Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Rigid Truths I: Sin, Grace and the Necessity of Deification

This is the first in a series of articles titled, 'Rigid Truths.' It is a response to the noxious nonsense being peddled in Catholic circles today that we not be rigid in our thinking about divine truths. On the contrary, we preach and teach Christ crucified, in light of God's unchangeable Revelation. The truths revealed by God are not fluid and changeable according to the whims of man. The first article focuses on the rigid reality of the necessity of God's grace and divine sonship in the true 'Imago Dei.'  


Sin, Grace and the Necessity of Deification
Matthew J. Bellisario 2018

And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26)

The Imago Dei

The book of Genesis reveals that man was made in the image and likeness of God, the Imago Dei.  From the earliest times the Church has viewed this image not primarily as something physical, but something contained in the substance of the soul, the intellect and the will. The ability of man to grasp principles, understand reality, deliberate on what he has learned and put them into free action is unique among all creatures. This is the basic essence of the Imago Dei.

The Imago Dei however goes to a deeper level in humanity than this basic explanation, because the reality of the intellect and freewill presuppose a teleology in man. By the mere fact that man can learn, and act freely tells us that man can act towards an ultimate end. The proper ultimate end of course being God: to whom all men are created to return. This reality must also mean that there is a way that man can realize this end. This is by divine filiation, made possible by the incarnation of Christ. This image of God in man also allows man to love and interact in friendship, the highest of these being the friendship of God. This friendship results in sonship.

Although all men are created in the Imago Dei, not all men are truly sons of God, for they must possess divine friendship to be so. Thus, St Thomas Aquinas viewed this imago in three distinct categories.[1] The first being man as he was created with an intellect and will, the second, those who are infused with supernatural grace and are thus sons of God, and finally those who are blessed in heaven reaching their end in the Beatific Vision. By grace and divine filial friendship then the imago is perfected and reaches its proper end in the Beatific Vision.

The Origin and Consequences of Sin

Knowing that man must possess this grace and divine filiation, we must consider the obstacles to obtaining this end. The primary obstacle that must be overcome is what the Church calls ‘Original Sin.’ Adam and Eve, our first parents in the order of creation, (actual historical figures,) passed on to us the consequences of their choice to disobey God: “…the teaching authority of the Church proposed with regard to original sin which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam in which through generation is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own" (Humani Generis 37).[2] Thus, we must understand that consequently as we are all sons of Adam, we are all subject to a fallen nature. The great Saint Ambrose of Milan wrote, “Before we are born we are stained by contagion, and before seeing the light we receive the injury of our very origin, we are conceived in iniquity.”[3] What are the consequences of this ‘Original Sin’?

Through the sin of Adam every person inherits the consequences of his sin, making every man after him sons of Satan rather than sons of God. Saint Irenaeus rightly wrote, “the first Adam became a vessel in his (Satan's) possession.”[4] Traditionally there are two major consequences that are passed onto everyone concerning their relationship with God. The first being a loss of ‘Original Justice’ and the second the inheritance of the propensity to sin, or concupiscence. The loss of Original Justice means that man is no longer a friend of God, no longer possesses a filial relationship with God and is thus in Satan’s possession like his father Adam. This is often referred to as a “state of death.”[5]  

Included in man’s fallen nature is the loss of grace which orders man’s love towards God, and thus we have a propensity to act for our own interests rather than God’s. We tend to put our will above the will of God. An additional consequence is that our intellect has been darkened and this contributes to our inclination to sin.

Although man is fallen, he is still free to act and although his intellect is weakened, it still possesses reason, common sense and conscience which allows him to choose good over evil. True Christianity does not teach the total depravity of man’s intellect and will as do many of the pretended “reformers” of the sixteenth century. Man can indeed act in natural virtue, is able to deduce basic truths about his existence and can deduce from reason the existence of God.[6] Although man can naturally come to these conclusions using his natural reason, there is no natural way for man to return to this filial relationship with God. Being that man has an intellect and can act to obtain an ultimate end, how is possible for this breach to be repaired with God?

