Tuesday, October 31, 2006

SCRIPTURE CORNER

CHARITY AND THE CONTRARY VICES
fragments from "Scripture by Topic" - Originally titled "The Divine Armory of Holy Scripture" - 1943 edition - Angelus Press 2006

EXAMPLES OF CHARITY TOWARD OUR NEIGHBOUR part 2

With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer. Luke 22:15
As the Father hath loved me, I also have loveth you. John 15:9
I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual grace, to strengthen you: that you is to say, that I may be comforted together in you by that which is common to us both, your faith and mine. Rom. 1:11
And I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that I have often purposed to come unto you, and have been hindered hitherto, that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. Rom. 1:13
To the Greeks and to the barbarians, to the wise and to the unwise, I am a debtor. So (as much as is in me) I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are at Rome. Rom. 1:14
Whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all, that I might gain the more. And I became to the Jews a Jew, that I might gain the Jews. To them that are under the law, as if I were under the law (whereas myself was not under the law), that I might gain them that were under the law. To them that were without the law, as if I were without the law (whereas I was not without the law of Christ), that I might gain them that were without the law. To the weak i became weak, that I might gain the weak. I became all things to all men, that I might save all. And I do all things for the gospel's sake, that i may be made partaker thereof. 1Cor 9:19-23 Read whole post......
SAINTS OF CARMEL TEACHING

ST JOHN OF THE CROSS -
ASCEND OF MOUNT CARMEL

BOOK III, CHAPTER XIX, part 3

7. The third degree of this privative evil is a complete falling away from God, neglect to fulfil His law in order not to lose worldly things and blessings, and relapse into mortal sin through covetousness. And this third degree is described in the words following the passage quoted above, which says: 'He forsook God his Maker.' In this degree are included all who have the faculties of the soul absorbed in things of the world and in riches and commerce, in such a way that they care nothing for fulfilling the obligations of the law of God. And they are very forgetful and dull with respect to that which touches their salvation, and have a correspondingly greater ardour and shrewdness with respect to things of the world. So much so that in the Gospel Christ calls them children of this world, and says of them that they are more prudent and acute in their affairs than are the children of light in their own. And thus they are as nothing in God's business, whereas in the world's business they are everything. And these are the truly avaricious, who have extended and dispersed their desire and joy on things created, and this with such affection that they cannot be satisfied; on the contrary, their desire and their thirst grow all the more because they are farther withdrawn from the only source that could satisfy them, which is God. For it is of these that God Himself speaks through Jeremias, saying: 'They have forsaken Me, Who am the fountain of living water, and they have digged to themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water.' And this is the reason why the covetous man finds naught among the creatures wherewith he can quench his thirst, but only that which increases it. These persons are they that fall into countless kinds of sin through love of temporal blessings and the evils which afflict them are innumerable. And of these David says: Transierunt in affectum cordis.
8. The fourth degree of this privative evil is indicated in the last words of our passage, which says: 'And he departed from God his Salvation.' To this degree come those of the third degree whereof we have just spoken. For, through his not giving heed to setting his heart upon the law of God because of temporal blessings, the soul of the covetous man departs far from God according to his memory, understanding and will, forgetting Him as though He were not his God, which comes to pass because he has made for himself a god of money and of temporal blessings, as Saint Paul says when he describes avarice as slavery to idols. For this fourth degree leads a man as far as to forget God, and to set his heart, which he should have set formally upon God, formally upon money, as though he had no god beside. Read whole post......

Monday, October 30, 2006

SAINTS OF CARMEL TEACHING

ST JOHN OF THE CROSS -
ASCEND OF MOUNT CARMEL

BOOK III, CHPATER XIX, part 2

4. Holiness and good judgment suffice not to save a man from falling into this evil, if he gives way to concupiscence or rejoicing in temporal things. For this reason God warned us by uttering these words through Moses: 'Thou shalt take no gifts, which blind even the prudent.' And this was addressed particularly to those who were to be judges; for these have need to keep their judgment clear and alert, which they will be unable to do if they covet and rejoice in gifts. And for this cause likewise God commanded Moses to appoint judges from those who abhorred avarice, so that their judgment should not be blunted with the lust of the passions. And thus he says not only that they should not desire it, but that they should abhor it. For, if a man is to be perfectly defended from the affection of love, he must preserve an abhorrence of it, defending himself by means of the one thing against its contrary. The reason why the prophet Samuel, for example, was always so upright and enlightened a judge is that (as he said in the Book of the Kings) he had never received a gift from any man.
5. The second degree of this privative evil arises from the first, which is indicated in the words following the passage already quoted, namely: 'He grew fat and became swollen and gross.' And thus this second degree is dilation of the will through the acquisition of greater liberty in temporal things; which consists in no longer attaching so much importance to them, nor troubling oneself about them, nor esteeming so highly the joy and pleasure that come from created blessings. And this will have arisen in the soul from its having in the first place given rein to rejoicing; for, through giving way to it, the soul has become swollen with it, as is said in that passage, and that fatness of rejoicing and desire has mused it to dilate and extend its will more freely toward the creatures. And this brings with it great evils. For this second degree causes the soul to withdraw itself from the things of God, and from holy practices, and to take no pleasure in them, because it takes pleasure in other things and devotes itself continually to many imperfections and follies and to joys and vain pleasures.
6. And when this second degree is consummated, it withdraws a man wholly from the practices which he followed continually and makes his whole mind and covetousness to be given to secular things. And those who are affected by this second degree not only have their judgment and understanding darkened so that they cannot recognize truth and justice, like those who are in the first degree, but they are also very weak and lukewarm and careless in acquiring knowledge of, and in practising, truth and justice, even as Isaias says of them in these words: 'They all love gifts and allow themselves to be carried away by rewards, and they judge not the orphan, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them that they may give heed to it.' This comes not to pass in them without sin, especially when to do these things is incumbent upon them because of their office. For those who are affected by this degree are not free from malice as are those of the first degree. And thus they withdraw themselves more and more from justice and virtues, since their will reaches out more and more in affection for creatures. Wherefore, the characteristics of those who are in this second degree are great lukewarmness in spiritual things and failure to do their duty by them; they practise them from formality or from compulsion or from the habit which they have formed of practising them, rather than because they love them. Read whole post......
DEVOTION CORNER

"My Imitation of Christ"
by Thomas a Kempis
Revised translation edited by Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Imprimatur Thomas Edmundus Molloy, Archbishop of Brooklyn, 1954

Book One - useful adminishes for a Spiritual Life

Chapter 6-Inordinate Affections

1. Whensoever a man disires anything inordinately he is presently disquieted within himself. The proud and covetous are never easy. The poor and humble of spirit live in much peace. The man that is not yet perfectly dead to himself is soon tempted and overcome by trifling things. He that is weak in spirit, and in a manner yet carnal and inclined to sensible things, can hardly withdraw himself wholly from earthly disires. And therefore he is often sad when he withdraws himself from them and is easily moved to anger if any one thwarts him.
2. And if he has pursued his inclinations he is immediately tormented with the guilt of his conscience, becasue he has followed his passions, which helps him not at all toward the peace he sought for. It is then by resisting our passions that we are to find true peace of heart, and not by being slaves to them. There is no peace, therefore in the heart of a carnal man, nor in a man that is addicted to outward things; but only in a fervent spiritual man. Read whole post......

Sunday, October 29, 2006

DEVOTION CORNER

"My Imitation of Christ"
by Thomas a Kempis
Revised translation edited by Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Imprimatur Thomas Edmundus Molloy, Archbishop of Brooklyn, 1954

Book One - useful adminishes for a Spiritual Life

Chapter 5 Reading the Holy Scripture

1.Truth is to be sought for in Holy Scripture, not in eloquence. All Holy Scripture ought to be read with that spirit with which it was made. We must read rather than seek for profit in the Scriptures than for subtlety of speech. We ought as willingly to read devout and simple books as those that are high and profound. Let no authority of the writer offend thee, whether he was of little or of great learning, but le the love of pure truth lead thee to read. Inquire not whoc said this, but attend to what is said.

