Saint Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Healing Our Memories

Our memories are a gift from God. It is through the memory that we can examine, recollect and deliberate on our experiences. This makes us unique in that we are given intellects to do many things that other animals cannot. Memories however can at times haunt us and past bad experiences can lead us to despair or even bring us into temptation. This can happen on its own as we dig through our past or it can be something brought upon us by the demonic. Sometimes our past experiences can cause us enormous spiritual strife.



Whenever we commit a sin our memories are affected in a negative manner. This especially becomes problematic when we commit habitual sin. Our memories are filled with our past actions which can at times put us into an occasion for sin. This can happen most easily with sins of the flesh such as eating decadent foods all the time or committing sins of impurity habitually. For example people who view pornography over and over again can become prisoners to their own memories. The devil can bring up the images over and over again enticing the individual to commit the sin again. Our memories can also be damaged by sins committed against us. We can have anger issues for example for unjust things people have done to us in the past. We dwell on them and wish we could have revenge when we may have been vulnerable in the past.

Often the affects of our disordered memories come in the form of despair, or sins against the virtue of Hope.  We project onto the future our disordered past, and it inclines us to fall into a state of hopelessness. Our sins become alive in the future even before we have committed them. Our imaginations often take over the reality that God loves us and wants us to overcome the sin our lives. This is the tactic the demons love to use against those who are trying to overcome sin in their lives. He tries to bring up the past and get you to project it onto the future so you can lose hope and commit the sin again. If anger is your issue the devil will stir up something in your memory so you can project a past injustice onto a current situation. This will often get you to justify some outburst of anger that is not really justified. This can happen with the sexual appetite as well. The devil will bring up how many times you have committed the sin in the past and convinces you that one more time won't make any difference. Then when you commit the sin again it attaches even deeper into your intellect. For those who have issues of attachment to material things, he will use your thoughts against you and get you to dwell on goods that catch your fancy such as expensive cars, big houses, decadent clothes and the list goes on.



The memory and our imaginations can be used against us if we are not careful. We have all fallen prey to this in one form or another. What can we do to combat these sins that are enticed by our disordered memories? Mother Angelica in her book called, 'Three Keys to the Kingdom' tells us that we must cultivate the virtue of Hope. Instead of letting our minds go into a fog of fantasy in which we then project onto the future, we focus on the kingdom of God. It is much easier to accept our immediate suffering and put up a struggle against our sinful inclinations when we reflect on God, focusing on His sacrifice and the kingdom that awaits us if we are faithful to Him. Mother wrote, "Hope keeps our memory and imagination from harboring resentments and gives us the assurance that no matter how dark things seem to be, our little boat is being guided by the hand of a loving and omnipotent Father. It gives us a light heart in regard to disturbing occurrences and helps us to see God behind everything that happens."

In her book Mother uses examples of Saint Peter and Judas to show us which two choices we have before us. Judas let his past sins and damaged memory drive him into despair. It became fuel for his pride and he eventually destroyed himself by suicide. We see many people follow a similar course when they become addicted to drugs, alcohol, pornography or engrossed in their material wealth They slowly kill themselves, if not physically then always spiritually. Saint Peter on other hand let those memories humble him. He did not dwell on those memories and let them drive him into committing the sins again. He fortified himself with the virtue of Hope through Jesus Christ. So Mother says, "We must use all our past regrets as opportunities for greater things, because they have taught us to depend on God and not ourselves."



How do we nourish the virtue of Hope in our lives?

1. We must make a serious effort to guard our intellects. Garbage in means garbage out in the actualization of sin. We must not watch movies or television shows that will cause us to reflect on things that tempt us. The people we surround ourselves with should not build up our inclination to sin, but help us to live holy lives. Guarding our intellects takes serious and persistent effort.

2. Nourishing our intellect with holy images and reading can begin to heal our memories and imaginations. Reading Sacred Scripture or a good Catholic book can have a great affect over a period of time. Using holy images in our homes to keep our eyes on and intellect focused on God and the Saints help to keep us from projecting our bad thoughts onto the future. Instead the images invoke Hope in us. 

3. Prayer and meditation goes along with reflecting on holy images and good books. I have written many posts on the importance of prayer so I will not repeat myself here. There is no better saying to remember than, " Those who pray little have little chance of getting to heaven. Those who pray much have a great chance of getting to heaven, and those who do not pray have no chance. Be sure to make a daily prayer schedule and stick to it. Include the Rosary every day. "I think we forget that the Rosary is powerful." (Mother Angelica) This is not an option as in fact one of the most essential ingredients to making this all work.

4. Christ has given us immense graces through the Sacraments. We must receive Baptism and Confirmation. Most of us already practicing the faith have already received them. Through these Sacraments comes a healing grace and a fortifying of our souls against sin. These Sacraments must also be nurtured by the Sacrament of Holy Communion and Confession. When we commit a sin, we must immediately make an act of contrition and schedule a time as soon as possible to receive the Sacrament of confession. The Sacrament of confession reconciles ourselves to the Body of Christ and forgives our sins. This gives us a divine affiliation once again with God the Father. Once we are in a state of grace, we then can receive the Holy Eucharist when we attend the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Our Lord gives us spiritual healing and nourishment through His most precious Body and Blood. It is good to go to daily Mass if possible.

5. Finally, Our beautiful Queen of Heaven, and the Saints are always ready to assist us in our battle. Devotion to Our Lady is something every faithful Catholic will hold as a treasure. She is at the center of all things and points us to her Son Jesus Christ. She along with the Saints bring Christ and help us along on the field of battle. I don't know where I would be without The Blessed Mother in my life. No matter where I may find myself on any given day, I always begin by asking her for the grace to love her Son more. I also ask for the help of the Saints, especially that of my dearest friend St Dominic.



In summary, our thoughts determine our future actions and will determine our lives. If we let our memories and imaginations run amok in past sin, causing us to abandon Hope we will find ourselves void of divine life and will be damned. If we choose to begin again, guarding our minds, nourishing ourselves with holy images, reading and receiving the grace of the Sacraments, we will find life through divine affiliation. Our minds will begin to heal and the virtue of Hope will grow within us inoculating us against committing sins in the future. This all requires patience and persistence. It is important to remember that all of this takes time. There are no instant cures. Many of us have fast food mentalities and we think there is always a quick cure for everything. Mother Angelica said it best, "Holiness is not for wimps and the cross is not negotiable, sweetheart, its a requirement."



Saturday, October 15, 2016

From Vicious Men Come Forth the Foul Winds of Abomination

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The world today seems to teeter on the edge disaster for millions of people. Those who live a virtuous life are few, and many today do not believe in the existence of virtue. Objectivity has been replaced with subjectivity and thus we see the intellect of man being corrupted on a wide scale. When entire cultures deny the existence of good and evil, virtue and vice, it leaves a vacuum of darkness in the heart of man. The absence of good leaves a haven for evil. Hence we see the celebration of every evil under the sun. It is as if man foolishly believes that they have somehow progressed past the idea of right and wrong. Yet for those who still have their wits about them, they see the real picture. They see the devolution of a culture spiraling into a heartless mob of sub-defectives who don’t know north from south, east from west or right from wrong.

In the US we see the effects of this devolution of unbridled vice in various ways. Vicious appetites have unleashed horrific laws upon us that have now begun to destroy any sense virtue. The natural law, which is readily apparent to a healthy mind, has been buried under the rubble of pseudo-intellectualism. Isn’t it a wonder to our eyes that so many today can’t tell the difference between men and women, insisting foolishly that one’s gender is only determined by one’s “identity.” One can now legitimately live their lives fictitiously in their grand delusions thinking themselves to be something other than what they are in essence.  Vicious ideologies not kept in check by a society will eventually self destruct. The vicious majority eventually force the acceptance of their immoral actions on the remaining portion of society. 

