Why Suffering? A brief explanation by Patrick Miron

Originally posted on Catholic Answers FORUM by Patrick Miron

[QUOTE]This may sound like a silly question, I know. But I was looking at the promises of the Seven Sorrows Devotion and one of the graces was “I will grant peace to their families” and I was wondering what this particular phrase means. Peace, as in conversion so that God can rest in their hearts? Or freedom from violence? Or grace given to them to help fight temptation?[/QUOTE]

My friend, yours is NOT in the least a “silly question” And the answer to your three examples is :ALL of the above:and MORE

John.14: 27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

John.20: 19 to 23 “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 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.”

Here Saint John’s second teaching explains how God intends to accomplish the earlier Teaching. Catholic Sacramental Confession is God’s NORM, Gift & expectation for sin forgiveness. Which is why this Sacrament can correctly & accurately be known as THE SACRAMENT OF KNOWN FORGIVENESS. Countless Souls have experienced this TRUTH first hand.

This kind of “peace” is also what Mary has in mind in Her reference to families.  “The Family that PRAYS together; STAYS” together; is another aspect of this Marian teaching.

While we are created in the very image of our God [Gen 1:26-27] with a mind, intellect and freewill; these are GIFTS from God granted with a specific purpose HOPED for by God; BUT optional for each Soul to choose for themselves.

Isaiah 43: verse 7 & 2 “[7] everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” & [21] the people whom I formed for myself that THEY MIGHT declare my praise.” [It’s OUR choice!] and this teaching of God’s desire for each and every Soul [1 Tim. 2:3-4 “[3] This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, [4] who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” NEEDS to be tempered with these teachings of Jesus Himself:

Take Up your Cross and Follow Me

Phil.2: 8 “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross Luke.9 :23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.Mark.8: 34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Luke.9: 23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke.14: 7 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

So in summary; we ought to expect, as they are GRACE opportunities suffering in this life. What Mary promises GOD will grant to each Soul THROUGH Mary, when we pray as She requested.

GBY, Patrick

“The Future of the West: Pagan or Christian” re-blogged

The Future of the West: Christian or Pagan?

ARCHBISHOP CHARLES J. CHAPUT, O.F.M. CAP.

A friend of mine lives in one of Philadelphia’s comfortable suburbs. She and her husband are both attorneys. Both hold Ivy League degrees. Their community is nearly 90 percent white, rich in Quaker history, above average in education and income, and low in crime. People are friendly. Nights are quiet. Streets are clean and safe. Real estate is well-groomed and priced accordingly. In other words, it’s a town better known for its merit class credentials than its angry bigots.

So she thought it odd when lawn signs recently started popping up in her neighborhood with the slogan “Hate Has No Home Here.” In her view, in her manicured corner of the woods, hate was already homeless, but apparently this was not so. How had it gone unnoticed?

With a little digging, she found that “Hate Has No Home Here” is a transplant. It’s part of a campaign begun by Chicago’s Hollywood-North Park Community Association and now spreading nationally. In the words of the campaign’s website, “The Hate Has No Home Here Project promotes just and inclusive communities by encouraging neighbors to declare their homes, schools, businesses, and places of worship to be safe places where everyone is welcome and valued.” Despite the coincidence of its founding in November 2016—the same month as Donald Trump’s election—the campaign is avowedly non-partisan and non-sectarian.

 

Again, from the website: the lawn signs are “a public declaration that hate speech and hateful actions against others will not be tolerated by the person or organization displaying the sign. In that, it is non-partisan.” The signs are a statement that, “while it is okay to disagree with others civilly regarding issues, it is not okay to intimidate or attack a person or group—verbally or physically—based on attributes such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability, political party, or sexual orientation.”

Feelings of this sort are obviously admirable, and the spirit behind the campaign is clearly sincere, which is why many good people support it. It was St. Paul, after all, who urged us to speak the truth with love. Truth without love is a hammer. We can easily abuse it to pound those we dislike. The feeling of righteousness is deliciously addictive, and all the more so when the hurt we inflict on others seems justified by service to higher convictions.

But there’s a hitch. The trouble comes in applying good sentiments to real situations. “Hate” is a word that hangs in the air like the scent of dead flowers. It’s clinging, ambiguous, and ugly. Like truth, it’s easily manipulated for political ends. For example, what exactly qualifies a community as just and inclusive? Do we really need to declare our homes and places of worship as safe spaces? If so, safe from what and from whom?

For Christians in particular, such disavowals of “hate” prompt more questions than they answer. Is biblical teaching about sex a form of hate speech? Is religious criticism of same-sex “marriage” motivated by fear and bigotry? Is the exclusion of sexually active gay couples from leadership in a parish or Christian ministry vindictive? In religious matters, who gets to define what words like “hate” and “hateful” mean—the community of belief and its ministries? The person who claims to be hurt or excluded? Or perhaps a state that claims to be religiously neutral?

These questions aren’t theoretical. They’re being asked and answered right now with unpleasant legal results in other developed countries. They’re being pressed in our own country with growing force. They have deep implications.

Of course, as my lawyer friend says, lawn signs are modest things. Yet they’re not without meaning. In a way, they’re weathervanes of public opinion. Just a few years ago, the phrase “marriage equality” and bumper stickers with an equals sign became the cutting-edge of same-sex activism in redefining marriage and family. “Hate Has No Home Here” has the weakness of being more diffuse as a theme, but it has the same happy advantage of requiring no serious thought from anyone who assents to it. After all, is anyone actually in favor of hate?

For most people, the campaign’s lawn signs show a laudable concern for the outcast. For others, they’re a simple expression of good will. And for some, they’re also a form of moral preening and of shaming their unenlightened neighbors. In any case, whatever their motive, lawn signs and slogans do not a better nation make. That takes patience, careful thinking, and sustained work—all things that are in short supply in our current, emotivist cultural climate, and things that we need right now.

Eighty years ago, in a radio talk later appended to his great essay “The Idea of a Christian Society,” T.S. Eliot noted that  between the Church and the World, there is no permanent modus vivendi possible … The Church exists for the glory of God and the sanctification of souls: Christian morality is part of the means by which these ends are to be attained … To accept two ways of life in the same society, one for the Christian and another for the rest, would be for the Church to abandon its task of evangelising the world. For the more alien the non-Christian world becomes, the more difficult becomes its conversion.

When Eliot spoke and wrote from Britain in the late 1930s, much of Europe was already either fascist, national socialist, or communist. The impulse to contrast English “Christian” values with the murderous regimes on the Continent was strong. But Eliot was skeptical. He argued that Britons (like people in most democracies at the time) actually lived at a crucial moment of choice between a receding Christian society and an emerging pagan one. Liberalism, with its instinctive disdain for religion, had undermined its own moral coherence. As a result, despite formal professions of Christianity, Eliot said, “we conceal from ourselves the unpleasant knowledge of the real values by which we live. We conceal from ourselves, moreover, the similarity of our society to those which we execrate …” He saw that democracies too can be totalitarian. Their forms of coercion may be more congenial and less thuggish, but that only makes them more effective.

