The lyrics express constant disappointment in life: Is that all there is to a fire?... to a circus?... to love? In that case, “let’s keep dancing, bring out the booze and have a ball.”
But there is a big difference between Qoheleth and the song. The latter is purely pessimistic, the former is not. In fact, in Qoheleth we read many beautiful and comforting passages:
“I recognized that there is nothing better than to be glad and to do well during life.”
“For every man, moreover, to eat and drink and enjoy the fruit of all his labor is a gift of God.”
“It is well for a man to eat and drink and enjoy all the fruits of his labor under the sun during the limited days of the life which God gives him; for this is his lot.”
“Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of the fleeting life that is granted you under the sun. This is your lot in life.”
The rich man with the bountiful harvest, in the parable, seems to say the same thing as Qoheleth: “eat, drink, be merry.” But here too there is a big difference. Qoheleth sees the good in his life as a blessing from God. The rich man sees only his wealth and prosperity, without any thought of “what matters to God.”
Imagine a child (or yourself) blowing bubbles and ask yourself which element of each of the following pairs is most like them:
Life, or status?
People, or things?
Love, or being right?
Sharing, or winning?
Health, or wealth?
The list goes on and on. We need to ask ourselves what really matters to God and to us, and what are the bubbles, the “vanity,” in our lives.
In these words the steward expressed his amazement to the bridegroom at Cana. And his amazement was redoubled when he found the bridegroom just as surprised as he was. The words should, of course, have been addressed to Jesus, who had just let himself be persuaded by Our Lady to work the first of his miracles.
After thirty years of hidden life, Jesus begins to reveal the divine power that is his by nature. Surely it can be no accident that he works his first miracle on the occasion of a human celebration, and in order to provide more of what would make people merrier still at a party already filled with merriment?
Is it too much to suggest that Our Lord chose this moment because he wished to make it clear that he had come to bring men happiness; not just the ultimate and perfect happiness of heaven, but also the passing though real happiness of earth? He had come to give a divine touch to human things, so that man's store of happiness, even if at times in danger, need never run out.
God became man not to destroy man, but to save him, not to limit or inhibit or frustrate man, but to show him the way to fulfilment and to freedom: to the final and limitless freedom and fulfilment of heaven, to be sure; but also to that relative but true freedom and happiness which God himself wants us to achieve on earth. Christianity, when all is said and done, does not devalue human things, but leads them to their true fulfilment (which can be so easily missed), and far beyond.
Most people's dreams of happiness are dreams of human love. The instinct to look for happiness in love and marriage is rooted deep in the human heart, and has surely been placed there by God. Our Lord's choice of a marriage feast as the setting for his first miracle seems a good proof not only of the obvious fact that he is in favour of marriage (his own institution, after all!), but also that he wants people's hopes of happiness in marriage to be fulfilled. I am certain that Jesus rejoiced in the noble and pure love of the young couple at Cana, just as he most certainly blessed it with his presence. I am sure that this marriage, with Christ and his Blessed Mother present at its inception, was one of the very many happy marriages of history.
But our Lord did more on this occasion. He worked an evident miracle in favour of this marriage. And he worked a deeper miracle still, in favour of all subsequent marriages... (to be continued)
By the effective exercise of only one virtue, a person may attain to the height of all the rest.
Actually, this gospel passage shows Jesus as true Man and true God. First of all, the Evangelist insists on his friendship with Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary. He emphasizes that “Jesus loved” them (John 11:5), and this is why he wanted to accomplish the great wonder. “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him out of sleep” (11:11), he tells his disciples, expressing God’s viewpoint on physical death with the metaphor of sleep. God sees it exactly as sleep, from which he can awaken us. Jesus has shown an absolute power regarding this death, seen when he gives life back to the widow of Nain’s young son (see Luke 7:11-17) and to the twelve-year-old girl (see Mark 5:35-43). Precisely concerning her, he said, “The child is not dead but sleeping” (5:39), attracting the derision of those present. But in truth it is exactly like this: bodily death is a sleep from which God can awaken us at any moment.
This lordship over death does not impede Jesus from feeling sincere “compassion” for the sorrow of detachment. Seeing Martha and Mary and those who had come to console them weeping, Jesus “was deeply moved in spirit and troubled,” and lastly, “wept” (John 11:33, 35). Christ’s heart is divine-human: in him God and man meet perfectly, without separation and without confusion. He is the image, or rather, the incarnation of God who is love, mercy, paternal and maternal tenderness, of God who is Life. Therefore, he solemnly declared to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” And he adds, “Do you believe this?” (11:25-26). It is a question that Jesus addresses to each one of us: a question that certainly rises above us, rises above our capacity to understand, and it asks us to entrust ourselves to him as he entrusted himself to the Father. Martha’s response is exemplary: “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world” (11:27). Yes, O Lord! We also believe, notwithstanding our doubts and darkness; we believe in you because you have the words of eternal life. We want to believe in you, who give us a trustworthy hope of life beyond life, of authentic and full life in your kingdom of light and peace.
