May 2018: Olive Tree
Volume II/Issue 25/May 2018
From The Editorial Desk:
The Catholic practice of assigning a special devotion to each month goes back to the early 16th century. I would say that the best known of those devotions is probably the dedication of May as the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Also in the month of May we celebrate our mothers. Lately, when you read see or hear the news, it seems that woman have been put into the limelight. With this in mind I wanted to talk a little bit in this editorial about God's desire for women.
God needs women today.
Women who will faithfully portray through their lives the glory that He originally intended to manifest through a woman when He created Eve.
When God made Eve, it was in order that she might be a helper suitable for man (Genesis. 2:18). The glory of this ministry is seen when we notice that the title of Paraclete, which means 'Helper', is what Jesus used to refer to the Holy Spirit as well (John. 14:16)!
As the Holy Spirit invisibly and silently, yet powerfully helps the believer, even so the woman was created to help the man. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is 'behind the scenes.' So is the woman to be.
The life of Jesus also is an example to woman; for God's Word states that man is the woman's head in exactly the same way as God (the Father) is the head of Christ. Listen to the words of Paul in I Corinthians 11:3. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Jesus always acted in submission to His Father. A God-fearing woman will act likewise in relation to her husband. Eve's mistake in the garden of Eden was that she failed to consult her husband before she made a decision. Thus Satan seduced and deceived her as it says in (1 Timothy 2:14).
Where Eve failed, God calls Christian wives today to manifest the glory of submission to their husbands, exactly as Jesus was to the Father and as the church is to Christ.
Sin entered the universe through the rebellion of Lucifer. Salvation came through the submission of Christ. The spirit of humble submission to God's authority is the greatest power that there is in the universe - for it is the Spirit of Christ. That Spirit conquered all the spirits of rebellion on the cross. When a wife submits to her husband, she is actually submitting to the authority of God's Word, which commands her to do so; and she is then being influenced by the greatest power in the universe. Even unbelieving husbands can be won over by that power. 1 Peter 3:1,2 says, "In like manner also let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation, of the wives (or the way the wife lives). Considering your chaste conversation with fear."
Here is where Satan deceives the woman again. As he led the angels astray, he leads the woman astray - through the spirit of rebellion. According to Proverbs 21:19, "it would be better to live in a dessert then with a rebellious, quarrelsome and fretful woman." In other words. It is worse to live with that kind of woman then it is to live in a barren desert! On the other hand, a submissive, excellent and virtuous wife, is as a crown to her husband which makes her home into a palace. (Proverbs 12:4). Your home can either be a palace or a place worse then a desert, spiritually speaking. It all depends on the type of wife that you are. No wonder God puts a great price on women who have a meek (gentle) and a quiet spirit (1 Peter. 3:4).
Proverbs 31:10-31 describes some of the characteristics of this virtuous wife. Her heart, hands and tongue are described as excellent.
Nothing is mentioned about her physical beauty or her feminine charms, for these are declared to be worthless and vain (v. 30). It would be an excellent thing if all women and young girls, and especially young men considering marriage, realized this fact.
The virtuous woman described here, has a heart that fears God (v. 30). This is the foundation for her whole life. She works with her hands, stitching clothes, cooking meals, planting trees and helping the poor (v. 13-22). She uses her tongue at all times with kindness and wisdom (v. 26). She is God-fearing, hard-working and kind - even if she is not beautiful on the outside. The glory of God is manifested through her pure heart, rough hands and soft tongue. (Worldly women, in contrast, have an impure heart, soft hands and a rough tongue!). It is in these areas that God looks for women today to manifest His glory.
As a wife, this virtuous woman is a true helper to her husband. She does him good consistently till the end of her life - not in fits and starts (v. 12). In other words, she never loses her first love for him. She also adjusts herself to his vocation and calling in life, supplementing his income with her own quiet labors at home, being thrifty and careful in finances, so that no money is wasted. No wonder her husband praises her saying that of all the women in the world she is the best (v. 29). Such a woman certainly deserves to be praised publicly too (v. 31), for she has understood the glory of her calling as a woman. Because of lack of time I would like to briefly mention a few other ways that Gods glory is seen in a woman. I would encourage you to read over the scripture references that is given.
The glory of God is seen in a woman who has seen her calling as a home-maker. (Titus 2:5)
The glory of God is seen in a woman's calling as a Mother.
Adam called his wife 'Eve', because she was a mother. In the pure light of God's presence, in Eden, he knew clearly what his wife's calling was. Eve knew it as well. Sin and human traditions (influenced by Satan) have now, however, clouded women's understanding, so that she no longer sees her glory as a mother. Children are now called by the Satanic name of 'accidents', when God calls them 'gifts' (Psalms 127:3). They are also considered to be a 'nuisance', when God considers them to be a 'blessing' (Psalms 127:5; 128:4). This is but another indication of how far, even so-called Christians have drifted away from God and become Satanic in their thinking!
A woman's primary witness for Christ, as we have seen, is by being a man's helper and a mother to her children. But God also calls her to be a witness by her mouth.
Mary Magdalene was the first witness of the risen Christ. She was one who testified about what she had seen and experienced. Every God-fearing Catholic woman, should take there responsibility of giving the good news of Christ to those with whom she is in contact - relatives, friends, neighbors, etc.
Prayer is one of the primary ministries that all Catholic woman can engage in, for the building of the Church.
God is certainly looking today for women who will engage in secret prayer for the fulfillment of His purposes. Women can prophesy too. Acts 2:17,18 clearly states that when the Spirit is outpoured, both men and women will prophesy. This is part of a woman's privilege under the new covenant. What do we mean by prophesy? We mean that she can share God's word in a spirit of meekness. Older women are exhorted to teach the younger sisters practical matters related to their conduct at home (Titus 2:4,5).
The glory of God is seen in the woman wearing a covering. The covering of a woman's head (taught in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16) is meant to symbolize:
(a) that man is the image and glory of God
(b) That the the woman is the glory of man.
Not only does the head covering or the mantillas show the glory of God , but the long hair of the woman shows the glory of God.
A woman is also to be a faithful witness for Christ through her clothing. The Holy Spirit urges women to dress modestly and discreetly. (1 Timothy.2:9-10; 1 Peter3:3). Clothes are meant to cover a woman's body, not to expose it. No God-fearing woman will ever wear clothes that are cut and 'shaped' according to the immodest fashions of the women of the world. They are marks of worldly women, not of the disciples of Jesus Christ. (Read Isaiah.3:16-24 carefully, to see how God denounces the dress fashions of the worldly daughters of Zion).
Satan is eager to destroy the God-appointed distinction between the sexes. And he has got 21st-century women to act and behave like men in many ways. As well as Men acting and behaving like women. Domineering wives and women “priests” are all part of the drift of Christendom's women further and further away from God and His Word.
In the midst of all this, God needs women who will stay within the boundaries that He has been laid down in His Word, and taught to us through the centuries by the Fathers of the Church. God needs women who will manifest the true glory of womanhood throughout their lives. Determine with all your heart that you will be a woman after God's own heart, in these last days, in the midst of a sinful and adulterous generation and a compromising Christendom.
God will give you grace for this, if you earnestly desire it yourself.
A False Attitude Towards Sacred Scripture
Many Catholics have a fear of Sacred Scripture, because of the false interpretations that some have made of Scripture, since the Protestant Revolt. “Understanding this first, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation.” (II Peter 1:20) As one of the Fathers observed in the early centuries, heretics may not use the Scriptures, because the Scriptures are part of the Church.
Doctrine comes from two sources Sacred Scripture and Tradition. Usually doctrines come from both sources, because Sacred Scripture and Tradition agree with each other. With this in mind, we should realize just how important Sacred Scripture is to us as Catholics.
