Monday, December 30, 2019

The Passion of the Infant Christ

I love Caryll Houselander's book, The Passion of the Infant Christ. From Fr. Mark:
Houselander understood that nothing of the paschal mystery of Christ is locked in an irretrievable past. The liturgy is the passion of the Infant Christ made present to us and for us, here and now, in all its fullness. Are you in Egypt, “groaning under bondage” (Ex 2:23), learning to pray in suffering? Are you wandering in a desert waste, tortured by hunger and thirst, a prey to temptations and terrors of the night? Have you crossed over into that good and broad land where milk and honey flow? Through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the Infant Christ is with you, his prayer in yours, and yours in his: a prayer that says “Yes” to the wood of the cradle, to the wood of the Cross, and to everything that lies in between.

Caryll Houselander, a woman of our own times, a woman “acquainted with grief” (Is 53:3) can, I think, help us understand something of the mystery of the Innocent Christ, something of the mystery of suffering innocence in each of us. “The Divine Infancy in us,” she wrote, “is the logical answer to the peculiar sufferings of our age and the only solution to its problems. If the Infant Christ is fostered in us, no life is trivial. No life is impotent before suffering, no suffering is too trifling to heal the world, too little to redeem, to be the point at which the world’s healing begins.” (Read more.)

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Duties of Christian Parents

Happy Feast of the Holy Family! This is worth pondering. We must fear God not man. From Esther:
1. To give their children the necessary food, clothing and shelter. This obligation rests on both parents, whether living together or separated. They must also keep their children from all danger to life and protect them from possible death.
2. To give them good example. Parents give good example by observing strictly all of their religious duties. For example: Regularly attending Mass, not eating meat on days of abstinence, carefully avoiding indecent speech, lying, cursing, criticism of others, immodesty and drunkenness.
-- Parents should remember that children are great imitators, and they should be very careful of everything they do and say in the presence of their children.

3. To provide a truly Catholic home for them. A Catholic home is one in which God and Religion are of the greatest importance.
-- In the home there should be crucifixes, pictures of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints. Indecent pictures and calendars, lewd and sensational magazines, books, comic books, TV shows and videos [http://olrl.org/misc/educ_TV.shtml] have no place in the Christian home. There should be good books, Catholic newspapers, and Catholic magazines.

4. To have them baptized as soon as possible after birth. It is a serious sin to delay the Baptism of infants, and if there is any danger to the life of the newly born baby, the priest should be called immediately.
-- In danger of death, and if no priest is available, Baptism can and should be given by anyone. The one baptizing must have the intention of doing what the Church does in Baptism. The procedure is: Pour water over the head of the child, saying at the same time: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost."

5. To see that they go to Confession, receive Holy Communion and receive Confirmation. The children should be taught to go to Confession and Holy Communion regularly and frequently - every week, if possible, especially during vacation time.

6. To teach them to pray. Daily prayers should be said together by the whole family.
-- As the saying goes, "The family that prays together stays together." The daily family Rosary will go a very long way toward ensuring that the children grow up to be good Catholics.

7. To see that they go to Mass every Sunday and on the six Holy Days. Parents should not keep children home from Mass except for very serious reasons.

8. To see that on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent they abstain from meat altogether and that on the other Fridays of the year they refrain from meat or perform a comparable penance.
--See Lesson 43, especially Question 11 - http://www.olrl.org/Lessons/

9. To send them to a Catholic school. This includes high school and college, as well as grammar school. Parents are forbidden by Church Law to send their children to any other kind of school. [*See below for more on this subject]
-- In very many cases today, the only truly Catholic school available is home schooling. Experience has shown that Catholic home schooling produces excellent results both spiritually and academically and that it brings great blessings to the family.

10. To insist that they marry in the Catholic Church. A Catholic cannot marry except in the presence of a Catholic priest and two witnesses.
--When a son or daughter begins to think seriously of marrying, the parents should have him (or her) see the priest and receive the necessary instructions on marriage. They should encourage courting only Catholics, or at least with non-Catholics who are willing to take a full course of instructions in the Catholic Religion. Parents commit a mortal sin by forcing or unduly persuading any of their children to marry.

