Keep your eyes open!...


December 16, 2005


(Lk 2:14) Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased


POPE JOHN PAUL II, Christmas 1994:

Wipe away, Baby Jesus, the tears of children!

Embrace the sick and the elderly!

Move men to lay down their arms and to draw close in a universal embrace of peace!

Invite the peoples, O merciful Jesus, to tear down the walls created by poverty and unemployment, by ignorance and indifference, by discrimination and intolerance.

It is you, O Divine Child of Bethlehem, who save us, freeing us from sin.

It is you who are the true and only Saviour, whom humanity often searches for with uncertainty.

God of peace, gift of peace for all of humanity, come to live in the heart of every individual and of every family.

Be our peace and our joy!



The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Progress in Perfection

21. Some of the hermits used to say, 'Whatever you hate for yourself, do not do it to someone else. If you hate being spoken evil of, do not speak evil of another. If you hate being slandered, do not slander another. If you hate him who tries to make you despised, or wrongs you, or takes away what is yours, or anything like that, do not do such things to others. To keep this is enough for salvation.'

December 15, 2005

(John 20:22-23) When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.


VIA Catholic News: Eight reasons for frequent confession

Pope Pius Xll, in his encyclical: " Mystici Corporus" , summarized the principal fruits into 8 reasons for frequent confession:

1. Frequent Confession increases the true knowledge of oneself. By examining our conscience more frequently, we will have greater memory of all of our transgressions that need to be confessed, and not just our habitual sins.

2. Frequent Confession will encourage Christian humility. By better recognizing our sins, our confessions will be more humbling , which helps to make up for our pride, which is the root cause of all of our sins.

3. Frequent Confession tends to root out bad habits. Frequent confession will help us to overcome our dominant faults, so that we can progress in improving our spiritual lives.

4. Frequent Confession fights spiritual negligence and tepidity. Tepidity is a blind settling mediocrity without a real willingness to come out of it. The extra graces we receive from frequent confesssion helps to move us past our lethargy to improve our spiritual lives.

5. Frequent Confession purifies the conscience. The cleansing of our consciences make our souls more transparant to the imperfections that previously were invisible to us, helping us to remove more of the stain of sin from our lives.

6. Frequent Confession strengthens the will. One of the greatest illness of our time is lack of will power and and weak character. We feel much stronger after Confession.

7. Frequent Confession lends itself to spiritual guidance. We should choose a regular confessor who can help us in Confession by guiding our conscience.

8. Frequent Confession increases graces. By its own effect, frequent confession increases sanctifying grace, is accompanied by a sacramental grace which wipes out sin, strengthers against temptation, and gives feelings of joy and peace to the soul.

Frequent Confession with frequent Holy Communion is the path recommended by Popes and many great Saints to bring us closer to Jesus, and progress in holiness in our spiritual lives. It is what we should emulate.

LINK: Examination of Conscience


The Catholic view of atonement differs from the Protestant view.

With the classical Protestant view, purgatory is considered unnecessary, as well as any suffering on earth. "Jesus took all the punishment for us" it is said. "He suffered so that we do not have to."

That is not the Catholic view.

The Catholic view is that we must participate in the sufferings of Christ to be saved. If we are to be glorified with Him, we must carry His cross with Him. St. Louis de Montfort said, what kind of a monster would it be if the head (of the mystical body) were lying on a bed of thorns, while the members were lying on a bed of feathers.
As the head had suffered, now the members must suffer. For Catholics, "carrying the cross" means to accept all the sufferings that God sends in His providence. When Protestants interpret that, they evade that meaning and hold it to be something different.

How do we explain that if Christ died for our sins, we must still be punished for them?

That is explained by noting the classical Catholic distinction between the *eternal* and the *temporal* punishment due to sin. In the Catholic understanding, Christ paid the eternal penalty of sin, but we must pay the temporal punishment - or a penalty in time, even after our sins have been forgiven.

That seems only logical. God is both justice and mercy, and He must exercise both towards us. In being relieved of the eternal punishment, He exercises His mercy. In us having to pay a temporal punishment, He exercises His justice. If we got off scot-free, there would be no justice in that, for all crime demands punishment by the very nature of justice. For God to be God, He has to exercise both mercy and justice.

