20 Tips from Padre Pio for Those Who Are Suffering

Every now and then, God sends extraordinary people to our world who act as a bridge between earth and heaven, and they help thousands of people to enjoy eternal Paradise. The twentieth century gave us an especially unique one: the Capuchin friar Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, who was born in that small town in the south of Italy and died in 1968 in San Giovanni Rotondo. Saint John Paull II raised him to the altars in 2002 during a canonization ceremony that beat all attendance records. Today, it can be said that he is the most venerated saint in Italy.

Padre Pio received special gifts from God, such as the discernment of souls and his capacity to read consciences; miraculous healings; bilocation; the gift of tears; the fragrance of roses that he gave off; and, above all, the stigmata in his feet, hands and side that he suffered for 50 years.

Throughout his life, he wrote thousands of letters to those to whom he gave spiritual direction. Those letters are a source of practical Christian wisdom that is very relevant today.

Ideas to help in the face of suffering

We offer our readers this small selection of ideas from Padre Pío regarding suffering, taken from those very letters. They go straight to the point. They give us hope and lift up our soul:

1. “If you can talk with the Lord in prayer, talk to him, offer him your praise; if, due to great weariness, you cannot speak, do not find displeasure in the ways of the Lord. Stay in the room like servants of the court do, and make a gesture of reverence. He will see you, and your presence will be pleasing to him. He will bless your silence and at another time you will find consolation when he takes you by the hand.”

2. “The more bitterness you experience, the more love you will receive.”

3. “Jesus wants to fill your whole Heart.”

4. “God wants his omnipotence to reside in your powerlessness.”

5. “Faith is the torch that guides the steps of the spiritually desolate.”

6. “In the uproar of the passions and of reverses of fortune, we are upheld by the comforting hope of God’s inexhaustible mercy.”

7. “Put all your trust only in God.”

8. “The best consolation is that which comes from prayer.”

9. “Fear nothing. On the contrary, consider yourself very fortunate to have been made worthy to participate in the sufferings of the Man-God.”

10. “God leaves you in that darkness for his glory; here is a great opportunity for your spiritual progress.”

11. “The darkness that sometimes clouds the sky of your souls is light: by means of it, when it arrives, you believe you are in darkness and you have the impression that you are in the midst of a burning briar patch. It’s true that, when brambles burn, it gets smoky all around and the disoriented spirit is afraid of not seeing or understanding anything anymore. But then God speaks and makes himself present to the soul that glimpses, understands, loves and trembles.”

12. “My Jesus, love is what sustains me.”

13. “Happiness is only found in heaven.”

14. “When you feel despised, imitate the kingfisher, who builds its nest on the masts of ships. That is to say, raise yourself up above the earth, elevate yourselves with your mind and heart to God, who is the only one who can console you and give you strength to withstand the trial in a holy way.”

15. “Be certain that the more the attacks of the devil increase, that much closer is God to your soul.”

16. “Bless the Lord for your suffering and accept to drink the chalice of Gethsemane.”

17. “Be capable of bearing bitter sufferings during your whole life so you can participate in the sufferings of Christ.”

18. “Suffering born in a Christian way is the condition that God, the author of all grace and of all the gifts that lead to salvation, has established for granting us glory.”

19. “Remember that we cannot triumph in battle if not through prayer; the choice is yours.”

20. “Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is a key that opens God’s heart.”

 

End Quotes

A Salvation question & discussion

“Hi Patrick,

How do we atone for the sin that we have committed? How does a none Catholic deal with this? How does a Catholic deal with this? I plan on officially becoming Catholic this coming Spring but that doesn’t take care of NOW. If I die today, (crossing the street) will God take into account that I was trying to become Catholic and doing what needs to be done or will it not help at all? Do I need to see Fr. Edmond Kline, (Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Halstead) now and beg him to bring me into the Church today or can I wait till Spring?”

Thank you for your help,” End quotes

__________

You ask such beautiful and profound questions. THANKS!

Be at peace; the sincere desire to enter in the Church that Christ Founded, is in emergencies, the same as actually having accomplished that goal. So you’re covered.

Wait until RCIA, which is the normal, and required, manner for entry into the RCC. What I’m sharing with you is FAR more complete and thorough than what you will get there, even in a really good RCIA program, because in GREAT part I no longer have the time restrictions, the course faces. Usually RCIA runs from August {Back to School} to Easter, BUT the Pastor can change that schedule; even though EASTER is the best and most significant time to enter into the True Church of Christ.  … My program is a supplemental to RCIA, {that in my humble opinion; every RCIA member ought to take}.

Christ while on earth Instituted Seven Sacraments: {1} Baptism, {2} Eucharist, {3} Confirmation, {4} Confession /Reconciliation/ Penance, {5} Marriage, {6} Holy Orders, and {7} the Last Rites.

Betsy be SURE that Father Kline and the office {priest are super busy and may forget} is aware that you desire to be in the next RCIA Class. Just get a Sunday bulletin which will have all the contact information you need.

As an aside here: Once you enter into the RCIA program, please continue to ask me questions that may come up.

{A} -“SACRAMENT. A sensible sign, instituted by Jesus Christ, by which invisible grace and inward sanctification are communicated to the soul. The essential elements of a sacrament of the New Law are institution by Christ the God-man during his visible stay on earth, and a sensibly perceptible rite that actually confers the supernatural grace it symbolizes. In a broad sense every external sign of internal divine blessing is a sacrament. And in this sense there were already sacraments in the Old Law, such as the practice of circumcision. But, as the Council of Trent defined, these ancient rites differed essentially from the sacraments of the New Law, they did not really contain the grace they signified, nor was the fullness of grace yet available through visible channels merited and established by the Savior. (Etym. Latin sacramentum, oath, solemn obligation; from sacrare, to set apart as sacred, consecrate.)” From Father Hardon’s Catholic Distionary”. … Father was a Mentor to me

Five of these Sacrament’s hold the potential to accomplice in differing manners and degrees what you ask about.