11. To give them the Christian attitude on marriage and having children. Parents should avoid complaining about the hardships of married life or joking about the sacred duties of marriage.
--The birth of another child should be a joyful occasion for the whole family so that the other children will consider having children as the greatest blessing of married life.

12. To prepare them for marriage. The children should be taught the serious duties and responsibilities of marriage, both by word and example.
--They should also be taught the practical side of making a home, such as cleaning, cooking, sewing, repairing, caring for children, being on time, and being neat and orderly.

13. To teach them the facts on sex. This information should be given carefully and with great emphasis on the beauty and sacredness of sex.
--Answers to questions about the facts of life should be correct, but always suited to the age and mental development of the child. Parents should encourage the confidence of their children so that the children will come to them for information.

14. To protect them from sin, particularly sins of impurity. In addition to protecting their children from bad companions, etc., parents have a grave obligation to do whatever is necessary to protect their children from classroom "Sex Education" either in public or Catholic schools.
--Formal "Sex Education" is always grossly immodest and a temptation to sin, even aside from the un-Catholic and un-Christian "slant" with which it is usually delivered.

15. To correct their sins and faults. It is a serious sin to neglect this duty.

16. To teach them the virtues of honesty, obedience, truthfulness, purity, and modesty in dress. These lessons must be given early and repeated continually.

17. To teach them respect for the rights and property of others. Many parents sin seriously by bad example in this matter.

18. To teach them respect for all lawful authority. Children should be taught early to respect all lawful authority, especially the authority of the Church, the State and the School.

19. To give them wholesome recreation and keep them from evil companions. The Christian home should be the center of the child's social life, a place where he feels free to bring his companions.
-- Parents should be extremely careful about allowing their children to attend motion pictures; they should also examine their comic books and govern their use of the radio and television, as well as other electronic media. Children receive many un-Christian ideas on life, marriage, crime, drinking, body piercing, etc. from these sources of entertainment. [One can imagine what Fr. Cogan would say of modern radio, motion pictures and television.]

20. To encourage a child's desire to be a priest, a brother or sister. Having a priest, brother or sister in the family is one of the greatest blessings that God can give a mother and father. Instead of turning a child away from such a desire, parents should encourage the child.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Our Lady of Zeitoun and the Slaughter of the Innocents

From Unveiling the Apocalypse:
Marian apparitions often occur before periods of great upheaval. Perhaps most famously, Our Lady appeared at Fatima just before the rise of communist Russia - with the Miracle of the Sun on the 13th October 1917 directly coinciding with the October Revolution which saw the Bolsheviks rise to power within a month. The other Church approved apparition at Beauraing and Banneux, in Belgium during the years 1932 and 1933 respectively appeared just before the rise to power of Hitler, who was made chancellor of Germany on 30th January 1933 - the same month when the first apparitions at Banneux occurred on the 15th. The apparitions at Kibeho, Rwanda, between 1981-1989 prophesied the Rwandian genocide, which was to claim the lives of an estimated 800,000 people in 1994, including one of the visionaries - Marie Claire. While the significance of the apparitions at Zeitoun are thought by some to be related to the Six Day War of 1967, it is much more likely to concern the legalisation of abortion, given the above background context. The fact that the Six Day War took place before these apparitions would also indicate that the Zeitoun apparitions were not related to this event, since all the other apparitions appeared before the events occurred. Our Lady first began to appear at Zeitoun on 2nd April 1968, and the UK Abortion Act was brought into effect just weeks later on 27th April.

Now that the apparitions of Our Lady of Light are in the process of making the return journey, we are left to reflect upon Matthew's quote of Hosea 11:1: "Out of Egypt I called my Son". During the season of Advent, the Church looks not only to the first coming of Christ, but it also focuses on His Second Coming. The birth-pangs of the Woman adorned with the Sun indicates that the Second Advent is near. Could these apparitions, which appear to be the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy of the Woman adorned with the Sun, signal that God is calling his Son out of Egypt to return to His earthly homeland? (Read more.)

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

What Child is This?

