimes men of learning and judgment who are assailed; but these have little difficulty in defending themselves from evil consequences. The efforts and the arts of the enemy are chiefly directed against the more ignorant masses of the people. They diffuse their deadly poison by means of books, pamphlets, and newspapers; they spread it by addresses and by conversation; they are found everywhere; and they are in possession of numerous schools, taken by violence from the Church, in which, by ridicule and scurrilous jesting, they pervert the credulous and unformed minds of the young to the contempt of Holy Scripture. Should not these things, Venerable Brethren, stir up and set on fire the heart of every Pastor, so that to this “knowledge, falsely so called,” may be opposed the ancient and true science which the Church, through the Apostles, has received from Christ, and that Holy Scripture may find the champions that are needed in so momentous a battle?
Let our first care, then be to see that in Seminaries and Academical institutions the study of Holy Scripture be placed on such a footing as its own importance and the circumstances of the time demand. With this view, the first thing which requires attention is the wise choice of Professors. Teachers of Sacred Scripture are not to be appointed at hap-hazard out of the crowd; but they must be men whose character and fitness are proved by their love of, and their long familiarity with, the Bible, and by suitable learning and study.
It is a matter of equal importance to provide in time for a continuous succession of such teachers; and it will be well, wherever this can be done, to select young men of good promise who have successfully accomplished their theological course, and to set them apart exclusively for Holy Scripture, affording them facilities for full and complete studies. Professors thus chosen and thus prepared may enter with confidence on the task that is appointed for them; and that they may carry out their work well and profitably, let them take heed to the instructions We now proceed to give.
At the commencement of a course of Holy Scripture let the Professor strive earnestly to form the judgment of the young beginners so as to train them equally to defend the sacred writings and to penetrate their meaning. This is the object of the treatise which is called “Introduction.” Here the student is taught how to prove the integrity and authority of the Bible, how to investigate and ascertain its true sense, and how to meet and refute objections. It is needless to insist upon the importance of making these preliminary studies in an orderly and thorough fashion, with the accompaniment and assistance of Theology; for the whole subsequent course must rest on the foundation thus laid and make use of the light thus acquired. Next, the teacher will turn his earnest attention to that more fruitful division of Scripture science which has to do with Interpretation; wherein is imparted the method of using the word of God for the advantage of religion and piety. We recognize without hesitation that neither the extent of the matter nor the time at disposal allows each single Book of the Bible to be separately gone through. But the teaching should result in a definite and ascertained method of interpretation — and therefore the Professor should equally avoid the mistake of giving a mere taste of every Book, and of dwelling at too great length on a part of one Book. If most schools cannot do what is done in the large institutions — that is, take the students through the whole of one or two Books continuously and with a certain development — yet at least those parts which are selected should be treated with suitable fullness; in such a way that the students may learn from the sample that is thus put before them to love and use the remainder of the sacred Book during the whole of their lives. The Professor, following the tradition of antiquity, will make use of the Vulgate as his text; for the Council of Trent decreed that “in public lectures, disputations, preaching, and exposition,” the Vulgate is the “authentic” version; and this is the existing custom of the Church. At the same time, the other versions which Christian antiquity has approved, should not be neglected, more especially the more ancient MSS. For although the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek is substantially rendered by the Vulgate, nevertheless wherever there may be ambiguity or want of clearness, the “examination of older tongues,” to quote St. Augustine, will be useful and advantageous. But in this matter we need hardly say that the greatest prudence is required, for the “office of a commentator,” as St. Jerome says, “is to set forth not what he himself would prefer, but what his author says.” The question of “readings” having been, when necessary, carefully discussed, the next thing is to investigate and expound the meaning. And the first counsel to be given is this: That the more our adversaries contend to the contrary, so much the more solicitously should we adhere to the received and approved canons of interpretation. Hence, whilst weighing the meanings of words, the connection of ideas, the parallelism of passages, and the like, we should by all means make use of such illustrations as can be drawn from apposite erudition of an external sort; but this should be done with caution, so as not to bestow on questions of this kind more labor and time than are spent on the Sacred Books themselves, and not to overload the minds of the students with a mass of information that will be rather a hindrance than a help.
The Professor may now safely pass on to the use of Scripture in matters of Theology. On this head it must be observed that in addition to the usual reasons which make ancient writings more or less difficult to understand, there are some which are peculiar to the Bible. For the language of the Bible is employed to express, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, many things which are beyond the power and scope of the reason of man — that is to say, divine mysteries and all that is related to them. There is sometimes in such passages a fullness and a hidden depth of meaning which the letter hardly expresses and which the laws of interpretation hardly warrant. Moreover, the literal sense itself frequently admits other senses, adapted to illustrate dogma or to confirm morality. Wherefore it must be recognized that the sacred writings are wrapt in a certain religious obscurity, and that no one can enter into their interior without a guide; God so disposing, as the Holy Fathers commonly teach, in order that men may investigate them with greater ardor and earnestness, and that what is attained with difficulty may sink more deeply into the mind and heart; and, most of all, that they may understand that God has delivered the Holy Scriptures to the Church, and that in reading and making use of His Word, they must follow the Church as their guide and their teacher. St. Irenaeus long since laid down, that where the charismata of God were, there the truth was to be learnt, and that Holy Scripture was safely interpreted by those who had the Apostolic succession. His teaching, and that of other Holy Fathers, is taken up by the Council of the Vatican, which, in renewing the decree of Trent declares its “mind” to be this — that “in things of faith and morals, belonging to the building up of Christian doctrine, that is to be considered the true sense of Holy Scripture which has been held and is held by our Holy Mother the Church, whose place it is to judge of the true sense and interpreta tion of the Scriptures; and therefore that it is permitted to no one to interpret Holy Scripture against such sense or also against the unanimous agreement of the Fathers.” By this most wise decree the Church by no means prevents or restrains the pursuit of Biblical science, but rather protects it from error, and largely assists its real progress. A wide field is still left open to the private student, in which his hermeneutical skill may display itself with signal effect and to the advantage of the Church. On the one hand, in those passages of Holy Scripture which have not as yet received a certain and definitive interpretation, such labors may, in the benignant providence of God, prepare for and bring to maturity the judgment of the Church; on the other, in passages already defined, the private student may do work equally valuable, either by setting them forth more clearly to the flock and more skillfully to scholars, or by defending them more powerfully from hostile attack. Wherefore the first and dearest object of the Catholic commentator should be to interpret those passages which have received an authentic interpretation either from the sacred writers themselves, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost (as in many places of the New Testament), or from the Church, under the assistance of the same Holy Spirit, whether by her solemn judgment or her ordinary and universal magisterium — to interpret these passages in that identical sense, and to prove, by all the resources of science, that sound hermeneutical laws admit of no other interpretation. In the other passages, the analogy of faith should be followed, and Catholic doctrine, as authoritatively proposed by the Church, should be held as the supreme law; for, seeing that the same God is the author both of the Sacred Books and of the doctrine committed to the Church, it is clearly impossible that any teaching can by legitimate means be extracted from the former, which shall in any respect be at variance with the latter. Hence it follows that all int erpretation is foolish and false which either makes the sacred writers disagree one with another, or is opposed to the doctrine of the Church. The Professor of Holy Scripture, therefore, amongst other recommendations, must be well acquainted with the whole circle of Theology and deeply read in the commentaries of the Holy Fathers and Doctors, and other interpreters of mark. This is inculcated by St. Jerome, and still more frequently by St. Augustine, who thus justly complains: “If there is no branch of teaching, however humble and easy to learn, which does not require a master, what can be a greater sign of rashness and pride than to refuse to study the Books of the divine mysteries by the help of those who have interpreted them?” The other Fathers have said the same, and have confirmed it by their example, for they “endeavored to acquire the understanding of the Holy Scriptures not by their own lights and ideas, but from the writings and authority of the ancients, who in their turn, as we know, received the rule of interpretation in direct line from the Apostles.” The Holy Fathers “to whom, after the Apostles, the Church owes its growth — who have planted, watered, built, governed, and cherished it,” the Holy Fathers, We say, are of supreme authority, whenever they all interpret in one and the same manner any text of the Bible, as pertaining to the doctrine of faith or morals; for their unanimity clearly evinces that such interpretation has come down from the Apostles as a matter of Catholic faith. The opinion of the Fathers is also of very great weight when they treat of these matters in their capacity of doctors, unofficially; not only because they excel in their knowledge of revealed doctrine and in their acquaintance with many things which are useful in understanding the apostolic Books, but because they are men of eminent sanctity and of ardent zeal for the truth, on whom God has bestowed a more ample measure of His light. Wherefore the expositor should make it his duty to follow their footsteps with all reverence, and to use their labors with intelligent appreciation.