  1. Sin are forgiven in the manner specified and desired by Christ {God} in each of the following Sacraments:
  2. {1} Which can as a Christian be received only one time. I assume you have been Baptized with water in the names of the Blessed Trinity? Mt. 28: 19-20 “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” And John 3:5  If you either have not been Baptized, it will be part of the RCIA Initiation Process. Father will ask you for “proof” of your Baptism and having mom’s testimony will be sufficient. If there are any doubts, you will be “re-baptized” conditionally {on the assumption that you may or many-not have been Baptized previously.

Sacramental Baptism removes BOTH All prior sins as well as ALL of the effects {“Temporal Punishment caused by those sins”}. So that if one should die after Baptism and have committed no further sin; such a Soul, being perfected like Christ can enter directly into heaven and the Beatific Vision.

 {2} Sacramental Confession/ Reconciliation/ Penance {all three terms while having slightly different meanings, apply correctly to this particular Sacrament.

Of all of the bible supported teachings; this is among the most critical, and most significant to one’s Salvation hopes, missed, not understood and wrongly treated by the Protestant community. And how very sad that is. Because Protestants presume a right not granted to them, and therefore not accepted by God** They presume to tell God how “H will” forgive their sins, rather than humbly listening to Christ Himself tell US how He will actually accomplish this task.

Confession” This is the oldest and most common term for this sacrament which too was directly instituted by Christ. John 20:1-23 Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples {Apostles} were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord, He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. {This means exactly what it says here: Christ gives to the Apostles, and through them His Church [singular] his own Godly Powers and Authority: READ Mt, 10:1-8 if in doubt} When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. [23] Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

Heb.5 Verses 1 to 6  “For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was.”   John.15: 16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful”

Matt.9 : 6 “But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he then said to the paralytic — “Rise, take up your bed and go home.” [8] When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. “  … See Mt. 10:1-8

Matt.10: 1And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity” {both physical and spiritual}

Acts 17: 30 “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, [Jesus the Christ] and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead.”

James 4: 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind.” All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him”

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 Jn. 1: 9

Mt. 7: 21 “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.”

“I acknowledged my sin to thee, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; then thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin”. Psalm 32:5

“I confess my iniquity, I am sorry for my sin”. Psalm 38: 18

  • The term “confession” refers precisely to the process that is an absolute need to confess our sins, personally and directly to a Catholic priest who has been chosen by Christ and empowered by Christ, to in HIS NAME, and with God’s own Power’s and Authority , determine IF ones sin ought to be, or ought NOT to be forgiven. It remains Christ who does it; BUT on the condition that the Catholic Priest gives God his permission, as the holder of all of the keys to heaven, granted to him by Christ, to forgive or not to forgive our sins. QUOTE: “When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: John 20:22-23Receive ye the Holy Ghost. [23] Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

“Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” James 5: 16

“Do not be ashamed to confess your sins”, Sir. 4:26

“When a man is guilty in any of these, he shall confess the sin he has committed” Lev. 5:5

he shall confess his sin which he has committed; and he shall make full restitution for his wrong Num. 5:7

“And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” Mt. 19: 17

Jn 20: 21-23 “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

Heb. 3: 1Therefore, holy brethren, who share in a heavenly call, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession”

Mt. 16:19  DIRECT QUOTE: I will give you {Alone ALL } the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The term “reconciliation” describes the effects and benefit of this Sacrament. Man is reconciled with our God; our sins ARE forgiven and forgotten by God through his Catholic priest, so this then is the “KNOWN & ASSURED” way AND MANNER  to inner peace given by God to men who actually hear and then OBEY HIM. It is HIGHLY significant that in this teaching: John 20:19-23, that Christ tells us TWICE to be peaceful and assured: “Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you[20] And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.[21] He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. [22] When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. [23] Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain; they are retained.Jesus Christ does not mince his wrd; His intent, His ONLY Teaching on this issue critical to everyone salvation.**

  • ** The Church, the Portal, and the ONLY portal of all salvation, as “all salvation mysteriously must and does flow through Her”; holds out the possibility of salvation outside her DIRECT embrace, to those who though NO FAULT {culpability} of their won, do not [or are not granted], the knowledge of Christ One Church and the absolute need to be joined to Her; the Catechism of the Catholic Church #’s 846 & 847; might yet conditionally attain their Salvation.
  • The term “Penance” makes reference to penalty imposed by the priest in Confession to make us aware of the damage we have done to our souls, our relationship with God, to the Church and to society as a whole, as all sins have a “public nature” that affects others besides ourselves.

 

In current times this is often very slight, and minimal, but sufficient to act as a reminder, once the priest is assured that we are truly repentant of our sinful actions.

 There is a “SEAL” of Confession that a priest may not under ANY circumstances, threats or promised rewards, reveal what is shared in the Confessional, without putting his own soul at GRAVE risk of eternal damnation. So serious is this that ONLY the Pope can personally override this; and I don’t think in the 2,000 year history of the Church that it has ever been done!

 While this sacrament DOES fully and exclusively remit ALL sins, it does not remove the “Temporal Punishment} caused by All son; attached to all sinful acts.

