Saturday, June 29, 2013

You Have to Read This…

Mothers of Priests, Fr. Robert Quardt, SCJ, Angelus Press,
Nihil Obstat, Imprimatur and Imprimi Potest, 1956.



The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral---a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body.
"The Angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's Creative miracle to bring new Saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creatures. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation."
"What on God's good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?" ------Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty


I just finished reading this book and I highly recommend it, especially to young mothers who live their Catholic life faithfully and, therefore, heroically and generously receive (and look forward to!) all the children God sends them. Although maybe I should 'especially' recommend it to mothers who are not being faithful and obedient to God, so that they realize that they need to start doing the right thing. 

Mothers are put to the test by God for the first time when He demands from them the heroism and great sacrifices of childbearing. Some mothers are blessed even more, and God puts them to the test for a second time when He asks them to renounce to those great treasures He has given them and that they have accepted so generously: their own children. God tells the moms: You did well, my faithful servant, in bringing these children into the world; but you need to realize that just like with everything else, you need to give them up to Me in sacrifice. I want them for Myself. I made you rich, I gave you such treasures and made you rich, so that you could become poor for Me and show Me your love in this way. Just like my faithful servant Abraham, you need to be willing to give up your own beloved children to show me your love.

When God grants a religious vocation to some children, this always means a lot of sacrifices for those children, because they have to renounce to whatever other plan they might have had for their own lives and follow the new path God is showing them, and also because they have to struggle heroically in order to keep the treasure of their vocation safe and not let the world and the devil steal it from their hands. But the gift of a vocation also means a lot of sacrifices for the parents of whoever receives such a gift, especially for mothers, because such a gift often requires a temporal separation in this world, for example, when it becomes necessary for the child to travel far away in order to get a proper education and formation. 

These sacrifices that the children have to make, such as leaving behind their own natural family, are just part of the formation, and God knows that they are necessary in order to make out of the child a man or a woman of character who understands about sacrifice and about renunciation and abandonment of temporal goods for the ultimate good, which is the eternal life with God in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Many times these sacrifices make the mothers undergo a very distressing and extremely painful Passion, as they see those whom they love the most just march away for unending periods of time (it may be months, or years, but for a mother even a few days always seem like centuries).

If these sacrifices are not undertaken, either by those who receive the religious vocation or by their parents, God's plans are thwarted and many souls are lost

The book that I’m recommending today, Mothers of Priests, praises mothers responsible for their son’s priestly vocation: Saint Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine; the mothers of Saint Bernard and Saint John Bosco; Alice Rolls, mother of ten religious; the mother of Pope Saint Pius X; the mothers of Lu, that town of 4,000, who gave 500 sons to the priesthood in 50 years, etc. 

Do read it if you get a chance; I'm sure you will love it. You can get it for $6.45 from Angelus Press (www.angeluspress.org). 

"A vocation comes from the heart of God, but goes through the heart of the mother."------St. Pope Pius X 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Communion in the hand?


Luther’s Lack of Credibility. Part III.
(By Fr. Leonel Franca, S.J.)


Protestant prophecies

What about prophecies? One frequently found in the writings of the first pseudo- reformers is that of the imminent destruction of the Papacy.
This was a favorite expression of Luther: “Living, I have been your plague; dying, I shall be your death, o Pope.” [pestis eram vivens, moriens tua mors ero, Papa]. In 1527 he wrote it in a letter; later he wrote it with a piece of chalk on a wall in the place where, some hours afterward, he would be surprised by death.

 More than four centuries after, we can say that the events of history have not substantiated that pretentious prediction of the Saxon poet.

Other Protestants who came after Luther also compromised their credibility in the same risky task of predicting the future.


This was confirmed by Joseph de Maistre: “It is well known that one of the first infirmities of Protestantism was a mania for predicting the fall of the papal power. Nothing – not its errors, its enormous gaffes nor the most sober ridicule – could correct it. This sickness always returns affirming the same thing.” (Joseph de Maistre, Du Pape, Conclusion, Paris-Lyon, p. 669).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

False Ecumenism, Evil Tolerance and True Charity

Meditation for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost in the Traditional Latin Calendar (Dominica V Post Pentecosten)

1 Pet 3:8-15.
Matt. 5:20-24.

We are all very much aware of the crisis of faith that’s affecting the whole world. We know that today’s world and most people nowadays have rejected God and have banished Him from society and from everyday life… we know also that this rejection of God creates a very sad and very real void… it creates an emptiness in people’s hearts… because without God, our hearts cannot be at peace… and they feel empty and they are restless… restless until they rest in God (in the words of Saint Augustine).

We know also that many people try to fill this emptiness with an overemphasis on love for neighbor… But of course, since they forget that the first of the two greatest commandments is to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds and strengths, and in forgetting this they condemn themselves to never really understanding what true love is… since they forget the order of love and that God has to be loved in the first place, their so called love for neighbor is never a real love… it is never something that pleases God, simply because it is never true love, but just a façade for selfishness.

We cannot love neighbor with true Christian charity if we don’t love God in the first place. We all remember the definition of charity according to Mother Church: charity is the virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.

So, even the reason why we love our neighbors has to be ultimately God Himself. We love our neighbors for the sake of God in the first place. For His sake. We love Him not for our own sake in the first place, but for His own sake, and we love our neighbors also for His own sake.

If we forget this, then we embrace a disordered conception of love, a phony concept of what love is. We make up our own idea about love, and of course, this is always bound for failure. If anyone puts it into practice, failure is guaranteed.