 Sin, Grace and Deification in the Early Church

The idea of man’s separation from God by sin being repaired by the infusion of grace along with man’s cooperation with grace is a commonality among all the spiritual masters of the early Church. This reparation however, was not to be done in isolation, but by one’s participation in the Church established by Christ through the apostles. It is important to recognize the importance of Christ’s incarnation and the establishment of His Catholic Church as the foundation for man’s possible reconciliation with God. The only known way for man to become a son of God is through the Sacrament of Baptism. This Sacrament is the entry way to the Church by a special grace which cleanses the soul of ‘Original Sin’ and the loss of ‘Original Justice’. It also cleanses the soul of one’s personal sins and the consequences due to sin. Baptism can be received when a person is first born or later in life when grace disposes a person to receive it. In addition to these graces one also receives the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. Along with this man’s cooperation is needed to foster more grace. This is done by engaging the intellect in prayer and catechesis. As one grasps certain truths about God they begin to love Him more and begin to develop a habit of prayer. This habitual intellectual effort guided by the will and grace, combined with the reception of Most Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confirmation, one continues to grow in grace and the love of God. Thus, the intellect, will and grace work together for an end, holiness and union with God.

Once man is in the state of grace however, due to his concupiscence which remains after Baptism, he may still use his own will to sin against God. Adults may have developed habitual vice before coming into the Church which makes them weak against sins of habit. Certain sins known as mortal sins can separate one from the sonship of God after Baptism. If this happens a man can freely recognize his fault, repent and resolve not to commit the sin again and receive grace through the Sacrament of Confession. This Sacrament is known as a “second baptism” which reconciles one in the sonship of God. Knowing that we are still prone to sin, all the spiritual masters advise that we undergo voluntary asceticism to help subdue our impulse towards sin.

Man cooperating with God’s grace then begins to choke out sinful habits by practicing good habits, known as virtue. Man receives certain gifts of the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. The Cardinal Virtues of Prudence, Justice and Temperance along with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord all operate in man while he is in a state of grace. The effectiveness of which they operate in each person depends on how each person is disposed towards God. A high level of holiness through grace usually comes by a gradual process of God transforming the person through personal experience in prayer, meditation, reading Sacred Scripture, the reception of the Sacraments and ascetical practices ranging from the basic practice of the virtues to acts of penance. Saint Gregory the Great wrote that our growth in the spiritual life, “…depends on our disposition: to the degree that you develop your struggles for piety, to the same degree also the grandeur of your soul develops through these struggles…”[7] This inevitable struggle then is focused on our pursuit for the love of God.

There are three basic stages of this process called by various names by the spiritual fathers. They are sometimes broken up into smaller stages, but in general we have the beginner, the advanced and the perfected. They are also commonly called purification, illumination, and perfection. The beginning stage known as the purgative is where one begins to follow Christ, mostly out of servile fear and begins to purify themselves of vice. The second stage called the illumitive stage is where they have purged away mortal sin but still struggle with venial sin and thus enjoy the ways of God in an imperfect manner. The final stage known as the unitive way is where a man is perfected and lives only to please God and usually involves a high level of prayer known as contemplation. The process described is known as deification, divinization or theosis. All the spiritual fathers teach this transformation of the individual although using different terms to explain it. Clement of Alexandria illustrates this idea “...the Word of God became man, that thou mayest learn from man how man may become God.”[8] This mandatory process is how one partakes of the divine nature of God[9], which is the only possible means one can obtain the Beatific Vision. Although a man may do good things, even go to Mass, if they are not being deified through grace, they are not children of God. St. Augustine rightly says, “All who do not love God are strangers and antichrists. They might come to the churches, but they cannot be numbered among the children of God.[10]

Moral Theology and Deification in the Thomistic Tradition

In addition to the order of deification, it is important to study man’s moral action in relation to God as man’s ultimate end in Aquinas’ thought. This will shed further light on the previous quote of St. Augustine, whom Thomas quotes more than any other Father in his Summa Theologica. Although moral theology is sometimes presented as a type of ethics, this is a superficial presentation. Moral theology entails how man acts in relation to his proper ultimate end, God. The proper ordering of one’s actions is of the utmost importance when it comes to the salvation of man through deification. “St. Thomas teaches that everyone must order all of his actions to a single ultimate end.”[11] Man is either doing one of two things, directing all his actions with grace towards God or without grace to some lesser worldly end. Moral theology helps explain how man maintains his actions ordered towards God which makes deification possible.

