Keep your eyes open!...


December 19, 2008


(Luke 2:13-14) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest: and on earth peace to men of good will.


ESSAY by Fr. Tom Ryan: Christmas: the hope is real

At the beginning of Advent I received a message from a friend whose husband committed suicide seven years ago. "I haven't really engaged in our traditional family customs in celebrating Christmas since then," she said. "There's been a kind of tacit understanding among the family to that effect when the season rolls around. The memories are too painful." But now there's a grandchild, and this year will be different. "I'm taking out the nativity set and decorating a tree," she wrote.

There are surely many who have their own versions of the inner dialogue around the question of "to decorate or not to decorate?" An increasing number of people live alone and very likely ask themselves, "Why am I doing this? No one will see it, and I don't need it."

But we do need it. Whether or not anyone else will see it is beside the point. We have to do these things to remind ourselves that the hope is real. Jesus really did come. It's not just a legend or a dream. It really happened. And so we keep the memory and its meaning alive by having a creche scene and a tree, by buying gifts and going to Midnight mass, and having a real Christmas dinner with friends or family.

The greatest service the church can render the world is to tell the world its true story. And the chapters of that story are "Creation," "Fall," "Promise," "Prophecy," "Incarnation," "Redemption," "Sanctification," "The Reign of God." Each baptized believer is entrusted with that story and commissioned to keep it alive and to pass it on. My friend will be doing that this Christmas with her children and grandchild.

It's not unusual in the days surrounding Christmas to think of those who have died. For some families, it's the only time of the year when most or all of the family gathers, so the holiday season is a rich repository of family history and fond memories of happy times around the table or the tree, events in which morn or dad played central roles distributing the gifts or carving the turkey.

In keeping faith with the festival of Christmas, we are doing more than recalling a historical event. We are keeping the hope and the meaning alive of that event. We are celebrating that from the moment of his birth until the end of time, Jesus is always with us, encouraging us, forgiving us, loving us, guiding us.

The precipice of discouragement is never far. There is more than enough in the past hundred years alone to plummet the human spirit into the pit of despair: two world wars; regional conflicts in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Northern Ireland; the rise of global terrorism; the whittling away of long respected laws and social codes; the AIDS epidemic; the increasing incidence of drug and alcohol addiction and of suicide; the growing gap between rich and poor.

"But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more," wrote Paul to the Romans. Feelings come and go, but the facts of faith remain stable and sure: God has entered time, become small enough to be enclosed in a child's body and limited to one place. "God became what we are so that we might become what God is," said St. Irenaeus in the first century. And twenty centuries later, that Light continues to shine in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The hope is real, but needs to be constantly nourished. So set up the creche, plug in the lights, and tell the story to the next generation.

NEW AMERICAN: Faith Triumphs Over Persecution

CATHOLIC NEWSLINE: It's Christmas: Good time to come home to the Church

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 13- "On despondency"

3. A man in obedience does not know despondency, having achieved spiritual things by means of sensory things. 

December 18, 2008

(John 8:12) Again therefore, Jesus spoke to: them, saying: I am the light of the world. He that followeth me walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

VIA CNA: My Wish List for Christmas 2008 By Father Thomas Berg, L.C.

VIA Mission Moments: Repent and believe in the word of God

 My brothers, this is the time for each one of us individually to leave the place of our sinfulness. Let us set out from our own Babylon to meet God our Saviour, as the prophet warns us: «Prepare to meet your God, O Israel, for he is coming» (Am 4,12 Vg). Let us leave the abyss of our sins and willingly set out towards the Lord who has assumed «the likeness of sinful flesh» (Rom 8,3). Let us leave our will to sin and set out to offer repentance for our sins. Then we will find Christ: in himself he atoned for the sin he had by no means committed. So he who saves the penitent will grant us salvation...: «He shows mercy to those who repent» (Sir 12,3 Vg).

