December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas


May the blessing of Christmas be with you and your loved ones - now and forever.

December 24, 2012

Seven Reasons to be Catholic, Reasons 2 & 3: History & C.S. Lewis



Dr. Peter Kreeft is a convert to the Catholic faith from Dutch Calvinism. He teaches philosophy at Boston College and has authored a number of books on matters of faith and reason. Many of his writings and talks are available at www.peterkreeft.com. His lecture "7 Reasons to be Catholic" focuses on why one might consider full communion with the Catholic Church

December 22, 2012

Seven Reasons to be Catholic, Reason 1: Narrowing the Choices



Dr. Peter Kreeft teaches Philosophy at Boston College and is a convert to the Catholic faith. This audio overviews reasons for considering Catholicism.

December 21, 2012

Pope: Future of mankind at stake over gay marriage...

Pope Benedict XVI has weighed in on a heated debate over gay marriage, criticising new concepts of the traditional family and warning that mankind itself was at stake.

In the fight for the family, the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question," the Pope said in Italian during an end-of-year speech.

"The question of the family ... is the question of what it means to be a man, and what it is necessary to do to be true men," he said.

The Pope spoke of the "falseness" of gender theories and cited at length France's chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, who has spoken out against gay marriage.

"Bernheim has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper," he said.

He cited feminist gender theorist Simone de Beauvoir's view to the effect that one is not born a woman, but one becomes so – that sex was no longer an element of nature but a social role people chose for themselves.

For more go here.

December 18, 2012

An Act of Spiritual Communion

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. 

Amen.

December 17, 2012

Saints for Advent

Here is a short list of some saints whose commemorations come during or just before early Advent, depending upon the year. Each has an Advent message.


MARY

Most of us readily think of St. Mary, Mother of God, during Advent. After all, Mary is the one closest to Jesus. Two Marian feasts fall during Advent: the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec. 12). From Mary we learn the greatest traits of the Christian: love, humility, justice, openness to God's grace and willingness to act.


ST. FRANCIS XAVIER (DEC. 3) 

He tirelessly evangelized in the Far East. Busy as he was, he took time to set religious truths to verse and fit them to popular tunes in the countries he served. This was such a successful way of spreading the Good News that his songs were sung in the streets. Xavier invested his missionary zeal in a way that yielded a harvest long after he left. This didn't happen without hours spent in silence and prayer, asking for guidance and inspiration. Ask for his intercession if you want your time spent in Advent to bear fruit long after you've left the season behind.


ST. JOHN DAMASCENE (DEC. 4)

"The one who seeks God continually will find him, for God is in everything," says St. John Damascene. It's to this little-known Advent saint that we owe the pleasure of looking at religious art. In a period of Church history when others wanted to forbid the use of images, John Damascene insisted they could be used to inspire us. He suffered for his convictions, but now we need to thank him. Where would we be at Christmastime without our treasure of religious art? Take time looking at your Madonna and Child Christmas cards, and thank God for clear thinkers like John Damascene.


ST. NICHOLAS (DEC. 6)

This fourth-century Greek bishop is known for his faithfulness to Christ, his devotion to justice and to charity. Santa Claus is a character that started with Nicholas and took on a life of its own. We would do well to remember the real Nicholas. Ask for his intercession as you pray for a charitable heart.


ST. AMBROSE (DEC. 7)

Ambrose of Milan spent much of his time listening. He listened to St. Monica as she wept about her sinful son—the future St. Augustine—and Ambrose was able to comfort her. He listened to opposing factions in the Church and was able to make peace. This Doctor of the Church saw himself as a lifelong learner: "In the endeavor to teach, I desire that I may be able to learn," he said. We only learn if we keep listening—especially when we're the teachers! Pray with Ambrose to improve your listening skills.


ST. LUCY (DEC. 13) 

This fourth-century martyr chose to be a Christian when being Christian was illegal. She wanted to give up all her wealth and devote her life to the poor, but she herself became a victim of oppression. After resisting the advances of a Roman soldier, she was denounced as a Christian and torturously executed. She teaches us that life in Christ's light is worth devoting your life to—even dying for.


ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS (DEC. 14) 

He is the great mystic of Advent, who says that we are "face-to-face with Love's own grace." What wonderful words to ponder this week! Yet in contrast to John's lofty poetry, he took for himself the most menial jobs wherever he was. Before he entered religious life he worked in a hospital for people with disgusting diseases. Besides bathing them, he sang songs to cheer them up. Even when he held high administrative posts he took the lowliest tasks. His life reminds us that no matter how soaring our spirituality, it must be grounded in humble day-to-day duties or we miss the whole meaning of the Incarnation.

A Prayer To The Holy Innocents

Holy Innocents, you died before you were old enough to know what life means, pray for all children who die young that God may gather them into His loving arms.

Holy Innocents, you were killed because one man was filled with hatred, pray for those who hate that God may touch their hearts and fill them with love.

Holy Innocents, you experienced a violent death, pray for all who are affected by violence that they may find peace and love.

Holy Innocents, your parents grieved for you with deep and lasting sorrow, pray for all parents who have lost young children that God may wrap a warm blanket of comfort around them.

Holy Innocents, those around you certainly felt helpless to prevent your deaths, pray for all who feel helpless in their circumstances that they may cling to God for courage and hope.

