September 30, 2015

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Jerome — Father and Doctor of the Church.

St. Jerome with lion: According to legend,
a lion came into Jerome’s monastery.
All fled save Jerome. Rather than attack,
the lion lifted its paw to reveal a thorn.
Jerome removed the thorn and tended the
animal back to health. The lion remained
subservient to Jerome and the brethren.
Saint Jerome, one of the four original Western doctors of the Church, is perhaps best known for translating the Bible from Greek (the Septuagint) into Latin (the Vulgate). A remarkable scholar and a sometimes prickly man, Saint Jerome nevertheless believed deeply in the mercy of Christ.

Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.
                       — St. Jerome      

One of the greatest Biblical scholars of Christendom, Saint Jerome was born of Christian parents at Stridon in Dalmatia around the year 345. Educated at the local school, he then studied rhetoric in Rome for eight years, before returning to Aquilea to set up a community of ascetics. When that community broke up after three years Jerome went to the east. He met an old hermit named Malchus, who inspired the saint to live in a bare cell, dressed in sackcloth, studying the Scriptures.

Click here for fifteen fast facts about St. Jerome

He learned Hebrew from a rabbi. Then he returned to Antioch and was reluctantly ordained priest. With his bishop he visited Constantinople and became friendly with Saints Gregory Nazianzen and Gregory of Nyssa. And then in 382 he went again to Rome, to become the personal secretary of Pope Damasus. Here he met his dearest friends, a wealthy woman called Paula, her daughter Eustochium and another wealthy woman named Marcella.

Here too he began his finest work. Commissioned by the pope, he began to revise the Latin version of the psalms and the New Testament, with immense care and scholarship. Jerome eventually translated the whole of the Bible into the Latin version which is known as the Vulgate. But when Damasus died, his enemies forced the saint to leave Rome.

Accompanied by Paula and Eustochium, Jerome went to Bethlehem. There he lived for thirty-four years till his death in 420, building a monastery over which he presided and a convent headed first by Paula and after her death by Eustochium. The saint set up a hospice for the countless pilgrims to that place. His scholarship, his polemics, his treatises and letters often provoked anger and always stimulated those who read them. 'Plato located the soul of man in the head,' he wrote, 'Christ located it in the heart.'

Excerpted from A Calendar of Saints by James Bentley

Prayer of Saint Jerome for Christ's Mercy

O Lord, show Your mercy to me and gladden my heart. I am like the man on the way to Jericho who was overtaken by robbers, wounded and left for dead. O Good Samaritan, come to my aid. I am like the sheep that went astray. O Good Shepherd, seek me out and bring me home in accord with Your will. Let me dwell in Your house all the days of my life and praise You for ever and ever with those who are there. Amen.

(St. Jerome is the patron saint of: Archeologists; archivists; Bible scholars; librarians; libraries; schoolchildren; students; translators.)

September 29, 2015

Pope: Workers Have 'Human Right' to Refuse Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

In an interview following his whirlwind tour of Washington D. C. and Philadelphia, Pope Francis affirmed that government workers have a human right to refuse to carry out a duty if they have a "conscientious objection." NBC reports that:
While returning from his visit to the U.S., the pontiff told reporters aboard the papal plane Monday that anyone who prevents others from exercising their religious freedom is denying them a human right.
[ ... ]
The pontiff was asked: "Do you... support those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example when issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples?"
[Pope Francis]: "I can't have in mind all the cases that can exist about conscientious objection ... but yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right. Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying, 'this right that has merit, this one does not.'"
I note that in the video accompanying the article, NBC made no reference to the Pope's stance on refusing same-sex marriage licenses.

For Better, Safer Sex...


From Robert Colquhoun's Discover Happiness (U.K.). Visit his newest website that seeks to build a growing appreciation of the inalienable rights of every unborn child at RobertColquhoun.com.

September 28, 2015

September's Blog of Note: Catholic in My Write Mind

Catholic in My Write Mind

September's blog of note is Catholic in My Write Mind — one Catholic writer vs. the post Christian culture. It is the creation of writer, publisher and Catholic apologist, Felix Whelan; who lives with his wife, Carol Ann, daughter, Kate and son, Conner, in rural Missouri alongside twenty or so dogs, cats, chickens, sheep and goats on their one acre farm. Rejecting society's increasingly secular proscriptions; Felix blogs about culture, creativity and all things Catholic. He is the author of the futuristic Christian fiction novel, Children of the Good, in addition to establishing two publishing ventures:

eSaint Library makes available great works of the Saints and other classics of Catholic spirituality, published in affordable, colorfully illustrated editions and formatted for study on a variety of today’s eReader devices. eSaint Library also develops original anthologies derived from the writings of the Saints, and people of heroic virtue, that focus on specific themes of Catholic Doctrine and life.

Better Days Books produces quality reprint editions of classic American non-fiction books, focusing on titles that uniquely capture the spirit of the 18th, 19th and early 20th Centuries – times when courage, self-reliance, clean living and upright moral virtue defined the common character of the American people. The primary focus of Better Days Books is on traditional skills, homestead knowledge, and old fashioned holiday customs and traditions.

Visit Catholic in My Write Mind for unique, faith filled commentary about Catholicism and the world at large.

Marriage: The Good Wine (a Catholic wedding homily)

Jesus changing water into wine
This wedding homily by Monsignor Cormac Burke originally appeared in the Nazareth Journal, 1995/2, pp. 18-20. Previously, it was posted on Big C Catholics in installments. At the request of readership, it is presented here in full. I highly recommend you visit Msgr. Burke's website for more such excellent content.

 "You have kept the good wine until now".

     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.

     Water to wine is an evident miracle. God's deeper miracles are not always so evident. Wine to Blood is a miracle seen only by the eyes of faith. The appearance has not changed. But the reality has. The reality is divine. It is the Mystery of the Sacraments: God's hidden presence and action through human signs.

     The real miracle of Cana is our Lord's endowing human love with a new power: the power to be a sign and a cause of divine love.

     He wanted this couple, and all Christian couples, to be happy in loving one another. He wanted them to love him in loving one another. He wanted them to be saints, in loving one another. And so he raised their marriage to be a Sacrament.