We entrust this prayer to Mary Most Holy. May her intercession strengthen our faith and hope in Jesus, especially in moments of greater trial and difficulty.
—Angelus, March 9, 2008
An excerpt from The Joy of Knowing Christ by Pope Benedict XVI.
And this very brief scripture passage paints us a very detailed picture of Martha: her personality, her virtues and her shortcomings.
Martha comes across as an extrovert, a take charge type of person, a woman of action.
We also see that Martha possesses at least two virtuous qualities: the virtue of faith in Jesus and the virtue of hospitality.
These two virtues inspire Martha to welcome Jesus and probably the twelve apostles also to her home for dinner.
But what of course jumps out most to us is Martha’s shortcomings. Jesus sums them all up when he says to her “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.”
The Lord, who sees into the heart, looks into Martha’s heart and sees that it’s not just one thing Martha is anxious and worried about, she is rather anxious and worried about many things.
Yes, there’s the matter at hand, getting dinner ready and the table set and keeping everything warm without a microwave for 13 hungry men. All that’s got her a bit anxious and worried.
But that’s probably the least of Martha’s “many” worries and concerns.
We can only speculate what some of them were, but probably Martha worried over the things we worry over: over financial issues, personal health issues, perhaps she was worried about past or present sins she struggled with, perhaps she worried that she was worrying too much!
Martha certainly got anxiety over family matters. It is rather revealing that Martha asks Jesus to tell her sister to help her. Were the two not talking to each other?
We also find out later that Martha’s brother Lazarus has some serious health issues, which also must have caused Martha much anxiety.
And probably most of all, Martha was anxious and worried about her friend and Lord Jesus and his mission. She worried about how cold and dark and loveless this world was, she worried about how Jesus’ enemies were plotting to kill Him just two miles up the road in Jerusalem, she worried that all the good that Jesus was doing would be in vain.
And all of these anxieties come to a head and come bursting out of the extrovert Martha: Lord, do you not care? She asks Jesus.
“Do you not care that my family life’s a wreck, that my sister and I aren’t talking to each other? Do you not care that my brother could fall ill at any time leaving us financially strapped? Do you not care that I keep falling into the same sins over and over again? Do you not care that tonight’s supper is going to be ruined, and that it very well might be your Last Supper if the Pharisees finally succeed in bringing you down? Do you not care what’s to become of us disciples if that happens?”
To which Jesus replies “Martha, Martha, only one thing is necessary, and Mary your sister has chosen it.”
“Mary has all the same many anxieties and worries that you have Martha, and she even has a few others you don’t have, but Mary has brought those worries to me in prayer; Mary has taken time out each day to sit at my feet and let my Words permeate and transform her heart.
“In doing so, Mary still has the same problems, but she is not longer anxious and worried over them, she knows there’s no problem too big that God and her cannot handle.
“Mary has chosen the better part Martha, and the peace and serenity her daily prayer has given her shall not be taken from her. Nor will it be taken from you Martha, if you would but sit at my feet a while and learn from me.”
It appears that Martha took Jesus up on his offer that day, for the next time we meet her it is when Jesus visits her at the death of her brother Lazarus.
And that day, Martha says to Jesus “even now in the midst of this crisis, I know, that whatever you ask of God, Jesus, God will give you, for I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the One who has come into the world.”
May us Marthas who are anxious and worried over many things bring our cares each day to the feet of Jesus, that we like Martha may learn to choose the better part and come to believe more firmly in Christ.
This video explains some of the reasons to be Catholic, among them the Eucharist and the Church.
On July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae, which means, “Of Human Life.” In that relatively short document, which you can find at priestsforlife.org, he outlines the Church’s vision of human life, marriage, and the connection between human love and the creative action of God.
Love and life are two very simple and very similar words, and they represent two gifts that go together. Love leads to life; it does not close it off. Love welcomes life, it is not afraid of it. Love and life go together because ultimately, they are simply two aspects of the one God.
One of the best ways you can observe this anniversary of Humanae Vitae is to read it. Go to priestsforlife.org and you will find the text along with helpful commentary.
H/T Patrick Madrid
While being billed as merely a contraceptive, "ella" actually goes a lot further than preventing contraception from occuring as it can actually terminate the life of an existing human embryo, an abortion!
Women can take the drug up to 5 days after intercourse, well after a new human life has been created. Because "ella" blocks the progesterone receptors needed for the continued development of the human embryo, the pill causes an abortion if taken after conception occurs.
This makes "ella" an abortion not a contraceptive drug, plain and simple. Two weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs approved "ella" for sale within the United States, calling it a contraceptive. The drug now goes before the FDA for final approval in a few short weeks.
In order to help spread the word about "ella", the new abortion drug, SFLA has launched a new website, www.ellacausesabortions.com, in an effort to let President Obama know that pro-life Americans won't be fooled by the FDA and their mislabeling of drugs.
Go to http://www.ellacausesabortions.com/ right now and sign our petition!