You will say to me:... «But who can leave their sins on their own?» Ah yes, but truly the greatest of sins is the love of sin, the desire to sin. So leave this desire..., hate the sin and, behold!, you have left sin. If you hate sin then you have met Christ where he is to be found. Christ forgives the faults of those of us who hate sin while waiting to pull out by the roots our evil habits.

But you will say that even this is too much for you and that, without God's grace, it is impossible for a man to hate his sin, desire justice and want to repent. «Let them give thanks to the Lord for his kindness and his wondrous deeds to the children of men» (Ps 107[106],8)... Lord, save me from cowardliness and from the storm... O Lord, with mighty hand, Jesus all-powerful, you have freed my mind from the demon of ignorance and snatched my sick will from the plague of its covetousness. Now set free my capacity for action so that with your holy angels... I, too, may «do your bidding, obeying your spoken word» (Ps 103[102],20).

Isaac of Stella (? – c.1171), Cistercian monk

VIA Dennis DeLaurier: The Window of the World

Look through the Window of the World. What do you see? Is what you see slowly becoming unrecognizable to you? Is it slowly changing? Is it no longer what you saw when you were a child? Does it seem to be even darker now? What do you see on the faces of people as they live their lives? Look closely, for some of the darkness is hidden, as it hides in the hearts of poor souls who are not physically dead, but are truly dead to the Spirit. More and more are in a death spiral of the Spirit and don't even know it. Their lives are filled with all that they can take from the physical world as they use up the very fabric of their allotted time. They only want more but never look inwardly to what makes them unique as they are lost to things that they do not know that they do not know. The light that is there in them is very small and the flame is burning smaller and smaller with time. Soon it will be extinguished and their death will be complete. Then there will be no Jesus and no life. Then there will be no Jesus and no Spirit. Then there will be no Jesus and only death. They have received what they wanted, a life away from God. Deep in their minds they will not even understand what a life away from God is, as that is the very description of Hell!

There is only one escape from this death of the Spirit, and that is the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ. To approach this mercy is to approach a fountain of endless grace and love. The smaller the light in our souls, the more Jesus will pour the fuel of His mercy upon that light. There is only one escape from death and that is the infinite mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus wants to save souls for the glory of His Father. To do that, He has made it a simple process. That process is to only trust in Him. If we place our trust in Him, he will forgive unimaginable sins. The deepest and darkest sinner will be rescued. Those who are great sinners will receive even greater amounts of grace. In His trust nothing can harm you. In His trust you can again live in His light. In that light you will never be lost.

Look through the window of the world. See all the dying people. Even though they do not know you or know they need you, they do. They need your prayers, fasting and suffering offered up to Jesus who will provide all they need to return to Him if you only ask.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 13- "On despondency"

2. Despondency is a paralysis of soul, an enervation of the mind, neglect of asceticism, hatred of the vow made. It calls those who are in the world blessed. It accuses God of being merciless and without love for men. It is being languid in singing psalms, weak in prayer, like iron in service, resolute in manual labour, reliable in obedience. 

December 17, 2008

(Jas 2:15-17) And if a brother or sister be naked and want daily food: And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit? So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself.

: The Decline and Fall of Charity

If you think retailers have it bad this Christmas, consider the effect that a slumping economy will have on America's charities. Even prior to the financial crisis, some of the most renowned charitable organizations in the country were on life support. The American Red Cross borrowed money for the second time in its 127-year history—the first was after Hurricane Katrina, and the more recent $70 million loan facilitated relief for the victims of Hurricanes Gustav and Edouard. The Salvation Army spent more than $1 million on Gustav alone, but raised just $30,000 to cover it.

Budget shortfalls are becoming an across-the-board problem for aid organizations, The Washington Post reported in September. Save the Children spent more than $100,000 on diapers, cots, and bassinets on the Gulf Coast, and has only made up about a third of that. Catholic Charities USA, which spent around $200,000, had, at the time of the Post article, recouped $10,000.