We can see this happening in the pseudo-laws we are now forcing on our public. For example, only a heinous, rotten villain would ever pass a law that allows partial birth abortion. Yet, this is what Hillary Clinton wants to pass into law. Only a mentally disturbed person would want to pass laws letting one’s “gender identity” determine which public bathroom they will use. Yet these sick, vicious disturbed politicians and judges are passing laws it seems, day by day now forcing our society into accepting this perverted, disastrous immorality. Why is it that we see these politicians trying to grow the influence and control of government? It is so they legislate their evil into society. They can line their pockets and force their immoral lifestyles on the public at the same time. Al Capone had nothing on these politicians.  This abuse of the legal system is symptomatic of a sick society.  



Our schools are also a target for this immoral governmental legislation. The school curriculum  is being corrupted to force our children into accepting many forms of vice. This is an effective way to embed immorality and vice into a culture. You force it upon the most innocent, impressionable foundation for the future foundation of a society, the youth. This is one of the most important battles we face now. Yet, if many parents are already buying into some of this poisonous mentality, they do not possess the wisdom to offer their children an inoculation against this poison. You can’t pass along virtue you do not possess yourself. As it stands, we are losing this battle on a daily basis. We are now on three generations of immoral degradation in our education system.

As our culture continues to devolve we now see the worst choice of presidential candidates before us in our modern history. The disturbed charlatan Hitlery Clinton makes the corrupt politicians of yesteryear look like choirboys. Vice, scandal, lies, and crony capitalism are her middle names. She was the proud recipient of the Margaret Sanger award who as we know was a racist eugenicist who wanted to exterminate the black population in our country. Yet, Sanger is admittedly one of Clinton’s heroes. This is just one of the many disturbing facts about this deplorable candidate who wants to legislate more evil into the fabric of our society. On the other side of the stage we see Trump. Virtue is certainly not a friend of Donald Trump. This crude and rude man reflects the average materialistic mindset of many in our country. Dollar signs, material success and business opportunities are the apple of his eye. Although he is a better choice when it comes to the furthering of abortion, the destruction of marriage and getting our debt under control, he is far from a pillar of virtue. The poor choice of candidates reflects just how far our culture has devolved. 



At the end of the day however, these are the politicians that our decadent American culture has brought forth. From vicious men have come forth the foul winds of abomination. Men and women today have been blinded by their own arrogance and have chosen to further many evils including unbridled abortion, fornication, divorce, contraception, homosexuality and materialistic greed among themselves. As a result they choose politicians who also laud these deplorable vices. Hence we have had eight years of the worst presidency our country has ever witnessed. We the vice ridden people elected a sub-defective moral degenerate into the White House for two terms! Greed and lust for power has driven up our debt exponentially. Abortion is now not only an accepted choice for birth control, but it has become sacrosanct for the Democratic Party and its supporters. A women’s “right” to kill their children is defended with hysterical rigor unlike any other vice. Likewise the sacrament of marriage is not far down the list of targets for these modernist progressives. Marriage has been weekend by the public acceptance of extra martial affairs, drive through divorce and homosexual “marriage.”  We have brought this upon ourselves as a nation.

In just over the 40 plus years that I have been alive, I never would have thought I would have seen public opinion devolve so quickly concerning these critical moral issues. When I was a child these forms of immorality were looked down upon, and that was a good thing. As we now continue to exalt vice, we continue to devolve into vicious, malicious sub-defectives bringing with it the winds of abomination and desolation. Men are becoming crueler, valuing human life less and less each day. Justice seems to be subject to ridicule as the government of "we the people" violates the rights of its citizens. But this is a device of our own making. Sin has clouded our judgement as a society. Even as Catholics we have not lived up to our calling to holiness. As a result, Catholics are now being attacked for our moral positions and now are even being forced to pay for abortions and contraception in a coerced government takeover of healthcare.

 
Just as natural virtue is no longer tolerated, God is no longer permitted to exist in lives of the public servants, our politicians. Only a neutered “god” is permitted to exist in the public eye. Most of the politicians who dare even mention the name of god have only created an idea of a god that offends no one and does not place any obligations on society. The one true God is no longer tolerated, otherwise the consciences of these vice ridden men and women would begin to eat away at them. These cowards cannot face the reality of their own sin and vice. As a a result they legislated God out of our schools. They launched a crusade to legalize the mass killing of innocent life in the womb. They have decided to legalize vice and have outlawed goodness. The list is endless as to the many ways vice is destroying our society. 

Although I have painted a dire picture here, do we have a chance of turning things around in our country and the world? Or do we face the inevitable downward spiral of desolation that always follows in the wake of rampant evil? Will our politicians fix the situation we find ourselves in? Unfortunately we are choosing from a degenerate pool of politicians who do not know up from down or right from wrong because we the people have created this degenerate pool by our own sin. Should we vote for the least pro-death candidate? Sure, but don’t think for a minute that even if that candidate should win that they will have any lasting significant impact on healing the true wounds of our culture. Unfortunately I see many Catholics spending more time focusing on natural cures than they are on supernatural cures. The only way we have of truly recovering any sense of virtue in our culture, and thus turning back the stench-ridden winds of abomination is to turn back to God. Our hearts will be restless until this happens. There are no worldly cures for our sickness. We have no virtuous leaders that put God front and center in their lives. We have no political parties that will uphold the moral law. There is simply not enough grace infused in our culture to work with. It is like to trying to make leaven bread with no yeast.



True change can only occur through the grace of Christ’s one and only Catholic Church. For those few who are truly practicing the Catholic faith we must strive to pray and sacrifice more for those who do not now know Christ. It is only through Christ that we find true virtue in the supernatural sense. This virtue is the only antidote for the illness that afflicts our culture. Evangelization is a key element to healing our society and it can effect change on many levels. As we live our lives for Christ we must share Him with others. Our lives must radiate Christ and we must let his grace shine through us so that others may also come to know Him. We must be aware of the many ways as God puts opportunities before us. These opportunities present themselves in our families, our places of work, and in public. As we begin to help build up virtuous men and women in our realm of influence, we can begin to legislate morality back into our culture. All God asks is that we love him and that we are open to doing His will. He will take care of the rest. The early Christians in the Roman Empire faced a similar, and in some ways even a more harsh landscape than we face today. They conquered a vice ridden empire by boldly living and preaching the Gospel of Christ. Let us pray for our country and for one another to be spared from the abomination that we ourselves have created and now angrily beats upon our front doors.  


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Stop Cursing the Darkness. Start Praying and Sacrificing!


It takes a saint's prayer and penance to solve problems!



As the globe turns in our tumultuous times we are witnessing one of the worst crisis of faith in the Church and the world we have ever seen. Many inside and outside the Church are actively looking for ways to destroy or minimize the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church. Unfortunately this situation has brought some of the worst out in the Catholic blogosphere. This has also become the age of the whistleblower/drive by news bloggers and media organizations.

There are now hundreds of “Catholic” blogs, websites and media outlets that are dedicated to cursing the darkness. Some seem to think that they are the sole voices of orthodoxy among Catholics. It is one thing to write an occasional article pointing some problem in the Church that needs to be addressed and quite another to dedicate an entire website or media organization to listing out every perceived problem going on in the Church. Personally I find this whole idea contrary to a healthy Catholic identity, and it often causes more issues than it does help resolve them.

Many use the examples of Saints like St Catherine of Siena and others to bolster this whistle blower mentality. Unfortunately, most of them probably have never done one one-hundredth of the penance and sacrifice these Saints did before they themselves ever dared to criticize anyone publicly. Let alone did any of them dedicate their entire bodies of work to  doing such a thing. Instead most of them like St Catherine actually blamed themselves for not being holy enough as to the cause of the problems in the Church. Even when they did speak out, they spent far more time in prayer and penance to rectify the situation than they ever did talking about it.

