A timely Good Friday Meditation

The Harrowing of Hell

by David Arias

Duccio di Buoninsegna "Descent to Hell" 1308-11

The second reading from the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday is taken from an ancient homily on Christ’s descent into hell.  It begins: “Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness.  The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.”  The King fell asleep when His soul was separated from His body on Good Friday afternoon.  He remained asleep until His soul reanimated His body on Easter morning.  But during the silence and stillness of the King’s sleep, He harrowed hell.

Our Lord’s descent into hell is well attested to by divine revelation.  For example, Christ says, “… as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the belly of the earth” (Mt. 12:40).  Further, in Acts of the Apostles, St. Peter says, “[David] foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption” (2:31).  Likewise in the Apostles’ Creed we profess, “He descended into hell.”

Besides making clear that the soul of Christ descended into hell, these texts clearly refer the descent into hell to the Person of Christ.  And this is supremely fitting.  For, since the personal union of the Word of God with both His body and soul remained even after death, whatever could be attributed to either of these principles of His human nature, while they were separated, was also attributable to God the Son.  Thus, in the Apostles’ Creed we profess that He (i.e., God the Son) was buried insofar as His body was placed in the tomb.  In like manner, we profess that God the Son descended into hell on account of His soul going to the underworld.

Connected with this, St. Thomas Aquinas points out that it is even true to say that “during the three days of His death, the whole Christ was in the tomb, in hell, and in heaven, on account of His Person, which was united to His body lying in the tomb, and to His soul harrowing hell, and which was subsisting in His divine nature reigning in heaven” (Compendium theologiae, ch. 229).  Indeed, insofar as by His divine immensity the Son of God comprehends or contains all things, we must affirm that the whole Person of Christ is both in every place and in all places put together, yet He is not wholly contained by any one place nor by all places put together (Summa theologiae, III, q 52, a. 3, ad 3um).

When reflecting on our Lord’s harrowing of hell, it is of course necessary to distinguish different meanings of the name “hell.”  In its most general meaning, “hell” signifies “the underworld,” which the Hebrews refer to as, Sheol, and the Greeks call by the name,Hades (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #633).  Further, as the Roman Catechismteaches, there are three main parts to the underworld.  There is gehenna, or hell in the strict sense, which is the abode of the damned.  There is also purgatory wherein the punishments, unlike those of  gehenna, are cleansing and only temporary in character.  Lastly, there is that part of the underworld known as “Abraham’s bosom” (see, Luke 16:22-26).  It was in here that “the souls of the just prior to the coming of Christ the Lord were received, and where, without experiencing any sort of pain, but supported by the blessed hope of redemption, they enjoyed peaceful repose” (Roman Catechism, pt. 1, art. 5).

So, into which part or parts of hell did Christ descend and why?  Taking St. Thomas Aquinas as our guide, we can affirm both that our Lord descended into all three parts of hell and that He descended into only one part of hell (i.e., into Abraham’s bosom).  But to see how both of these statements are true without contradiction, we must distinguish two ways in which something can be somewhere.

Thinking of everyday examples first, it is true that one and the same fire is simultaneously both in the fireplace and in every part of the room which it heats.  The fire is in the fireplace as in a proper place, while it is in every part of the room through its effect, that is, through the heat which it produces.  Likewise, it is true that one and the same musician is simultaneously both on the stage and in every part of the concert hall.  For the musician is on the stage insofar as that is his proper place, yet he is also present in every part of the concert hall through his effect, that is, through the music that he produces.

Applying this distinction to our Lord’s descent into hell, it is true to say that Christ’s soul, through its essence, only entered Abraham’s bosom.  Nonetheless, through its effect, Christ’s soul was in some way present in every part of hell.  As St. Thomas puts it, “being in one part of hell, his effect in some way spread to every part of hell, just as by suffering in one place on earth, he liberated the whole world by His passion” (Summa theologiae, III, q. 52, a. 2).  More specifically, St. Thomas teaches that the proper effect of Christ in the underworld was the bestowal of the beatific vision on the souls of the just awaiting for Him in Abraham’s bosom. This, properly speaking, constitutes the harrowing or despoiling of hell.  For, through granting the souls of the just the vision which beatifies, the King of all things “robbed” hell of its most prized possessions.  But Christ’s presence in hell also had the effects of giving hope of attaining eternal glory to the souls in purgatory and of confounding and bewildering those in gehenna (Summa theologiae, III, q. 52, a. 2).