     Christian teaching on marriage as a Sacrament means not only that husband and wife have God's help, to love each other more, and to love their children more. It also means that in loving each other and their children more, they are loving God more. Marriage is both a means and a challenge to growth in love. And growth in human love, in Christian marriage, effects (i.e. causes) growth in divine love. This is the sacramentality of marriage.

     Everyone marries in expectation of happiness. But you must have often reflected on the fact that many marriages do not work out as happy marriages. Will yours? Will you be faithful to one another, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, in happiness, to the very end? That is what you hope and pray for today.

     I would suggest three conditions which, if you fulfil 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.

     The marriage vow is a vow of fidelity unto death. Its bond can never be broken except by death. Our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed this in these solemn words: "What God has joined together let no man put asunder." The knowledge that you have freely and consciously accepted this life-long and unbreakable character of marriage, and are fully determined to maintain it, gives to each of you a deep trust in the quality of the love your partner feels for you. When people who believe in divorce get married, they can never have this assurance of an unconditional love on their partner's part. The very beginnings of their marriage rest on shaky foundations.

     In this Mass I pray with the Church that your marriage may be fruitful: that you may live to see your children's children to the third and fourth generation. Children are God's first gift and blessing to a married couple. Though many people today may seem to doubt this, may you never doubt it. Each child you receive from God is a sign of trust on his part, a vote of divine confidence in you. Observe that trust with gratitude, with a constant sense of the privilege of being sharers in God's creative work. If you receive your children in this way, each child will be not only the fruit of your love but also its pillar and mainstay.

     May each year that passes make you love each other even more deeply and tenderly than now. May the ups and downs of life, and the weaknesses of each of you, only serve, with God's grace, to make your love mature and firm and serene. And so your children will find in you parents who, loving each other and loving them with a strong, unwavering, tender, wise, generous and self-sacrificing love, reflect in some way the love God has for each of us his children.

     Mary was present at the Cana wedding party. She cared for the human happiness of this couple, even down to the small detail of wanting to spare them embarrassment for bad catering. How much more must she have cared for their love for each other throughout their married life. She was their friend. What an inspiration her love and friendship must have been to them in learning to love each other and their children more, more purely, more truly, more humanly, and in doing so, to learn to love God more. I feel no doubt that this marriage, so blessed from its very beginning, was a happy marriage indeed. But it was more: it was one of the many holy marriages of history; and that the couple of Cana, unknown to us by name, are high up among the saints in heaven.

     We have seen in the Gospel Mary's concern for the happiness of the young couple at Cana. Place yourselves under her protection and intercession, so that the good wine of your present love for each other and for God may never run out, may always remain good; and so that, by the grace and divine power of the Sacrament you are about to administer to one another, you may learn to turn all the little incidents that make up life, the apparently colorless and insipid water of everyday living, into the richest possible wine of love for each other, love for your children, and love for God.

September 27, 2015

If Pope Francis Actually Said This It's Hilarious

His Holiness is wise to the ways of social media (and its tendency towards inaccuracy):

Pope Francis: "The family is the living symbol of the loving plan of the Father..."

The following is excerpted from Pope Francis' address to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia:
God did not want to draw near to humanity other than through a home. God did not want any other name for himself than Emmanuel (cf. Mt 1:23). He is “God with us”. This was his desire from the beginning, his purpose, his constant effort: to say to us: “I am God with you, I am God for you”. He is the God who from the very beginning of creation said: “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). We can add: it is not good for woman to be alone, it is not good for children, the elderly or the young to be alone. It is not good. That is why a man leaves his father and mother, and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24). The two are meant to be a home, a family.
From time immemorial, in the depths of our heart, we have heard those powerful words: it is not good for you to be alone. The family is the great blessing, the great gift of this “God with us”, who did not want to abandon us to the solitude of a life without others, without challenges, without a home.
God does not dream by himself, he tries to do everything “with us”. His dream constantly comes true in the dreams of many couples who work to make their life that of a family. 
That is why the family is the living symbol of the loving plan of which the Father once dreamed. To want to form a family is to resolve to be a part of God’s dream, to choose to dream with him, to want to build with him, to join him in this saga of building a world where no one will feel alone, unwanted or homeless. ...
Read his entire remarks here.

September 25, 2015

Homily for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 27, 2015, Year B

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

Suffer the Children, Bloch, c. 1800's
(Click here for today’s readings)

In 2012, El Alto, the second-largest city in Bolivia, enacted a law specifically for indigenous people, to the effect that anyone caught stealing with have his hand cut off. This would be done under anesthetic and doctors will be paid to perform the surgery; but there will be no prison sentence for the criminal. Believe it or not, this law was approved by the city’s indigenous community. I have not been able to discover whether it has ever been enforced.

Could this be what Jesus actually had in mind? Even the classic code of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth never imposed such an extreme punishment for theft. Jesus is not specific about what kinds of sins our hands or feet or eyes could lead us to commit. It doesn’t matter. All sin, and most especially one’s “besetting,” or dominant, sin is to be avoided, and any measures we take, however harsh, to avoid it are better than yielding to it.

A comparable but less violent solution to the problem of temptation exists in our own time, not in law but in common sense practice. It often happens that persons in recovery from addiction find that, if they hope to remain clean and sober, they have to cut themselves off from many of their friends, from the only world some of them have known for years. That requires determination and courage, as well as the support of new friends. Faith is definitely a plus.

The Letter of James is, if possible, harsher even than what we find in the Gospel reading. Martin Luther’s description of James as “an epistle of straw,” is hardly the phrase that would come to mind to anyone reading today’s text. “Epistle of bronze” or “epistle of iron” would be more like it. This diatribe against the rich is so all-encompassing, so uncompromising, that it must be quite embarrassing in some parishes to read it aloud. And yet, isn’t there a place in the Gospels where Jesus himself says that it is extremely hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God?

Moving along to the first part of the Gospel, here is another true story. In 1998, the Greek Orthodox Easter Vigil was taking place at the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. At a certain point the Patriarch enters the tomb of Jesus, and comes out with lighted candles, while all the Greek Orthodox Christians present shout for joy. Apparently some of them consider this their exclusive right, and on that evening in 1998, when an Armenian Christian dared to join in the shouting, one of the Greeks stabbed him! (He wasn’t seriously hurt.)