I find that many of these whistle blower websites often use sensational headlines that do not reflect the actual content of the article that is linked to it. Many of these websites use headlines that are often slanderous. For example, I saw a recent headline on one of these websites that said, “EWTN for Hillary!” as if the entire organization was supporting Hillary for president, which is not even close to being the case. In fact, the article linked said nothing of the sort. One thing bloggers should remember is that God will hold them accountable for everything they publish online. One thing you will rarely see on these websites for example are the many articles and videos on EWTN that are being made on a daily basis where the exact opposite is being advocated. 


 
The danger of running a “whistleblower” webpage or media organization is that eventually everything sounds like a broken record and things tend to be sensationalized. This gives a distorted representation of reality and tends to make people react emotionally rather than intellectually. Its time for Catholics who see and understand the problems in the Church to actually start doing what the Saints did. They need to engage in much prayer and penance. What we need less of is emotional ranting and more practice of prayer and penance. Did we see Our Lord spending every waking hour complaining and condemning the many wrongs in His time? No, He did it when it was necessary and spent the majority of His time preaching the Gospel to everyone so they could receive eternal life. If anyone had a right to go around and point out everyone's faults it was Jesus, and He rarely did that. In my opinion, it is time to stop cursing the darkness and start doing something about the problem. It is our own sins that are the cause of the catastrophe we find ourselves. We all have short memories when it comes to our own sins, and then we minimize the harm we have caused the Church. We need to stop sinning, start praying and doing penance. If everyone would spend as much time praying and doing penance as they do reading and writing hit pieces, we would be out of this mess already. Anyone can sit around and point out everything they perceive as a problem in the Church and complain about it. But it takes a saint to actually do something about it.

But it seems to me that God's Church has a great shortage of good ministers because the cloud of our own selfish love has grown so big in our mind's eye that no one, apparently can see or know this truth. And therefore they do not love it, since they are so filled with sensual and particular love for themselves that they cannot fill their heart and their will with love of truth. And so the mouths of those who are made heralds of the truth are found to be lying and deceitful. And I dearest father can prove it so. For in the place where I am, the religious- never mind the laity, of whom there are plenty of bad ones and few good ones- and the secular clergy, and especially the mendicant friars, who are appointed by Christ's dear bride to announce and proclaim the truth, are opposing the truth and giving it the lie in the pulpit. I believe my sins are the cause of it... They have led the people into much heresy that it is pitiful even to think about it, let alone see it. And what makes them say and do these things is slavish fear of others, human respect, and the desire for stipends. (From Letter T284)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mother Angelica Has Done Her Part. What About You?


EWTN celebrated the life of Mother Angelica at this years Family Celebration in Birmingham, Alabama. Thankfully I was able to spend some time there on Saturday and Sunday attending some of the talks. This Sunday afternoon Fr. Wade Menezes and Raymond Arroyo gave some great talks on Mother Angelica's life and the work she had done with EWTN. Many converts like myself watched Mother Angelica's shows and took away from them many practical lessons on how to live the Catholic faith. Many of us are grateful for how much she has done for us by giving us a great Catholic media outlet. I think that few of us realize how much she did for us and the Church over the final 15 years of her life when she lived out of the public eye.



Raymond's talk was very interesting because he gave some insight into the contemplative life of Mother. Since most of us equate her with her television appearances it is easy for us to forget that she was a cloistered contemplative nun. Although much her public life was known for getting the network off the ground and putting solid Catholic programming together Mother spent much of her time conversing with God. In fact, in her final 15 years she spent most of that time suffering in the after affects of a stroke, where she could not speak most of the time. This is where Raymond points out that this is where Mother was actually the most effective, and in fact may have carried out her most important work. She suffered greatly during this time, yet she grew closer to Christ and spent much of the time praying for the continued success of the Network.

The lesson I learned here is that I always tend to equate "success" with doing material things, and quickly forget that we only fulfill our part by doing God's will. This can only be done first by much prayer no matter what state or situation He has given to us. It is human nature to always be thinking that when our situation becomes ideal we will then do something. It is easy to say "When I retire I will pray more" or "When I get around to it I will learn more about my faith." We sometimes overlook the fact that prayer and contemplation is expected of us no matter where we may be in our life. Our job or other affairs often distract us from our participation in the prayer life of the Church. Mother Angelica has taught us to be courageous in our faith by engaging both the physical and the spiritual. It was actually her spiritual life that allowed her to build EWTN. When Mother was not able to continue being physically involved with EWTN she humbly accepted her physically debilitated state and sought to continue her efforts in the manner and situation God put her in. Although her efforts were no longer visible, God was doing amazing things behind the scenes. So we too must do our part no matter what situation we may find ourselves. Before we are truly able to do the will of God, we must first of all be men and women of prayer. I give thanks to God for that little Italian nun who with great tenacity taught us how to love God and seek to carry out His will. Mother did her part and then some. What about you?



EWTN will soon be airing all of the talks that were held at the Family Celebration this weekend. Grab a copy of Raymond's new book to read about Mother's final years.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Five Marvels of the Incarnation

The Five Marvels of the Incarnation
By Denis the Carthusian

The writings of Denis the Carthusian are among my favorite writings to read. It is one of the books I chose to keep with me during my move to Alabama. It was no small task for me to pick five small plastic containers of books to remain with me, while the rest of library went into storage. Denis’ Spiritual Writings were one of the books that made it into one of my bins. Denis was born at the very beginning of the 1400s, and was one of the most popular spiritual writers of his time. In section 48 of the book he writes on the Incarnation of Christ, and he speaks of some of the marvels of the Incarnation. It is through Christ's Incarnation that we are able to enter into the beatific vision in eternity, which was closed off prior. There are five of these "marvels" Denis presents and I wanted to post them up here for anyone who wants to contemplate them. I think they are worth meditating on for spiritual enrichment. Each one of them are so rich and deep that you can meditate on them for some time. 



“The first marvel is that despite the infinite distance and disproportion between the uncreated and uncircumscribed Word of God and uncircumscribed humanity, the two came together in one Person.” This is certainly something to ponder that a God who is so far above us bridged this insurmountable gap.

“The second marvel is that out of two natures complete in act and essence, a single person emerges.” As we know, Christ has a human nature and a divine nature, but is a divine person. Yet, neither of his two natures are diminished in any way, as Denis says here, they are complete in their act and essence.
 
“The third marvel is that human nature in Christ maintained its own proper actions and passions, although it subsisted not in a human, created person but in a divine person.” Here we see that in Christ even though He has a true human nature, it was united not in a created person as a normal human being, but in a divine person.

“The fourth marvel is an eternal, unchangeable and perfect Person, is truly generated in time, and without any change in Himself, or any assimilation of something new into His own nature.” This mystery has always been hard for us to understand. Christ took on His human nature in time through His Incarnation yet remains unchanged in His Person.


“The fifth marvel is that a Virgin conceived and bore a child without the loss of virginity; a thing that never happened before.” Here we see the importance of Marian devotion being attached to Christ’s Incarnation. Indeed it was a miracle that she conceived Our Lord and was a Virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus Christ. 

Overcoming Apathy, the Killer of Souls and Destroyer of Civilization

Overcoming Apathy, the Killer of Souls and Destroyer of Civilization



I have written articles on apathy and how it is probably the most spiritually dead state we can be in. Apathy, or what is also known as lukewarmness is what Scripture warns us about in Revelation 3:16 "But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” As I said in an earlier article, those who think they can just meander about being “good” enough, are a large portion who will find themselves in hell. It will not be just the Hitlers and Stalins who find themselves there.

There is more to be said on this subject which is of the utmost importance. The loss of souls due to apathy will not only be the loss of souls of those who practice it, but those who will be left cold to the faith due to their apathy. An apathetic Church leaves souls unconverted. We can see the results of an apathetic Church in our own time and culture. We have let the death peddlers assault society without any resistance. We have let the horrors of humanity such as abortion, contraception, euthanasia, sodomy, murder, greed, corruption, and list goes on, take over our because those in the Church have grown lukewarm.