Holy Innocents, you who are now in Heaven, pray for all of us that one day we may join you there to bask in God's love forever.

December 15, 2012

Five Awesome Pro-Life Videos of 2012 Everyone Should Watch

1. Think Fast



2. Baby Yawning in the Womb



3. Silent No More



4. The Final Frontier of the Civil Rights Movement



5. Aaron


December 12, 2012

December 12, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe


Can you imagine what it would be like to be out walking one day and suddenly see a woman of perfect demeanor, her clothes shining like the sun? Well, this is pretty much what happened in 1531. Mary appeared to Juan Diego, a recent native convert, on Tepeyac Hill, in what is not Mexico City. She asked that Juan go to his bishop and ask that a church be built there, a “house for her son.”

When the bishop asked for a sign, the woman told Juan to fill his cloak with flowers that appeared miraculously on the hill. Returning to the bishop, Juan opened his cloak to find not only the flowers but also an image of Mary, “clothed with the sun with the moon at her feet,” on his cloak.

On Tepeyac Hill, Mary identified herself as Our Lady of Guadalupe, and she appeared at a time when human sacrifice was part of the native Aztec culture. It has been estimated that one out of every five children was sacrificed to the Aztecs’ gods. The image on Juan Diego’s cloak conveyed an important message to the Aztecs. The woman stood in front of the sun and wore stars on her mantle. Her feet not only rested on the moon but also were crushing the head of a serpent. All of these images were gods that the Aztecs worshipped. The sash that she wore indicated she was pregnant – pregnant, in fact, with the author of life, Jesus Christ. Through this miraculous image, the Aztecs were introduced to the one true God.

This appearance of Mary caused millions of native to be converted to Christ and to abandon the practice of child sacrifice. Today, millions of unborn children are slaughtered by abortion. These children, however, are not thrown down the steps of Aztec pyramids but instead are placed into garbage cans, incinerated, or used for scientific research. On a day like today, we should all turn to Mary and ask her to intervene yet again on behalf of these innocent little victims.

From the Word Among Us.

December 6, 2012

Advent Reflection 2012

According to John Paul II holiness isn’t simply one option among many; it is the essence of being Catholic. To be Catholic is to be called to holiness. Holiness can be summed up in one word – love. Christ calls his disciples to authentic love – love of God and love of neighbor.

Saying this is one thing. Living it is another. We might think that holiness is the stuff of priests and nuns. We might think of living a holier life as something we will do tomorrow or sometime in the future. This is wrong. Sacred Scripture tells us the time to be holy is now!

1.The spiritual journey is entirely dependent on God. It is a gift God gives us. It is a grace. Going to Mass doesn’t make us holy. Neither does saying a million rosaries. God sustains us in life – in everything we do. We are entirely dependent on his mercy.

2. Our effort is necessary. What we can do to place ourselves in the presence of Christ we should do. Daily prayer is essential. Reading the scriptures is another key that unlocks the doors to eternity. God loves us abundantly. God knows us completely. Everything we say and do should be a response to that Love.

3. There are painful dimensions to the path toward holiness. We’re all familiar with the expression “no pain no gain.” Expelling sin from our lives can be difficult even painful. Expanding our hearts, minds, and souls takes work. Letting go of lesser cares and filling us up with God’s love can be a challenge. The temptation may be to put off the heavy lifting until later.

4. Despite its painful dimensions, the journey toward holiness is worth it. To find the pearl of great price we must get rid of the junk in our lives. Falling in love with God means letting go of the world. Whatever our difficulties - holiness is worth the journey

December 3, 2012

Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 4-12

Novena Prayer for Life to Our Lady of Guadalupe


Oh Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of Life,
We honor you as Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Thank you for pointing us to Jesus your Son,
The only Savior and hope of the world.

Renew our hope in him,
That we all may have the courage to say Yes to life,
And to defend those children in danger of abortion.

Give us your compassion
To reach out to those tempted to abort,
And to those suffering from a past abortion.

Lead us to the day when abortion
Will be a sad, past chapter in our history.

Keep us close to Jesus, the Life of the World,
Who is Lord forever and ever. Amen

November 22, 2012

Act of Dedication of the Human Race to Jesus Christ King

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who piously recite the Act of Dedication of the Human Race to Jesus Christ King. A plenary indulgence is granted, if it is recited publicly on the feast of our Lord Jesus Christ King.

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before you. We are yours, and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with you, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your Most Sacred Heart.

Many indeed have never known you; many, too, despising your precepts, have rejected you. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your Sacred Heart.

Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken you, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned you; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Be King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.

Grant, O Lord, to your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give tranquility of order to all nations; make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever. Amen.

Prayer Source: Enchiridion of Indulgences , June 29, 1968

November 21, 2012

A Primer on Indulgences

The punishment already inflicted by the majority on such a one is enough; you should now relent and support him so that he may not be crushed by too great a weight of sorrow. (2 Cor. 2:6-7)

Indulgences rank among the most poorly understood blessings of the Catholic Church. An indulgence is not permission from the Church to indulge in sin. It is not being indulgent with sinners. It is not the pardon of sin nor the remission of guilt. Now according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):

An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints. [CCC 1471]

What an indulgence is and what it does.