Eliot finished his essay just as war with Germany began. The world today is a different place, but perhaps it is not so different as we’d like to believe. In Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society, R.R. Reno revisits with insight and grace the issue so central to Eliot: will “the West seek a Christian future or a pagan one?”

The question is urgent. The reason is simple. In Reno’s view, despite its widely touted concern for the poor, “today’s progressivism is waging a war on the weak.” America’s merit class talks a great line about equality, social justice, and rooting out hatred. And it delivers on some of its promises. But meanwhile, “we’re leaving behind the democratic era and heading toward a meritocratic one [that] justifies the wealth and power of its elite on the grounds of their competence and achievements rather than on popular assent.” For Reno, America’s leadership class—once white, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant, now racially and ethnically more diverse and largely secular, but still just as elitist—is ultimately concerned with advancing its own interests.

This isn’t a new thought. Christopher Lasch said much the same thing decades ago, but Lasch wasn’t a believer. Reno writes with a lively Christian confidence and exceptional clarity, care, and depth.

Other recent books in the same “crisis and renewal” genre have had better marketing, more dramatic titles, or more spotlight-friendly authors. But none has had the uniquely reassuring spirit and methodical logic that shape Reno’s entire text. The author has several great strengths: a distaste for hysteria, a refusal to panic in the face of seemingly ugly data, and the patience to hear the real notes of a problem through the noise and confusion that dominate today’s cultural debates.

For example, Reno very shrewdly points out that, while “Nones” are growing and self-described Christians are declining as elements of the US population, the actual percentage of practicing, churchgoing Christians has barely changed in decades. What’s different today is the lack of social stigma attached to unbelief. More people are simply telling the truth about what they believe (or don’t). So we have reason for concern, but not for manning the lifeboats.

Like Eliot before him, Reno knows the value of religious feeling. But also like Eliot, he argues that a culture that substitutes lawn signs and slogans for moral substance can only be renewed by the rigor of Christian thought and the actions that flow from it. The author explores those practical consequences in chapters that focus persuasively on defending the weak, raising up the poor, promoting solidarity, limiting government, and seeking higher things.

Reno has a good command of the social science data that shape our national trends, and his analysis makes for a bracing read. But in the end, this is a book for the average Christian looking for hope. The central message of this text is that even now, faith in Jesus Christ is alive in our nation, and even now it can humanize and morally renew the nation’s future. We are the leaven. We make the difference. Nothing is pre-determined … except for one result, as he reminds us in the book’s final words: “The future is God’s.”

Editor’s note: The above review first appeared May 5, 2017 on Public Discourse, the online publication of the Witherspoon Institute and is reprinted with permission. END QUOTES

By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the archbishop of Philadelphia. Before his appointment to Philadelphia by Pope Benedict in 2011, he served as bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota and archbishop of Denver. He is the author of two books: Living the Catholic Faith: Rediscovering the Basics (2001) and Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life (2008)

 

5 Ways Parents CAN Engage Children in the Faith by Fr. Ed. Brown OMV re-blogged]

Five Ways Parents Can Engage Children in the Faith

The primary obligation of parents towards their children is to pave the way for the salvation of their immortal souls. Jesus pointed this out very clearly: “What would it profit a man if he were to gain the whole world and lose his soul in the process. What can a man exchange for his very soul?” This Biblical passage was instrumental in the conversion of the great missionary, Saint Francis Xavier.

In this short essay, we would like to pinpoint five concrete decisions and practices that parents can undertake so as to pave the way to heaven for their children. Never forget parents: your primary obligation is to bring every family member to heaven, to be with God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the angels and saints for all eternity.

1. Baptism  

Provide for the Baptism of your child as soon as possible. During the course of the pregnancy good parents can do all the prior preparations so as to have the child baptized rapidly. Baptismal talks, papers, godparents, etc. can be prepared and ready even before the child is born. Remember the words of Jesus, referring to the small child; “Let the little children come to me because as such is the kingdom of heaven.”

2. Pray Immediately!

A child can be compared to a sponge. The nature of a sponge is to absorb, especially liquids and usually water. However, if one puts dirty water into the sponge, then dirty water will be wrung out; clean, then clean water will be wrung out.  A three year-old child can watch TV and repeat dumb, offensive and vulgar words or songs. If this is the case, why should parents not fill the mind, heart and lips of the child with prayers to the Guardian Angel, to Mary, to the Trinity, to the Heavenly Father.  Why allow the child to be filled with junk, better, to fill him/her with beautiful prayers!

3. Offer it Up  

Parents, we invite you to teach your children the short but all important phrase:  “Offer it up!” What this really means is to take advantage of daily sufferings and crosses that God sends to adults as well as to children. Much suffering is wasted because it is not offered up to God. Why not teach children, even when they are small, to offer up the headache, toothache, hot or cold weather, the fall and bruise and the cut, so that these sufferings will have infinite value. Mom and Dad, you are the first teachers, especially in the area of faith.  Be faithful to your marriage vocation!

4. “Love one another as I have loved you.”

The Last and greatest commandment of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was that of love—to love all as he loved us. Parents who are blessed by God to have more than one child should make a concerted effort on their part to love all their children and their immortal souls. However, the devil always seeks to sow the seed of discord, confusion, jealously, rivalry, comparisons, and suspicions. Parents must strive with all of the energy of their wills to foster mutual respect, humility, love and harmony among their siblings.

At all costs parents must avoid the “Cain-complex”. What is the “Cain-complex”? The Cain-complex consists in pitting one sibling against the other. It results in the ugly fruits of comparisons, rivalries, jealousy often leading to envy and fights and hatred and killing, if not physically at least in the heart. How can the “Cain-complex” be avoided? A simple remedy! It is all related to union with God in prayer, the three dimensions of family prayer. Parents should pray for their children; parents should teach their children to pray; finally, parents should pray with their children.  If done, this will prove to be one of the most efficacious remedies to avoid the ugly, but all too prevalent “Cain-complex.”

5. The Real Presence. 

Good Catholic parents, we warmly exhort you to teach your children, as soon as possible, the meaning of the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Mass, Consecration, Holy Communion. Furthermore, parents should teach their children, even the little ones, where Jesus is truly present in the Church.  How is this to be done successfully by parents? Various suggestions!

  • 1) Parents work on growing in your own faith in Jesus present in the Eucharist—nobody can give what he does not possess personally.
  • 2) Explain to your children that the most important event every week is attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sunday, but also participating fully, consciously and actively.
  • 3) Reverence.The modern world has lost the sense of the sacred in the churches today. Parents must teach their children that the Church is the House of God and a sacred and holy environment. Therefore, in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, there should be cultivated silence, that fosters both prayer and reverence.
  • 4) Genuflection. Parents should execute the genuflection properly, right knee to the ground with hands folded over heart, and explain why this is done. Simply!  It is done to adore the Lord of Lord and King of Kings who is residing in His little Palace or Castle in the Blessed Sacrament.  The Kings prostrated themselves before the Child Jesus in Bethlehem; we prostrate ourselves by a reverential genuflection. Remember that Jesus, now present in the Blessed Sacrament, is still Lord of Lords and King of Kings and still worthy of worship and praise. This is done by the genuflection.
  • 5) Visits to the blessed Sacrament. One of the first little poems I remembered learning as a child was the following related to Eucharistic visits:  “Whenever I see a Church, I stop to make a visit, so that when I die the Lord will not say, who is it?”  Parents should form the habit of now and then stopping to visit Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. Even though the visit might last five minutes, this is very pleasing to Jesus whose Sacred Heart rejoices every time we visit Him and remember Him!