There is another point as well. Anything positive or negative that we feel (as reward or punishment), is a profoundly intimate communication to us about the nature of good and evil respectively. Pain or pleasure in an intimate contact with evil or good respectively. Now if Christ paid the whole penalty, and we got off scot-free, we would have no proper appreciation of His atoning sacrifice and the evil that He has freed us from. It would be something entirely abstract to us. But by being given some share in His punishment on the cross, we are given an intimate understanding of what He did (by actually feeling some of it), and the evil of sin that He freed us from (for suffering is simply the effects of sin experienced in the feelings).

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Progress in Perfection

19. A brother said to a hermit, 'How does the fear of God come into the soul? He said, 'If there is humility and poverty, and no judgement of others, the fear of God will be present there.'

December 14, 2005


Test your children's biblical knowledge and enhance your own with this challenging quiz


Questions and Answers based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.


(Mat 19:13-14) Then were little children presented to him, that he should impose hands upon them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such.

Reflection by Father Ted:

My dearest Lord Jesus, today You ask me to pray for Your little ones whom You love so much.

You know how much help they need at this time - during this period of tremendous assaults by the evil one.

You have asked many people to intercede for your holy innocents.

And all Your children are basically innocent.

Yet - without the specific prayer and example of their adults, they can be misled into doing what is wrong.

You have given to us who are adults the awesome responsibility to teach them - especially by our lives.

For they learn - above all - by what they see us say and do.

When we follow Your example and the example of Your Mother and the other holy people of the past, then we can provide for these cherished ones of Yours the models that they need.

This is very important.

Yet, what is even more important is our prayers for them - and our prayers with them.

We need to pray for them.

We need to bless them.

We also need to teach them Your truths.

We need to teach them how wonderfully You have made them - in Your image and likeness.

We need to teach them how to love themselves and how to love others - and we do that by loving ourselves and loving others as You love each one of us.

When You created them - each one of them - You also gave to them certain weaknesses - just as You gave to each one of us.

As we learned about these weaknesses and how to deal with them - especially through Your help, so we need to show them how to identify their own weaknesses and then how to deal with these tendencies with Your aid.

As we have grown in virtue by mastering our own weaknesses, so can we encourage them to do likewise.

For each one of these, Your beloved little ones, are called to become saints - just as we are.

Dear Jesus, help us to give to them the encouragement, the example and the prayers that they need to achieve the great sanctity that You desire for them.

Thank You Jesus, for entrusting us with such a calling.

May we, may they become such saints.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Progress in Perfection

17. Sisois said, 'Be despised; put your self-will behind you back; be free of worldly concerns, and you will have peace.'

December 13, 2005

(John 15:12-13) This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.


A mother who found out she had cancer after becoming pregnant sacrificed her life for her unborn baby by refusing an abortion and chemotherapy, a British newspaper reported.

Devout Catholic Bernadette Mimura, known as Milai, shunned the potentially life-saving treatment because doctors told her it would kill the child, the Northern Echo regional daily reported Friday.

The 37-year-old, a native of the Philippines who lived near Stockton-on-Tees in northeast England with her British partner, Adam Taylor, survived long enough to see the birth of their son, Nathan. But soon after seeing him baptized, she was transferred to a hospice and died about a week later.

"Being a Catholic, for her abortion was out of the question," Mr. Taylor told the newspaper. "It was a tough decision, but the decision was we could not give up on Nathan." The boy, now 4 months old, was premature but was born fit and healthy.

The mother had been given a mild form of chemotherapy to suppress her breast cancer and the baby had to be induced after she developed complications.

Father Alan Sheridan, who performed the baptism, told Britain's domestic Press Association news agency: "Bernadette said the most important thing was the birth of her baby and she would not do anything to harm him. "Having an abortion was never a consideration. I know she talked it over with Adam and because she was a Catholic, there was no way she would have done it. "She had to judge which life was more important and she just prayed there would be a cure for cancer."

(May 15, 2004) Anti-abortion movement gets its own saint

Gianna Beretta Molla, who will be canonised at St Peter's tomorrow (05-16-2004), can be considered the patron saint of the anti-abortion movement.

Dr Molla was an Italian pediatrician who, although aware of womb cancer from the second month of pregnancy for her fourth child, refused an abortion. Her doctor recommended it for the complete removal of a fibrous tumor. She agreed to an operation only provided it did not endanger the child.

Later she ordered that if her life or that of the child had to be sacrificed during the birth, the child was to be saved. Both survived the birth, but Dr Molla died a week later, on April 28, 1962. The child, Gianna Emanuela, is still alive.