2. Men pass away, "but the truth of the Lord remaineth forever"Ps. CXVI 2 God speaks in many ways to us, without respect of persons. Our curiosity often hinders us in reading the Scriptures when we attempt to understand and discuss that which should be simply pass over. If thou wilt receive profit read with humility, simplicity, and faith; and seek not at any time the fame of being learned. "Willingly inquire after, and hear with silence the words of the saints; and be pleased with the parables of the ancients, for they are not spoken without cause". - Ecclus. xxxii. 9 Read whole post......
CHRIST THE KING
meditation after "With the Church" - ed by Fr Goosens

Last Sunday of October

King of kings and Lord of lords

Christ is both God and man; Son of God, he became man for our sakes. As God, his power is both sovereign and eternal. Thanks to its union with the Godhead, his humanity is royal, with a royalty that surpasses all others. Since his humanity and his divinity make one Person in Christ, it follows that he is King of kings and Lord of lords, to whom all nations have been given for his heritage, and who will possess the ends of the world. He rules from sea to sea. Christ is our King; royalty is his birthright. His kingship forms part of his nature. he rules over all creation by a right which is not that of force or of anything that is extraneous to himself.
It is equally true that it is not only thanks to his birthright that Christ is our sovereign Lord. His reign is also founded on his victory over Satan, won in deadly strife at the cost of his own blood and by the merits of his sacrifice. Man, born in original sin, lived under the yoke of the power of darkness. Christ, because he loved us, broke that yoke, when in a bloody battle he cast the prince of darkness from his throne. In that combat, we were the stake; it was our soul that he won back from the power of Satan. Formerly, kings of the earth wore a purple mantle, the sign that they were ready to give their life for the ir subjects. Who has more rihgt to wear it than our King, who gave the last drop of his blood for his people? "Behold your King!" What prince can history show us who has more right to the love of his people than Christ, the King of kings? All the titles that nations have ever given to their princes are his by right. He alone among the mightiest is the Almighty. Of his kingdom there is no end; to him is glory and power through all the ages.
He is truly "the Great"; through all the ages his people have greeted him, Tu solus altissimus!
He is "the Good", far above all who have been so called; we call him Father.
He is "the Strong"; Solomon, the wisest of the kings of the earth, says of him: "Behold your King! He is the All-highest, the Almighty, the All-best, the Father who dwells in our true Fatherland."
St Francis, in his Canticle of the Sun, sings:

"O all-highest, almighty, all-good Lord!
To you be praise and glory and honour!
To you be all blessing, for you alone are worthy.
We are not worthy even to name you!"


"My kingdom is not of this world!" His kingdom is of a higher order, a more solid construction than those of earth. The law of the kingdom knows but one commandment; its Magna Carta is contained in one word: Love! Love God above all things and your neighbour as yourself.
Hia kingdom is a kingdom of love. How can the good Shepherd, the good Samaritan, the generous Father, reign otherwise than by love?
His speach from the throne spoke of salvation. In his kingdom there is but one judge, who is as good as he is wise, as almighty as he is good.
Faithful and True is his name; his judgement is just. On the bborders of his robe is written, "King of kings and Lord of lords". He is the highest Sovereign, to whom we must all submit.

"Almighty, everlasting God, who hast willed that in thy beloved Son, the universal King, all things should be made new, grant in thy loving-kindness that all the peoples of the earth, now torn asunder by the wound of sin, may be sundued to the gentle sway of him who is God. living and reigning with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen."

*********

THE KINGSHIP OF CHRIST

The Kingdom of Heaven — Holy Church — is seen bringing forth out of her treasures “things new and old.” Although she can never add new dogmas to the Deposit of Faith entrusted to her, as the ages go by she is seen understanding more perfectly and explaining more fully those treasures in her keeping. She is a living body, not a statue, and she can develop, although she can never change her nature. Hence, guided by the Holy Spirit of Him Who has promised to be with her not merely for a few centuries but unto the end of the world, she defines or emphasizes certain points of doctrine as she sees fit, considering the needs of the times. We have an example in the institution of the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ by the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Pius XI, in the Jubilee Year 1925, and explained to the faithful in the encyclical Quas Primas.

Christians have ever hailed our Divine Lord as King of King and Lord of Lords. It was as a King that the representatives of the Eastern world came to adore Him in the manger; it was as a King, albeit not knowing what he did, that the official representative of the Western world lifted Him up upon the Cross. The patriarchs and prophets of the old dispensation foretold His royalty; He spoke constantly of His kingdom: when asked plainly whether He were in truth a King by the representative of Caesar, He acknowledged that such indeed He was, though of a kingdom not of this world.

“His Kingship is founded upon the ineffable Hypostatic Union. It is spiritual, and concerned with spiritual things. It is opposed to none other than to that of Satan, and to the powers of darkness. Christ is King over angels and men; King over men’s hearts and wills; His Kingship demands of His subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice and, more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross.”

Yet though His is a spiritual kingdom, opposed to no just earthly polity, “it would be a grave error to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs,” since by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to Him by the Father, all things are in His power. All men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In Him is the salvation of the individual, in Him is the salvation of the society.

Today we sadly behold “a world undone,” largely paganized in principles and outlook, and, in recent years, in one country even glorying in the name “pagan.” At the best, governments mostly ignore God; and at the worst, openly fight against Him, as we of today are witnessing. Even the statesmen’s well-meant efforts to find a remedy for present ills and, above all, to secure world peace, prove futile because, whereas peace is from Christ, and possible only in the Kingdom of Christ, His Name is never mentioned throughout their deliberations or their documents. Christ is kept out of the State schools and seats of higher education; and the rising generations seem to be taught anything and everything save to know, love and serve Him. Art and literature all too frequently reflect the same tendencies.

And since the spirit of evil reigns inevitably wherever the spirit of Christ has ceased to reign, in public and in private men are flouting the moral laws of God, and some of the worst abominations of ancient paganism are becoming matters of every-day life. Moreover, be it remembered, modern paganism is worse than that of the ancient world, in that the former knows what it does as the latter did not. There is now an intense, positive hatred of Jesus Christ in the militant atheist, which differs in kind from the attitude of the fiercest Roman or Eastern persecutor: “If I had not come and spoken to them... if I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would have not sin: but now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father.”

Ever as practical as she is supernatural, the Church is not content with merely deploring the evil, nor even with counteracting it by sound teaching. She would also make definite reparation to the Divine Majesty thus denied and defied; to Him Whose royalty is slighted and insulted. Something must be done by those who, in a measure, understand love, in order to atone for those who do not. “To repair the crime of lese-divinity, which denies God’s rights over human society Whose Author He is, we must exalt Jesus Christ as King over all individuals, families and peoples. If His universal royalty be proclaimed and His reign in society recognized, one of the principal evils of the modern world — the secularizing of public and private life — will be attacked at its roots.”

“To this end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ. For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religious, far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by an pronouncement, however weighty, of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few, and those the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year — in fact forever. The Church’s teachings affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man’s nature... We have commanded its observance on a Sunday, in order that not only the clergy may perform their duty by saying Mass and reciting the Office, but that the laity, too, free from their daily tasks, may in a spirit of holy joy give ample testimony of their obedience and subjection to Christ... that they may so order their lives as to be worthy, faithful and obedient subjects of the Divine King.

http://www.stmichaels.org/stmichaels/kingship.htm Read whole post......

Saturday, October 28, 2006

DEVOTION CORNER

"My Imitation of Christ"
by Thomas a Kempis
Revised translation edited by Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Imprimatur Thomas Edmundus Molloy, Archbishop of Brooklyn, 1954

Book One - useful adminishes for a Spiritual Life

Chapter 4
Prudence in What We Do

1. We must not be easy giving credit to every word and suggestion, but carefully and leisurely weigh the matter according to God. Alas! such is our weakness, that we often more readily believe and speak of another that which is evil than that which is good. But perfect men do not easily give credit to every report, because they know man's weakness, which is very prone to evil and very subject to fail in words.

2.It is great wisdom not to be rash in our doings; nor to maintain too obstinately our own opinion: nor should we believe every man's word; nor presently tell others the things which we have heard or believed. Consult with a wise and consientious man - Tobias IV. 19, and seek rather to be instructed by one who is better than to follow thine own inventions. A good life makes a man wise according to God, and expert in many things. The more humble a man is in himself, and more subject to God, the more wise will he be in all things and the more at peace. Read whole post......
SAINTS OF CARMEL TEACHING

