9/20/2016

Stewardship explained

This post from Msgr. Pope explains the scriptural undergirding of a teaching that defines who we are as Christians. Some excerpts:

Part of the essence of sin is behaving as though we were the owner. We develop an arrogant attitude that what we have is ours to do with as we please: “It’s mine, I can do what I want with it.” “It’s my body I can do as I please with it.” But in fact, everything belongs to God.

Although many pay little heed to the fact of judgment, Scripture warns, Say not, “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?” For the Lord bides his time. Of forgiveness be not over-confident, adding sin upon sin. Say not, “Great is his mercy, my many sins he will forgive.” For mercy and anger are alike with him; upon the wicked alights his wrath. Delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day. For suddenly his wrath flames forth; at the time of vengeance you will be destroyed (Sirach 5:4).


Many are dedicated to developing (worldly) skills, and becoming incredibly knowledgeable. In earning money and holding down a job, many display great discipline: getting up early to go to work, working late, going the extra mile to please the boss.
But when it comes to faith many of these same people display only a rudimentary knowledge of things spiritual and show little interest in advancing in the faith or in praying. They will expend effort to please the boss, to please man, but not to please God. Parents will fight for scholarships for their children to get into the “best” schools. But when it comes to saving truth, the pews are empty and Sunday School is poorly attended.
 You can’t take it with you but you can send it on ahead. Scripture elaborates on this elsewhere: Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life (1 Tim 6:17). Notice that the passage says that through their generosity in this world, the rich store up treasure for themselves in Heaven.
This is the scriptural principle and the great paradox in the Kingdom of God: that we keep something for eternity only by giving it away. We save our life by losing it. We keep our treasure and store it in heaven by giving it away.

9/06/2016

American Solidarity

A party that promotes economic Distributism, environmental stewardship, protection of children in the womb, and the Common Good?

Sign me up!

I've never really liked having to swallow the Republican platform in order to vote for a pro-life candidate, so I'm quite happy to declare myself part of this party, albeit a small one.

While many third parties have attracted Catholic voters this cycle, none have had a platform as thoroughly consistent with Catholic Social Doctrine as this one.

6/17/2016

True dat

“Marriage is the most difficult area of pastoral work." -Pope Francis

Marriage itself is hard work.

5/19/2016

Cardinal Sarah speaks

Today, we find ourselves before the battle of a sickness that has pervaded our world. I repeat: the battle of a sickness. That is what we face. I call this sickness “the liquidation, the eclipse of God.” Pope Francis describes the causes of this “sickness.” I quote:

“Religious liberty is not only that of thought or private worship. It is freedom to live according to ethical principles consequent upon the truth found, be it privately or publicly. This is a great challenge in the globalized world, where weak thought – which is like a sickness – also lowers the general ethical level, and in the name of a false concept of tolerance ends up by persecuting those who defend the truth about man and the ethical consequences.”

What are the remedies to this sickness? What should we do to protect the family, religious freedom, and marriage – as revealed to us by God?

Find out his answers here.

4/23/2016

Kindred Spirit

"None of us knows when
the loveliest hour of our life is striking."

                                                                   -Caryll Houselander

Here's an homage.

4/09/2016

Property Dispute

Here I feel it urgent to state that, if the family is the sanctuary of life,
the place where life is conceived and cared for,
it is a horrendous contradiction when it becomes a place
where life is rejected and destroyed. So great is the value of a human life,
and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child
growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s own body
can justify a decision to terminate that life, which is an end in itself
and which can never be considered the “property” of another human being.
-Amoris Laetitia

Pope Francis cuts to the core of the pro-life argument:
it is a new abolitionism, and nothing else.

1/24/2016

Pro-Life Movement vs. Anti-Woman, Pro-Abortionists

Where do you see opportunities for winning people over?
One new element is that pro-abortion groups seem to be getting increasingly extreme.
Interestingly, they’re dropping the theme of “pro-choice” they’ve had for 40 years, preferring to talk about “women’s health,” which I suppose makes it easier to oppose conscience rights. They’re also tending to press for semi-permanent methods [of contraception and abortion], such as injections and implants, that last for months. Women can’t remove them on their own; they need a doctor’s help.
Women’s freedom is being demoted, not only as a theme, but in reality.
It’s an increasingly coercive agenda, which I think gives us an opportunity to win people over by asking, “Is this what the movement formerly known as ‘pro-choice’ actually means?"
________________
The only downside to this interview between John Allen, Jr. and Richard Doerflinger is that JAJ insist on using the term 'anti-abortion' rather than pro-life, as though the movement formerly known as 'pro-choice' somehow gets to decide what the pro-life movement calls itself. John, just in case you were wondering: if you're only anti-abortion, you're not pro-life, because being pro-life means respecting human life from womb to tomb. The 'women's health' movement is actually profoundly anti-woman, so if we're calling a spade a spade, why don't we go with that term?
Anti-Woman Pro-Abortionists are trying to make 'anti-abortion' sound like it's a bad thing. Is it a bad thing? They might argue that using the term pro-life implies that the other side is anti-life, or pro-death, but is there any other outcome to the choice being upheld by law?