In conclusion, if parents can take seriously their obligation to be a Saint John the Baptist and point the way to Jesus and the Highway to heaven, then the parents will strive to implement these five practical points of advice: 1) The graces of early Baptism; 2) Prayer which is the key to heaven; 3) The value of offering up and suffering for a purpose; 4) Love, living out love in family; 5) The Eucharistic Lord, growing in faith, knowledge and love for Jesus the Bread of Life, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

May Mary, the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church and our Heavenly Mother attain for us extraordinary graces through her all-powerful prayers! END QUOTEs

8 Modern ERRORS Every Catholic Should avoid: re-blogged by Msgr. Charles Pope

 

8 Modern Errors Every Catholic Should Know and Avoid

Consider this eightfold list of modern errors that are common even in the Church.

Msgr. Charles Pope

There are many errors in our time that masquerade as wisdom and balance, but they are no such thing. I have written before (HERE and HERE) on many errors of our time of a more philosophical nature. The following list that I compile is more phenomenological than philosophical.

To say that something is phenomenological is indicate that it is more descriptive of the thing as experienced, than of the exact philosophical or scientific manner of categorizing it. For example, to say the sun rises and sets is to describe the phenomenon, or what we see and experience. The sun does not actually rise and set. Rather, the earth turns in relation to the sun which remains fixed. But we use the phenomenon (what we experience) to communicate the reality, rather than the more scientific words like apogee, perigee, nadir and periapsis.

And thus in the list that follows I propose certain fundamental errors of our time that are common, but I use language that speaks less to philosophies and logical fallacies, and more the to the errors as experienced.

Further, though the errors are common in the world, I present them here as especially problematic because we all too often find them in the Church as well. They are sadly and commonly expressed by Catholics and represent a kind of infection that has set in which reflects worldly and secular thinking, not Godly and spiritual thinking.

These are only eight. I am just getting started. I hope you will add to the list and define carefully what you identify. But for now, consider this eightfold list of modern errors that are common even in the Church.

 

  1. Mercy without reference to repentance– For too many today, “mercy” has come to mean, “God is fine with what I am doing.” But true mercy does not overlook sin, it presupposes it, sees it as a serious problem, and offers a way out of sin. God’s mercy is his way of extending a hand to draw us out of the mire of sin.

And this is why repentance is the key that unlocks mercy. For, it is by repentance that reach for and grasp God’s merciful and outstretched hand.

One of the chief errors today is the proclamation of mercy without reference to repentance. Sadly, this is common, even in the Church. It is far too common to hear sermons on mercy with no reference to repentance.

The opening words of Jesus’ ministry were “Repent and believe the Gospel!” The order is important. For how can we experience the good news of God’s mercy if we do not first repent, come to a new mind and know our need for that mercy. If you don’t know the bad news, the good news is no news. Repentance brings us to our senses, makes us accept our need for change, seeks God and unlocks his mercy.

This error of mercy without reference to repentance is widespread in the Church today and leads to the sin of presumption, a sin against hope.

 

  1. Staurophobia – The term staurophobia comes from Greek roots and refers to a fear of the Cross (stauros= cross + phobia= fear). Within the Church this error emerges from reticence by Catholics to frankly discuss the demands of discipleship. It reveals a strong hesitation to insist that even hard things are often the best the proper thing to do.

Many Catholics, including priests and bishops, are downright fearful when pointing to the demands of the cross. When the world protests and says, “Are you saying that those with same-sex attraction cannot get married or be sexually intimate but must live a kind of celibacy?!” The honest answer is, “Yes, that is what we are saying.” But since that answer is hard and rooted in the Cross, many Catholics are dreadfully afraid of a straight-forward, honest answer. The same is true for other difficult moral situations such as Euthanasia (in spite of suffering, we are still not free to take our life or that of another), abortion (despite difficulties and even in cases of rape and incest we are still not free to kill a child in the womb), and divorce and remarriage (in spite of unfortunate developments in a marriage, this does not mean that one is free to leave one marriage to enter another).

Staurophobia also makes many hesitant to issue correction within the Church and in families. There is almost a cringing fear of insisting on any demands or requirements or of even issuing the mildest of punishments or corrective measures. Things like this might upset people and that is one of the worst outcomes for a staurophobic who fears any sort of suffering, for themselves or others. They fail to see a redemptive quality in insisting on the demands of the cross.

St. Paul says, But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Gal 6:14). But for too many Catholics today, the cross and its demands makes them cringe and even feel embarrassment. Instead of boasting in the power of the Cross, the thinking seems more to be “How dare we, or the Church point to it, and actually insist that it is better than the comfort of false compassion.”

St. Paul understood that Christ crucified is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. But he goes on to say, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (see 1 Cor 1:23-24). But try to tell this to a staurophobic, and sadly they are legion in the Church.

 

  1. Universalism  Universalism is the belief that most, if not all people are going to be saved in the end. This is directly contrary to our Lord’s own words wherein he sadly attests that “many” are on the road that leads to destruction and “few” are on the narrow and difficult road that leads to salvation (See Matthew 7:14Luke 13:23-30). Dozens of parables and other warnings also come from our Lord in this regard and the straight-forward teaching of the Lord makes it clear that we must soberly accept that many, and not a few are going to be lost unless we, by God’s grace urgently summon them to Christ and to authentic discipleship.

I have written extensively on this elsewhere (e.g. HERE) and do not intend to rewrite all that now. But universalism is a serious discrepancy that is widely held today.

Countless Catholics seldom if ever hear sermons that warn of judgment or the possibility of hell. Neither do they mention it to others or even consider it as an actual possibility.

Given the pervasiveness of universalism there is very little urgency among Catholics to evangelize or even live the faith themselves. This attitude has to go if there is going to be any serious reform in the Church or evangelical zeal.

 

  1. Deformed Dialogue – The term “dialogue” has come to mean an almost endless conversation. As such it lacks a clear goal to convince the other. It usually just means “talk.” In our culture merely talking is given a lot of credit.

While talking is not bad per se, it can substitute mere action for a true goal. Originally “dialogue” had a more vigorous meaning. It comes from the Greek and is used in Scripture. διαλέγομαι (dialégomai) where we get the word “dialogue” comes from the Greek roots diá, (through, from one side across to the other) + légō, (“speaking to a conclusion”). Dia intensifies lego so it is properly, “getting a conclusion across” by exchanging thoughts, words or reasons.

And thus we see “dialogue” was originally a far more vigorous word than it would seem most people mean by the word today. In the New Testament is it used more often in the context of giving testimony and of trying to convince others the Gospel (e.g. Acts 17:2, 17 and 18:4).