This lukewarmness brings with the greatest chastisements, including being left to our own devices. It is no secret as to why western civilization is being hurled into moral chaos. It is because we have become apathetic to God and have turned our backs on everything that made our civilization great. The family has self-destructed on the drug of apathy. Our people have put personal luxury and pride above human life and the family. The myth of overpopulation is still going on unopposed and the lies concerning women’s healthcare is not being exposed for the fraud that it is. When error and evil goes unopposed it is a sure sign of an apathetic Church. 

In order for the culture to change, we must win the hearts and minds of the people, and that can only be done by the flame of divine charity, a faith that burns bright. This includes not only the bishops, priests and religious, who should be preaching the truth and defending the Church’s teachings, but also the laity in the pew. We also have to do our part. There are many more of us than there are clergy so we bear a large burden as well. What can we do as laity to help turn the tide of apathy? I will give a list of seven things that we can do that will aid us in accomplishing our part.



1.      We must live a life of holiness- This means we must stay in a state of grace and grow in supernatural virtue. The army cannot be effective without supernatural grace. St Catherine of Sienna once wrote, “what a dangerous thing is sin in the soul!... So let us wake up from this sleep of senseless apathy!”

2.       We need to frequent the Sacraments- In order to accomplish the first goal, we must go to confession and receive Holy Communion regularly. We should make it to confession at least twice a month if not weekly. We should try and make it the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as often as we can in addition to our Sunday obligation. Through these Sacraments we receive great strength to persevere in our heavenly mission.

3.       We need to persevere in prayer and meditation- In order to remain close to God we need to spend at least 15 to 30 minutes a day in prayer. Praying a minimum of one decade of the Rosary along with meditation and other prayers should be a minimum. Be creative in using time throughout the day to pray, such as when you drive, or in between chores, etc. Take a minute a pray the Angelus or other prayers during the day. When possible, go before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer and meditation.

4.       We must love the truth and hate sin- Charity is the mechanism that embraces the love of truth.     Charity is the love of God in us. As we stand in the midst of the battle for souls only the love of truth arms us for battle. Like-wise this same charity gives us a hate for sin. We cannot continue to act as if people promoting sin as virtue is OK. True charity consists in admonishing the sinner so they can change their lives. This is often one of the most difficult things for Catholics to do in the midst of such harsh opposition. We must however keep our gaze on Christ so that we may have the courage to do this. St Catherine of Sienna said it best, “When we remember the holy cross we come to love virtue and hate vice.”




5.       We must study our faith- In order for us to be equipped mentally it is good that we spend some time in the study of our faith. There are many avenues open to us in our day. We can listen to talks online, watch Catholic programming such as EWTN and YouTube videos. There are also thousands of good books to read. I would suggest reading the Catholic classics to begin. There is also no substitute for reading Sacred Scripture, both for theological knowledge as well as nourishment for the soul.

6.       Have a strong devotion to Our Blessed Mother and the Saints- Devotion to Our Lady is not an option for a true Christian. Everyone who loves the Son, Christ, also in turn loves His mother. Our Lord has given us His Holy Mother and all of the Saints a task in aiding us here in the battle for souls. This is a divine family which we are a part of. This is something the heretic is never able to comprehend, falsely accusing us of idolatry. This of course is due to their adulterous abandonment of Christ’s Church. Let us have great devotion to Our Lady and the Saints to which God Himself has given us as heavenly helpers to rescue souls.

7.       Stand up for the truth- We must remember that a soul on fire for Christ will never remain silent when opposed with evil opposition. This of course must always be accompanied by the virtue of prudence, and the gift of charity, but we have remained silent long enough. First we must fraternally correct those in the Church who are opposed to her teachings. We cannot remain silent to those in the Church who regularly support abortion, sodomy or contraception for example. We need to make our voices heard to both laity and clergy who insult Christ and His Church by promoting evil. It is not enough at times for us just to hold on to our faith in secret, there comes a time when God calls us to be lions for the faith. If we are going to stop the destruction of civilization and the mass destruction of souls, the Church must take the first step in opposition to the anti-life organizations. This can only be done if we have holy people in the Church who love the truth she proclaims. Those traitors in the Church must be corrected in charity, so that we can begin to rebuild the Church, and henceforth civilization. Again, a great deal of prudence is needed and we must act according to God's will and not our own. We can start in our own families where have the authority to correct. When speaking to others in our parish, we need to act in charity and always proclaim the teaching of Christ when given the appropriate opportunity.  We as the laity however do have the right to be given the proper teaching of the faith, and we need to do a better job of being vigilant in this matter. 


These seven things should put us on the path to overcoming apathy in the Church. This must be our first and foremost duty as Catholics. Although we can indeed have an impact on the world around us, we can be much more effective if we are able to first strengthen the Church and awake it from its apathetic state. Then as a Church we can be effective in fighting the evils of our day. The longer remain apathetic, the worse the chastisements will be, and the harder it will be for us to restore the faith in society. 


Monday, August 29, 2016

Have We Lost the Essence of the Mass?

Have We Lost the Essence of the Mass?



Introduction.

I have lived in several places and traveled to many places over the past 13 years I have been a Catholic. As a result I have attended many Masses in many places in the US, and some abroad over the same time span. In my experience, those many Novus Ordo Masses that I have been to have not proven to be celebrated worthily as if they were primarily a Sacrifice. Only the traditional Latin Masses and the Eastern Liturgies have demonstrated to consistently resemble this fact in their reverence and execution. What is the reason for this? Have we lost the fact that the Mass is primarily a sacrifice?

I am not one of the deniers who believes the Novus Ordo is invalid, I am however firmly convinced that the Church did not make one of her best decisions by making the Novus Ordo liturgy the “Ordinary Form.” I believe the experiment was a colossal failure and the Church will once again at some point in time move back to the old Roman Rite. I don’t think this is a stretch to think that this could happen. In celebrating the Sacraments over the centuries, the Church has realized at several points in time when she has made not the best decisions in the way they were celebrated. For example, the Church eventually figured out that executing the Sacrament of penance in public was not a good idea, and changed it to be said in private.

The Liturgical practices have been unique in that with the exception of the Novus Ordo, they were established by the apostles and have grown and changed gradually and organically throughout time. The Novus Ordo, concocted ad hoc by a group of supposed “experts” is the only Liturgy of this ad hoc pedigree the Church has ever produced. I do not believe that it is a coincidence that it is the only liturgy that does not put forth a Sacrificial, penitential tone in its prayer form. It is also the only liturgy to celebrated ad populum, taking the focus off of the altar and the sacrifice and refocusing it on the community. Thus, over the years we have seen that in its execution, the clergy and laity in a general sense do put forth a sacrificial, penitential tone in their actions. They treat the Mass more like a community gathering than that of the Most Holy Sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
   
If we read theological works written on the Mass prior to the Second Vatican Council, we see that the Mass was always referred to as the “Holy Sacrifice.” For example, in the work, “The Unchangeable Church” written in 1909, the very first sentence in chapter XXXI on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass says, “Sacrifice is an external act of supreme religious worship given to God alone.” Then it continues, “The Mass! What is the Mass? The Mass in one word is the very same sacrifice as that of the cross.” If that is the case, then why is that no longer the theological focus of most of today’s theologians? The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most important action that anyone can participate in, this side of heaven. The Council of Trent reiterates, “that no other work can be performed by the faithful so holy and divine as this tremendous mystery. Wherein the life-giving Victim, by which we were reconciled to the Father, is daily immolated on the altar by priests.”