But the right and sound conception of true love or charity… the one that Holy Mother Church has taught for centuries, that is, that the virtue of love, the virtue of charity is to love God above all things for His own sake and to love neighbor as ourselves for the sake of God… this conception of love, even though it is very clear and not too hard to understand… has been forgotten and corrupted and transformed into something new, especially in our present times, especially now that man worships man instead of worshiping God… now that man practices the new Religion of Man and believes that  he is the center of the universe.

So, now that the world revolves around man, after this revolution that has placed man in the throne of God and has set man as the center of the universe… now there is the idea of loving neighbor for the sake of neighbor, of loving man for the sake of man… this idea is reigning nowadays and it has infiltrated even some very important documents written to, supposedly, teach people about the Catholic Faith, but unfortunately the opposite has been true, and people instead of being educated have only been lead to confusion and ignorance regarding the One True Faith.

For example, there is this teaching nowadays that says that man was created for his own sake… but this idea was even condemned by Mother Church at the First Vatican Council because God created all things for Himself and for His glory. Nothing in the universe was created for its own sake.

But, unfortunately, such an idea, that man was created for his own sake, has made its way into the minds of many theologians and many members of the clergy and many lay people. The problem is that this idea is very often used to justify the man-centered religion, the Religion of Man that is so popular nowadays, the new theology that forgets about God… that banishes God because He is not relevant to modern man.

But all these new ideas, this new conception about the place of man in the universe, all this forgetting what true charity is, leads to a false and to a very evil understanding of love of neighbor.

For modern man, we are not supposed to love neighbor for the sake of God but for the sake of neighbor himself… this is not good because it leads to a total misconception of what true love is: since God is put out of the equation, the salvation of souls becomes something irrelevant.

Social Justice becomes the purpose of everything, even the purpose and mission of Holy Mother Church, and the salvation of souls is relegated to a second plane or simply relegated to a state of oblivion.

In the past, missionaries would go all over the world with one purpose: to teach the One True Faith and to bring people to salvation by teaching them the Catholic Faith, and they would do this even at the expense of their own lives.

Nowadays, missionaries go to different countries with many ideas for helping the poor, for helping them maybe get electricity or running water in their very impoverished cities… but they have no intention whatsoever of teaching them the One True Faith and eventually baptizing them… modern missionaries would even say: Who am I to teach them my faith? What right do I have to bring them to my faith? After all, all I have to do is to help a Jew be a good Jew, and to help a Muslim be a good Muslim, and a Protestant be a good Protestant… and the most important thing: if they are poor, I have to do something about it.

For modern man, even for modern clergy, the material and temporal necessities of people have become the real relevant issue, and whatever has to do with their eternal salvation or with their spiritual growth and their spiritual maturity in grace and holiness… all this is considered by them as mere supernatural nonsense, superstition, a waste of time. The supremacy of the supernatural has been replaced by the supremacy of the natural; the supremacy of God and the things of God have been replaced by the supremacy of almighty man and his earthly problems.

The glory of God, which used to be the Church’s guiding principle and purpose, is either forgotten or relegated to a second plane, and the welfare of man becomes the main concern. The poor souls that are like sheep without a shepherd and who need guidance to make it to Heaven, have to wait now because all the shepherds are too busy worrying about the earthly welfare of the sheep… or at least that’s what they say, although ultimately there are always selfish reasons behind.

Whenever the order of things is disrupted, whenever man works for this world and for this life forgetting the next life; whenever man works for the earthly welfare of people forgetting about the eternal life of people, true love goes out the window, it is lost… charity is never true charity if it doesn’t begin and end with God.

So, this misconception of true love that simply forgets about God and about the importance of working for the salvation of souls (which implies, of course, the missionary work of bringing people to the One True Faith and to the One True Church outside of which there is no salvation…), this new idea of love, the idea of modern man who, according to modern man, was created by God for the sake of man… this new idea begets other serious modern misconceptions such as the concept of tolerance, or the modern idea of ecumenism.

Tolerance nowadays is accepting everything from everyone… it means not being judgmental, and not being judgmental, for modern man, means never saying anything about anyone and, of course, even if they are doing evil and they are marching to hell with their actions, with their lives, you can’t say anything because if you do you are judgmental…

According to Archbishop Fulton Sheen, even though many people say that America suffers from intolerance, the real problem is that America suffers from tolerance. And this is something he said back in 1931. What would he say nowadays? What would he say now that most people see abortion and same-sex unions as something normal and even something praiseworthy? Modern man sees these disgusting and nefarious things as progress, when they are actually sins that cry to Heaven.

This is what Fulton Sheen said: America… is not suffering from intolerance; it is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, of truth and error, of virtue and evil, of Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly overrun by the bigoted as it is overrun by the broadminded.

But we need to be aware of all these misconceptions, so that we don’t fall into modern man’s traps. We need to understand what true charity is. We need to understand that God comes first, that the salvation of souls, of our own soul and of the soul of others, should be our main concern.

This is important because love of neighbor is absolutely necessary. The words of Saint John in his First Letter are still very much alive: If anyone says, "I love God," but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Today’s gospel reminds us of the importance of love of neighbor. Jesus tells us that the ancients were commanded not to kill… but now He commands us to not even be angry with our neighbor… to not be disrespectful even, to not be rude and uncharitable with them: You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘You shall not kill’; and that whoever shall kill shall be liable to judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be liable to the Sanhedrin; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’, shall be liable to the fire of Gehenna.