But, as noted, in our times dialogue can actually stall conversion and given the impression that all sides have valid stances and that merely “understanding” the position of the other is praise-worthy. Understanding may have value, but mostly is of value to lay a foundation for conversion to the truth of the Gospel.

It is unclear today that conversion is actually a goal when many Catholics speak of dialogue with the world or with unbelievers. Dialogue is a tool, not a goal, it is a method, not a destination. And as a method, dialogue (in its original meaning) is a vigorous, dynamic and joyful setting forth of the Gospel, not a chatty and (seemingly) endless conversation.

It is true, we seek to win souls, not arguments. But winning the soul is a true goal that many modern references to “dialogue” and “understanding” seem to lack. Hence “deformed dialogue” makes our compendium of modern problems and errors.

 

  1. Equating Love with Kindness – Kindness is an aspect of love. But so is rebuke; so is punishment; as is praise. Yet today many, even in the Church, think of love only as kindness, affirmation, approval, encouragement, and other positive attributes. But true love is, at times, willing to punish, to insist on change, and to rebuke error.

Yet the modern age, equating love with mere kindness says, “If you really love me you will affirm, even celebrate, what I do.” In this sort of climate, when Church teaching does not conform with modern notions of sexuality, for example, the Church is accused of “hate” simply because we do not “affirm” what people demand we affirm. Identity politics (where people hinge their whole identity and dignity on a narrow range of behaviors or attributes) intensifies the perception of a personal affront.

But instead of standing our ground and insisting that setting love and truth in opposition is a false dichotomy, most Catholics cave and many also come to believe that love can be reduced to mere kindness. Many of them take up the view of the world that the Church is unkind and therefore mean or even hateful. Never mind that Jesus said things that were, by this standard, unkind, and that he often spoke quite frankly about sin (beyond mere social justice and pharisaical attitudes to include things such as sexual sin, adultery, divorce, unbelief and so forth). No, forget all that, because God is love, and love is kindness and kindness is always pleasant and affirming. Therefore they conclude that Jesus couldn’t really have said many of the things attributed to him. This error reduces Jesus to a harmless hippie and misconstrues love by equating it with mere kindness and unconditional affirmation.

Many Catholics have succumbed to this error and sacrificed the truth. It has a high place in our compendium of modern errors.

 

  1. Misconstruing the nature of tolerance – Most people today equate tolerance with approval. Therefore, when many demand or ask for “tolerance” what they really demand is approval.

But tolerance is from the Latin tolerare: to put up with, countenance, or suffer. As such it refers to the conditional endurance of, or at least non-interference with beliefs, actions, or practices that one considers to be wrong. One might tolerate them to some degree to prevent, for example, severe enforcements or draconian penalties, unnecessary intrusion into privacy, etc. But if the objection component is missing, we are not speaking of “toleration” but of “indifference” or “affirmation.”

And here, precisely, lies the heart of the error for Catholics who embrace the toleration- as-approval error. Simply put, what they are calling tolerance and even congratulating themselves for, is actually a form indifferentism and subjectivism. It does not properly reverence God’s moral vision. Instead of joyfully and zealously announcing the truth as revealed by God, many adopt a false tolerance that is indifferent to truth or even affirms error. And then, to top it off they congratulate themselves for the “moral superiority” of their tolerance. In fact, it is more likely sloth that is at work. Sloth in this case is an aversion to undertake the arduous task of speaking the truth to a doubting scoffing world.

Tolerance is an important virtue in complex and pluralistic cultures, but it ought not be so expanded that it loses its actual meaning or be so absolutized that tolerance is expected at all times, simply because it is demanded.

Catholics also need to sober up a bit and realize that when many today demand tolerance from us, they have no intention of extending it to us. Many of the same interest groups that demand tolerance are working to erode religious liberty and are increasingly unwilling to tolerate religious views in the public square. Our consistent caving to demands for false tolerance have only help to usher in a great darkness and pressure to conform to or approve of serious sin

 

  1. Anthropocentrism – This term refers to the modern tendency to have man at the center and not God. It has been a long tendency in the world ever since the Renaissance. Sadly, though it has deeply infected the Church in recent decades.

This is especially evident in the Liturgy, not intrinsically, but as practically and widely celebrated. Our architecture, songs and gestures, incessant announcements, and congratulatory rituals are self-referential and inwardly focused. The liturgy, as commonly celebrated seems more about us than God. Even the Eucharistic prayer which is directed entirely to God is usually celebrated facing the people.

It is never good, especially in the Church, to consign God to the margins. This marginalization of God is evident not only in the liturgy, but in parish life which is often top-heavy with activism rooted in the corporal works of mercy, but little attention to the spiritual works of mercy. Social organizations predominate, but it hard to find interest in Bible Study, traditional novenas and other spiritual works devoted to God.

Announcing God through vigorous evangelization work is also rare and the parish seems more a clubhouse than a lighthouse.

Human beings are important, Christian humanism is a virtue, but anthropocentrism is a common modern error rooted in excess. The worship of God and the spread of his kingdom is too little in evidence in many parishes. Parents too seem more focused on the temporal wellbeing of children, on their academic standing and so forth, but less concerned overall with the spiritual knowledge or wellbeing of them.

God must be central if man is to be truly elevated.

 

  1. Role reversal – Jesus said that the Holy Spirit whom he would send to us would convict the world (see John 16:8). And thus, the proper relationship of a Catholic to the world is to have the world on trial. St. Paul says, Test all things. Hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.(1 Thess 5:21-22). So, again, the world is to be on trial based on the light of the Gospel.

But too often Catholics have things reversed and put the Word of God and the teachings of the Church on trial, judging them by the perspective of the world. We should judge all things by the light of God. And yet it is common to hear Catholics scoff at teachings that challenge worldly thinking or offend against worldly priorities. Many Catholics have tucked their faith under their political views, worldviews, preferences and thoughts. If the faith conflicts with any of these worldly categories, guess which usually gives way.

Jesus says, If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels. (Mk 8:38). But many are ashamed of the Lord’s teachings that do not conform to worldly and popular notions.

All of this amounts to a tragic role reversal wherein the world and its notions overrule the gospel. It should be the world that is convicted by the Holy Spirit. Instead we put very God himself in the role of defendant. It should not be so. Do not be deceived: God will not be mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap in return. The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Gal 6:7-8)

So here are just eight entries onto our compendium of modern errors. More need to be added and you can help.

In this video Jesus is not kind but he is loving, warning them “If you do not come to believe that “I AM” you will die in your sins.” END QUOTES

“What Makes US Catholic”? re-blogged

What Makes Us Catholic?

Setting us apart from all other religions, the Eucharist is what makes us Catholic. It’s no secret that the major dispute during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century revolved around the Eucharist. Was it a sacrifice? Was it truly and substantially the Body and Blood of Christ? The Catholic Church responded with a resounding “Yes.” The Eucharist makes the Church (Lumen Gentium), informs the way Scripture is interpreted (Dei Verbum), and shapes the way Catholics live in the world (Gaudium et Spes). The Eucharist accounts for a fundamental difference that makes us Catholic.