First an indulgence is not the forgiveness of sins but only applies to the effects of past, forgiven sins. An indulgence is not a Sacrament but must rely on the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) - the Sacrament through which sins are forgiven by God. Forgiveness of sin and remission of punishment are different.

Secondly sin can have two consequences: eternal (everlasting) punish- ment and temporal (temporary) punishment. Very serious sin, i.e. mortal sin (1 John 5:16), "kills" our friendship with God and deprives us of eternal life. This loss is eternal punishment. It is not punishment from a vengeful God but the consequence of rejecting God - the Source of life. Not all sin is mortal (1 John 5:17), but all sin, even venial sin (less serious sin), needs correction. This correction is temporal punishment. It is demanded by God to correct the bad effects of our sin, e.g. restoring stolen goods.

Spiritually it is the cleansing of our soul from earthly attachments due to our sin. Now Christ's death on the Cross redeems our friendship with God and totally satisfies our eternal punishment once the guilt of our sin is forgiven by God through His Church. So the forgiveness of mortal sin includes the remission of eternal punishment. But temporal punishment can still remain. Ordinarily temporal punishment is satisfied through personal penance; however, indulgences can remove the temporal punishment due to past forgiven sins, both mortal and venial.

A good example of temporal punishment can be found in II Samuel. God through Nathan forgives King David for his sin against Uriah:

"The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child that is born to you shall die." [2 Sam. 12:13-14; RSV]

God forgives David and removes his eternal punishment of death. Nevertheless God punishes David for the deed. According to the translation in the Douay-Rheims Bible, David has "given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme." [2 Sam. 12:14] This scandal needed correction (Hebrews 12:5-11).

Thirdly the sufferings of Christ and His saints can be used to satisfy the demands of temporal punishment due to our past sins. In the Bible there are examples of saints making amends for the sins of others. Moses in Exodus 32:32 offers his life to God as a sacrifice for the sins of his people. Job (Job 1:5) offers sacrifice to God for the sins of his children. Even in the New Testament, St. Paul writes to the Corinthians: "I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls" [2 Cor. 12:15] or to Timothy: "For I am already on the point of being sacrificed." [2 Tim. 4:6] St. Paul sees his martyr's death as a sacrifice and is willing to be spent for the souls of others.

Even though Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross is sufficient for our redemption - the healing of our friendship with God, St. Paul also recognizes that his own suffering is important:

For more go here.

November 20, 2012

The Devil: A Commentary by Fr. Barron


Another part of a video series from Wordonfire.org. Father Barron will be commenting on subjects from modern day culture. For more visit http://www.wordonfire.org/

November 13, 2012

Vatican Pushes Back on Gay Marriage Gains in U.S., Compares It To Polygamy

Following huge gains at the polls in the United States last week, the Vatican began a campaign blitz against same-sex marriage this weekend.

It even went so far as comparing it to polygamy.

According to Reuters, Father Federico Lombardi said in a Vatican Radio address, "It is clear that in Western countries there is a widespread tendency to modify the classic vision of marriage between a man and woman, or rather to try to give it up, erasing its specific and privileged legal recognition compared to other forms of union."

Lombardi was obviously referring to voters in Maryland, Maine, and Washington on Tuesday approving their respective state's initiatives on same-sex marriage.

"Monogamous marriage between a man and woman is an achievement of civilization," Lombardi said. "If not, why not contemplate also freely chosen polygamy and, of course, not to discriminate, polyandry?"

He also said children should have the right to have a father and a mother.

Coincident with Lombardi's address, a front-page article in Saturday’s Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Holy See - the universal government of the Vatican - also pushed back on same-sex marriage framing itself as the lone voice of courage against legal recognition of the practice.

“One might say the church, at least on this front, has been defeated,” L’Osservatore Romano observed. “But that’s not the case.”

According to the Associated Press, the article "insisted that Catholics were putting up a valiant fight to uphold church teaching in the face of 'politically correct ideologies invading every culture of the world' that are backed by institutions like the United Nations, which last year passed a non-binding resolution condemning anti-gay discrimination."

“The church is called to present itself as the lone critic of modernity, the only check ... to the breakup of the anthropological structures on which human society was founded,” the article said.

November 12, 2012

Papal Encyclical on Faith Announced


Pope Benedict XVI’s fourth encyclical will be released in the first half of 2013, timed to coincide with the Year of Faith.

November 8, 2012

Words of Encouragement After the 2012 Elections

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, gives words of encouragement after the 2012 Elections:

November 6, 2012

A Catholic Priest Speaks to Voters about Faith, Partisanship, and Intrinsic Evil



Fr. Weiss speaks forcefully to Catholic voters, warning them that they must put the Faith ahead of partisanship. This is an election with consequences of Biblical proportion. We cannot grant all issues of public policy the same weight. How to perform the corporal works of mercy, such as feeding the hungry or sheltering the homeless, is a matter for debate. But we cannot be complicit with intrinsic evil. That is not debatable. Among the intrinsic evils are abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, contraception, sterilization, and same sex marriage. Father warns that those who have already voted for intrinsic evil, with full knowledge, and without repenting, will lose their souls. Using words from the Declaration of Independence, he calls on us to alter our government, bringing it into conformance with "the laws of nature and of nature's God,"

October 11, 2012

Pope Inaugurates 'Year of Faith'

Pope Benedict opened a global "Year of Faith" as he conducted mass in St. Peter's Square on Thursday, Agence France Presse reports. The Vatican is celebrating the 50th anniversary of a council that changed the face of Catholicism, as it tries to rekindle the religious fervor of the time amid rising secularism.