  • This “Temporal Punishment” must then be repaid before one can enter into the Beatific Vision {Christ actual Presence}. This can be accomplished even after death; so long as the Soul DOES die in the “State of God’s Grace.” Meaning without the stain of unconfessed; and, or, unforgiven Mortal sin. John 5: 16-17
  • “Temporal Punishment due to sin” is judged ONLY and directly by Christ Himself, who alone knows the amount of the debt, and to what degree He accepts payment thereof. So it is Christ alone who is the “bookkeeper” of this reality which nevertheless must absolutely be repaid to make the Soul Perfect; the necessity Christ sets to permit any Soul into His Divine and Perfect Presence.   

Lev.22: 21 “And when any one offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD, to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering, from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. … Rev. 21: 27 “But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  … Mt. 5: 26 truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.  … Matt.5: 48 “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” … Heb. 2: 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.”

The Church, holder of “all the key’s to heaven” is given the authority to make Temporal Punishment repayable while on earth through good works, charity, suffering offered up to God and Indulgences, which is a separate topic.

  1. {3} Eucharist/ the Real Presence

       This too is a significant LOSS to the Protestant communities. The Dogma od the Real Presence, meaning that Jesus Christ in Person, is “truly, Really and Substanually present in Catholic Holy Communion [Also the Orthodox who have Direct Apostolic Succession, and all Seven Sacraments Validly; but NOT Licitly], are empowered by Christ and the Holy Spirit, to make Jesus Himself Present to us. This reality is testified to by Christ Personally and FIVE different authors of the New Testament: Mt.

Matthew 26: 26-28 “And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.”

MARK 14: 22-24 “And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it.  And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many.}

Luke 22: 19-21 And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. In like manner the chalice also, after he had supped, saying: This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you.”

Paul 1 Cor.11: 23-29 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread.  And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.  For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: [to be worthy of the privilege]  and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself

John from Chapter 6: 47-57 Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me, and I in him.”

So it is really the denial of God Himself in person that is denied. That is not only a indescribable; discernable loss;  but puts there very Souls at risk.

This Gift of Christ Himself is:

FROM God the Father

Of God the Son

By God the Holy Spirit

And is the greatest of all possible protections against us sinning.

  1. {4} “Marriage” and or “Holy Orders {the Catholic Priesthood} Depending on on’s Vocational call

If one is called by God to either of these vocations; God grants extra and special graces along with them to better enable one to live that vocation fully in accord with God’s expectations of that call. Additionally, special graces are offered to permit those to avoid and resist the always present temptation to sin. Especially those temptations associated with that vocation. Sin is always a freewill choice of man.

  1. {5} “The Last rites

Just as entry into the Only Faith and Church that is FULLY “God approved, guided and protected {Mt.16:15-19, John 17:11-26, Mt. 28: 16-20}; is given a means of necessary perfection, if one is to enter immediately upon death, into the intimate Union with Christ through the Beatific Vision; so too Christ and His Church, OFFER a means to leave this world, fully perfected and ready for heave for all eternity.  God’s Love and Mercy {the very reasons the Sacraments were instituted by Christ}, through this Sacrament of final anointing

James 5:14-15 “Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. [15] And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.”

James 1:16-26 “[16] Do not err, therefore, my dearest brethren. [17] Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration[18] For of his own will hath he begotten us by the word of truth, that we might besome beginning of his creatures[19] You know, my dearest brethren. And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak, and slow to anger[20] For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God. [21] Wherefore casting away all uncleanness, and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls. [22] But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves[23] For if a man be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass. [24] For he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was. [25] But he that hath looked into the perfect law of liberty, and hath continued therein, not becoming a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work; this man shall be blessed in his deed.

[26] And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart, this man’ s religion is vain[27] Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation: and to keep one’ s self unspotted from this world.”

James 2:24, 26 Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?  For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead.”

What God was able to do “Justly and Fairly” in the Old Testament, can is no longer applicable to these New Covenant, New Testament times now under GRACE, {Romans 6:15} not only Law. Because God has given us SO very much more; He MUST expect more from us.

 Things like the “Sinners Prayer” and “Altar calls”, OSAS are all mortal men and quite recent innovations; NONE of which are God approved for sin forgiveness and hold are truly the possibility of ones’ salvation. Man CANNOT tell God how Hw will save them. Man MUST in humility listen and hear, and then ACCEPT and Do what God Commands. Amen.

 God Bless you,

 Patrick

No Counterfeit Mercy by Fr. Paul D. Scalia

 

No Counterfeit Mercy

Fr. Paul D. Scalia

Thomas knew what to look for. Sure, he shouldn’t have doubted. He should have believed the other Apostles. But for all his skepticism, he knew what to look for. He knew that the risen Lord of Easter Sunday must have the wounds of Good Friday. Anything less than that would be a counterfeit mercy.

Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”(Jn 20:25) This near obsession with our Lord’s wounds indicates their importance for today’s Feast of Divine Mercy. Those wounds guard and express the truth about mercy. Especially in a culture so inclined to counterfeit mercies and false compassion, we need to focus with Thomas on the wounds of Christ.

The wounds defend the integrity of mercy by proclaiming the reality of sin. For mercy to be authentic, for it to have any power or meaning whatsoever, it must take sin seriously. “[H]e was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. . .the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all.”(Is 53:5-6) Our Lord’s wounds show that He knows our sins full well, even better than we do. He has suffered their full effect.

It is no mercy to shrug off guilt or trivialize sin. Man has always tended to do so (e.g., “The woman gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it. . . .Am I my brother’s keeper?”). But today we have an entire philosophical system that seeks to justify that tendency. Moral relativism attracts people precisely because it promises to remove the sting of guilt by banishing all judgment. While it presents itself as mercy, moral relativism is, in fact, the greatest cruelty: it robs man of the ability to repent.

Mercy depends on the truth about man and his moral choosing. Only when we know that there is evil to reject and good to choose can we turn from one to the other – which is the very meaning of repentance. And only by turning from evil to good can we receive the mercy constantly extended to us. Moral relativism forbids any objective norm by which we can know that we have failed and need to repent. Where there is no standard of morality, neither can there be repentance or mercy.