But he must not on that account consider that it is forbidden, when just cause exists, to push inquiry and exposition beyond what the Fathers have done; provided he carefully observes the rule so wisely laid down by St. Augustine — not to depart from the literal and obvious sense, except only where reason makes it untenable or necessity requires; a rule to which it is the more necessary to adhere strictly in these times, when the thirst for novelty and unrestrained freedom of thought make the danger of error most real and proximate. Neither should those passages be neglected which the Fathers have understood in an allegorical or figurative sense, more especially when such interpretation is justified by the literal, and when it rests on the authority of many. For this method of interpretation has been received by the Church from the Apostles, and has been approved by her own practice, as the holy Liturgy attests; although it is true that the holy Fathers did not thereby pretend directly to demonstrate dogmas of faith, but used it as a means of promoting virtue and piety, such as, by their own experience, they knew to be most valuable. The authority of other Catholic interpreters is not so great; but the study of Scripture has always continued to advance in the Church, and, therefore, these commentaries also have their own honorable place, and are serviceable in many ways for the refutation of assailants and the explanation of difficulties. But it is most unbecoming to pass by, in ignorance or contempt, the excellent work which Catholics have left in abundance, and to have recourse to the works of non-Catholics — and to seek in them, to the detriment of sound doctrine and often to the peril of faith, the explanation of passages on which Catholics long ago have successfully employed their talent and their labor. For although the studies of non-Catholics, used with prudence, may sometimes be of use to the Catholic student, he should, nevertheless, bear well in mind — as the Fathers also teach in numerous passages — that the sense of Holy Scripture can nowhere be found incorrupt outside of the Church, and cannot be expected to be found in writers who, being without the true faith, only gnaw the bark of the Sacred Scripture, and never attain its pith.
Most desirable is it, and most essential, that the whole teaching of Theology should be pervaded and animated by the use of the divine Word of God. This is what the Fathers and the greatest theologians of all ages have desired and reduced to practice. It was chiefly out of the Sacred Writings that they endeavored to proclaim and establish the Articles of Faith and the truths therewith connected, and it was in them, together with divine Tradition, that they found the refutation of heretical error, and the reasonableness, the true meaning, and the mutual relation of the truths of Catholicism. Nor will any one wonder at this who considers that the Sacred Books hold such an eminent position among the sources of revelation that without their assiduous study and use, Theology cannot be placed on its true footing, or treated as its dignity demands. For although it is right and proper that students in academies and schools should be chiefly exercised in acquiring a scientific knowledge of dogma, by means of reasoning from the Articles of Faith to their consequences, according to the rules of approved and sound philosophy — nevertheless the judicious and instructed theologian will by no means pass by that method of doctrinal demonstration which draws its proof from the authority of the Bible; “for (Theology) does not receive her first principles from any other science, but immediately from God by revelation. And, therefore, she does not receive of other sciences as from a superior, but uses them as her inferiors or handmaids.” It is this view of doctrinal teaching which is laid down and recommended by the prince of theologians, St. Thomas of Aquin; who, moreover, shows — such being the essential character of Christian Theology — how she can defend her own principles against attack: “If the adversary,” he says, “do but grant any portion of the divine revelation, we have an argument against him; thus, against a heretic we can employ Scripture authority, and against those who deny o ne article, we can use another. But if our opponent reject divine revelation entirely, there is then no way left to prove the Article of Faith by reasoning; we can only solve the difficulties which are raised against them.” Care must be taken, then, that beginners approach the study of the Bible well prepared and furnished; otherwise, just hopes will be frustrated, or, perchance, what is worse, they will unthinkingly risk the danger of error, falling an easy prey to the sophisms and labored erudition of the Rationalists. The best preparation will be a conscientious application to philosophy and theology under the guidance of St. Thomas of Aquin, and a thorough training therein — as We ourselves have elsewhere pointed out and directed. By this means, both in Biblical studies and in that part of Theology which is called positive, they will pursue the right path and make satisfactory progress.
To prove, to expound, to illustrate Catholic Doctrine by the legitimate and skillful interpretation of the Bible, is much; but there is a second part of the subject of equal importance and equal difficulty — the maintenance in the strongest possible way of its full authority. This cannot be done completely or satisfactorily except by means of the living and proper magisterium of the Church. The Church, “by reason of her wonderful propagation, her distinguished sanctity and inexhaustible fecundity in good, her Catholic unity, and her unshaken stability, is herself a great and perpetual motive of credibility, and an unassailable testimony to her own Divine mission.” But since the divine and infallible magisterium of the Church rests also on the authority of Holy Scripture, the first thing to be done is to vindicate the trustworthiness of the sacred records at least as human documents, from which can be clearly proved, as from primitive and authentic testimony, the Divinity and the mission of Christ our Lord, the institution of a hierarchical Church and the primacy of Peter and his successors. It is most desirable, therefore, that there should be numerous members of the clergy well prepared to enter upon a contest of this nature, and to repulse hostile assaults, chiefly trusting in that armor of God recommended by the Apostle, but also not unaccustomed to modern methods of attack. This is beautifully alluded to by St. John Chrysostom, when describing the duties of priests: “We must use every endeavor that the ‘Word of God may dwell in us abundantly’ and not merely for one kind of fight must we be prepared — for the contest is many-sided and the enemy is of every sort; and they do not all use the same weapons nor make their onset in the same way. Wherefore it is needful that the man who has to contend against all should be acquainted with the engines and the arts of all — that he should be at once archer and slinger, commandant and officer, general and private soldier, f oot-soldier and horseman, skilled in sea-fight and in siege; for unless he knows every trick and turn of war, the devil is well able, if only a single door be left open, to get in his fierce bands and carry off the sheep.” The sophisms of the enemy and his manifold arts of attack we have already touched upon. Let us now say a word of advice on the means of defense. The first means is the study of the Oriental languages and of the art of criticism. These two acquirements are in these days held in high estimation, and therefore the clergy, by making themselves more or less fully acquainted with them as time and place may demand, will the better be able to discharge their office with becoming credit; for they must make themselves “all to all,” always “ready to satisfy every one that asketh them a reason for the hope that is in them.” Hence it is most proper that Professors of Sacred Scripture and theologians should master those tongues in which the sacred Books were originally written; and it would be well that Church students also should cultivate them, more especially those who aspire to academic degrees. And endeavors should be made to establish in all academic institutions — as has already been laudably done in many — chairs of the other ancient languages, especially the Semitic, and of subjects connected therewith, for the benefit principally of those who are intended to profess sacred literature. These latter, with a similar object in view, should make themselves well and thoroughly acquainted with the art of true criticism. There has arisen, to the great detriment of religion, an inept method, dignified by the name of the “higher criticism,” which pretends to judge of the origin, integrity and authority of each Book from internal indications alone. It is clear, on the other hand, that in historical questions, such as the origin and the handing down of writings, the witness of history is of primary importance, and that historical investigation should be made with the utmost care; and that in this matter internal evidence is seldom of great value, except as confirmation. To look upon it in any other light will be to open the door to many evil consequences. It will make the enemies of religion much more bold and confident in attacking and mangling the Sacred Books; and this vaunted “higher criticism” will resolve itself into the reflection of the bias and the prejudice of the critics. It will not throw on the Scripture the light which is sought, or prove of any advantage to doctrine; it will only give rise to disagreement and dissension, those sure notes of error, which the critics in question so plentifully exhibit in their own persons; and seeing that most of them are tainted with false philosophy and rationalism, it must lead to the elimination from the sacred writings of all prophecy and miracle, and of everything else that is outside the natural order.
In the second place, we have to contend against those who, making an evil use of physical science, minutely scrutinize the Sacred Book in order to detect the writers in a mistake, and to take occasion to vilify its contents. Attacks of this kind, bearing as they do on matters of sensible experience, are peculiarly dangerous to the masses, and also to the young who are beginning their literary studies; for the young, if they lose their reverence for the Holy Scripture on one or more points, are easily led to give up believing in it altogether. It need not be pointed out how the nature of science, just as it is so admirably adapted to show forth the glory of the Great Creator, provided it be taught as it should be, so if it be perversely imparted to the youthful intelligence, it may prove most fatal in destroying the principles of true philosophy and in the corruption of morality. Hence to the Professor of Sacred Scripture a knowledge of natural science will be of very great assistance in detecting such attacks on the Sacred Books, and in refuting them. There can never, indeed, be any real discrepancy between the theologian and the physicist, as long as each confines himself within his own lines, and both are careful, as St. Augustine warns us, “not to make rash assertions, or to assert what is not known as known.” If dissension should arise between them, here is the rule also laid down by St. Augustine, for the theologian: “Whatever they can really demonstrate to be true of physical nature, we must show to be capable of reconciliation with our Scriptures; and whatever they assert in their treatises which is contrary to these Scriptures of ours, that is to Catholic faith, we must either prove it as well as we can to be entirely false, or at all events we must, without the smallest hesitation, believe it to be so.” To understand how just is the rule here formulated we must remember, first, that the sacred writers, or to speak more accurately, the Holy Ghost “Who spoke by them , did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable unto salvation.” Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers — as the Angelic Doctor also reminds us — “went by what sensibly appeared,” or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to.