From the late Father Angelus Shaughnessy:
This child is God.

Our Heavenly Father knows how hard it is for us to love somebody we cannot get our arms around. We are supremely happy because our God did become a little bundle of 7 or 8 pounds, so we could get our arms around His Divine Son, to hold Him tight and love Him right.

God is Love! Jesus is Love wrapped in flesh for keeps, forever, for all eternity...to teach us how to love. He came with the irresistible charm of a snuggling infant. His argument still challenges: I loved you first, love me back! He would do anything to get our love, to steal our hearts, even to sneak out of heaven to do so. The only thing this Baby-God would have done more to show His love happened 33 years later: those limbs now fully grown, pinned back to the wood of the cross. You see: He came into this world not to live (He already had life from all eternity) but to die -- for each one of us. He is Jesus, our Saviour.

For us who really believe this Christmas message, every other story about Him is almost easy to believe. Just think what Christmas means: God to become man, Heaven to come down to earth, eternity to invade time, God to take on the human condition (a human soul and a human body) and to keep it even after returning to heaven at His Ascension, in a glorified yet human state. (Read more.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Miraculous Birth of Christ

An explanation of the ancient and constant teaching of the Church of Our Lady's painless delivery of Christ. To quote:
...There have questions about whether Mary’s delivery of Christ was: A) painless, and B) left her physical virginity intact. Some have felt that it somehow undermines the humanity of Christ to assert these Catholic beliefs. We must recall that Christ walked on water, was transfigured on Mount Tabor, exited the sepulcher before it was opened, and walked through locked doors. None of these facts undermine the humanity of Christ. Consequently, to believe that Christ exited the womb of the Blessed Mother in a mysterious way is neither credulous or impious. Rather, it is the conviction of the holiest and brightest saints of the Catholic Church. For anyone who would deny the painless and intact nativity of Christ, let us challenge you to produce a citation from any saint or pope who teaches otherwise – that is a text that affirms that the nativity of the Christ Child caused pain to Mary and broke her physical virginity.

After a little research I discovered that of the 33 Doctors of the Church, none deny the painless and intact nativity of Christ. Moreover, at least 20 of the Doctors of the Church explicitly affirm that the birth of Christ was painless and miraculously left Mary’s physical virginity intact. Again, it all goes back to Isaiah 66:7: “before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.” This prophecy refers to Christ plain and simple.
I have assembled the most important texts from the Sacred Scriptures, Fathers, Doctors, Councils, and Popes below. (Read more.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Office and Mass of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary are today, more than ever before, worthy of celebration and meditation, given that the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God is roundly mocked by many. Even in the minds of many of the faithful, enfeebled by a forty year dearth of orthodox catechesis, a tragic confusion holds sway concerning the privileges of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, in particular, her virginity before, during, and after childbirth. There are many, alas, who, affected by various mutations of creeping Nestorianism and Arianism, have no grasp of what it means to call the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Those who do not confess the privileges of the Blessed Virgin Mary, honouring them and celebrating them, fall inevitably into one or another of the classic Christological heresies. All of this makes me want to open my Processionale Monasticum to page 146 and sing, Gaude Maria, Virgo, cunctas haereses sola interemisti:

Rejoice, O Mary,
by whose mighty hand the Church hath victory
over her foes [every heresy] achieved,
since thou to Gabriel’s word of quickening power
in lowliness hast listened, and believed
— thou, still a virgin, in thy blessed womb
hast God Incarnate of thy flesh conceived,
and still, in heaven, of that virginity remainest
after childbirth unbereaved.
V. Blessed art thou that hast believed,
for there is a performance of those things
which were told thee from the Lord.
(Read more.)

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Our Holy Father St. John of the Cross

The feast of Our Holy Father St. John of the Cross is today. Here are some of his Counsels:

"Anyone who complains or grumbles is not perfect, nor is he even a good Christian."

"Anyone who trusts in himself is worse than the devil."

"Anyone who does not love his neighbor abhors God."

"Whoever flees prayer flees all that is good."

"Conquering the tongue is better than fasting on bread and water."

"Suffering for God is better than working miracles."


More HERE.
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