Well, those are my (somewhat cranky) suggestions for listening to and benefiting from a liturgical homily.
Anybody want to add anything?
St. Thomas Aquinas answered these questions and in the process prevented a rift between traditionalists and modernists. His theology, Thomism, is a synthesis of Aristotelian philosophy and Revelation. Like his predecessors, Aquinas’s theology is objective, deductive, and principled.
For all the centuries between Augustine and Aquinas, the accepted worldview stayed largely intact. Thought and theology remained grounded in objective principles and deductive arguments.
I found Arise From Darkness: What to Do When Life Doesn't Make Sense to be personally rewarding. Fr. Groeschel urges us to keep life in perspective with eternity. Death is a human experience none are spared. Suffering is inevitable for everyone. Even Christ suffered and died, but in so doing He made those experiences holy. Death and suffering are mysteries we do not fully understand. This lack of understanding should not lead to fear however. Rather, we should view death as a birth into eternal life.
To order this book go here or visit the Catholic Company for similar items.
- The final, complete, definitive way, of course, is Christ, God himself in human flesh.
- His church is his body, so we know God also through the church.
- The Scriptures are the church's book. This book, like Christ himself, is called The "Word of God."
- Scripture also says we can know God in nature see Romans 1. This is an innate, spontaneous, natural knowledge. I think no one who lives by the sea, or by a little river, can be an atheist.
- Art also reveals God. I know three ex-atheists who say, "There is the music of Bach, therefore there must be a God." This too is immediate.
- Conscience is the voice of God. It speaks absolutely, with no ifs, ands, or buts. This too is immediate. [The last three ways of knowing God (4-6) are natural, while the first three are supernatural. The last three reveal three attributes of God, the three things the human spirit wants most: truth, beauty, and goodness. God has filled his creation with these three things. Here are six more ways in which we can and do know God.]
- Reason, reflecting on nature, art, or conscience, can know God by good philosophical arguments.
- Experience, life, your story, can also reveal God. You can see the hand of Providence there.
- The collective experience of the race, embodied in history and tradition, expressed in literature, also reveals God.You can know God through others' stories, through great literature.
- The saints reveal God. They are advertisements, mirrors, little Christs. They are perhaps the most effective of all means of convincing and converting people.
- Our ordinary daily experience of doing God's will will reveal God. God becomes clearer to see when the eye of the heart is purified: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God."
- Prayer meets God—ordinary prayer. You learn more of God from a few minutes of prayerful repentance than through a lifetime in a library.
Unfortunately, Christians sometimes have family fights about these ways, and treat them as either/or instead of both/and. They all support each other, and nothing could be more foolish than treating them as rivals—for example, finding God in the church versus finding God in nature, or reason versus experience, or Christ versus art.
If you have neglected any of these ways, it would be an excellent idea to explore them. For instance, pray using great music. Or take an hour to review your life some time to see God's role in your past. Read a great book to better meet and know and glorify God. Pray about it first.
The pope's call for more environmental commitments came in his message for the Roman Catholic Church's annual World Day of Peace, to be marked on Jan 1 and whose theme is "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation."
The message is traditionally sent to heads of state, government and international organizations and its importance this year is more significant because its release coincided with the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen.
"It is important to acknowledge that among the causes of the present ecological crisis is the historical responsibility of the industrialized countries," he said in the message.
While saying that developing countries "are not exempt from their own responsibilities with regard to creation," and had a duty to gradually adopt effective environmental measures, the bulk of his criticism was aimed at rich nations.
The resulting synthesis, Augustinianism, is objective. It acknowledges truth, including moral truth, as outside of us, not a matter of personal opinion, therefore, universal, not particular to individuals, cultures, or circumstances. According to Augustine, we can know truth through Revelation, right reason, and the Church.
One started with a "given" which was accepted, e.g., God is a pure spirit, and added what was called the minor term, e.g., a pure spirit does not have a body… (then) drew a conclusion, e.g., God does not have a body.
Finally, Augustinian theology is principled. Principles flow from objective truth and deductive reasoning. The opposite of principled is experimental. Experimental knowledge comes from personal experience.
Perhaps the Church has hurt you. The Church has hurt me. It has hurt most people near it for any length of time – not the whole Church, but part of it. I assure you that you and I will know, at the end of our days, that great Church which is the Mystical Body of Christ when it comes to its full reality. That is what eternal life is – when all who are saved from every nation and race and people will be gathered into the Mystical Body of Christ. We are preparing now for the heavenly Church, but our own spiritual life will be very weak and very narrow indeed if we do not loyally struggle for the Church in this world and try to be faithful to her even when others are not faithful. On Judgment Day no one is going to ask you about what anybody else did for the Church, only about what you and I did as individuals, as members of the Church of Christ in this wounded world. St. Paul, who loved the Church and suffered for her, writes to us:
I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints (Col 1:24-28).
Sexual difference is not like any other kind of difference. It’s a primordial difference. It allows for and opens the entire human person to a true and authentic communion of persons.