ST JOHN OF THE CROSS -
ASCEND OF MOUNT CARMEL

BOOK III, CHAPTER XVIII, part 2

4. Neither is there cause for rejoicing in children because they are many, or rich, or endowed with natural graces and talents and the good things of fortune, but only if they serve God. For Absalom, the son of David, found neither his beauty nor his riches nor his lineage of any service to him because he served not God. Hence it was a vain thing to have rejoiced in such a son. For this reason it is also a vain thing for men to desire to have children, as do some who trouble and disturb everyone with their desire for them, since they know not if such children will be good and serve God. Nor do they know if their satisfaction in them will be turned into pain; nor if the comfort and consolation which they should have from them will change to disquiet and trial; and the honour which they should bring them, into dishonour; nor if they will cause them to give greater offence to God, as happens to many. Of these Christ says that they go round about the sea and the land to enrich them and to make them doubly the children of perdition which they are themselves.
5. Wherefore, though all things smile upon a man and all that he does turns out prosperously, he ought to have misgivings rather than to rejoice; for these things increase the occasion and peril of his forgetting God. For this cause Solomon says, in Ecclesiastes, that he was cautious: 'Laughter I counted error and to rejoicing I said, "Why art thou vainly deceived?"' Which is as though he had said: When things smiled upon me I counted it error and deception to rejoice in them; for without doubt it is a great error and folly on the part of a man if he rejoice when things are bright and pleasant for him, knowing not of a certainty that there will come to him thence some eternal good. The heart of the fool, says the Wise Man, is where there is mirth, but that of the wise man is where there is sorrow. For mirth blinds the heart and allows it not to consider things and ponder them; but sadness makes a man open his eyes and look at the profit and the harm of them. And hence it is that, as he himself says, anger is better than laughter. Wherefore it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting; for in the former is figured the end of all men, as the Wise Man says likewise.
6. It would therefore be vanity for a woman or her husband to rejoice in their marriage when they know not clearly that they are serving God better thereby. They ought rather to feel confounded, since matrimony is a cause, as Saint Paul says, whereby each one sets his heart upon the other and keeps it not wholly with God. Wherefore he says: 'If thou shouldst find thyself free from a wife, desire not to seek a wife; while he that has one already should walk with such freedom of heart as though he had her not.' This, together with what we have said concerning temporal blessings, he teaches us himself, in these words: 'This is certain; as I say to you, brethren, the time is short; it remaineth that they also who have wives be as if they had none; and they that weep, as them that weep not; and they that rejoice, as them that rejoice not; and they that buy, as them that possess not; and they that use this world, as them that use it not.' All this he says to show us that we must not set our rejoicings upon any other thing than that which tends to the service of God, since the rest is vanity and a thing which profits not; for joy that is not according to God can bring the soul no profit. Read whole post......
SAINTS SIMON and JUDE
Apostles and Martyrs († First Century)

Spiritual Bouquet: It is God who works in you both to will and to accomplish. Phil. 2:13

Simon was a simple Galilean, a brother of Jesus, as the ancients called one’s close relatives — aunts, uncles, first cousins; he was one of the Saviour’s four first cousins, with James the Less, Jude and Joseph, all sons of Mary, the wife of Alpheus, or Cleophas, either name being a derivative of the Aramaic Chalphai. The latter was the brother of Saint Joseph, according to tradition. All the sons of this family were raised at Nazareth near the Holy Family. (See the Gospel of Saint Matthew 13:53-58.) Simon, Jude and James were called by Our Lord to be Apostles, pillars of His Church, and Joseph the Just was His loyal disciple. Saint Simon the Zealot or the Zealous, was the name this Apostle bore among the twelve. He preached in Egypt, Mauritania (Spain), and Lybia, leaving behind him the fertile hills of Galilee, where he had been engaged in the healthful cultivation of the vineyards and olive gardens. He later rejoined his brother, Saint Jude, in Persia, where they labored and died together. At first they were respected by the king, for they had manifested power over two ferocious tigers who had terrorized the land. With the king, sixty thousand Persians became Christians, and churches rose over the ruins of the idolatrous temples.
But the ancient enemy, who never sleeps, rose up, and when the two went elsewhere the pagans commanded them to sacrifice to the sun. Both Apostles, just before that time, had seen Our Lord amid His Angels. Simon said to Jude, “One of the Angels said to me, I will take you out of the temple and bring the building down upon their heads. I answered him, Let it not be so; perhaps some of them will be converted.” They prayed for mercy for the people and offered their lives to God. Saint Simon told the crowd that their gods were only demons, and ordered them to come out of the statues, which they did, revealing themselves under hideous forms. But the idolaters fell on the Apostles and massacred them, while they blessed God and prayed for their murderers.

Saint Jude has left us a short but powerful epistle, written after the death of his brother James, bishop of Jerusalem, and addressed to the new Christians being tempted by false brethren and heretics.

Reflection: Zeal is an ardent love which makes a man fearless in defense of God’s honor, and earnest to make known the truth at all costs. If we desire to be children of the Saints, we must be zealous for the Faith.

after www.magnificat.ca

Today's image depicts Our Lady with St Simon and Jude Read whole post......

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

SAINTS OF CARMEL TEACHING

ST JOHN OF THE CROSS -
ASCEND OF MOUNT CARMEL

BOOK III, CHAPTER XVIII, part 1

Which treats of joy with respect to temporal blessings. Describes how joy in them must be directed to God.

THE first kind of blessing of which we have spoken is temporal. And by temporal blessings we here understand riches, rank, office and other things that men desire; and children, relatives, marriages, etc.: all of which are things wherein the will may rejoice. But it is clear how vain a thing it is for men to rejoice in riches, titles, rank, office and other such things which they are wont to desire; for, if a man were the better servant of God for being rich, he ought to rejoice in riches; but in fact they are rather a cause for his giving offence to God, even as the Wise Man teaches, saying: 'Son, if thou be rich, thou shalt not be free from sin.' Although it is true that temporal blessings do not necessarily of themselves cause sin, yet, through the frailty of its affections, the heart of man habitually clings to them and fails God (which is a sin, for to fail God is sin); it is for this cause that the Wise Man says: 'Thou shalt not be free from sin.' For this reason the Lord described riches, in the Gospel, as thorns, in order to show that he who touches them with the will shall be wounded by some sin. And that exclamation which He makes in the Gospel, saying: 'How hardly shall they that have riches enter the Kingdom of the heavens' -- that is to say, they that have joy in riches -- clearly shows that man must not rejoice in riches, since he exposes himself thereby to such great peril. And David, in order to withdraw us from this peril, said likewise: 'If riches abound, set not your heart on them.' And I will not here quote further testimony on so clear a matter.
2. For in that case I should never cease quoting Scripture, nor should I cease describing the evils which Solomon imputes to riches in Ecclesiastes. Solomon was a man who had possessed great riches, and, knowing well what they were, said: 'All things that are under the sun are vanity of vanities, vexation of spirit and vain solicitude of the mind.' And he that loves riches, he said, shall reap no fruit from them. And he adds that riches are kept to the hurt of their owner, as we see in the Gospel, where it was said from Heaven to the man that rejoiced because he had kept many fruits for many years: 'Fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee to give account thereof, and whose shall be that which thou has provided?' And finally, David teaches us the same, saying: 'Let us have no envy when our neighbour becomes rich, for it will profit him nothing in the life to come;' meaning thereby that we might rather have pity on him.
3. It follows, then, that a man must neither rejoice in riches when he has them, nor when his brother has them, unless they help them to serve God. For if ever it is allowable to rejoice in them, it will be when they are spent and employed in the service of God, for otherwise no profit will be derived from them. And the same is to be understood of other blessings (titles, offices, etc.), in all of which it is vain to rejoice if a man feel not that God is the better served because of them and the way to eternal life is made more secure. And as it cannot be clearly known if this is so (if God is better served, etc.), it would be a vain thing to rejoice in these things deliberately, since such a joy cannot be reasonable. For, as the Lord says: 'If a man gain all the world, he may yet lose his soul.' There is naught, then, wherein to rejoice save in the fact that God is better served. Read whole post......

Monday, October 23, 2006

DEVOTION CORNER

"My Imitation of Christ"
by Thomas a Kempis
Revised translation edited by Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Imprimatur Thomas Edmundus Molloy, Archbishop of Brooklyn, 1954

Book One - useful adminishes for a Spiritual Life

Chapter 2
Having an Humble opinion of One's Self

1.All men naturally desire to know, but what does knowledge avail without the fear of God? Indeed the humble husbandman that serves God is better than a proud philosopher, who, neglecting himself, considers the course of the heavens.-Ecclus. XIX. 21
He who knows himself well is mean in his own eyes and is not delighted with being praised by men.
If I should know all things that are in the world and should not be in charity -Rom. XIII.8, 1 Cor XIII, 2- what would it avail me in sight of God, who will judge me by my deeds?

2. Leave off that excessive desire of knowing: because there is found therein much distraction and deceit. They who are learned are desirous to appear, and to be called wise. There are many things, the knowledge of which is of little profit to the soul. And he is very unwise who attends to other things than what may serve to his salvation. Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life gives ease to mind; and a pure conscience affords a great confidence in God.-1Tim. III.9

3.The more and better thou knowest the more heavy will be thy judgement unless thy life be also more holy. Be not, therefore, puffed up with any art or science: but rather fear because of the knowledge which is given thee. If it seem to thee that thou knowest many things and understand them well enough, know at the same time that there are many more things of which thou art ignorant. Be not high-minded, but rather acknowledge thy ignorance. Why wouldst thou prefer thyself to any one, since there are many more learned and skillful in the law than thyself? If thou wouldst know and learn anything to the purpose, love to be unknown and esteemed as nothing.