Read a transcript of the Pope's homily at The National Catholic Register.

October 8, 2012

Daily Offering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary


O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and suffering of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sins, the reunion of all Christians; I offer them for the intentions of our Bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month. AMEN.

October 1, 2012

October 2 - Homily: Feast of Guardian Angels



On this the Feast of the Guardian Angels Fr. Ignatius preaches on the nature of these heavenly helpers. He mentions how they are superior to us and so we can not name them but they are given to us by God as helpers toward our salvation and sanctification which is a great grace. Ave Maria! The Holy Guardian Angels

October 2nd: The Feast of the Guardian Angels


This is the traditional Catholic prayer to one's guardian angel.

Angel of God, my guardian dear
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day/night be at my side
to light, to guard, to rule and guide.
Amen.

Whether guardian angels attend each and every person is not consis- tently believed or upheld by the Church Fathers in Christian thought, and hence is not an "article of faith", although the concept is clearly seen in both the Old and New Testaments. According to St. Jerome the concept is in the "mind of the Church" and he stated that: "how great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it."

The first Christian theologian to outline a specific scheme for guardian angels was Honorius of Autun in the 12th century. He said that every soul was assigned a guardian angel the moment it was put into a body. Scholastic theologians augmented and ordered the taxonomy of angelic guardians. Thomas Aquinas agreed with Honorius and believed that it was the lowest order of angels who served as guardians, and his view was most successful in popular thought, but Duns Scotus said that any angel might accept the mission.

Centuries later, in his 1997 Regina Caeli address, Pope John Paul II referred to the concept of guardian angel twice, and concluded the address with the statement: "Let us invoke the Queen of angels and saints, that she may grant us, supported by our guardian angels, to be authentic witnesses to the Lord's paschal mystery".

Why Marriage Matters



Marriage -- it's a lot bigger than just what happens on the wedding day. Marriage is our most important and timeless social institution, which means that changing marriage has consequences for all of society.

 http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/page/why-marriage-matters

September 21, 2012

September 14, 2012

Thought of the Day



“Priests have received a power which God has given neither to angels nor to archangels. It was said to them: ‘Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose, shall be loosed.’ Temporal rulers have indeed the power of binding; but they can only bind the body. Priests, in contrast, can bind with a bond which pertains to the soul itself and transcends the very heavens. Did [God] not give them all the powers of heaven? … What greater power is there than this? The Father has given all judgment to the Son. And now I see the Son placing all this power in the hands of men. They are raised to this dignity as if they were already gathered up to heaven.”

St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Two Types of Punishment Due to Sin

Deacon Mike Bickerstaff

There are two types of punishment due to sin:

Eternal punishment & Temporal punishment

Eternal punishment, what we might call guilt, is forgiven and removed in the Sacrament of Confession. You carry it in when you enter the Confessional, but you leave without it when you receive Absolution. If you had lost Sanctifying Grace, you have received it again and all eternal guilt and punishment is gone.

But, temporal punishment remains to be paid in this life or in the life to come. Also, any attachments to sin may remain after Confession. It might help to understand temporal punishment by way of an analogy. If one steals something from a friend and goes to that friend seeking forgiveness, that friend might indeed forgive him. Those two people are once again friends. That is what God does with us in Confession. He restores Communion between us. But, just as your human friend might expect you to return to him what was stolen, there may likewise be some act that you must do in cooperation with God’s grace after Confession. Jesus is clear, nothing imperfect will enter into Heaven, so, if after the Judgment, any imperfections, punishments and disordered attachments remain in you that you have not overcome in this life, you will be purified of them in the life to come. This purification is what Catholics call Purgatory. For more information, see the related article,Purgatory Made Simple”. Purgatory is not one of the Four Last Things because after the Universal Judgment Purgatory will no longer exist.

So, that is it. Heaven is what awaits the souls of the Just after death where they will enjoy perfect joy and beatitude in the Beatific Vision… seeing God face-to-face. Hell is the place of everlasting punishment that awaits the souls of the Damned after death. In both places, the soul will be reunited with the resurrected body after the Universal Judgment

Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life™. A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.

Unite Suffering to the Cross - Fr. John Riccardo

Go here to view the video

September 12, 2012

Our prayers are never wasted, Pope Benedict says

Vatican City, Sep 12, 2012 / 09:24 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI used his weekly General Audience to explain that there is no such thing as wasted prayer.

“We can be sure that there is no such thing as a superfluous or useless prayer. No prayer is lost,” said the Pope to over 8,000 pilgrims in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall Sept. 12.

“When faced with evil we often have the sensation that we can do nothing, but our prayers are in fact the first and most effective response we can give, they strengthen our daily commitment to goodness. The power of God makes our weakness strong.”

Pope Benedict was continuing his weekly exploration of prayer in the story of salvation with a particular focus on the second part of the Book of the Apocalypse, the concluding book of the Bible.