Let us look first to the liturgy, the Mass and Divine Office. Many things in the Mass come from or are inspired by Sacred Scripture. In the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar we recite the 42nd Psalm. Of course the Epistle and Gospel come from Sacred Scripture. Additionally the Introit, Gradual, Tract, Alleluia, Offertory and Communion verses come from Sacred Scripture. In the Divine Office in a week all 150 Psalms are recited. The first Nocturn at Matins comes from Sacred Scripture. The third Nocturn is a commentary on the Gospel of the day. And we find Scripture through out the Office.
Saint John Eudes recommends reading from the Gospels every day, while kneeling. We read the lives of the Saints, shouldn't we also read the Life of Jesus Christ and what He had to say us in the Scriptures? Some recommend beginning our study of the Scriptures with the Sapiential books, that is Proverbs, Wisdom, Ecclesiastes and Ecclesiasticus. There is much wisdom in these four books of the Bible. In fact, there is wisdom and good advice throughout the Scriptures.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, searched the Scriptures to find an elevator to heaven by which she could rise rapidly towards Almighty God. She found it in several verses. She began with: “He that is a little one, let him turn to me.” (Proverbs 9:16) This is why her way is called the little way. She then went to Isaias: “For thus saith the Lord: Behold I will bring upon her as it were a river of peace, and as an overflowing torrent the glory of the Gentiles, which you shall suck; you shall be carried at the breasts, and upon the knees they shall caress you. As one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you, and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” (66:12-13) Therese came to Jesus and asked Him to comfort her. From this she reached the conclusion: “Thine arms, O my Jesus, are the elevator which must raise me to heaven.” We need to begin where she already was, when she began looking for the elevator: “Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) We need to become as little children. Therese had already converted, we may still be in need of conversion.
When you are reading the writings of the Saints, you will find them using Scripture a great deal to teach us. And this type of reading will help us understand Scripture better.
And so, how should we interpret Scripture? We should look to those closest to the sacred writers, the Fathers of the Church. The Church has rendered decisions on some verses of Scripture, but in most cases the Church has made no official interpretation. And some Scripture may have two or more interpretations, such as the woman in Apocalypse 12, who is held to be a figure of the Church and of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
We should begin our study of Scripture with prayer, asking God, the Holy Ghost, to guide us and help us to understand what He wants to teach us.
Saint Paul told Timothy: “All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17) Indeed, as we meditate on the sacred words of Scripture, we will find just how profitable these words are; the Word of God. Let us think about this, Sacred Scripture is the Word of God. What can be better able to instruct us. True some Scriptures may be hard to understand, which is why we have the Church to turn to for guidance.
Saint Paul explains why some may not understand Scripture: “Which things also we speak, not in the learned words of human wisdom; but in the doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot understand, because it is spiritually examined. But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man.” (I Corinthians 2:13-15)
The Douay-Rheims translation has this comment of this Scripture: “ The sensual man is either he who is taken up with sensual pleasures, with carnal and worldly affections; or he who measureth divine mysteries by natural reason, sense, and human wisdom only. Now such a man has little or no notion of the things of God. Whereas the spiritual man is he who, in the mysteries of religion, takes not human sense for his guide: but submits his judgment to the decisions of the church, which he is commanded to hear and obey. For Christ hath promised to remain to the end of the world with his church, and to direct her in all things by the Spirit of truth.” If this is a definition of us, then we will have difficulty understanding Sacred Scripture and are definitely in need of conversion.
“Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil.” (Joel 2:12-13) This is read to us at the beginning of Lent as a reminder that we need to have our hearts right with Almighty God.
The best translation into English is the Douay-Rheims Bible. In fact, this author has found substantial errors in all other English translations he has consulted, which contradict the teachings of the Fathers of the Church and the constant interpretation of the Church. The basic Douay Rheims has foot notes and references to other Scriptures that may be helpful. Father Haydock prepared a two volume Bible with more commentary from Catholic Biblical commentators.
As we have considered the Saints also lead us to Sacred Scripture. Saint Alphonsus quotes Jeremias (12:11): “They have laid it waste, and it hath mourned for me. With desolation is all the land made desolate; because there is none that considereth in the heart.” He states that this considering in the heart is the holy and necessary practice of meditation.
The Apocalypse warns us against the deadly disposition of lukewarmness: “But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” (Apocalypse 3:16) Indeed we need to be on fire with the love of God, not mere fence sitters who are happy with a mediocre religious life. “And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me?” (Matthew 26:40) Should we not also heed this advice and watch an hour a day with Jesus in holy prayer?
During our hour of prayer, let us take up the holy Scriptures and meditate on the truths they contain. And this is not a marathon to see how fast we can get through the Bible, but a time to take the truths found in Scripture to heart, so that we cease to be lukewarm, which the Sacred Scriptures compare to vomit. If your life stinks, then you may just find that you have become lukewarm.
This author has read some Scriptures countless times and still may go back again. And it is a good idea to take notes and mark up your Bible. You will want to come back to some passages again and again and slowly take in their deep meaning. You may find while reading a passage for the umpteenth time that all of a sudden the Holy Ghost gives you a new deep thought that strikes you deep in your heart and soul.
Let us close with this thought from Jesus: “When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand.” (Matthew 24:15) Let us read and understand the Sacred Scriptures.
The Spirit of Pentecost
"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues." (Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2)
As we gather to celebrate the feast of Pentecost, also called Whitsunday, we have to remind ourselves that we are not the first ones to celebrate Pentecost.
And as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke reminds us that “Devout men were gathered in Jerusalem . . . “ (Acts 2:5) We have to keep in mind that devout Jews were instructed that they were to make pilgrimage three times per year. We are reminded in Exodus: “Three times a year shalt thou keep a feast unto Me in a year . . . And the feast of harvest, the first fruits of they labors, which thou hast sown in the field.” (Exodus 23:14). In other words, this feast was also known as Pentecost. Elsewhere we read in Leviticus: “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath . .. shall ye number 50 days and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.” (Leviticus 23:15). Please note that we also mark our Christian Feast of Pentecost fifty days after Easter.
If you were paying attention to the reading coming to us from Acts in the Second Chapter, you will make note that this describing of the first Pentecost seems to revolve around speaking and understanding . . . remember, I stated both speaking AND understanding . . . other languages. Keep in mind, devout Jews were gathered there from all different regions, different countries, different lands, and as a result, these different men were able to understand what the Apostles were speaking, despite the fact that these devout men from other regions did not speak the same language as the Apostles: “Are these men not Galileans???” (Acts 2:7)
If we look back to the Old Testament, we will find a very familiar story which we might have read ourselves or even heard about in Sunday School. It is the story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). If you look at this story, it boils down to this: the people were so impressed with themselves that they decided to build a tower that would reach to the heavens. But when God saw what they were doing, he scattered these people to all different regions and they spoke with different languages and division was created. In other words, these people were so proud of themselves and so proud of what they could do, that they wanted to build this tower as a testament to THEIR achievement and left God completely out of the mix.
We are always to remember that everything we do, everything we have, all the skills and powers and knowledge that we have comes directly from God. It is God Who has bestowed upon us everything that we have. Of course, it is up to us to use the skills that the Almighty has bestowed on us but we are always called to acknowledge the source of our skills.
In St John’s Gospel, we hear the following: “If ye love Me, keep My commandments, and I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever . . . . but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (St. John 14:15-17).
The Apostles and the Blessed Mother kept Our Lord’s commandments and they followed His instructions. They might not always have done so perfectly or understood perfectly, but they did what they could and followed Our Lord as well as possible. We are called to do the same thing: Follow Our Lord’s commandments and follow His example. Being human, we will not always do everything perfectly, but that being said, keep our focus on God first and foremost and let things follow from there.