We see exactly the opposite attitude in the whole business of the sharing of God’s spirit—the spirit of prophecy in the first reading, and the power of Jesus’ name in the Gospel. No one is condemned. Quite to the contrary, John’s idea of a sort of exclusive franchise for the disciples is rejected by Jesus. And Moses rejoiced that the gift of prophecy was not limited only to those who were physically present at the Tent of Meeting. John’s Gospel tells us that the Spirit, like the wind, blows where it will. No one can set rules for God’s choice.

There are three very distinct ideas in today’s readings. Any or all of them can speak to us.

If you feel accused by James, then take a good look at your life. What are you going to do to change the situation?

If you feel challenged by Jesus’ hard demands, then take a good look at your life. What measures will you take to avoid your “besetting” sin?

If you feel filled with the Spirit, then take a good look at your life. What are you going to do let the Spirit live and act in and through your life?

In other words, If the shoe fits, wear it.

7 Things Saint Pius X Said That Speak to the Church Today


St. Pius X was born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto on June 2, 1835, the second of ten children. He was baptized the following day. Though exceedingly poor, his parents valued education. At every stage of study, Giuseppe's intelligence and high moral character attracted notice. On September 18, 1858, Father Sarto was ordained at the cathedral in Castelfranco. When the diocese of Mantua fell vacant in 1884, Pope Leo XIII named Canon Sarto its bishop. In 1893, Leo XIII, elevated Bishop Sarto to Cardinal; appointing him Patriarch of Venice. When Pope Leo died in July of 1903, the College of Cardinals elected Giuseppe Cardinal Sarto the 258th Vicar of Christ. Dr. Joseph F. X. Sladky, in an article for Crisis Magazine, summarizes Pius' life and legacy:
Pope St. Pius X passed through the ecclesiastical cursus honorum, step by step, bringing a wealth of pastoral experience to his papacy as few other popes ever could claim. He held the positions of curate, pastor, canon, spiritual director at the seminary, diocesan chancellor, bishop, metropolitan, cardinal, and pope.  His practical experience in overseeing three important Italian episcopal sees provided him with a keen appreciation of pastoral needs.  Furthermore, this pope, who held office for only eleven years, ranks as one of the greatest reforming popes in history, certainly the greatest since the Council of Trent. ...
Perhaps the most eloquent testimony to St. Pius X's life spent in the service of God is the inscription on his tomb in the crypt of the basilica of St. Peter's:
Born poor and humble of heart,
Undaunted champion of the Catholic faith,
Zealous to restore all things in Christ,
Crowned a holy life with a holy death. 
I give you seven quotations from Pope St. Pius X that resonate today:
Truly we are passing through disastrous times, when we may well make our own the lamentation of the Prophet: “There is no truth, and there is no mercy, and there is no knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1). Yet in the midst of this tide of evil, the Virgin Most Merciful rises before our eyes like a rainbow, as the arbiter of peace between God and man.
+++ 
God could have given us the Redeemer of the human race, and the Founder of the Faiths in another way than through the Virgin, but since Divine Providence has been pleased that we should have the Man-God through Mary, who conceived Him by the Holy Spirit and bore Him in her womb, it only remains for us to receive Christ from the hands of Mary.
+++
My hope is in Christ, who strengthens the weakest by His Divine help. I can do all in Him who strengthens me. His Power is infinite, and if I lean on him, it will be mine. His Wisdom is infinite, and if I look to Him for counsel, I shall not be deceived. His Goodness is infinite, and if my trust is stayed in Him, I shall not be abandoned.
+++ 
Let the storm rage and the sky darken – not for that shall we be dismayed. If we trust as we should in Mary, we shall recognize in her, the Virgin Most Powerful "who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent."
+++ 
Holy communion is the shortest and surest way to Heaven. There are others, innocence, for instance, but that is for little children; penance, but we are afraid of it; generous endurance of the trials of life, but when they come we weep and ask to be spared. Once for all, beloved children, the surest, easiest, shortest way is by the Eucharist. It is so easy to approach the holy table, and there we taste the joys of Paradise.
+++ 

In the first year of his pontificate, 1903, His Holiness Pope Pius wrote:
Now the way to reach Christ is not hard to find: it is the Church. Rightly does Chrysostom inculcate: "The Church is thy hope, the Church is thy salvation, the Church is thy refuge." (Hom. de capto Euthropio, n. 6.) It was for this that Christ founded it, gaining it at the price of His blood, and made it the depositary of His doctrine and His laws, bestowing upon it at the same time an inexhaustible treasury of graces for the sanctification and salvation of men. You see, then, Venerable Brethren, the duty that has been imposed alike upon Us and upon you of bringing back to the discipline of the Church human society, now estranged from the wisdom of Christ; the Church will then subject it to Christ, and Christ to God.
+++ 
The absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way. 
Oath Against Modernism, promulgated by Pope Pius X

The 15 Promises of Mary to Those Who Faithfully Pray the Rosary


A tradition held by the Order of Preachers (also known as Dominicans) holds that through Saint Dominic and Alan de Rupe, the Blessed Virgin Mary made fifteen specific promises to Christians who faithfully pray the rosary. They range from protection from misfortune to meriting a high degree of glory in heaven.

The fifteen promises fall under the category of "private revelation", and as such are a pious tradition, which a person is free, but not obligated, to practice.

The fifteen promises:

1. Whoever faithfully serve me by the recitation of the rosary, will receive signal graces.

2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all who recite the rosary.

3. The rosary is a powerful armor against hell that destroys vice, decreases sin, and defeats heresies.

4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the heart of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the rosary will not perish.

6. Whoever recites the rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, will never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.

7. Whoever has a true devotion for the rosary will not die without the sacraments of the Church.

8. Those who are faithful to recite the rosary will have, during their life and at their death, the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they will participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.