Within its passages, he explained, the Christian assembly is called “to undertake a profound interpretation of the history in which it lives” so that it may learn “to discern events with faith” a thus “collaborate in the advancement of the kingdom of God.”

September 11, 2012

Check Out Our Blogroll


Dear Readers,

On the rightsidebar below see our "Blogroll." These websites share our guiding principles and love of the Catholic faith. Our blogroll will be updated periodically. Please visit these sites and others as they are added.

Yours in Christ,

Dumb Ox

Video: How Will You Answer? Featuring Abortion Survivor Melissa Ohden.



On August 28, 2012 the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) announced the launch of a $150,000 television ad campaign across Missouri highlighting President Obama's extreme record on abortion and featuring abortion survivor Melissa Ohden. Missouri has recently been at the center of the conversation on abortion.

"In light of the recent national discussion over abortion, it's important Americans know the President's best-kept secret: his extreme record on abortion. Melissa Ohden's powerful story draws a stark contrast to his unbending support of abortion and the abortion industry and reveals the human face to this debate." said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. "President Obama's appalling record on abortion is not just limited to his four votes to deny rights to abortion survivors but spans to his recent heartless refusal to support bans on sex-selection and late-term abortions. These actions fly in the face of mainstream American views and run counter to the President's first term pre-election talk of finding common ground. Recent polling reveals the majority of Americans support bans on these horrific practices."

September 7, 2012

Homily for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Fr. René J. Butler, M.S.
Director, La Salette Shrine
Enfield, NH


Jesus says we cannot be his disciples unless we “hate” our father, mother, sister, brother. This is an excellent illustration of how different our culture today is from that of the ancient Middle East.

It is hard enough for us to understand the Middle East today. One of my cousins is married to a woman of Lebanese descent. She dislikes funerals the way they are celebrated in our culture. She told me, “When my husband dies, I’ll be wailing and screaming and throwing myself on the coffin.” It’s the only way of grieving that makes sense to her. “What makes sense, what is obvious and natural,” is an important distinctive element of every culture.

Now go back 2000 years. No wonder the Bible is so hard for us to understand at times. It reflects a different world, a different time, a different culture.

The French have no word that means “home” in the complete sense, with all the emotional components the English word implies. Some words are truly untranslatable in any exact way from one language to another. If this is true of modern languages, imagine what it is like for ancient languages.

In the Bible, “acquaintance” is rare. People are seen as friend or enemy, kin or alien. Similarly, the verb “to like” is virtually non-existent in the Bible. You either love or hate. And even though the New Testament was written in Greek, it still reflects ancient Middle Eastern thought and culture.

Imagine you have had a meal with friends at their home. When they ask, “How was it?” how do you respond if the only options in your language are “fabulous” and “lousy”?

The language Jesus spoke was a language of either-or. So how else could he say that we have to be faithful to him above all without an all-or-nothing expression? Maybe he would have said it differently in 20th Century English. But the meaning would still be the same. Faith first. Love first. Jesus first.

August 27, 2012

New Poll Finds Most Americans Are Pro-Life

A brand new CNN survey shows a supermajority of Americans want abortions proscribed in all or most circumstances (via LifeNews):
The survey asked: “Do you think abortion should be legal under any circumstances, legal under only certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?” Some 62 percent want abortions illegal in all cases or legal only in certain instances while just 35% want abortions legal for any reason. Breaking down the question further, CNN asked, “Do you think abortion should be legal in most circumstances or only a few circumstances?”
Here, 52 percent took a pro-life view saying abortion should be illegal in all (15%) or most circumstances (37%) while just 44 percent took a pro-abortion view saying abortions should be legal in all (35%) or most (9%) circumstances. Looking more closely at when abortions should be legal, CNN asked about if they should be allowed when the woman’s life is endangered. Americans agreed with that on a 88-9 percentage point margin. In cases of rape and incest, Americans supported legal abortions on a 83-14 percentage point margin. And when the woman’s health is supposedly in danger from the pregnancy, Americans were alright with abortion on a 83-12 percentage point margin.
That makes it clear Americans only support abortion in the most rare instances and clear oppose abortions in the 99 percent of cases when abortion is chosen for convenience, social or birth control reasons.
As Katie and Guy have noted, President Obama’s views on abortion (as demonstrated by his voting record as a State Senator) fall well outside mainstream public opinion. His opposition to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA) -- a bill, I think, almost all Americans can support -- should raise serious eyebrows. Still, Democrats persistently and falsely accuse Republicans of waging a “war on women.” This is simply infuriating, especially when one takes a few minutes to read the Republican Party’s 2012 platform on abortion -- a practice that has ended the lives of millions of innocent unborn girls since Roe vs. Wade. Here’s an excerpt:
THE SANCTITY AND DIGNITY OF HUMAN LIFE
Faithful to the "self-evident" truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.
In other words, I personally find it difficult to argue Republicans are waging a “war on women” when the Republican Party itself unequivocally opposes, for example, sex selective abortions (unlike most House Democrats) and upholds the sanctity and dignity of every human life. At any rate, I’ll leave you with this: Florida Senator Marco Rubio making the case -- earlier this year -- that the United States can never live up to its founding principles until it deals openly and honestly with the issue of abortion. It is, indeed, an eloquent and remarkable speech -- and worth watching in its entirety:



August 21, 2012

An Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary


O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, and tender Mother of men, in accordance with thy ardent wish made known at Fatima, I consecrate to thee myself, my brethren, my country, and the whole human race.