The heart of marriage, the good that marriage consists of, is the bond that arises from the vows of husband and wife to give one’s self in love fully to the other who is similar yet different. The sexual difference between man and woman, that is, husband and wife, opens love to an utterly unique reciprocity and communion. “It is not good that the man should be alone; I want to make him a help similar to himself” (cf. Gn 2:18).25 Because marriage is a union that essentially includes the gift of the entire “body-person,” it inherently and necessarily is a union of male and female, of husband and wife.
The Church has always and everywhere taught that sexual relationships between people of the same sex, as well as any sexual relationships or activity outside of marriage, are morally wrong, contrary to the true good of the human person. For one thing, such activity harms the persons involved, ignoring the true meaning of one’s sexuality. There are greater consequences for society as well. This is no secret. Sex has public consequences. Both the Church and societies across the ages have acknowledged this.
But same-sex “marriage” is not merely wrong; it is impossible. When a government claims that two people of the same sex can be “married,” it is founding the law on a lie. Civil authorities have an obligation to protect marriage because it is so central to the common good, but no one has a right to redefine it. Rights exist because of truth and corresponding responsibilities. Truth matters.
For example, if a government — by a legislative decision, court ruling, or even by a people’s vote — were to pass a law saying that a cat is a dog, that would not make it true.
But it would make it very difficult, once the government assumed control over the very word, to teach the truth about cats to the next generation. Cultural power is the power to “name reality.” With same-sex “marriage,” civil authorities and others are proposing to change the very nature, meaning and purpose of marriage in the public square.
Let’s make sure we’re clear: Friendship is a great good, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex (see CCC, no. 2347). The Church calls persons who experience same-sex attraction, as she does all people, to a life of holy fulfillment, that is, to a deeper and fuller union with Jesus Christ. As support along the way in a life of chastity and virtue, the Church speaks to the importance and great good of healthy and holy friendships, family and community support, prayer and sacramental grace.
Unlike two persons of the same sex, only a man and a woman can commit to a true marital bond as husband and wife and create a one-flesh union. A man and a woman’s “body-persons” (their whole person) are ordered to one another. A husband and a wife are able to speak a unique and authentic language of love through their bodies (i.e., through the “language of the body”. A current false assumption is that one has a personal, autonomous “right” to decide the meaning and purpose of one’s body, of the sexual act, to separate deliberately sex from procreation and procreation from sex, as well as the child from a mother and a father. It’s falsely presumed that there is a “right” to separate sex from the only context in which it can be truly unitive as well as procreative, hence the only context where it can be a true expression of love.
Marriage is not merely an appearance of union. It is not a temporary joining of the affections that can be withdrawn, or a partial 50/50 commitment. Nor is it simply friendship — as great a good as healthy and holy friendships are. Marriage involves the unique sharing of the whole person, man to woman and woman to man—not just the heart and the mind, but body and soul as well.
Think for a minute about the body. By their sexual acts a man and woman become a single procreative unity. The two become “one flesh.” Only in marriage does this physical act constitute a true joining of persons, one where, in a human fashion, husband and wife commit not just physical organs but heart, mind, body, and soul to one another. This is why sex is intrinsically ordered to be a conjugal act, which is to say an act of true union.
Sexual difference is the way to life-giving love and union. In discussions of marriage today, love and commitment are often emphasized as the most important qualities. There’s something true to this, but a vital key is to help people understand what lies at the basis of this love and commitment. What makes the love and commitment of marriage possible? Love and commitment are ingredients to many relationships that we have with family and friends.
Why suffering can be purposeful as well as painful.
When Adam sinned his communion with God, the very source of life, was diminished. Everything in creation was thrown out of balance. The Genesis account makes one thing clear. Evil entered the heart of man, not blotting out love of God but diminishing it.
Following Adam's rejection of God's love, God didn't abandon us. Barely did man sin when God promised to send a Redeemer to defeat evil once and for all. God addresses the serpent who successfully tempted Adam and Eve. In so doing, God divulges the plan of salvation: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15)
The "woman" is Mary. This is why Catholics call Mary the new Eve. In her all things are made new. The woman's seed is of course Jesus Christ.
Jesus was the son of God and without sin. Everything He did was holy. When He healed it was holy. When He taught it was holy. All Christ did as God incarnate was holy. When Christ suffered it was holy. Even now, as members of the Body of Christ, our suffering is holy. More on this in my next post.
Each of these "causes" was a different sense of the Greek word aition, which Aristotle thought was ambiguous and needed to be clarified. The distinction between them can be understood using a wooden table as an example. The material cause is the wood out of which the table is made; the formal cause is the form or shape of the table; the efficient cause is the carpenter who creates the table; and the final cause is the purpose for which the table will be used, e.g. a desk, an altar, a decorative console, etc.
1.) The material cause is the substance or material out of which something is composed. Thus the material cause of a table is wood, and the material cause of a statue might be bronze or marble.