These considerations, in turn, cast some light on the reasons for God the Son’s descent into hell.  For one thing, He went there to manifest His power and authority to the underworld.  As St. Paul writes, “…at Jesus’ name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father: Jesus Christ in Lord!” (Phil. 2:10-11).  But secondly, and more importantly, our Lord came to deliver His loved ones from their exile.  He came to reward those who, from our first father, Adam, to His own foster-father, St. Joseph, had fought the good fight and had finished the race.  The King descended into Hell in order to bring nothing less than His own beatific vision, the very paradise which He promised to Dismas just a few hours before (Lk. 23:43), to these just and holy souls.

It is most fitting, then, that the aforementioned homily contains these beautiful words spoken by Christ to our first father, Adam:

Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise.  I order you, O sleeper, to awake.  I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell.  Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.  Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image.  Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

During the silence and stillness of the King’s sleep, He harrowed hell.  During the King’s sleep alleluias sounded in hell in anticipation of those that would sound here above on the morning of the third day.

Editor’s note: The image above titled “Descent to Hell” was painted by Duccio di Buoninsegna in 1308-11.

The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of 
Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts

Mt. 26: 26-28 The Eucharist with comments

The Eucharist

by Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

Let us read the words of the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper in Saint Matthew’s Gospel (26:26-28), adding the words of the other sacred authors on the same subject:

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and when he had given thanks (1 Cor. 11:24), broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’ (Luke 22:19). And he took a cup after supper (Luke 22:20), and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the newcovenant (Luke 22:20), which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me’ (1 Cor. 11:25).

Here is all that we have about the institution, other than that in place of Saint Luke’s “given for you,” Saint Paul has him say “broken for you” (1 Cor. 11:24 in certain ancient texts). The sense of each is the same. He was handed over to death, struck by blows, pierced with wounds, violently hung from a cross: he was broken. This is the body that Jesus gives to us, the same body that was about to suffer those things and that has now suffered them.

Just one more word on the text. Where the Vulgate translates “my blood, which shall be shed for you” (Luke 22:20, Douay-Rheims), the original reads “which is poured out,” that is, in the present tense. It is the same when he speaks of the means by which he will be captured and put to death: “woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!” (Matt. 26:24) In that case, he speaks in the present tense because his death has already been resolved upon and planned for the following day. In the other, it is so that at the same time that we receive his body and blood, we might regard his death as present.

Christian: you have seen all of the words that bear upon the establishment of this mystery. What simplicity! What precision in these words! He leaves nothing to be interpreted or commented upon. If there is any commentary to be made upon them at all, it is only to remark that according to the force of the original Greek, we ought to render it thus: ‘This is my body, my very body; the same body that is given for you. This is my blood, my very blood, the blood of the new covenant; the blood poured out for you in remission of your sins.’ The Greek liturgy puts it this way: ‘what we are given, what is made of this bread and wine, is the very body of Jesus and his very blood.’ There is the commentary we require. What simplicity, what precision, what force do these words have!

If Jesus had wanted to give us a sign, a mere resemblance, he would have known how to tell us. He knew quite well that God had said, when instituting circumcision, “You shall be circumcised in the flesh … and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you” (Gen. 17:11). When he proposed metaphors, he knew quite well how to adapt his language so as to be understood without doubt: “I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved” (John 10:9). “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit” (John 15:5). When he made these comparisons and spoke in metaphors, the evangelists said so: “Another parable he put before them” (Matt. 13:24); “he taught them many things in parables” (Mark 4:2). Here, without any introduction, without any qualification, without any explanation, neither before, nor after, we are simply told: “Jesus said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body; this is my blood” (Matt. 26:26, 28). This is what I give to you, and you, what will you do in receiving it? Remember eternally the gift that I gave you that night. Remember that it is I who left it for you and who made this testament, that I left you this Passover, and that I ate it with you before I suffered.

If I give you my body as about to be and as having been handed over for you, and my blood as poured out for your sins, in a word, if I give myself to you as a victim, eat it as a victim and remember that this is a promise that it has been sacrificed for you. O my Savior: what simplicity, yet what authority and power there are in your words! “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity” (Luke 13:12): she was healed that instant. “This is my body.” It is his body. “This is my blood.” It is his blood. Who can speak in such a manner except the one who holds everything in his hand? Who can make himself be believed except the one to whom to do and to say is the same thing?

My soul, stop here and go no further. Believe as simply, as forcibly as your Savior has spoken, with a submission that corresponds to his authority and power. Once again, he wants to see in your faith the same simplicity with which he has spoken these words. In the ancient rite of communion, the priest said “the body of Jesus Christ” and the faithful responded “Amen,” or “so it is,” and “the blood of Jesus Christ,” and the faithful responded “Amen,” “so it is.” All has been accomplished. All has been said. All has been explained. I am silent. I believe. I adore.