St. John’s Gospel offers an example of this difference. Though John provides no institution narratives for the Eucharist during the Last Supper, there is a regal, even magisterial teaching on the Eucharist in the well-known “Bread of Life Discourse.” It opens with an event familiar to the Synoptic Gospels, namely, the multiplication of the loaves and fish. Jesus turned to Philip and asked: “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” (Jn. 6:5) He asked this question to test Philip, as he does each one of us when faced with today’s overwhelming challenges. All four Gospels describe the inability of the disciples to meet so great a need and how Jesus miraculously multiplied a meager number of barley loaves and fish to feed 5,000 men (Jn. 6:10) – more when women and children are factored in.

All of those present that day were sated and filled from eating the loaves and fish. Jesus, therefore, said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over.” (Jn. 6:12) So, “they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.” (Jn. 6:13)

It’s worth pausing here and reflecting on what exactly was gathered up into the baskets. These were leftovers of bread and fish, pieces of food with bites taken out of them and then strewn about upon the ground. The food was bitten by people knowing little hygiene; handled by people, young and old, who did not wash their hands before dinner; food peppered with grass and dirt after laying on the ground for some time. Why would Jesus instruct his disciples to gather up such food? Wouldn’t it have been better to just leave it for animals and beasts to consume at night?

There is a clue to answering these questions in the reasons Jesus gives for the gathering, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” (Jn. 6:12) Jesus did not wish to waste food, to be sure, but there is yet another reason for the gathering. In his polemic with the Jewish leaders, Jesus declared himself to be “the bread of life.” (Jn. 6:35)

The Father has given us “true bread” (Jn. 6:32), Jesus Christ, come down from heaven to give life to the world: “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.” (Jn. 6:37-38)

Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes by Tintoretto, c. 1550 [Met Museum]

What is the will of the one who sent Jesus? “And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.” (Jn. 6:39) Here a parallel is drawn between the fragments of bread and fish left over from the meal and we ourselves who are leftovers from the original dispensation of creation “in the beginning” before the Fall. We are not the first serving of creation. We are all leftovers.

So, what is our attitude toward leftovers? A common practice is to throw them away. In some ways, it is easier to make a meal from fresh ingredients than from a variety of leftovers in the refrigerator. How does Jesus view leftovers? He wants none of them to be lost.

In the economy of food stuffs the Father gave Jesus abundant bread and fish in the miracle of the loaves and in the economy of salvation the Father has given him: Us! Jesus instructs his disciples, therefore, to gather up the left over fragments so that nothing of what the Father has given him will be wasted.

For similar reasons, Jesus entrusted us to Peter, saying three times: “Feed my lambs” (Jn. 21:15-17), i.e., tend to the left-overs for whom I gave up my life! Jesus invites Peter, the other apostles, and all other members of the Church according to the grace and Sacraments received to do likewise.

This entire truth regarding the mission of Christ is played out again and again in the Eucharist. During Mass, the Gathering-Father sends his Son, Jesus Christ the “true bread” come down from heaven, to accomplish his will. Jesus, who was obedient to the Father even unto death on the cross (Phil. 2:8), comes to gather up the fragments of our lives back to the Father.

What makes us Catholic? The Catholic Church, like the whole human community of men and women conceived into this world, is composed of leftovers from the Fall. Yet members of the Church differ from the broader human community in that they are a communion in the Holy Spirit of men and women striving to love leftovers instead of succumbing to the temptation of throwing them away.

Human life has become an expendable commodity today, whether in the womb through abortion or among the weak and “deplorable ones” who fall victim to the cultural pressures of eugenic logic in euthanasia. Our Founder in the way of salvation, Jesus Christ, did not, nor does he now in the Eucharist, throw us away but rather bids us: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (Jn. 13:34)

And that is what makes us Catholic: heeding the Word given for many in the Eucharist.

 

“Happy Birthday” [Pentecost Sunday] re-blogged

[New post] Happy Birthday!
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Catholicorking Mom

New post on Catholic Working Mom

Happy Birthday!

by danardoyle

images-2  I don’t know why, but I’m actually excited about Pentecost tomorrow.  In all my life, I cannot remember being excited about this feast.  I mean, Christmas & Easter – those are exciting – but Pentecost, hmmm.  All of the feasts in the Church are supposed to be special (hence the term “feasts”), but I guess I’ve never REALLY given much thought to Pentecost.  It’s the day that Jesus’ promise was fulfilled – to never leave us alone – to send us an advocate – His Spirit.  At Pentecost, the birth of the Church, God literally set the hearts and minds of his apostles ablaze, so they were prepared/compelled to courageously go “where no man had gone before” – to preach the gospel in some super hostile places.  Just read the Acts of the Apostles!

I guess, I see the celebration of Pentecost as a hope for us today. The world has become a very hostile place once again – especially where Christians are concerned.  We are called (as always) to stand up for our Faith – to protect it – to do what we know is right – to love Christ with everything we’ve got – even when (not if) it makes us unpopular, persecuted, made fun of, tortured or killed because of it.  It’s getting more and more difficult to do that in a world that has sold its soul to the devil.  We cannot muster this courage of our own accord, my friends!  We NEED a stirring up of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in every Christian, because the battle we are in is the Ultimate one.

I have to admit that sometimes I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are only for those “special people” –  Charismatics or Pentecostals.  I mean, I don’t speak in tongues or anything.  If I had the gift of the Spirit, surely I would be able to speak His language, right?  I came across this quote from a very wise person concerning the Holy Spirit:

The spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe plan edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.” A.W. Tozer

I suppose at times in my life, I have felt somehow that I’ve gotten the “basic” Holy Spirit package and not the “Deluxe Version.”  Have you ever felt that way?

The bible tells us, however, that the Spirit is for all who love and obey Christ:   “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11  And how about this one:  “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16

God’s Spirit DWELLS in you and me.  That’s some pretty profound stuff there!  If we truly believe this, shouldn’t we be living accordingly?

I love this quote from St. Catherine of Sienna:

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Oh how I wish the world were ablaze with love for God (1st) and one another. “Come, Holy Spirit!  Fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love…”

Holy Spirit Prayer

This is my favorite Holy Spirit prayer that I say a lot:

O, Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul,
I adore you.
Enlighten me, Guide me,
Strengthen me, Console me,
Tell me what I should do.
Give me your orders.
I promise to submit myself
to all that you desire for me
and to accept all
that you permit
to happen to me.
Let me only know your will.

by Cardinal Mercier

The Lord says He will give His spirit to those who ask.  Have we asked?  Do we long for it or do we spend our lives trying to resist the Spirit – afraid to know God’s Will for us as it may not match our own.

If I’ve learned one thing in this life it is that God’s plans are infinitely better than mine.  Come, Holy Spirit!