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson makes an even better pitch here:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430127/pro-life-pro-choice-anti-abortion-consensus

1/20/2016

The Good News of the Fatherhood of God

The Gospel of Jesus — the Good News of the fatherhood of God — is the most radical doctrine in the history of ideas. If we really believed that God is our father and that every person is a child of God made in his image the world could be changed overnight.

-Archbishop Gomez

12/25/2015

Invisible Dragons

With the shepherds, let us bow down before the Lamb, let us worship God’s goodness made flesh, and let us allow tears of repentance to fill our eyes and cleanse our hearts.  This is something we all need!

He alone, he alone can save us.  Only God’s mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst.  The grace of God can convert hearts and offer mankind a way out of humanly insoluble situations.

Where God is born, hope is born.  He brings hope.  Where God is born, peace is born.

-Urbi et Orbi 2015
____________________________________________________

I taught my first grade students about the Invisible Dragon disguised as one's Self, who tries to put the "Y" first so it no longer spells "J O Y" --

--you must resist the lies of the Invisible Dragon and instead put Jesus first, and Others before Yourself last, if you wish to know joy.

Sometimes monstrous evil rises up, like in the Garden, when the nahash threatened Adam and Eve, and they listened to the lie instead of listening to God's will. It did not bring them joy.

When we follow the commands of Love, then we know joy.

Merry Merged Message

The Word of the Father speaks to all a word of Mercy, a Word that seeks to welcome, to lift up, to heal, to restore, to repair, to give hope and ultimately to give life. All throughout the Gospels, we hear these stories over and over of how Jesus, as the Word of the Father, made a difference in the lives of those He met – because He lived a different way. He revealed to us the Father’s tenderness, His caress, His affection for all – not in condemnation, but in an invitation to live through   following Jesus, His Son. He abides with us today fulfilling His mission to be a voice of reason, of hope, of mercy to a waiting world. So, Christmas celebrates family, celebrates life born of a babe in Bethlehem, and celebrates hope for you and me. Christianity is an event that recognizes God’s love for us in a person and invites each, in freedom, to follow. Indeed, we come to adore Him even today because Jesus is truly the “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing."

- Christmas Message of my Bishop

So when we hear tell of the birth of Christ, let us be silent and let the Child speak. Let us take his words to heart in rapt contemplation of his face. If we take him in our arms and let ourselves be embraced by him, he will bring us unending peace of heart. This Child teaches us what is truly essential in our lives. He was born into the poverty of this world; there was no room in the inn for him and his family. He found shelter and support in a stable and was laid in a manger for animals. And yet, from this nothingness, the light of God’s glory shines forth. From now on, the way of authentic liberation and perennial redemption is open to every man and woman who is simple of heart. This Child, whose face radiates the goodness, mercy and love of God the Father, trains us, his disciples, as Saint Paul says, “to reject godless ways” and the richness of the world, in order to live “temperately, justly and devoutly” (Tit 2:12).

In a society so often intoxicated by consumerism and hedonism, wealth and extravagance, appearances and narcissism, this Child calls us to act soberly, in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential. In a world which all too often is merciless to the sinner and lenient to the sin, we need to cultivate a strong sense of justice, to discern and to do God’s will. Amid a culture of indifference which not infrequently turns ruthless, our style of life should instead be devout, filled with empathy, compassion and mercy, drawn daily from the wellspring of prayer.

Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we too, with eyes full of amazement and wonder, gaze upon the Child Jesus, the Son of God. And in his presence may our hearts burst forth in prayer: “Show us, Lord, your mercy, and grant us your salvation” (Ps 85:8).

-Christmas Homily of the Bishop of Rome

So both apostolic teachers instruct us to live soberly a life of reason, a way that is simple, merciful, and discerns what is essential. We must invite others to look upon the Child and see what the world cannot offer them.




12/10/2015

Mercy Maranatha

"...whenever mercy is obliviated self-love is at the root.