Eucharist

The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of 
Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

[rebloged] from Catholic working mom God in the Bedroom?

Posted     : April 12, 2014 at 7:52 pm
Author     : danardoyle
Categories : Prayer

They have 6 kids – They must be “good Catholics…”  (snicker)  It really bugs me when people pass judgement on couples who have big families.  Who says that 2 children is the perfect number?  Who says one must have a boy and a girl to have the perfect family?

It is widely known that the Catholic Church teaches that any artificial means of birth control is not a good and moral choice for couples.  It shuts God out of the bedroom.  It says, “I trust you, God, to provide for my family, to watch over my children, with my eternal salvation…but NOT with my fertility.”

This is an excerpt from an apologetics article on http://www.catholic.com:

“Christians have always condemned contraceptive sex. Both forms mentioned in the Bible, coitus interruptus and sterilization, are condemned without exception (Gen. 38:9–10, Deut. 23:1). The early Fathers recognized that the purpose of sexual intercourse in natural law is procreation; contraceptive sex, which deliberately blocks that purpose, is a violation of natural law.

Every church in Christendom condemned contraception until 1930, when, at its decennial Lambeth Conference, Anglicanism gave permission for the use of contraception in a few cases.”

People often assume that some Catholic families have big families because they obey the pope and do not use birth control.   I would like to suggest that couples who put Christ at the center of their marriage, trusting God in all areas of their lives (including fertility) loving give their family planning over to God.  In some cases, this produces large families.  In others, it does not.  My husband and I have used it for the past 16 years, and have only had one (planned) pregnancy since then.  We have been married for nearly 25 years and have had 3 children (and one miscarried baby).

The Catholic Church teaches that Natural family planning – reading the signs of a woman’s fertility cycle including  temperature and cervical mucus – is an acceptable way to space children if there is a good, serious reason to do so.  A couple’s motivation for putting off pregnancy is something to be prayed about – something between them and God.  Sometimes there may be medical, mental or financial reasons to delay conception.  This does not mean avoiding pregnancy to keep a certain (high or even middle class) standard of living.

Natural family planning  is exactly as it sounds – natural.  It works in harmony with the beautiful way that God created a woman’s body – not against it.  It is just as effective as the birth control pill when used consistently and properly.

Think about this – in marriage, we give ourselves totally to our spouse.  If we contracept with artificial means – like a spermicide, we kill the sperm that came from our husband.   If we use a barrier method, our action says, ” I take all of you except your life-giving DNA.”  If we use birth control pills, patches or injections, we alter our own hormonal balance as women.  A woman gains weight because her body is tricked into thinking that it is in a constant state of pregnancy.  There is a risk of developing blood clots or cancer.  The worst consequence however, is that hormonal birth control acts as an abortifacient.  It makes the lining of the uterus hostile to implantation of the embryo.  A baby may be conceived, but unable to implant in the uterus to be nourished.  The result is the death of the embryo – a tiny human being already infused with a soul at the moment of conception.

Women think that they have been made “free” – sexually liberated with the invention of birth control.  Sadly, this could not be farther from the truth.  With the “risk” of pregnancy greatly diminished by artificial birth control methods, it has taken away responsibility and respect.  Women (and men!) are often seen simply as objects of pleasure rather than “the mother/father of my future children.”

“The consequences have been devastating in terms of skyrocketing marital infidelity and divorce.  Pope Paul VI’s predictions that an increase in contraceptive use would lead to men regarding women as objects of desire and would allow governments to wield technological and economic power in population-reduction programs have been overwhelmingly fulfilled.”  (onemoresoul.com)

NFP does involve the virtues of patience and temperance.  Couples who wish to avoid pregnancy must abstain from intercourse for a time.  It involves selflessness – putting another’s well-being before your own.  Isn’t that the kind of love we want in marriage?

My husband and I began our marriage contracepting, because we (mistakenly) thought that it was the responsible thing to do.  The world today scares us into believing the lies of overpopulation, and our right to luxury.  I feel so good about our switch to NFP.  I learned that God can be trusted with all the details of our lives – including our fertility!

Are Catholics out of touch? reposted from Ingham today

Ignitum Today

 

The End of the Anonymous Church

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

One of the key issues in our church today is that we are disconnected. Regardless of whether the church is full or its empty on a Sunday, most of the attendees hardly say a word to the people next to each other.

Much of St. Paul’s epistles are spent documenting the growth and life of the Church. He is very specific to comment on the community of the faithful. In St Paul’s writings, it is clear that the growth of the early Church was very deliberate, it was filled with action and purpose, with a vision of uniting in faith and sharing the praise of God.