Saint Peter reminds us today of many ways in which we have to live the true charity, the true love of neighbor. He says: be all like-minded in prayer, compassionate, be loving toward one another, merciful, reserved, humble; do not return evil for evil, or insult for insult.

These words from Saint Peter show us that modern man’s conception of love is wrong and disordered. Saint Peter tells us to be all like-minded in prayer, of one mind, meaning that we have to pray in the same way and for the same things… well, here the enemies of God, the enemies of true charity have achieved some victories because there is no more unity among the faithful, nor in the way we pray, neither in the things we pray for. For example, and going back to the errors of modern man who cares more about this world than about the next, people who are of one mind with the Tradition of the Catholic Church pray for the conversion of those who are not Catholic. (And of course, we also pray for Catholics, including ourselves, so that we are always true Catholics and not Catholics in name only, but that’s another story…). There should be unity in this, because this has been the mind of Mother Church always and all the faithful should be of the same mind, but nowadays it seems as if they want to change this and instead they tell people to pray for peace, and dialogue, and tolerance, and to pray for the poor, and for the poor and for the poor.

It looks like they want to replace the priority of Mother Church which is the salvation of souls with the new priority which is the welfare of the poor.

Saint Peter also says: be reserved. And this means: to be formal, to be self-restrained in manner, and this is something that has been totally forgotten for example by the clergy, who now think that they have to be just the opposite, they think that they need to be real entertainers of the people, that, for example, the Holy Mass is their show time and that they need to put up a good show and keep everybody happy and entertained… Sometimes even humility and the practice of humility implies, in the mind of some people, the necessity of putting up a show in which humility is displayed in such a way that everybody can see it and talk about it. But that’s not true charity. And that’s not true humility.

Saint Peter also tells us to be merciful, and compassionate, and humble, and loving, and to never return evil for evil. And we all know that too often we fail to live charity in such a way.

Let us ask Our Blessed Mother to always protect us from the errors of modern man concerning charity, and to help us to always love God above all things for His own sake, and to love neighbor for the sake of God. 
Scandalous!


Liturgical lessons from the East


In Rome for a conference on liturgy, Sri Lankan Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith spoke to Catholic News Service about the need for mystery in worship.



‘Be Yourself’ versus The Imitation of Christ

Meditation for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C. 2013
 
Today, Our Lord Jesus Christ reminds us once again what the life of every Christian should be like; He reminds us what our life has to be like, what we are supposed to do with our lives, in what way we are supposed to live our lives.  
 
The problem is that many people don’t know how we are supposed to live our lives. If you ask them, they would say: well, you have to be a good person, and never hurt anyone. As long as you are a good, non judgmental person, you are ok.
 
But that’s what people think nowadays only because they have forgotten the words of Christ. Christ doesn’t mince the truth, He doesn’t mince words, and He says that we have to be holy, that we have to be perfect, that we have to imitate Him, and live His life, the Life of Christ, and today in the gospel He says this about His life: The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Meaning that the life for every Christian, the life for every person who follows Him and imitates Him has to be a life of suffering and persecution for the sake of God, for the sake of the Truth. If there is no true suffering in our lives, if there is no persecution from the enemies of God, then that means that we are not on the right track, that we are not on the narrow road that leads to Heaven.
 
So, it’s not about being good people who don’t hurt anyone. There is much more to it. Our lives have to be much more than that.
 
In order to know what our life has to be like, we need to know what His life was like. In order for us to know who we are supposed to be, who we are supposed to become, we need to know who Jesus Christ was.
 
We cannot make the mistake, the awful mistake of thinking that we have to be ourselves in order to be happy. Many people will say: But Father, all my life I’ve been told to be myself and that this is the way to be happy; I have been told that to know, and to understand and to accept myself is necessary to be happy… Of course you have been told this… This is what the world wants you to think… The world says: Be yourself and you will be happy. Accept yourself just like you are and you will be happy. Don’t let anyone or anything change you.
 
But, does this teaching come from God? How could it be if it actually leads many people away from God and from the Truth? Of course we are supposed to accept everything that God has given us and also the fact that there are many things He has chosen not to give us… We have to be thankful to Him for all He has given us… and happy about it. Of course.
 
But that doesn’t mean we have to accept our sinful nature, and our sinful inclinations… they are not something that God has given us… just the opposite. He gives us the grace to be free from that, and if we are sinful it's only because we don’t use those graces.
 
We cannot say: I’m lazy, but I accept myself and so I’m happy about it. I’m a crabby, irritable old man… but that’s the way I am, and I accept myself, I am myself, I have to be myself, and so it’s ok for me to be irritable, and to yell at people, and to treat people in horrible way. That’s the way I am. And everybody has always told me to be myself, so that’s what I’m going to do. If someone were to say: well, I’m impure and I know it… I live in an impure world and there’s nothing I can do about it… I am impure in thought, in my desires, in my actions, I’m impure by myself, I’m impure with my wife, with the husband… but that’s the way I am, so I have to accept myself, be myself, and not worry about it but be happy about it.
 
