Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Humanity's Loss

Abortion warns of something worse.
True human love is unconditional. It is when you love someone no matter what. No matter what happens to them you will take care of them. If they get sick, even if they are in a car accident and paralyzed, you take care of them the rest of their lives. Another kind of love -- maybe a selfish kind of love -- is where you give yourself to someone only for as long as you like it. Abortion becomes this instrumentalized kind of love -- as a means for a way out. We need to turn the whole issue around and say that we need to accept everyone, all human life, the way Mother Teresa said, there are no unwanted children. If there is a child that someone said is unwanted, bring that child to me and I will take care of that child because I love that child.

And this is the truth of the matter. So if one were to make a claim that abortion allows us to act out some kind of altruistic care for other people by avoiding hardship, that logic leads tragically, I'd say murderously, to claiming that handicapped people shouldn't exist. Once you do that, it's the denial of all human dignity. (Read entire article.)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blessed Marguerite Rutan

Another martyr of the guillotine was recently beatified. According to Zenit:
Marguerite Rutan was born in 1736 in Metz, France, the eighth of 15 children. Her father was a stonecutter, master mason and architect, and her profoundly Christian mother gave each of her children a serious religious education and the example of a selfless life. In 1757, at the age of 21, Marguerite began her novitiate in the motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity in Paris. In 1779, she was sent to serve in the Hospital of Dax. The sister soon became a pioneer of social action, opening a school and working to provide a home for abandoned girls.

In 1789, the French Revolution began, which ushered in a perior of social and political turmoil in the country. In 1792, Sister Marguerite and her community of sisters were accused of theft, and on Christiamas Eve in 1793, Sister Marguerite was denounced and imprisoned. At the height of the Reign of Terror (1793-1794), she was sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Tribunal on April 9, 1794, and guillotined on the same day for refusing to deny her faith. It is estimated that between 16,000-40,000 people were guillotined during this period of history. (Read entire article.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Criticizing Bishops and Priests

Beware the dangers.
 I keep foremost in mind the account I'll have to give to God one day when I stand alone before Him, and He asks me to give an account for every statement I've ever uttered. Others may no doubt accuse me of being overly timid or fearful in publicly rebuking wayward clergy, but in this case, I fear God more than man, and would rather stand before Him with a clear conscience on judgment day than give way to the pressures of fellow Catholics to take part in badmouthing priests. (Read entire post at Laudem Gloriae.) 

I wish we would all just STOP passing judgment on each other.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

St. Alban

The proto-martyr of Britain, whose shrine was destroyed during the Reformation. To quote:
His status as protomartyr ensured the importance of the abbey which was founded over and around his place of martyrdom and burial at what became St Albans. The abbey church, now the Anglican cathedral, is a church which I find immensely moving - not only is it the shrine of St Alban, but as a building has suffered so many mishaps and accidents, as well as the dissolution and reformation, and a heavy handed restoration in the late nineteenth century, but has somehow managed to survive and still be in itself a witness to the enduring faith.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Defending the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity

A magnificent defense of the core teaching of our faith. To quote:
Every time we make the sign of the Cross we make an invocation of the Holy Trinity: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Those who grew up as Catholics, or in other religious communities with an orthodox understanding of this Triune nature of God, may take this doctrine for granted and not comprehend the extent to which it has historically been assaulted and still is attacked today. (Read entire article.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Theology of the Heart

Mary's Heart at the heart of theology. To quote:
Conversion, penance, atonement for sin: these are the themes which always recur in the "great" Marian apparitions of the last 150 years. In the message of Fatima, they are besides, closely connected with the call for the veneration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A brief consideration of this message can clarify the meaning and the mode and manner of creaturely collaboration in the work of redemption.

"Do you want to give yourself to God?" -- This question of Mary to the children gives the keynote from the very first apparition. Dedication to God, total and unconditional: it is the attitude which befits the creature as creature. It is the attitude of Mary. For man there is nothing more joyful than such dedication. It is fully "connatural" to us. This is the reason why despite seriousness, joy is dominant in the message of Fatima, just as Mary's surrender to God bathed her life in the light of "unspeakable joy" (1 Pet. 1:8).