2.) The formal cause is the thing or being into which the substance or material becomes. A leather worker turns leather into shoes for example.
3.) The efficient cause is the person or thing that effects change in a substance or material
4.) The Final cause, or telos, is defined as the purpose, the good, or the goal of something. For example, the final cause of a pen is writing. Aristotle believed that the final cause is the most important of the four causes - determining the three other causes
For another explanation of Aristotle's four causes go here.
Help me to love and serve you more and more each day. Give me courage in adversity and confidence to be wholly disposed to do your will. Purify my heart and mind, help me to be open to the great gift of your Holy Spirit so that I may love you always. Lead me away from distractions, occasions of sin and give me your armour of peace, joy, self control and fortitude. Help me to become more like you.
After knowing myself, help me to serve you, to stand for justice, help those in need and lead others toward you. Let me prefer nothing to your fragrance and presence, and let be after your own heart. Forgive me my sins and put a new heart within me.
H/T Robert Colquhoun
It is the last part of this description that concerns us. For nearly a hundred years Madison Avenue has shaped the mass communications media, influencing everything from advertisements to movies. Sexual messages are thrust upon us everywhere. The sexual content of most television programs are a negative influence especially on the young. They portray contraception, active homosexuality, lying, theft, and revenge as morally neutral or good. Sacred Scripture teaches and the teaching authority of the Church affirm that they are contrary to the will of God.
To combat this negative influence, strong fanilies are needed; families that mirror the love of God. This is essential if we are to transform the culture in which we live.
I'm calling this a pro-life ad since it celebrates the arrival of a little one.
If you’ve been away from Confession for a long time and want to come back, don’t be afraid!
Below is a good guide to confession I took from the website of a Church in Missouri, including How to Go to Confession, an Act of Contrition, and an Examination of Conscience.
Guide for Examination of Conscience for Confession of Sins
6 STEPS FOR A GOOD CONFESSION
1.Examine your conscience - what sins have you committed since your last good confession.
2.Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
3.Confess your sins to the priest.
4.Make certain that you confess all your mortal sins and the number of them.
5.After your confession, do the penance the priest gives to you.
6.Pray daily for the strength to avoid the occasion of sin, especially for those sins you were just absolved from.
ACT OF CONTRITION
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
“I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before Me.” (Ex 20:2,3)
» Did I doubt or deny that God exists?
» Did I refuse to believe what God as revealed to us?
» Did I believe in fortune telling, horoscopes, dreams, the occult, good-luck charms, tarot cards, palmistry, Ouija boards, seances, reincarnation?
» Did I deny that I was Catholic?
» Did I leave the Catholic Faith?
» Did I give time to God each day in prayer?
» Did I love God with my whole heart?
» Did I despair of or presume on God’s mercy?
» Did I have false gods in my life that I gave greater attention to than God, like money, profession, drugs, TV, fame, pleasure, property, etc.?
“You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Ex 20:7)
» Did I blaspheme or insult God?
» Did I take God’s name carelessly or uselessly?
» Did I curse, or break an oath or vow?
» Did I get angry with God?
To be continued...
2. Pay attention to key words, images, phrases, ideas.
This is the inspiring story of Bryce Daniel. As an unborn child, doctors urged Bryce's parents to abort. This video is part of the Pass This On For Me Campaign, one in a series of true life stories with a pro-life message. Special thanks to Lifesitenews and Robert at Love Undefiled for spreading word of this project.
One 2,000 year old faith.
Eternal life: courtesy with the grace of God.
Free spiritual advice: at your local parish
Sin anniliation service: through confession
Purgatory insurance cover: for those who aren't completely perfect
Excommunication: disposal of heretics for doctrinal clarity.
Free baby wash service upon birth of new family members: total remission of all sins included.
Free top quality worldwide television service with EWTN.
Spiritual communion with new family of 1 billion members.
Largest healthcare provider in the world promoting the dignity of the human person.
Outstanding education service - schools and universities included.
Great travel holidays- Lourdes, Fatima, Rome all included.
Extra mother provided free: intercession possible.
A historical, cultural, architectural, artistic and spiritual heritage beyond measure.
Papacy: Rock of the greatest civilization known to man.
H/T Love Undefiled
1. Women Will Never Be Priests – Often incorrectly lumped in with the subject of married priests, this is a doctrine that has been infallibly decided and will not change. In 1994, Pope John Paul II issued an Apostolic Letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which he declared once and for all that “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” Unlike the issue of married priests (which could possibly change), women’s ordination is an impossibility that will not happen. It is not a “glass ceiling” or the Church’s attempt to hold back women. Instead, it is an infallible recognition that men and women have different roles and that Christ instituted a male priesthood.
2. Fridays Are Still Days Of Penance – Ask almost anyone and they will tell you that Catholics are no longer required to abstain from meat on Fridays throughout the year. However, the current Code of Canon Law (CIC) states that, with the exception of solemnities, “All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church.” (CIC 1250) Furthermore, “Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities.” (CIC 1251) In the United States, the bishops have declared that it is permissible to substitute some other form of penance, but we are still urged to fast from “something” in remembrance of the Lord’s death on the cross.