Given recent events, it isn't surprising that headlines are highlighting greed on Wall Street, and conspicuous consumption at the upper echelons of corporate America. These critiques are on point.

But the lack of compassion for others that so rankles average Americans is just as easily found – as sorry as I am to say it – among regular Americans. Fifty years hence, today's society will be judged, according to the old adage, by how it treated its poor. For that reason, generosity's moribund status within America's churches is especially troubling.


Local Charity Fund Drives Struggling
Religious sisters face financial shortfall
Charity demand up, donations down
U.S. Office Workers Who Used To Donate To Charity, Now Recipients Of Doleouts
Some charities hit hard by financial crisis

IN THE NEWS: Catholic Charities Named Country's Top Provider of Social Services


From The "Panic" Of 2008 To The "Collapse" Of 2009
The Great Depression of the 21st Century: Collapse of the Real Economy
Global chaos to last well into 2010
8 really, really scary predictions


Ecuador defaults, says to fight "monster" creditors
Georgia, Texas Banks Shut as Foreclosures Rise; Toll Reaches 25
Florida pension fund loses a quarter its value
Drop in consumer prices is most since 1932

COMMENTARY:  The Darwin Depression: Time To Say Goodbye To How It Should Have Never Been

: Depression, Deflation and Your Survival

(Eze 7:18-19) And they shall gird themselves with haircloth, and fear shall cover them and shame shall be upon every face, and baldness upon all their heads. Their silver shall be cast forth, and their gold shall become a dunghill. Their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord. They shall not satisfy their soul, and their bellies shall not be filled: because it hath been the stumblingblock of their iniquity.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 13- "On despondency"

1. As we have already frequently said, this- we mean despondency- is very often one of the branches of talkativeness, and its first child. And so we have given it its appropriate place in this chain of vices. 

December 16, 2008

(Gen 1:26-27) Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.


The Vatican on Friday reopened ethical questions surrounding stem cell research and techniques such as cloning with a document affirming the "dignity of the human embryo."

"Dignitas Personae" (Dignity of the Person), the first "instruction" on reproductive technology in more than 20 years, comes as countries including the United States and France prepare to review policies in the controversial field.

The sweeping instruction lists biomedical techniques considered "illicit" by the Roman Catholic Church such as in vitro fertilisation, cloning, the therapeutic use of stem cells, producing vaccines from embryo cells and the use of the "morning-after" contraceptive pill.

Such practices go against the "fundamental principle" that the dignity of the person must be recognised from conception until natural death, it says.

Issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog, the 33-page instruction updates a 1987 document, "Donum Vitae" (The Gift of Life), which asserted the integrity of the human embryo.

The new instruction virtually enshrines the embryo not only as a human being but also as a whole "person" with all the philosophical and legal consequences that such recognition might entail, according to Bishop Rino Fisichella, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"The recognition is implicit, but we don't get involved in the philosophical debate," Fisichella said as he presented the document.

The document, approved by Pope Benedict XVI, also reprises the Church's condemnation of in vitro fertilisation, while decrying methods that prevent implantation of the embryo or cause its elimination as "falling within the sin of abortion".

"The blithe acceptance of the enormous number of abortions involved in the process of in vitro fertilisation vividly illustrates how the replacement of the conjugal act by a technical procedure ... leads to a weakening of the respect owed to every human being," the document says.

The text also warns against a "eugenic mentality" arising from advances in genetic engineering, saying: "In the attempt to create a new type of human being, one can recognise an ideological element in which man tries to take the place of his Creator."


U.S. BISHOPS: Questions and Answers on 'Dignitas Personae'

REVIEW: 'When Human Life Begins' by
Rev. Richard Benson, C.M.


Chemically creating life in the laboratory
Assisted Reproductive Technology Linked to Birth Defects
Frozen mice cloned - are woolly mammoths next?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

9. One lies for sheer wantonness, another for amusement; one, to make the bystanders laugh; and another, to trap his brother and do him injury. 