4. This is the highest science and most profitable lesson, truly to know and despise ourselves. To have opinion of ourselves and think always well and commendably of others, is great wisdom and high perfection. If thou shouldst see another openly sin or commit some heinous crime, yet thou oughtst not to esteem thyself better: becasue thou knowest not how long thou mayst remain in a good state.
We are all frail: but see thou think no one more frail than thyself. Read whole post......
SCRIPTURE CORNER

"[Jesus] came again therefore into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain ruler, whose son was sick at Capharnaum." (John 4,46)

Anxious father sent for Divine Physician. It was right things to do so for we read: "Honour the physician for the need thou hast of him: for the most High hath created him. For all healing is from God, and he shall receive gifts of the king. The skill of the physician shall lift up his head, and in the sight of great men he shall be praised. The most High hath created medicines out of the earth, and a wise man will not abhor them. Was not bitter water made sweet with wood? The virtue of these things is come to the knowledge of men, and the meet High hath given knowledge to men, that he may be honoured in his wonders. By these he shall cure and shall allay their pains, and of these the apothecary shall make sweet confections, and shall make up ointments of health, and of his works there shall be no end. For the peace of God is over all the face of the earth. My son, in thy sickness neglect not thyself, but pray to the Lord, and he shall heal thee. Turn away from sin and order thy hands aright, and cleanse thy heart from all offence. Give a sweet savour, and a memorial of fine flour, and make a fat offering, and then give place to the physician. For the Lord created him: and let him not depart from thee, for his works are necessary. " (Ecclesiastes 38, 1-12). Do not wait too long until the help of physician will not be effective any longer! And do not think during the illness that you or someone else in you family will certainly recover. As much as we need to make every reasonable effort to prevent illness we need to remember that very often illness is the results of our own foolishness or is the way of Divine Providence to prevent greater evil or to induce necessary virtues in us. For Tobias was told: "And because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee. And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee(Tob 12, 13). Very often, God sends the illness to deliver us from unnecessary or harmful attachments to things of the world. "Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth" (Col 3,2). Ask the physician advice, take your precsribed medicines and above all PRAY for your recovery. When all this is done, leave to Divine Providence all the rest, according to God's pleasure and wisdom even if the means would appear very mysterious. Christians who groan and moan at slightest infirmity, are in want of abandonment to God's will, are in want of patience and are in want of piety - they are spitting images of genuine Christian. How do I behave when my health is failing? What is my attitude toward my neighbour's illness?
Am I compassionate enough to understand suffering of others? To help tactfully those who need my help? Do I accept help with humility and gratitude? Am I patient in my suffering? In helping others? If we find difficult to accept the will of God when He sends us illness and suffering, let us remember always the words of Job: "if we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not receive evil?" (Job 2, 10) Read whole post......

Sunday, October 22, 2006

TWENTIETH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Fr Goffine "Divine Instructions" after www.truecatholic.org

The Introit of the Mass is an humble prayer, by which we acknowledge that we are punished for our disobedience:

INTROIT
All that thou hast done to us, O Lord, thou hast done in true judgment: because we have sinned against thee, and have not obeyed thy commandments: but give glory to thy name, and deal with us according to the multitude of thy mercy. (Dan. III. 28.) Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord. (Fs. CXVIII.). Glory etc.

COLLECT
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, in Thy mercy to Thy faithful pardon and peace; that they may both be cleansed from all their offences, and serve Thee with a quiet mind. Through Christ Our Lord.

EPISTLE (Ephes. V. 15-21.)
Brethren, See how you walk circumspectly, not as unwise, but as wise redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore, become not unwise, but understanding what is the will of God. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury: but be ye filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord: giving thanks always for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God and the Father; being subject one to another in the fear of Christ.

How may we redeem time?
By employing every moment to gain eternal goods, even should we lose temporal advantages thereby; by letting no opportunity pass without endeavoring to do good, to labor and, suffer for love of God, to improve our lives, and increase in virtue. Do you wish to know, says the pious Cornelius á Lapide, how precious time is: Ask the damned, for these know it from experience. Come, rich man, from the abyss of hell, tell us what you would give for one year, one day, one hour of time! I would, he says, give a whole world, all pleasures, all treasures, and bear all torments. O, if only one moment were granted me to have contrition for my sins, to obtain forgiveness of my crimes, I would purchase this moment with every labor, with any penance, with all punishments, torments and tortures which men ever suffered in purgatory or in hell, even if they lasted hundreds, yes, thousands of millions of years! O precious moment upon which all eternity depends! O, how many moments did you, my dear Christian, neglect, in which you could have served God, could have done good for love of Him, and gained eternal happiness by them, and you have lost these precious moments. Remember, with one moment of time, if you employ it well, you can purchase eternal happiness, but with all eternity you cannot purchase one moment of time!

ASPIRATION
Most bountiful God and Lord! I am heartily sorry, that I have so carelessly employed the time which Thou hast given me for my salvation. In order to supply what I have neglected, as far as I am able, I offer to Thee all that I have done or suffered from the first use of my reason, as if I had really to do and suffer it still; and I offer it in union with all the works and sufferings of our Saviour, and beg fervently, that Thou wilt supply, through His infinite merits, my defects, and be pleased with all my actions and sufferings.

Be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury!
[On the vice of drunkenness see the third Sunday after Pentecost Here we will speak only of those who make others drunk by encouragement.] The Persian King Assuerus expressly forbade that any one should be urged to drink at his great banquet. (Esth. I. 8.) This heathen who knew from the light of reason, that it is immoral to lead others to intemperance, will one day rise in judgment against those Christians who, enlightened by the light of faith, would not recognize and avoid this vice. Therefore the Prophet Isaias (V. 22.) pronounces woe to those who are mighty in drinking and know how to intoxicate others; and St. Augustine admonishes us, by no means to consider those as friends, who by their fellowship in drinking would make us enemies of God.

GOSPEL (John IV. 46-53.)
At that time, There was a certain ruler whose son was sick at Capharnaum. He having heard that Jesus was come from Judea into Galilee, went to him, and prayed him to come down, and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. Jesus therefore said to him: Unless you see signs and wonders, you believe not. The ruler saith to him: Lord, come down before my son die. Jesus saith to him: Go thy way, thy son liveth. The man believed the word which Jesus said to him, and went his way. And as he was going down, his servants met him, and they brought word, saying that his son lived. He asked therefore of them the hour wherein he grew better. And they said to him: Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. The father therefore, knew that it was at the same hour that Jesus said to him: Thy son liveth: and himself believed. and his whole house.

INSTRUCTIONS
I.God permitted the son of the ruler to become sick that he might ask Christ for the health of his son, and thus obtain true faith and eternal happiness. In like manner, God generally seeks to lead sinners to Himself, inasmuch as He brings manifold evils and misfortunes either upon the sinner himself or on his children, property, etc. Hence David said: It is good for me that thou hast humbled me, that I may learn thy justifications, (Ps. CXVIII. 71.) and therefore he also asked God to fill the faces of sinners with shame, that they should seek His name. (Ps. LXXXII. 17.) This happened to those of whom David says: Their infirmities were multiplied: afterwards they hastened in returning to God. (Ps. XV. 4.) O would we only do the same! When God sends us failure of crops, inundations, hail-storms, dearth, war, etc., He wishes nothing else than that we abandon sin and return to Him. But what do we? Instead of hastening to God, we take refuge in superstition, or we murmur against Him, find fault with or even blaspheme His sacred regulations; instead of removing our sins by sincere penance, we continually commit new ones, by murmuring and impatience, by hatred and enmity, by rash judgments, as if the injustice and malice of others were the cause of our misfortune. What will become of us if neither the benefits nor the punishments of God make us better?
II. Christ said to this ruler: Unless you see signs and wonders, you believe not. This was a reprimand for his imperfect faith; for if he had truly believed Christ to be the Son of God, he would not have asked Him to come to his house, but, like the centurion, would have believed Him able, though absent, to heal His son. (Matt. VIII.) Many Christians deserve the same rebuke from Christ, because they lose nearly all faith and confidence in God, when He does not immediately help them in their troubles, as they wish. He proves to us how displeasing such a want of confidence is to Him by withdrawing His assistance and protection from the fickle and distrustful. (Ecclus. II. 15.)
II. How much may not the example of the father of a family accomplish! This ruler had no sooner received the faith, than his whole household was converted and believed in Christ. Fathers and mothers by their good example, by their piety, frequent reception of the Sacraments, by their meekness, temperance, modesty and other virtues, may accomplish incalculable good among their children and domestics.