Concerning sin, the Church teaches what actions are morally licit and which are not. Since acts of the intellect are directed to discovering truth[12], it is an obligation for man to inform his intellect as to what these consist. Those who do not seek out the truth of proper moral action are culpable for being negligent. Man’s habitual action aligns himself closely with what he perceives and wills to be his ultimate end. Those who orient themselves towards God will act for the good of that end, even if only virtually. The same for those whose ultimate end consists of something other than God.
Mortal sin, a sin involving grave matter, full knowledge and consent is a sin that objectively separates man from God. When this happens man’s ultimate end is no longer God, but something other than God. This constitutes in a loss of divine filiation. A person who commits adultery for example severs his or her relationship with God. Until, with the help of God’s grace, that person reconciles themselves through the Sacrament of Confession they will not inherit the Beatific Vision. They will instead spend the rest of eternity rejecting God in hell. Venial sin on the other hand, although spiritually damaging depending on its severity, does not sever man from the filial love of God. This means that man’s ultimate end remains oriented towards God, again even if their actions are only virtually directed towards this end, even regarding the act of venial sin.

Virtual acts are those that are not specifically directed at the end, but which make up a consistent order, or do not prohibit one from obtaining the ultimate end. For example, although a person may have as his end for the day as going to a guitar show, not all his actions are directly oriented towards this end. He may stop to eat on the way, and this does not prohibit him in obtaining this end. Other actions like driving a car to the event are directly related to the end, (again not obstructing) but assisting in completing that end. This explains why bad people can do “good” things. While a man may have as his ultimate end worldly pleasure, he may do an apparent good like giving money to the poor or helping a cripple across the street. This act however is not a true act of supernatural charity, only one of natural virtue, his orientation remains aimed at worldly pleasure. His act of feeding the poor is a virtual act aimed at his ultimate end of worldly pleasure. His direction can only be changed by an act which redirects his life towards God as the ultimate end. Much like repenting and going to confession reorients a person towards God, mortal sin does the opposite. In Thomas’ mind deification relies on the intellect and will of man directing his life towards God as his ultimate end and remaining directed to this end.

The Necessity of Deification in the Imago Dei

“…with fear and trembling work out your salvation. For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.” (Philippians 2:12-13) In closing we need to emphasize the necessity of deification in the salvation of the soul and man’s proper return to Imago Dei through divine sonship. Many Catholics today put their focus and struggle on the world. Little thought is given to putting effort and struggle into a relationship with God. If we were to ask most Catholics today if most people they knew who have died have inherited divine sonship in heaven most would reply in the affirmative. It is apparent, however, from our brief study that the Church teaches that salvation and the restoration of the true image and likeness of God in divine sonship is directly linked to the process of deification, which few today seem to put into practice. “There are lots of those who speak but few who do.”[13]

“[The Father’s Son], His offspring, the First-begotten Word, should descend to the creature, that is, to what had been moulded, and that it should be contained by Him; and, on the other hand, the creature should contain the Word, and ascend to Him, passing beyond the angels, and be made after the image and likeness of God.”[14]


Bibliography


Ambrose of Milan, Defense of the Prophet David
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon on 1 John
Aumann, Jordan, Christian Spirituality in the Catholic Tradition. San Francisco: Ignatius Press 1985
Cessario, Romanus, The Image of God and the Sacraments of the Church: The Practice of Divine Friendship. The Dominican Torch: Spring 2007
Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation 1
Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103323.htm
Jenson, Steven J., Sin A Thomistic Psychology. Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2018
Maximus the Confessor, Chapters on Love
Pius XII, Humanis Generis. St. Peter’s, August 12, 1950
Vatican I Council, Canon 2:1 On Revelation. April 24th, 1870



[1] Romanus Cessario, The Image of God and the Sacraments of the Church: The Practice of Divine Friendship (The Dominican Torch, Spring 2007)
[2] Pope Pius XII, Humanis Generis (St. Peter’s, August 12, 1950)
[5] Rev. A Nampon S.J. Catholic Doctrine as Defined by the Council of Trent (Philadelphis, Peter F. Cunningham & Son), 204
[7] Jordan Aumann, Christian Spirituality in the Catholic Tradition (San Francisco, Ignatius Press1985),  49
[8] Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation 1 (ANF 2:174)
[9] 2 Peter 1:4 http://www.drbo.org/chapter/68001.htm
[10] Saint Augustine, Sermon on 1 John 4:4-12
[11] Steven J. Jenson, Sin A Thomistic Psychology (Washington D.C., The Catholic University of America Press, 2018), 17
[12] Ibid P82
[13] Maximus the Confessor, Chapters on love 4:85
[14] Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies Book V Chapter 3