But this way of thinking is so wrong. And we all know that it is wrong. I don’t need to prove this to anyone. A little common sense shows us that this is wrong. And so, we can say then that the slogan, that the phrase ‘be yourself’ is one of the most anti-Christian phrases the world has come up with to deceive people and to make them forget that we are not supposed to be ourselves… and we are not supposed to be ourselves for the simple reason that, unfortunately, we have a sinful nature, and we tend to sin, we are inclined to sin, and we are not supposed to be our sinful selves… we are supposed to be holy, and so we are supposed to be like Christ. That’s what we are supposed to be. Other living Christs. We have to live His life, not our own life. And this is what self-denial means. This is what dying to self means. This is what Jesus is talking about when He says: If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. And this is what Jesus is talking about when He says: whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
 
So, if we want to be ourselves, if we want to live our own lives instead of living the life of Christ, the life of sacrifice and self-denial, then we can forget about salvation… we would be choosing to live our lives in this world, but forfeiting the everlasting life. Jesus says: What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?
 
So, it’s not about being ourselves. It’s about the Imitation of Christ. That’s the key to happiness. That’s the key to Heaven.
 
So, we need to be careful when we listen to what the world has to tell us. We need to be careful and examine what the world tells us, and the world will tell us: live your own life… You are so special, so act like it. Live your own life. Be completely independent.
 
Now, young people (old people too, but young people are in a special way more vulnerable to all this), young people hear these phrases, these slogans like ‘live your own life,’ ‘be free and be independent,’ they hear this and they jump to the logical conclusion that no one has the right to tell them anything, to tell them or teach them how they are supposed to live their lives… and they rebel against their parents, and every time their parents try to tell them something, they think and the say that their freedom is being abused, that no one has the right to tell them how they are supposed to live their own lives… because they are independent, they don’t depend on anyone, not on their parents, and neither on God Himself.
 
The world, which is very cunning, very sneaky and subtle, says things like: It is better to live your own life imperfectly than to imitate someone else’s life perfectly… Now, think about this… It even sounds like something intelligent to say, like something truthful: It’s better to live your own life imperfectly than to imitate someone else’s life perfectly… This sounds right and sounds like there’s nothing wrote with it… But if we think about it, if we look at this with our Christian eyes, with our Catholic eyes, we realize that such a message is a totally anti-Christian message… if our eyes are open and our hearts are clean and open to the Truth, then we realize that such a message is pure garbage, and nothing more than deceit and rubbish.
 
We were created to imitate someone else’s life, and to try to imitate it with perfection, with the utmost perfection… we were created to die to our own self completely, because we were created to imitate and to live the Life of Christ. Not to live our own lives, but to relinquish our own lives, to give them up, and to live the life of Christ. The life of virtue. The life of holiness. The life of obedience to all the commandments, no matter how hard they are. If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
 
But we hear the world’s message all the time: be yourself, live your own life. This is everywhere. Movies, songs, books, TV shows, magazines…
 
But this is not God’s message. The key to happiness, according to God Himself who has mercifully revealed to us what this key is… the key to happiness is self-denial, the key to happiness is the death of self in order to become what we are supposed to become: imitators of Christ… and in order to be what we are supposed to be: imitators of Christ… and in order to live the life we are supposed to live: the life of Christ…
 
The key to happiness is the imitation of Christ. Outside of this, there is no happiness. No happiness in this life and, of course, no happiness in the next life.
 
Today, once again, Christ reminds us of this. First, He reminds us of the importance of knowing Him. Of knowing Who He really is. The importance of knowing Him for real. And so He asks his disciples: who do you say that I am?
 
Jesus Christ is also expecting us to know who He is, and to know who He is for real. Otherwise, we may be deceived by the world into thinking that we know Jesus, that we are doing what is right, and all the while we could be living our own lives instead of denying our own self by being obedient to God.
 
If anyone is lazy, that has to be overcome, that has to be given up… Jesus Christ was not lazy and we have to be like Him. If a man is irritable and gets angry very easily, he has to give this up too, and he has to learn from Christ, who is meek, gentle and humble of heart. If anyone is impure, by watching impure things, by doing impure actions… that has to be given up, because we have to imitate Christ who was perfectly pure and chaste. If anyone is committing adultery, or drinking to excess, or stealing anything, or contracepting, or having illicit relations, or failing to go to Mass every Sunday… all these things have to be given up, for the love of God, and for our own salvation. This is what picking up our Cross and following Him means. This is what losing our life in order to save it means.
 
Let us ask Our Mother in Heaven to protect us always from the deception and all the lies of the world, and to teach us always how to live, in perfect imitation, the life of Jesus Christ, in whatever our vocation is, so that we can be saved and be with Him for all eternity.

I highly recommend this article regarding the LITURGY. It was written by Dr. Jay Boyd, Ph.D. She loves our Catholic Faith, our Catholic Church, and our Catholic Traditions. She has a very interesting blog: philotheaonphire.blogspot.com


