October 27, 2010

Reflection on Saint Paul's Letter to the Galatians Chapter 5:18-25

Reading:  Saint Paul's Letter to the Galatians 5:18-25

Brothers and sisters:

If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.


The final selection from Paul’s letter to the Galatian Christians softens the tone of the earlier chapters.  We hear in this final chapter a beautiful passage of the Holy Spirit.  We could say that everything Paul wrote to the Galatians up till now is expressed in the final verse.  “If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit” (Gal 5:25).  The Spirit gives life at baptism, communicating supernatural gifts that transcend the purely human qualities with which we are born.  Theologians consider the sever traditional gifts of the Holy Spirit to be supernatural and permanent, given by God to make a baptized person attentive to the voice of God; receptive to the workings of grace; zealous for the things of God; and, consequently, obedient and docile to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.  

Paul argued throughout the letter to the Galatians against the power of the Mosaic Law to save a person.  He concludes now by saying that people who live according to the free gifts of the Spirit will produce the fruit (not fruits) of the Spirit, that is, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  It’s a partial list, as Paul says that “there is no law against such things,” because they show that Christ lives and acts in those who produce such fruit.  As Jesus had said so clearly, “A tree is known by its fruit” (Luke 6:44).

October 26, 2010

Prayer to End Abortion

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!

October 22, 2010

St. Athanasius

Thought of the Day

Devils take great delight in fullness, and drunkeness, and bodily comfort.
Fasting possesses great power and it works glorious things.
To fast is to banquet with angels.

-- St. Athanasius.

October 15, 2010

Love is not tolerance


Christian love bears evil, but it does not tolerate it.

It does penance for the sins of others, but it is not broadminded about sin.

The cry for tolerance never induces it to quench its hatred of the evil philosophies that have entered into contest with the Truth.

It forgives the sinner, and it hates the sin; it is unmerciful to the error in his mind.

The sinner it will always take back into the bosom of the Mystical Body;

but his lie will never be taken into the treasury of His Wisdom.

Real love involves real hatred:

whoever has lost the power of moral indignation and the urge to drive the buyers and sellers from the temples

has also lost a living, fervent love of Truth.

Charity, then, is not a mild philosophy of "live and let live";

it is not a species of sloppy sentiment.

Charity is the infusion of the Spirit of God,

which makes us love the beautiful and hate the morally ugly.

H/T Catholic Education: www.catholiceduction.org

A Christian Duty

By Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

The practice of recommending to God the souls in Purgatory, that He might mitigate the great pains which they suffer, and that He may soon bring them to His glory, is most pleasing to the Lord and most profitable to us. For these blessed souls are His eternal spouses, and most grateful are they to those who obtain their deliverance from prison, or even a mitigation of their torments. When, therefore, they arrive in Heaven, they will be sure to remember all who have prayed for them. It is a pious belief that God manifests to them our prayers in their behalf, that they may also pray for us. It is true that these blessed souls are not in a state to pray for themselves, because they are atoning for their faults. However, because they are very dear to God, they can pray for us, and obtain for us the divine graces. Saint Catherine of Bologna, when she wished to obtain any grace, had recourse to the souls in Purgatory, and her prayers were heard immediately. She declared that, by praying to those holy souls, she obtained many favours which she had sought through the intercession of the saints without obtaining them. The graces which devout persons are said to have received through these holy souls are innumerable.

But, if we wish for the aid of their prayers, it is just, it is even a duty, to relieve them by our suffrages. I say, it is even a duty: for Christian charity commands us to relieve our neighbors who stand in need of our assistance. But who among all our neighbors have so great need of our help as those holy prisoners? They are continually in that fire which torments more severely than any earthly fire. They are deprived of the sight of God, a torment far more excruciating than all other pains. Let us reflect that among these suffering souls are parents, or brothers, or relations and friends, who look to us for succour.

Let us remember, moreover, that being in the condition of debtors for their sins, they cannot assist themselves. This thought should urge us forward to relieve them to the best of our ability. By assisting them we shall not only give great pleasure to God, but will acquire also great merit for ourselves. And, in return for our suffrages, these blessed souls will not neglect to obtain for us many graces from God, but particularly the grace of eternal life. I hold for certain that when a soul delivered from Purgatory by the suffrages of a Christian enters paradise, she will not fail to say to God: “Lord, do not suffer that person to be lost who has liberated me from the prison of Purgatory, and has brought me to the enjoyment of Thy glory sooner than I had deserved.”

Catholics Go Vote!

H/T Creative Minority Report

October 9, 2010

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton: A Life

Most people know that St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was the first American-born person to be declared a saint (she was canonized on September 14, 1975) and that she is regarded as being one of the driving forces behind the rise of parochial education in the United States. They are also aware that she was the foundress of the American Sisters of Charity, which was the first order of sisters native to the U.S. What many may not realize, however, is that her road to sainthood was paved with difficulties that sound quite modern in their familiarity.

Born the second daughter of a prominent Anglican family in New York in 1774, she suffered the death of her mother in 1777, most likely as a result of childbirth. The woman that her father married in 1778, Charlotte Barclay, never accepted the children from her husband’s first marriage. That marriage eventually ended in a separation due to irreconcilable conflicts.

Elizabeth suffered greatly as a result of all this, to the point of being afflicted with a serious depression. However, her own life took a more positive direction in 1794, when she married William Magee Seton; their marriage would eventually produce five children.

In 179, when Elizabeth was pregnant with her third child, her father-in-law died and her husband had to assume total responsibility for the family business. Elizabeth helped out as much as she could be doing the account books at night, after caring all day for her own family and her husband’s younger half-siblings.

Despite their hard work, the company went bankrupt in 1801 and the family lost their home and all their possessions as a result. It was about this time that William began to show symptoms of the tuberculosis that would eventually kill him. Seeking to restore her husband’s health, Elizabeth and her family journeyed to Italy for the more favorable climate; it did not help, however, and William Seton died in 1803, leaving Elizabeth a 29-year-old widow with five small children.

It was in Italy, however, that she began her own conversion to Catholicism, which ultimately culminated in her sainthood. In the end, it would be both her strength and her new faith that would enable her to be a wife, mother, widow, single parent, foundress, educator, social minister, and spiritual leader, and do them all well.