3. The Bible Is A Catholic Book – Did you ever wonder how the Bible came into being? A little known, but easily documented fact is that the books of the Bible were compiled by the Catholic Church. For many years after Christ ascended into Heaven, there was debate about which scriptural writings were inspired by God. The canon of Scripture (the books of the Bible) was first formally decided at the Synod of Rome in 382. This decision was upheld at the Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397). At these Catholic Church councils, the same 46 Old Testament and 27 New Testament books that appear in today’s Catholic Bibles were declared to be inspired by God. As a side note, approximately 1200 years after this decision was made, Martin Luther and the Protestant reformers removed 7 books from the Old Testament. As a result, most Protestant Bibles are still missing these 7 books.
4. The Mass Is The Same Sacrifice As Calvary – The biggest mistake that many Catholics make is treating the Holy Mass as “just another church service”, similar to those held by other religions. In the Mass, Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross is made present, its memory is celebrated and its saving power is applied. The Council of Trent teaches that Christ left a visible sacrifice to His Church “in which that bloody sacrifice which was once offered on the Cross should be made present, its memory preserved to the end of the world, and its salvation-bringing power applied to the forgiveness of the sins which are daily committed by us.” When we attend Mass, we are mystically transported to Calvary, where we can unite ourselves with the Lord’s Sacrifice to the Father!
5. Annulments Are Not Catholic Divorces – Unlike the legal process known as “divorce” (in which a marriage is terminated), a declaration of nullity (annulment) states that a valid marriage never existed. This decision is based upon the finding that on the day that marriage vows were exchanged, some essential elements were lacking. This process is completely in conformity with the Catholic teaching regarding the indissolubility of marriage. Incidentally, the granting of an annulment does not render children illegitimate.
6. In Vitro Fertilization Is Morally Unacceptable – Many Catholics suffering from infertility utilize this process in the hopes of conceiving children, while remaining unaware that the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) declares it “morally unacceptable”(CCC 2377). In the Vatican Instruction, Donum Vitae, the Church states “…in conformity with the traditional doctrine relating to the goods of marriage and the dignity of the person, the Church remains opposed from the moral point of view to homologous ‘in vitro’ fertilization. Such fertilization is in itself illicit and in opposition to the dignity of procreation and of the conjugal union, even when everything is done to avoid the death of the human embryo.”
7. There Is No Salvation Outside Of The Catholic Church – Originally stated by St. Cyprian, the Latin axiom “Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” reminds us that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. This dogma was declared at the Fourth Lateran Council and is a source of confusion for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. According to the Catechism, all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is His Body. It does not mean that non-Catholics cannot achieve salvation. Individuals who are unaware that the Catholic Church is the one, true Church may still achieve salvation through the merits of the Church, despite their lack of knowledge.
8. In An Emergency, Anyone Can Baptize – Although the ordinary ministers of Baptism are bishops, priests and deacons, anyone can baptize in an emergency, even a non-baptized person. This extraordinary decision can be attributed to the necessity of Baptism for salvation and the Church’s desire to make it readily available to all.
9. Hell And Purgatory Still Exist – Contrary to the belief of many Catholics, the Church still teaches that “the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin, descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, eternal fire” (CCC 1035) Furthermore, “all who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation, but after death they undergo purification, so to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” (CCC 1030) This purification process, formally declared by the Church at the Councils of Florence and Trent, is known as Purgatory.
10. Catholics Don’t Worship Mary And The Saints – Many Catholics are confused about the role of the Blessed Mother and the Saints. Should we pray to Mary and the Saints or should we go “right to the top” and pray to God? In a nutshell, the Catholic Faith teaches that we must worship God alone. Mary and the Saints are to be honored, not worshipped. However, their intercession can be extremely powerful and emulating their virtues can put us on the road to Heaven.
While the above list only scratches the surface of the robust Catholic Faith, it provides a glimpse into the depth of Catholic teaching. Further explanation on these and other topics can be found by examining the Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, both of which can be found online at the Vatican website (www.vatican.va). Not only will studying the teachings of the Catholic Church enable us to better defend her when challenged, it will help us to become closer to Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who founded our Church 2,000 years ago.
Blessed is the parent who engages not in the comparison of his child with others, for precious unto each is the rhythm of his own growth.
Blessed are the fathers and mothers who have learned laughter, for it is the music of the child’s world.
Blessed and wise are those parents who understand the goodness of time, for they make it not a sword that kills growth but a shield to protect.
Blessed and mature are they who without anger can say "no", for comforting to the child is the security of firm decisions.
Blessed is the gift of consistency, for it is heart’s-ease in childhood.
Blessed are they who accept the awkwardness of growth, for they are aware of the choice between marred furnishings and damaged personalities.
Blessed are the teachable, for knowledge brings understanding, and understanding brings love.