December 10, 2008


(Rev 3:15-16) "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.


A different kind of hunger
Words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children's dictionary
New bishop won't alienate pro-choice politicians

COMMENTARY: Individual Bishops Are NOT Above Canon Law

POPE BENEDICT XVI: Liberalism Needs to Rediscover God, Says Pope

: Lately I have heard of a local ongoing debate, which I fear is probably pretty much universal, regarding the Season of Advent. The debate focuses on whether Advent is just a time of preparation for Christmas, could we then call it a  pre-Christmas, or a penitential season. The Church's answer, as usual, stands in the middle - "Virtus in medio stat."   While  it is a time for preparation for the great Feast of the Nativity of the Son of God made Man - and as such what a wonderful event that is - it is also a penitential season, that is, a time of penance and sacrifice. When we were  little, those of us who were fortunate enough to have had good old fashioned sisters as our teachers in grade school,  were told to make many acts of penance and self-abnegation, sacrifices, special devotions and to have a crib for the Baby Jesus in which we would put a piece of straw for each act we performed. The idea was that we would have so many acts  of penance that we would make a comfy bed for the Baby Jesus. It was childlike, yes, and simple. But isn't Christmas  all about childlikeness and simplicity? The idea was that according to age-old Church practice Advent was - and is - a  season of penance. That is very difficult in the post-Christian and secularized world in which most of us live. Christmas  carols and decorations spring up as early as Halloween (yes) in many places and for the most part after Thanksgiving.  Those same decorations are thrown out and the carols cease the day after Christmas. We as Catholics should be counter  cultural - as Pope John Paul II often reminded us. Christmas lasts for forty days until Candle on February 2nd - which goes back to the Law of Moses which Christ came to fulfill to perfection. The Vatican is a good sign of this since  by order of the Pope the ancient Roman practice of leaving up all Nativity scenes (even in St. Peter's Square) until Feb.  2nd has been both kept up and restored in the last few years (as far as St. Peter's is concerned). Thus we have Forty Days of Christmas. It is then that we should have Christmas parties and feasts, not before Christmas Eve. In too many quarters, too many Parishes, and Catholic organizations we have succumbed to the ways of the world. Instead of bringing  the light of the Truth to the world we have molded ourselves about its erroneous criteria. This must change.

On the other hand we have this time of Advent. It is a Season of Penance for which the Church vests Herself in violet or purple (except Gaudete Sunday in Rose which signifies a lessening of the rigors of penance). So it is a Penitential Season, primarily. Yes, it is a time of preparation for the Birth of Christ, just as Lent is a time of preparation for Easter. Does that mean we start to celebrate Christmas before Christmas and forget the penance which our Faith and Tradition tell us we must do? Does that mean we start to celebrate Easter on Ash Wednesday and forget our Lenten penance?  I think we all know the answer. The Liturgy and Discipline of the Church (which follows the Liturgy) tell us otherwise.  We prepare for Christmas - or for Easter - by repentance, by penances, sacrifices, increased quality and time and number  of prayers and devotions. We gather, as it were, many pieces of straw to make His crib more comfortable. So yes, this is a time to performs acts of fasting and abstinence. Of giving witness - "No I cannot partake of that because I am preparing for Christmas which starts, not ends, on Christmas Day." It is a time of renewed repentance. A time to   make  a good Confession of our sins. Needless to say, we repeat with John Paul II, the desire and advice to all that they should go to Confession regularly, at least once a month. The just man sins seven times a day. Once or twice a  year  is  hardly sufficient to make a good thorough confession or to partake in the elements of spiritual growth which this wonderful Sacrament affords us. It is a time when we should try to attend and participate in the Sacred Mysteries  of the Mass and perhaps in at least the readings of the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Hours which are so very beautiful.   A  time to meditate more deeply in the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary with Her who was so essentially central to their  taking place and their remembrance by the Evangelists and the early Church. With St. John the Baptist who plays a central role in this Season we also must yell from the rooftops: "Repent! The Kingdom of God is at hand!" "Make straight the ways  of the Lord!" Fill in the valleys and bring down the mountains of our sins so the Lord's coming will be easy and fruitful  for us. Repent! Prepare! Rejoice, because our salvation is close at hand!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

8. We notice various degrees of harm in all the passions, and this is certainly the case with lying. There is one judgment for him who lies through fear of punishment, and another for him who lies when no danger is at hand. 