Liturgical Abuse: Sweating the Small Stuff


I’m sure you’ve heard this one: “Rule Number One is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule Number Two is, it’s all small stuff.”
 That may be a workable adage for earthly matters, but not for spiritual concerns. In the Kingdom, everything is turned upside down: the meek shall inherit the earth; when I am weak, then I am strong; we must die to self in order to truly live. In the Kingdom, sometimes the “small stuff” is the truly important stuff. And in the Kingdom, it’s definitely not all “small stuff”.
 Concerning the liturgy, the “little things” spelled out in the rubrics or in Canon Law or in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) are all there for a reason, and the net effect of a correct implementation of each part is a more beautiful portrait of the Heavenly Banquet. In his book Worship as a Revelation, Laurence Paul Hemming states,
A further part of this textual character of the liturgy as a whole is the vestments, the furnishing and ordering of the church interior, the shape and character of the sacred vessels, the materials from which all is made, its exact placing and so forth. Everything in a church intends a meaning, so that the whole of the liturgy, its chant, what is performed, by whom, and how, where, and when, form a whole textual complex with intricate significance. (p. 11)
 It seems to me that the average Catholic – the one who goes to Mass on Sunday and maybe holy days of obligation (wait…is that really average any more?) – well, anyway, the average Catholic: a) doesn’t know what the rubrics say about how the liturgy is supposed to be celebrated; b) doesn’t care; and c) is fine with keeping things just as they are. “This is how we’ve always done it”, and they don’t want anything to change.
 The result is that – at least where I live – we have Catholic parishes that look, act, and think more like Protestant churches: the focus of worship is more human-centered – it’s all about ‘us’. The music is “what makes us feel good”. The homilies are pabulum. We want to be “inclusive” and make people feel “comfortable”.
 The liturgy is too significant to take lightly or to meddle with unnecessarily: It is “the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the fount from which all her power flows" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10). It is the source and summit of our life as Christians (Lumen Gentium, 11). It is the earthly sign of the heavenly banquet and our communion with the saints: “In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims…” (SC, 8). What can possibly be “small” in such an important piece of our Catholic Christian identity?
Here’s a list of some of the “small stuff” that bothers me at Mass:
·        Sloppily attired altar servers
·        “Contemporary” music
·        Priest adding “Good morning” at the beginning of the liturgy, and “Have a nice day” at the end
·        Inappropriate items placed on the altar
·        Using the altar as a background for “seasonal” decorations
And here’s a list of some of the “big stuff” that makes me cringe:
·        Priest adlibbing the Lamb of God and/or any other prayers
·        Calling for “spontaneous” general intercessions
·        Inappropriate vestments
·        Lay ministers performing tasks that should be reserved to priests, deacons, or acolytes
·        Unvested lay ministers entering the sanctuary to receive Holy Communion
·        Acolytes and deacons performing tasks that should be reserved to priests
·        These are just a few examples, and you may agree or disagree as to whether they are “small stuff” or “big stuff”. To me, frankly, they’re all “big stuff”. These errors violate the sacred structure of the Mass, disdain tradition and apostolic teaching, and contribute to a general lack of reverence for the liturgy.
The point is, in the liturgy, we need to sweat all of the “stuff” in order to make sure that the big picture is not out of focus.
But my view is not shared by many in the parishes I’ve experienced. An entirely different attitude prevails: one of casualness. One parishioner asked me in all sincerity, “Do you really think that stuff matters to God?” She also wondered aloud why my opinion on liturgical matters should matter more than hers or some other parishioners’. My explanation that it was not my opinion, but rather, what the Church demands of us for Her liturgy, fell on deaf ears. This parishioner – and she’s not the only one – has no concept of the authority of Church teaching, documents, or tradition. She doesn’t know the difference between an encyclical and an encyclopedia, or between the GIRM and the missalette (“Isn’t everything we need to know in the missalette?” she inquired).
Another parishioner told me didn’t understand why we should have to follow a bunch of rules about the way the sanctuary was furnished and how the altar was covered. “I think people should be comfortable when they come to church,” he said.
 Sadly, this comment is probably the most telling of all. I would say that people are definitely “comfortable” in our Catholic churches. They are so comfortable that they feel free to traipse through the sanctuary at will, with a quick nod of the head toward the tabernacle. They feel comfortable enough to enter the sanctuary and stand right next to the altar to receive Holy Communion. The altar servers feel comfortable enough to slouch and yawn their way through Mass. The priests are comfortable enough to treat their role as one of talk-show host. Once, I suggested to a priest that if Jesus entered the room, we would all fall on our faces in adoration, not just greet him with a casual, “Oh, hi, Lord.” He laughed and said he would probably do the latter.
In truth, most priests probably do follow the rubrics quite well… or at least intend to. For most, any errors are probably due to oversight or ignorance, rather than willful disobedience. Busy parish priests may find it difficult to take the time to study the GIRM. However, shouldn’t this have been covered in the seminary?!
I also understand that priests are faced with “parishioner pressure” – those pillars of the local parish community who tell the priest, “But this is the way we’ve always done it”. And certainly, re-catechizing such parishioners can be a daunting task. In my own little parish, I have had unfruitful conversations with others regarding liturgical issues.
But I think priests and bishops are making a big mistake by “going with the flow” in their parishes and dioceses. If they are not moving toward greater liturgical excellence, then they’re going backwards. And they are doing a disservice to the faithful.
When priests and bishops dismiss liturgical abuses as insignificant they do two things: First of all, they allow the faithful to persist in their errors, and hand these errors on to the next generation of parishioners (“that’s how we’ve always done it”). They dilute our Catholic identity.
 Second, they cause scandal. When a faithful Catholic discovers the truth about the liturgy, he’s bound to wonder why the shepherds of the Church have failed to teach it. When a faithful Catholic begins to see the beauty, wisdom, majesty, and pure depth of Catholic tradition, he is bound to wonder why the shepherds of the Church have hidden it.
And he begins to wonder if those shepherds are really wolves in sheep’s clothing. That is not a good thing.
Personally, I’ve been maligned by the pastor of my own parish (and beyond) because of my orthodox views, and my willingness to insist on liturgical correctness. I’ve been censured by an acting bishop. So what I see is that the leadership of the Church cares very little about the liturgy, but very much about popular opinion. And since my “opinion” is not popular, they don’t care about it.
It doesn’t bother me that the powers-that-be (or even my friends, family, and fellow parishioners) don’t care about my “opinions”. Sometimes, I don’t care about theirs, either!
 What bothers me is that they are so quick to dismiss what the Church has to say about the liturgy and how it should be celebrated. This is not a matter of opinion, and shouldn’t be dismissed as such. It is a matter of truth.
 When people say the rubrics are optional or don’t matter for some reason or another, what they are really saying is that their opinion should hold sway! And they tell me I’m too “rigid”.
 To them, I offer this thought from Pope Benedict XVI, writing as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger:
The life of the liturgy does not come from what dawns upon the minds of individuals and planning groups…[It] becomes personal, true, and new, not through tomfoolery and banal experiments with the words, but through a courageous entry into the great reality that through the rite is always ahead of us and can never quite be overtaken.
Does it still need to be explicitly stated that all this has nothing to do with rigidity? (Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 168)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Don’t Miss This Video…