RELATED: A Mother for all times - Gianna Beretta Molla


Vatican remains firm on stem cell research, euthanasia row
Catholic church sees dilemmas in embryo screening
Abortion militants coerce Catholics to betray beliefs
Women experience mental distress over abortions for years to come

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "A nation that kills its own children is a nation without future."

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Progress in Perfection

13. Poeman said, 'If a monk hates two things, he can be free of this world.' A brother inquired, 'What are they?' He said, 'Bodily comfort and conceit.'

December 12, 2005

(Luke 2:6-7) And it came to pass that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn.


Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that Christmas festivities have been polluted by consumerism and suggested that assembling the Nativity scene in the home is an effective way of teaching the faith to children.

Nativity scenes are a common sight in Italian homes around Christmas time, and in an annual tradition children came to St. Peter's Square bearing Nativity figures of baby Jesus for the pontiff to bless. "In today's consumer society, this time (of the year) is unfortunately subjected to a sort of commercial 'pollution' that is in danger of altering its true spirit, which is characterized by meditation, sobriety and by a joy that is not exterior but intimate," the pope said in his traditional Sunday blessing.

"Assembling the Nativity scene in the home can turn out to be a simple but effective way of presenting the faith to pass it on to one's children," Benedict added.

"The Nativity scene helps us contemplate the mystery of the love of God, which is revealed to us in the poverty and simplicity of the grotto in Bethlehem."

SEE ALSO: Living against God's will could lead to end of the world, Pope warns

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: The world — left to its own devices — has no room and no use for the birth of Jesus Christ. It has contempt for Christians who seriously strive to be His disciples. So we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by being the saints God intended us to be. We can at least seek to be holy by tithing our time to sit quietly with God; allow Him to fill our actions and our choices with His Son; and let Him shape us into the men and women He needs. We can get up and experience the dawn in silence as a reminder of what Advent and Christmas mean. We can prepare ourselves to be alert for the voice of God and to receive God’s word afresh and proclaim it anew.

We need to understand that in many ways America is no longer a Christian culture. Of course, that can change. Many good Catholics and other Christians still live in it. But if people really understood and acted on the meaning of Advent, the world would be a different place.

Advent means “coming.” What’s coming in the reality of Christmas is an invasion. The world needs the invasion but doesn’t want it. It’s an invasion of human flesh and all creation by the Son of God; by the holiness of the Creator Himself.

All of us in the Church were baptized to be part of that good invasion. The doubts, the failures, the mistakes of the past don’t matter. Only our choices now matter. How will we live our Christian faith from this day forward? How will we make our Catholic witness an icon of Christ’s Advent?

For our own sake, and the sake of the people we love, we need to pray that our yearning for God will truly reflect God’s yearning for us. And when it does, then the world will be a different place.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Progress in Perfection

13. A brother asked him, 'How ought we to live?' Poemen replied, 'We have seen the example of Daniel. They accused him of nothing except that he served his God.'

December 9, 2005


(1Pe 3:15) But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.


Pauline Cole has shared her inspiring Catholic testimony on the Jubilee 2000 Bringing the World to Jesus section of this website.

Thank you for your willingness to share your faith Pauline!

Pauline's testimony:
Testimony index:


Sickness and pain have always been a heavy burden for people, and somewhat difficult to explain. Christians like other people are prone to such trials but their faith does help them to understand to some extent this mystery of suffering and to bear pain more courageously. They also know that Christ loved the sick and often during his life healed them. Sickness, while it is related to fallen human nature, cannot be considered as a punishment for personal sins (See John 9:3). Christ Himself was sinless and yet he bore all the sufferings of his passion and understood human sorrow.

Anointing of the sick is a Sacrament of Faith - faith in the minister of the sacrament and faith for the one who receives it. The kernel of the Sacramental celebration consists of the Priest's Prayer and the Anointing. The formula used, in keeping with the promise made by Christ through St James in his Apostolic letter, stresses not only prayers for a sick person's forgiveness but also for "raising up" and salvation.

"Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"May the Lord, who frees you from sin, save you and raise you up. Amen."

Thus is expressed the care of Christ and the Church for sick people. Christ is working again through the Sacrament with his sympathy and healing, as he did when He was on earth.