The unshrinking defense of the Holy Scripture, however, does not require that we should equally uphold all the opinions which each of the Fathers or the more recent interpreters have put forth in explaining it; for it may be that, in commenting on passages where physical matters occur, they have sometimes expressed the ideas of their own times, and thus made statements which in these days have been abandoned as incorrect. Hence, in their interpretations, we must carefully note what they lay down as belonging to faith, or as intimately connected with faith — what they are unanimous in. For “in those things which do not come under the obligation of faith, the Saints were at liberty to hold divergent opinions, just as we ourselves are,” according to the saying of St. Thomas. And in another place he says most admirably: “When philosophers are agreed upon a point, and it is not contrary to our faith, it is safer, in my opinion, neither to lay down such a point as a dogma of faith, even though it is perhaps so presented by the philosophers, nor to reject it as against faith, lest we thus give to the wise of this world an occasion of despising our faith.” The Catholic interpreter, although he should show that those facts of natural science which investigators affirm to be now quite certain are not contrary to the Scripture rightly explained, must nevertheless always bear in mind, that much which has been held and proved as certain has afterwards been called in question and rejected. And if writers on physics travel outside the boundaries of their own branch, and carry their erroneous teaching into the domain of philosophy, let them be handed over to philosophers for refutation.
The principles here laid down will apply to cognate sciences, and especially to History. It is a lamentable fact that there are many who with great labor carry out and publish investigations on the monuments of antiquity, the manners and institutions of nations and other illustrative subjects, and whose chief purpose in all this is too often to find mistakes in the sacred writings and so to shake and weaken their authority. Some of these writers display not only extreme hostility, but the greatest unfairness; in their eyes a profane book or ancient document is accepted without hesitation, whilst the Scripture, if they only find in it a suspicion of error, is set down with the slightest possible discussion as quite untrustworthy. It is true, no doubt, that copyists have made mistakes in the text of the Bible; this question, when it arises, should be carefully considered on its merits, and the fact not too easily admitted, but only in those passages where the proof is clear. It may also happen that the sense of a passage remains ambiguous, and in this case good hermeneutical methods will greatly assist in clearing up the obscurity. But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred. For the system of those who, in order to rid themselves of these difficulties, do not hesitate to concede that divine inspiration regards the things of faith and morals, and nothing beyond, because (as they wrongly think) in a question of the truth or falsehood of a passage, we should consider not so much what God has said as the reason and purpose which He had in mind in saying it — this system cannot be tolerated. For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incom patible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church, solemnly defined in the Councils of Florence and of Trent, and finally confirmed and more expressly formulated by the Council of the Vatican. These are the words of the last: “The Books of the Old and New Testament, whole and entire, with all their parts, as enumerated in the decree of the same Council (Trent) and in the ancient Latin Vulgate, are to be received as sacred and canonical. And the Church holds them as sacred and canonical, not because, having been composed by human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority; nor only because they contain revelation without error; but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author.” Hence, because the Holy Ghost employed men as His instruments, we cannot therefore say that it was these inspired instruments who, perchance, have fallen into error, and not the primary author. For, by supernatural power, He so moved and impelled them to write — He was so present to them — that the things which He ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth. Otherwise, it could not be said that He was the Author of the entire Scripture. Such has always been the persuasion of the Fathers. “Therefore,” says St. Augustine, “since they wrote the things which He showed and uttered to them, it cannot be pretended that He is not the writer; for His members executed what their Head dictated.” And St. Gregory the Great thus pronounces: “Most superfluous it is to inquire who wrote these things — we loyally believe the Holy Ghost to be the Author of the book. He wrote it Who dictated it for writing; He wrote it Who inspired its execution.”
It follows that those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings, either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration, or make God the author of such error. And so emphatically were all the Fathers and Doctors agreed that the divine writings, as left by the hagiographers, are free from all error, that they labored earnestly, with no less skill than reverence, to reconcile with each other those numerous passages which seem at variance — the very passages which in great measure have been taken up by the “higher criticism;” for they were unanimous in laying it down, that those writings, in their entirety and in all their parts were equally from the afflatus of Almighty God, and that God, speaking by the sacred writers, could not set down anything but what was true. The words of St. Augustine to St. Jerome may sum up what they taught: “On my part I confess to your charity that it is only to those Books of Scripture which are now called canonical that I have learned to pay such honor and reverence as to believe most firmly that none of their writers has fallen into any error. And if in these Books I meet anything which seems contrary to truth, I shall not hesitate to conclude either that the text is faulty, or that the translator has not expressed the meaning of the passage, or that I myself do not understand.”
But to undertake fully and perfectly, and with all the weapons of the best science, the defense of the Holy Bible is far more than can be looked for from the exertions of commentators and theologians alone. It is an enterprise in which we have a right to expect the co-operation of all those Catholics who have acquired reputation in any branch of learning whatever. As in the past, so at the present time, the Church is never without the graceful support of her accomplished children; may their services to the Faith grow and increase! For there is nothing which We believe to be more needful than that truth should find defenders more powerful and more numerous than the enemies it has to face; nor is there anything which is better calculated to impress the masses with respect for truth than to see it boldly proclaimed by learned and distinguished men. Moreover, the bitter tongues of objectors will be silenced, or at least they will not dare to insist so shamelessly that faith is the enemy of science, when they see that scientific men of eminence in their profession show towards faith the most marked honor and respect. Seeing, then, that those can do so much for the advantage of religion on whom the goodness of Almighty God has bestowed, together with the grace of the faith, great natural talent, let such men, in this bitter conflict of which the Holy Scripture is the object, select each of them the branch of study most suitable to his circumstances, and endeavor to excel therein, and thus be prepared to repulse with credit and distinction the assaults on the Word of God. And it is Our pleasing duty to give deserved praise to a work which certain Catholics have taken up — that is to say, the formation of societies and the contribution of considerable sums of money, for the purpose of supplying studious and learned men with every kind of help and assistance in carrying out complete studies. Truly an excellent fashion of investing money, and well-suited to the times in which we live! The l ess hope of public patronage there is for Catholic study, the more ready and the more abundant should be the liberality of private persons — those to whom God has given riches thus willingly making use of their means to safeguard the treasure of His revealed doctrine.
In order that all these endeavors and exertions may really prove advantageous to the cause of the Bible, let scholars keep steadfastly to the principles which We have in this Letter laid down. Let them loyally hold that God, the Creator and Ruler of all things, is also the Author of the Scriptures — and that therefore nothing can be proved either by physical science or archaeology which can really contradict the Scriptures. If, then, apparent contradiction be met with, every effort should be made to remove it. Judicious theologians and commentators should be consulted as to what is the true or most probable meaning of the passage in discussion, and the hostile arguments should be carefully weighed. Even if the difficulty is after all not cleared up and the discrepancy seems to remain, the contest must not be abandoned; truth cannot contradict truth, and we may be sure that some mistake has been made either in the interpretation of the sacred words, or in the polemical discussion itself; and if no such mistake can be detected, we must then suspend judgment for the time being. There have been objections without number perseveringly directed against the Scripture for many a long year, which have been proved to be futile and are now never heard of; and not unfrequently interpretations have been placed on certain passages of Scripture (not belonging to the rule of faith or morals) which have been rectified by more careful investigations. As time goes on, mistaken views die and disappear; but “truth remaineth and groweth stronger for ever and ever.” Wherefore, as no one should be so presumptuous as to think that he understands the whole of the Scripture, in which St. Augustine himself confessed that there was more that he did not know, than that he knew, so, if he should come upon anything that seems incapable of solution, he must take to heart the cautious rule of the same holy Doctor: “It is better even to be oppressed by unknown but useful signs, than to interpret them useles sly and thus to throw off the yoke only to be caught in the trap of error.”