CONSOLATION IN SICKNESS
There was a certain ruler whose son was sick. (John IV. 16.)
As a consolation in sickness, you should consider that God sends you this affliction for the welfare of' your soul, that you may know your sins; or if you be innocent, to practice patience, humility, charity, etc., and increase your merits. Therefore a holy father said to one of his companions, who complained, because he was sick: "My son! if you are gold, then you will be proved by sickness, but if you are mixed with dross, then you will be purified." "Many are vicious in health," says St. Augustine, "who would be virtuous in sickness;" and St. Bernard says: "It is better to arrive at salvation through sickness, than to have health and be damned."It is also a powerful means of consolation in sickness, to represent to ourselves the suffering Redeemer, who had no soundness from the top of His head to the sole of His foot, and contemplating whom St. Bonaventure used to cry out: "O Lord, I do not wish to live without sickness, since I see Thee wounded so much." When sick, we should carefully examine, whether we possess any ill-gotten goods, or have any other secret sin on our conscience; and if we are conscious of any, we should quickly free ourselves from it by a contrite, sincere confession, and by restoring the things belonging to others. Sins are very often the cause of disease, and God does not bless the medicine unless the sickness effects its object, that is, the sinners amendment. Still less can we expect help, but rather temporal and eternal misfortune, if we have recourse to superstition, and spells, as the King Ochozias experienced, who was punished with death, because in sickness he had recourse to the idol Beelzebub. (IV Kings I.)

PRAYER
O Jesus, Thou true physician of souls, who dost wound and heal us, yea, dost even permit sorrows and adversities to visit us that our souls may have health, grant us the grace to use every bodily pain according to Thy merciful designs for the promotion of our salvation.

INSTRUCTION ON CARE OF THE SICK
Come down before my son die. (John IV. 49.)
All who have the charge of sick persons, should be like this father, that is, they should first of all endeavor to call upon Jesus to come in the most holy Sacrament, before the sick person is unable to receive Him. The devil seeks to hinder nothing more than this. He excites the imagination of the sick person, making him believe that he can live longer, that he will certainly get well again, in order to ruin him easier afterwards, because he defers his conversion. Those contribute to this end who through fear of frightening the sick person or of annoying him, fail to call the priest at the right time. This is cruel love, which deprives the sick person of the salvation of his soul and eternal happiness, and brings with it a terrible responsibility. Where there is question of eternity, no carefulness can be too great. We should, therefore, choose the safest side, because the suffering may easily increase and finally make the sick person unable to attend to the affairs of his soul. We should, therefore, not conceal from him the danger in which he is, and if he has still the use of his reason, should call in the priest that he may receive the Last Sacraments. He will not die sooner on that account, but rather derive the greatest benefit therefrom, since his conscience will be cleansed from sin, which may be the cause of his sickness, and perhaps, he may regain his health, or at least be strengthened by the newly received grace of God, to bear his pains with greater patience and to die far easier, securer, and more consoled. We should also endeavor to encourage the sick person to resignation, and a childlike confidence in God, should pray with him to strengthen him against desponding thoughts, and the temptations of the devil; we should present him a crucifix to kiss; repeat the holy names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and other consolatory ejaculations, such as are found in prayer-books; should sign him with the sign of the cross; sprinkle him with holy water, and above all pray for a happy death. We should not weep and lament, by which death is only made harder for him, nor should we hold useless, idle and worldly conversations with him which will prevent him from thinking of God arid the salvation of his soul, and from preparing himself for the last dangerous struggle. Finally, we should by no means suffer in his presence persons who have given him occasions of committing sin, because they would be obstacles to his sincere conversion.

There is truly no greater work of charity than to assist our neighbor to a happy death. Read whole post......

Saturday, October 21, 2006

DEVOTION CORNER
"Imitation of Christ" by Fr T. Kempis is the book which together with "Holy Scriptures" was devoutly used by St Therese of the Child Jesus, for her daily meditations. In the "Apologetic Catholic Catechism" (1932 edition) we read in the chapter providing useful advice for those desiring to strengthen their will in determination to fight temptations, overcome addictions, recognise their imperfections and faults, that they should often meditate on the Passion of Christ and strive to imitate our Lord with the help of "Holy Scriptures" based meditations on His life. For the good of those admirable souls I decided to include in Devotion Corner the fragments of "Imitation of Christ" by Fr T Kempis and also on Fridays the fragments from another book by Fr Kempis entitled "On the Passion of Christ - according to four Evangelists, Prayers and Meditations" (Ignatius Press 2004). May God bless abundantly all those who are truly determined and genuine in their desire to progress on the way of Christian perfection and may Our Lady, all the Angels and Saints and particularly St Therese pray for them!

All fragments taken from "My Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis
Revised translation edited by Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Imprimatur Thomas Edmundus Molloy, Archbishop of Brooklyn, 1954

Book One - useful adminishes for a Spiritual Life

Chapter 1
The Imitation of Christ, and the Contempt of All the Vanities of the World.

1. "He that followeth me, walketh not in darkness", saith our Lord. -John viii, 12. These are the words of Christ, by which we are admonished, that we must imitate his life and manners, if we would be truly enlightened, and delivered from all blindness of heart. Let it then be our chief study to meditate on the life of Jesus Christ.
2. The doctrine of Christ surpasseth all the doctrines of the saints; and whosoever hath His Spirit will find therein a hidden manna -Apoc. ii, 17
But it happeneth that many, by frequent hearing of the Gospel, are very little affected: because they have not the spirit of Christ. But He who would fully and feelingly understand the words of Christ, must study to make his whole life conformable to that of Christ.
3.What doth it avail thee to discourse profoundly of the Trinity if thou be void of humility, and consequently, displeasing to the Trinity?
In truth, sublime words make not a man holy and just: but a virtous life maketh him dear to God. I would rather feel compunction than know its definition. If thou didst know the whole Bible by heart, and the saying of all the philosophers, what would it all profit thee without the love of God and His grace?
"Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity"-Eccles. 1,2, except to love God and serve Him alone.This is the highest wisdom, by dispising the world to tend to heavenly kingdoms.
4.It is vanity, therefore, to seek after riches which must perish and to trust in them. It is vanity also to be ambitious of honours, and to rise one's self to a high station. It is vanity to wish to follow the lusts of the flesh and to desire that for which thou must afterwards be grievously punished. It is vanity to wish for a long life and not to look forward unto those things which are to come. It is vanity to love that which passed with all speed and not to hasten thither where everlasting joy remained.
5. Often remember that proverb: The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing-Eccles. I, 8
Study, therefore, to withdraw from thy heart the love of visible things, and to turn thyself to things invisible. For they that follow their sensuality defile their conscience and lose the grace of God.

Reflection:All these I will give thee. Matt. 4,9"Vanity of vanities and all is vanity" except to love God and serve Him alone. Read whole post......
DEVOTION CORNER

QUEEN OF APOSTLES, PRAY FOR US!


Beloved Apostle in his letter says:"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God.(1John 4,15). For those who were faithful in applying this rule to their conduct we call Apostles. And Mary is their Queen! Our Lady Immaculate professed always Divinity of Jesus even in the most sorrowful moments of His Passion when she saw Him in indescribable misery and infirmity. Her faith in Him was not wavering at the manger in Bethlehem nor during the flight to Egypt, nor in the sorrows of exile, nor in the hard work in the workshop in Nazareth. Her faith was always firm, in particular when He was bound and scourged at the pillar, crowned with thorns, when He was treated as the worst criminal and was sentenced to the ignominious death, when He was cruelly dragged to meet this end up the Golgotha Hill. His friends abandoned Him, but Mary faithfully followed Him professing His Divinity, and although He was bleeding to death on the ignominious gibbet as a traitor and malefactor, Mary even for an instant did not stop believing in Him and remained close to the cross as if she would like to say to the whole world: Look, at the One on the cross who as a worm writhes dying in pain, He is truly the Son of the living God, Jesus Christ, to whom all glory and honour for ever! Run quickly to join the Queen's school of the apostles!!
Our Lady Immaculate through her perfect conduct wanted to inculcate in our soul the word of Redeemer: "blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me."(Matt 11,6). Is our faith strong enough to keep and follow these words? Shall we be faithful to these word if we witness other Christians faults and in particular those chosen servants of God. Shall we keep them every time we see abuses in the Church or in Religion? Shall we usually chop the whole apple tree because of one rotten apple found there? Immaculate Mother speak to us also with these words of the Redeemer: " For he that shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation: the Son of man also will be ashamed of him, when he shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels"(Mark 8, 38). That is why we should always in every Catholic action profess our Redeemer and our faith in Him and His Church, exactly as His Blessed Mother did, openly, devoutly and without hesitation. Even if we expect troubles in return, nobody will disrespect us for this. For for the fortitude and fervent faith we shall got out reward: For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For, with the heart, we believe unto justice; but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.(Rom 10, 9-10) Read whole post......