In the Novus Ordo, we have a wholesale change in the prayer form compared to the Tridentine Liturgy. The Novus Ordo seems to be more focused on the communal aspect of the Mass, which is a valid aspect, yet it has never been a primary theological focus by theologians throughout the centuries, and for good reason. It is because the Mass in its essence is a sacrifice. Theologians now miss this point because they have also lost the traditional theological tradition of the scholastics, which understood what it was to define a thing and its essence. Again, the Mass is in its essence a Sacrifice, not a communal gathering. You can actually celebrate a Mass with only the priest. But, even in recognizing the communal aspect, theologians today still miss an important point. They miss the fact that we are assembled primarily to give praise, thanksgiving and to obtain graces and blessings from God, not to celebrate one another or the community. They also miss the point that when the laity are present, they are also participating that same sacrifice with the priest in a unique way. All those present in some way make the great offering of sacrifice with him, “Pray, bretheren, that your sacrifice and mine may be acceptable to God.” That is why the laity along with the priest leading them face the altar of sacrifice.



The Application of the Mass

When we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we give adoration to God, we thank Him for what He has given us and we petition him to give us the grace to remain faithful to Him so that we may do His will, and not our own. Also, there are three “fruits” in which the Mass produces. The first is a general fruit in which everyone participates, which is the celebration by the priest for the entire Church. Then there are special intentions in which the Mass is said for one or more people, to which special graces are passed. Finally there is a special fruit in which the priest himself participates. The Mass delivers special graces in each of these aspects. So the Sacrifice of the Mass bears special graces and fruits in each of these intentions. It must be pointed out that it is through the Sacrifice itself that this communal aspect is made possible so that the praise, thanksgiving, and the graces given are to be made pleasing to God. This is not to say that private prayer and devotion is not pleasing to God, but that as a Church in her liturgical celebration, only the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the legitimate means of obtaining these special graces where we give a sacrificial thanksgiving and receive these special blessings directly from God.

The Four Debts

The great St. Thomas Aquinas gives us a proper look at the debts which we owe to God that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass infinitely pays. “The first is to praise and honor the infinite majesty of God, which is infinitely worthy of all praise and honor the creature can give Him. The second is to satisfy for the many sins committed against Him. The third is to thank Him for the many favors received from Him. The fourth is to supplicate Him as the giver of all good gifts.” We seem to forget the idea that original sin has created a rupture between us and God. Divine Justice demands that these debts, for lack of a better term, are satisfied. Christ’s sacrifice is the only infinite means of satisfying an infinite God. Thus we see how the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass satisfies Divine Justice. This is important is we are to understand the gravity of the Mass in which we regularly participate.

The Passion and Death

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is also in reality an active celebration of the Passion and Death of Christ. There could be no sacrifice without a victim and a priest. Even the actions of the priest in the Tridentine Mass represent certain parts Christ’s passion and death. For example, the priest going to the altar represents Christ going to Mt Olivet. The priest saying the Confiteor represents Christ falling down and sweating blood. The priest offering the bread and wine represents Christ being scourged, and so on. I have rarely read anything post Vatican II that even refers to such things. Many will argue that some of these things developed over time in the Latin Mass and so the Novus Ordo will develop as well. This however is not the point. The point is, the traditional Rite had at its core the penitential and sacrificial nature built into its DNA from the beginning. The fact is, we don’t know exactly how the first Masses were said. We do know that what was passed down to us in the Roman Rite can be traced back to its origins in the apostles and that as it developed it was not diminished, but perfected over the years organically. This simply cannot happen with the Novus Ordo.



Our Redemption

Many will ask why other religious services including Protestant services cannot be pleasing to God. Many post Vatican II theologians wanted the Novus Ordo to be more appealing to Protestants. This scheme however did not result in any new converts, and in fact diminished the fact that the Mass was indeed very different from a Protestant service. The reason is that Christ Himself deemed to give us  His Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as the valid true way of celebrating our redemption. This was made possible through His Sacrifice on Calvary. It is this same sacrifice that is made present in the Mass which is not and cannot be made present in any other form of worship. “In a word: the bloody sacrifice was the instrument of redemption, and the unbloody sacrifice puts us in possession of it; the one opened to us the treasury of merits of Christ our Lord, the other gives us the practical use of that never-failing treasury.” (The Unchangeable Church) It is important to realize this fact, and that any other form of liturgical worship in other heretical groups are not pleasing to God. So we must understand the uniqueness of this Holy Sacrifice and it should be instantly recognizable in its execution. Any attempt to make the Mass more like a Protestant service only damages the faith of Catholics and obscures its essence. 

A Treasure to Behold

When we are at Mass then, we should put ourselves at the foot of the cross. We should act like we are at the foot of the cross with Our Blessed Mother and the Saints.  We should treat it is as a treasure. The music should make it clear that it is a sacred treasure. Would we approach the cross on Calvary dressed like we are going out on the town for a night of leisure with casual piano music playing as if we were in a ballroom? Do we ever think of how we may be profaning the sacred altar where Our Lord is being offered for our sins? We should think well on the presence of Christ present in the priest who is offering the Mass, the victim of Christ Himself in the Mass, and the great majesty of who it is being sacrificed. If this reality is not enough to give us pause in how we act at Mass, then nothing will.



Graces Obtained

It is through this Holy Sacrifice that we obtain special graces. Every moment of our existence depends on God and God alone. Every “good” that we do is done with His grace. The Mass strengthens us and allows us to unite ourselves to Christ in a unique manner. We receive tremendous spiritual graces such as sorrow for sin, the ability to overcome temptation and the nurturing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It gives us the grace to become saints. We receive special blessings and we participate in the Church’s mission to evangelize lost souls. The Mass also brings with it material blessings such as the health of our bodies, avoiding war, famine and other pestilences. We receive more graces than we can imagine by reverently participating at each Mass. St Bernard of Clairvaux once wrote, “More is gained by a single Mass, than by distributing all of your goods to the poor, or going to pilgrimages to all of the most holy shrines in the world.”

The Dying, Death and those in Purgatory

Do we ever think to pray for those souls close to death or those suffering the pains of Purgatory while we are at Mass? If you have in your possession any of the traditional prayer books, they all have prayers that you can pray before during and after the Mass. If you notice, there are always prayers to obtain graces for those that will die that day, the dead, and for those souls in purgatory. The Mass merits graces for those souls as well. We petition God that we and others may have a holy and peaceful death. We also are able to obtain graces to shorten our time in Purgatory, or avoid it altogether. One priest I recently had a conversation with pointed out the vast difference in a funeral Mass between the Tridentine Rite and the Novus Ordo Rite. The Tridentine Rite focuses on obtaining graces for the soul of the departed so that graces can be obtained to shorten that person’s time in purgatory. So the funeral Mass is not primarily to celebrate the life of the departed as it seems to be at the Novus Ordo. We can do that at a wake. It is primarily aimed at obtaining special graces for the departed soul. In other words, we should see the focus again on the penitential and sacrificial rather than the communal.

The Most Holy Eucharist

There are two miracles that take place at every Mass. The first is that at consecration, the wine and bread become the Precious Body and Blood of Christ and that the accidents, or appearance of the bread and wine remain. This is known as Transubstantiation. We still see the appearances of bread and wine, which should not remain once their substance is changed, but Christ is now truly present in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. This is who we truly receive at Mass in Holy Communion. So we now have yet another important gift in the treasure of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Christ Himself, giving Himself to us in all of His being. The Eucharist itself should also be regarded as a Sacrifice as Trent clearly states. This is another important reason on why no other religious service through any denomination can be pleasing to God, Christ Himself instituted the Eucharist and Christ is present “truly and substantially” (Trent). St. Paul also states that partaking in other religious ceremonies is, “the table of devils.” (1 Cor 10) The Eucharist is also a means of Christ uniting Himself with us. He is the “life giving water” and our spiritual nourishment. It is a precursor to our eternal unity with Him when we pass from this life. In this life he makes us stronger as we unite to Him in our sufferings, trials and even triumphs. The Church calls the Holy Eucharist the source and summit of our Christian lives. We should treat it as such in all of our actions during the Mass.