Reign over us and teach us how to make the Heart of Jesus reign and triumph in us, and around us, as It has reigned and triumphed in thee. Reign over us, dearest Mother, that we may be thine in prosperity and in adversity, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, in life and in death.

O most compassionate Heart of Mary, Queen of Virgins, watch over our minds and hearts and preserve them from the deluge of impurity which thou didst lament so sorrowfully at Fatima. We want to be pure like thee. We want to atone for the many crimes committed against Jesus and thee. We want to call down upon our country and the whole world the peace of God in justice and charity.

Therefore, we now promise to imitate thy virtues by the practice of a Christian life without regard to human respect.

We resolve to receive Holy Communion on the First Saturday of every month (or often if not possible every First Saturday) and to offer thee five decades of the Rosary each day, together with our sacrifices, in the spirit of reparation and penance.  Amen

August 15, 2012

August 15th, 2012, Feast of the Assumption


By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory

August 14, 2012

Prayer to Your Guardian Angel

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom God's love
commits me here,
Ever this day,
be at my side,
To light and guard,
Rule and guide.  Amen.

August 6, 2012

Assumption Novena — 2012

From August 7 to August 15, Priests for Life invites believers to pray the Novena in honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Lord Jesus Christ,

You have conquered the power of death
And opened for humanity
The hope of eternal life in body and soul.

You granted your Mother
A share in heavenly glory,
And did not allow decay to touch her body.

As we prepare for the Feast of the Assumption,
Grant us new confidence in the victory of life over death,
And renewed reverence for the human body.

As we honor Mary, Assumed into Heaven,
May we proclaim the hope of Your Gospel:
That you want every human life seated on your throne.

May that hope strengthen us to protect every life here on earth.
You live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

August 2, 2012

Homily for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C


Fr. René J. Butler, M.S.
Director, La Salette Shrine
Enfield, NH


Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! This passage from Qoheleth (or Ecclesiastes) makes me think of the song made famous by Peggy Lee (pictured), “Is That All There is?”

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.

July 27, 2012

Thought of the Day

Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

July 17, 2012

Prayer to St. Joseph for a Difficult Problem

Prayer to Saint Joseph for a Difficult Problem
O Glorious St. Joseph, thou who hast power to render possible even things which are considered impossible, come to our aid in our present trouble and distress.

Take this important and difficult affair under thy particular protection, that it may end happily. (MENTION YOUR REQUEST)

O dear St. Joseph, all our confidence is in thee. Let it not be said that we would invoke thee in vain; and since thou art so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that thy goodness equals thy power. Amen.
St. Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.

July 16, 2012

F.Y.I. "Christ is the Answer"


I want to alert you to a great radio program available online called "Christ is the Answer" by Father John Ricarrdo on Ave Maria Radio. The show airs from 11-12 M-F and at other times during the week.

July 12, 2012

MARRIAGE: THE GOOD WINE (a wedding homily) Part 3, By Cormac Burke


Continued from Part 2 ...

I would suggest three conditions which, if you fulfill them, will make your marriage happy.

* Prayer: The first condition is that you pray a lot ? "The family that prays together, stays together", so the saying goes. I feel certain that the couple married at Cana were a praying couple. Lay that sure foundation of prayer in your married life from the very start. The thought that your marriage is a sacrament, and therefore a source of grace, must be your mainstay. Not only do you want your marriage to be happy, but God wants it to be happy. If you learn to look to Him and pray to Him, your marriage will work out. But marriages do not work out without prayer.

* Unconditional Love: The second condition is that you try to love each other always as God loves you. He loves each of you with your defects. This is the marvel of God's love. He doesn't love our defects, or love us because of our defects. He loves us because of our virtues, or at least because of our possibilities of virtues. But He loves us with our defects. If the moment were to come in which one of you were to begin to see ? to think you see ? more defects than virtues in the other, then you would have to go hurrying to take a refresher course in that school of love where God is always prepared.

If many marriages today go "on the rocks" perhaps it's because the spouses expected too much of one another. Do not expect too much. Try to give without limit, even though you know you will never perfectly succeed in doing so. Therefore do not expect without limit. Only God can give without limit, and only God can satisfy unlimited expectations. He will do that, but only in heaven. Marriage is not heaven; though, if lived in a holy fashion it can be a foretaste and a preparation for heaven. When your partner fails to give what you expected, forgive. And when you fail to give what you thought you would always give, ask for forgiveness.

* Fidelity: The third condition is that you always try to live your marriage in accordance with God's will. In a few moments you will exchange marriage vows, your mutual promises of life-long love and fidelity. These promises are not of your making, though you have freely chosen to make them. They are of God's making, for they express the nature of the marriage bond as He has made it. It is important to remember ? for it is so often forgotten today ? that marriage was God's idea before it was ever man's. The nature of marriage is given by God, just as the promise of happiness marriage contains has been placed there by God. That is why the final condition for achieving that promised happiness is to live marriage according to its God-given nature.

Visit Monsignor Cormac Burke's excellent website for related content and more.