9. I will deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary.

10. The faithful children of the rosary will merit a high degree of glory in heaven.

11. You will obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the rosary.

12. All those who propagate the holy rosary will be aided by me in their necessities.

13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the rosary will have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.

14. All who recite the rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only son Jesus Christ.

15. Devotion of my rosary is a great sign of predestination.

The Power of the Rosary

The Blessed Virgin Mary presenting the Rosary
to St. Dominic: The Vision of Saint Dominic,
Bernardo Cavallino, 1640 

According to pious tradition, the Rosary was given to Saint Dominic in an apparition of the Virgin Mary in the year 1214. In the 15th century, it was promoted by Alanus de Rupe (St. Alan of the Rock), a Dominican priest and theologian, who established the "fifteen rosary promises" and started many rosary confraternities.

St. Louis de Montfort warns us against both the ignorant and scholars who regard the Rosary as something of little importance..."the Rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God." "Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil."

Pray the Rosary daily to grow in holiness. The following quotations illustrate the Rosary's power and abundant blessings:
When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious than any other prayer.
— St. Louis de Montfort 
Recite your rosary with faith, with humility, with confidence and with perseverance.
— St. Louis de Montfort 
Rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God.
— St. Louis de Montfort

Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.

— St. Louis de Montfort
One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.
— St. Dominic  
The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary.
— St. Francis de Sales
Hold on tightly to the Rosary. Be very grateful to the Madonna because it was she who gave us Jesus.
— St. Padre Pio
The rosary is my weapon.
— St. Padre Pio 
The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin 
— Pope Pius XI 
The Rosary is a magnificent and universal prayer for the needs of the Church, the nations and the entire world.
— St. John XXIII
The Rosary is the most excellent form of prayer and the most efficacious means of attaining eternal life.
— Pope Leo XIII
The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.
— St. Pius X
The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families…that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.
— Sister Lucia dos Santos, Fatima seer
Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been so favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary.
— Pope Pius IX 
Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.
— Our Lady of Fátima
There is no surer means of calling down God's blessings upon the family... than the daily recitation of the Rosary.
— Pope Pius XII 
We do not hesitate to affirm again publicly that we put great confidence in the Holy Rosary for the healing of evils of our times.
— Pope Pius XII
The Rosary is the compendium of the entire Gospel.
 — Pope Pius XII  
The Rosary is a magnificent and universal prayer for the needs of the Church, the nations and the entire world.
 — St. John Paul II
How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening.
— St. John Paul II
The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you'll be amazed at the results.
— St. Josemaria Escriva
You must know that when you ‘hail’ Mary, she immediately greets you! Don’t think that she is one of those rude women of whom there are so many—on the contrary, she is utterly courteous and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!
— St. Bernardine of Siena

Reminder 9/25/15: Three O'clock is the Hour of Great Mercy

The Divine Mercy Image
The Hour of Great Mercy

Just as the (Divine Mercy) Image can serve as a reminder of the ocean of Divine Mercy, as well as its price, so can the daily remembrance of the Divine Mercy at the hour of Christ's death. Jesus asked Saint Faustina, and through her us, to celebrate this Hour of Great Mercy, promising tremendous graces to those who would, both for themselves and on behalf of others.
At three o'clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy ... In this hour I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion. (Diary, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul (c) 1987, 1320).
As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it, invoke it's omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners, for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world - mercy triumphed over justice. 
Try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Most Blessed Sacrament. My Heart, which is full of mercy: and should you be unable to step into chapel. immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant. (Diary, 1572)

September 24, 2015

Join the Imagine Sister's 'One Rose Invitation' Inviting Women to Discern Consecrated Life

I want to call your attention, once again, to a most noble ministry. As mentioned previously, The Imagine Sisters are a congregation promoting the religious life. They conduct an annual outreach called the One Rose Invitation. (See video at end of post.) From their website:
The One Rose Invitation is an annual initiative to invite young women to consider the call to consecrated life as a religious sister. It was inspired by St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the patron saint of Imagine Sisters, who said, "After my death I will let fall a shower of roses."

Do you know a young woman you think would make a great sister? Let her know by giving her a single red rose on October 1st. The rose is a symbol of the invitation to consider religious life, and an affirmation of the beauty of that young woman’s soul.

Tell her that you respect her as a Catholic woman and that you think she would make a great sister if God called her. Encourage her, just don’t pressure her –because no matter what, that also means she would make a great wife and mother, as that’s what a sister is: a bride of Jesus Christ and spiritual mother to the world.
St. Thérèse promised to send a shower of roses after her death, and she has done so with countless miracles. Through the One Rose Invitation, we are confident that God will send a new shower of vocations to women’s religious life.
Here are things you can do to prepare for October 1st, and a few suggestions for afterwards:
  1. Pray and reflect on the women of God in your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer.
  2. Ask yourself, “Who do I know that would make a great sister? Who radiates the joy of Christ?” You may know more than one woman and that’s okay, invite as many as you feel called to invite.
  3. Give a single rose to that person on October 1st, affirming the gifts you see in her. Be bold, joyful, and supportive! Let her know about the Imagine Sisters Movement. And thank her for being awesome!
  4. Visit the Imagine Sisters Store for our sale of special One Rose graphic t-shirts and invitations! We can even mail them to your friend to arrive by October 1st!
  5. Pray in thanksgiving, and ask God to water the seeds if it is His will for her to discern the religious life.
Watch this short video to learn more:

Prayer in Defense of Marriage


God our Father, we give you thanks
for the gift of marriage: the bond of life and love,
and the font of the family.

The love of husband and wife enriches your Church with children,
fills the world with a multitude of spiritual fruitfulness and service,
and is the sign of the love of your Son, Jesus Christ, for his Church.

The grace of Jesus flowed forth at Cana at the
request of the Blessed Mother. May your Son,
through the intercession of Mary, pour out upon us
a new measure of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
as we join with all people of good will
to promote and protect the unique beauty of marriage.

May your Holy Spirit enlighten our society
to treasure the heroic love of husband and wife,
and guide our leaders to sustain and protect
the singular place of mothers and fathers
in the lives of their children.

Father, we ask that our prayers
be joined to those of the Virgin Mary,
that your Word may transform our service
so as to safeguard the incomparable splendor of marriage.
We ask all these things through Christ our Lord,

Amen.

Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.

Pope Francis Challenges Obama Over Religious Liberty

Pope Francis meets with the Little Sisters of the Poor

Yesterday, in his remarks at the White House, Pope Francis said in part:
[ ... ] 
Mr. President, together with their fellow citizens, American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination. With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions. And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it. ...
His comments were a gentle, but unmistakable challenge to the Obama administration's policies that force faithful Catholics to violate their deeply held beliefs. It is telling that Pope Francis included in his itinerary, an unscheduled visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor convent in Washington D. C. The pontiff made the visit to show support for the sisters, who are suing the federal government over the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. 

Saints John Paul II and Gianna Beretta Molla Defenders of the Family



I submit to you the following email from Dr. Scott Hahn:

Both Saints John Paul II and Gianna Beretta Molla defended the dignity of the family and each presented in a unique way an image of total, self-giving love.

Like a good father, John Paul II approached his pastoral duties with a “big picture” mentality. In the myriad cultural and social issues he addressed, whether they be political, economic, or religious, the institution of the family inevitably factored into his teachings. The good of the family, in the most universal sense, was a consistent objective of St. John Paul’s mission.

While John Paul II’s concern for the family was played out in the global sphere, Gianna Beretta Molla’s great sacrifice demonstrated total dedication at the most personal level. Suffering from a large tumor during her fourth and final pregnancy, Gianna morally could have had her uterus removed, thus sparing her life but terminating that of her unborn child. As a mother, she believed her greatest obligation was to her child and sacrificed her personal comfort—and ultimately, her life—for the life of her daughter.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla
Today, both Saints represent heroic charity and firm commitment to the protection of the family. Both believed that the eternal good of individuals is safeguarded by the family and, in ways simple and profound, evidenced this truth to the world.

As the World Meeting of Families continues in Philadelphia, let’s pray that we too may work within both our families and wider communities to defend and support the family.

Saints John Paul II and Gianna Beretta Molla, pray for us!

September 23, 2015

Padre Pio’s Last Letter Was Written to Pope Paul VI Commending Humanae Vitae

St. Padre Pio
Days before his death, Padre Pio, thinking of the Audience which the Chapter Members of his Order would have during their General Chapter, wrote a letter to Pope Paul. In it, he expressed his adherence to the Magisterium's teachings, particularly mentioning the recent encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Padre Pio expressed his obedience, devotedness and filial sharing in the anxieties of His Holiness. The full text is as follows:
Your Holiness:
Availing myself of Your Holiness' meeting with the Capitular Fathers, I unite myself in spirit with my Brothers, and in a spirit of faith, love and obedience to the greatness of Him whom you represent on earth, offer my respectful homage to Your August Person, humbly kneeling at Your feet.
The Capuchin Order has always been among the first in their love, fidelity and reverence for the Holy See. I pray the Lord that its members remain ever thus, continuing their tradition of seriousness and religious asceticism evangelical poverty, faithful observance of the Rule and Constitutions, renewing themselves in vigorous living and deep interior spirit—always ready, at the least gesture from Your Holiness, to go forward at once to assist the Church in her needs.
I know that Your heart suffers much these days on account of the happenings in the Church: for peace in the world, for the great needs of its peoples; but above all, for the lack of obedience of some, even Catholics, to the lofty teachings which You, assisted by the Holy Spirit and in the name of God, have given us. I offer Your Holiness my daily prayers and sufferings, the insignificant but sincere offering of the least of your sons, asking the Lord to comfort you with His grace to continue along the direct yet often burdensome way—in defense of those eternal truths which can never change with the times.
In the name of my spiritual sons and of the "Praying Groups" I thank Your Holiness for the clear and decisive words You have spoken in the recent encyclical, "Humanae Vitae", and I reaffirm my own faith and my unconditional obedience to Your inspired directives.
May God grant truth to triumph, and, may pence be given to His Church, tranquility to the people of the earth, and health and prosperity to Your Holiness, so that when these disturbing clouds pass over, the Reign of God may triumph in all hearts, through the Apostolic Works of the Supreme Shepherd of all Christians.
Prostrate at Your feet, I beg you to bless me, my Brothers in religion, my spiritual sons, the "Praying Groups", all the sick—that we may faithfully fulfill the good works done in the Name of Jesus and under your protection.
Your Holiness' most humble servant,
PADRE PIO, Capuchin
San Giovanni Rotondo, 12th September, 1968.
______________________________________________________

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
10 October 1968, page 9

Today Is the Memorial of Saint Padre Pio


Padre Pio was born in 1887 in the Italian village of Pietrelcina. He joined the Capuchin Friars at age sixteen and was ordained a priest seven years later. For fifty years at the monastery of San Giovanni Rotundo he was a spiritual advisor, confessor, and intercessor. His life was devoted to the Eucharist and prayer. Despite such notoriety, he often said, "I only want to be a poor friar who prays."

The Life of St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Pio was born Francesco Forgione to a southern Italian farm family, the son of Grazio, a shepherd. At 15 he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars in Morcone; joining the order at 19. He suffered several health problems, and at one point his family believed he had tuberculosis. He was ordained on 10 August 1910.

While praying before a cross on September 20, 1918, Padre Pio received the stigmata. He is the first priest to be so blessed. As word spread, especially after American soldiers brought home stories of Padre Pio following WWII. Pio became a point of pilgrimage for the pious and the curious. He heard confessions by the hour, and could read the consciences of those who held back. He was reportedly able to bi-locate, levitate, and heal by touch.

In 1956 he founded the House for the Relief of Suffering, a hospital that serves 60,000 a year. Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968, age 81.

Today there are over 400,000 members worldwide in prayer groups begun by Padre Pio in the 1920s.

His canonization miracle involved the cure of Matteo Pio Colella, age 7, the son of a doctor who works in the House for Relief of Suffering, the hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo. On the night of June 20, 2000, Matteo was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital with meningitis. By morning doctors had lost hope for him as nine of the boy's internal organs had ceased to give signs of life. That night, during a prayer vigil attended by Matteo's mother and some Capuchin friars of Padre Pio's monastery, the child's condition improved suddenly. When he awoke from the coma, Matteo said that he had seen an elderly man with a white beard and a long, brown habit, who said to him: "Don't worry, you will soon be cured." The miracle was approved by the Congregation and Pope John Paul II on 20 December 2001.