Conveying The Reality

With this truth and reality of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass before us, how can it be that so many in the Church today act as if it is just a communal celebration? Was there a change in theology with the institution of the Novus Ordo? No change is found in any of the Vatican II documents on the liturgy, yet it is clear that the ambiguity of the documents allowed an entire theological attitude change for much of the faithful and the clergy. Anibale Bugnini the chief creator of the Novus Ordo wrote in his memoirs, “The path opened up by the Council will surely bring a radical change in the very appearance of traditional liturgical assemblies,..." This is exactly what happened. Appearances convey reality. The Mass no longer remained focused on the Holy Sacrifice, and the uniformity established in the liturgical norms of the past that were meant to convey the true reality were done away with. It was the intention of Bugnini to do away with this traditional thinking on the Mass by freeing it from past uniformity. By his own admission Bugnini tells us this clearly on page 42 of his memoirs, "This principle represents a momentous departure from past practice. For centuries the Church willed that all worship in the Roman Rite should everywhere show perfect uniformity. The two liturgical reforms which history has recorded - that of the eighth century and that promoted by the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century- had precisely that aim... Social, religious, cultic and cultural considerations, and indeed the entire psychological climate, have changed radically in our day." This is why there are so many options in the Novus Ordo and why the rubrics are not as tight. It is more dependent on the priest and the particular community the Mass is being celebrated at than the reality of Christ being the Sacrifice. It is my hope that the proper sacrificial and penitential reality of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be restored and that in due time the Church will realize that the Tridentine Mass best exemplifies this reality. I hope in my day that the Church will restore it to the ordinary celebration in the Roman Rite. In my opinion, the experiment of the Novus Ordo liturgy has failed to uniformly convey adequately the reality of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  



Primary Source

The Unchangeable Church Vol II 1909 John Duffy

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Apathy, Chastisements and the Selling of our Souls



I've heard it said that the idea of selling one's soul is a myth. It is something that comes from tale and lore of past times that have long been surpassed by the advancement of modern man. In this day and age some deny they have a soul. Yet, who can deny that there is an animating life to the body which contains a unique personality attached to unique actions identifiable to each person, and when that animating force leaves, despite the body remaining, there is a loss of that unique personality? It is not my intention to prove the existence of the soul in this post. It is my intention to show that those who believe they have a soul can actually sell it, and that many people are doing this every day without even realizing it.

One of the most self destructing behaviors of modern man is his lukewarmness towards God. The majority of people in this country, and even across the globe still believe that a God or Creator exists.  Most still believe they have a soul that will continue on after it separates from the body. Most believe that that depending on how they live they will inherit some type of eternal bliss or some form of punishment. Those identifying themselves as being Christian however seem to assume that heaven is a given for them, and that only the Hitlers, Stalins and other unsavory characters are destined for eternal damnation. The idea of sin for them has been lost. This idea combined with the heresy that promotes a false sense of eternal security, has caused the loss of countless souls. Most Christians today seem to forget the words of Christ Himself, "Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:13-15)



One of the worst chastisements from God is not material chastisements as many talk about today. This seems to be the focus of many Christians. As we see our country and Western civilization turn from its Christian moral foundation, many who are trying to remain faithful to Christ look to prophesy and tend to focus on material chastisements that are to come in the future. I am not denying the reality of material chastisements, but what seems to be lost is the sense of the spiritual chastisement that the material rests upon. In other words, God sometimes uses material means to awaken the souls of men who are mired in the cesspool of sin. He allows the consequences of sin to awaken the sinful slumber of man. However, the worst punishment is when God allows men to remain blinded by their sin to ruination of their eternal souls.

As we progress towards a world that denies the reality of absolute moral truths, we are seeing what a great spiritual chastisement looks like. Across the world much of humanity acts as if God does not exist, yet most will pay lip service to Him. Worse, many act as if they are their own gods, denying the existence of evil and sin. A portion of our population believes it has now "progressed to the point of calling good evil, and evil good. "Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Woe to you that are wise in your own eyes, and prudent in your own conceits." (Isaiah 5:20-21) As a result we are seeing the loss of souls at an exponential rate, including many who call themselves Christian. If we recall the vision of hell the children of Fatima were shown by Our Lady, they said that the they saw souls falling into hell at such as volume that it almost resembled a snowstorm.



Why are all of these people falling into hell after their earthly lives have ended? Was it because they were like Hitler or Stalin? Was it because they murdered or were armed bandits of some sort? Were they the lowest of the bunch? Are there so many of these types of villanous people that hell could be flooded with them on a daily basis? I don't think so. A large portion of them are those who are apathetic to God. They are the average man or women living material focused lives. They are those who continue to live in sin without seeking the life giving grace and love of God. They are those living in adultery, those living in impurity, those who steal just a little bit, those whose greed leads to usury and defrauding workers of their wages, those who have told that little white lie, those whose pride causes the loss of charity for one another, those who abuse themselves in drink, those who speak ill of their neighbors, those who are complicit with evil and the list goes on. In other words, these people falling into hell are the average Joe Schmoes who have committed average sins for which they have not repented.

As society turns apathetic to God, God has let us have our way. Thus, the vision of the children at Fatima of people falling into hell was a vision of a spiritual chastisement. God leaves man in his apathetic ways to the ruination of his soul. "Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves.  Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator..." (Romans 1:24-25)Yet, what are to think of material chastisements? I think that the material chastisements are less of a punishment for they can be tools used by God to get the attention of those who are apathetic to Him. Some may say that this presents a cruel God that was invented by the Jews as is presented in the Old Testament. What many fail to see is that man's sins are the primary cause of many material chastisements. Wars, murder, the spread of many diseases, physical and emotional trauma, depression etc. are caused by man's own immoral choices. They are caused by man himself living outside the grace of God. It is my belief that when these consequences of sin are lessened by God that this is a more severe punishment. When God allows the consequences of sin to remain, man can often find his way back to God. It is a way that God leaves His fingerprints, or a bread trail so that man can find his way back to Him. When God removes the bread trail, then the real disaster begins. This is where we find ourselves today. Many of us live in the soft circumstances of sin.



Today man lives apathetic to God with all the luxuries of life, at least here in the US and most of Western civilization. Most of us are fat and happy and have a good meal on our plates each evening and a warm bed to sleep in. Just look at the average American who is overweight and overeats and enjoys the fruits of life. Many of these people however are living in a state of unrepentant sin and suffer no real consequences for them. Many take anti-depressants to deaden their conscience, or lose themselves in a bottle of wine or in empty chatter. In essence, the end result is in man selling his soul to the devil. A person who lives in a state of sin without the grace of God will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. That means that not only will the Hitlers and Stalins of the world suffer the loss of their souls to eternal ruin, but those who live average lives apathetic to God. Those who say they believe in God but never give Him the worship that is due to Him, and who do not seek His loving grace as He has revealed it to them, will join the ranks of the Hitlers and Stalins. Are we to run to the Church out of fear for losing our souls?