This is how the early Church lived, in Acts 2:44-47 Paul writes: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

In the last few months, I have made a bit more of an effort to meet a few people at my parish. Some have been a tipoff from other friends of people to look out for, others people who I have crossed paths with once upon a time. Some of these people I have seen many times over the years, but never actually spoken to. Others have been there all along, but I have never even noticed. Either way, this is clearly not good enough.

Many of these people are living a Church life of anonymity. They live in the unknown, where they have no means to live their faith out with other Christians, nor do they have the opportunity to share their lives with others. How could we live like the early Christian church, when we know nothing about the person sitting in the pew next to us?

If we are to realize our potential as a Church, we must bring the faithful out of the shadows. This is not just those not going to church, it is also those who attend each Sunday, but are not actively engaged and living the reality and fullness of the faith. The signs and indicators are there. They may turn up late, hide in the corner or the back, leave after communion or exit without even looking at another person, and these are included in the minority that are considered as ‘practicing Catholics’.

There are many things in the world of which we as Christians have limited control over that is affecting the way in which people perceive the Church. Commonly we hear lies and misrepresentations of the Church by outlets such as the media, educational institutions, internet forums, celebrities, politicians, other religious beliefs and from within the church itself. Despite lofty ambitions and good intentions, there is limited opportunity for most individuals to do much about this.

However the decision to reach out to our neighbour from within the Church is completely within our power. There is nothing but fear that stops us from reaching out to our neighbour, and bring light the fullness of the Catholic faith. There is an abundant joy in sharing the love of God with another. It is so rare among Catholics that we smile and rejoice in the life that we have been given.

This is what Jesus saw in humanity when He called on them to share Christ with the world. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

The engagement with the anonymous Church is purposeful and deliberate. It requires us to make a decision to reach out to someone each week. Many people we see at church do it as a routine, with varying degrees of why they are there. We are working on a scale of a cultural or habitual practice to a deep and engaged faith, and many, many people in between.

The disruption to this is us: the words of the Mass are predominantly consistent, the message has not changed for centuries. It is for us as missionaries to go out and disrupt the normalcy of the faith and reinvigorate it through God within us. When we reach out to people in our church, we are unveiling the face of the church and representing Christ to people in a real and personal way. The distant God becomes present and comes alive through human interaction. It creates an opportunity for the faithful to join in celebration and praise of God in a meaningful way.

It is our decision to bring the Church to life. It is time for us to raise the veil of anonymity and bring to light the love of Christ. “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14). It is within our power to take Christ to the world. Let us rise, for we can choose to live this way: “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5).

The post The End of the Anonymous Church appeared first onIgnitumToday.

 

Making Every Friday “Good”

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 08:18 AM PDT

Easter is coming; fast! I mean the action, not the adjective.  It’s a command.

Once Easter comes, it seems, we forget about this wonderful act of self-denial. We break our fast and indulge in whatever it is we gave up for the past 40+ days. (Yes, Lent is longer than 40 days, and actually ends on Holy Thursday, but don’t break out the chocolate until Easter, please!) While this is not wrong or sinful, the Church reminds us that we don’t simply place sacrifice on the shelf until next year.

By fasting and abstaining during Lent, we learn to control our desires, to conform our desires, and our will to the will of the Father. We learn through this voluntary act of self-denial that it is possible to reject the things of this world. We learn that itis possible to turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel, as we heard on Ash Wednesday when ashes were placed on our heads. Repentance and conversion are brought to life when we fast and abstain.

This is a life changing undertaking. The act of denying our desires and our wants, if done correctly, can be mini-conversion moments for each and every person seeking to follow Christ more closely. In a recent homily, Pope Francis exclaimed that “conversion is not the question of a moment or a time of the year, it is an undertaking that lasts one’s entire lifetime.” Conversion is not just limited to one part of the year. Therefore the acts that lead us to personal conversion cannot be limited to one time a year. This is why the Church, in her wisdom, has instructed the faithful to partake in one form of penance each Friday during the year and not simply during Lent.

Rather than forcing people to do something, the Church, following the example of Christ, invites us to commit an act of penance every Friday of the year. Those in this “New Evangelization Generation” can ask their parents and grandparents if they had meat on Fridays during the year. The answer, if they were practicing Catholics, would be “No.”  While the rule has been altered, the principle remains—Catholics are to treat each Friday as a day of penance, a day of conversion.