Blessed are the men and women who in the midst of the unpromising mundane, give love, for they bestow the greatest of all gifts to each other, to their children, and—in an ever-widening circle—to their fellow men.
The Beatitudes for Parents were written by Marion E. Kinneman (1895-1985) about 40-45 years ago. Marion wrote this piece specifically for her two daughters to assist them in the raising of her six grandsons. They were first published in Family Circle magazine, and have been reprinted numerous times since.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him....He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me to strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me; still He knows what He is about.
This video is reposted by popular demand. It features Lila Rose, the president and founder of Live Action, a group dedicated to ending abortion. In the video Lila discusses the power of images in shaping and propelling social movements. She cites several historical examples to illustrate the point.
First of all, what is feminism? According to my iMac dictionary, it is: “the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” However, this definition just scratches the surface of what is a very complicated issue with a long history.
The “Woman’s Suffrage” movement, and its primary founder, Susan B. Anthony, had a noble aim and achieved much to give women their proper political and social respect. What many don’t know is that these early feminists were actually very pro-life and pro-motherhood.
But as time progressed, feminism became more extreme and more angry, especially with the “Women’s Liberation” movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Women of this movement have the mindset of Margaret Sanger, who was the founder of Planned Parenthood. They believe, among other things, that sexual activity outside of marriage is fine, and even should be encouraged as a means of “liberation”. They hold that unlimited access to abortion and artificial birth control is a fundamental “right” and that women should be identical to men in every way.
Don’t get me wrong: I am completely in favor of treating all human beings with equal respect, no matter our gender, race, or color. I believe that it is right for a woman to vote, to be involved in politics, to hold positions of authority in the workplace, to choose her own husband, to be paid the same as a man doing the same job, etc. These are just common sense rules that must be met for justice to be upheld.
Although feminism began with noble goals, in its modern form, it is a dangerous and negative mindset. In reality, it scorns womanhood by implying that as a woman, I’m not good enough – I must become like a man in order to be equal to him. What a lie! The truth is that man and woman have equal dignity, but different design. Modern feminists have the attitude that they can be everything a man is, which is physiologically and biologically impossible. In pursuing things that men have characteristically done, they have gone too far and utterly shunned their innate qualities. They view the traditional woman as inferior to man, and the role of a stay-at-home mother as inferior. When a woman no longer understands herself and her unique role, the breakdown of the family results.
In marriage, husband and wife are partners in a sacred covenant, to help each other be everything God is calling them to be. Man is made to be the protector and leader, and woman to be the bearer and nurturer of life. These innate qualities complement each other so perfectly. Working together, husband and wife create a stable and loving environment. However, if one partner rejects his or her natural role, the marriage will begin to fall apart.
Thanks to the lies and confusions of modern feminism, women have been undermining our inherent role. Since the sexual revolution, many have clung to the ideals of Margaret Sanger, who advocated promiscuity, contraception, and abortion-on-demand. By accepting this anti-life mentality and lifestyle, a woman literally severs that special bond with her child. Consequently, if the man and woman are married, she weakens her relationship with her husband by deliberately killing a life that they created together.
The video “Made for Each Other” focuses on the topic of sexual difference and the complementarity of man and woman. Why start here? At first sight, this topic might appear to miss the core issues and questions at stake. For example, you might hear that everyone knows about sexual difference already and that the real concern is about rights, equality, and non-discrimination. For sure, this concern about rights, equality, and non-discrimination involves important principles and receives most of the attention today. However, popular misconceptions regarding rights, equality, and non-discrimination easily shift the attention from the central question at stake, which is marriage.
The crucial starting point is sexual difference. While sexual difference alone doesn’t say everything there is to say about marriage, it’s indispensable for understanding marriage’s meaning. In fact, sexual difference provides the essential foundation for recognizing why marriage is exclusive to one man and one woman. The difference is the difference.
As Pope John Paul II taught, marriage is grounded in creation itself, willed by God in the very act of creation. Jesus himself showed us this when, in his teaching on marriage, he went back to the beginning, back to Genesis, back to the very creation of the human person (see Mt 19:4-6 and Mk 10:6-7).12 Marriage is not “created” by a religious institution or human government. Religion and government confirm what was already present from the beginning: marriage based on the sexual difference between man and woman. Marriage is grounded in human nature as created by God. As such, the call to marriage depends upon the sexual difference between a man and a woman.
Watch a new 12-minute video that explains why marriage is uniquely between a man and a woman, from the US bishops. The video provides natural and common sense reasons for upholding marriage as a union between one man and one woman, as well as some basic theological conclusions drawn from the Bible. The message is given by a married couple (actors named Josh and Carrie) who exhibit the virtues they speak about. The DVD comes with a study/discussion guide for parish or small group use. It is well worth your time to view the video through the link given above.
H/T Catholic Fire
In our modern culture, we commonly use phrases which have originated from the Bible without even knowing their origin.
After doing a bit of research, I have compiled my top 50 list of commonly used phrases which originate from the Bible.