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The 7.5 Necessities for Perseverance in the Spiritual Life

The 7.5 Necessities for Perseverance in the Spiritual Life




Remember that simply beginning, putting one’s hand to the plow is nothing. Holy thoughts begin the plowing, and perseverance in virtue finishes it.” (St. Catherine of Siena)

1. Live in the Imago Dei and Direct Yourself to Your Ultimate End: We are created to be deified and perfected in the image of God. Man has an intellect, a will, and he can choose whom he loves. God is to be every man’s ultimate end to which he must dedicate his life. He is to be our first love. This needs to be a daily conscience choice. Everything we do whether it is of primary intention or virtual, must be oriented towards this end, no exceptions.  This presumes one is in a state of grace, that he uses his intellect to learn and deliberate, then to act according to his will, to love God.  “...the Word of God became man, that thou mayest learn from man how man may become God.” (Clement of Alexandria)

2. Participate in Your Deification: To be perfected or deified you must repent for your sins and exercise some form of ascetic penance. This means that you actively examine your life daily and confess your sins regularly. It requires that you do some form of penance in addition to that given by the priest. This is usually achieved by starting small and gradually working your way to more intense asceticism in loving God more. One then becomes gradually more holy. This means that you must move from servile fear, to loving God. There is no plateau in the spiritual life. “Come! Shovel out the filth from your soul and body!... No more filth! No more impurity! Run Back to your Creator. Open your soul’s 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…” (St. Catherine of Siena)

3. Read Sacred Scripture: Scripture is the most important source for meditation. Every spiritual master in the Church attests to the importance of reading and meditating on Scripture daily. “Let sleep find you holding your Bible, and when your head nods let it be resting on the sacred page.” (St. Jerome)

4. Be Detached: You must detach yourself from worldly things. This goes back to The End of which you orient your life. Your life will be oriented to one of two things, God or something other than God. We fail to practice mastery over our attachments when we use them in excess of our needs; for purposes other than that for which they were intended; as ends rather than as means to a legitimate end. “The soul that is attached to anything however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty of divine union.” (St. John of the Cross)

5. Love Christ in The Eucharist: The Eucharist is the center of our faith and spiritual nourishment. There is no other source of grace greater on this side of heaven.  For this grace to be effective we must be well disposed to receive it. This means that if we do not have a daily prayer routine we will most likely not be disposed to receive Our Lord. We must be in a state of grace and disposed by daily prayer, otherwise going to Mass can lack love and be done out of mere obligation. “All who do not love God are strangers and antichrists. They might come to the churches, but they cannot be numbered among the children of God.” (St. Augustine)

6. Live in Grace and Virtue: We must work on exercising virtue and rooting out vice. We must be vigilant not only in fighting our predominant sin, but in practicing virtue while in a state of grace to choke out sin. We need to build spiritual habits. Virtue also leads evangelizing others. “Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you.” (St. Ignatius of Loyola)

7. Act in Daily Prayer and Meditation: We must strive in prayer asking for all the gifts we need to grow in love of God. First vocal prayer, then meditative, and finally contemplative. Our Lady asks us to pray the Rosary every day, its not an option. We must have at least 15 or 20 minutes each day to spend with God in prayer not including the Rosary. Spiritual reading should include at least the Scriptures. One should also have a strong devotion to Our Lady and the Saints. “The door to the castle is prayer and reflection,” (St. Teresa of Avila)

Bonus 7.5 Don’t be a Pansy! To live without Faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for Truth, that is not living, but existing. (Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati)


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Marie's Story: Spirituality and Deification in the Movie


I just finished watching what I consider to be one on the most spiritually moving movies I have seen in a long time. This a French movie with English subtitles, but don't let that dissuade you from watching this movie. This is a true story about a deaf and blind girl who is taken into a nun's school for the deaf and blind. Although the sisters were familiar with taking in girls and women who had one of the maladies, Marie was afflicted with both. She cannot see and she cannot hear and she was born this way. Her parents are not able to handle her and cannot educate her so they ask the nuns, who at first were reluctant to take her in.

Sister Marguerite the other main character in the story, eventually convinces mother superior to let her take the girl into the school. She feels it is her mission before dying, being that she is terminally ill. This was an incredible and draining challenge on Sister Marguerite. Nonetheless, she sees that the life of this girl is trapped and in need of the love of God as well as the need for her to be able to communicate and have a fuller life in community. The first part of the movie shows the agonizing challenge of both characters, Marie who has been pulled out of her home, deaf and blind, and Sister who strains to get through to her, to help her. The two eventually form a deep friendship as Marie learns to communicate and eventually learns about God.