Friday, October 20, 2006

SCRIPTURE CORNER

CHARITY AND THE CONTRARY VICES
fragments from "Scripture by Topic" - Originally titled "The Divine Armory of Holy Scripture" - 1943 edition - Angelus Press 2006

EXAMPLES OF CHARITY TOWARD GOD AND CHRIST OUR LORD
Either forgive them this trespass, or if thou do not, strike me out of the book thou hast written. Ex. 32:31
Why [asked Moses] hast thou emulation for me? O that all people might prophesy, and that the Lord would give them his Spirit! Num. 11:29
David said to the Lord, when he saw the angel striking people: It is I, I am he that have sinned; I have done wickedly . These that are the sheep, what have they done? Let thy hand, I beseech thee, be turned against me, and against my fahter's house. 2K. 24:17.
Thou knowest all things, and thou knowest that it was not out of pride and contempt, or any desire of glory, that I refused to worship the proud Aman; for I would willingly and readily, for the salvation of Israel, have kissed even the steps of his feet. Esth. 13:12
You know what great battles I and my brethren, and the house of my father, ahev fought for the laws and the sanctuary, and the distress that we have seen: by reason whereof all my brethren have lost their lives for Isreal's sake, and I am left alone. And now far be it from me to spare my life in any time of trouble: for I am not better than my brethren: I will avenge then my nation and the sancturay, and our childern and wives; for all the heathens are gathered together to destroy us out of mere malice. 1Mac. 13:3-6
I wished myself to be an anathema from Christ, for my brethren, who are my kinsmen according to the flesh. Rom. 9:3
You know I have kept back nothing that was profitable to you, but have preached it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house. Acts 20:20 Read whole post......

Thursday, October 19, 2006

SCRIPTURE CORNER

CHARITY AND THE CONTRARY VICES
fragments from "Scripture by Topic" - Originally titled "The Divine Armory of Holy Scripture" - 1943 edition - Angelus Press 2006

LOVE OF OUR NEIGHBOUR IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT THE LOVE OF GOD

If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar. For he hath loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not? And this commandment we have from God: that he who loveth God love also his brother. 1 John 4:20
He that loveth not abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer. 1 John 3:14
Whosoever is not just is not of God, nor he that loveth not his brother. 1 John 3:10
Friend, how comest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment? But he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt. 22:12
At last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering, said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Mat. 25:11 Read whole post......

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

SCRIPTURE CORNER

CHARITY AND THE CONTRARY VICES
fragments from "Scripture by Topic" - Originally titled "The Divine Armory of Holy Scripture" - 1943 edition - Angelus Press 2006

WHY WE SHOULD LOVE OUR NEIGHBOUR

We being many are one body in Christ. Rom 13:5
We being many are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread. 1 Cor. 10:17
In one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free. 1 Cor. 12:13
There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. 3:28
One body and one Spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling. Eph. 4:4
Owe no man anything, but to love one another. Rom. 13:8 Read whole post......

Feast of St Luke Evangelist

ST LUKE EVANGELIST
Luke was born in Antioch to pagan Greek parents. St. Paul met him at Troas and invited him to accompany him into Macedonia where they traveled first to Samothrace, Neapolis, and finally Philippi about the year 51. Later, he became the constant companion of St. Paul, following him everywhere. He alone remained with Paul when he was imprisoned in Rome about the year 61. After St. Paul's death, St. Luke left Rome. There are conflicting reports about where he went. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. He wrote his Gospel with the aim of attracting the Gentiles to the goodness and mercy of the Lord. A little later he wrote the Acts of the Apostles. He died without shedding his blood, but the Church honored him with the title of martyr for the long sufferings and mortifications he endured for the cause of the Gospel.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:
We will analyze the special graces the Our Lord gave to St. Luke through the certain facts we know about his life. He was the companion of St. Paul, the author of one of the four Gospels, and also author of the Acts of the Apostles. We can imagine the moral qualities of a man chosen by St. Paul to be his companion on trips. He would have to be a man eminently able to assist St. Paul's apostolic activities. He would have an extraordinary apostolic ardor and a special gift to form and deal with the new disciples that St. Paul was attracting to the Catholic Faith. He also was able to understand the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ so profoundly that the Holy Ghost chose him to collect the data of His life and write it. Analogously, he understood perfectly the life of the nascent Church and wrote about it in the Acts of the Apostles, which is the first report of the History of the Church.
To do those three things he must have been a true vessel of the Holy Ghost. The graces one receives reading the Gospel of St. Luke and the Acts of the Apostles certainly come to us from the Holy Ghost. But they also reflect the soul of St. Luke who wrote them. The light of the Holy Ghost comes to us through the stained glass windows of his writings. There are special characteristics in those writings that are his alone. It is also known that he was very devoted to Our Lady. The first painting of Our Lady is attributed to him. The Painting is known and venerated as Salus Populus Romani in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. I suppose that Our Lady did not pose for him, but rather that he saw her many times and had her figure in mind to reproduce in a painting. So, we can imagine him silently admiring this or that facet of her physiognomy, and then reproducing it in the picture he was painting. Another time, he would perhaps glimpse another aspect and retouch his painting. What a marvelous work that would be - with Our Lord blessing him from Heaven and the Angels smiling at his labor to perfect in his painting the face of the Queen of Heaven and Earth. All this is beautiful and grandiose, and we cannot find sufficient words of praise for his life. We cannot describe it, but only admire it. I believe that by admiring the soul of St. Luke, a little of his extraordinary qualities and virtues may trickle into our souls.


The picture of St Luke the Evangelist is from fresco in Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence, 1486-90
Read whole post......

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

SCRIPTURE CORNER

CHARITY AND THE CONTRARY VICES
fragments from "Scripture by Topic" - Originally titled "The Divine Armory of Holy Scripture" - 1943 edition - Angelus Press 2006

DUTY OF PRACTISING CHARITY part four

We that are stronger ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of you please his neighbour unto good to edification. For Christ did not please himself. Wherefore receive one another, as Christ also hath received you unto the honour of God. Rom. 15:1-3,7
Let all your things bo done in charity. 1 Cor. 16:14
As touching the charity of brotherhood we have no need to write you; for you yourselves have learned of God to love one another. For indeed you do it towards all the brethren in all Macedonia. But we entreat you, brethren, that you abound more. 1 Thess. 4:9
I wept for him that was afflicted, and my soul had compassion on the poor. Job 30:25
We rejoice that we are weak and you are strong. 1 Cor. 13:8 Read whole post......

Monday, October 16, 2006

SCRIPTURE CORNER

CHARITY AND THE CONTRARY VICES
fragments from "Scripture by Topic" - Originally titled "The Divine Armory of Holy Scripture" - 1943 edition - Angelus Press 2006

DUTY OF PRACTISING CHARITY part three

Fulfil ye my joy, that you be of one mind, having the same charity, being of one accord, agreeing in sentiment. Phil.2.2
With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another, being lovers of the brotherhood. 1Pet. 3:8
Above all these things have charity, which is bond of perfection. Col. 3:14
Let us consider one another to provoke unto charity and to good works. Heb. 10:24
Let the charity of the brotherhood abide in you Heb.13:1
Purifying your souls in the obedience of charity, with a brotherly love, from a sincere heart love one another earnestly; being born again, not of coruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God, who liveth and remaineth forever. 1Pet. 1:22f.
Love the brotherhood.1Pet. 2:17
As every man hath received grace, ministering the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.1Pet. 4:10 Read whole post......

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost

From Fr Leonard Goffine's DEVOUT INSTRUCTIONS

INTROIT I am the salvation of the people, saith the Lord: in whatever tribulation they shall cry to me, I will hear them: and I will be their Lord for ever. Attend, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. (Ps. LXXVII.) Glory etc.

COLLECT Almighty and merciful God, graciously keep us from all things that are hurtful; that we, being set free both in mind and body, may with ready minds accomplish whatever is Thine. Thro'.

EPISTLE (Ephes. IV. 23-28.) Brethren, Be re newed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth. Wherefore, putting, away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go clown upon your anger. Give not place to the devil. He that stole, let him now steal no more; but rather let him labor, work ing with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have something to give to him that suffereth need.