Note- I have put the phrase and the reference where it originated from, which may or may not be a direct quote from the Bible. Some originate from the Bible yet have changed over time.
50 - "My cup runneth over" - Psalms 23:5
49 - "O ye, of little faith" - Luke 12:28
48 - "Living off the fat of the land" - Genesis 45:17-18
47 - "Like a lamb led to the slaughter" - Jeremiah 11:19 / Isaiah 53:7
46 - "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" - Matthew 26:41
45 - "Flesh and blood" - Matthew 16:17
44 - "Spare the rod and spoil the child" - Proverbs 13:24 / 23:13
43 - "Forbidden fruit" - Genesis 2 & 3
42 - "Can a leopard change his spots?" - Jeremiah 13:23
41 - "A man after my own heart" - Samuel 13:14 / Acts 13:22
40 - "Do not cast your pearls before swine" - Matthew 7:6
39 - "The fruit of your loins" - Genesis 35:11
38 - "The powers that be" - Romans 13: 1-2
37 - "Drop in the bucket" - Isaiah 40:15
36 - "Eat, drink, and be merry" - Ecclesiastes 8:15
35 - "Eye for an eye" - Exodus 21:24 / Leviticus 24:20 / Deuteronomy 19:21 / Matthew 5:38
34 - "The good Samaritan" - Luke 10:25-37
33 - "He that is without sin, cast the first stone" - John 8:7
32 - "Labor of love" - 1 Thessalonians 1:3
31 - "The root of the matter" - Job 19:28
30 - "Fight the good fight" - 1 Timothy 6.12
29 - "Letter of the law" - 2 Corinthians 3:6
28 - "Many are called, but few are chosen" - Matthew 22:14
27 - "Man does not live by bread alone" - Deuteronomy 8:3 / Matthew 4:4
26 - "Salt of the earth" - Matthew 5:13
25 - "No rest for the wicked" or "No rest for the weary" - Isaiah 57:21
24 - "Sweat of your brow" - Genesis 3:19
23 - "Apple of my eye" - Deuteronomy 2:10 / Zechariah 2:8
22 - "The love of money is the root of all evil" - 1 Timothy 6:10
21 - "All things must pass" or "This too shall pass" - Matthew 24:6-8
20 - "The truth shall make you free" John 8:32
19 - "There's nothing new under the sun" - Ecclesiastes 1:9
18 - "For everything there is a season" - Ecclesiastes 3:1
17 - "As old as Methuselah" - Genesis 5: 25-27
16 - "Ashes to ashes" - Genesis 3:19
15 - "Twinkling of an eye" - 1 Corinthians 15:52
14 - "A fly in the ointment" - Ecclesiastes 10:1
13 - "Faith will move mountains" - Matthew 21:21
12 - "Signs of the times" - Matthew 16:3
11 - "It is better to give than to receive" - Acts 20:35
10 - "My brother's keeper" - Genesis 4:9
9 - "Physician, heal thyself" - Luke 4:23
8 - "Out of the mouths of babes" - Psalm 8:2
7 - "How the mighty have fallen" - 2 Samuel 1:19
6 - "Bite the dust" - Psalms 72: 9
5 - "Sour grapes" - Ezekiel 18:2
4 - "The writing on the wall" - Daniel 5:5
3 - "At my wit's end" - Psalm 107:27
2 - "Blind leading the blind" - Matthew 15:14 / Luke 6:39
1 - "By the skin of our teeth" - Job 19:20
The Weapon of the Rosary.
"Hail Mary Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee! No creature has ever said anything that was more pleasing." Our Lady to Saint Mechtilde.
"Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil." Saint Louis de Montfort.
"Recite your rosary with faith, with humility, with confidence and with perseverance." Saint Louis de Montfort.
"One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world." Saint Dominic.
"The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary." Saint Francis de Sales.
"Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world." Blessed Pius IX.
"The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin." Pope Pius XI
"The Rosary is the most excellent form of prayer and the most efficacious means of attaining eternal life." Pope Leo XIII.
"When people love and recite the Rosary they find it makes them better." Saint Antony Mary Claret.
"Hold on tightly to the Rosary. Be very grateful to the Madonna because it was she who gave us Jesus." Padre Pio.
"When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious than any other prayer." Saint Louis de Montfort.
"How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening." Pope John Paul II.
"The Rosary is the compendium of the entire Gospel." Pope Pius XII.
"Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been so favoured by so many miracles than the Most Holy Rosary." Pope Pius IX.
"Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world." Our Lady of Fatima.
"There is no surer means of calling down God's blessings upon the family than the daily recitation of the rosary." Pope Pius XII
"No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they'll give up sin or they'll give up t.he Rosary." Bishop Hugh Doyle.
"The Rosary is a magnificent and universal prayer for the needs of the Church, the nations and the entire world." Pope John XXII.
"The Rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God." St Louis de Montfort.
"The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you'll be amazed at the results." Saint Josemaria Escriva.
"The rosary is my weapon." Padre Pio.
H/T Catholic Fire