As St. Peter reminds us: “Once you were no people, now you are God’s people.” (I St. Peter 2:10) As God’s people, we are to remember exactly who we are and what we are. We are Christians. We bear the name of Christian and belong to God. As Christians, we acknowledge where our abilities come from and to Whom our heart belongs; to Our Heavenly Father. Our Lord prayed to His Heavenly Father for us: "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, are in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me." (St. John 17:21)
“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world . . . wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:3-7)
Let us acknowledge that God is Our Heavenly Father. Let us acknowledge Our Blessed Lord to be Our Saviour. Let us ask, on this feast of Pentecost, for the Holy Ghost to fill our hearts, to fill the hearts of every Christian throughout the world so that we can acknowledge Our Heavenly Father and to follow His commandments.
The Funny Pharmacy
A joyful mind maketh age flourishing: a sorrowful spirit drieth up the bones. - Proverbs 17:22
Do you believe that a layman could be elected a Pope, not withstanding discussion of the manner of election?
Yes, a layman can be elected.
The Pope Speaks: May 2018
What Is Truth?
Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice. Pilate saith to him: What is truth? And when he said this, he went out again to the Jews, and saith to them: I find no cause in him. (John 18:37-38)
Notice that Pilate asks: “What is truth?” but doesn't wait for an answer. Do we even ask what the truth is? The world has a false way of judging what the truth is. Instead of measuring something against what is, the world looks for support from others as a measure of truth. That Jesus is the Son of God was not a popular thing in Jerusalem on the first Good Friday, but it remained true. The majority was certainly wrong.
If we look at history, we will find that the majority is often wrong. Let us go back to the time of Noah. Millions, possibly billions of people were wrong, while Noah was right and God saved Noah and his family.
And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud, and in the sea: and did all eat the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink; (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.) But with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the desert. (I Corinthians 10:2-5)
In the desert, during the Exodus, if we read it well, many who came out of Egypt were sinners. In fact, only two men that came out of Egypt, entered the Promised Land, Josua and Caleb. Even Moses did not enter the Promised Land, because of a slight want of faith.
Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
God is Truth. Truth is simply that which is totally in accordance with the facts. It does not depend on the number of people, who believe it. Truth exists, even if everyone rejects it.
Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. ... Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it? (John 6:54, 61)
Indeed the truth can be a hard saying, but we are obliged to accept it. The Scriptures also tell us: “After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him.” (John 6:67) This going back is interpreted as apostasy. Because these people refused to accept the truth, which came from Jesus' mouth, they fell away and lost their souls.
There are two possible reactions to the truth. We have seen the first, which is walking away from it and rejecting it. Let us see the other possible reaction: “Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68-69) We can accept the truth, even if we don't understand it. And this is called faith. We accept the truth, which comes ultimately from God on the basis of His authority. And that should be enough for us. We accept the truth, because it is true, and God will not deceive us. This is in essence the Act of Faith, where we accept the truths of the Faith on God's authority.
In the fourteenth chapter of Saint Matthew's Gospel we read about the beheading of Saint John the Baptist. Saint John the Baptist corrected Herod for his adulterous marriage. His wife wanted him dead and indeed this happened. Father Leonard Goffine in his work, Sunday Sermons From Father Leonard Goffine, notes that truth has an ugly daughter, hatred. If we refuse to accept the truth, we usually hate it. We usually are not indifferent to the truth.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
If we accept the truth, we are indeed free. However, if we reject the truth, we become slaves.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (I Timothy 2:3-4)
God wishes us to come to a knowledge and acceptance of the truth. He has gone to great efforts to bring us the truth through His Divine Son, Jesus Christ. Many martyrs have suffered and died in defense of the truth as did Saint John the Baptist. More recently Saint Thomas More suffered and died for the truth. Indeed, he said nothing until his trial, but his actions spoke volumes in resisting the machinations of the adulterer, Henry VIII.
Let us follow the example of the saints and live for the truth.
Truth Is One
In 2004 Pope Michael commenced a project to write a book. The result was an ebook, which was available for free download, Truth Is One. The quote comes from the Great Agnostic, Robert Ingersoll. Pope Michael's father would often remind him: “Truth is one, error is many.”
This was originally written and published as an ebook in early 2005. One person wrote the original draft and three people edited it before final publication. The latter have asked not to be named to remain humble, although it was offered to them to include their names. This ebook was downloaded thousands of times with the request to make any necessary corrections. Over the years, two corrections were offered and made. Both were technical issues. One was a mistake in a footnote, the other a missing phrase from a prayer. No one has offered a substantial correction to this work. The only additions being made are this introduction, the complete article from Robert G. Ingersoll on the statement “Truth Is One, Error Is Many”, and a conclusion at the end.
In 2016 Pope Michael brought it into print and also offers it in a Kindle edition. His contract with Amazon prevents him from offering it for free. We will offer this, as well as free Kindle editions of his two subsequent books, 54 Years That Changed the Catholic Church and Passion of the Mystical Body of Christ. Pope Michael is working on a new book to present the case for his election as Pope. We ask for your prayers for this project.
Pope Michael also published a work, I Believe in the Catholic Church, where he took an old four volume a catechism and took that chapter, updating it to include Church decrees after it was published. This work is taken from 'Exposition of Christian Doctrine' by a seminary professor. This was originally published in 1894 for the use of catechists.
Truth Is One https://amzn.to/2vxX2vQ
54 Years That Changed the Catholic Church https://amzn.to/2qPL4Ii
Passion of the Mystical Body of Christ https://amzn.to/2JaP51x
Dear soul, it is a joy to write to you again. Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
I hope that the joy of this Paschaltide has blessed you with spiritual consolation and continues to grow within your heart.
Again this month, we will quickly consider the next ten chapters from Evagrius on prayer, growing both naturally and supernaturally in the life of prayer, and building on the lessons which we have learned so far.
We go together, and we learn together. The entire Church heads forward within history, and none are to be left behind. If at any time you find that you have lost the train of thought, dear soul, feel free not only to retrace the steps we take, the words we write, and the thoughts we go through.
Remember the last thought with which Evagrius left us last time? “ And that leads us straight to the next "chapter" from Evagrius: “If you desire to pray as you ought, do not grieve anyone: otherwise you 'run in vain.'” True, true words, dear soul! Let us let this thought lead us into the next “chapters” from Evagrius:
21. 'Leave your gift before the altar: first go away and be reconciled with your brother' (Matt. 5:24), and when you return you will pray without disturbance. For rancor darkens the intellect of one who prays, and extinguishes the light of his prayers.
22. Those who store up grievances and rancor in themselves are like people who draw water and pour it into a cask full of holes.
See this, dear soul. See how unrelentingly deadly it is to hold a grudge. It strangles the heart, it kills the soul.
Today there is nearly a society-wide industry in causing and taking offense, hurling unending insults, and inciting to rancor. It is ubiquitous and no political position or geographic location has a monopoly on this. It is insidiously easy, my dear soul, to fall into, and it brings nothing but spiritual death.
Conversely, dear soul, it is also fortunately easy to extract oneself from this terrible state as well. This is done both outwardly – through reconciliation with each other – and inwardly – through reconciliation with God. The first is done in accordance with the means in which the rancor has entered into one's heart. The second is done most especially in the divine Mystery of Confession.
The reward to the heart and to the soul are immense, as Evagrius assures us:
23. If you patiently accept what comes, you will always pray with joy.
What greater consolation is there to the one who prays than to be able to pray with joy? Here we see the great fruit of uprooting selfishness and cultivating selflessness. For the selfishness of rancor brings only pain and delusion. The selflessness of patient endurance brings lightness and joy.
The qualities of this joy can be understood fully only by the one who experiences it, dear soul. So I encourage you not to rely upon descriptions or scholarly treatments of this prayer of joy. Rather, I do encourage you to grow this joy within yourself through corresponding with the grace which is offered to you, even at this very moment. The choice remains your own. But let us hear the next words of Evagrius as he speaks of prayer rightly prayed:
24. When you pray as you should, thoughts will come to you which make you feel that you have a real right to be angry. But anger with your neighbor is never right. If you search you will find that things can always be arranged without anger. So do all you can not to break out into anger.