December 5, 2008


(Luk 1:28) And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

POPE BENEDICT XVI:  We greet you and call upon you with the Angel's words: "full of grace" (Lk 1:28), the most beautiful name that God himself has called you from eternity.

"Full of grace" are you, Mary, full of divine love from the very first moment of your existence, providentially predestined to be Mother of the Redeemer and intimately connected to him in the mystery of salvation.

In your Immaculate Conception shines forth the vocation of Christ's disciples, called to become, with his grace, saints and immaculate through love (cf. Eph 1:4). In you shines the dignity of every human being who is always precious in the Creator's eyes.

Those who look to you, All Holy Mother, never lose their serenity, no matter what the hardships of life.

FR. PHIL BLOOM HOMILY EXCERPT: In his life Dominic did not have many visions, but on today's Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I would like to tell you about a vision which underscores the motherly care of the Virgin Mary.

One night Dominic was praying alone in the chapel of his monastery. He saw the heavens open with Christ in the center and the Blessed Virgin Mary next to him. As St. Dominic looked around, he began to weep bitterly. The Lord asked him why he was so sad. "I am grieving," said Dominic, "because I see here members of every religious Order, but of my own, not one."

Jesus then asked him if he would like to see those of his own Order. Dominic replied that he ardently desired to see them. The Lord then placed his hand lovingly on the Virgin's shoulder and said, "I have given over your Order to my mother's care." At this the Blessed Virgin drew back her mantle, and opening it wide before St Dominic, it seemed to enclose nearly the whole of that heavenly country, so vast was it, and beneath it he saw a great host of his brethren.

The vision ended, but Dominic remained in joyful, grateful prayer. When the first light of dawn broke, Dominic rang the bell and gathered his brothers into the chapel. He told his brothers about the vision and exhorted them to love Blessed Virgin Mary and place themselves under her motherly care.


Advent Provides Opportunity For Spiritual Preparation
Shedding light on Advent
Twelve Tips To A Better Advent Season

REFLECTIONS: Author finds listening to be key to Advent


MORE: A Time for Listening, Advent for Families 2008 Daily Meditations, Activities, and Prayers

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

7. He who has obtained the fear of the Lord has forsaken lying, having within himself an incorruptible judge- his own conscience.

December 4, 2008

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "Many people in our own day, complain of a lack of time, because the rhythm of daily life has become so frenetic for everyone. Yet even on this subject, the Church has 'good news' to bring. God gives us His time. We always have little time. For the Lord, especially, we do not know how, or sometimes do not want to, find it. And yet God has time for us. ... He gives us His time, because He entered history with His word and His works of salvation, opening it to eternity and making it a history of alliance.

REFLECTION VIA Fr. Loloy ( There Was a Time

There was a time

when there was no time,

When darkness reigned as king,

When a formless void

was all that there was

in the nothingness of eternity,

When it was night.

But over the void

and over the night, Love watched.

There was a time when time began.

It began when Love spoke.

Time began for light and life,

for splendor and grandeur.

Time began for seas and mountains,

for flowers and birds.

Time began for the valleys to ring with the songs of life,

and for the wilderness to echo with the wailing of wind

and howling of animals.

And over the earth, Love watched.

Finally, there came a time

when Love spoke again.

A Word from eternity— a Word

Spoken to a girl who belonged

to a people not known by the world

Spoken to a girl who belonged to a family not known by her people

To a girl named Mary.