A fear of God is a good thing if it is properly understood. The fear of God goes hand in hand with the love of God. God the Father loves us so much that he Sacrificed His only begotten Son. He is not a cruel God, but one that loves and deserves our love, for He loved us first. We should then set our eyes upon the cross if we are to set our souls free from the hands of sin and the evil one. Gaze and meditate upon a crucifix. We are held in chains by sin until we gaze our eyes upon the loving Savior Jesus Christ. For those who seek Him, we find ourselves in a time of great mercy, while those who do not will perish in their sins as a frog dies in a slowly boiled pot. Christ calls us from the cross to His one and only Church, the Catholic Church. He calls us to be baptized, and to receive the Holy Spirit by giving ourselves to Him wholly. We not only give Him the honor and worship that is due to Him in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but He sustains us by His love in the Most Holy Sacrament of His Body Blood, Soul and Divinity. He also calls us when we fall into sin to the Sacrament of Confession so we can reconcile ourselves to the Holy Trinity by repenting of our sin. We can either sell our souls to the devil or we can let Christ free our souls by His most pure Sacrifice on the cross. Indeed we "preach Christ crucified." (1 Cor 1:23)



Yes the material chastisements must come. When they do come this will be a sign of great things to follow. Many will turn to God when they see the horror of sin manifested in material ways. As long as we lay in the slumber of sin, things will become progressively worse. This is the year of mercy and indeed God offers us great graces for those who seek them. For those of us who are practicing the faith, let us not think we are above anyone, lest we too shall die in our pride. We have not sacrificed enough for others as Our Lady has asked of us. We have not prayed enough and we had not loved our brothers and sisters enough. Do we have true charity in our souls? "If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." (1 Cor 13:1-3) So let us also who practice the Catholic faith live in the love of God so that others may come to love Him, lest we also end up selling our souls.

Let St. Catherine of Sienna's words penetrate our hearts, "...dearest brother! Sleep no longer in the death or mortal sin. I tell you, the ax is already laid to the root of the tree. Pick up the shovel of holy fear of God and let the and of love guide it. Come! Shovel our of the filth of your soul and body!... Run back to your creator. Open your souls eye and see how great is the fire of His charity, that He has put up with you and hasn't commanded the earth to open and swallow you, or the wild beasts to devour you! On the contrary, the earth has shared its fruits with you, the sun its warmth and light, and the sky its movement, so that you might live, giving you a bit of time that you might be able to change your ways. And this he has done for love alone." (Letter T21/G306)










Sunday, July 24, 2016

Book Recommendation: Nothing Superfluous

If there is one book you read this year on the Mass, this is it. Father James W. Jackson, FSSP has penned a marvelous explanation of the the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Everything is explained down to the vestments, and everything has a meaning, sometimes more than one. For example, did you know that in the Mass all seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are prayed for? Did you ever wonder why five crosses are carved onto a newly consecrated altar? What about those strict rubrics we have in the ancient Rite, and what do they mean? Get the book to find out. The book clocks in at 352 pages and contains a nice glossary.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mother Angelica RIP April 20, 1923 - March 27, 2016


Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation
April 20, 1923 - March 27, 2016


Today at 5PM, Easter Sunday, Mother Angelica, the founder of EWTN has passed away in the Lord. Arguably one of the most influential figures of American Catholicism and beyond, will long be remembered for the founding of EWTN along with her wit, humor and wisdom which she often displayed on her television show, 'Mother Angelica Live'. Mother founded EWTN in 1980 and went live on August 15th, 1981. The network now reaches 250 million viewers in 140 countries and is the largest religious media network in the world. It is a fitting day for Mother to pass away into the arms of the Lord on this Easter Sunday. She is one of the few bright lights to have graced the television airwaves in our time.



Mother was born in Canton, Ohio, entered The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in 1944, and later founded a new house for the order in 1962, in Irondale Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. EWTN headquarters is now at that location. While traveling in Bogata in 1995, she had revelation to build a shrine honoring Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. In 1996 this inspiration was realized when groundbreaking began in Hanceville Alabaman where The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament was founded. The sisters moved there in 1999. For many years she hosted her show, 'Mother Angelica Live' which has never truly been replaced. In 2000 she handed over control of EWTN to a board of laymen and in 2001 she suffered a stroke. Throughout Mother's life she suffered from various illnesses and health issues, yet always demonstrating courage in carrying her cross for Christ.


I have not had the privilege to meet Mother, but I have enjoyed the many fruits she has given us from her efforts to bring the Gospel over the airwaves of EWTN. After my conversion to the Catholic faith EWTN was on my television all hours of the day. I have also had the pleasure of visiting both the shrine and EWTN headquarters and they have always been memorable experiences. Although I believe her to be a Saint, say a prayer for her repose over the coming days. Her funeral will be on Friday April 1st. EWTN will be running a series of programs honoring her memory. To learn more about her incredible story, grab a copy of her biography.



Monday, February 8, 2016

A Traditional Catholic View of the Presidential Candidates: Part II Hillary Clinton


Anything but honorable.

Introduction

The Democratic Party of today is nothing like the Democratic Party before the great depression, that is the era before the New Deal and FDR. The Democratic Party has gradually drifted further and further towards liberal progressivism since that time, to what we see now under the Clinton/Obama regimes.  Looking at this from an American political vantage point in relation to my Catholic faith, there is little in common with the ideology of the modern Democratic Party and that of my Catholic political and moral positions. That being said, what is now considered to be a conservative Republican today is far from the conservative positions of a Barry Goldwater or even a Ronald Reagan for that matter. I will address American conservatism in my upcoming posts, which focus on the Republican candidates.

Before examining Hillary Clinton’s qualifications for president, I want to make clear that the very positions of the modern Democratic platform are contrary to everything I believe to be advantageous to the common good of society. I cannot support this view from either a Catholic position or even from a traditional American conservative position. In the conservative American political context this means that a larger, controlling, socialistic government is in opposition to the common good of society. It also means that there are certain moral principles, which are derived from the natural law, which government cannot transcend. The progressive mindset is the opposite. Their ideology for example, promotes the murder of innocent human life in the womb, and the false notion of social justice such as the promotion of the redefinition of marriage. These are examples of strains of an immoral disease that need to be treated before they infect the whole body, which is coming quickly. This can only be done by a political entity that is willing to treat the noxious disease of a tyrannical government hellbent on promoting moral corruption. Is there a party that will fight the political entity which seeks to enshrine by law, moral decay? Or are the two parties now heading in the same direction? That question will not be answered in this post. What I will say is that the Democratic Party has now essentially progressed into a pseudo-socialist party. This is readily seen by the trial balloon sent up under the personality of Bernie Sanders, which just 15 years ago would have been blown out of the sky by the American public. Today that is not the case. I personally oppose any notion of liberalism or socialism as being an authentic engine that should fuel the American political establishment. A country run under the ideology of American liberalism is doomed to fail. This immediately puts me at odds with any of the DNC candidates, including Hillary Clinton. Be that as it may, I want to assess Hillary Clinton individually as I have done thus far with Donald Trump. 



Assessment of Hillary Clinton

I will be bold enough to say that there is no one more corrupt in the American political system that I know of than Hillary Clinton. Virtue is no friend to this conniving, huckster of a woman. The list of scandals tied to her and her husband is legion. Hillary and Bill’s name and legacy have been associated with scandal ever since their political birth in Arkansas. Here is a small list of some of them. It would take a book to cover them all in any detail.

1993- Travelgate: The Clintons take presidential office and fire everyone in the travel office and replace them with their buddies and then lie about why they fired them. It was proven that Hillary lied about it and the Clintons were investigated. They were found to have fired the employees for good no reason and had to reinstate them. Why did they do this? There were millions of dollars to be had from putting their buddies in control of it.

1994- Whitewater: The Clintons and their real-estate ventures were investigated for fraud. The Whitewater venture was co-owned by friends of the Clintons, the McDougals. Hillary as First lady was subpoenaed for it. Amazingly the documents, which were subpoenaed, were lost or stolen. What is more coincidental is that the man who supposedly had the documents, Vince Foster turned up dead during the investigation. Eventually Susan McDougal took the fall for Hillary, but was conveniently pardoned by Hillary’s crooked partner in crime, her husband Bill. The investigation lasted nearly four years and cost us taxpayers nearly 150 million dollars.

Filegate: The Clintons illegally requested FBI background reports on nearly 1000 Republican officials. Hillary was investigated in 1996 for this but was able to escape by having their security director take the fall for it. He was forced to resign.