Canon Law states that

“The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).” (CIC 1438)

Furthermore, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a Pastoral Statement on this very topic. In it, the Bishops state, ”Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year. For this reason we urge all to prepare for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday by freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ.” (no. 23)

The Bishops also give Catholics in the United States ideas for how they might consider carrying this out. (For the entire document, click here:http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/lent/us-bishops-pastoral-statement-on-penance-and-abstinence.cfm)

This is something that we can truly make our own in our individual and family lives. This past year, my family and I have been trying to abstain from eating meat every Friday. This year, we may try something different, like adding family morning prayer to our morning routine or fasting from sweets and snacks. However, the what is not as important as the why in this instance. We fast and abstain to allow Christ to transform our lives by saying no to desires and yes to conversion.

The post Making Every Friday “Good” appeared first on IgnitumToday.

Should an Athesist Desire heaven? by Pat Miron

Exploring Christianity FORUM /arcade

 What do you do in heaven?

 [QUOTE] Atheists like myself are often told that if we don’t believe we go to hell. Now, I don’t know if hell is universally a pit of fire across all denominations of Christianity but eternal torture seems to be.

Unfortunately, I’ve never told why I should want to go to heaven. What happens there? What do you do? [QUOTE]

 That my young friend is a GREAT and a Profound question.

 The short answer is because heaven and hell are REAL and you DON”T wish to go to hell.

 In order more fully respond your question; requires understanding a bit about God’s Nature; Human nature; Good & Evil and our personal life choices.

 Because you identified yourself as an Atheist, allow me to briefly address each of these issues, without providing biblical evidence of them; as you seem not to find that as valid evidence. I’ll be brief and encourage you to ask further questions as they occur to you.

 1. We Catholics [the original Christians] believe in:

 One God

Who has only One set of Faith beliefs

And Founded only One “Catholic/Christian” church

 2. Without a willingness to seek the truth and be open to it when exposed; there is to reasonable way to answer your question.

 3. So we start with two essential premises.

             1. Everything that exist has a cause to exist. Meaning “something” or “someone” had a “cause, a reason  for bringing it into existence.

             2. “Something or someone had to be the First cause“ of everything that exist. Any other position is illogical to the point of being silly. We choose to identify this “Force” as our “God.” It is an impossibility for man to fully comprehend the ‘Who; the What and the Why of God; which is part is why we term this belief; based on what limited things we can know; can accept; as the “practice of our FAITH.”

 [NOT SHOUTING: CAPS FOR EMPHASIS ONLY]

 4. Because of the size of the Universe; [BILLIONS OF STARS, PLANETS AND GALAXIES], its complexity [TAKE FOR EXAMPLE THE “NATURAL LAWS”], and its right-Order WITH SO MANY THINGS BEING IS THEIR RIGHT “PLACE“  FOR EXAMPLE THE ROTATION OF THE SUN AND MOON AND THEIR ESSENTIAL EFFECTS ON LIFE FORMS; Then the most astounding evidence of all: man himself; we can know that this “First Cause” is: 1.intelligent beyond our comprehension 2. Good  3. Powerful without limits.

 5. This is a brief summary of WHY we believe in the existence of “God” ; who Created humanity; and for whom God Created the entire Universe in order that man “COULD” ; if open to logical truth; know that “God” must as a reality; a fact; exist, and who’s existence and mans unique and essential role requires in an absolute sense the existence of a  Heaven; a Hell and  a Purgatory in order to remain a “Good and Perfect God.”

 6. Having briefly addressed “God’s Nature”, we turn now to human nature.

 Man alone of the BILLIONS of Created [to make out of nothing] things can do all of the following:

 Rationalize; make something complex out of lesser things [sending a man to the moon and back for example]; and man alone can choose to love and or to hate.

 In order to accomplish these things, man must possess [and alone does possess] the essential attributes. A Mind [not speaking here of the brain], an Intellect [not speaking here of our “IQ”] and a “Freewill” [so man alone can respond by choice, not simply instinct]; AND a human “Soul.” [defined here as the “source; the animator of ALL life forms… BUT noting that just as there are differing degrees of complexity in the hierarchy of the physical reality; so too a similar hierarchy exist for the Soul, which mans again at the top of the complexity order.]

 These by far are the most powerful; signifient and important realities of man, and in existence within the entirety of the Universe itself. This is so evident upon reflection that only the most obstinate would even attempt to deny it. Such Powers must, absolutely have a precise reason to exist.

 Here I will quote the bible, not as a source of proof; but a proof explaining logically why man alone exist and man alone has such powerful attributes. These attributes by the way; emulate our God in two ways: they are Spiritual realities and they are Eternal. Can neither die or be killed.