July 9, 2012

Protecting the True Meaning of Marriage

John Paul II – “The Pilgrim Pope”

Revered by many as the most prominent man of the 20th century, Pope John Paul II was loved and respected by many millions of people. Active in the Church and world affairs, he was also the first non-Italian Pope in over 450 years, and the first Polish Pope in the history of the Papacy.

Born on May 18, 1920, in the town of Wadowice, near Krakow, Pope John Paul entered the world as Karol Józef Wojtyła, one of three children born to Emilia Kaczorowska and Karol Wojtyła. His older brother, Edmund, was 14 years his senior, but as his sister, Olga, died in infancy, Karol grew very close to his only remaining sibling. Karol’s mother died in 1929, on April 13th, when the boy was only 8 years old.

Karol turned to athletics as a method of keeping his mind and body entertained, and developed kinship with the thriving, vibrant community of Jews in his hometown. Often times, school games would be organized between Catholic and Jewish children. Karol was the first to volunteer to play against his own team if the Jewish players needed an additional player.

In 1938 Karol and his father moved to Krakow, where the young man was enrolled at Jagiellonian University, with studies in various languages and philology. He also volunteered to work in the library, and while the Academic Legion required participation in military training, Karol strictly refused to fire a weapon. Showing his creative side, Karol worked as a playwright and was active in a number of theatrical troupes. Not only was he a talented writer and performer, but he was gifted in languages, which he employed regularly while in Papal office. Highly adept, he spoke Italian, French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Russian, Croatian, Esperanto, Ancient Greek, Latin in addition to his native Polish.

Tragically in 1938 Karol lost his brother Edmund, a physician, to scarlet fever. Then In 1939, Karol’s university was forced to close due to the Nazi occupation. To avoid being deported to Germany, the young man worked in a quarry and the Solvay chemical factory from 1940- 1944. In 1941 his father, a non-commissioned officer, died, leaving Karol without immediate family for support.


Pope John Paul II, during his first U.S. visit in 1979, at Yankee Stadium, New York City

Karol received his calling to serve the Lord in 1942, and embarked in clandestine seminary courses run by the archbishop of Krakow. After the Second World War ended, the seminary was allowed to re-open and Karol formally enrolled. His university also reopened, and he undertook studies in theology there. On November 1st, 1946, Karol took a step forward and was ordained as a priest by the Archbishop Sapieha.

Not long after, he was relocated to Rome and continued to study and work under the guidance of Garrigou-Lagrange, a French Dominican. His doctorate in theology was completed in 1948, and during breaks or vacations, Karol practiced his ministry among other Polish immigrants in Belgium, Holland, and France. Eventually, he returned to Krakow as vicar and chaplain, then again took up studies in philosophy and theology in 1951.

1958 saw him appointed as titular bishop, and in 1964, he was formally inducted as archbishop of Krakow. Pope Paul IV, who anointed him as archbishop, would also make him a Cardinal in 1967, eventually promoted to por illa vice to the order of priests. Karol, now Cardinal Wojtyla, took part in Vatican Council II, where he contributed to the drafting of the Constitution Gaudium et spes, alongside engaging fully in the Synod of Bishops.

It was on October 16, 1978, that the Cardinals elected him Pope, and he took the name of John Paul II. This election made him the 263rd successor to the Apostle Peter, who founded the Papacy. John Paul II would enjoy the second longest pontificate, or time in Papal office, in the history of the Church.

On May 13th, 1981, a foiled assignation attempt left Pope John Paul II critically wounded, with two bullets lodged in his lower intestine, while bystanders were also hit. After five grueling hours of emergency surgery and many blood transfusions, the Pope survived and even forgave his attacker, who had been apprehended by security and help from those gathered.

Pope John Paul II has gained the moniker “pilgrim pope” for all the traveling outside the Vatican that he had done, and this title was taken from Pope Paul VI, who traveled only 9 times outside the country in his 15 year reign, as opposed to John Paul II’s 129 trips logging more than 725,000 miles. Many of his trips were to countries that previous Pope’s had never visited before.

Pastoral Visits of Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was a man of great charity, learning, wisdom, and faith. His love for his fellow human was evident and unbounded by any external indicators. He prolifically wrote and left behind a large body of literature in his documents and five books.

Pope John Paul II is remembered for his influential presence, opinions, morality, and significantly improving relations with other religions, such as Judaism and Islam. He is also often credited as being responsible for bringing about the fall of communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe.

He entered into life eternal on April 2nd, 2005, and the usual five year waiting period from canonization was waived for him, a clear indication that he touched the lives of so many, he was already considered a saint.

July 6, 2012

Card Dolan Exposes Obama's Devious Tactics Against the Church



Cardinal Dolan: I don't want to judge people, but I think there would be a drift in the administration that this is a good issue. And if we can divide the Catholic community because it's already divided and if one can caricature the bishops as being hopelessly out of touch, these bullies who are trying to achieve judiciously and legislatively what they've been unable to achieve because their moral integrity has been compromised recently. There's that force out there trying to caricature us."