VIA Frank R Molver: I had been thinking recently why we struggle with inability to consentrate and also the problem of falling into unwholesome thoughts.

I had heard a spot on James Dobsen re the amount of input we have in these modern days and the rush of life we have here.

I have a picture of a great grandfather in Norway who has such a peaceful expression. I thought about his life compared to ours. The thought of drinking from wells comes to mind. How our mind opperates is dependent upon from what well we our drinking from, that includes the eyes and ears. What comes into our mind is a direct result of what we allow into our minds. I think of how casualy we allow ourselves to be bombarded with rapid repetitious images and sounds. How we supposidly ignore the things we don't like, such as commercials to see the things we things we have the luxury of seeing. All these images poor back into our minds like a tape recorder at any given time and it seems sometimes we are helpless to stop them.

Is it any wonder we have a hard time with devotions, consentrating on Scripture and following thruogh with our spiritual desires and goals.

I have to admire my Russian Pentecostal friends for their commitment to keep the TV out of the house. It makes for a much more peaceful atmosphere. A place were adults and teenagers actualy engage in intelligent and stimulating conversation at the dinner table.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Progress in Perfection

12. Poemen said, "To be on guard, to meditate within, to judge with discernment: these are the three works of the soul."

December 8, 2005


MORE: Ephesus: the feast of the Immaculate Conception at Mary’s house


1.  Day and time of Hour of Grace – December 8th – Feast of the Immaculate Conception – to be started at 12 Noon and will continue until 1 PM (one full hour of prayer).

2.  During this hour the person making the ‘Hour of Grace’ either at home or in the Church must put away all distractions (do not answer the telephone or answer any doors or do anything but totally concentrate on your union with God during this Special Hour of Grace).

3.  Begin the Hour of Grace by praying three times the 51st Psalm with outstretched arms.

4.  The rest of the Hour of Grace may be spent in silent communication with God meditating upon the Passion of Jesus, praying the Holy Rosary, praising God in your own way or by using favorite prayers, singing hymns, meditating upon other Psalms, etc.

5.  Please distribute this message to as many people as you can.  Remember to pray for your country during this hour.  The Blessed Mother has requested that Her message be sent throughout the entire world.  Please help the Blessed Virgin Mary to fulfill Her Mission well…that all souls be drawn to God and Jesus will be loved in every heart.  This is the Perpetual song of her Heart.  Let it also be ours.

PSALM 51 The Miserere: Prayer of Repentence

Have mercy on me, O God, in your kindness, in your compassion blot out my offense.
Wash me thoroughly from my guilt, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my offences; my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone, I have sinned, what is evil in your sight I have done.

That you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.
O see, in guilt was I born, a sinner was I conceived Indeed you love truth in the heart; then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom.
O purify me, then I shall be clean; O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear the sounds of rejoicing and gladness, that the bones you have crushed may revive.
From my sins turn away your face and blot out all my guilt.

A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not drive me from your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

Restore me joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit, That I may teach transgressors your ways and sinners may return to you.

Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.
O Lord open my lips; and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

For you do not desire sacrifice a burnt offering your would not accept.
My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.

In your goodness show favor to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be please with proper sacrifice, burnt offerings and holocausts offered on your altar.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Progress in Perfection

7. They used to say about Theodore of Pherme that he kept these three rules before all others: poverty, abstinence, and avoiding the company of other people.

December 7, 2005

(1Th 5:15-18) See that none render evil for evil to any man: but ever follow that which is good towards each other and towards all men. Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all.



VIA Chuck Graham: May God bless you this day… with a very “Merry Christmas”!

The real trouble about the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christianity. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity. What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call “Christianity And.”

So begins Letter 25 in C. S. Lewis’ Christian fiction, The Screwtape Letters, a collection of correspondence from Screwtape, an Under Secretary in satan’s realm, to his nephew, Wormwood, in which he advises the younger demon how best to influence the human to whom he’s been assigned.

I thought of this passage recently because of the outcry regarding the decision of some groups in the U.S. to replace the word “Christmas” with the generic term “Holiday”. Several stores have dropped references to Christmas altogether, directing their employees to greet customers with “Happy Holidays”. A few cities now have a Holiday Tree, schools break for Winter Holidays, and businesses send out their Season’s Greetings with Holiday Cheer. Makes you all warm and toasty inside, doesn’t it?