I liked especially these words from the video:

It is time for the laity to rise up – to become as educated in the faith as possible – change the way we live our lives so that immersing ourselves in the faith becomes the number one goal of our day – and preserve the integrity of the faith while it is being battered so severely from many members of the Church from INSIDE the Church.

We are in a great transition now. What was once exciting and new and fresh back in the 1960s and 1970’ has now become largely old and stale and supported by aging clerics who don’t want to let go of what they pledged their lives to in their youths. [I would add: and by aging lay people who were misguided by the clergy].

God can be their judge as to their sincerity... but we must judge the damage and respond and that means... holding on tight... very tight... for the next 10 to 15 years until the angel of death has simply removed these problems in the way in which only he can.


So hunker down... realize the reality... and fight like you’ve never fought before... and most importantly... KEEP THE FAITH. In the end... God wins and given the enormity of the challenge... think how GREAT the victory will be. (Michael Voris)


Monday, June 24, 2013

Special Report: Gay Vatican

Special Report: Gay Clergy and The Catholic Media 


Luther’s Lack of Credibility. Part II.
(By Fr. Leonel Franca, S.J.)

No miracles as a sign of his divine mission
The guarantee we have of the divine origin of a doctrine relies on its proponent’s authority received from on high. God attests to the authority of His envoys by means of miracles. Such physical miracles reflect the divine envoy’s irreprehensible sanctity, which is also a moral miracle. Only miracles, extraordinary interventions of divine omnipotence, can authenticate missions from heaven. 


With miracles Jesus proved He was the Messiah; with miracles God confirmed the mission of the Apostles. Through miracles Christian apologetics, based on reason and the teachings of the inspired Books, recognized the inimitable signature of the Divine Author in His extraordinary manifestations to mankind. 

Luther himself recognized the need for this heavenly authentication. In 1524, trying to prevent Thomas Münzer (another Protestant who took the side of the Anabaptists) from preaching in Mulhouse, he wrote to the city magistrates and insisted they should not receive this turbulent innovator unless he could not prove his mission with extraordinary works: “If he says that God and His Spirit are sending him as they did the Apostles, let him prove it with prodigies and miracles; if not, forbid him to preach.” (Martin Luther, Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken vollstaendig gesammelt von W.M.L. de Wette, Berlin, 1825-1828, vol. II, p. 538; M. Luther, Werke, Weimar: Kritische Gesamtausgabe, 1883-1914, vol. XV, p. 240). 

When another German Protestant, Andreas Karlstadt, contradicted him, appealing to divine enlightenment, Luther challenged him to demonstrate his vocation with miracles: “God must show that He revokes His ancient precepts with miraculous works.” (M. Luther, Briefe, vol. XVIII, pp. 96-97). On another occasion he affirmed: “Anyone who presents novelties or teaches different doctrines must be called by God and confirm his vocation with truly prodigious works. If he cannot, let him give up his endeavor and go be hanged [et in malam rem abeat]” (M. Luther, Briefe, vol. XX, p. 724). 

If this is the criterion, then we ask, what miracles did Luther work? Where are the miracles of those first pseudo-reformers that attest to the divine character of their missions? Erasmus laughed at them, saying that thus far not one of them had managed to cure even a single crippled horse.

Luther ended by realizing this lacuna in his mission. But, as an accomplished sophist, he then declared miracles to be useless, exclaiming, “They shall not see us making miracles!” He went on to explain that if, indeed, they would work miracles the world would attribute them to the Devil! (Martin Luther, Saemtliche Werke, Erlangern, vol. XII, pp. 218-221; vol. XLVI, p. 205).

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Luther’s Lack of Credibility. Part I.
(By Fr. Leonel Franca, S.J.)

Luther's revolt began with denial

Luther began by denying. He denied authority; he denied tradition; he denied the Church Magisterium; he denied the organic, visible and hierarchical Church. What gave him the right to do so? What were his titles that authorized him to perform such a task? Hadn’t Christianity already existed for 15 centuries? Hadn’t the priests, Bishops and Popes come down to us in uninterrupted succession from the Apostles and Christ Himself?
According to Luther, the Church had lost her early spirit, adulterated the teachings of the Gospel, laden herself with a mass of superstitions, and prostituted herself with the idolatry of Babylon. 

How did he know this? Where was his proof? Hadn’t Christ promised His infallible assistance to the Church? Hadn’t He assured her that He would be with her always until the end of time? 


But Luther did not care about answering these questions. He entrenched himself behind the Bible. Scripture should shield him from all adversaries. But who interprets the Bible?