Of course, the moral sense is not so easily eradicated from society. Man will give expression to that sense so deep within him. Without any objective reference, however, morality is determined by the powerful. So we become enslaved to the tyrannical mood swings of the majority, which command us to repent of this one day and of that the next. We will still be made to feel guilty, but with no way out except to please a fickle crowd.

The wounds of Christ rebuke moral relativism and confirm man’s dignity as a moral agent. They reveal in the extreme that there is a good – indeed, an ultimate good – that man has the power to choose or reject by his own free will. Thankfully, by that same will man can find mercy by turning from evil to good.

Even as they reveal the reality of sin, Christ’s wounds also proclaim the eternal good available to man. “Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.”(Jn 20:19-20) He extends peace here not just as a greeting but as shorthand for all the good that reconciliation with God brings to the soul. His wounds are the sacrament, the outward sign, of “the peace of God that surpasses human understanding.”(Php 4:7)

Finally, His wounds remind us that our being merciful requires the willingness to be wounded. To forgive means to cancel a debt. The relevant petition from the Lord’s prayer is sometimes translated, Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Just as canceling a debt in finances means suffering a monetary loss, so in the moral order the forgiveness of sins means some degree of suffering. Again, our culture’s counterfeit mercy is so enticing. It costs us nothing. But if we would truly forgive we must be willing to suffer a degree of sadness and pain.

Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”(Jn 20:22-23) These words refer particularly to the priest’s sacred power to absolve in Confession. But the principle they express applies to all: we need the grace of the Holy Spirit to forgive.

It is precisely to bestow that Spirit of forgiveness that Jesus Christ has suffered the wounds of the Cross and rose with them, triumphant.

*Image: Icon of Divine Mercy by Oleh Skoropadsky, 2008 [Divine Mercy Catholic Parish of Paulding County, Ohio]. Mr. Skoropadsky, a Ukrainianpainter, has depicted St. Faustina’s vision of Christ with Ohio scenes in the background, including the parish’s three churches and the Maumee River. End Quotes

commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Fr. Paul D. Scalia

Fr. Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Va, where he serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy. His new book is That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion.

This IS our Faith… another Catholic reflection “What has long begun continues” by Patrick

This IS our Faith… another Catholic reflection

What has long begun continues

Lesson #2 to be mailed April 26th.  2019

Today’s Subject: The (not so) “great” Apostasy (Today lapsed “catholics” equal, perhaps even exceed the numbers of Informed and fully practicing ones. This phenomena leads us to several talking points:

  1. Why is this happening?
  2. Where is the blame to be laid?
  3. What MIGHT we (and WHO is “we”) to do about it?
  4. This malaise of “Meism” also extends to the broader Christian community as well; ought WE be also concerned about this? Why?
  5. What are the consequences for the Catholic Church and for Christianity?

Let’s began by addressing point #5 first and then proceed numerically through numbers one through four.

[1] Matthew 10: 16-22[16] “Behold I send YOU as sheep* in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves[17] But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. [18] And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles: [19] But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak. [20] For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you. [21] The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death. [22] And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved”

Douay Bible explanation *= [16] “Simple”: That is, harmless, plain, sincere, and without guile.

[2] Matthew 24:11-15 (an End Times prophesy) “[11] And many false prophets shall rise, and shall seduce many. [12] And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold. [13] But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved. [14] And this gospel of the kingdom, shall be preached in the whole world, (Matthew 28:18-20) for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come. [15] When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand

  • [3] 1st. Timothy 2:3-4 “[3]For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth[5]For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus [6] Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times.

  Douay Bible explanation **= [5 & 6] “One mediator”: Christ is the one and only mediator of redemption, who gave himself, as the apostle writes in the following verse.

(Redemption and salvation are not synonymous words). Christ died that ALL of humanity MIGHT be saved, and offers every human soul sufficient grace to make this a possibility. Christ also died so that our sins conditionally (1 John 5: 16-17 & John 20:19-23) could and as He Promised, would be forgiven; and thus making salvation also a more limited possibility.

 John 15:16[16] You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Hebrews 12:6-14[6] For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [7] (Expect to have to) Persevere under discipline. God dealeth with you as with his sons; for what son is there, whom the father doth not correct? [8]But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are made partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons. [9] Moreover we have had fathers of our flesh, for instructors, and we reverenced them: shall we not much more obey the Father of spirits, and live? [10] And they indeed for a few days, according to their own pleasure, instructed us: but he, for our profit, that we might receive his sanctification.[11] Now all chastisement for the present indeed seemeth not to bring with it joy, but sorrow: but afterwards it will yield, to them that are exercised by it, the most peaceable fruit of justice. [12] Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, [13] And make straight steps with your feet: that no one, halting, may go out of the way; but rather be healed. [14]Follow peace with all men, and holiness: without which no man shall see God.”

We are to understand that Life is an opportunity; a “God Test” (Isaiah 43: 7 & 21). We can choose to pass it or fail it. Nothing less and nothing more.

Jesus without ambiguity teaches that while every human soul is “offered” salvation (the doctrine of “sufficient grace” being OFFERED to all); salvation is to be merited by our life choices, and hence is highly conditional; and critically important is the issue of final perseverance which we need to pray for daily.

[1] Why is this happening?