This has resulted in a great amount of letter writing, emails, petitions, and even demonstrations with people complaining and threatening all sorts of retaliation. And while I’m not against speaking out to those who have chosen to drop “Christmas” from their dictionary, I am concerned that we not become so caught up in the “Cause”, that we lose sight of the “Witness”.

C. S. Lewis dedicated The Screwtape Letters to J.R.R. Tolkien. Before the world had heard of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, these Oxford professors discussed this thing called Christianity, and eventually Tolkien brought light to Lewis’ darkness and led him to Christ. Lewis’ response was to share in with millions of readers what he discovered as he looked back on his days as a devout atheist. At the heart of his writings is the firm belief in the reality of a great spiritual battle, one aimed directly at us. Significant in this battle is what Lewis called “Christianity And”.

In Screwtape’s letter, he urged his nephew, “If they must be Christians, let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring.” A Fashion was the Christian Cause of the moment. It could be noble (as in, Christianity and the Crisis…the New Psychology…the New Order) or absurd (Christianity and Vegetarianism…Spelling Reform), and as Screwtape showed Wormwood, all could be used against Christians and their relationship with God. But what’s so important about these Fashions? Listen carefully to what the old demon tells his nephew.

“The use of Fashions in thought is to distract the attention of men from their real dangers.” Distraction. Screwtape was teaching a very effective lesson. Take a cause, give it some Christian basis, but make sure it becomes more important than how these people treat others and what they say about those who disagree with them, so important they forget they’re supposed to love one another!

I have an idea. Let’s flood those stores, schools, and government buildings, then every time someone says “Happy Holidays”, smile warmly and reply “Merry Christmas and God bless you.” When you meet other Christians there, greet each other with “Merry Christmas”. The employees may not be able to join in, but we can make sure that every hallway and aisle ring out with “Merry Christmas”.

Let’s not get distracted from sharing the joy of this season. There are many causes, but only one calling.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16.

C. S. Lewis once wrote, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” This very special season, let the light of God shine forth from your heart so that other hearts may see the Son and know what it is to be loved.

IN THE NEWS: Law Firm Helps Michigan Family Win Fight Over Yard Nativity Scene

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Progress in Perfection

5. He also said, "A monk was told that his father had died.  He said to the messenger, 'Do not blaspheme.  My Father cannot die'."

December 6, 2005


Iran plans new nuclear reactor
Israel warns on Iran nuclear power
El Baradei: Iran only months away from a bomb

EDITORIAL: Iran, Israel and nukes

Binyamin Netanyahu: Commenting on his own bid for the Israeli premiership, Netanyahu said that he would consider launching a pre-emptive attack to stop Iran's nuclear program. "I will continue the legacy of Menachem Begin, who through a bold and courageous move did not allow a neighbor of Iran, Iraq, to develop such a threat. I believe that this is what Israel should do," he said.


June 7th, 1981 Menachem Begin ordered the bombing of the Iraq Reactor.

Now there is speculation of a parallel event with Iran before Mar 28th, 2006 the day of General Elections in Israel. It is the same for Ariel Sharon as it was for Menachem Begin in June 1981. The general election was held on Tuesday, June 30th, 1981. March 28th is a Tuesday as well.

The bombing occurred 3 plus weeks in advance. Thus we might expect something similar in early March of 2006.

See this URL for complete article Debkafile :

The statement made a ringing slogan for Sharon’s new Kadima party’s campaign for the March 2006 general election. Otherwise it was meaningless.

A more serious statement came from AMAN commander Brig. Aharon Zeevi Wednesday Nov. 30 in his briefing to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee. He warned that if international pressure on Iran fails to bring forth results by March 2006, the world powers might as well give up, because by then it will be too late: Iran will have attained the capability to manufacture a nuclear bomb. The general was saying in so many words that, according to his information, Iran is no more than four months away from a nuclear weapons option.

Some of the editors present at the lunch interpreted Sharon’s words as meaning he was planning a “Begin-style coup” - an assault on Iran’s nuclear installations ahead of Israel’s March 28 general election, like the late Israeli prime minister Menahem Begin’s order to the Israeli air force to demolish Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor shortly before the June 1981 vote. But it is worth recalling that Begin, unlike Sharon, was prepared to stand up to Washington when Israel’s security was in question, whereas the incumbent’s rhetoric sounds combative but usually conceals a more accommodating posture.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Progress in Perfection

4. Evagrius said, "Some of our predecessors used to say that a dry and regular diet combined with love will soon bring a monk to the harbour where the storms of passion do not enter."