September 21, 2015

September 21, 2015, Feast of Saint Matthew


At the time that Jesus summoned him, Matthew was a publican, or tax collector for the Romans. His profession was despised by the Jews because it reminded them of their subjection. Pharisees viewed publicans as sinners. St. Matthew is known principally as an Evangelist. According to popular piety, he was the first to put down in writing our Lord's teaching and the account of His life. His Gospel was written in Aramaic, the language that our Lord Himself spoke.

St. Matthew: From Publican to Apostle & Evangelist 

No one was more shunned by the Jews than publicans. They were Jews who worked for the Roman Empire by robbing fellow Jews (through over taxation); making large personal profits as a result. Publicans were not allowed to trade, eat, or even pray with other Jews.

One day, while seated at his table of accounts, Jesus looked at Matthew and said two words: "Follow me." This was all that was needed to make Matthew rise, leaving his pieces of silver to follow Christ. His original name, "Levi," in Hebrew signifies "Adhesion" while his new name in Christ, Matthew, means "Gift of God." The only other outstanding mention of Matthew in the Gospels is the dinner party for Christ and His companions to which he invited his fellow tax-collectors. The Jews were surprised to see Jesus eat with a publican, but Jesus explained that he had come "not to call the just, but sinners."

Little else is known about Matthew. Tradition dictates, he preached in Egypt and Ethiopia and further places East. Some legends say he lived until his nineties, dying a peaceful death, others say he died a martyr.

Matthew is the patron saint of: Accountants; bankers; bookkeepers; customs officers; security guards; stock brokers; tax collectors; Salerno, Italy.

In the traditional symbolization of the evangelists, based on Ezech. 1:5-10 and Rev. 4:6-7, the image of the winged man is accorded to Matthew because his Gospel begins with the human genealogy of Christ.

The human /angel  symbol of Matthew,
 Painting of a detail from the Book of Kells

The Novena to St. Thérèse of Lisieux Begins September 22, 2015

The Novena to St. Thérèse of Lisieux begins on September 22nd, leading up to her feast day October 1st.

Also known as St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus (or simply, "The Little Flower"), she is a doctor of the Church. Pope Pius X called her the "greatest saint of modern times." Beloved by many who seek her help, she is a powerful intercessor.

Many have a special devotion to St. Thérèse. Praying her novena can build that devotion and deepen one's knowledge of, and love for, this saint.

Click here to sign up for daily reminders to pray the St. Thérèse Novena.

If you say the novena, you will pray with more than 212,000 people around the world.

The Imagine Sisters are a congregation promoting the religious life. They conduct an annual outreach called the One Rose Invitation. From their website:
The One Rose Invitation is an annual initiative to invite young women to consider the call to consecrated life as a religious sister. It was inspired by St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the patron saint of Imagine Sisters, who said, "After my death I will let fall a shower of roses."
Do you know a young woman you think would make a great sister? Let her know by giving her a single red rose on October 1st. The rose is a symbol of the invitation to consider religious life, and an affirmation of the beauty of that young woman’s soul.
Tell her that you respect her as a Catholic woman and that you think she would make a great sister if God called her. Encourage her, just don’t pressure her –because no matter what, that also means she would make a great wife and mother, as that’s what a sister is: a bride of Jesus Christ and spiritual mother to the world.
St. Thérèse promised to send a shower of roses after her death, and she has done so with countless miracles. Through the One Rose Invitation, we are confident that God will send a new shower of vocations to women’s religious life.
Please consider praying for the Imagine Sisters and vocations to the consecrated life, for an increase in religious sisters and nuns, as you say this novena.

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Novena Prayers

Dearest Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, you said that you would spend your time in heaven doing good on earth.

Your trust in God was complete. Pray that He may increase my trust in His goodness and mercy as I ask for the following petitions…

(State your intentions)

Pray for me that I, like you, may have great and innocent confidence in the loving promises of our God. Pray that I may live my life in union with God’s plan for me, and one day see the Face of God whom you loved so deeply.

Saint Thérèse, you were faithful to God up until the moment of your death. Pray for me that I may be faithful to our loving God. May my life bring peace and love to the world through faithful endurance in love for God our savior.

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St. Thérèse Novena DAY ONE

Loving God, you blessed St. Thérèse with a capacity for a great love. Help me to believe in your unconditional love for each of your children, especially for me.

I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

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St. Thérèse Novena DAY TWO

Loving God, you loved St. Thérèse’s complete trust in your care. Help me to rely on your providential care in each circumstance of my life, especially the most difficult and stressful.

I trust you, Lord. Help me to trust you more!
I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

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St. Thérèse Novena DAY THREE

Loving God, you gave St. Thérèse the ability to see You in the ordinary routine of each day. Help me to be aware of your presence in the everyday events of my life.

I see you, Lord. Help me to see you more!
I trust you, Lord. Help me to trust you more!
I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

To pray the novena in full go here.

September 20, 2015

Don’t Blame Hell on God. It was Satan’s Idea.

Detail of  Inferno, from Michelangelo's
The Last Judgement, Sistine Chapel 
One frequently asked question is: "Why would an all-loving God create Hell, let alone, send souls there?" God did not make us to suffer. True, in the Garden of Eden, there did exist temptation, represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation, spurred on by Satan's lies. Having the freedom to love means having the freedom to reject love and the source of love, God. But evil, sin and Hell are Satan's doing not God's

In answering the above question, we revisit an interview by the Italian blog Stanze Vaticane, with the Vatican's Chief Exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, in which he discussed his soon to be beatified mentor, Father Candido Amantini C.P., a Master Exorcist. Fr. Amantini was Rome's chief exorcist for thirty-six years — often seeing 60 to 80 people per day. As such, Fr. Amantini witnessed demonic possession and interacted with the devil thousands of times. His protégé and successor, Fr. Amorth, recounts one exorcism where Fr. Amantini asked the devil, “How is it possible that God created Hell?” Fr. Amorth has himself asked this question of demons and their answer is always same. The following is excerpted from the interview (most relevant text in red):

[ ... ]

Obviously you witnessed Fr. (Candido) Amantini’s exorcisms…

Of course! I assisted at them for six years. I was appointed exorcist in 1986 and I began to perform exorcisms with him beginning that year. Then in 1990, two years before he died, I began performing exorcisms alone because he wasn’t practicing anymore. When someone went to him he responded: “Go see Fr. Amorth”. That is why I am considered to be his successor…
Fr. Candido Amantini

Was Fr. Candido ironic even with the devil?