10 Elements for Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy: re-blogged

And why speak I of the world to come? Since here this mystery makes earth become to you a heaven. Open only for once the gates of heaven and look in; nay, rather not of heaven, but of the heaven of heavens; and then you will behold what I have been speaking of. For what is there most precious of all, this will I show you lying upon the earth. For as in royal palaces, what is most glorious of all is not walls, nor golden roofs, but the person of the king sitting on the throne; so likewise in heaven the Body of the King. But this, you are now permitted to see upon earth. For it is not angels, nor archangels, nor heavens and heavens of heavens, that I show you, but the very Lord and Owner of these.

– St. John Chrysostom, Homily on 1st Cor., as cited in Dominus Estby Bishop Athanasius Schneider, p. 34

On February 14, 2015, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, was sponsored by the Paulus Institute to give a talk in Washington, DC.  During the talk, he proposed concrete actions — ten essential elements — which should be implemented to accomplish liturgical renewal.

As an attendee, I was impressed once again by his excellency’s concern for reverence and piety in Catholic worship. Because of the deep value of the insights he presented, I would like to offer to you my own summary of his principle themes.

The bishop instructed that ever since apostolic times, the Church sought to have holy liturgy, and that it is only through the action of the Holy Spirit that one can truly adore Christ. Exterior gestures of adoration that express interior reverence are vital within the context of the liturgy. These include bowing, genuflections, prostrations, and the like. His excellency cited St. John Chrysostom’s writings on liturgy, particularly focusing on the following theme: The liturgy of the Church is a participation in and must be modeled upon the heavenly liturgy of the angels.

The notion of heavenly liturgy, and our participation in it at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, offers some perspective to those of us who may be tempted to take for granted the incredible miracle in our midst. The reality is that each Catholic church is, itself, a place wherein dwell angels, archangels, the kingdom of God, and God’s own Heavenly Self. If we were somehow able to be transported to the heavenly liturgy, we would not dare speak even to those we know and love. When we are within a Church, we should therefore speak reservedly, and then only of sacred things.

In the early church, the altar and other sacred items were veiled out of respect for the sacred mystery in which they played a role. There was not, contrary to popular belief in our present time, a versus populum celebration of Mass or even a widespread practice of communion in the hand. The priest and the people faced together towards God in the liturgical East.

When we celebrate liturgy, it is God who must be at the center. The incarnate God. Christ. Nobody else. Not even the priest who acts in His place.

It impoverishes the liturgy when we reduce the signs and gestures of adoration. Any liturgical renewal must therefore restore these and bring about a more Christocentric and transcendent character of the earthly liturgy which is more reminiscent of the angelic liturgy.

Ten Elements of Renewal

Bishop Schneider offered these 10 points of implementation which he views as fundamental for liturgical renewal (audio begins at 27 minutes):

1. The tabernacle, where Jesus Christ, the Incarnate God, is really present under the species of bread should be placed in the center of the sanctuary, because in no other sign on this earth is God, the Emmanuel, so really present and so near to man as in the tabernacle. The tabernacle is the sign indicating and containing the Real Presence of Christ and should therefore be closer to the altar and constitute with the altar the one central sign indicating the Eucharistic mystery. The Sacrament of the Tabernacle and the Sacrifice of the Altar should therefore not be opposed or separated, but both in the central place and close together in the sanctuary. All the attention of those who enter a church should spontaneously be directed towards the tabernacle and the altar.

2. During the Eucharistic liturgy – at the very least during the Eucharistic prayer – when Christ the Lamb of God is immolated, the face of the priest should not be seen by the faithful. Even the Seraphim cover their faces (Isaiah 6:2) when adoring God. Instead, the face of the priest should be turned toward the cross, the icon of the crucified God.

3. During the liturgy, there should be more signs of adoration — specifically genuflections — especially each time the priest touches the consecrated host.

4. The faithful approaching to receive the Lamb of God in Holy Communion should greet and receive Him with an act of adoration, kneeling. Which moment in the life of the faithful is more sacred than this moment of encounter with the Lord?

5. There should be more room for silence during the liturgy, especially during those moments which most fully express the mystery of the redemption. Especially when the sacrifice of the cross is made present during the Eucharistic prayer.

6. There should be more exterior signs which express the dependence of the priest on Christ, the High Priest, which would more clearly show that the words the priest speaks (ie., “Dominus Vobiscum“) and the blessings he offers to the faithful depend on and flow out from Christ the High Priest, not from him, the private person. Not “I greet you” or “I bless you” but “I the Lord” do these things. Christ. Such signs could be (as was practiced for centuries) the kissing of the altar before greeting the people to indicate that this love flows not from the priest but from the altar; and also before blessing, to kiss the altar, and then bless the people. (This was practiced for millennium, and unfortunately in the new rite has been abolished.) Also, bowing towards the altar cross to indicate that Christ is more important than the priest. Often in the liturgy — in the old rite — when a priest expressed the name of Jesus, he had to turn to the cross and make a bow to show that the attention should be on Christ, not him.

7. There should be more signs which express the unfathomable mystery of the redemption. This could be achieved through the veiling of liturgical objects, because veiling is an act of the liturgy of the angels. Veiling the chalice, veiling the paten with the humeral veil, the veiling of the corporal, veiling the hands of the bishop when he celebrates a solemnity, The use of communion rails, also, to veil the altar. Also signs – signs of the cross by the priest and the faithful. Making signs of the cross during the priest by the Eucharistic prayer and by the faithful during other moments of the liturgy; when we are signing ourselves with the cross it is a sign of blessing. In the ancient liturgy, three times during the Gloria, the Credo, and the Sanctus, the faithful made the sign of the cross. These are expressions of the mystery.

8. There should be a constant sign which expresses the mystery also by means of human language – that is to say, Latin is a sacred language demanded by the Second Vatican Council in celebration of every holy Mass and in each place a part of the Eucharistic prayer should always be said in Latin.

9. All those who exercise an active role in the liturgy, such as lectors, or those announcing the prayer of the faithful, should always be dressed in the liturgical vestments; and only men, no women, because this is an exercise in the sanctuary, close to the priesthood. Even reading the lectionary is directed towards this liturgy which we are celebrating to Christ. And therefore only men dressed in liturgical vestments should be in the sanctuary.

10. The music and the songs during the liturgy should more truly reflect the sacred character and should resemble the song of the angels, like the Sanctus, in order to be really more able to sing with one voice with the angels. Not only the sanctus, but the entire Holy Mass. It would be necessary that the heart, mind and voice of the priest and the faithful be directed towards The Lord. And that this would be manifested by exterior signs and gestures as well.

There is a great deal to reflect on here. Each of these ten points seems, to me at least, indispensable in our pursuit of truly reverent worship in our churches. None of these points is incompatible with either the Church’s ancient liturgy or, perhaps more importantly, with the liturgy envisioned by the Council Fathers in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

It would be a tremendous blessing if more bishops would take up these ten points as essential guidelines for liturgy in their dioceses. I encourage you to send them along to your own bishop for his consideration. There were more treasures in the Q&A, which I have elected not to transcribe due to the length. (If you are interested in the full audio of the talk, see below.)