Wasn’t it interpreted in the past by the Catholic Church, as it continues to be until today? Wasn’t Scripture read by all the Church Fathers and Doctors? Wasn’t it known by the Councils? Wasn’t it preached and spread by all the authentic Saints who reformed the Church? Why had it never occurred to them to start a reform by destroying the Church in the name of Scripture, of using the Bible as a banner of revolt against the authority established by Christ? 


It was Luther alone who discovered the special secret of exegesis, unknown to all the Church Fathers until then. He, the brazen friar, established himself at the prophetic heights as a new evangelist who received enlightenment straight from the Holy Ghost and entered into communion with the inner life of the Trinity. From this inaccessible pinnacle he claimed to bring the world the gift of a sacred hermeneutics that would establish a whole new Christianity. 


Thus, taking one step after another, Friar Martin Luther felt himself obliged to assume a divine mission, to assign to himself a special religious undertaking.


What were his credentials for this extraordinary embassy? Without hard, solid proof, no one can rise up from the multitude and affirm that he is a special envoy of the Almighty. Without first indisputably demonstrating the authenticity of his plenipotentiary mission, no man can pretend to know the divine oracles and dictate a religion for mankind. God alone can impose religion upon man. 


To teach religious truths that should be believed and precepts that should be practiced without divine credentials is a fraud, an imposture, a deception. Our dignity as rational beings rebels against such exploiters of the public naïveté. O Prophet of Wittenberg, where are the credentials for your divine mission?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Contemplative Life

[Wonderful article taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia that reminds us of so many important things. My emphasis.]

A life ordered in view of contemplation; a way of living especially adapted to lead to and facilitate contemplation, while it excludes all other preoccupations and intents.

To seek to know and love God more and more is a duty incumbent on every Christian and should be his chief pursuit, and in this wide sense the Christian and the contemplative lives are synonymous.

This duty, however, admits of various degrees in its fulfillment. Many give into it only a part of their time and attention, either from lack of piety or because of other duties; others attempt to blend harmoniously the contemplative life with active ministry, i.e. the care of souls, which, undertaken from a motive of supernatural charity, can be made compatible with the inner life. Others again, who have the will and the means, aim at accomplishing the duty of contemplation to the utmost perfection, and give up all occupations inconsistent with it, or which, on account of man's limited abilities, of their nature would impede it. The custom has prevailed of applying the term "contemplative" only to the life led by the latter.

Contemplation, the object of contemplative life, is defined as the complacent, loving gaze of the soul on Divine truth already known and apprehended by the intellect assisted and enlightened by Divine grace. This definition shows the two chief differences between the contemplation of the Christian ascetic and the merely scientific research of the theologian.
  • The contemplative, in his investigation of Divine things, is actuated by love for those things, and to increase this love is his ultimate purpose, as well as the firstfruits of his contemplation; in other words the theological virtue of charity is the mainspring as well as the outcome of the act of contemplation.
  • Again, the contemplative does not rely on the natural powers of his intellect in his endeavors to gain cognizance of the truth, but knowing that human reason is limited and weak, especially when inquiring into things supernatural, he seeks aid from above by prayer, and by the practice of all Christian virtues and strives to fit his soul for the grace he desires.
The act of contemplation, imperfect as it needs be, is of all human acts one of the most sublime, one of those which render the greatest honor to God, bring the greatest good to the soul, and enable it most efficaciously to become a means of salvation and manifold blessing to others.

According to St. Bernard (De Consider., lib. I, c. vii), it is the highest form of human worship, as it is essentially an act of adoration and of utter self-surrender of man's whole being. The soul in contemplation is a soul lying prostrate before God, convinced of and confessing its own nothingness, and His worthiness to receive all love and glory and honor and blessings from those He has created. It is a soul lost in admiration and love of the Eternal Beauty, the sight of which though but a feeble reflection, fill it with a joy naught else in the world can give — a joy which, far more eloquently than speech, testifies that the soul rates that Beauty above all other beauties, and finds in It the completion of all its desires. It is the jubilant worship of the whole heart, mind, and soul, the worship "in spirit and in truth" of the "true adorers", such as the Father seeks to adore Him (John 4:23).

By contemplative life, however, is not meant a life passed entirely in contemplation. On earth an act of contemplation cannot be of long duration, except in the case of an extraordinary privilege granted by Divine power. The weakness of our bodily senses and the natural instability of our minds and hearts, together with the exigencies of life, render it impossible for us to fix our attention for long on one object. This is true with regard to earthly or material things; it is still more true in matters pertaining to the supernatural order. Only in Heaven shall the understanding be strengthened so as to waver no more, but adhere unceasingly to Him who made it.

Hence it is rare to find souls capable of leading a life of contemplation without occasionally engaging their mental or physical activity in earthy or material things. The combination, of the two lives, of which Catholic hagiology affords such striking and glorious examples, is, as a general rule, and for persons of ordinary attainments, a matter of considerable difficulty. Exterior action, with the solicitude and cares attendant on it, tends naturally to absorb the attention; the soul is thereby hampered in its efforts to ascend to the higher regions of contemplation, as its energy, capacity, and power of application are usually too limited to allow it to carry on together such different pursuits with success. 

If this is true with regard to those even who are working for God and are engaged in enterprises undertaken for the furtherance of His interests, it is all the more true of those who are toiling with no other direct end than to procure their subsistence and their temporal well-being. This is why those who have wished to give themselves up to contemplation and reach an eminent degree of mystical union with God have habitually withdrawn from the crowd and have abandoned all other pursuits, to lead a retired life entirely consecrated to the purpose of contemplation. 