I want to tell you about one very important episode to help you understand a truth. You need to know that when there’s a case of diabolical possession, there is a dialogue between the exorcist and the devil. Satan is a great liar, but sometimes the Lord obliges him to tell the truth. Once Fr. Candido was liberating a person after many exorcisms and with his typical irony he told the devil: “Go away for the Lord has created a nice warm home for you, he has prepared a little house for you where you won’t suffer from the cold”. However, the devil interrupted him and replied: “You don’t know anything”.

What did he mean?

When the devil interrupts with a saying like this, it means that God has obliged him to tell the truth. And this time it was extremely important. The faithful often ask me: “But how is it possible that God created Hell, why did he think of a place of suffering?” And so at that time the devil responded to the provocations of Fr. Candido by revealing an important truth about Hell: “It was not God, who created Hell! It was us. He hadn’t even thought of it!” Therefore in the plan of God’s creation the existence of Hell had not been contemplated. The demons created it! During exorcisms, I have also often asked the devil: “Did you create Hell?”. And his response has always been the same: “We all cooperated.”...

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The interview cited was conducted in June of this year. It appears Stanze Vaticane no longer archives this article. You may read more of Fr. Amorth's remarks here.

September 19, 2015

Seven Thoughts by G. K. Chesterton on Religion That Grow in Relevance by the Day

G. K. Chesterton, 1874-1936 

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an English writer, lay theologian, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, literary and art critic, biographer, and Christian apologist. He converted from High Church Anglicanism to Catholicism in 1922. Below is a selection of his quotes concerning religion:
It has been often said, very truely, that religion is the thing that makes the ordinary man feel extraordinary; it is an equally important truth that religion is the thing that makes the extraordinary man feel ordinary.
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The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden. 
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One of the chief uses of religion is that it makes us remember our coming from darkness, the simple fact that we are created.
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There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.
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The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried. 
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 Theology is only thought applied to religion.

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The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.

September 18, 2015

Homily for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 20, 2015, Year B

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

"Whoever receives one child such as this in my
 name, receiver me; and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me."


(Click here for today’s readings)

In the writings of the classic spiritual teachers, growth in the spiritual life passes through certain stages or “ways.” The “Purgative Way” is that period during which we try, with the help of divine grace, to break away from sin and be purified of past faults. Then comes the “Illuminative Way,” during which we learn as much as we can about God’s working in our lives, about his word, and the sacraments, and seek to discern his will so that we may obey it. Finally there is the “Unitive Way,” characterized by a deep, constant, and effortless experience of our life-giving faith relationship with God.

As you can imagine, this does not happen overnight. It’s hard work. There are many setbacks and obstacles along the way, and one never reaches the point of saying, “There! That’s done,” as though there were, so to speak, no more worlds to conquer.

Precisely because it’s so hard, there is always the temptation to cut corners. One of the most attractive temptations is to eliminate altogether the process of the “Three Ways” and replace it with a much simpler Fourth Way, the “Comparative Way.” This consists in convincing ourselves that all is as it should be, on the grounds that we are better than someone else.

Even apart from the spiritual life this works. I don’t have to be the best at what I do, as long as I can do it better than someone else. Whether it’s academics, or sports, or the arts, or any other field of endeavor, I can always look around and see others getting it all wrong. Conclusion: I’m better than that. With any luck, following the example of the “wicked” in the first reading, we can hope for the downfall of those whose behavior is “obnoxious to us” because it shows up our own faults.

Alternatively, we can demean others’ talents and accomplishments, impugn their integrity, doubt their sincerity. By bringing them down, we lift ourselves up.

The Apostles fell into this trap when they argued about which of them was the greatest, and they were too embarrassed to speak when they realized that Jesus had caught them in the act. Jesus turned it into what is known as a teachable moment. Instead of berating them, he taught them the principle of what is today commonly called “Servant Leadership.” You want to be first? Then put yourself last. This is what James calls the “wisdom from above.” Very counterintuitive.

The “Comparative Way” can’t bring us closer to God. All it can do is distance us from others. In God’s sight there is ultimately little difference between the noblest saint and the vilest sinner—and no true saint would think of any sinner as vile.

So it’s back to the hard work, to being “pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.”

I wonder, is it really so hard?

America's Dark and Not Very Distant History of Hating Catholics

Editorial cartoon showing bishops as crocodiles attacking public schools,
with the collusion of Irish Catholic politicians, Thomas Nast, 1876

There is an excellent article appearing in, of all places, the Guardian (U.K.), entitled "America's dark and not-very-distant history of hating Catholics".  I would hasten to add that anti-Catholic sentiment today is growing in light of gay "marriage," the abandonment of sexual mores, and the discrimination against, and criminalization of Christianity in general. An excerpt:
Pope Francis is expected to be greeted with huge crowds and across-the-board reverence when he tours Washington, New York and Philadelphia during his first visit as pontiff to the United States.
The rapture, however, will not change the awkward – and largely forgotten fact – that for centuries the US discriminated against Catholics.
The land of immigrants enshrined freedom of religion in the constitution yet spent much of its history despising, harassing and marginalizing Catholics.
From the first Puritan settlers to televangelists, leading political, business and religious figures lambasted followers of Rome as theological abominations and traitorous fifth columnists. ...
________________________________________

When you look back at the true, hidden history of the United States this strand of anti-Catholicism is very powerful.
— Kenneth Davis, historian and commentator.