 FROM the Prophet Isaiah who BTW prophesied Christ birth some 700 years before it took place, explains the reason for man’s existence this way:

 Isaiah 43 Verses 7 and 21: “every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” AND the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.”

 God had no real reason; no actual need to Created either the Universe or man himself, except that God DESIRED and WILLED to be known; acknowledged and loved.

 Therefore God Created humanity alone with the ability to freely choose to love Him or to hate Him. This response absolutely requires the Spiritual attributes that man alone has. The “freewill” is essential because God who is “Perfect” and Loves Perfectly; desire “perfect-love” in return. And this is only possible when love is FREELY given; freely bestowed.

 IF you doubt what I’m sharing; DO THIS.

 Look into a mirror and tell me what you see and what you chose to wear today. To both get dressed and to look into a mirror required you to use all three of your Spiritual attributes. Quantify for example your own “freewill.” What is its size; shape; color and weight? Can’t be done; but can you deny that you and all men have them? They are Spiritual Realities.

 7. Because these attributes exist in all-men; both good and evil exist as personal choices of men. Greed; Pride, Lust and so on exist side by side with tolerance; charity; Faith, Hope and Love.

 God can only CAUSE “good things” BUT permits evil as a mans option of where man chooses to spend Eternity in his “other /inner-self”; the Eternal package of Mind, Intellect, Freewill and Soul.

 Actions have and cause consequences. Good causes [normally] more good; and Evil [normally] causes more evil. BECAUSE it is man’s choice their MUST EXIST a “just and fair” payback by the CREATOR, who permits man to choose at some point in time. Either in this life or in ones Eternal Life.

 That’s the reason for the reality of both hell and heaven. Both places of Eternal rest are literally “earned” by ones life choices.

 So where one ends up is ones own choice. One cannot blame God or others.

 9. Hell can be describes as you suggested as a place of incomprehensible and unending suffering and torment. Most notably will be the longing unfulfilled to see God and to be with God; which for Lost souls shall NEVER happen! Heaven is just the opposite. A place of eternal peace, happiness and joy. Complete contentment; no wants and no desires. What one does WILLFULLY; and JOYFULLY is to honor; to thank and to praise God for all of eternity.

 So that friend is a brief explanation. I hope you will find a need for further questions.

 May God the Creator guide you to His Truth; because TRUTH is singular. Amen.

PJM/ pat

Ignitum Today [Reposted]

Ignitum Today

 

A Philosophy of Style

Posted: 09 Apr 2014 05:00 AM PDT

As Catholics, we know that we have a call to be “in the world, not of the world.” I find that many use this catchy phrase as a way to relieve some of the burden of living in the world, reminding us that living in the secular world is temporary and we can make it. I believe many lay Catholics have forgotten that this phrase is a missionary calling as well.

To be in the world is to accept the situation in which God has decided it is best for you to exist, recognizing that God ordered all things around you being here, now. You have a specific calling to this time and place. The timing of your life is as integral to your salvation as your vocation. That is being “in the world.”

To be “not of the world” means that regardless of our surroundings, we recognize Heaven is our true home and we live in that state of mind; as visitors on our way back home. When the two go together, we recognize Heaven as our home, but Earth as a vital pit stop along the way, one we must embrace if we are to make it to our final destination.

The idea that we may have a call to be in the world is something many Catholics struggle with. We get too hung up on the latter part. We belong in Heaven, and begin to despise or be worn down by the secular “detour” we’ve been forced to take before we arrive at our destination. This seems particularly so when Catholics realize that being a lay Catholic, they have a unique way living in the world that Religious do not.

A Religious points to God by standing out, while a lay Catholic points to God by blending in – our very existence being defined by experiences with the world that present opportunities for silent witness to others. As fellow Ignitum columnist, Bob Waruszewski, has been speaking of in his recent articles on being Catholic in the cubicle, lay Catholics have a mission ground surrounding them in the world they are called to live in.

We aren’t called to just work and function in this world and then retreat back to our Catholic circles. We must embrace this world. If by doing so we may bring even one soul to Christ, then isn’t it worth it?

There are many ways in which Catholics are called to make the world an active mission field. One way Catholics have a strong impact is how they conduct themselves with their fellow man, doing, as St. Francis used to say, “evangelizing always and when necessary, using words.”

For women, this is especially the case when it comes to dress. It’s no doubt that clothes give women a unique way of making Christ known in the world, especially to other women. There are numerous articles floating around the Catholic blogosphere about this topic. However, I think we must have a basic philosophy of dress before we can begin to think about how to dress in the practical sense.