Such, Venerable Brethren, are the admonitions and the instructions which, by the help of God, We have thought it well, at the present moment, to offer to you on the study of Holy Scripture. It will now be your province to see that what we have said be observed and put in practice with all due reverence and exactness; that so, we may prove our gratitude to God for the communication to man of the Words of his Wisdom, and that all the good results so much to be desired may be realized, especially as they affect the training of the students of the Church, which is our own great solicitude and the Church’s hope. Exert yourselves with willing alacrity, and use your authority and your persuasion in order that these studies may be held in just regard and may flourish, in Seminaries and in the educational Institutions which are under your jurisdiction. Let them flourish in completeness and in happy success, under the direction of the Church, in accordance with the salutary teaching and example of the Holy Fathers and the laudable traditions of antiquity; and, as time goes on, let them be widened and extended as the interests and glory of truth may require — the interest of that Catholic Truth which comes from above, the never-failing source of man’s salvation. Finally, We admonish with paternal love all students and ministers of the Church always to approach the Sacred Writings with reverence and piety; for it is impossible to attain to the profitable understanding thereof unless the arrogance of “earthly” science be laid aside, and there be excited in the heart the holy desire for that wisdom “which is from above.” In this way the intelligence which is once admitted to these sacred studies, and thereby illuminated and strengthened, will acquire a marvelous facility in detecting and avoiding the fallacies of human science, and in gathering and using for eternal salvation all that is valuable and precious; whilst at the same time the heart will grow warm, and will strive with ardent longing to advance in virtue and in divine love. “Blessed are they who examine His testimonies; they shall seek Him with their whole heart.”
And now, filled with hope in the divine assistance, and trusting to your pastoral solicitude — as a pledge of heavenly grace and a sign of Our special goodwill — to you all, and to the Clergy and the whole flock entrusted to you, We lovingly impart in Our Lord the Apostolic Benediction.
The RENEWAL OF SACRED LITURGY is underway. See the links that follow.
To UNDERSTAND what is going on with the changes and the conflicts we first must understand that Jesus commissioned His Church to be UNIVERSAL–FOR ALL PEOPLES. If the people cannot understand what is being taught then it stands to REASON they cannot KNOW the FAITH that they are required to believe and conform to for their conversation to sanctification for eternal LIFE.
Jesus did not speak in Latin or even Greek for that matter. He spoke in Hebrew and Aramaic. Jesus did not write a Bible, JESUS IS THE TRUTH about whom and about what the Bible is written and the Church teaches and protects.
With due diligence to fulfill the Great Commission, the Church, not having the modern means of communications, commissioned the Bible to be translated from the ‘original’ languages into the most common language of that time—around the turn of the fourth century. That language was Latin. Latin was chosen because it was the language of world commerce. Vulgate meant COMMON. There was nothing ‘mysterious’ about it but just the opposite. It simply was the language that ALL PEOPLES could understand.
The Tridentine (Latin) Mass was never forbidden as some claim. It simply was set aside temporarily so that ALL THE PEOPLE could get used to the Novus Ordo and better understand what a great mystery was unfolding before them. This was done because man is a creature of habit and does not easily change. Unfortunately, there was a movement of Modernism (many heresies) that had infected the Church and misdirected the documents of Vatican Council II and the implementation of the Mass in the present COMMON language. The enemy has always been in our midst beginning with Lucifer and his rebellious angels in heaven; they were cast out of heaven down to the earth where the battle between Good and Evil will continue until Satan is bound and cast into the pool of fire… then will come the Divine Era—the Era of Peace—the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. (See: Rev./Apoc. 20:1-3)
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, the Successor of St. Peter and Vicar of Christ, is leading us to the unity for which Jesus prayed, but his success in the United States requires our solidarity with him.
COMMITTEE ON DIVINE WORSHIP http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/
NOW IS THE TIME TO PREPARE FOR THE ROMAN MISSAL, THIRD EDITION
THE ORDER OF MASS http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/annotated-mass.pdf
Are we ready for LENT? Lent begins March 9, 2011 on Ash Wednesday.
Jesus went into the desert and fasted for forty days. (Matthew 4:1)
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23)
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.” (Genesis 3:19)
Lent Definition and Summary
Lent is the period of fasting leading up to the feast of Easter, recalling Jesus’ 40-day fast in the wilderness. Catholic Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends right before the evening Masses of Holy Thursday, although Lenten penance continues through Holy Saturday. SEE: http://www.churchyear.net/lent.html
Today’s Mass readings were alarming for many… and a great preparation for Lent.
Deuteronomy 11: 18, 26 – 28, 32
You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse:
the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day,
and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods which you have not known.
… you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the ordinances which I set before you this day.
Psalms 31: 2 – 4, 17, 25
Incline thy ear to me, rescue me speedily! Be thou a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
Yea, thou art my rock and my fortress; for thy name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for thou art my refuge.
Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call on thee; let the wicked be put to shame, let them go dumbfounded to Sheol.
Romans 3: 21 – 25, 28
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins;
For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.
Matthew 7: 21 – 27
“Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’ “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”
Knowing and believing is not enough; one must do the holy will of God and do it out of self sacrificial Love… as did Jesus.
Here is a link to something really special. http://www.archive.org/stream/catechismexplain00spiruoft#page/n729/mode/1up
It is THE CATECHISM EXPLAINED
an exhaustive exposition of the Christian religion, with special reference to the present state of society and the spirit of the age
A practical manual … From the original of Rev. Francis Spirago … Edited by Rev. Richard F. Clarke, S.J.
Published 1899 by Benziger brothers, printers in New York, Cincinnati [etc.] .
Did you know that Lent began yesterday, March 7th, in the Byzantine rite of the catholic Church? Yes, it did!
The first Sunday of Lent is here.
And here is Penance and Reparation: A Lenten Meditation
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
BTW, Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.’s Cause for Beatification is underway. http://www.hardonsj.org/article/2011/postulator-discusses-cause
Sylvia of St. Anthony’s Catholic Gift Shop received her Catechism training and certificate under his tutorship.
Next Season on Survivor
Have you heard about the next planned “Survivor” show?
Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in an elementary school classroom for 1 school year. Each business person will be provided with a copy of his/her school district’s curriculum, and a class of 20-25 students.
Each class will have a minimum of five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.H.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior problems.
Each business person must complete lesson plans at least 3 days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create their materials accordingly. They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences. They must also stand in their doorway between class changes to monitor the hallways.
In addition, they will complete fire drills, tornado drills, and [Code Red] drills for shooting attacks each month.
They must attend workshops, faculty meetings, and attend curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor students who are behind and strive to get their 2 non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the SOLS tests. If they are sick or having a bad day they must not let it show.
Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times. If all students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher will be held responsible.
The business people will only have access to the public golf course on the weekends, but with their new salary, they will not be able to afford it. There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to thirty minutes, which is not counted as part of their work day. The business people will be permitted to use a student restroom, as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class.
If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before, or after, school. However, they cannot surpass their monthly limit of copies. The business people must continually advance their education, at their expense, and on their own time.
The winner of this Season of Survivor will be allowed to return to their job.
April 1st is First Friday but it is not advisable to carry April Fool jokes into the spiritual realm. However, there was the judge who heard a lawsuit by a group of atheists against the Church because the Church had many Holy Days (holidays) and the atheists had none. The judge immediately dismissed the case quoting Scripture Psalm 14:1.
“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.” So, there you have it, he said. Your holiday is April Fools Day.
Merriam-Webster Definition of HERESY
a : adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma
b : denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church
c : an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma
a : dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice
b : an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards
The Inquisition is one of the most misunderstood events in Church history. To get a real outline of it one should read the Catholic version.
Here is a brief:
One of the most serious problems the Church faced was the number of Jews and Moors who had been baptized Catholics and risen to high positions in the government and the Church without really believing in Christian doctrine. These false Conversos and Moriscos (converted Jews and Moors) were a threat to the Church and to Spain, and a way had to be found of determining who was a true Christian and loyal Spaniard and who was a traitor. Isabel knew that not all the Conversos and Moriscos were enemies — her own confessor was a Converso as was the husband of her best friend. But to protect the innocent, the guilty had to be found.
The method Isabel chose was the Inquisition: a court which would examine evidence and judge whether a person was a faithful Christian or an enemy of Church and country. At the beginning of the Inquisition, there were many abuses — some innocent people suffered and torture was used frequently. At this point the Pope stepped in and appointed new Inquisitors, with the Grand Inquisitor (head of the Inquisition) being a Dominican monk named Tomas de Torquemada. Torquemada reformed the procedure of the Inquisition to ensure that justice would he done. He made its procedures more lenient and improved conditions in the prisons. He personally examined appeals from the accused and gave money to help the families of those on trial.