I also had the opportunity to meet briefly with the bishop at the conclusion of his talk. When I thanked him for his leadership in a time where it seems so many of our shepherds are not speaking with clear voices for the teachings of the Church, he said to me, “It is you who must do this. You, the faithful, your families. You must be holy. You must teach the faith to your children. You must inspire the priests.” On the subject of vocations, he said that we must offer our children to God if we wish for them to receive a call. It would seem that with this advice — paired with the concrete suggestions he previously offered in his article published earlier this year — he is calling on us, the laity, to begin a holiness revolution if we wish to see reform the Church.

It seems we had better get started.

END QUOTES

“What is Redemptive Suffering” by Mother Angelica

 

What is Redemptive Suffering

MOTHER ANGELICA

“This may be a wicked age but your lives should redeem it” (Eph. 5:16).

The word “redeem” means to rescue, set free, ransom, and to pay the penalty incurred by another. We often lose sight of the definition to “set free,” and we miss the power of our example as Christians to do exactly that — set our neighbor free.

We must look at this aspect of Redemptive Suffering if we are to understand its role in our daily lives. St. Paul told the Corinthians that, “indeed, as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so, through Christ, does our consolation overflow. When we are made to suffer, it is for our consolation and salvation” (2 Cor. 1:5, 6).

Paul did not want the sufferings encountered by being a Christian to discourage or dishearten anyone. He realized that when Christians saw the blessings and grace that poured upon him after his many trials, they would gain courage to suffer in their turn. The example of fortitude and fidelity exhibited by this man of God released them from the fetters of fear and cowardice.

Paul knew that Christ’s example of every virtue was as redemptive as His death. By the example of his holy life, the Christian was to release and set his neighbor free from the bondage of sin in which he was immersed. Holiness reaches out to touch everyone and gives them the courage to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. The Christian’s suffering was acceptable to the Father for the salvation of mankind because he was so united to Jesus through the grace of the Holy Spirit and because whatever he suffered, Jesus suffered in him. “It makes me happy,” Paul told the Colossians, “to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church” (Col. 1:24). It is Jesus who continues to suffer in the Christian for the good of all mankind.

Whatever we do to our neighbor, we do to Jesus, and all the sufferings our neighbor encounters in his daily life helps to build up the Mystical Body of Christ. To Paul, everything he suffered was for the Christians to whom he preached and for those who were to come. “I want you to know,” he said, “that I do have to struggle hard for you . . . and for so many others who have never seen me face to face” (Col. 2:1).

What was the purpose of all this suffering for others? “It is all to bind you together in love,” he told them, “and to stir your minds, so that your understanding may come to full development” (Col. 2:2).

Paul offered his sufferings for the good of his brethren, the Jews, for he told Timothy, “I have my own hardships to bear, even to being chained like a criminal — but they cannot chain up God’s news. So I bear it all for the sake of those who are chosen, so that in the end they may have the salvation that is in Christ Jesus and the eternal glory that comes with it” (2 Tim. 2:9-10, emphasis added).

Here we have Redemptive Suffering offered to God for the sake of others. Paul’s desire to suffer for his brethren reached almost to extremes, for one day he said, “My sorrow is so great, my mental anguish so endless, I would willingly be condemned and be cut off from Christ if it could help my brothers of Israel, my own flesh and blood” (Rom. 9:2-4). Paul knew that God would never exact that price for the salvation of others but he went to extremes in his desire to suffer for others so they too might come to know Jesus and enjoy His Kingdom.

Paul even thought that God would use his conversion for the sake of others. In writing to Timothy, he said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of His inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust to Him to come to eternal life” (1 Tim. 1:15-16).

God would use the manifestation of His Mercy towards Paul as an opportunity for the conversion of other souls. Great sinners throughout the ages would look to Paul for courage and strength. Yes, the suffering and humiliation Paul endured was Redemptive for it freed sinners of fear and made them look to God for mercy.

Jesus told His Apostles at the Last Supper that “a man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). Jesus laid down His life for our sake, and He desires that we do the same for our neighbor if and when that opportunity presents itself. A soldier gives his life for his country, and he is a hero because his act of sacrifice is unselfish — he dies that others may live in peace. Most Christians are not asked to make the supreme sacrifice, but God chooses some to participate in the salvation of souls, not by giving up their lives but by enduring sufferings that are over and above what they need for themselves. All those whose suffering is Redemptive can say with St. Paul, “Never lose confidence because of the trials that I go through on your account; they are your glory” (Eph. 3:13).

Every pain we endure with love, every cross borne with resignation, benefits every man, woman, and child in the Mystical Body of Christ. Those who are chosen to bear a greater portion of suffering than others are called by God to heal the souls of many whose lives are bereft of the knowledge and love of God. Redemptive Suffering not only helps poor sinners directly by suffering for them but edifies and consoles good and holy souls as they journey through life striving for holiness. This dual role of Redemptive Suffering merits for those chosen by God for such a role, a glory and happiness in the Kingdom beyond our concepts or imagination. Like Jesus, their sufferings, united to His, rise to Heaven and obtain grace and repentance for those who are straying from God and His Love.

Editor’s note: This article is an excerpt from Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnoutwhich is available from Sophia Institute Press

image: photogolfer / Shutterstock.com

Tagged as: conversionloveMother AngelicaRedemptive SufferingSt. Paul,suffering         END QUOTES

“How to Start Living Heaven Right Now” re-blogged

How to start living Heaven right now

 Brother Silas Henderson, SDS | May 27, 2017

Mateus Lunardi Dutra CC

 

 

The Ascension contains a promise. The challenge is choosing to accept it.

As they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven. —Acts 1:9-11

In her novel Gilead, Marilyn Robinson shares the story of Reverend John Ames who, looking back on a life of pastoral service, love, loss, faith, and hope, tells his young son:

Sometimes the visionary aspect of any particular day comes to you in the memory of it, or it opens to you over time. For example, whenever I take a child into my arms to be baptized, I am, so to speak, comprehended in the experience more fully, having seen more of life, knowing better what it means to affirm the sacredness of the human creature. I believe there are visions that come to us only in memory, in retrospect.

The New Testament is also a story of how memory shapes vision and the course of life itself.

Having lived alongside Jesus, his followers—including Mary and the Apostles—had to discern what his life, death, resurrection, and return to the Father revealed about who Jesus was and what God was asking of each of them. Their memories of his words and actions inspired them to go beyond the comfort zones and religious tradition, to risk becoming something more — and their faith and courage changed the world.

An understanding of Jesus’ return to the Father—of his Ascension into Heaven—was one of those visions “that come to us only in memory, in retrospect,” just like the experience of Jesus’ Resurrection could only be more fully understood after the disciples lived their Easter faith through years of praying, preaching, communion, fidelity, and suffering.

In his book Living Jesus, Luke Timothy Johnson reflected that “the withdrawal of Jesus is not so much an absence as it is a presence in a new and more powerful mode: when Jesus is not among them as another specific body, he is accessible to all as life-giving spirit.” Although, for many believers, the Ascension of Jesus seems to focus on his departure, the truth of the Ascension is that Jesus is still alive in our midst, but in a new way.