Reminder 9/18/15: Three O'clock is the Hour of Great Mercy

The Divine Mercy Image
The Hour of Great Mercy

Just as the (Divine Mercy) Image can serve as a reminder of the ocean of Divine Mercy, as well as its price, so can the daily remembrance of the Divine Mercy at the hour of Christ's death. Jesus asked Saint Faustina, and through her us, to celebrate this Hour of Great Mercy, promising tremendous graces to those who would, both for themselves and on behalf of others.
At three o'clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy ... In this hour I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion. (Diary, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul (c) 1987, 1320).
As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it, invoke it's omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners, for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world - mercy triumphed over justice. 
Try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Most Blessed Sacrament. My Heart, which is full of mercy: and should you be unable to step into chapel. immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant. (Diary, 1572)

September 17, 2015

10 More Shocking Quotes by Margaret Sanger the Founder of Planned Parenthood

Margaret Sanger was born September 14, 1879. She founded the International Planned Parenthood Federation in 1952. Sanger was a proponent of forced eugenics, free love, birth control and abortion. Margaret Sanger and her organization paved the way for the sexual revolution which have exploited countless women and led to divorce, co-habitation, the acceptance of a contraceptive mentality, abortion, fatherless homes, the rejection of the faith and numerous other dysfunctions that have plagued and destroyed millions of families.

The following quotations illustrate Ms. Sanger's barbaric views on human sexuality and the dignity of persons:
[Because of birth control], child slavery, prostitution, feeble mindedness, physical deterioration, hunger, oppression and war will disappear from the earth. There will come a Plato who will be understood, a Socrates who will drink no hemlock, and a Jesus who will not die upon the cross. These and the race that is to be in America await upon a motherhood that is to be sacred because it is free.
 — Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race
Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying ... demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism ... [Philanthropists] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant ... We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.
— Margaret Sanger. The Pivot of Civilization
Today eugenics is suggested by the most diverse minds as the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems
I think you must agree ... that the campaign for birth control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical with the final aims of eugenics ... Birth control propaganda is thus the entering wedge for the eugenic educator.
As an advocate of birth control I wish ... to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the 'unfit' and the 'fit,' admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation.
On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.
— Margaret Sanger, "The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda"
Give dysgenic groups [people with 'bad genes'] in our population their choice of segregation or compulsory sterilization.
— Margaret Sanger, April 1932 Birth Control Review. 
The third group [of society] are those irresponsible and reckless ones having little regard for the consequences of their acts, or whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers. Many of this group are diseased, feeble-minded, and are of the pauper element dependent upon the normal and fit members of society for their support. There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.
— Margaret Sanger. Speech quoted in Birth Control: What It Is, How It Works, What It Will Do. The Proceedings of the First American Birth Control Conference, 1921
In passing, we should here recognize the difficulties presented by the idea of 'fit' and 'unfit.' Who is to decide this question? The grosser, the more obvious, the undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind. But among the writings of the representative Eugenists [sic], one cannot ignore the distinct middle-class bias that prevails.
— Margaret Sanger, quoted in Charles Valenza, "Was Margaret Sanger a Racist?" Family Planning Perspectives, January-February 1985, page 44.
Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.
— Margaret Sanger. Woman, Morality, and Birth Control
There is only one reply to a request for a higher birthrate among the intelligent, and that is to ask the government to first take the burden of the insane and feeble-minded from your back. [Mandatory] sterilization for these is the answer.
— Margaret Sanger, October 1926, Birth Control Review
Slavs, Latin, and Hebrew immigrants are human weeds... a deadweight of human waste... Blacks, soldiers, and Jews are a menace to the race.
Eugenic sterilization is an urgent need... We must prevent Multiplication of this bad stock.
— Margaret Sanger, [...] 1922, Birth Control Review
[Our objective is] unlimited sexual gratification without the burden of unwanted children ... [Women must have the right] to live ... to love ... to be lazy ... to be an unmarried mother ... to create ... to destroy ... The marriage bed is the most degenerative influence in the social order ... The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.
 — Margaret Sanger (editor). The Woman Rebel, 1922.

September 16, 2015

10 Historical Periods in the Church Worse Than Today



Excellent post on Epicpew about "10 Historical Periods in the Church Worse Than Today" An excerpt:
It is very easy for us to fall into the trap of believing that our age is some how special or much worse compared to previous ages. From the standpoint of world history, the last Century was the bloodiest on record, that seems to be undeniably true. But what about in Church History? The Synod on the Family has people up in arms about information and misinformation that is coming out of Rome. This cycle of misinformation will ramp up again next month when the Synod resumes. The reality is, however, that open discussion is how the Church conducts her affairs and then she makes pronouncements or clarifies doctrine after the discussion has closed. Far too many people are arguing that the Church is “doomed”, she’s filled with heretics (what’s new?!), and major changes are coming to the Church. It is frequently claimed that we are witnessing the worst period in the Church’s history. I’m afraid reality doesn’t support that assertion ....
As dire as things seem (especially for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East) this article reminds us that Christ, and those who follow him, have been persecuted continuously throughout history.

September 15, 2015

Special Indulgences for the Jubilee Year of Mercy

The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy begins Dec 8. As with other jubilee years, Pope Francis has instructed that special indulgences be available for the faithful. They may be obtained for oneself or for individuals who have died.

For able-bodied Catholics

◗ Take a pilgrimage. Make a journey to your local Holy Door (a physical portal in your local cathedral, shrine or other designated Church) or to one of the Holy Doors in the four papal basilicas in Rome. Crossing through a Holy Door is a spiritual journey that signals, as the Holy Father said, "the deep desire for true conversion."

◗ Go to confession.

◗ Receive the Holy Eucharist "with a reflection of mercy."

◗ Make a profession of faith.

◗ Pray for the pope and for his intentions.

For the elderly, confined and the sick

◗ Pope Francis said that they may obtain the indulgence by "living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial."

◗ Or by attending Mass and community prayer, "even through the various means of communication."

For all Catholics

◗ Perform a spiritual or corporal work of mercy. Pope Francis said that an indulgence may be obtained when a member of the "faithful personally performs" one of these merciful acts.