December 5, 2005


Pope Benedict XVI again urged respect for life in remarks Sunday, one day after he kept up the Vatican's anti-abortion campaign by referring to the "intrinsic evil of the crime of abortion."

The pope made the remarks at the end of his traditional Sunday blessing, and noted that "all human life is deserving of respect and must be protected from its conception all the way to its natural end."

Benedict was pressing for the inclusion of the disabled "in society, in the work force but also in the Christian community." The pontiff spoke out against abortion Saturday in a speech to Latin American prelates concerned with families.  He also appeared to be referring to the RU-486 abortion pill when he denounced "facilitating the elimination of the embryo."

The Vatican and the Italian Catholic church have aggressively been denouncing abortion before next year's parliamentary election, turning it into an election issue again in Italy for the first time in more than 20 years.

While no mainstream parties advocate making abortion illegal again, both left- and right-wing parties have recently supported giving cash benefits to women during pregnancy or after birth widely seen as a way of encouraging women not to have abortions, reported AP.


Women's Suicide Rates Highest After Abortion, New Study
Rolling back abortion bans
Catholic bishops again condemn death penalty


Pope and Abbas Discuss Middle East Peace
Pope hopes to visit Israel in 2006


Italian bishops gave warning against Catholics marrying Muslims, citing cultural differences and fears that children born to mixed marriages would shun Christianity.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the president of the Italian Bishops Conference, said: “In addition to the problems that any couple encounters when forming a family, Catholics and Muslims have to reckon with the difficulties that inevitably arise from deep cultural differences.” Cardinal Ruini, one of the right-hand men of Pope Benedict XVI, said that it was often the woman who married a Muslim man and it was she who converted to Islam.  In a statement, the bishops said that if an Italian woman married a Muslim immigrant and then settled in his country of origin, her rights were “not guaranteed in the way they are in Italy or in other Western nations”.

In addition the children of mixed marriages tended to be brought up as Muslims and not as Catholics.  Such marriages should, therefore, be discouraged.  Church officials said that there were 200,000 mixed marriages in Italy, with 20,000 this year alone, an increase of 10 per cent on the previous year.

MORE: Camillo Cardinal Ruini is not shy about pushing Church doctrine onto the Italian political agenda

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Progress in Perfection

3. Gregory said, 'God asks three things of anyone who is baptized: to keep the true faith with all his soul and all his might; to control his tongue; to be chaste in his body.'

December 2, 2005


Reading (Isaiah 11:1-10)   Gospel (St. Matthew 10:21-24)

Our Lord in the Gospel reading today rejoices in the Holy Spirit and gives praise to His Father, saying that what has been hidden from the wise and the learned has been revealed to the childlike. That is the point all of us have to understand especially when we hear the words of the first reading when the prophet Isaiah talks about what is going to happen with Our Lord. First, to put it into context, remember that this point of Our Lord talking about the things that He is going to do and how the Spirit of the Lord is upon Him, He Himself told us that this is the case. And so He is using this particular passage from Isaiah in reference to Himself, and then talks about how He is going to judge and how justice is going to be the belt upon His waist. He goes on, then, to talk about how all of these things that seem to be contradictory to us are going to take place, and then finally how it says there will be no harm or ruin on all His holy mountain, but the earth “shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea.”

That holy mountain of the Lord is the Church. If we look in the Church today, we would say, “Well, it doesn’t look like there is no ruin or harm within.” In the people, of course, right now there is. On the other side of whatever purification we are going to have to deal with, it will be a whole different situation; but even before that we have to understand that within the teaching of the Church there is complete purity, that nothing there is going to be of any kind of ruin or harm. That has been preserved, and it is there for each and every one of us to be able to recognize and to accept. That means we have to look beyond the human element, because in there we are going to find sin. And while it is easy for us to point our fingers at everyone else, all we have to do is first look in the mirror and remember that within the Church the sinners start with “me,” and every single other person is just like that. So, of course, we are going to find sinners and we are going to find lots of imperfection. Yet we can look beyond that to what is objective, to the teaching of the Church, and there we will find pure truth. There we will find the absolute teaching of Jesus Christ.