Here, dear soul, is a hard lesson to hear! How often are we inclined - even encouraged - to cultivate "righteous anger," especially in our day! Yet how quickly righteous anger passes unto unrighteous and even destructive anger! How easily is the tongue loosed by righteous anger to utter words of derision and haughtiness!
Evagrius tells us that anger with one's neighbor is never right. Here I think he is quite correct, for anger arises always from disorder and sin. Anger is the signal that something is amiss, either within oneself or without. It is the impetus which might move you to act, but the anger is nothing meritorious of itself. Let the anger pass, dear soul! Do not address the anger, but rather the cause of the anger. To hold on to the anger - or worse, to add fuel to it within your heart - will destroy your peace and will set your prayer to naught.
Let us hear the sound counsels on how to proceed in case of anger:
25. Take care that, while appearing to cure someone else, you yourself do not remain uncured, in this way thwarting your prayer.
26. If you are sparing with your anger you will yourself be spared, and you will show your good sense and will be one of those who pray.
27. If you arm yourself against anger, then you will never succumb to any kind of desire. Desire provides fuel for anger, and anger disturbs spiritual vision, disrupting the state of prayer.
Sound, just, and useful are these instructions, dear soul! Let us keep these truths in mind as we go about our duties each and every day. Let us be especially mindful of these instructions every time we get involved in any online discussions or feel the need to comment in social media. Social media is a hotbed of spiritual delusion and noetic paralysis. Arm yourself well with prayer if you are going to venture there! For though the dangers there are many, conversely it can be a fertile ground for genuine evangelization.
For this work, we must pray, we must be genuine men and women of prayer. So then let us hear the next instructions:
28. Do not pray only with outward forms and gestures, but with reverence and awe try to make your intellect conscious of spiritual prayer.
29. Sometimes as soon as you start to pray, you pray well; at other times, in spite of great exertion, you do not reach your goal. This is to make you exert yourself still more, so that, having gained the gift of prayer, you keep it safe.
30. When an angel comes to us, all who trouble us withdraw at once, then the intellect is completely calm and prays soundly. But at other times, when the attacks of the demons are particularly strong, the intellect does not have a moment's respite. This is because it is weakened by the passions to which it has succumbed in the past. But if it goes on searching, it will find, and if it knocks, the door will be opened (cf. Matt. 7:8)
Remember at all times, dear soul, that the outward "forms and gestures" of prayer must likewise train our intellects, our wills, and our hearts to greater consciousness and participation in prayer. If one makes a thousand prostrations a day and yet refuses to bend the knee of his intellect, he will make absolutely no progress in the life of prayer. Before long, the prostrations will become too much to bear and he will either have to begin humbling his heart and grow in prayer or to cease humbling his body and quit praying.
Though we may encounter the same prayers every day, there are never any two days which will be exactly alike in the life of prayer. The lesson to learn is to treasure each one, whether a day of consolation or a day of dryness, for each one is a step in the greater journey. Each one is a moment in the great treasure which is the life of prayer. The life of prayer, lived well, will never end. It is the foretaste of the Kingdom, and the first stage of eternal life. Let no one, let no situation, let no difficulty take this life from you, dear soul!
In times of trouble, we rely upon our Lord - the very Author of grace - and all those whom He uses as helpers to us. In the first place, we call upon the assistance and the protection of the great Mother of God, who has born Christ the Saviour, the Deliverer of our souls. We have the saints in heaven who intercede for us before the throne of God. We have the angelic choirs and our own guardian angels who at all times assist and guide us. Finally, we have each other, dear soul. We have our pastors and our spiritual guides within the Church. We have our brothers and sisters within the Body of Christ itself. Let us never neglect to pray each and every one of us for each other!
Books to feed your faith!
The Raccolta: Or Collection of Indulgenced Prayers & Good Works $18.95
This is the 1910 edition of the Raccolta. Ambrose St John was a convert to Catholicism at the same time as John Henry Cardinal Newman and was ordained subdeacon along side Newman. The translation of the Raccolta by Father St John was one of the first books of popular devotion issued by the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory, and it supplied them with the congregational prayers, still in use in their church, for the Stations of the Cross, for the month of May, the Triduo and Novenas in preparation for the Feasts of our Lady, and similar devotions. The fifth edition of the book, brought out after Father St John's death, was printed in Birmingham by the direction and under the supervision of Cardinal Newman himself.
Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence $6.95
Authored by Blessed Claude de la Colombière, Authored by Fr. Jeam Baptiste Saint-JureLet us consider some excerpts from this wonderful work: Nothing happens in the universe without God willing and allowing it. This statement must be taken absolutely of everything with the exception of sin. 'Nothing occurs by chance in the whole course of our lives' is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, 'and God intervenes everywhere.' To the question, "In what things should we practice conformity to the will of God?" there can be only one answer: "In everything." The first thing that God asks of us is that we should faithfully keep His commandments and those of the Church, humbly obey those who have authority over us, and carefully fulfill the duties of our state.
The Life and Kingdom of Jesus in Christian Souls $16.95
Authored by Saint John Eudes, Introduction by Fulton J Sheen According to the Roman Breviary, Saint John Eudes is the author of devotion to both the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. His two works on these two devotions are classics. However, he is also a master to the spiritual life; an unknown master. Many are familiar with the works of Saint Bonaventure, Saint Alphonsus Ligouri and Saint Louis de Montfort to name just three of the masters of the spiritual life. And yet, Saint John Eudes has a lot to contribute.
Saint Bernard: The Twelve Degrees of Humility and Pride $9.00
You have asked me, brother Godfrey, to expand and put in writing the substance of the addresses 'On the Degrees of Humility which I had delivered to the brethren. 1. Curiosity, when a man allows his sight and other senses to stray after things. which do not concern him. 2. An unbalanced state of mind, showing itself in talk unseasonably joyous and sad. 3. Silly merriment, exhibited in too frequent laughter. 4. Conceit, expressed in much talking. 5. Eccentricity-attaching exaggerated importance to one's own conduct. 6. Self-assertion-holding oneself to be more pious than others. 7. Presumption-readiness to undertake anything. 8. Defence of wrong-doing. 9. Unreal confession-detected when severe penance is imposed. 10. Rebellion against the rules and the brethren. 11. Liberty to sin. 12. Habitual transgression.
Novenas to the Blessed Virgin Mary $7.00
Saint Alphonsus recommends making a Novena prior to each of the seven major feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Devout clients of Mary are all attention and fervor in celebrating the novenas, or nine days preceding her festivals; and the Blessed Virgin is all love, in dispensing innumerable and most special graces to them. St. Gertrude one day saw under Mary's mantle, a band of souls, whom the great Lady was considering with the most tender affection; and she was given to understand that they were persons who, during the preceding days, had prepared themselves with various devotions for the Feast of the Assumption.
How Christ Said the First Mass $19.95
Anyone who truly wishes to appreciate the Latin Mass and its origin in the Mass Jesus said at the Last Supper should read this book. It also becomes clear that the Jews of Jesus' time had every reason to convert, when one sees how the Mass fulfills prophecy so well. We are extremely happy to bring this excellent book back into print.
For More Good Traditional Catholic Books:
Brother Hermenegild's Spiritual Bookshelf
Pope Michael's Books
Christ the King Library
The Hermit's Complete Bread
250 g Wheat Flour
150 g Rye Flour
50 g Barley Flour
50 g Chickpea Flour
30 g Vital Wheat Gluten
25 g Lentil Flour
25 g Millet Flour
2 teaspoons Instant Yeast
350 g warm water, about 110F, 43C.
Although the Great Fast is now past, the Apostles' Fast will be upon us in just less than a month's time. This is a delicious and nutritious bread to keep you going on the days of fast, or any time at all! Even those who don't observe the Apostles' Fast enjoy this bread.