In Mother Theresa’s writings she speaks of the ways in which her order will work. She emphasizes repeatedly the nature of her sisters’ clothing, saying, “in the order girls of any nationality should be taken – but they must become Indian-minded –dress in simple clothes” (emphasis mine).

She expands on this arguing that it is only by being fully in Indian culture that the sisters will be able to minister to the Indian culture. If sisters come in who act, speak, and look odd, they will have less of an impact on their world because those around them will not accept them as one of their own.

She made it a point that whichever culture her sisters went in to, this was to be the norm. They must take on the culture in order to impact the culture, specifically, in their form of dress. Therefore, she argued that her sisters would not be uniformly dressed the same across the globe; they must embrace whichever “world” they live in.

I think Mother Theresa was on to something, and I believe it holds true for modern Catholic women as well. If we are called to be in the world, then we must be in the world in a way that reflects that we know what time and space we reside in.

We are 21st century residents. We must dress in a way that demonstrates we understand that fact, yet respects and emphasizes our dignity as women made in the image and likeness of God.

It is a beautiful thing that modern Catholic women strive to respect their dignity as woman, but in an attempt to protect our womanhood, we often hide it. That does little good when we are trying to interact with the world on a missionary level.

There are a couple of potential issues that I think Catholic women should bear in mind when developing a philosophy to guide their clothing choices and establish a middle ground of dress.

The first is how the rest of the world will interact with and perceive you. In some ways, yes, we don’t really care if others accept us or not. We should be more focused on attaining Heaven and living out our morals. What other people think doesn’t matter. Yet we should also try our best not to alienate ourselves from others.

There can be a way in which we present ourselves to the world that does not immediately estrange us from our fellow men. If we dress in a way that does not flatter our figures or makes us look behind the times, we risk losing the social respect needed to impact others via conversations or actions. People don’t listen to those they consider to be “weirdos,” and that’s especially true for women. This means that we must reflect a knowledge and acceptance of the culture in which we live

7 Reasons Christ Was Circumcised; by mattfradd

7 Reasons Christ Was Circumcised

December 29, 2013 by mattfradd

 

The circumcision of Jesus Christ.

With the feast of the circumcision of Christ coming up I thought I’d share the following excerpt from St. Thomas Aquias.

In his Summa Theologica (Part three, Question 37), Aquinas offered seven reasons why it was fitting for Christ to be Circumcised.

He writes:

For several reasons Christ ought to have been circumcised.

First, in order to prove the reality of His human nature, in contradiction to the Manicheans, who said that He had an imaginary body: and in contradiction to Apollinarius, who said that Christ’s body was consubstantial with His Godhead; and in contradiction to Valentine, who said that Christ brought His body from heaven.

Secondly, in order to show His approval of circumcision, which God had instituted of old.

Thirdly, in order to prove that He was descended from Abraham, who had received the commandment of circumcision as a sign of his faith in Him.

Fourthly, in order to take away from the Jews an excuse for not receiving Him, if He were uncircumcised.

Fifthly, “in order by His example to exhort us to be obedient” [Bede, Hom. x in Evang.]. Wherefore He was circumcised on the eighth day according to the prescription of the Law (Leviticus 12:3).

Sixthly, “that He who had come in the likeness of sinful flesh might not reject the remedy whereby sinful flesh was wont to be healed.”

Seventhly, that by taking on Himself the burden of the Law, He might set others free therefrom, according to Galatians 4:4-5: “God sent His Son . . . made under the Law, that He might redeem them who were under the Law.”

 

From “aggie Catholics”

  1. God commanded we confess our sins to one another in the Bible. (James 5:16)
  2. It is the ordinary way to have our sins forgiven.
  3. We receive grace to resist sin through the Sacrament, as well as forgiveness.
  4. We learn humility by having to confess to another person.
  5. There is built-in accountability.
  6. Our relationship with the rest of the Church is healed.
  7. We receive counsel from the priest.
  8. We can be comforted hearing the words of absolution.
  9. All are sins are wiped away.
  10. Helps give you the strength to forgive others.
  11. It doesn’t cost anything.
  12. We may not be positive that we have “perfect” contrition without it.
  13. Helps us go deep within and think about how we can improve.
  14. It feels good emotionally.
  15. When we realize (again) we are sinners, it is easier to be patient with others.
  16. Always confidential – what is said in the confessional stays in the confessional.
  17. No more guilt.
  18. We are better prepared to receive the Eucharist.
  19. Forgiveness is a necessary part of growing in holiness.
  20. Our consciences can be better formed.
  21. If we have mortally sinned, then Confession brings us back into the family of God – The Church as well as restores sanctifying grace in our souls!
Related Links:

From the Radical Life web site

The Radical Life
 
Are you profiting from your sin? You should be.