It is evident that such a life can be led nowhere so safely and so easily as in those monastic orders which make it their special object. The rules of those orders supply their members with every means necessary and useful for the purpose, and safeguard them from all exterior obstacles. Foremost among these means must be reckoned the vows, which are great barriers raised against the inroads of the three great evils devastating the world (1 John 2:16). Poverty frees the contemplative from the cares inherent to the possession and administration of temporal goods, from the moral dangers that follow in the wake of wealth, and from that insatiable greed for gain which so lowers and materializes the mind. Chastity frees him from the bondage of married life with its solicitude so "dividing" to the heart and mind, to use the Apostle's expression (1 Corinthians 7:33), and so apt to confine man's sympathy and action within a narrow circle. By the same virtue also he obtains that cleanness of heart which enables him to see God (Matthew 5:8). Obedience, without which community-life is impossible, frees him from the anxiety of having to determine what course to take amidst the ever-shifting circumstances of life. The stability which the vow gives to the contemplative's purpose by placing him in a fixed state with set duties and obligations is also an inestimable advantage, as it saves him from natural inconsistency, the blight of so many undertakings.

Silence is of course the proper element of the contemplative soul, since to converse with God and men at the same time is hardly possible. Moreover, conversing unnecessarily is apt to give rise to numberless thoughts, fancies, and desires alien to the duties and purpose of contemplative life, which assail the soul at the hour of prayer and distract it from God. It is no wonder, then, that monastic legislators and guardians of regular discipline should always have laid such stress on the enforcing of silence, strenuously enforcing its observance and punishing transgression with special severity. This silence, if not perpetual, must embrace at least the greatest part of the contemplative's life

Solitude is the home of silence, and its surest safeguard. Moreover, it cuts to the root of one of the strongest of man's selfish propensities, the desire to make a figure before the world, to win admiration and applause, or at least to attract attention, to be thought and spoken of. "Manifest thyself to the world" (John 7:4) says the demon of vainglory; but the Spirit of God holds another language (Matthew 6). Solitude may be twofold: the seclusion of the cloister, which implies restriction of intercourse with the outer world; and the eremitic confinement of the cell, a practice which varies in different orders.

Religious life, being essentially a life of self-denial and self-sacrifice, must provide an effectual antidote to every form of self-seeking, and the rules of contemplative orders especially are admirably framed so as to thwart and mortify every selfish instinct; vigils, fasts, austerity in food, clothing, etc., and often manual labor tame the flesh, and thus help the soul to keep in subjection its worst enemy. Contemplatives, in short, forego many transient pleasures, many satisfactions sweet to nature, all that the world holds most dear; but they gain in return a liberty for the soul which enables it to rise without hindrance to the thought and love of God. 

Though God Himself is the chief object and study of their meditation, He is not the only one. His works, His dealings with men, all that reveals Him in the province of grace or of nature is lawfully open to the contemplative's investigation. The development of the Divine plan in the growth of the Church and in the history of nations, the wondrous workings of grace and the guidance of Providence in the lives of individual souls, the marvels and beauty of creation, the writings of the saints and sages of Christendom, and above all, the Holy Scripture form an inexhaustible storehouse, whence the contemplative can draw food for contemplation.

The great function assumed by contemplatives, as has already been said, is the worship of God. When living in community, they perform this sacred office in a public, official way, assembling at stated hours of the day and night to offer to the Almighty "the sacrifice of Praise" (Psalm. xlix, 14, 23; see Office, Divine). Their chief work then is what St. Benedict (Rule, xliii) Call emphatically God's work (opus Dei), i.e. the solemn chanting of Divine praise, in which the tongue gives utterance to the admiration of the intellect and to the love of the heart. And this is done in the name of the Church and of all mankind. Not only does contemplation glorify God, but it is most beneficial to the soul itself. Nothing brings the soul into such close union with God, and union with God is the source of all saintliness. Never so well as when contemplating the perfections of God and the grandeur of His works does man see his own imperfections and failings, the vileness of sin, and the paltriness and futility of so many of his labors and undertakings; and thus nothing so grounds him in humility, the prop and the bulwark of every other virtue.

Love for God necessarily breeds love for our fellow-men, all children of the same Father; and the two loves keep pace with each other in their growth. Hence it follows that contemplative life is eminently conducive to increase of charity for others. The heart is enlarged, affection is deepened, sympathy becomes more keen, because the mind is enlightened as to the worth of an immortal soul in God's eyes. And although of the two great commandments given by Christ (Matthew 22:37 sqq.) — love of God and love for our neighbor — the first is exemplified more markedly in contemplative orders, and the second in active orders, contemplatives must and do have in their hearts a strong and true love for others, but they realize that love in their deeds. The principal means contemplatives have of proving their love for others are prayer and penance

By prayer they draw down from Heaven on struggling and suffering humanity manifold graces, light, strength, courage and comfort, blessings for time and for eternity. By penance they strive to atone for the offenses of sinful humanity, to appease God's wrath and ward off its direful effects, by giving vicarious satisfaction to the demands of His justice. Their lives of perpetual abnegation and privation, of hardship cheerfully endured, of self-inflicted suffering, joined to the sufferings of their Divine Master and Model help to repair the evil men do and obtain God's mercy for the evildoers. They plead and make reparation for all men. This twofold ministry carried on within the narrow precincts of a monastery knows no other limits to its effects than the bounds of earth and the needs of mankind. Or rather that ministry extends further still its sphere of action, for the dead as well as the living benefit by it.