EXPLANATION  St. Paul admonishes the Ephesians to lay aside the- old man, like a worn out garment, and put on the new man, that is, to renew their internal and external life. This renewal according to his teaching takes place, when we by a true repentance put away our vices, shun all lies, anger, injustice, &c., and adorn our soul with virtues, and zealously seek after Christian justice and perfection. We have, perhaps, already sought to change our manner of living, for which a jubilee or some other particular solemnity of the Church gave us occasion, and at that time, perhaps, purified our soul by a general confession, making the firm resolution to live for God, and work out our salvation, we appeared converted, and to have become other men: but how long did this conversion last? Ah, how soon did we fall back into the old, sinful ways. And why? Because we lived in too great, deceitful security. We thought everything accomplished by the general confession; we were satisfied, and omitted to employ the means of remaining in the state of grace. We did not thank God for the grace of conversion; we did not ask Him for the grace of perseverance; we frequented evil company, and did not avoid dangerous occasions; we indulged in idleness and pleasures as before. How can it appear strange, if such a conversion is fruitless? Ah, we should remain in wholesome fear even after the remission of our sins. (Ecclus. V. 5.) Even if we could say that we have done everything, nevertheless we cannot be certain, whether we be worthy of hatred or love. (Ecclus. IX. 1.) We should, therefore, work out our salvation according to the advice of St. Paul (Philipp. II. 12.) in fear and trembling, and thus not fall into the old life of sin, losing the hope of a new conversion.
GOSPEL (Matt. XXII. 1-14.) At that time, Jesus spoke to the chief priests and the Pharisees in parables, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. And he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage, and they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited, Behold I have prepared my dinner; my beeves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marriage. But they neglected: and went their, ways, one to his farm, and another to his mer chandise: and the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. But when the king had heard, of it; he was angry: and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city. Then he saith to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready; but they, that were invited were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage. And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together, all that they found, both bad and good; and the marriage was filled with guests. And the king went in to fee the guests; and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment: and he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment? But he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

REMARK Thir parable agrees in many respects with that for the second  Sunday after Pentecost, and has the same meaning. See, therefore, the explanation of that gospel, as also of the feast of SR Catherine, to which Maybe added the following:

EXPLANATION In this parable the king is our Heavenly Father who has espoused His only-begotten Son to the Church, and on this occasion prepares the most sumptuous marriage-feast by giving the evangelical doctrine, the holy Sacraments, and the heavenly joys. The servants sent to invite the guests are the prophets, apostles and disciples of Christ. Those invited are the Jews who despised the honor and grace of the divine King, destined for them, abused and killed His servants, and were, therefore, cast aside and with their city Jerusalem, destroyed by the armies of their enemies, as a just punishment; in their stead the heathens and all those nations were called, who were on the broad road to destruction, and who now occupy the places of the unfortunate Jews at the marriage feast of the Church, and shall also occupy them in heaven. In the Jews to whom Christ addressed this parable, is verified that many of them, nay, all are called, but few chosen, because they would not heed the invitation.

APPLICATION We have the honor not only to be invited to this marriage-feast, but are in reality guests at it, because we are members of the Church of Christ by faith. "But the Christian," says St. Gregory, "who is a member of the Church by faith, but has not charity, is like to a man who comes to the marriage-feast without the wedding garment." With this garment which is charity, Christ was vested, when He came to celebrate the nuptials with His spouse, the Church, and by the bond of charity the Son of God also unites Himself with His elect. He clearly lets us know that charity is the wedding garment which should vest us. Those, therefore, who believe and are in the communion of the Church, but who do not preserve the grace of charity, are indeed in the wedding-chamber, but they are not adorned with the wedding garment. They are dead members of the Church, and shall not be admitted without this garment into the celestial marriage-feast in the triumphant Church, but rather be cast like that unfor tunate guest into exterior darkness. This guest was silent, when asked by the king, why he had not .the wedding gar ment. By this we see, that no one can excuse himself to God for not having charity, because every one can have it, if he asks it from God, and, as St. Augustine says, our heart is the workshop of charity, and every one who has a heart can practice it.

PRAYER I thank Thee, O Jesus, that Thou didst call me to the marriage-feast in Thy Church; give me the wedding garment of charity that I may be present at the celestial marriage-feat, and not be cast into exterior darkness.

after http://www.truecatholic.org/books/goffine/pentecost19.htm Read whole post......
INTERIOR CASTLE - FOURTH MANSION, CHAPTER THREE

I have explained elsewhere[105] the reason why this occurs in this kind of prayer (I am referring to the kind which I began to explain in this Mansion). With it I have included this Prayer of Recollection which ought to have been described first, for it comes far below the consolations of God already mentioned, and is indeed the first step towards attaining them. For in the Prayer of Recollection it is unnecessary to abandon meditation and the activities of the understanding. When, instead of coming through conduits, the water springs directly from its source, the understanding checks its activity, or rather the activity is checked for it when it finds it cannot understand what it desires, and thus it roams about all over the place, like a demented creature, and can settle down to nothing. The will is fixed so firmly upon its God that this disturbed condition of the understanding causes it great distress; but it must not take any notice of this, for if it does so it will lose a great part of what it is enjoying; it must forget about it, and abandon itself into the arms of love, and His Majesty will teach it what to do next; almost its whole work is to realize its unworthiness to receive such great good and to occupy itself in thanksgiving.

In order to discuss[106] the Prayer of Recollection I passed over the effects or signs to be observed in souls to whom this prayer is granted by God Our Lord. It is clear that a dilation or enlargement of the soul takes place, as if the water proceeding from the spring had no means of running away, but the fountain had a device ensuring that, the more freely the water flowed, the larger became the basin. So it is in this kind of prayer, and God works many more wonders in the soul, thus fitting and gradually disposing it to retain all that He gives it. So this gentle movement and this interior dilation cause the soul to be less constrained in matters relating to the service of God than it was before and give it much more freedom. It is not oppressed, for example, by the fear of hell, for, though it desires more than ever not to offend God (of Whom, however, it has lost all servile fear), it has firm confidence that it is destined to have fruition of Him. A person who used to be afraid of doing penance lest he should ruin his health now believes that in God he can do everything, and has more desire to do such things than he had previously. The fear of trials that he was wont to have is now largely assuaged, because he has a more lively faith, and realizes that, if he endures these trials for God's sake, His Majesty will give him grace to bear them patiently, and sometimes even to desire them, because he also cherishes a great desire to do something for God. The better he gets to know the greatness of God, the better he comes to realize the misery of his own condition; having now tasted the consolations of God, he sees that earthly things are mere refuse; so, little by little, he withdraws from them and in this way becomes more and more his own master. In short, he finds himself strengthened in all the virtues and will infallibly continue to increase in them unless he turns back and commits offenses against God -- when that happens, everything is lost, however far a man may have climbed towards the crest of the mountain. It must not be understood, however, that all these things take place because once or twice God has granted a soul this favour; it must continue receiving them, for it is from their continuance that all our good proceeds.

There is one earnest warning which I must give those who find themselves in this state: namely, that they exert the very greatest care to keep themselves from occasions of offending God. For as yet the soul is not even weaned but is like a child beginning to suck the breast. If it be taken from its mother, what can it be expected to do but die? That, I am very much afraid, will be the lot of anyone to whom God has granted this favour if he gives up prayer; unless he does so for some very exceptional reason, or unless he returns to it quickly, he will go from bad to worse. I am aware how much ground there is for fear about this and I have been very much grieved by certain people I know, in whom I have seen what I am describing; they have left Him Who in His great love was yearning to give Himself to them as a Friend, and to prove His friendship by His works. I earnestly warn such people not to enter upon occasions of sin, because the devil sets much more store by one soul in this state than by a great number of souls to whom the Lord does not grant these favours. For those in this state attract others, and so they can do the devil great harm and may well bring great advantage to the Church of God. He may see nothing else in them except that His Majesty is showing them especial love, but this is quite sufficient to make him do his utmost to bring about their perdition. The conflict, then, is sterner for such souls than for others and if they are lost their fate is less remediable. You, sisters, so far as we know, are free from these perils. May God free you from pride and vainglory and grant that the devil may not counterfeit these favours. Such counterfeits, however, will be recognizable because they will not produce these effects, but quite contrary ones.

There is one peril of which I want to warn you, though I have spoken of it elsewhere; I have seen persons given to prayer fall into it, and especially women, for, as we are weaker than men, we run more risk of what I am going to describe. It is this: some women, because of prayers, vigils and severe penances, and also for other reasons, have poor health. When they experience any spiritual consolation, therefore, their physical nature is too much for them; and as soon as they feel any interior joy there comes over them a physical weakness and languor, and they fall into a sleep, which they call "spiritual", and which is a little more marked than the condition that has been described. Thinking the one state to be the same as the other, they abandon themselves to this absorption; and the more they relax, the more complete becomes this absorption, because their physical nature continues to grow weaker. So they get it into their heads that it is arrobamiento, or rapture. But I call it abobamiento, foolishness;[107] for they are doing nothing but wasting their time at it and ruining their health.

One person was in this state for eight hours; she was not unconscious, nor was she conscious of anything concerning God. She was cured by being told to take more food and sleep and to do less penance; for, though she had misled both her confessor and other people and, quite involuntarily, deceived herself, there was one person who understood her. I believe the devil would go to any pains to gain such people as that and he was beginning to make good progress with this one.

It must be understood that although, when this state is something that really comes from God, there may be languor, both interior and exterior, there will be none in the soul, which, when it finds itself near God, is moved with great joy. The experience does not last long, but only for a little while. Although the soul may become absorbed again, yet this kind of prayer, as I have said, except in cases of physical weakness, does not go so far as to overcome the body or to produce in it any exterior sensation. Be advised, then, and, if you experience anything of this kind, tell your superior, and relax as much as you can. The superior should give such persons fewer hours of prayer -- very few, indeed -- and should see that they sleep and eat well, until their physical strength, if it has become exhausted, comes back again. If their constitution is so weak that this does not suffice, they can be certain that God is not calling them to anything beyond the active life. There is room in convents for people of all kinds; let anyone of this type, then, be kept busy with duties, and let care be taken that she is not left alone very much, or her health will be completely ruined. This sort of life will be a great mortification to her, but it is here that the Lord wishes to test her love for Him by seeing how she bears His absence and after a while He may well be pleased to restore her strength; if He is not, her vocal prayer and her obedience will bring her as much benefit and merit as she would have obtained in other ways, and perhaps more.