And all creation waited in hushed silence for the girl's answer.

And Mary spoke her yes.

And Love watched over Mary.

And so there came a time

when Love breathed again

When Love breathed new life

into Mary's yes.

And a new day dawned for the World

A day when light

returned to darkness,

when life returned to dispel death

And so a day came when Love became man—a mother bore a child.

And Love watched over Love—a Father watched His Son.

And, lastly, there came a time when you and I became a part of time.

Now is the time that you and I wait.

Now we wait to celebrate what the world waited for.

And as we wait to celebrate what was at one time, we become a part of that time; A time when a new dawn and a new dream and a new creation began for man.

And as a part of time, Love waits and Love watches over us.


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

4. I have seen some who, priding themselves on their skill in lying, and exciting laughter by their jests and twaddle, have pitiably destroyed in their hearers the habit of mourning. 

December 3, 2008

POPE BENEDICT XVI ON ADVENT: "First it invites us to reawaken the expectation of the glorious return of Christ; then, as Christmas approaches, it calls upon us to welcome the Word made flesh for our salvation."

BLOG (In the awareness of our need for God): We all should await the Parousia or Second Coming of Christ. In patient expectation, we prepare for the coming of Christ like the master of the house who alone can really manage it and, with his necessary guidelines, lift it out of the morass it has sunk into. We cannot allow the long waiting to suppress our enthusiasm or drain our energy. We have no choice but wait. But we should not be idle. All should be asking themselves, "What should we be doing?" Diligently fulfilling our responsibilities is the call of the hour anytime and anywhere. It is the wise way of waiting. Hopefully and joyfully waiting for what is to come is to believe that God is true to His promises even as we do our part.

EXCERPT FISHEATERS ADVENT OVERVIEW: ...what Christians do (or should be doing!) during Advent and leading up to Christmas is a foreshadowing of what they will do during the days of their lives that lead up to the Second Coming; what non-Christians refuse to do during Advent, and put off until after Christmas, is precisely a foreshadowing of what they will experience at the Second Coming.

We Christians are to prepare for the Coming of Christ before He actually comes -- and that Coming is symbolized and recalled at Christmas. Non-Christians miss this season of preparation, and then scramble for six days after the 25th to make their resolutions. By then, however, it's too late -- Christmas has come and gone, Our Lord has already made His visitation to the earth, and He has found them unprepared. This is precisely what will take place at the Second Coming, when those who have put off for their entire lives the necessary preparations will suddenly be scrambling to put their affairs in order. Unfortunately, by then it will have been too late, and there will be no time for repentance. The Second Coming will be less forgiving than the Incarnation. There will be no four-week warning period before the Second Coming, like we get during Advent. There will be no six-day period of grace after the Second Coming during which to make resolutions and self-examination, like the secular world does from Dec. 26 until Jan. 1.

EDITORIAL: Time to rebuild what secularists tried to wreck

Some of you will know -- but chances are most of you will not -- that the Christian season of Advent begins this week. If Lent is the time to detox, then Advent is the time to pre-tox; and time to redeem the soul and purge it of impurities. And what better time to appreciate the value of that season than the current times?

With the excesses of the past decade laid bare, Paddy Kavanagh's poem of the same name rings true: "We have tasted and tested too much."

Indeed we have. Not that a roaring economy forced us to do so. I have never agreed with those who say the Celtic Tiger made us more selfish. Economic success never does this. What it does do is give us choices. It gives us the ability to earn a lot of money, to consume more, and to substitute the sensual for the spiritual. But it never, never, forces us to or tells us that we should. This is something that many misunderstood. Secular commentators on Ireland's success have spent the past decade running down the traditional values and institutions that make up our society. As a result, we don't just have undercapitalised banks, we have an undercapitalised society, a society eroded by the subprime, secularist confidence tricksters -- people who believe you can build a successful society without religion, without strong nuclear families and without trust and community.