The actions of the Inquisitors are often criticized, usually as a means of attacking Spain by those who resent the strong Catholic character of the country. One criticism is that the Inquisition used torture. It did, though less so under Torquemada than before him. Torture is wrong, and the Church has since condemned any use of torture. But at the time, all governments routinely used torture as a means of extracting confessions. Though the fact that a sin is routinely committed does not justify it, the Inquisitors were most probably acting in good faith, and they should not be singled out as unusually evil.
A second attack is that the Inquisition’s judgments led to the execution of the guilty. People in modern times consider it wrong to execute people for not truly believing in the religion they professed, but that is not in fact why they were executed. Those found guilty were traitors to the state and to the Church, and treason has almost always been recognized as a crime justifying capital punishment. Furthermore, those found guilty were always given a chance to repent. Only if they refused to repent or if they relapsed into their crimes after promising repentance were they executed. Finally, only 2,000 were executed, a small percentage of the 100,000 put on trial.
A final charge is that the method of execution, burning at the stake, was unusually barbaric. But the 16th century was a brutal time. In England capital punishment consisted of being hanged, cut down while still alive, disembowelled, and then cut into four pieces (hanged, drawn and quartered); in France, it was to be boiled alive. Again, Spain should not be singled out for condemnation.
The Inquisition, in fact, though not perfect, was a more just court than most. Often, people charged with regular crimes would pretend to be heretics so that they could be transferred to the custody of the Inquisition, whose prisoners were better treated.
Looking at the Inquisition historically, we see that it avoided more deaths than it caused. Because Spain was united religiously as well as politically, it did not suffer the religious wars which came when Protestantism began in other countries. Furthermore, a few years later other parts of Europe went through a witchcraft hysteria, when many people were executed as witches on only the flimsiest of evidence, or no evidence at all (30,000 in England, 100,000 in Germany). In Spain, the Inquisition investigated charges of witchcraft and found them baseless, thus saving many innocent people from death.
All the efforts of Ferdinand and lsabel — ending civil war, restoring order and justice, completing the Reconquista, reforming the Church — brought peace and prosperity to Spain. The latter years of their reign and the years immediately following are known as Spain’s Golden Age, when art, literature, culture and science reached a high point. During the 16th century, Spain was the intellectual capital of the world, with scholars coming from all over Europe to study there.
Out of Spain’s optimism, joy and excitement came the explorations and discoveries which were to open up our own hemisphere and bring about the settlement of a whole new world.
Carroll, Anne W. “The Inquisition.” In Christ the King: Lord of History. 207-211. Rockford Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers Inc., 1994.
It seems that the Church in America is on the verge of a split. There is that portion that is faithful to the Holy Father and the Holy See but there is also a portion that is into liberalism, relativism and secularism. A renewal is greatly needed seeing that the Church is being split and cannot continue in its present course and remain united.
From time to time the Church, being a ‘Divine institution of sinners’, has had need of a St. Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena or Ignatius Loyola from time to time to redirect her course back to sanctity away from materialism and modernism.
The devil is very active for he knows his time is short. Spiritual envy turned Cain into a murderer of his brother Able; but, first he selfishly thought more of himself than of God by not offering the best of his harvest–the first fruits–to God. This is the answer to our plight today. Priests and bishops are not offering the best to God and the flock is following them into hell. Garabandal….
If the primacy of God were restored in the Church by offering true Worship and Sacraments everything would turn around.
I think I am the only one who reads the Sunday posts.
Let’s see. God gifted us with free will so that:
1. We can do whatever we want whenever we want to do it.
2. It is the only thing that the government cannot tax.
3. Because we are so poor that we could not buy it so it had to be free.
4. Love is a free act of the will and must be given unobstructed.
5. We can eat all we want of these: http://store.earthbox.com/Red-Earthworms/productinfo/1010426/
Father Denis Fahey is one of my Catholic heroes.
He was a priest who had it all together. Besides being a personal friend of Pope Leo XIII, he had a great foresight and understanding into the Kingdom of God as the Social Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His writings will play a big part in Christopher Nation–the preparation for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary–the Era of Peace–the Divine Era.
Check him out here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis_Fahey
Also check out, Fahey, Denis. The Church and Farming. Cork: The Forum Press, 1953.
Since nobody answered my question I guess I am talking to myself… well I have had better conversations but here is another short story.
My mother’s name is Esther. At Easter time, we children used to refer to ourselves as Esther eggs. I guess that is kind of lamb but we laughed.
Have a blessed Easter. He is Risen. He is risen indeed.
That’s LAME not lamb… still must be thinking about the Last Passover Supper.
Here are two wonderful CDs regarding the Eucharist:
I have learned a great deal from them.
What question. We are still halfway through your comments on this post
From a few weeks ago…
God gifted us with free will so that:
1. We can do whatever we want whenever we want to do it.
2. It is the only thing that the government cannot tax.
3. Because we are so poor that we could not buy it so it had to be free.
4. Love is a free act of the will and must be given unobstructed.
5. We can eat all we want of these: http://store.earthbox.com/Red-Earthworms/productinfo/1010426/
Bl. John Paul II Saw Final Confrontation
May 3rd, 2011 by twohearts
When Card. Karol Wojtyla came to the United States in 1976, just before becoming Pope John Paul II, he said:
“We are NOW standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are NOW facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence.”
Bl. John Paul spent much of his focus during his pontificate on responding to the confrontation with a call for holiness, the New Evangelization, the New Pentecost, and the new springtime for the Church. As he saw the great confrontation, which is now at hand, he also prophetically pointed the way to the great era of peace that will come afterwards, as Our Lady of Fatima promised.
For more on Bl. John Paul II, visit http://catholic.org/pope/jp2/sainthood.php
It is this assurance of victory promised by Our Lady of Fatima that we are forming Christopher Nation.
Where will this new nation be built?
“As everything is shaken down around you, remember that it will be yours to rebuild in the name of Mary.” Fr. Stefano Gobbi – 1978 USA http://www.mmp-usa.net/
The world is already taken up by governments everywhere but we are not concerned about where. Jesus told Msgr. Ottavio Michelini in 1978-9, “The earthquake activity will be so great as to change the topography of the earth.” There are two prophecies yet to be fulfilled by Our Lady of Fatima, the annihilation of nations and the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart. With such worldwide changes we cannot concern ourselves with where for her triumph will be worldwide. How will we live and conduct our affairs during this coming Era of Peace. This is what we are attempting to plan.
Here is some of Msgr. Ottavio Michelini’s CONFIDENTIAL MESSAGES TO A PRIEST.
I hope it works.
4. Love is a free act of the will and must be given unobstructed.
I am having difficulty finding a simple definition of PERSON. Who can help me?
New Advent complicates things. The definition must be simple. God is simple.
The definition must include Divine Persons, Angelic persons and human persons. What makes each a ‘person’.
So, nobody knows what a ‘person’ is?
Here is one
PERSON. “An individual substance of a rational nature” (Boethius). Therefore every individual intellectual substance which is complete in itself, uncommunicable and existing for itself, is a person. Essential to person in theological terms are intelligence and substantiality, wholeness in oneself and especially individuality. From individuality flow such features of personhood as distinctiveness, incommunicability, and uniqueness. Among human persons there are also the elements of responsibility and possession of distinctive rights. (Etym. Latin persona, actor’s mask; character; supposition of a rational nature.)
Modern Catholic Dictionary
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Copyright © 1999 by Inter Mirifica
Used with permission from Eternal Life
According to the 11th and on amendments, a person is a corporation and not a human being. Am I close?
From Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Vatican
Text of The Third Secret of Fatima
COMPLETE TRANSLATION OF ORIGINAL TEXT:
VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2000 (VIS) – Given below is the complete translation of the original Portuguese text of the third part of the secret of Fatima, revealed to the three shepherd children at Cova da Iria-Fatima on July 13, 1917, and committed to paper by Sr. Lucia on January 3, 1944:
“I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.
“After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.”
…/THIRD SECRET/… VIS 000626 (380)
Perhaps this is why Pope John Paul II told the youth at a World Youth Day to prepare for MARTYRDOM.
IN REGARD TO THE THIRD SECRET OF FATIMA… SEE ABOVE
CARDINAL RATZINGER: PENANCE IS THE KEY TO THE “SECRET”
VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2000 (VIS) – Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, writes that the “key word” of the third secret of Fatima “is the triple cry, ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’” These words appear in his “theological commentary” published at the end of the document made public today by the Holy See. Cardinal Ratzinger goes on to state that other key words are “my Immaculate heart will triumph,” and “the Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The ‘fiat’ of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world.”