In the world, this takes the form of exclusively seeking one’s own interests, pleasures and honours joined with the desire to accumulate wealth, whereas in the life of a Christian it is often disguised in hypocrisy and worldliness. All of these things are contrary to mercy.

Surges of self-love, which make mercy a stranger in the world, are so abundant and numerous that we are often unable to recognize them as limitations and as sin.

This is why it is necessary to recognize ourselves as sinners, so as to strengthen within us the certainty of divine mercy. “Lord, I am a sinful man; Lord, I am a sinful woman: come with your mercy”. This is a beautiful prayer. It is an easy prayer to say every day:

“Lord, I am a sinner: come with your mercy”.

-from the Holy Father's Wed. Audience, Dec.9, 2015

11/09/2015

Dedication of an Altar

I spent the past week as a Master of Ceremonies preparing for the Mass of the Dedication of an Altar. Whenever the bishop of any diocese is going to pray the Mass at a local parish, there is advance work that needs to be done. That only multiplies when the ceremony to be done is an Altar Dedication.

I spent three hours rehearsing with the altar servers team one evening, another three hours with the priest and the priest-MC a second evening, and then three hours the night before making sure all the furnishings were in place. I spent another hour afterwards returning items to their respective locations.

Through it all, I've been trying to keep up with my obligations to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

What was in the Office of Readings this past week? The story of Judas Maccabeus and the dedication of the altar of holocaust. Curious, curious...

Then, as if to put a too-fine point on it, the Lord sent into my inbox the following series of posts from my Divine Mercy Daily subscription:

February 7, [1937]. Today, the Lord said to me, I demand of you a perfect and whole-burnt offering; an offering of the will. No other sacrifice can compare with this one. I Myself am directing your life and arranging things in such a way that you will be for Me a continual sacrifice and will always do My will (Diary, 923). 
And for the accomplishment of this offering, you will unite yourself with Me on the Cross. I know what you can do. I Myself will give you many orders directly, but I will delay the possibility of their being carried out and make it depend on others (Diary, 923) 
But what the superiors will not manage to do, I Myself will accomplish directly in your soul. And in the most hidden depths of your soul, a perfect holocaust will be carried out, not just for a while, but know, My daughter, that this offering will last until your death (Diary, 923).

I am marveling at what the Lord has done for me spiritually this week. Preparing for this event with His Excellency was hard work, but it was gratifying on a level I can't find words to describe. The liturgy was ad orientem, because the new altar is a reconstruction of the one that was removed by liturgical deconstructionists in the post-Vatican II frenzy to deny that Council's continuity with the past. As if that weren't beautiful enough, the brazier was used, and an actual cloud of incense rose up to the heights of the reredos, the backing of the main altar wherein the saints each have an alcove.

So, there I am, adoring the Lord in the hands of my Bishop as he faced liturgically Eastward, and the choir began to chant the Magnificat.

It really doesn't get much better than that! I wish to make of myself a holocaust, dedicating my heart as an acceptable altarstone, that the Lord might place a clean heart within me. Those are the words I pray as I dress into my alb before these litrugies commence, "Wash me of my iniquities; cleanse me of all my sin. A clean heart create for me O Lord, and a steadfast spirit place within me."

May it be ever so.

10/24/2015

Pope's speech on Synodality

I found a cleaner, less-raw translation at News.Va--


A synodal Church is a Church which listens, which realizes that listening “is more than simply hearing”... It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn. The faithful people, the college of bishops, the Bishop of Rome: all listening to each other, and all listening to the Holy Spirit...

Synodality, as a constitutive element of the Church... the Church is nothing other than the “journeying together” of God’s flock along the paths of history towards the encounter with Christ the Lord... in the Church, it is necessary that each person “lower” himself or herself, so as to serve our brothers and sisters along the way.

I am persuaded that in a synodal Church, greater light can be shed on the exercise of the Petrine primacy. The Pope is not, by himself, above the Church; but within it as one of the baptized, and within the College of Bishops as a Bishop among Bishops, called at the same time — as Successor of Peter — to lead the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches.

As a Church which “journeys together” with men and women, sharing the travails of history, let us cherish the dream that a rediscovery of the inviolable dignity of peoples and of the function of authority as service will also be able to help civil society to be built up in justice and fraternity, and thus bring about a more beautiful and humane world for coming generations.

Hopefully you will read the entirety of the October 17 speech:
http://www.news.va/en/news/ceremony-commemorating-the-50th-anniversary-of-the

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