There may also be some who are so weak in intellect and imagination -- I have known such -- that they believe they actually see all they imagine. This is highly dangerous and perhaps we shall treat of it later, but no more shall be said here; for I have written at great length of this Mansion, as it is the one which the greatest number of souls enter. As the natural is united with the supernatural in it, it is here that the devil can do most harm; for in the Mansions of which I have not yet spoken the Lord gives him fewer opportunities. May He be for ever praised. Amen. Read whole post......
SAINTS OF CARMEL TEACHING

"Life of St Teresa of Avila"- fragments of Chapter vii, part five

31. It was more painful for me, in the state I was in, to receive graces, when I had fallen into grievous faults, than it would have been to receive chastisement; for one of those faults, I am sure, used to bring me low, shame and distress me, more than many diseases, together with many heavy trials, could have done. For, as to the latter, I saw that I deserved them; and it seemed to me that by them I was making some reparation for my sins, though it was but slight, for my sins are so many. But when I see myself receive graces anew, after being so ungrateful for those already received, that is to me—and, I believe, to all who have any knowledge or love of God—a fearful kind of torment. We may see how true this is by considering what a virtuous mind must be. Hence my tears and vexation when I reflected on what I felt, seeing myself in a condition to fall at every moment, though my resolutions and desires then—I am speaking of that time—were strong.

32. It is a great evil for a soul to be alone in the midst of such great dangers; it seems to me that if I had had any one with whom I could have spoken of all this, it might have helped me not to fall. I might, at least, have been ashamed before him—and yet I was not ashamed before God.

33. For this reason, I would advise those who give themselves to prayer, particularly at first, to form friendships; and converse familiarly, with others who are doing the same thing. It is a matter of the last importance, even if it lead only to helping one another by prayer: how much more, seeing that it has led to much greater gain! Now, if in their intercourse one with another, and in the indulgence of human affections even not of the best kind, men seek friends with whom they may refresh themselves, and for the purpose of having greater satisfaction in speaking of their empty joys, I know no reason why it should not be lawful for him who is beginning to love and serve God in earnest to confide to another his joys and sorrows; for they who are given to prayer are thoroughly accustomed to both.

34. For if that friendship with God which he desires be real, let him not be afraid of vain-glory; and if the first movements thereof assail him, he will escape from it with merit; and I believe that he who will discuss the matter with this intention will profit both himself and those who hear him, and thus will derive more light for his own understanding, as well as for the
instruction of his friends. He who in discussing his method of prayer falls into vain- glory will do so also when he hears Mass devoutly, if he is seen of men, and in doing other good works, which must be done under pain of being no Christian; and yet these things must not be omitted through fear of vain-glory.

35. Moreover, it is a most important matter for those souls who are not strong in virtue; for they have so many people, enemies as well as friends, to urge them the wrong way, that I do not see how this point is capable of exaggeration. It seems to me that Satan has employed this artifice—and it is of the greatest service to him—namely, that men who really wish to love and please God should hide the fact, while others, at his suggestion, make open show of their malicious dispositions; and this is so common, that it seems a matter of boasting now, and the offences committed against God are thus published abroad.

36. I do not know whether the things I am saying are foolish or not. If they be so, your reverence will strike them out. I entreat you to help my simplicity by adding a good deal to this, because the things that relate to the service of God are so feebly managed, that it is necessary for those who would serve Him to join shoulder to shoulder, if they are to advance at all;for it is considered safe to live amidst the vanities and pleasures of the world, and few there be who regard them with unfavourable eyes. But if any one begins to give himself up to the service of God, there are so many to find fault with him, that it becomes necessary for him to seek companions, in order that he may find protection among them till he grows strong enough not to feel what he may be made to suffer. If he does not, he will find himself in great straits.

37. This, I believe, must have been the reason why some of the Saints withdrew into the desert. And it is a kind of humility in man not to trust to himself, but to believe that God will help him in his relations with those with whom he converses; and charity grows by being diffused; and there are a thousand blessings herein which I would not dare to speak of, if I had not known by experience the great importance of it. It is very true that I am the most wicked and the basest of all who are born of women; but I believe that he who, humbling himself, though strong, yet trusteth not in himself, and believeth another who in this matter has had experience, will lose nothing. Of myself I may say that, if our Lord had not revealed to me this truth, and given me the opportunity of speaking very frequently to persons given to prayer, I should have gone on falling and rising till I tumbled into hell. I had many friends to help me to fall; but as to rising again, I was so much left to myself, that I wonder now I was not always on the ground. I praise God for His mercy; for it was He only Who stretched out His hand to me. May He be blessed for ever! Amen. Read whole post......

Saturday, October 14, 2006

INTERIOR CASTLE - FOURTH MANSIONS, CHAPTER THREE

Anyone who is conscious that this is happening within himself should give God great praise, for he will be very right to recognize what a favour it is; and the thanksgiving which he makes for it will prepare him for greater favours. One preparation for listening to Him, as certain books tell us, is that we should contrive, not to use our reasoning powers, but to be intent upon discovering what the Lord is working in the soul; for, if His Majesty has not begun to grant us absorption, I cannot understand how we can cease thinking in any way which will not bring us more harm than profit, although this has been a matter of continual discussion among spiritual persons. For my own part, I confess my lack of humility, but their arguments have never seemed to me good enough to lead me to accept what they say. One person told me of a certain book by the saintly Fray Peter of Alcántara (for a saint I believe he is), which would certainly have convinced me, for I know how much he knew about such things; but we read it together, and found that he says exactly what I say, although not in the same words; it is quite clear from what he says that love must already be awake.[103] It is possible that I am mistaken, but I base my position on the following reasons.

First, in such spiritual activity as this, the person who does most is he who thinks least and desires to do least:[104] what we have to do is to beg like poor and needy persons coming before a great and rich Emperor and then cast down our eyes in humble expectation. When from the secret signs He gives us we seem to realize that He is hearing us, it is well for us to keep silence, since He has permitted us to be near Him and there will be no harm in our striving not to labour with the understanding -- provided, I mean, that we are able to do so. But if we are not quite sure that the King has heard us, or sees us, we must not stay where we are like ninnies, for there still remains a great deal for the soul to do when it has stilled the understanding; if it did nothing more it would experience much greater aridity and the imagination would grow more restless because of the effort caused it by cessation from thought. The Lord wishes us rather to make requests of Him and to remember that we are in His presence, for He knows what is fitting for us. I cannot believe in the efficacy of human activity in matters where His Majesty appears to have set a limit to it and to have been pleased to reserve action to Himself. There are many other things in which He has not so reserved it, such as penances, works of charity and prayers; these, with His aid, we can practise for ourselves, as far as our miserable nature is capable of them.

The second reason is that all these interior activities are gentle and peaceful, and to do anything painful brings us harm rather than help. By "anything painful" I mean anything that we try to force ourselves to do; it would be painful, for example, to hold our breath. The soul must just leave itself in the hands of God, and do what He wills it to do, completely disregarding its own advantage and resigning itself as much as it possibly can to the will of God. The third reason is that the very effort which the soul makes in order to cease from thought will perhaps awaken thought and cause it to think a great deal. The fourth reason is that the most important and pleasing thing in God's eyes is our remembering His honour and glory and forgetting ourselves and our own profit and ease and pleasure. And how can a person be forgetful of himself when he is taking such great care about his actions that he dare not even stir, or allow his understanding and desires to stir, even for the purpose of desiring the greater glory of God or of rejoicing in the glory which is His? When His Majesty wishes the working of the understanding to cease, He employs it in another manner, and illumines the soul's knowledge to so much higher a degree than any we can ourselves attain that He leads it into a state of absorption, in which, without knowing how, it is much better instructed than it could ever be as a result of its own efforts, which would only spoil everything. God gave us our faculties to work with, and everything will have its due reward; there is no reason, then, for trying to cast a spell over them -- they must be allowed to perform their office until God gives them a better one. As I understand it, the soul whom the Lord has been pleased to lead into this Mansion will do best to act as I have said. Let it try, without forcing itself or causing any turmoil, to put a stop to all discursive reasoning, yet not to suspend the understanding, nor to cease from all thought, though it is well for it to remember that it is in God's presence and Who this God is. If feeling this should lead it into a state of absorption, well and good; but it should not try to understand what this state is, because that is a gift bestowed upon the will. The will, then, should be left to enjoy it, and should not labour except for uttering a few loving words, for although in such a case one may not be striving to cease from thought, such cessation often comes, though for a very short time. Read whole post......