Modern Man wastes both his innocence and his guilt. His innocence is squandered by sin, which brings the guilt (and rightly so). But then he goes and squanders the guilt, too, by trying to cure it, forget it or die in it.

Genuine guilt is not a psychological complex in need of curing or forgetting. Neither should it be cause for chronic depression. Guilt is an opportunity for profit. It’s your soul offering a correction of course, like those lane bumper thingies at the bowling alley. It’s there to help you learn and profit from your mistake.

Even when we have a healthy acknowledgement of guilt, it’s easy to spend too much time lamenting our failures or sins and not enough time profiting from them. The greatest saints, on the other hand – often having most wildly lost their innocence – are the ones who learned to profit most from their guilt…from their sin.

Our initial reaction to sin – a first step – must be contrition. But it is there, in such remorse, that also begins the profit. It is there where God draws close and works his greatest miracles. It is there that we learn a wisdom and humility that innocence will never teach to imperfect creatures like us.

“Sin is more profitable than innocence. Innocence had made me arrogant, sin made me humble.” – St. Ambrose

Christ on the Cross from a friend

Jesus’ Death – 60 seconds to understand 60 seconds with God… 

For the next 60 seconds, set aside whatever you’re doing and take this opportunity! 

 
Let’s see if Satan can stop this. 

THE (SCIENTIFIC) DEATH OF JESUS 
At the age of 33, Jesus was con-demned to the death penalty. 

At the time crucifixion was the “worst” death. Only the worst criminals were condemned to be crucified. Jesus was to be nailed to the cross by His hands and feet.

Each nail was 6 to 8 inches long. 

The nails were driven into His wrist. Not into His palms as is commonly portrayed. There’s a tendon in the wrist that extends to the shoulder. The Roman guards knew that when the nails were being hammered into the wrist, 
that tendon would tear and break, forcing Jesus to use His back muscles to support himself so that He could breathe. 

Both of His feet were nailed to-gether. Thus He was forced to sup-port Himself on the single nail 
that impaled His feet to the cross. 

 
Jesus could not support himself with His legs because of the pain, so He was forced to alternate be-
tween arching His back then using his legs just to continue to breathe. 
 
Imagine the struggle, the pain, the suffering, the courage.

Jesus endured this reality for over 3 hours. Yes, over 3 hours! 
Can you imagine this kind of suf-fering? 

 
A few minutes before He died, 
Jesus stopped bleeding. He was simply pouring water from his wounds. 

From common images, we see wounds to His hands and feet and even the spear wound to His side… But do we realize His wounds were actual-ly made in his body. A hammer driving large nails through the wrist, the feet overlapped and an even large nail hammered through the arches, then a Roman guard piercing His side with a spear. 
But before the nails and the spear, Jesus was whipped and beaten. 

 
The whipping was so severe that it tore the flesh from His body. 
 
The beating so horrific that His face was torn and his beard ripped from His face. 
 
The crown of thorns cut deeply into His scalp. 
 
Most men would not have survived this torture. 

He had no more blood to bleed out, only water poured from His wounds. 

 
The human adult body contains about 3.5 liters (just less than a gallon) of blood. 

Jesus poured all 3.5 liters of his blood; He had three nails hammered into His members; a crown of thorns on His head and, beyond that, a Roman soldier who stabbed a spear into His chest. 

All these without mentioning the humiliation He passed after carry-ing His own cross for almost

 2 kilometers, while the crowd spat in his face and threw stones (the cross was almost 30 kg of weight, only for its higher part, where His hands were nailed).

Jesus had to endure this experi-ence, so that we can have free access to God. 

So that our sins could be “washed” away. All of them, with no except-ion! 

JESUS CHRIST DIED FOR US! 

He died for us! It is easy to pass jokes and false witness statements by e-mail, but when it comes to God, sometimes we feel ashamed to forward to others because we are worried of what they may think about us. 

60 seconds with God… 

For the next 60 seconds, set aside what you’re doing and take this opportunity! 

 
Let’s see if Satan can stop this. 

All you have to do is: 

1. Simply pray for the person who sent this message to you: 

2. Then, send this message on.

 
 
3. people will pray for you and you will have many people praying to God for other people. 

4. Take a moment to appreciate the power of God in your life, for doing what pleases Him. 

If you believe, send this mess-age… But send it only if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. 

Yes, I love God. He is my source of life and my Savior. He keeps me alive day and night. 

Without Him, I am nothing, but with Him “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” 
Philippians 4:13. 

Send this to all those you love. 

 
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid”.
A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it to you when you’ve forgotten the words!