The "Yes" to dedication however, is also a "yes" to everything that God wills to send. "Are you ready to offer every sacrifice and to accept every suffering which he will send you?" The second question to the children introduces them into Mary's attitude of readiness. The "Yes" to dedication leads into the darkness of suffering. This suffering is not meaningless. It is participation in the work of redemption: "Are you ready.. to accept every suffering... as atonement for the many sins through which the divine Majesty is offended?" Sacrifice and suffering as atonement for sins. The theological core of this message, which has largely grown strange to us, is permanently valid. Presupposed is the elemental sense for the holiness of God ("the Divine Majesty") and linked with this, the deep horror over the nature of sin, "nondum considerasti quanti ponderis sit peccatum!"38. Is that also the meaning of the vision of hell during the third apparition? Shortly before, the children were told: "offer yourselves up for sinners." Atonement does not mean here "work-righteousness" of men; it grows out of the dedication to the holy God, out of the pain over the deadly nature of distance from God. "Atonement", not out of fear before God's punishment, but as sharing in the mercy of God who does not will the death of the sinner.39

In this way, we also get an inkling why the idea of atonement is connected precisely with the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; indeed why there is mention even of atonement for the "offenses to this Heart." Sin as the power of death always affects the heart of the Mother of life. the devotion to this heart becomes the exercise of the dedication, the glorification of God and his mercy which has found an undying echo in this heart.40 Thereby this heart becomes the sign of hope: " I will never abandon you; my Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which will lead you to God." Mary is experienced here as a real and personal sign for the certitude of faith that grace has irrevocably conquered. Thus the message of Fatima terminates in the promise: "In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph." Again it is important to pay heed to the theological core of this message: the victory of grace is "personified" in Mary. She is the first of the redeemed; she remains the first-redeemed -- as mother of all the redeemed.41
(Read entire article.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Et Cum Spiritu Tuo

Father Blake explains how the new translation of the English missal will restore the authentic meaning of the ancient greeting, saying:
The current ICEL translations have cut us off from this Christian greeting which goes back at least to the first century. For 2,000 years Christians have used it, those four words have formed the theology of ordinary Christians, replacing them by "And also with you", meaning ,"same to you", has done immense damage to the thinking of English speaking Christians over the last 40 years. No wonder some priests prefer to supplement or replace it with the even more prosaic, "Good morning everybody". Not understanding or seeing the point, demonstrates the serious rupture that has gone on in the Church's thinking in the English speaking world.

"Dominus vobiscum: Et cum Spiritu tuo", implies one is saying something quite different than the current response, it causes us to acknowledge that the Spirit of God is upon us, that Grace is present in our lives and that we have capacity to receive Grace. "Also with you" gives us a closed circle, were there is a problem with Grace.

At the heart of the problems we experience, at least in the English speaking Church, is a distancing from Sanctifying Grace and our ability to receive it. Lex orandi: lex credendi. I think the correct translation of these four words will do a great deal heal a dangerous trend. Their absence hits at the very heart of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and our anthropology, it does indeed damage us seriously!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Saint Thérèse and Purgatory

From an article by Father Dr. Hubert van Dijk. (Via Irenikon)
  This is what St. Therese says, "I know that of myself I would not merit even to enter that place of expiation since only holy souls can have entrance there. But I also know that the Fire of Love is more sanctifying than is the fire of Purgatory. I know that Jesus cannot desire useless sufferings for us, and that He would not inspire the longings I feel unless He wanted to grant them."13 It is true that Purgatory is a wonderful grace, for if needed, without the purification in Purgatory we would not go to Heaven, and the work of art which God intended and created us to be would not be completed. But St. Therese is right: at the moment of our death we already have our place in Heaven. Afterwards, there is no growing in grace anymore. Whoever does not go through Purgatory does not miss anything.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Every Five Minutes...

...A Christian is martyred. A sociologist testifies.
Introvigne reported that Christians killed every year for their faith number 105,000, and that number includes only those put to death simply because they are Christians. It does not count the victims of civil or international wars.
"If these numbers are not cried out to the world, if this slaughter is not stopped, if it is not acknowledged that the persecution of Christians is the first worldwide emergency in the matter of violence and religious discrimination, the dialogue between religions will only produce beautiful conferences but no concrete results," he stated. Egyptian diplomat Aly Mahmoud said that in his country laws have been passed that will protect Christian minorities, for example, prosecuting those who give speeches that incite hatred and banning hostile crowds outside churches. "However, the danger is that many Christian communities in the Middle East will die from emigration, because all Christians, feeling threatened, will flee," he said.
The diplomat suggested Europe prepare for "a new wave of emigration, this time from Christians fleeing the persecutions." For his part, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, chairman for the Russian Orthodox patriarchate's Department of External Church Relations, reminded that "at least 1 million" Christian victims of persecutions are children. (Read entire article.)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Quieting the Heart