There is a huge spiritual takeaway from this movie. We can each put ourselves in the place of Marie as the blind and deaf, and God in the place of Sister Marguerite. As Marie struggled, even at times very violently to Sister Marguerite, we also do the same with God. In a sense, God brings us, the deaf and the blind kicking and screaming out of original sin, to bring us to Him. This manner of God using His grace to get through to us is incomprehensible, since we are so dense and prideful. When watching the conversion of Marie, it is also something that is incomprehensible yet very real. Marie's transformation in the movie can be symbolically taken for any soul that is transformed by God's grace. Although the religious tone of the movie is not as prominent as I would have liked to see, for example, I would liked to have seen the religious practices of the sisters, etc, I still highly recommend the movie. It was well done and it can be watched by the whole family. I hope that more movies are made like this one.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Holiness, Asceticism and Taking Back the Church

Are we taking the spiritual life seriously and are we willing to make the spiritual sacrifices necessary to take back the Church? Let's talk about it. 


Do not forsake prayer, for just as the body becomes weak when it is deprived of food, so also the soul when it is deprived of prayer draws nigh to weakness and noetic death.
(St. Gennadius of Constantinople, The Golden Chain, 44)

Whoever hates his sins will stop sinning; and whoever confesses them will receive remission. A man can not abandon the habit of sin if he does not first gain enmity toward sin, nor can he receive remission of sin without confession of sin. For the confession of sin is the cause of true humility.
(St. Isaac the Syrian, Homilies, 71)

Do not disdain the commandment to love, for through it you become a son of God, and when you break it, you become a son of Gehenna. 
(St. Maximus the Confessor, Chapters on Love, 4:20)

The passions are uprooted and turned to flight by constant occupation of the mind with God. This is a sword that puts them to death... Whoever always thinks about God drives the demons away from himself and pulls up the seeds of their malice. 
(St. Isaac the Syrian, Homilies, 8)

The Church Militant: No Battle No Crown!

When there is no battle, there is no Christendom. When there is no battle, there is no true Church of God, no true Catholic Church.

I thought this talk given by Bishop Athanasius Schneider was very good and should be watched by all faithful Catholics.  I believe these trying times are being used by God to weed out the lukewarm in the Church. This is a war, you are either on the side of Christ the King or you are on the side of Satan. There is no more sitting on the fence. Pick a side! The text can be found on this link, or the video is below. God bless Bishop Schneider! May God send more like him.


“To refrain from doing battle for Jesus Christ amounts to fighting against Him; He Himself assures us “He will deny before His Father in heaven those who shall have refused to confess Him on earth” (Luke 9:26)” (Leo XIII, Encyclical Sapientiae christianae, 43).

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Letters to Pope Gregory XI: St Catherine of Siena

Read these two letters that St Catherine of Siena wrote to Pope Gregory XI carefully and see how they may apply today in the Church. The Church in her time also had a serious problem with the hierarchy, including the pope. Food for thought.



In the Name of Jesus Christ crucified and of sweet Mary:

To you, most reverend and beloved father in Christ Jesus, your unworthy, poor, miserable daughter Catherine, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, writes in His precious Blood; with desire to see you a fruitful tree, full of sweet and mellow fruits, and planted in fruitful earth--for if it were out of the earth the tree would dry up and bear no fruit--that is, in the earth of true knowledge of yourself. For the soul that knows itself humbles itself, because it sees nothing to be proud of; and ripens the sweet fruit of very ardent charity, recognizing in itself the unmeasured goodness of God; and aware that it is not, it attributes all its being to Him who Is. Whence, then, it seems that the soul is constrained to love what God loves and to hate what He hates.