In a large bowl, combined all dry ingredients until well blended together. Add water and mix together well to form the dough. If using a stand mixer, knead the dough using a dough hook for about 7-8 minutes, or until the gluten develops. If kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead approximately 10 minutes (or more) until the dough comes together and the gluten develops.
Place dough in a covered bowl to rise for about an hour.
After rise, preheat oven to 350F (175C). Turn out the dough onto a work surface and form into a loaf or a boule as desired.
Score top of loaf and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or liberally dusted with corn meal).
Bake the loaf for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped.
Let bread cool on a rack before slicing. Enjoy!
Video sermons and instructions: Both brand new and from years past!
Fifth Sunday after Easter, 2013.
The Sunday after the Ascension, 2013.
Lamp and Light: Gospel of Matthew 3:1-6, Part 2
VIE CATHOLIC RADIO EVENTS FOR MAY
Hi friends! We at Catholic Radio are excited about all the new programs we've got going for the month of May. Let me tell you about them. We have a new line up of programming that we think you will enjoy.
The Catholic practice of assigning a special devotion to each month goes back to the early 16th century. Since the best known of those devotions is probably the dedication of May as the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it might come as a surprise that it wasn't until the late 18th century that this devotion arose among Jesuits in Rome. In the early years of the 19th century, it quickly spread throughout the Western Church, and, by the time of Pope Pius the 9th declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, it had become universal. With this in mind, starting the Last Sunday of the month of April and the ending the last week of May you will be able to listen to wonderful homilies with different perspectives on the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Then Monday through Saturday we have even more wonderful programs for your enjoyment.
If you missed the Sundays sermons on our Blessed Mother, you can catch it every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday as well.
Welcome to Coral Island!
Do you want to hear some Action! Well Coral Island is for you! Something is always going wrong, crazy or chaotic in the fun and crazy on the Coral Island program! Coral Island has Personable characters and smooth professional voice overs that is flavored with Scientific facts and eventful happenings. There are over 100 characters and counting! From the ages of 2 all the way to great grandpa! Close your eyes to a very distinct drama with effects, and cinematic music to complement the events! Capture a whole new world in your imagination on a tropical island of fascinating possibilities!
The voices have a unique blend, and the audio engineering has been carefully designed to bring about a live-sounding production.
Last but not least is a daily Sunday Sermon by Saint Alphonsus.
Saint Alphonsus exercised his ministry at various places with great fruit, zealously laboring for his own sanctification. In 1732, God called him to found the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, with the object of laboring for the salvation of the most abandoned souls. Amid untold difficulties and innumerable trials, St. Alphonsus succeeded in establishing his Congregation, which became his glory and crown, but also his cross. The holy founder labored incessantly at the work of the missions until, about 1756, when he was appointed Bishop of St. Agatha, a diocese he governed until 1775 When broken by age and infirmity, he resigned this office to retire to his convent where he died. He was a prolific and popular author, His last years were characterized by intense suffering, which he bore with resignation. His happy death occurred August 1, 1787.
Each of his sermons are based on the Gospel readings for each Sunday. Saint Alphonsus sermon will motivate and encourage you to keep on living for God through out the week! For these and all programs go to the VIE Catholic web site for times and days to listen.
We have people from all over the world that tune in to the VIE Catholic Radio network, In fact, those who are listening in have almost doubled! But few contact us to tell us what they think. So I encourage you to please email us or write us with your thoughts and let us get to know you. For everyone that contacts us we will send a free copy of the Gospel of John, a rosary and a rosary pamphlet. It will be our gift to you, thanking you for taking the time to contact us. But please give us your mailing address so that we can send them out to you. To get OUR address, or to contact us by email please go to the contact page at WWW.VIECatholicRadio.com . And lastly, these programs are provided for you free of charge but it does cost us money to get them out to you. We sure would appreciate any financial help that the Lord would lay on your heart to give. We have a small group of people who faithfully send us a gift to help us with the up keep of this station. And we are so grateful for what they give. And of course we always need your prayers. Thanks for taking the time to tune in and listen. We pray that our programs will continue to be a blessing to you and your family.
Saint Basil the Great: On Creation
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
I stop struck with admiration at this thought. What shall I first say? Where shall I begin my story? Shall I show forth the vanity of the Gentiles? Shall I exalt the truth of our faith? The philosophers of Greece have made much ado to explain nature, and not one of their systems has remained firm and unshaken, each being overturned by its successor. It is vain to refute them; they are sufficient in themselves to destroy one another. Those who were too ignorant to rise to a knowledge of a God, could not allow that an intelligent cause presided at the birth of the Universe; a primary error that involved them in sad consequences. Some had recourse to material principles and attributed the origin of the Universe to the elements of the world. Others imagined that atoms, and indivisible bodies, molecules and ducts, form, by their union, the nature of the visible world. Atoms reuniting or separating, produce births and deaths and the most durable bodies only owe their consistency to the strength of their mutual adhesion: a true spider's web woven by these writers who give to heaven, to earth, and to sea so weak an origin and so little consistency! It is because they knew not how to say In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Deceived by their inherent atheism it appeared to them that nothing governed or ruled the universe, and that was all was given up to chance. To guard us against this error the writer on the creation, from the very first words, enlightens our understanding with the name of God; In the beginning God created. What a glorious order! He first establishes a beginning, so that it might not be supposed that the world never had a beginning. Then he adds Created to show that which was made was a very small part of the power of the Creator. In the same way that the potter, after having made with equal pains a great number of vessels, has not exhausted either his art or his talent; thus the Maker of the Universe, whose creative power, far from being bounded by one world, could extend to the infinite, needed only the impulse of His will to bring the immensities of the visible world into being. If then the world has a beginning, and if it has been created, enquire who gave it this beginning, and who was the Creator: or rather, in the fear that human reasonings may make you wander from the truth, Moses has anticipated enquiry by engraving in our hearts, as a seal and a safeguard, the awful name of God: In the beginning God created— It is He, beneficent Nature, Goodness without measure, a worthy object of love for all beings endowed with reason, the beauty the most to be desired, the origin of all that exists, the source of life, intellectual light, impenetrable wisdom, it is He who in the beginning created heaven and earth.
Do not then imagine, O man! That the visible world is without a beginning; and because the celestial bodies move in a circular course, and it is difficult for our senses to define the point where the circle begins, do not believe that bodies impelled by a circular movement are, from their nature, without a beginning. Without doubt the circle (I mean the plane figure described by a single line) is beyond our perception, and it is impossible for us to find out where it begins or where it ends; but we ought not on this account to believe it to be without a beginning. Although we are not sensible of it, it really begins at some point where the draughtsman has begun to draw it at a certain radius from the centre. Thus seeing that figures which move in a circle always return upon themselves, without for a single instant interrupting the regularity of their course, do not vainly imagine to yourselves that the world has neither beginning nor end. For the fashion of this world passes away 1 Corinthians 7:31 and Heaven and earth shall pass away. Matthew 24:35 The dogmas of the end, and of the renewing of the world, are announced beforehand in these short words put at the head of the inspired history. In the beginning God made. That which was begun in time is condemned to come to an end in time. If there has been a beginning do not doubt of the end. Of what use then are geometry— the calculations of arithmetic— the study of solids and far-famed astronomy, this laborious vanity, if those who pursue them imagine that this visible world is co-eternal with the Creator of all things, with God Himself; if they attribute to this limited world, which has a material body, the same glory as to the incomprehensible and invisible nature; if they cannot conceive that a whole, of which the parts are subject to corruption and change, must of necessity end by itself submitting to the fate of its parts? But they have become vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Romans 1:21-22 Some have affirmed that heaven co-exists with God from all eternity; others that it is God Himself without beginning or end, and the cause of the particular arrangement of all things.