A meditation for the Friday after the Ascension from DYNAMIS!:
Quieting the Heart: Saint John 14:1-11, especially vs. 1: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Have faith in God and faith in Me.” [NAB]  The American Communist, Whittaker Chambers, after a lifelong commitment to the Party, eventually rejected that ideology.  He tells of a German man, like himself, who became ‘an implacable anti-Communist’ in a single unexpected moment during the heyday of Communism.  Chambers describes the man’s conversion: “...one night in Moscow, he heard screams.  That’s all.  Simply, one night he heard screams.”  Thus, Chambers asks, “Why does the Communist ever hear them?  Because,” he asserts, “in the end there persists in every man, however he may deny it, a scrap of soul.”

Thankfully, your ‘scrap of soul’ and mine can be troubled.  Events have the power to awaken, unsettle and distress the heart and soul, and force us to change.  What sort of circumstances have this ability?  Guilt, loss of meaning, and death come readily to mind.  When such realities stir within, three statements from the Lord also press in to give peace: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (Jn. 14:1 NKJ).

Guilt is disturbing.  No one lives directly with guilt when the depth of conscience is touched.  Blame of others, confession, denial, and self-punishment are various tactics used to rid ourselves of guilt.  To enjoy sins we rationalize, and if we persist, we may even sear the conscience and deaden that holy fire that burns and troubles the heart (see Pr. 6:28; 1 Ti. 4:2).  Yet a ‘scrap of soul’ remains, and there persists hope for repentance.  True life abides, like a green root of a dead tree, and, with nurture, life sends up living shoots.

Observe the Lord Jesus undercutting Peter’s pride and self-confidence: “Will you lay down your life for My sake?  Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times” (Jn. 13:38 NKJ).  Jesus spoke this to a disciple who had left everything to follow Him, a man who loved Him deeply, a man whose physical life He had saved from drowning by an outstretched hand.  The Lord troubled Saint Peter and the other disciples, yet He reassured them.  Despite guilt, there is a way to God: “I Am the way...” He says, and, what is more, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6).  Listen to the Lord’s message: “Stop the raging in your heart; believe in Me, for I Am the Way back to the Father.”

Loss of meaning erodes men’s inner world.  Whittaker Chambers explains how so many were caught up by Communism.  “The world outside Communism, the world in crisis, lacks a vision and a faith.”  He describes the present world!  Beloved, the world’s mad rush to pleasure, self-realization, and substance abuse are frenetic efforts to stave off the loss of meaning that seeps in from every side.  Against emptiness, like a rock, stands the Holy Faith.  Listen to Saint John of Kronstadt: “The Holy Trinity sees and hears me; this is the most life-giving assurance for my heart, penetrating it with peace and joy.”  Jesus Christ, is “...the Truth” (vs. 6).  Have faith in Him Who is the Truth for over and over He proves true.  He stops the raging in the heart.

The specter of death can corrode equanimity.  Life’s gifts - cherished relationships, genuine achievements, and goals yet to be completed - can be shaken in one moment by death.   The Lord Jesus warned the Disciples of His Passion: “...one of you will betray Me” (Jn. 13:21).  “...I shall be with you a little while longer” (Jn. 13:33).  “Where I Am going you cannot follow Me now...” (Jn. 13:36) - disturbing words.  As Saint John Chrysostom observed, the Disciples “...would expect to have to undergo some great reverse, sufficient to bend even souls of adamant.”  Yes, and the Lord Jesus died and His own were scattered; yet Christ is among us!

“I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten....”

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Martin Mosebach on Universae Ecclesiae and the Gregorian Rite

An informative interview. To quote Martin Mosebach:
The enemies of the great liturgical tradition of the Roman Church in many cases have not accepted the permission given to the Old Rite. They often tried to ignore the pope’s motu proprio and sought to maintain obstacles. They tried with bureaucratic methods to render ineffective the pope’s generosity. Therefore, the Vatican had to be clearer if it wanted to maintain the motu proprio....

There’s already a schism, not between supporters of the new and old rites, but between those Catholics who adhere to the old sacramental theology of the Church as was solemnly confirmed by Vatican II, and those who assert that Vatican II founded a new Church with a new theology and new sacraments. This latter doctrine has been diffused wholesale and against the better knowledge of its promoters, in the seminaries, universities and Catholic academies. This is what has fostered the danger of a schism. (Read entire interview.)
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