“What percentage of the world is Catholic? ( in 2018 there were 1.28 BILLION Catholics)

Catholics comprise 50 percent of all Christians worldwide and 16 percent of the world’s total population. In 2010, the majority of the world’s Catholics were to be found in the Latin American/Carribbean region (39 percent, or 425 million). In 1910, two-thirds of Catholics (65 percent) lived in Europe”

SMARTNEWS Keeping you current

Half of American Catholics Have Lapsed (actually the figure is closer to 61%)

But 11 percent eventually return to the church

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/half-american-catholics-have-lapsed-180956662/

By Erin Blakemore

SMITHSONIAN.COM
“Lapsed Catholic” is a term that’s inspired BuzzFeed lists, church doctrine and plenty of dinner-table conversations. Now, new poll results from Pew Research show that more than half of U.S. adults raised Catholic have left the church at some point during their lives.

The new survey of 5,122 American adults found that of those who were raised Catholic, 52 percent left the church at some point. Of those who lapsed, 11 percent eventually returned, 41 percent would define themselves as “no longer Catholic,” and 13 percent are now “cultural Catholics,” or people who practice another or no faith, but still identify with the religion.

Like some people who identify with the cultural aspects of Judaism without actively practicing the religion, cultural Catholics often belong to other faith traditions or identify as atheists. In another dive into the survey’s data, Pew reports that nine percent of Americans consider themselves to be Catholic, but don’t identify with the religion. Of that group, 62 percent report that “being Catholic is mainly a matter of ancestry and/or culture,” while 32 percent of cultural Catholics attend Mass at least once a year.

Though only eight percent of ex-Catholics say they could imagine returning to the church, that number shoots up to 43 percent for cultural Catholics. It’s a statistic that seems to have made the church itself take note: This spring, the Vatican launched a campaign letting lapsed Catholics know that it’s “never too late” to rejoin their faith. And as Ismat Sarah Mangla writes for The International Business Times, the Vatican’s recent announcement that priests will have the ability to forgive Catholics who’ve had abortions is also thought to be a sign that the church wants to find new ways to retain — and take back — Catholics.

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/half-american-catholics-have-lapsed-180956662/#j2Qec5yjj3yyFpGz.99
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By Michelle Boorstein and

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

March 13

The percent of U.S. Catholics who say the clergy sex abuse crisis has them questioning whether to leave the faith has jumped 15 points since the last major crisis in the early 2000s, a poll released Wednesday finds.

Thirty-seven percent of Catholics told Gallup that “recent news about sexual abuse of young people by priests” has them personally questioning whether to remain Catholic, compared with 62 percent who said it had no effect of their choice of Faith beliefs.  End Quotes

Problems Within the Church

http://graphics.wsj.com/catholics-us/    (NOTE: This is a non-Catholic; perhaps even a non-Christian site…Pjm)

Catholics leaving at alarming rate

Some 25 million adults, or a third of all active members, no longer identify with the Catholic Church. Most of those who leave abandon affiliated religion altogether. However, the Catholic Church does have a higher retention rate than almost every other religion, including all Protestant denominations.

First: Why does the Catholic Church have “a higher retention rate” than Protestants? In a WORD; “truth”. (John 14:6) When Jesus expressed that He alone was [1] the only way [2] has the only TRUTH and [3] is the way to eternal Life; each is of critical note; singular tense. We discussed in our first lesson how God’s Divine Justice actually blocks their right and or full understanding until they turn to Him in humility; seeking His necessary graces. The power of sacramental actual graces cannot be 

Secondly this reality is evidenced both biblically and through objective logic. Neither of which seem to have a noticeable effect on the non-Catholic-Christian community.

 [2] Where is the blame to be laid?

This unnatural phenomena has many causes. First among them being very poor catechesis; closely followed by the trap of cultural “MEISM” fed by PRIDE of self-first. Then add in widespread substandard priest formation; immoral priest and bishops; and even many Orthodox prelates being bridled by their Bishops; and an unnatural fear of BOLDLY sharing Christ truths. When is the last time you heard a homily on abortion, or “shacking up”? Or explaining that while the Catholic Church cannot tell anyone HOW to vote; She must nevertheless tell Us how we CANNOT vote; yet over 50% of self-proclaimed ( American) Catholics are comfortable [presume to be in conscience guilt-free]; SHAME on many of our Bishops and priest. Have you EVER heard A SERMON ON God’s SINGULAR ruths and its ramifications?

Then there is the so frequent lack of proper parenting; and personal example. Though as I alluded to earlier; peer pressure seems to have more practical effect on this than seems possible [at least to me.]

Finally there is the dynamic of sliding downhill is always easier than climbing uphill. Sin is not only easier but meets the goal of immediate gratification; seen as a “right” [like abortion], immoral and illogical. It is a similar mindset that has led to a multiplicity of Protestant faith and churches that number in the thousands; because their founders feel that they DO know better and DO know more than anyone else including the GOD they profess to love and worship.

There is certainly more than enough blame. Paling pass the buck here is a no-brainer.

We, each of us is ether a part of the solution OR WE ARE THE PROBLEM. 

 [3] What MIGHT we (and WHO is “we”) do about it?

The “Who” is each and every one of us. The call to evangelization is all inclusive. But Not “all” in the same identical manner as Paul is quite clear on that point. May I suggest that you reread 1st.  Corinthians chapters 12 & 13. Both of which are quite brief and well-articulated. But because God did not equip you do “this”; does not preclude or excuse you from doing “that.” Each of Us is to ANSWER GOD’S CALL, putting to use the charisms and gifts and talents the Holy Spirit has Blessed us with.

1st. Cor. 12:  [5] And there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord; …  [28] And God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers; after that miracles; then the graces of healing, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches. [29] Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all doctors? [30] Are all workers of miracles? Have all the grace of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? And so on; this is NOT intended to be a comprehensive list; but a Moral Lesson

1st. Cor.13: [6] Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth[7] Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. [8] Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

Above all and in all is this teaching: John 13: 34-35[34] A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. [35] By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.”