One day, doubtless, their terrible condemnation will be the greater for all this worldly wisdom, since, seeing so clearly into vain sciences, they have wilfully shut their eyes to the knowledge of the truth. These men who measure the distances of the stars and describe them, both those of the North, always shining brilliantly in our view, and those of the southern pole visible to the inhabitants of the South, but unknown to us; who divide the Northern zone and the circle of the Zodiac into an infinity of parts, who observe with exactitude the course of the stars, their fixed places, their declensions, their return and the time that each takes to make its revolution; these men, I say, have discovered all except one thing: the fact that God is the Creator of the universe, and the just Judge who rewards all the actions of life according to their merit. They have not known how to raise themselves to the idea of the consummation of all things, the consequence of the doctrine of judgment, and to see that the world must change if souls pass from this life to a new life. In reality, as the nature of the present life presents an affinity to this world, so in the future life our souls will enjoy a lot conformable to their new condition. But they are so far from applying these truths, that they do but laugh when we announce to them the end of all things and the regeneration of the age. Since the beginning naturally precedes that which is derived from it, the writer, of necessity, when speaking to us of things which had their origin in time, puts at the head of his narrative these words— In the beginning God created.
It appears, indeed, that even before this world an order of things existed of which our mind can form an idea, but of which we can say nothing, because it is too lofty a subject for men who are but beginners and are still babes in knowledge. The birth of the world was preceded by a condition of things suitable for the exercise of supernatural powers, outstripping the limits of time, eternal and infinite. The Creator and Demiurge of the universe perfected His works in it, spiritual light for the happiness of all who love the Lord, intellectual and invisible natures, all the orderly arrangement of pure intelligences who are beyond the reach of our mind and of whom we cannot even discover the names. They fill the essence of this invisible world, as Paul teaches us. For by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers Colossians 1:16 or virtues or hosts of angels or the dignities of archangels. To this world at last it was necessary to add a new world, both a school and training place where the souls of men should be taught and a home for beings destined to be born and to die. Thus was created, of a nature analogous to that of this world and the animals and plants which live thereon, the succession of time, for ever pressing on and passing away and never stopping in its course. Is not this the nature of time, where the past is no more, the future does not exist, and the present escapes before being recognised? And such also is the nature of the creature which lives in time,— condemned to grow or to perish without rest and without certain stability. It is therefore fit that the bodies of animals and plants, obliged to follow a sort of current, and carried away by the motion which leads them to birth or to death, should live in the midst of surroundings whose nature is in accord with beings subject to change. Thus the writer who wisely tells us of the birth of the Universe does not fail to put these words at the head of the narrative. In the beginning God created; that is to say, in the beginning of time. Therefore, if he makes the world appear in the beginning, it is not a proof that its birth has preceded that of all other things that were made. He only wishes to tell us that, after the invisible and intellectual world, the visible world, the world of the senses, began to exist.
The first movement is called beginning. To do right is the beginning of the good way. Just actions are truly the first steps towards a happy life. Again, we call beginning the essential and first part from which a thing proceeds, such as the foundation of a house, the keel of a vessel; it is in this sense that it is said, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, Proverbs 9:10 that is to say that piety is, as it were, the groundwork and foundation of perfection. Art is also the beginning of the works of artists, the skill of Bezaleel began the adornment of the tabernacle. Often even the good which is the final cause is the beginning of actions. Thus the approbation of God is the beginning of almsgiving, and the end laid up for us in the promises the beginning of all virtuous efforts.
Such being the different senses of the word beginning, see if we have not all the meanings here. You may know the epoch when the formation of this world began, it, ascending into the past, you endeavour to discover the first day. You will thus find what was the first movement of time; then that the creation of the heavens and of the earth were like the foundation and the groundwork, and afterwards that an intelligent reason, as the word beginning indicates, presided in the order of visible things. You will finally discover that the world was not conceived by chance and without reason, but for an useful end and for the great advantage of all beings, since it is really the school where reasonable souls exercise themselves, the training ground where they learn to know God; since by the sight of visible and sensible things the mind is led, as by a hand, to the contemplation of invisible things. For, as the Apostle says, the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. Romans 1:20 Perhaps these words In the beginning God created signify the rapid and imperceptible moment of creation. The beginning, in effect, is indivisible and instantaneous. The beginning of the road is not yet the road, and that of the house is not yet the house; so the beginning of time is not yet time and not even the least particle of it. If some objector tell us that the beginning is a time, he ought then, as he knows well, to submit it to the division of time - a beginning, a middle and an end. Now it is ridiculous to imagine a beginning of a beginning. Further, if we divide the beginning into two, we make two instead of one, or rather make several, we really make an infinity, for all that which is divided is divisible to the infinite. Thus then, if it is said, In the beginning God created, it is to teach us that at the will of God the world arose in less than an instant, and it is to convey this meaning more clearly that other interpreters have said: God made summarily that is to say all at once and in a moment. But enough concerning the beginning, if only to put a few points out of many.
Among arts, some have in view production, some practice, others theory. The object of the last is the exercise of thought, that of the second, the motion of the body. Should it cease, all stops; nothing more is to be seen. Thus dancing and music have nothing behind; they have no object but themselves. In creative arts on the contrary the work lasts after the operation. Such is architecture— such are the arts which work in wood and brass and weaving, all those indeed which, even when the artisan has disappeared, serve to show an industrious intelligence and to cause the architect, the worker in brass or the weaver, to be admired on account of his work. Thus, then, to show that the world is a work of art displayed for the beholding of all people; to make them know Him who created it, Moses does not use another word. In the beginning, he says God created. He does not say God worked, God formed, but God created. Among those who have imagined that the world co-existed with God from all eternity, many have denied that it was created by God, but say that it exists spontaneously, as the shadow of this power. God, they say, is the cause of it, but an involuntary cause, as the body is the cause of the shadow and the flame is the cause of the brightness. It is to correct this error that the prophet states, with so much precision, In the beginning God created. He did not make the thing itself the cause of its existence. Being good, He made it an useful work. Being wise, He made it everything that was most beautiful. Being powerful He made it very great. Moses almost shows us the finger of the supreme artisan taking possession of the substance of the universe, forming the different parts in one perfect accord, and making a harmonious symphony result from the whole.
In the beginning God made heaven and earth. By naming the two extremes, he suggests the substance of the whole world, according to heaven the privilege of seniority, and putting earth in the second rank. All intermediate beings were created at the same time as the extremities. Thus, although there is no mention of the elements, fire, water and air, imagine that they were all compounded together, and you will find water, air and fire, in the earth. For fire leaps out from stones; iron which is dug from the earth produces under friction fire in plentiful measure. A marvellous fact! Fire shut up in bodies lurks there hidden without harming them, but no sooner is it released than it consumes that which has hitherto preserved it. The earth contains water, as diggers of wells teach us. It contains air too, as is shown by the vapours that it exhales under the sun's warmth when it is damp. Now, as according to their nature, heaven occupies the higher and earth the lower position in space, (one sees, in fact, that all which is light ascends towards heaven, and heavy substances fall to the ground); as therefore height and depth are the points the most opposed to each other it is enough to mention the most distant parts to signify the inclusion of all which fills up intervening Space. Do not ask, then, for an enumeration of all the elements; guess, from what Holy Scripture indicates, all that is passed over in silence.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. If we were to wish to discover the essence of each of the beings which are offered for our contemplation, or come under our senses, we should be drawn away into long digressions, and the solution of the problem would require more words than I possess, to examine fully the matter. To spend time on such points would not prove to be to the edification of the Church. Upon the essence of the heavens we are contented with what Isaiah says, for, in simple language, he gives us sufficient idea of their nature, The heaven was made like smoke, that is to say, He created a subtle substance, without solidity or density, from which to form the heavens. As to the form of them we also content ourselves with the language of the same prophet, when praising God that stretches out the heavens as a curtain and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in. In the same way, as concerns the earth, let us resolve not to torment ourselves by trying to find out its essence, not to tire our reason by seeking for the substance which it conceals. Do not let us seek for any nature devoid of qualities by the conditions of its existence, but let us know that all the phenomena with which we see it clothed regard the conditions of its existence and complete its essence. Try to take away by reason each of the qualities it possesses, and you will arrive at nothing. Take away black, cold, weight, density, the qualities which concern taste, in one word all these which we see in it, and the substance vanishes.