June 28, 2012

Saint Teresa of Avila Prayer


God alone is enough.
Let nothing upset you,
let nothing startle you.
All things pass;
God does not change.
Patience wins
all it seeks.
Whoever has God
lacks nothing:
God alone is enough

-- St Teresa Avila

Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is Now “Venerable”

Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is now “Venerable” after the Vatican announced today that Benedict XVI had signed a decree recognising that the archbishop heroically lived Christian virtues.

The announcement of the decree marks a significant step in the canonization cause of Peoria, Ill.-born Archbishop Sheen (1895-1979), the Emmy award-winning televangelist whose program, “Life is Worth Living,” was broadcast from 1951 to 1957.

The Vatican now has to recognise a miracle has occurred through his intercession for him to be beatified, the penultimate step to canonization. Alleged miracles have been reported, which are now being assessed by experts in Rome.

June 25, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom



Two weeks of prayer in support of our sacred and civil right
                         to practice our religious beliefs!

June 19, 2012

Catholicism for Cradle Catholics w/ Fr. John Riccardo

Catholicism for Cradle Catholics from Renewal Ministries on Vimeo.

Introducing the Pro-Life Movie '40'



40 is a film that will take on the heated issue of abortion in our nation that refuses to go away. Is abortion merely a religious or political issue or is it the most important fundamental human rights issue of our times? The film will take on the arguments of young people who believe in "a woman's right to choose," countered by pro-life answers from a wide and diverse array of pro-life activists, leaders and youth. 40 will also feature inspiring stories and deeply personal interviews with leaders of the Pro-Life movement.

40 will investigate some of the difficult questions in the abortion debate such as: Doesn't a woman have the right to choose what she does with "her body"? Is there a dispute about when human life begins or does human life begin at conception? Is the fetus just a glob of tissue or a person with inalienable rights? Can morality be legislated and if abortion is outlawed, will it still go on in back alleys? Was the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion good for women? 40 will answer these and many other important questions about abortion.

http://the40film.com

June 15, 2012

June 15th: Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

"I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final persever- ance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment" (Jesus to St. Margaret Mary).

Sixteenth century Calvinism and seventeenth century Jansenism preached a distorted Christianity that substituted for God's love and sacrifice of His Son for all men the fearful idea that a whole section of humanity was inexorably damned.

The Church always countered this view with the infinite love of our Savior who died on the cross for all men. The institution of the feast of the Sacred Heart was soon to contribute to the creation among the faithful of a powerful current of devotion which since then has grown steadily stronger. The first Office and Mass of the Sacred Heart were composed by St. John Eudes, but the institution of the feast was a result of the appearances of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675. The celebration of the feast was extended to the general calendar of the Church by Pius IX in 1856.

June 12, 2012

‘God Is Dead’: Catholic Priest Slams Atheism in New Spoken-Word Video Performance



This video is in response to the claims of the "New Atheism." One that has been presented by the likes of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens. One who holds faith is NOT irrational. Science and reason are not incompatible with faith in fact they compliment each other very well because they come from the same source, God. We hope that this video touches the hearts of many people. If you seek to dialogue in the commentary below please be respectful of those you are communicating with. Slander, foul language and the like will not be tolerated. May God, who is fully alive, bless each viewer.

Mary Immaculate, Patroness of Our Country, Pray for Us

O GOD OUR CREATOR,
from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen

Copyright © 2012, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

June 5, 2012

Questioning the Timing on the Times' Attack on Cardinal Dolan

It's hard not to see the invisible hand of progressive punishment behind a recent NY Times story attacking Cardinal Timothy Dolan. You only have to look at the timeline to wonder if this is really just a coincidence that this old story is suddenly news again.

The White House has been in a months-long battle with the Catholic Church over the issue of providing contraceptives. Sandra Fluke and the "war on women" were all White House driven media plays designed to spin a losing political battle into a win. It hasn't been working very well if polls are to be believed.

Two weeks ago, the Catholic Church took the issue to a new level when it sued the administration on religious liberty grounds. Right there in the forefront of the Times' coverage is Cardinal Dolan, "We have tried negotiations with the administration and legislation with the Congress — and we’ll keep at it — but there’s still no fix."

The next day, May 22nd, the Times published a Maureen Dowd column titled "Father Doesn't Know Best" which attacked the Catholic Church in general and the "pugnacious" Cardinal Dolan in particular. The gist of the piece is straight from DNC talking points, i.e. the lawsuit is part of a war on women by the bishops.

For more go here

Good Website for Info About the Attack on the Church Through the HHS Mandate

Religious liberty group launches massive HHS mandate site By Michelle Bauman Washington D.C., May 30, 2012 / 02:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).

A legal group that aims to defend religious freedom has launched a new website offering a wealth of resources on the contraception mandate, and the various lawsuits that have been filed against it. “There was a lot of misinformation out there on the mandate,” said Emily Hardman, attorney and communications director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a D.C.-based organization. Hardman told CNA on May 29 that the Becket Fund “wanted to provide an accurate, concise and useful resource for reporters and the general public.” She explained that when the information “is laid out clearly in one place,” it is evident that the mandate’s requirements violate the First Amendment’s protections of religious freedom. On May 22, the Becket Fund launched a webpage to serve as a centralized resource for information surrounding the contraception mandate. The webpage tracks the lawsuits that have been filed against the mandate by plaintiffs ranging from EWTN to seven U.S. states to two private business owners.

[...]

Read the rest there.