The theological commentary of the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is divided into three parts: “Public Revelation and private revelations – their theological status”; “The anthropological structure of private revelations” and “An attempt to interpret the ‘secret’ of Fatima”.
“The term ‘public Revelation’ refers to the revealing action of God directed to humanity as a whole and which finds its literary expression in the two parts of the Bible: the Old and New Testaments. It is called ‘Revelation’ because in it God gradually made himself known to men, to the point of becoming man himself, in order to draw to himself the whole world and unite it with himself through his Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ. … In Christ, God has said everything, that is, he has revealed himself completely, and therefore Revelation came to an end with the fulfillment of the mystery of Christ as enunciated in the New Testament.”
‘Private revelation,’ on the other hand, “refers to all the visions and revelations which have taken place since the completion of the New Testament. This is the category to which we must assign the message of Fatima. … The authority of private revelations is essentially different from that of the definitive public Revelation. The latter demands faith.” Private revelation, on the other hand, “is a help to this faith, and shows its credibility precisely by leading (one) back to the definitive public Revelation.”
Quoting the Flemish theologian E. Dhanis, Cardinal Ratzinger affirms that “ecclesiastical approval of a private revelation has three elements: the message contains nothing contrary to faith or morals; it is lawful to make it public; and the faithful are authorized to accept it with prudence. Such a message can be a genuine help in understanding the Gospel and living it better at a particular moment in time; therefore it should not be disregarded. It is a help which is offered, but which one is not obliged to use.”
Cardinal Ratzinger also highlights that “prophecy in the biblical sense does not mean to predict the future but to explain the will of God for the present, and therefore show the right path to take for the future.”
The most important part of the theological commentary is dedicated to: “An attempt to interpret the ‘secret’ of Fatima.” In the same way as the key word of the first and second part of the ‘secret’ is to ‘save souls,’ “the key word of this third part is the threefold cry: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’ The beginning of the Gospel comes to mind: ‘Repent and believe the Good News.’ To understand the signs of the times means to accept the urgency of penance ß of conversion ß of faith. This is the correct response to this moment of history, characterized by the grave perils outlined in the images that follow. Allow me to add here a personal recollection: in a conversation with me Sister Lucia said that it appeared ever more clearly to her that the purpose of all the apparitions was to help people to grow more and more in faith, hope and loveßeverything else was intended to lead to this.”
The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith then considers the “images” of the secret: “The angel with the flaming sword on the left of the Mother of God recalls similar images in the Book of Revelation. This represents the threat of judgement which looms over the world. Today the prospect that the world might be reduced to ashes by a sea of fire no longer seems pure fantasy: man himself, with his inventions, has forged the flaming sword.
“The vision then shows the power which stands opposed to the force of destruction ß the splendor of the Mother of God and, stemming from this in a certain way, the summons to penance. In this way, the importance of human freedom is underlined: the future is not in fact unchangeably set, and the image which the children saw is in no way a film preview of a future in which nothing can be changed. Indeed, the whole point of the vision is to bring freedom onto the scene and to steer freedom in a positive direction. … Its meaning is to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. Therefore we must totally discount fatalistic explanations of the ‘secret,’ such as, for example, the claim that the would-be assassin of May 13 1981 was merely an instrument of the divine plan guided by Providence. … Rather, the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them.”
Cardinal Ratzinger explains that “the place of the action is described in three symbols: a steep mountain, a great city reduced to ruins and finally a large rough-hewn cross. The mountain and city symbolize the arena of human history: history as an arduous ascent to the summit, history as the arena of human creativity and social harmony, but at the same time a place of destruction, where man actually destroys the fruits of his own work. … On the mountain stands the crossßthe goal and guide of history. The cross transforms destruction into salvation; it stands as a sign of history’s misery but also as a promise for history.
“At this point human persons appear: the Bishop dressed in white (‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’), other Bishops, priests, men and women Religious, and men and women of different ranks and social positions. The Pope seems to precede the others, trembling and suffering because of all the horrors around him. Not only do the houses of the city lie half in ruins, but he makes his way among the corpses of the dead. The Church’s path is thus described as a ‘Via Crucis,’ as a journey through a time of violence, destruction and persecution. The history of an entire century can be seen represented in this image. Just as the places of the earth are synthetically described in the two images of the mountain and the city, and are directed towards the cross, so too time is presented in a compressed way.
“In the vision we can recognize the last century as a century of martyrs, a century of suffering and persecution for the Church, a century of World Wars and the many local wars which filled the last fifty years and have inflicted unprecedented forms of cruelty. In the ‘mirror’ of this vision we see passing before us the witnesses of the faith decade by decade.”
The cardinal also states that “in the Via Crucis of an entire century, the figure of the Pope has a special role. In his arduous ascent of the mountain we can undoubtedly see a convergence of different Popes. Beginning from Pius X up to the present Pope, they all shared the sufferings of the century and strove to go forward through all the anguish along the path which leads to the Cross. In the vision, the Pope too is killed along with the martyrs. When, after the attempted assassination on 13 May 1981, the Holy Father had the text of the third part of the ‘secret’ brought to him, was it not inevitable that he should see in it his own fate? He had been very close to death, and he himself explained his survival in the following words: ‘… it was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death’ (May 13 1994). That here ‘a mother’s hand’ had deflected the fateful bullet only shows once more that there is no immutable destiny, that faith and prayer are forces which can influence history and that in the end prayer is more powerful than bullets and faith more powerful than armies.”
The conclusion of the secret, continues the cardinal, “uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith. It is a consoling vision, which seeks to open a history of blood and tears to the healing power of God. Beneath the arms of the cross angels gather up the blood of the martyrs, and with it they give life to the souls making their way to God. Here, the blood of Christ and the blood of the martyrs are considered as one: the blood of the martyrs runs down from the arms of the cross. The martyrs die in communion with the Passion of Christ, and their death becomes one with his.”
“The vision of the third part of the ‘secret’, so distressing at first, concludes with an image of hope: no suffering is in vain, and it is a suffering Church, a Church of martyrs, which becomes a sign-post for man in his search for God. … From the suffering of the witnesses there comes a purifying and renewing power, because their suffering is the actualization of the suffering of Christ himself and a communication in the here and now of its saving effect.”
“What is the meaning of the ‘secret’ of Fatima as a whole (in its three parts)?” asks the Cardinal: “First of all we must affirm with Cardinal Sodano: ‘… the events to which the third part of the ‘secret’ of Fatima refers now seem part of the past.’ Insofar as individual events are described, they belong to the past. Those who expected exciting apocalyptic revelations about the end of the world or the future course of history are bound to be disappointed. Fatima does not satisfy our curiosity in this way, just as Christian faith in general cannot be reduced to an object of mere curiosity. What remains was already evident when we began our reflections on the text of the ‘secret’: the exhortation to prayer as the path of ‘salvation for souls’ and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion.
“I would like finally to mention another key expression of the ‘secret’ which has become justly famous: ‘my Immaculate Heart will triumph.’ What does this mean? The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The ‘fiat’ of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Saviour into the worldßbecause, thanks to her ‘Yes,’ God could become man in our world and remains so for all time. The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God.
“But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: ‘In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world.’ The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise.” …/FATIMA MESSAGE/RATZINGER VIS 000626 (1940)
Perhaps we should put the oldest post at the bottom and the new posts at the top.
What say ye?
“Ask and ye shall receive…” John 16:24
I ASKED BUT THE LATEST POST IS STILL AT THE BOTTOM.
PERHAPS I NEED TO SEEK AND KNOCK TOO?
The last four popes have asked us to pray for a new Pentecost. In the Mystical City of God, the Blessed Mother describes the first Pentecost. It was both marvelous for the new born Church but horrible for those who brutalized and killed Our Lord.
Is the Great Warning the new Pentecost?
As I was describing in an email to you, the Great Warning of Garabandal fits the fulfillment of Luke 23:  And there followed him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented him.  But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children.  For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck.  Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us.  For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?
It is said that the Great Warning shall come when the conditions of our world are at their worst and that during this event every human on planet Earth will see the good he has failed to do. The Great Warning will be sent by God to correct the conscience of the world and prepare it for the Great Miracle and the Era of Peace–the Divine Era.
The Warning will probably come during the time of the anti-Christ. I say this because, “And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened.” Matt. 24:22
This does not provide an immediate end of the evil in the world. The good will become very good and the evil will become very evil. There will be wars. The two great Prophets will go to Jerusalem to confront the anti-Christ where he will kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street for three days for the whole world to see. After three and a half days God will resurrect them and assume them into heaven.
To be continued….