But as the financial turmoil of the world makes clear, far from being surplus to requirements in a liberal capitalist democracy, the freedom that such a society brings makes those things even more needed. The less the State regulates us, the more we need to regulate ourselves.

Our own government's need to intervene in the banking crisis shows just what happens when self-restraint breaks down. It is no different from what happened in the case of Baby P in the UK, a tragic case which warns us to turn back from Britain's failed secular experiment. In that case, the tragic death of a toddler was blamed on the failure by social workers to intervene. But was it really? Was it not the fault of those who relentlessly urged us that traditional families and the parental duties that go with them are things of the past?

Who told us that religion and the ethical code it imparts are no longer needed? Who destroyed both of these things without leaving anything to replace it? As if anything could.

All around us, that death- knell of secularist credibility is being sounded. As the evidence of its failure accumulates, how could it be otherwise?

US CAPITOL VISITOR CENTER DISPLAY: 'We have built no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common oracle but the Constitution.'

: Catholic evangelist presents Hollywood vs. faith

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

3. Let no one who thinks rightly suppose that the sin of lying is a small matter, for the All Holy Spirit pronounced the most awful sentence of all against it, above all sins. If Thou wilt destroy all that speak a lie, as David says to God (Psalm 5:4), what will they suffer who stitch an oath on to a lie? 

December 2, 2008    

(John 8:44) You are of your father the devil: and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning: and he stood not in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof.

: Between Heaven and Hell

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: Liturgical year end reminds us that this world isn't our final home

by Father Ted – November 28, 2008:

My dearest Lord Jesus, tomorrow – Saturday, November 29th, is the last day of Your Church year. Sunday begins another Church year.

As I come to the end of this ecclesiastical year You remind me that my purpose in life is to get ready to be with You in heaven.

And as I was taught as a little child, You gave me life so that I could know You, so that I could love You, so that I could serve You while I lived on this earth – and then to join You in Your heavenly home.

Each day is a gift from You so that I can know You better, love You more, and serve You and my brothers and sisters.

Each day You want me to make time for You – through prayer, through reading the Sacred Scriptures, and also through some form of spiritual reading which will help me to live each moment of each day with You and for You.

Yet as I was also taught as a child, there are obstacles to getting to know You, and therefore getting to love You and to serve You each day.

I have my weaknesses. The world, which is opposed to You, strives to distract me or to entice me not to focus upon You and my purpose in life. And, of course, there is Satan and his associate devils to directly and indirectly tempt me not to listen to You and not to do what You have asked of me – either directly or through Your Church.

Satan does not want me to do Your Will. He does not want me to know You, to love You, and to serve You. Satan wants me to join him and his associates in hell – which again You reminded me is real.

Hell was created for Satan and his associates and for those humans who refuse to love You and to serve You and Your children in this world.

Satan or one of his associates frequently tempts us not to know You and not to love You as You want by keeping us so busy during the week and on weekends that we do not have time to pray to You and to worship You - especially on Sundays. He wants us to neglect You and therefore to reject all the graces that You offer to us so that we can know You and therefore love You as You want.

When we do not make time for You, he convinces us that what You have commanded us to do by keeping Your Ten Commandments and the Precepts of Your Church is irrelevant for us. In fact he strives to persuade us that Your Ten Commandments and the Precepts of Your Church will prevent us from being truly free and truly happy.

But as You have reminded us – Satan is a liar; the father of lies.

So Lord, help us not to buy his lies. Help us to listen to You. Help us to do Your Will. Help us to make time for You each day – especially on Sundays. Help us to know You and to love You and to serve You. Help us to become the saints You want us to be.

During this new Church year, may we listen to You.

And by our example and by our prayers may we help our brothers and sisters to realize that they too have been created by You to know You, to love You and to serve You in this world during their life-time so that they too will be with You in heaven forever.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

2. A lie is the destruction of love, and a false oath is a denial of God.
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