Oh, sweet and true knowledge, which dost carry with thee the knife of hate, and dost stretch out the hand of holy desire, to draw forth and kill with this hate the worm of self-love--a worm that spoils and gnaws the root of our tree so that it cannot bear any fruit of life, but dries up, and its verdure lasts not! For if a man loves himself, perverse pride, head and source of every ill, lives in him, whatever his rank may be, prelate or subject. If he is lover of himself alone--that is, if he loves himself for his own sake and not for God--he cannot do other than ill, and all virtue is dead in him. Such a one is like a woman who brings forth her sons dead. And so it really is; for he has not had the life of charity in himself, and has cared only for praise and self-glory, and not for the name of God. I say, then: if he is a prelate, he does ill, because to avoid falling into disfavour with his fellow-creatures--that is, through self-love--in which he is bound by self-indulgence--holy justice dies in him. For he sees his subjects commit faults and sins, and pretends not to see them and fails to correct them; or if he does correct them, he does it with such coldness and lukewarmness that he does not accomplish anything, but plasters vice over; and he is always afraid of giving displeasure or of getting into a quarrel. All this is because he loves himself. Sometimes men like this want to get along with purely peaceful means. I say that this is the very worst cruelty which can be shown. If a wound when necessary is not cauterized or cut out with steel, but simply covered with ointment, not only does it fail to heal, but it infects everything, and many a time death follows from it.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Church's Members Need To Decide Why They Are Here

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire!” St. Catherine of Siena

Why did many of the Jews reject Christ while He walked this earth? They expected a politician that would free them from the Romans. They were focused on worldly affairs and not divine affairs. They did not want a savior, they wanted Jesus to adhere to their political ideology. Fast forward to our time. The Catholic Church as a body is in serious crisis at this moment. There is no need to compare our crisis with any of the past crises in the Church, we have ours now and it is a real one. It is this one that we must bear. The question we must ask ourselves is why we are here as the Body of Christ. As both laity and the hierarchy this is a question that needs answering.

First, we are not here as the Body of Christ to promote political ideologies which are now so popular. We hear ad nauseam about immigration, capital punishment, healthcare, and the environment for example. We are not here to promote a unified world saving ideology that seeks to align all religions as if they are all equal in nature and all leading to the same end, world harmony. The world has become the focus. We are trying to create our own heaven on earth using worldly means! This can only end in disaster. The bishops and the laity have largely been consumed with political and worldly ideologies.

Why are we really here as the Body of Christ?

I can sum this answer up in one paragraph. We are here for the salvation of souls, nothing less. This is the first and primary goal of all the members of the Church. Does this desired end have an effect on the world? Yes, but only in so far as we are holy men and women living the gospel and evangelizing. There is no need to focus on political ideologies when God will move men according to the Holy Spirit when they are in the state of grace. This also means politicians. We don't need worldly politicians, we need converted politicians that are in the state of grace and only then can effect society in a truly positive manner. Each and every person in their state of life is called to evangelize and live a life of virtue in a state of grace. This is made possible in the one true Church, the Catholic Church. It is made possible by the grace provided by God in His Sacraments, fortified by prayer and penance. The world can be no better place than if it is filled with grace filled men and women. There is no other possible answer than the conversion of souls. Everyone in the Church needs to decide if they are here for God or the world. If they truly want the world to a better place that first fosters a grace filled life with God, then they will choose God. If they want the world, then they can have what they have now, disorder, sin and chaos.

Eating and drinking don't make friendships - such friendship even robbers and murderers have. But if we are friends, if we truly care for one another, let us help one another spiritually. . . Let us hinder those things that lead our friends away to hell. - St. John Chrysostom


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Pascendi Gregis: Saint Pius X

This encyclical is extremely important for our time. It is critical now that Catholics be familiar with this document. You can listen by the video below, or click here to read.

Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the Modernists, and clearly flows from their principles. For among the chief points of their teaching is the following, which they deduce from the principle of vital immanence, namely, that religious formulas if they are to be really religious and not merely intellectual speculations, ought to be living and to live the life of the religious sense. This is not to be understood to mean that these formulas, especially if merely imaginative, were to be invented for the religious sense. Their origin matters nothing, any more than their number or quality. What is necessary is that the religious sense — with some modification when needful — should vitally assimilate them. In other words, it is necessary that the primitive formula be accepted and sanctioned by the heart; and similarly the subsequent work from which are brought forth the .secondary formulas must proceed under the guidance of the heart. Hence it comes that these formulas, in order to be living, should be, and should remain, adapted to the faith and to him who believes. Wherefore, if for any reason this adaptation should cease to exist, they lose their first meaning and accordingly need to be changed. In view of the fact that the character and lot of dogmatic formulas are so unstable, it is no wonder that Modernists should regard them so lightly and in such open disrespect, and have no consideration or praise for anything but the religious sense and for the religious life.