 [4] This malaise of “Meism” also extends to the broader Christian community as well; ought WE be also concerned about this? Why?  (LOVE your neighbor as yourself”)

Dear friends, if we are to take the above teaching literally as is the intent of Jesus; then YES! CERTAINLY we must be willing and prepared to reach out to all of differing faith beliefs than ours; with charity, clarity (facts; preferably biblical), patience and very much prayer for them wisdom; for us Truths; and for both of us, patience under the test of endurance. Take NOTE however that only God can cause a conversion. The Holy Spirt may use us as a conduit for His Purposes; be we must enter into whatever ministries we are led to and graced by God, competent to fulfill, leaving success and or failure up to the Holy Spirit and the person or people we are engaged in ministry with. The most effective evangelization is OUR personal life-witness; our own Faith lived out publically and fully. As Father Hardon often taught “you cannot share what YOU yourself do not have.”  … AMEN!

  [5] What are the consequences for the Catholic Church and for Christianity?

The consequences for the Catholic Church is the fulfillment of what Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit from the first to the last page in the bible [a Catholic book], desires, commands and makes possible to all who seek in humility, GOD’s Truths; always singular per defined issue, even though that reality is not to be presumed to be comprehended, or even comprehensible by all. The gifts of the Seven Sacraments are just too precious; too profound, not to desire to share them and their radical effects on increasing the possibilities on meriting one’s own salvation, God’s Way, and to assist as permitted in the possible salvation of others. One in an absolute sense does not need to be a Catholic to be saved; BUT the many graces and advantages of being an Informed and Fully Practicing Catholic are so meaningful, so beautiful, so profound as to make this, because it is Biblically provable GOD”S Commanded One True Faith and Church; and because we are commanded to love for others, what we LOVE for ourselves.

We Catholics should give thanks daily for the graces, Blessings and gifts made available to us, through Christ “MY Church” [singular… Mt. 16:18].

 What does the Bible teach about lapsed Catholics?

Hebrews 6: 1-8 “[1] Wherefore leaving the word of the beginning ***of Christ, let us go on to things more perfect, not laying again the foundation of penance from dead works, and of faith towards God, [2] Of the doctrine of baptisms, and imposition of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. [3] And this will we do, if God permit. [4] For it is impossible ****for those who were once illuminated, have tasted also the heavenly gift, [Jesus the Risen and GLORIFED Christ in Person in Catholic Holy Communion] and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, [Sacramental Confirmation and the personal ever-lasting covenant it creates[5] Have moreover tasted the good word of God, [Have actually been taught what the bible ACTUALLY does teach] and the powers of the world to come, [6] And are fallen away: to be renewed again to penance, crucifying again to themselves the Son of God, and making him a mockery. [7] For the earth that drinketh in the rain which cometh often upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is tilled, receiveth blessing [sacramental graces in super-abundances from God.[8] But that which bringeth forth thorns and briers, is reprobate, and very near unto a curse, whose end is to be burnt. [Self- condemn themselves to eternal hell, unless they sincerely repent and convert.]

Douay Bible Explanation on verses [1] “The word of the beginning” ***: The first rudiments of the Christian doctrine. & [4] “It is impossible”****: The meaning is, that it is impossible for such as have fallen after baptism, to be again baptized; and very hard for such as have apostatized from the faith, after having received many graces, to return again to the happy state from which they fell. (This is to be understood as requiring very much prayer by US, grace and Mercy from God, which is ALWAYS available to those who seek it with and IN-Faith and persistence… Pjm) God desires that ALL be saved 1 Tim. 2:3-4)

 If dear friends you too have family, friends or loved one’s that have chosen to risk eternal hell; regardless of their reasons or personal situations; STORM the heavens in daily prayers for them. God truly desire that ALL Souls be saved. (1 Tim, 2: 3-4)

(2 John 1): [6] And this is charity that we walk according to his commandments. For this is the commandment, that, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in the same: [7] For many seducers are gone out into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh: this is a seducer and an antichrist. [8] Look to yourselves, that you lose not the things which you have wrought: but that you may receive a full reward[9] Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son.

To Jesus THROUGH Mary,

Patrick

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let US REJOICE and be glad in it.”

No Counterfeit Mercy by Fr. Paul D. Scalia

No Counterfeit Mercy

Fr. Paul D. Scalia

Thomas knew what to look for. Sure, he shouldn’t have doubted. He should have believed the other Apostles. But for all his skepticism, he knew what to look for. He knew that the risen Lord of Easter Sunday must have the wounds of Good Friday. Anything less than that would be a counterfeit mercy.

Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”(Jn 20:25) This near obsession with our Lord’s wounds indicates their importance for today’s Feast of Divine Mercy. Those wounds guard and express the truth about mercy. Especially in a culture so inclined to counterfeit mercies and false compassion, we need to focus with Thomas on the wounds of Christ.

The wounds defend the integrity of mercy by proclaiming the reality of sin. For mercy to be authentic, for it to have any power or meaning whatsoever, it must take sin seriously. “[H]e was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. . .the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all.”(Is 53:5-6) Our Lord’s wounds show that He knows our sins full well, even better than we do. He has suffered their full effect.

It is no mercy to shrug off guilt or trivialize sin. Man has always tended to do so (e.g., “The woman gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it. . . .Am I my brother’s keeper?”). But today we have an entire philosophical system that seeks to justify that tendency. Moral relativism attracts people precisely because it promises to remove the sting of guilt by banishing all judgment. While it presents itself as mercy, moral relativism is, in fact, the greatest cruelty: it robs man of the ability to repent.