We gave it our best shot, but nada. When somebody figures it out for us, we’ll fix it then
Truth mixed with poison is poisonous.
This is Satan’s favorite weapon.
Let us thank God our Creator for LIFE.
Astounding Video Depicts Unborn Baby’s Full Development | LifeNews.com
God is the reality–pride is the illusion.
Hell is inclusive–Heaven is exclusive.
Truth mixed with poison is poisonous.
Truth can hurt but lies can be deadly.
X-MAS – another cross for Christ
As we get closer to Christmas, the annual celebration of Our Savior’s birth, we see the stores busily selling and people rushing around checking off shopping lists and preparing for the great event. Bah Humbug….
Christmas_ Christmas_ Christmas_ God became Man and dwelt among us_ to raise man to the Divinity.
In recent years, popular stores forbade saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and many still do but they use the ‘season’ to sell about forty percent of their annual gross sales. Hypocrites!
I miss the true spirit of Christmas when we made things ourselves and gave them to others as birthday presents seeing Jesus in them. “And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.”_ (Matt. 25:40)
We used to dress us and go door to door singing Christmas carols THAT TRULY REFLECTED THE OCCASION. http://www.carols.org.uk/index.htm We can still do so in our homes.
The present era is now referred to as the ‘Post Christian Era’. Sad but true. “America is no longer a Christian nation” so proclaimed by President Obama. This is but a sign of the times and as sad as it is let’s hurry through it to get to the next phase of the Apocalypse_ The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Era of Peace_ The Divine Era_ .
Amen to all of that!
Incredible! Science proclaims the Truth of our Lord.
Fr. Rodney Kissinger, SJ used to live in Tampa. He is celebrating his 96th New Year at a Jesuit retirement house in New Orleans. He is still very active, has his own blog site and conducts retreats online. He sends his homilies to me and here is today’s.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The life of Jesus begins with Mary. Therefore, it is appropriate that we begin the New Year with a Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. Since Mary is the Mother of God she is the mother of joy, joy to the world. So the traditional greeting on this first day of the New Year is one of joy: Happy New Year!
Happy New Year! How many times did you hear that today? How many times did you give that same greeting to others? Was it just a conventional greeting or was it a real wish? In other words is it really possible to find happiness in the New Year?
It would be a mistake, of course, to expect perfect happiness this year or any year in this life. This innate, insatiable drive we all have for perfect happiness can only be satisfied in the next life. As St. Augustine said, “Lord, you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” But there is a deep, lasting peace that everyone can have in this life. And God wants us to have this happiness. “I am come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” This negative attitude that we should be willing to suffer hell here in order to avoid hell hereafter is a caricature of Christianity and a gross injustice to God.
It would also be a mistake also to identify happiness with pleasure. Pleasure and happiness are not synonyms. They are not one and the same thing. In fact, pleasure can be the cause of very great unhappiness. How much unhappiness has been caused by the pleasure of alcohol, heroin or crack cocaine? Perhaps nothing has caused as much unhappiness to as many people as the pleasure of adultery.
It would be a mistake also to think that happiness consists in amassing possessions. If things could make people happy, Americans would be the happiest people in the world. We have more things than any other generation. Unfortunately we begin by possessing things and end up with things possessing us. It is the desire, the craving for things we do not have that causes so much unhappiness. We are supposed to love people and use things. In our affluent society we turn that around and love things and use people to get the things we love.
It would be a mistake also to think that we can find happiness by seeking it. This is the great American pursuit, the “great American dream.” The Declaration of Independence guarantees every American the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Get the picture of someone going around with a Geiger counter looking for happiness. The fact of the matter is, the moment you seek it you lose it. Happiness is always a by-product, green stamps, lagniappe.
But what is happiness a by-product of? What is it that has happiness as a side effect? The answer is to be found in Bethlehem. Let us go to Bethlehem to see what it is. Look into the cave. Take your eyes away from the beautiful babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger and look around. There is none of those things in which we seek happiness. There is no riches, no fame, no power, no conveniences, no pleasure, nothing but an empty, cold cave on the outskirts of town.
Now look at Mary and Joseph kneeling before the manger. They must be tired. They have traveled 75 miles or so from Nazareth to Bethlehem on foot and on the jolting back of a donkey. They must be very hungry. They haven’t had a real meal since they left Nazareth some three days ago. They must be cold in this damp cave in the midst of winter. It must have been very humiliating for them to discover no room among their relatives in their ancestral home or at the village Inn. Yet in the midst of all of this, Mary and Joseph are the happiest people to walk the face of this earth. Here in Bethlehem they are teaching us the amazing paradox that it is only when we lose ourselves in the love and service of Jesus do we find happiness. Happiness that this world can never give and no one can take from us.
But how can we lose ourselves in the love and service of Jesus? Jesus has made it very simple, “Whatever you do for one of these least brethren you do for me.” There is only one love. The love of God and the love of the neighbor are one and the same. It is very evident in the Holy Family at Nazareth. When Mary and Joseph loved the child Jesus they were loving God.
So on this first day of the New Year let us ask for the grace to know Jesus more intimately, love him more ardently and follow him more closely so that this may be a truly Happy New Year!
Pope Benedict creates new Science and Faith Foundation
By David Kerr
WITH Fr. Tomasz Trafny
Vatican City, Jan 19, 2012 / 07:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI launched a new foundation at the Vatican aimed at building a “philosophical bridge” between science and theology.
“I don’t think most people necessarily see science and faith as being opposed but I do think there is confusion as to where to put faith and where to put science in their life,” said executive director Father Tomasz Trafny.
“So the question for us is how to offer a coherent vision of society, culture and the human being to people who would like to understand where to put these dimensions – the spiritual and religious and the scientific,” he told CNA on Jan. 19.
The Science and Faith Foundation will be headquartered at the Holy See under the leadership of Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
The new foundation builds on the work of the STOQ project – Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest – which was created by Pope John Paul II in 2003. For the past 9 years it has promoted a dialogue between theology, philosophy and the sciences working in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Culture and Rome’s pontifical universities.
Their stated aim is to explore “the possibility of being believers at the dawn of the Third Millennium without renouncing scientific progress.” Together they have initiated study programs and research projects as well as highlighting the fruit of their work through such vehicles as publications and conferences.
STOQ created headlines last year when helped broker the Vatican’s first ever commercial agreement with an outside company in June 2011. The deal saw the Catholic Church and U.S. based bio-pharmaceutical firm Neostem come together to advance ethical stem cells research.
The new Science and Faith Foundation will now have its own “legal personality” in both Church and civil law.
“This is an important step,” said Fr. Trafny, “because we are moving from being a simple project to merge learning between the pontifical universities in Rome to being a new entity recognized by the Holy Father as a reference point for all dialogue involving science and faith.”
THE BLONDE AND THE LORD
A Wisconsin blonde wanted to go ice fishing. She’d seen many books on the subject, and finally getting all the necessary tools together, she made for the ice. After positioning her comfy footstool, she started to make a circular cut in the ice.
Suddenly, from the sky, a voice boomed, “THERE ARE NO FISH UNDER THE ICE!”
Startled, the blonde moved further down the ice, poured a thermos of cappuccino,
and began to cut yet another hole. Again from the heavens, the voice bellowed,
“THERE ARE NO FISH UNDER THE ICE!”
The blonde, now worried, moved away, clear down to the opposite end of the ice.
She set up her stool once more and tried again to cut her hole.
The voice came once more, “THERE ARE NO FISH UNDER THE ICE!”
She stopped, looked skyward, and said, “IS THAT YOU, LORD?”
The voice replied over the loudspeaker,
“NO, THIS IS THE MANAGER OF THE HOCKEY RINK!”
So, what if Obama gets away with mandating that Catholic organizations provide abortions, ‘gay’ marriages, abortive contraception and others things that are contrary to the Christian Faith? Then what? Do we close down our Catholic hospitals, schools and other organizations? Do we obey ‘man’ instead of God? Do we choose not life but death and evil over good? God demands in Scripture “I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”
Do we pack up and move to… well, there is no other New World to move to. Then what? Do we simple die?
ALSO, DON’T FORGET THE TIME CHANGE TODAY!
Are we there yet?
Holy, Holy Holy is His Name. It is the second of the Ten Commandments and the first plea in the Our Father. “hallowed be Thy Name…”
Yet, we allow the Holy Name of God to be blasphemed daily on our Televisions and in the movies.