The wonderful thing that is going to happen in this time when Our Lady intervenes is that the fullness of truth is going to be revealed and accepted by all people who will remain. Our Lady promised at Fatima that there would be unprecedented growth for the Church. Saint Louis de Montfort tells us that in this time of Our Lady the Gospel is going to spread, that knowledge of Our Lady is going to be known by all, and therefore through her knowledge of Christ is going to be known by all. This is exactly what Isaiah is talking about. At that point, everyone on the face of the earth will live a truly Catholic life and there will be peace and justice.

In the meantime, the question is: Are we willing to do it even now–where there is not peace, where there is not justice, where people are not living the Gospel, and where they have rejected the knowledge of truth? Even with all of that, the true teaching of Christ is still there. Now we have the choice of whether we are going to look at all of the corruption and all of the problems, or whether we are going to look beyond that and look to Christ and look to the objective teaching and follow it. That is the choice we have even now. Are we going to be wise and clever and learned, and be just like everyone else and think that we have a better way? Remember what Our Lord said at the end of the Gospel: Many prophets and many kings longed to see what you see and did not see it, to hear what you hear and did not hear it. Why is it that there are so many throughout history who longed for the truth but did not have the fullness? Now we have the fullness of the truth, yet we do not want it.

Jesus desires that we would long for that truth, long for it to the point where we would seek it out and we would live it. That is what we have the opportunity to do right now. But it requires that we become childlike, that we realize we are not the ones who are the wise in the worldly sense, that we are not the powerful ones, that we are not the ones the world would look to. We need to be small, we need to be humble, and we need to recognize that what is true is not “me”–what is true is Christ–and He has placed that truth within each one of us so that we can accept it and live it. That is what He desires. He makes very clear that only those who are childlike will have this truth fully revealed to them. So we need to pray for that grace to truly be like a little child in accepting what Our Lord teaches us, and then to learn the obedience, the obedience of faith, as Saint Paul calls it, so we can live the truth that we have learned.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Progress in Perfection

2. Pambo said to Antony, 'What shall I do?' Antony said, 'Do not trust in your own righteousness. Do not go on sorrowing over a deed that is past. Keep your tongue and your belly under control.'

December 1, 2005


In two weeks, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe hits theaters nationwide. People are talking . . . and asking . . . just what is this story all about?

Does the Lion represent Jesus Christ? Is the Witch a metaphor for Satan? What are the parallels to the crucifixion and the salvation story? Who is Father Christmas? What makes the Wardrobe magical?

Beginning December 9th, these and a hundred other questions will be all the talk at water coolers and across playgrounds.

To help Catholics unlock Narnia's many secrets, the editors of the NY Times bestseller A Guide to the Passion of The Christ, have just released the definitive Catholic travel guide to Lewis' fictional land. A Guide to Narnia: 100 Questions about The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is available through Ascension Press and Catholic bookstores nationwide.

The highly anticipated film is being hailed by Christian and Catholic leaders as a faithful rendering on Lewis' tale about the heroic adventures of four English children who journey through a secret wardrobe into the land Narnia. There they meet The White Witch who has cast Narnia into a spell of perpetual winter. Through a series of captivating adventures, they help the lion king Aslan reclaim Narnia through a redemptive sacrifice. "Beneath the surface of the story lies a beautiful metaphorical tale of Jesus Christ and God's plan for humanity," contends Mark Shea, co-author of the book and Senior Editor at Catholic Exchange. "Through 'A Guide to Narnia,' Catholics will learn the true meaning of this classic tale."

Catholic Exchange, in cooperation with Catholic Outreach, has also produced three companion study guides and a youth activity guide to the book. These resources are available for free at, a fan site and resource center for parishes, schools and groups who want to use the film as a faith-formation opportunity.

"The movie is destined to inspire Catholics, especially youth, to face evil in their lives and respond with forgiveness, courage and honor," said Matthew Pinto, President of Ascension Press. A Guide to Narnia is the perfect resource for individuals, schools, and parishes who wish to pass on the life-changing lessons that can be learned in this epic film."


MOVIE REVIEW: The Chronicles of Narnia *****- A roaring magical hit


The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Progress in Perfection

1. Somebody asked Antony, 'What shall I do in order to please God?' He replied, 'Do what I tell you, which is this: wherever you go, keep God in mind; whatever you do, follow the example of holy Scripture; wherever you are, stay there and do not move away in a hurry. If you keep to these guide-lines, you will be saved.'

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