If I ask you to leave these vain questions, I will not expect you to try and find out the earth's point of support. The mind would reel on beholding its reasonings losing themselves without end. Do you say that the earth reposes on a bed of air? How, then, can this soft substance, without consistency, resist the enormous weight which presses upon it? How is it that it does not slip away in all directions, to avoid the sinking weight, and to spread itself over the mass which overwhelms it? Do you suppose that water is the foundation of the earth? You will then always have to ask yourself how it is that so heavy and opaque a body does not pass through the water; how a mass of such a weight is held up by a nature weaker than itself. Then you must seek a base for the waters, and you will be in much difficulty to say upon what the water itself rests.
Do you suppose that a heavier body prevents the earth from falling into the abyss? Then you must consider that this support needs itself a support to prevent it from falling. Can we imagine one? Our reason again demands yet another support, and thus we shall fall into the infinite, always imagining a base for the base which we have already found. And the further we advance in this reasoning the greater force we are obliged to give to this base, so that it may be able to support all the mass weighing upon it. Put then a limit to your thought, so that your curiosity in investigating the incomprehensible may not incur the reproaches of Job, and you be not asked by him, Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Job 38:6 If ever you hear in the Psalms, I bear up the pillars of it; see in these pillars the power which sustains it. Because what means this other passage, He has founded it upon the sea, if not that the water is spread all around the earth? How then can water, the fluid element which flows down every declivity, remain suspended without ever flowing? You do not reflect that the idea of the earth suspended by itself throws your reason into a like but even greater difficulty, since from its nature it is heavier. But let us admit that the earth rests upon itself, or let us say that it rides the waters, we must still remain faithful to thought of true religion and recognise that all is sustained by the Creator's power. Let us then reply to ourselves, and let us reply to those who ask us upon what support this enormous mass rests, In His hands are the ends of the earth. It is a doctrine as infallible for our own information as profitable for our hearers.
There are inquirers into nature who with a great display of words give reasons for the immobility of the earth. Placed, they say, in the middle of the universe and not being able to incline more to one side than the other because its centre is everywhere the same distance from the surface, it necessarily rests upon itself; since a weight which is everywhere equal cannot lean to either side. It is not, they go on, without reason or by chance that the earth occupies the centre of the universe. It is its natural and necessary position. As the celestial body occupies the higher extremity of space all heavy bodies, they argue, that we may suppose to have fallen from these high regions, will be carried from all directions to the centre, and the point towards which the parts are tending will evidently be the one to which the whole mass will be thrust together. If stones, wood, all terrestrial bodies, fall from above downwards, this must be the proper and natural place of the whole earth. If, on the contrary, a light body is separated from the centre, it is evident that it will ascend towards the higher regions. Thus heavy bodies move from the top to the bottom, and following this reasoning, the bottom is none other than the centre of the world. Do not then be surprised that the world never falls: it occupies the centre of the universe, its natural place. By necessity it is obliged to remain in its place, unless a movement contrary to nature should displace it. If there is anything in this system which might appear probable to you, keep your admiration for the source of such perfect order, for the wisdom of God. Grand phenomena do not strike us the less when we have discovered something of their wonderful mechanism. Is it otherwise here? At all events let us prefer the simplicity of faith to the demonstrations of reason.
We might say the same thing of the heavens. With what a noise of words the sages of this world have discussed their nature! Some have said that heaven is composed of four elements as being tangible and visible, and is made up of earth on account of its power of resistance, with fire because it is striking to the eye, with air and water on account of the mixture. Others have rejected this system as improbable, and introduced into the world, to form the heavens, a fifth element after their own fashioning. There exists, they say, an æthereal body which is neither fire, air, earth, nor water, nor in one word any simple body. These simple bodies have their own natural motion in a straight line, light bodies upwards and heavy bodies downwards; now this motion upwards and downwards is not the same as circular motion; there is the greatest possible difference between straight and circular motion. It therefore follows that bodies whose motion is so various must vary also in their essence. But, it is not even possible to suppose that the heavens should be formed of primitive bodies which we call elements, because the reunion of contrary forces could not produce an even and spontaneous motion, when each of the simple bodies is receiving a different impulse from nature. Thus it is a labour to maintain composite bodies in continual movement, because it is impossible to put even a single one of their movements in accord and harmony with all those that are in discord; since what is proper to the light particle, is in warfare with that of a heavier one. If we attempt to rise we are stopped by the weight of the terrestrial element; if we throw ourselves down we violate the igneous part of our being in dragging it down contrary to its nature. Now this struggle of the elements effects their dissolution. A body to which violence is done and which is placed in opposition to nature, after a short but energetic resistance, is soon dissolved into as many parts as it had elements, each of the constituent parts returning to its natural place. It is the force of these reasons, say the inventors of the fifth kind of body for the genesis of heaven and the stars, which constrained them to reject the system of their predecessors and to have recourse to their own hypothesis. But yet another fine speaker arises and disperses and destroys this theory to give predominance to an idea of his own invention.
Do not let us undertake to follow them for fear of falling into like frivolities; let them refute each other, and, without disquieting ourselves about essence, let us say with Moses God created the heavens and the earth. Let us glorify the supreme Artificer for all that was wisely and skillfully made; by the beauty of visible things let us raise ourselves to Him who is above all beauty; by the grandeur of bodies, sensible and limited in their nature, let us conceive of the infinite Being whose immensity and omnipotence surpass all the efforts of the imagination. Because, although we ignore the nature of created things, the objects which on all sides attract our notice are so marvellous, that the most penetrating mind cannot attain to the knowledge of the least of the phenomena of the world, either to give a suitable explanation of it or to render due praise to the Creator, to Whom belong all glory, all honour and all power world without end. Amen.
In "Grace- Lesson 10", The definition we gave for Grace was this:
Grace is a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our salvation.
We also briefly discussed the fact that there are two kinds of grace.
- Sanctifying Grace
2. Actual Grace
Neither of which are specifically named in scriptures. But the scriptures do testify of the two graces and there differences. For those who would deny that there are not two kinds because the scripture never names them should also know that the word Trinity is not mentioned in the scriptures either. Nor is the word Rapture, even though as Catholics we believe the bible tells us of a time at the end of the ages when we as the Church will be taken up to meet Christ in the clouds. (that's a whole different subject.)
Let's start with Sanctifying Grace:
Sanctifying Grace is that grace that confers on our souls a new life that is, a sharing in the life of God Himself.
Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)
In order to enter into the kingdom of God, a man must be born again; this is accomplished through baptism, which confers on our souls a new life, a sharing in the life of God Himself. In other words-Sanctifying Grace.
This life..this eternal life is not a life separated from God it is a sharing in the life of God Himself.
Let me illustrate:
Behind almost every home is a current of electricity. Now an electric lamp will not work until it is plugged into the socket on the wall. Once that is done, the flow of electricity will also flow through the cord of the lamp and it will light up!
The same is with Eternal life. God's life is eternal. No beginning and no end. If we want to have a life in Him we must be plugged into the socket so that His life will flow through us. that is what it means when we say that Sanctifying grace confers on our souls a new life...a sharing in the life of God Himself.
Now Let's look at the the story of Nicodemus in more detail:
What is the part of water in the new birth? Some try to explain the water out of the new birth by saying it is a figure of the Holy Spirit. But this doesn't fit. This would make Jesus' statement in John 3:5 nonsense, "unless a man be born again of water (the Holy Ghost) and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" Others contend "water" refers to our first, physical birth and "the Spirit" refers to the new birth. But Jesus is explaining the method of the new birth here. I hardly see why He would need to say one must be born physically, i.e., be a person, before he can be born again. Further, Jesus used the term "blood" to symbolize the first, physical birth in John 1:12-13, not "water."
Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13)
When one minister was asked, "What is the 'water' of the new birth?", he replied, "Buttermilk!" When the shocked inquirer asked why he believed this, the minister answered, "If it's not water, you might as well make it anything you want."
With what element of the gospel is water connected?
Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they desired him to tarry with them some days. (Acts 10:46-48).
Water is essential to baptism "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19)
Not by the works of justice, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the laver of regeneration, and renovation of the Holy Ghost;(Titus 3:5)
The Laver - the sacred washbowl of the tabernacle and temple (Exodus 30:18 Exodus 30:28 ; 31:9 ; 35:16 ; 38:8 ; 39:39 ; Exodus 40:7 Exodus 40:11 Exodus 40:30 , etc.), a basin for the water used by the priests in their ablutions.
Of regeneration- the word comes from two greek words: pálin, "again" and génesis, "birth, beginning" in other words a new beginning..a new birth....being born again.
When we are washed in water, we are born anew.
Not only does Sanctifying Grace bring about a new birth through the baptism waters but it also brings about the new birth through the Holy Ghost.
Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)
But what is the part of "the Spirit" in our regeneration, that is in our new birth?
When the Holy Spirit leads us through the gospel to believe in Christ and be baptized in water, we are born again and become sons of God in Christ.
For you are all the children of God by faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27).
As the results of this sanctifying Grace, we become new creations in Christ.
If then any be in Christ he is a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
We become citizens of a spiritual kingdom.
But our conversation (our life, our citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20)
We become the sons and heirs of God
For you are all the children of God by faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27)
For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. (Romans 8:16-17).
Our inheritance is the "incorruptible and undefiled" home in heaven
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy hath regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, Unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that can not fade, reserved in heaven for you, Who, by the power of God, are kept by faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5).
We are made holy and pleasing to God
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, to all the saints who are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. Grace be to you, and peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ: As he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity.(Ephesians 1:1-9)
We are made temples of the Holy Ghost
Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? (I Corinthians 6:19)
"unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).
"unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)
"you must be born again." (John 3:7)
Through the baptismal waters and the regeneration of our hearts by the Holy Spirit we become "born again", a "new creature" in Christ Jesus, "adopted sons of God". This is what Sanctifying grace is all about.
7 Steps Of Action When Asked To Do Something You Think is Wrong Part II
As we said in the first lesson, it is easy for us to think we are following Christ and are even suffering for Him when we disobey commands that violate His Word. But unless we have carefully applied each of the following actions, we are only deceiving ourselves. Again, from the last lesson we mentioned checking our attitudes. This week we will discuss number two:
2. Clear our Conscience:
- Correct those attitudes which have offended:
A simple definition for the word offence in this lesson is that a person has have hurt feelings, that they are sad, angry, sorrowful, grieved, annoyed, disappointed, or upset, over a wrong attitude another had. The list of wrong attitudes I listed are these:
An Independent spirit
A condemning spirit
An ungrateful spirit
A lazy spirit
A bitter spirit
An impure spirit
(Again please read or re-read lesson 16 Part I)
- Fulfill the wishes and unfinished directions of those in authority.
- Acknowledge to the person that we were wrong and ask forgiveness.
If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath any thing against thee; Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift. Be at agreement with thy adversary betimes (Matthew 5:23-25) (betimes: before the usual or expected time; early.)
In other words. don't wait to say I was wrong when you got caught or when you are confronted. That is considered the "expected time". the "usual", the normal time.
- Make any restitution
The Old Testament Law is full of examples of the principle of making restitution. The story of Zacheus in the New Testament is also a wonderful example of restitution.
But Zacheus standing, said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wronged any man of any thing, I restore him fourfold. Jesus said to him: This day is salvation come to this house....(Luke 19:8)
- Learn "deference"- limiting your wants, likes, desires and tastes to avoid offending another's taste.
Loving one another with the charity of brotherhood, with honour preventing one another.(Romans 12:10)
"Preventing" is an old English word that literally means "to go ahead". In today's English you could use the words "to anticipate" or thinking ahead of your actions asking if what I would do offended them.
Let nothing be done through contention, neither by vain glory: but in humility, let each esteem others better than themselves (Philippians 2:3)
3. Discerning Basic Intentions:
- Ask them what there goals and wishes are.
Basically we are repeating the principle that comes out of Romans 12:10 getting to know how they think. There tastes, there desires, there goals and wishes so that you can anticipate what they want.
- Find out what there frame of reference is regarding the command.
What do we mean by a frame of reference? A frame of reference is, "a structure of concepts, values, customs, views, etc., by means of which an individual or group perceives or evaluates data, communicates ideas, and regulates behavior." http://www.dictionary.com/browse/frame-of-reference
So basically we are saying that everyone has a worldview that they base there goals and wishes on.
A worldview is the framework from which we view reality and make sense of life and the world. "[It's] any ideology, philosophy, theology, movement or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God, the world and man's relations to God and the world," says David Noebel, author of Understanding the Times.
For example, a 2-year-old believes he's the center of his world, a secular humanist believes that the material world is all that exists, and a Buddhist believes he can be liberated from suffering by self-purification. http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/christian-worldview/whats-a-christian-worldview/whats-a-worldview-anyway
Someone with a Catholic worldview believes his primary reason for existence is to know God, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven. http://vaticaninexile.com/catechism_1_on_the_end_of_man.php
So everything we do is in light to what God and His Church desires of us.
Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not upon thy own prudence. In all thy ways think on him, and he will direct thy steps.(Proverbs 3:5-6).
- Ask them to point out any of your blind spots.
Blindspots: An area or subject about which one is uninformed, prejudiced, or unappreciative: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/blind--spot
Ask them to point them out to you. Pointing them out is not being judgmental it is done to be a help to you to understand and to fulfill fully what they are asking of you.
Appolo therefore began to speak boldly in the synagogue. Whom when Priscilla and Aquila had heard, they took him to them, and expounded to him the way of the Lord more diligently. (Acts 18:26)
Appolo is a good example of someone who had a blind spot. (Read Chapter Acts 18: 24-28.) He meant well. But he had an area that he was "uniformed" about concerning the way of the Lord. Priscilla and Aquila, a husband and wife team, pulled him aside and "explained the way of the Lord more diligently" to him.
- Discern bigger goals which God may have designed to be accomplished through the situation.
God has a bigger picture in mind then just what you are seeing in front of you. Is he trying to teach you something that will help you to be a better Catholic? Is he wanting to show the one in authority an example of what a true Catholic is suppose to be like through the way you react?
It can go so much farther. Maybe a Catholic wife is at home asking God to change her husband and God is using you as a light to convict his heart at work. Maybe God has plans in the future for you and is using this situation to prepare you for what ever he has for you. What god is doing in one small situation is endless. We can not see what he sees.
Fulton Sheen was not a Archbishop Fulton Sheen all his life. He became who was, by how he reacted to the little things that God allowed in his life.
It was Francis of Assisi reactions to the little things in his life that made him Saint Francis of Assisi.
This month we are asking each of you to pray for... yourself! In your daily prayer for others, you must never forget your own state of soul. We are asking everyone to pray that God makes use of you for His work. The Lord is calling you to His service in His love. We know that our Lord can count on you to answer. Pray with us:
Dear Lord, make me a zealous Christian. Lord, make me on fire with Thy love. Love, make me Thy instrument. Lord, purge me of all worldliness and wrong thinking. Lord, help me to give myself completely to Thee and Thy service.
- We are all praying especially for you, too. May you correspond with every grace of God!
So as we say every month we are very close with our budget. It takes money to be available to people in other areas as well as having supplies like rosaries, bibles, pamphlets, Catechisms etc. for sharing with Non-Catholics. At this time to stay comfortably out of the red we need 700.00 a month. Please read the message Giving to God's Work and then decide how you can give. Everyone should give something. It does not have to be much.
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