“Outside the Church there is no salvation” (extra ecclesiam nulla salus) is a doctrine of the Catholic Faith that was taught By Jesus Christ to His Apostles, preached by the Fathers, defined by popes and councils and piously believed by the faithful in every age of the Church. Here is how the Popes defined it:
“There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)
“We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)
“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)
But man, following the example of his natural father, Adam, often disobeys the authority of God. The fact that the doctrine had to be thrice defined itself proves the Church’s paternal solicitude in correcting her erring children who fall into indifferentism. The first goal of Saint Benedict Center’s doctrinal Crusade is to defend this doctrine. We present here a selection of various articles written for that end.
Here are some recommended starting points on this all-important subject:
The Popes on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus
The Fathers of the Church on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus
Our Status in the Church (focusing on the doctrinal stance of Saint Benedict Center and the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
The Franciscans are leaving Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church.
Rumor has it that three parishes are to be closed in this diocese.
It is so sad when parishes close, but it can sometimes be a good thing. A sign of the Church sloughing off the layers of skepticism and thinning down to a more faithful and solid core.
Happy Birthday, Pope Benedict!
Happy DIVINE Birthday, Pope Benedict!
Pope Benedict was Baptized on the day he was born.
What a great example for us.
“We should celebrate our Baptism as we do our birthday.” Pope John Paul II
(Following our visit with him August 3, 1996, the Holy Father made this announcement on the first feast day of the baptism of the Lord.)
Monday, April 16, 2012, is the pope’s 85th birthday and the anniversary of his Baptism.
My firstborn’s firstborn daughter received her first Holy Communion today on my mother’s birthday. How cool is that. Thank you, Lord.
BTW, ‘eucharist’ means thanksgiving. It comes from when Jesus blessed and gave thanks at the Last Supper. “And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me.” [Luke 22:19] [Latin]  http://www.drbo.org/x/d?b=drb&bk=49&ch=22&l=19#x
The Holy Eucharist is also referred to as Holy Communion. Communion means ‘in union with.’ This is the union of the members of the Body of Christ… not holding hands or any social display.
Bravo… you have the latest post on top.
Let nothing dismay you.
“This, then is our desert: to live facing despair, but not to consent. To trample it down under hope in the Cross. To wage war against despair unceasingly. That war is our wilderness. If we wage it courageously, we will find Christ at our side. If we cannot face it, we will never find him.”
Do you love God?
To love someone is to want to know all about that person.
To love someone is to want to be with that person.
To love someone is to want to please that person at whatever personal cost.
Do you really love God?
Did you know that for every moment that you do not love God on earth you will re-live in Purgatory? … if you get that far.
OFFICE FOR THE LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
External Signs of Devotion by the Faithful
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads: “In the liturgy of the New Covenant every liturgical action, especially the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacraments, is an encounter between Christ and the Church” (CCC, No. 1097). Hence, the liturgy is the privileged “place” of a Christian’s encounter with God and with him whom he sent, Jesus Christ (cf. John 17:3).
In this encounter the initiative, as ever, is the Lord, who presents himself in the heart of the Church, risen and glorious. In fact, “if the figure of Christ does not emerge in the liturgy, who is its principle and is really present to make it valid, we would no longer have the Christian liturgy, completely dependent on the Lord and sustained by his creative presence” (Benedict XVI, To the Bishops of Brazil [North 2], April 15, 2010).
Christ precedes the assembly that celebrates. He – who acts inseparably united to the Holy Spirit – convokes, gathers and instructs it. Because of this, the community – and the faithful who take part – “should prepare [...] to encounter [the] Lord and to become ‘a people well disposed.’” (CCC, No. 1098). Through the words, actions and symbols that constitute the scheme of every celebration, the Holy Spirit puts the faithful and ministers in living relationship with Christ, Word and Image of the Father, so that they can insert into their own life the meaning of what they hear, contemplate and carry out.
Hence, every “sacramental celebration is a meeting of God’s children with their Father, in Christ and the Holy Spirit; this meeting takes the form of a dialogue, through actions and words” (CCC, No. 1153).
In this meeting, the human aspect is important, as St. Josemaría Escrivá also pointed out: “I don’t have one heart to love God and another to love the people of the earth. With the same heart with which I loved my parents and I love my friends, precisely with this same heart I love Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit and Mary Most Holy. I will never tire of saying it: We must be very human because, otherwise, we cannot even be divine” (“Christ Is Passing By”). This is why filial trust must characterize our encounter with Christ. Without forgetting, however, that “this familiarity also entails a danger: that the sacred we continually encounter becomes a habit for us. Thus, reverential fear is extinguished. Conditioned by all our habits, we no longer perceive the great, new, amazing fact that he himself is present, speaks to us, gives himself to us” (Benedict XVI, Holy Chrism Mass, March 20, 2008).
The liturgy, and in a special way the Eucharist, “is the encounter and unification of persons; the Person, however, who comes to meet us and desires to be united to us is the Son of God” (Benedict XVI, To the Roman Curia, Dec. 22, 2005). The individual and the community must be aware of being before him who is thrice Holy. Hence, the necessary attitude is one full of reverence and of a sense of wonder, which gushes from knowing oneself in the presence of the majesty of God. Was this not perhaps what God intended to express when he ordered Moses to take off his sandals before the burning bush? Was not the attitude of Moses and Elias born from a similar awareness, who did not dare to look at God face to face? And did not the Magi show this same disposition of spirit, who “prostrated, adored him”? The different personages of the Gospel who met Jesus – he who passes, who forgives – do they not also give us an exemplary model of conduct for our encounters with the Son of the living God?
In reality, physical gestures express and promote “the intention and spiritual attitude of the participants” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 42), and enable one to overcome the danger that snares every Christian: habit. “For us who have always lived with the Christian concept of God and are accustomed to it, the possession of hope, which comes from the real encounter with this God, is almost no longer perceptible” (Benedict XVI, “Spe Salvi,” No. 3).
Because of this, “a convincing sign of the effectiveness that the Eucharistic catechesis has on the faithful is surely the growth in them of the sense of the mystery of God present among us. This can be verified through specific manifestations of reverence toward the Eucharist, to which the mystagogic way should introduce the faithful” (Benedict XVI, “Sacramentum Caritatis,” No. 65). The acts of devotion are understood in an adequate way in this context of encounter with the Lord, which implies union, “unification [that] can only be realized in keeping with the form of adoration” (Benedict XVI, To the Roman Curia, Dec. 22, 2005).
We see in the first place genuflection, which is done “by bending the right knee to the ground, signifies adoration, and therefore it is reserved for the Most Blessed Sacrament, as well as for the Holy Cross from the solemn adoration during the liturgical celebration on Good Friday until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 274). The bowing of the head instead means reverence and honor. In the Creed – except in the solemnity of Christmas and of the Annunciation (Incarnation), in which it is replaced with genuflection – we carry out this gesture pronouncing the wonderful words: “By the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”
Finally, we would light to highlight the gesture of kneeling at the moment of the consecration and, where this use is kept, at Communion. They are strong signs, which manifest the awareness of being before someone special. It is Christ, the Son of the living God, and before him we fall on our knees.
In kneeling, the spiritual and physical meaning form a unity, because the bodily gesture implies a spiritual meaning and vice versa, the spiritual act calls for a manifestation, an external translation. To kneel before God is not something that “is not very modern”; on the contrary, it corresponds to the truth of our being itself.
“One who learns to believe, also learns to kneel, and a faith and a liturgy that no longer knows about kneeling would be unhealthy in a central point. Where this gesture has been lost, we must learn it again, to remain with our prayer in the communion of the Apostles and martyrs, in the communion of the whole cosmos, in the unity with Jesus Christ himself” (J. Ratzinger, Theology of the Liturgy [Opera Omnia 11]. LEV, Vatican City 2010, p. 183).
Saint John tells us that the red dragon / Communism will spew from its mouth a river to try to destroy the Woman / Church. The earth will come to the rescue with disturbances in nature. After the Supreme Court aligned itself with Obama, the very next day a weird storm yielding countless lightening strikes of an unusual nature rained down on the DC area.
D.C. Area Power Outages After Storm Could Last For Days
America the Beautiful
Words by Katharine Lee Bates,
Melody by Samuel Ward
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!
O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!
O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man’s avail
Men lavished precious life!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!
Enjoyed the visit and birthday girl.
Don’t forget to send me a picture.
Thank you. We enjoyed your visit, too.
I’ll see you tomorrow after 3.
I hope to see you soon, but my ears are still messed up… (what’d he say?) going back to the doctor on Tuesday. Please pray for me.
Ama Deum Primo,
Today is the first day of the rest of our lives… it is also Holy Week, a great time to reflect on our past and present to see how close we are to Jesus the Christ.
Every day not lived for God will have to be re-lived in Purgatory.
MUST SEE: HOLY THURSDAY
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