Mercy depends on the truth about man and his moral choosing. Only when we know that there is evil to reject and good to choose can we turn from one to the other – which is the very meaning of repentance. And only by turning from evil to good can we receive the mercy constantly extended to us. Moral relativism forbids any objective norm by which we can know that we have failed and need to repent. Where there is no standard of morality, neither can there be repentance or mercy.

Of course, the moral sense is not so easily eradicated from society. Man will give expression to that sense so deep within him. Without any objective reference, however, morality is determined by the powerful. So we become enslaved to the tyrannical mood swings of the majority, which command us to repent of this one day and of that the next. We will still be made to feel guilty, but with no way out except to please a fickle crowd.

The wounds of Christ rebuke moral relativism and confirm man’s dignity as a moral agent. They reveal in the extreme that there is a good – indeed, an ultimate good – that man has the power to choose or reject by his own free will. Thankfully, by that same will man can find mercy by turning from evil to good.

Even as they reveal the reality of sin, Christ’s wounds also proclaim the eternal good available to man. “Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.”(Jn 20:19-20) He extends peace here not just as a greeting but as shorthand for all the good that reconciliation with God brings to the soul. His wounds are the sacrament, the outward sign, of “the peace of God that surpasses human understanding.”(Php 4:7)

Finally, His wounds remind us that our being merciful requires the willingness to be wounded. To forgive means to cancel a debt. The relevant petition from the Lord’s prayer is sometimes translated, Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Just as canceling a debt in finances means suffering a monetary loss, so in the moral order the forgiveness of sins means some degree of suffering. Again, our culture’s counterfeit mercy is so enticing. It costs us nothing. But if we would truly forgive we must be willing to suffer a degree of sadness and pain.

Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”(Jn 20:22-23) These words refer particularly to the priest’s sacred power to absolve in Confession. But the principle they express applies to all: we need the grace of the Holy Spirit to forgive.

It is precisely to bestow that Spirit of forgiveness that Jesus Christ has suffered the wounds of the Cross and rose with them, triumphant.

*Image: Icon of Divine Mercy by Oleh Skoropadsky, 2008 [Divine Mercy Catholic Parish of Paulding County, Ohio]. Mr. Skoropadsky, a Ukrainianpainter, has depicted St. Faustina’s vision of Christ with Ohio scenes in the background, including the parish’s three churches and the Maumee River.

Fr. Paul D. Scalia

Fr. Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Va, where he serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy. His new book is That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion.

The Wonders of Things Unseen by REGIS NICOLL

The Wonders of Things Unseen

REGIS NICOLL

In 1977, George Lucas struck box-office gold with the epic-adventure, Star Wars. Mystic luminaries, anthropomorphic androids, light sabers, and computerized special effects captured the imaginations of audiences, young and old alike. But perhaps the most lasting impression on viewers was Obi-wan Kenobi’s Delphic disclosure: “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power… It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”

An invisible source of staggering energy, permeating the cosmos that common folk could summon for noble or ignoble ends, was the perfect hook for audiences brought up in the dawning age of high technology and Western mysticism. At the height of the film’s popularity I was playing on a community soccer team named “The Force”; we co-opted the film tagline, “May the Force be with you,” for our game whoop. The tagline may have contained more truth than Lucas and Co. realized.

A Startling Discovery
Over 20 years after the initial Star Wars episode, the astrophysics community stumbled on an extraordinary revelation.

Although the outward expansion of the universe had been a well-established fact since 1929 when Edwin Hubble detected redshifts in light emitted from distant stars, measurements from supernovae in the late 1990’s revealed that galaxies and stars are receding from each other at an ever increasing rate. In other words, the universe is not only expanding, but accelerating. Physicists, scrambling to identify the source of this phenomenon, dubbed it, “dark energy,” because of its mysterious, hidden nature.

Subsequent measurements revealed that this invisible force, suffusing the cosmos, accounts for an amazing 70 percent of all the stuff in the universe. If you add to that, all of the dark matter in the universe—matter that is not visible—then dark “stuff” makes up 95 percent of the known cosmos.

The unexpected appearance of dark energy, and its implications for understanding the universe, has led prominent physicists to call it the biggest question in all of physics. As University of Chicago physicist Michael Turner put it, “Dark energy holds the key to understanding our destiny… [and] could well be the number one problem in all of physics and astronomy.” It is a mystery they are determined to unravel.

As a starting point, I suggest that they ponder an insight from antiquity: “The universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Somehow, I doubt they’ll take me up on that.)

A Not-So Empty Space
Ask almost anyone what resides in the dark vacuum of space, and they will likely reply, “Nothing, of course!” Likewise, in the scientific community it was long believed that with the exception of sparse collections of galaxies, stars, planets, and interstellar dust and gas, the vast expanse of space was empty, a vacuous wasteland devoid of matter and energy.

However, with the advent of quantum theory and Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity (general relativity), scientists began to imagine space, not as a vast region of emptiness, but of something like a “fabric,” an invisible cosmic veil stretching out over 13 billion light-years in every dimension. (An ancient writer put it this way: “He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent.”)

These two revolutionary theories became the bedrock of physics and resulted in a new paradigm of spacetime as a gossamer-like structure, interwoven in the subatomic scale with wildly undulating threads of quantum energy causing tiny, exotic particles to continuously pop in and out of existence.

At large scales, the movements of galaxies and stars create gravitational waves rippling throughout the cosmos like those of the ocean under the influence of lunar movement. In symbiotic interdependence, matter gives form to spacetime which, in turn, gives motion to matter.

A Huge “Blunder”
In what turned out to be one of science’s great ironies, Einstein modified his original theory of general relativity by including a small repulsive force to counteract the attractive force of gravity. Einstein felt this modification necessary after realizing that the inward pull of gravity would lead to the eventual collapse of the universe and, as he and everyone else “knew” at the time, the universe was eternal and unchanging.