Chinagate: The Clintons in exchange for political favors lined their pockets with campaign donations from their China connections. The DOJ investigated and stated that people within the Whitehouse knew about it. They dodged this one as well.

The Clinton Pardon Party: Before leaving office Bill Clinton pardoned 450 criminals many of them serving time for drug trafficking, terrorism, kidnaping and other horrible crimes. Hillary’s was involved with some of her friends receiving pardon favors. One for example who had been charged for tax evasion was pardoned and coincidentally Hillary received money from the person who was pardoned. Hillary received over $500,000 from one drug trafficker who was later pardoned by Bill. The Clinton pardon party was so despised that even the former Democratic president Jimmy Carter called the pardons disgraceful.

Senategate: Hillary in her NY senate race was fined $50,000 for under reporting campaign donations.

2012 Benghazi: Hillary covers up the investigation on the attack. Then testified that she had submitted all the documents that she had for the investigation. Almost two years later another 40 documents had been uncovered and we still do not know if we have them all.

The Clinton Foundation: A “foundation” totally corrupt with so many conflicts of interest we can't count them all. Money is mysteriously being funneled to her campaign pot through “donations” to the foundation. It is illegal to take large amounts of money from individuals for a campaign, but not so through a “Foundation.” Very convenient. In Haiti the Clinton were ripping the poor impoverished people, "Haitian activists protested outside of the Clinton Foundation in New York over the loss of “billions of dollars” that was meant to help rebuild after the devastating 2010 earthquake." Just remember, she is for the poor right?

Current- Emailgate: Hillary is found to have had classified information stored on her home email server which is clearly forbidden under federal law. So far she has also managed to dodge this one as well. I have to wonder who is covering for this woman.

I could go and on with one Hillary scandal after another. Her political career is littered with them. Honesty is not in her vocabulary. She has taken Saul Alinski’s advice to heart, and as long as the end she desires is achieved, the means are of no consequence to her. Saul Alinsky once wrote, “To say that corrupt means corrupt the ends is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles.” I believe Hillary has taken on the very essence of this quote. In case you do not know, she wrote her senior thesis in 1962 on Alinski and she was sympathetic to the character of this immoral monster.



Abortion

Where does Hillary stand on moral issues such as abortion? In 2009 she won the Margaret Sanger award from Planned Parenthood. That should give you an idea as to how pro-abortion she is. Margaret Sanger is another one of Hillary’s heroes. It is not surprising to find that she admired so many deplorable, 10th rate characters over the course of her life. As far as abortion goes she has stated, “I am and always have been pro-choice, and that is not a right any of should take for granted. There are a number of forces at work in our society that would try to turn back the clock and undermine a woman’s right to chose, and [we] must remain vigilant.” I find it alarming that one who supports the efforts of “social justice” and “human rights” finds it deplorable that anyone would seek to defend the life of an innocent child, who has every much as right to life as the mother does. Hillary also defends partial birth abortion if it means saving the life of the mother. Yet as we know, mothers who love their children would at any time sacrifice their own lives for the life of their beloved children. Not according to Clinton, who selfishly says of partial birth abortion, “Of course it’s a horrible procedure. No one would argue with that. But if your life is at stake, if your health is at stake…” This mentality is insulting to all of the heroic mothers who gave their lives in childbirth so their precious children could live, even if it was without them. Finally on her website she has as reason #13 of why she should be elected in bold type, it says “Hillary will defend Planned Parenthood and women’s health care from Republican attacks.” Hillary is a pro-abortion as they come.

Before I move on, I want to address the error that the liberals are perpetuating concerning “women’s health.” For one, health is strictly defined as restoring a proper working order to the human body. Therefore any procedure, treatment or “medication” that would stop or impede the body from functioning properly cannot be classified as healthcare, period. Therefore, contraception, which objectively stops a women’s body from working properly according to the natural order cannot be considered healthcare. Nor can the killing of a baby in mother’s womb be classified as healthcare. These acts simply do not meet the definition of healthcare. They are instruments of deformation and thus they cannot be funded under any healthcare program. I will not get into distinctions in this post concerning ectopic pregnancies, double effect, etc. The point here is that the majority of abortions and contraceptive acts are being done in effort to deform or stop a women’s body from operating according to its natural end. Therefore Hillary’s statement here rings hollow to any right thinking person not swept away in the fantastical liberal chicanery, which attempts to call night day, and day the night. Indeed the emperor does not have new clothes. Lets stop pretending he does.

I still remember this cover from when I was a kid.
 
Her View of Government

As all liberals, Hillary holds to the fantasy of government being the solution to all of society’s problems. This is one of the egregious errors of the crippled liberal mind today. The liberal’s ego is so blinded by pride that they think their government programs can build a utopia. There is nothing more dangerous than an ideology, which seeks to create a government designed to control and dictate to its people on a grand scale in order to implement policies, which are designed to create the “perfect” society. This eventually results in unjust attacks on a person's liberty, such as the ones we see by liberals today. We are seeing an increase of an attack on free speech in many liberal countries for example. If one speaks negatively about the vice of homosexuality in certain places you can be prosecuted. Wherever liberal policies are put in place injustice and loss of liberty will follow in its wake. Hillary and Obama for example, do not want the private sector to be involved in healthcare. Instead they want their government to control and run it. In order to do this however, they must calculate a way to take your hard earned money to pay for it. What is worse, if you decide you do not want their healthcare, they make it illegal for you not to have it. Once they have done taken away all of your options they have you cornered under governmental control.

This type of action is a clear usurpation of the US Constitution, but this has not stopped the liberal juggernaut. This leads up to my next point, which is the very likely possibility of this demented lady appointing more asinine liberty bashers to the US Supreme Court. This cements in place another seat of power they can use to pass laws so they can "legally" steal more of your money and force you to buy more government services you don’t want. And they will implement it under the façade of just taxation. The liberals can’t count the ways to spend your hard earned money. Clinton says on her website that community college should be tuition free for everyone. Guess what? You are going to pay for it. There is no question about it, Hillary stands for big government, big taxation, less personal freedom and ultimately social disorder. Watch out as the vultures will eventually come home to nest in the stench-ridden vomit that spews into the streets of American towns and cities across this country that flow forth from the bowels of American liberalism. The face of this American liberalism is Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party. 



For the Working Class?

The next myth I want to address is the myth that the Democrats are for the working class people. How many times have we heard Obama and Hillary talk about the middle class being taxed too much? Guess what? Under Obama the middle class taxes have gone up, not down. For example, the “affordable” healthcare act contains 20 different tax increases on the middle class. You just have not seen them yet! The tax credits the middle class once had were taken away under the Obama presidency, we have seen that. For example a person making $50000.00 a year saw $1000.00 of his disposable income be snatched up by the greedy talons of Obama’s despotic regime in 2013. Hillary has praised Obama and the programs he has implemented over his 8-year reign and she says she will continue on in his footsteps. We keep hearing the myth that the Democrats are for the working class, yet their actions tell us a different story. The only reason a Democrat will help a poor person is to buy a vote. They steal from the working class and enslave them with their own money! Not only is the working class individual paying more taxes, so are small business owners. The fact is, their big government ideology ensures that the middle class will never having a chance of keeping more of their hard earned money. This is just another example of the Janus faced character of Hillary’s political party and the liberal ideology that fuels it. 



The Verdict

Could I as a practicing Catholic ever vote for a Hillary Clinton? I think you can deduce that the answer is a resounding hell no. For that matter no American who believes in anything the founding fathers set up for our country would ever support such chicanery. Our country simply cannot afford another presidential term under Democratic Party rule. There is not much left standing after 8 years under the Obama regime. The vultures are circling overhead waiting for the complete demolition of the American way of life so they can feed on our dead carcasses, and Hillary is just the person to give them a perfect feeding ground.