The Solemnity of the Ascension is a celebration of two promises. First, Jesus has promised that he will send us the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, to guide and sustain the growth of the Church. Beyond this, the Ascension also contains a promise about what is now made possible for us in Christ:

May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call,
what are the riches of glory
in his inheritance among the holy ones,
and what is the surpassing greatness of his power
for us who believe,
in accord with the exercise of his great might.
(Ephesians 1:18-19).

The challenge for us is to live in this promise.

It is so easy for us to become weighed down by our day-to-day responsibilities and the legion of distractions and diversions that are such a part of our contemporary culture that the hazy promise of some future reality (however glorious) can’t really compete. And yet, as Christians, this is who we are: “Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love” (Saint Augustine of Hippo in Sermo de Ascensione Domini).

Jesus disappears from the disciples’ physical sight so that he might become more present to the eyes of their hearts.

We are called to foster the same spirit of discernment that the Apostles and the first generations of Christians practiced as they gradually came to understand who Jesus was and could be for them. The vision of the glorified Lord, a promise of future glory, is something we can realize and live here and now.

What does the Solemnity of the Ascension mean to you? How does it challenge you to expand your understanding of who Jesus is?

How does the Apostles’ ongoing discernment and search for the Lord inspire you to see Christ at work in the world today?

How does this celebration strengthen your hope and trust in God’s presence and action in your life?

Words of Wisdom: “The Ascension doesn’t indicate Jesus’ absence, but rather it tells us that He is living among us in a new way. He is no longer in a particular place in the world as He was before the Ascension. Now He is in the Lordship of God, present in every space and time, close to each of us.”—Pope Francis END QUOTES

I Will add to this that we Catholics, have yet another way, the reality of Jesus Christ in Person in Catholic Holy Communion permits, invites and provides a TRUE foretaste of heaven here on earth and is the most significant [of MANY] reasons to be an Informed and fully practicing Roman Catholic. AMEN! {Patrick Miron}

“The Mask of Relativism” [re-blogged] By Edward Sri

 

The Mask of Relativism – by Edward Sri

Edward Sri <info.edwardsri@gmail.com>

 

 

The Mask of Relativism by Edward Sri

 

     “So, Dr. Sri, do you think I’m a relativist?”
That was the odd question posed to me many years ago at a Catholic convention in the New York City area.  I had just finished giving a presentation on moral relativism when an energetic young man chased me down to ask his unusual, personal question.
“Your talk got me wondering if maybe I’m a relativist.  What do you think?”
“Well, I don’t really know you,” I replied. “But you’re here at this Catholic conference. Are you a practicing Catholic?”
“Yes, I’m Catholic,” he said. “I go to Mass, I go to Eucharistic adoration, and I love going to conferences like this one.”
“Good. What about moral issues? Let’s take a big one today—do you think abortion is wrong?”
“Oh yes, abortion is definitely wrong…for me.”
There were those two small words—“for me.”  They sent up a red flag in my mind.
“What do you mean by saying it’s wrong for you?  Don’t you think abortion is wrong foreveryone?,” I asked.
“Well, I’m against abortion,” he said.  “But that’s my truth.  If someone else thinks abortion is OK, that’s their truth. So, for them, it would be OK.”
His answer made one thing very clear, and I told him so: “You are a relativist if you think that!”  We then debated whether the baby in the womb is a baby in reality or just in his own personal opinion. But that did not get very far. The young man kept saying that “for him,” the baby was a human life but for others it might not be.  So I tried a different approach.

Sometimes You Need a Plan B

We were at a conference center in Newark, New Jersey, standing in a grand hallway with large windows looking out across the Hudson River toward Manhattan.  It was only a couple years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  I pointed out the window and asked him, “Are you really that much of a relativist?  Look out there!  Just a few years ago, there were two towers standing there in Lower Manhattan, and terrorists flew airplanes into those buildings.  Thousands of people died that day.  Are you willing to go up to the kids who lost a parent in the World Trade Center, look them in the eye and tell them that what the terrorists did was not wrong, because ‘for them,’ they thought they were doing good?  Could you really do that?”
He was startled by this scenario and nervously said, “Wow….that’s very personal. I lost friends in the towers that day.  Oh, wow…. That would be really hard …”  He continued stammering about what a horrible day 9/11 was.  “It would be very difficult to do that….But, if I had to be honest… Yes, I’d have to tell those kids that, for the terrorists, what they did was not wrong.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  I needed a big “Plan B.”  In dismay, I replied,
“I don’t know what more I could say to you.  But you said you love Jesus in the Eucharist, and there’s a Eucharistic adoration chapel set up right here for our conference. Would you be willing to go in front of Jesus in the Eucharist and prayerfully ask Him whatHe thinks of your relativistic views?”
He agreed, cordially said goodnight and walked into the chapel to pray.

 

 

Masking Other Issues

The next day, the young man tracked me down again, saying “Dr. Sri!  Dr. Sri!… I’m so glad I caught you before you left. I wanted to tell you something….”
He caught his breath and slowed down his speech.  “I realized last night that I’m not really a relativist.  The only reason I’ve been trying to be one is that….”  He paused and looked down at the ground before continuing.  “The only reason I’ve been trying to be a relativist is that I wanted to be able to say pre-marital sex is OK…”
Then he raised his head, looked me directly in the eye and said, “I wanted to be able to say pre-marital sex is OK for me.”
What an honest, humble young man!  I was so impressed by how he admitted to what was lurking behind his relativistic positions.  He had been trying to justify his own sexual behavior, and moral relativism was a convenient way to do so.  By denying that there was an actual ethical standard everyone had to follow, he was trying to ease his conscience and excuse himself for having pre-marital sex. Fortunately, this young man had the humility to recognize this and went on to express his desire to live a more chaste life.
But not everyone has this humility. That’s why we need to keep in mind that relativism may be a mask covering up one’s own immoral behavior.  You may hear your friend talking about being non-judgmental, being pro-choice, or being open minded to anyone’s definition of marriage.  But the real issue driving his relativism might be something in his own moral life with which he’s not comfortable. It could be something from his past or something going on right now. It could be what he did to his girlfriend in high school or how he’s treating his wife right now.  It could be disregard for his parents, marital infidelity, contraception, or addiction to pornography.  When people are quick to say “you should be tolerant of other people’s lifestyles…you shouldn’t tell other people what’s right and wrong,” realize they might really talking about themselves: “Be tolerant of my little sin…Don’t tell me what’s right and wrong.”
This recalls what Joseph Ratzinger once taught about “the dictatorship of

relativism.”  “Today,” he said, “we are building a dictatorship of relativism…whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.”  According to Ratzinger the primary dictator in the relativistic outlook is one’s own selfish desires.  As such, relativism often serves as a mask to cover up one’s selfishness or rationalize a particular sin.   That’s why merely arguing with them usually doesn’t work. Pray for them. Make sacrifices for them. Offer your Communion for them. Remember, it’s not just an intellectual battle, but also a spiritual one.

This article is based on my book and video study program, Who Am I to Judge?—Responding to Relativism with Logic and Love (Ignatius Press).END QUOTES