But with the discoveries of stellar redshifts and universe expansion, Einstein had to retract his modification, calling it his “biggest blunder” since the universe was not contracting but expanding. But his “blunder” would resurface some 70 years later to become a leading theory for dark energy—the strange force behind cosmic acceleration.

Still unanswered was what this mysterious energy is and where it comes from. A top candidate for many theorists is the roiling energy of the quantum field thought to saturate all of space. But that compounds the dilemma with more fundamental questions: What is its origin? What “engine” sustains it? Again, an answer from an early voice: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory … sustaining all things by his powerful word.”

Another problem, according to quantum field theory, is that the amount of energy in one cubic centimeter of “empty” space is more than that contained in all of the matter of the universe! (I guess Darth Vader wasn’t kidding when he chided, “Don’t underestimate the Force!”) Which brings up the next question: why is the energy we observe so much less than what is available? (Hint: courtesy of another ancient: “His glory covered the heavens … rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden.”)

Finally, there is the “coincidence” that energy and matter are in just the right amounts for the universe to sit astride the dividing line between eternal expansion and eventual collapse. This has caused some researchers to conclude that we live in a favored place and epoch in which the “just right” conditions for the universe exist, and in which man can observe and discern many of the mysteries of creation. But as physicist Brian Greene observes, “[any answer that] hinges its success on extremely precise tunings of features for which we lack fundamental explanation … makes most physicists recoil.”

“Why is that?” you ask. Because it implies Someone on the “outside” fiddling with the controls. And that is strictly against the rules of scientific materialism. Could be the reason another writer warned of a latter time when “people will be … always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.” Oh well.

Over the last 300 years, scientists have made tremendous strides in describing the observable phenomena of nature. But with each discovery have come new questions multiplying the mysteries we behold. What is becoming increasingly clear is that advancing from description to explanation is beyond the realm of scientific inquiry alone. In fact, the answer to one of the oldest rebukes on record—“Do you know the laws of the heavens?”—is as negative today as it was then.

From the infinitesimal to the infinite, the design and structure of nature points inexorably to the wonders of things unseen. While the scientific enterprise continues to unveil the hidden infrastructure of nature, evidence mounts for a supra-natural Source that not only supercharges and animates the cosmos, but holds the ultimate answers about the universe and reality itself.

Ever since our arrival on the set there’s been a nagging story going around about things unseen and of Someone behind the curtain tweaking the dials. And despite our efforts to set that uncomfortable notion aside, each twist of the plot keeps leading back to the inevitable conclusion that there is something to all the buzz. End Quotes

By Regis Nicoll

Regis Nicoll is a retired nuclear engineer and a fellow of the Colson Center who writes commentary on faith and culture. His new book is titled Why There Is a God: And Why It Matters.

A Babe & a baby Sharing Faith and Family by Patrick Miron {Great Grandpa} …

A Babe & a baby

Sharing Faith and Family by Patrick Miron {Great Grandpa} …

A mystery?

 In my role as a catechist, I seldom include personal things about me and my family. But in participating this morning in EWTN”s daily Mass, one of my personal favorite Homeliest; Father Wade Mendez touched a “soft spot” of mine.   The BABE Jesus and why God, the creator of every living thing and the entire Universe choose to come as a tiny helpless baby. After all, He is God,  … He is King of Kings, Lord of Lord’s, He is all MIGHTY & All Powerful. So why did he choose to come as a tiny helpless Babe?

On December 3td, Karen {my bride of 47 years and counting] and I became Great grand -parents for a second time. I was completely awed by the fragility of our new great-grand-daughter, who we nick named “Scooter.”  … [How soon we forget]  … honestly, her tinny round face looks just like a Cherub; a tiny Angel. {9lbs 6ozs.} It was love at first sight!

As I held her the day she was born [grandma was the delivery coach], and being so close to Christmas, I could not help but reflect on Jesus, My, and OUR God, being this small, this helpless, this dependent upon mere mortals for his very life and sustenance.

It occurred to me that not only was this an act of incalculable love, but also an immeasurable , and deeply profound act of humility, and something I had thought too little of; a freely chosen act of enormous faith. He could do absolutely nothing for himself, and made himself totally dependent on his mother Mary, and “father” Joseph. My next thought was if Jesus has this much faith in His Created humanity [Genesis 1:26-27 & Isaiah 43: verse 7 & 21]; what must He expect from us, in faith returned?

Jesus didn’t say “follow me”; he said “take up your Cross and follow me.”  [Mt. 5:19] ….

Father Wade asked; “what if the only image of Christ we had, was Christ hanging on the Cross?” Or what if the only image we had was Christ Resurrected?”  … Both, near polar opposite differences would have been at best intimidating, and frightening.  Certainly people in large numbers would have at least been reluctant to approach Christ in either case. 

But who is intimidated or afraid of a new-born Babe?  Especially one wrapped is swaddling clothes, born in a barn, and laying in a major? No one.  And only the hard headed, hard hearted does not have tender [even loving] feeling towards a new born, tiny and innocent baby.

Luke 2:11-16For, this day, is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.  And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us.”

Certainly part of the reason for the Incarnation, was our Creators desire to experience firsthand what His Created experienced. But just as clearly; Almighty God choose this form to manifest many key lessons for us.  …  Divine Providence desired to be loved, and to be loveable and accessible to all. He desired not to intimidate, not to threaten, not to force; rather to give us every opportunity to love him as he loves us.

What an amazing and Mysterious God we have.  Because God is [Agape} love; and a new infant reflects and elicits that very emotion from us; even as a tiny newborn Babe, Jesus was teaching us what we must know, and what he expects from us. … John 13:34-35A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.”Amen!