Keep your eyes open!...






 

July 31, 2009   

THE TRIB TIMES WILL RETURN IN MID-AUGUST, GOD WILLING (James 4:15).

(Mat 6:19-21) "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

LINK: Portiuncula Indulgence

LINK
:
Examination of Conscience-  St. Gregory of Nyssa, Early Church Father & Doctor of the Church

FROM THE MAILBAG
VIA CABIO
: Your Desires Tell You What You Are 
By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P.

Do you really want to know what you're like? Study your desires. What things does your heart habitually seek? Desire is like a thermometer that actually measures your spiritual life. Worldly desires lead to a life of worldliness. Sensual desires make a sensual person. Self-centered desires cause a mediocre and selfish life.

If your desire for God is only half-hearted, you're leading a tepid Christian life. You're suffering from spiritual mediocrity and you're a long way from perfection of the First Commandment. If your desire for God is consistently ardent, you're making progress. If it's ever on the increase, you're making great progress in holiness.

God loves great desires. If a man ceases to desire God and the things of God, his soul is in a tragic state. Earthbound, tied to earth by a hundred shackles of sensual and worldly desires, he seems incapable of any spiritual ambition or aspiration for God. Spiritually he is a walking corpse! He needs a miracle of resurrection to awaken his soul to its need for God. Such people, incidentally, usually are a burden to themselves and to their friends.

God loved Daniel because he was a man of desires. He loves anyone who has great desires, Christlike ambitions, or longings for the spread of God's Kingdom. These are the timbers used by God to ignite the world with His love. Why is a cloistered contemplative like St. Theresa named "Patroness of the Missions?" Because of her overwhelming desire for the conversion of all souls to God!

Desire is always the first step of your soul toward God. If there's no desire for Christian Perfection...if your soul experiences no deep need of God, obviously you'll expend no great effort to achieve union in love with Him. That's why the study of Christ is so basic to a fervent Christian life. In meditation He is seen to be totally desirable both as God and man. There the desire to follow Him is ignited and stimulated. So, if you want to know what you are really like, take out fifteen minutes for some serious soul-searching and make this test...

Think of those things or objects in life that you consider most desirable. Be very honest with yourself and make an objective list. What are those things upon which your heart has become attached? This list will uncover the depth of your vanity, your pride and your sensuality. It will also point up any secret avarice, envy, or any other species of selfishness. Of course, it will also be a measure of your fervor and love of God.

Is God just an afterthought in your life? Do you use Him just to call on for the fulfillment of your own desires? Do you strive to bend your will to His, rather than to try to get Him to conform His Sanctifying will to your own? Do you really consider the perfect love of God as the greatest and most desirable object in life? Do you have any longing for greater union with our Lord? What do you do about it?

An honest appraisal of one's self is always the first step towards self-improvement. Any psychiatrist will add that it's also the foundation of emotional maturity. So face up to your habitual desires. Find out just what does motivate your usual activities. Compare these desires with the Beatitudes given by Christ in His Gospel. Then, you'll know whether your desires need intensification or reformation!

ONLINE BOOK: THE THREE AGES OF THE INTERIOR LIFE Prelude of Eternal Life by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

3. The spirit of despair rejoices at the sight of increasing vice, and the spirit of vainglory at the sight of increasing virtue. The door for the first is a multitude of wounds, and the door for the second is a wealth of labours.

July 30, 2009  

(Mat 6:24) No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

HEADLINE: Vatican Slams ‘Greed Is Good’ Wall Street Mantra

Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone said free-market economics legitimized greed, citing the 1987 Oliver Stone movie "Wall Street" and its protagonist, the corporate raider Gordon Gekko.

"Greed market has substituted free market," Bertone said today in a speech to Italian senators in Rome. "Greed is good, greed is right," Bertone said, citing one of Gekko's famous lines from the film, in outlining the contents of Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical calling for a new financial order.

The 82-year-old pontiff on July 7 published the 150-page "Caritas in Veritate," Latin for "Charity in Truth." The pope's reflections on capitalism were two years in the making and publication was held up by the credit crunch. The text also examines ways out of the worst recession since World War II.

"Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty," Benedict wrote in the encyclical.

FATHER CORAPI: The Pope's New Encyclical-Caritas in Veritate

The Holy Father has recently released a much anticipated encyclical entitled Caritas in Veritate. I have frequently preached and taught on the indissoluble and absolute integrity of love and truth. There is no authentic charity without it being rooted in truth. If love is not in fact rooted in truth, then it is not authentic love. Charity in truth is the driving force behind the authentic development of every person, as the Holy Father points out.

The contemporary disintegration of societies and economies has at its root a failure or denial of this essential reality. When individuals fail or refuse to live charity in truth, then this is reflected in societies and economies. Love and truth are names for God. Jesus, the Lord (the God that is Love and Truth) is the Vine. We and all of society are the branches. If we refuse to live in Christ, then there is no life, either in societies or economies. This follows ultimately as surely as morning follows night.

The Holy Father points out the indispensable link between life ethics and social ethics. If a person or nation fails or refuses to respect the right to life, then it is folly to imagine that they will respect anyone or anything ultimately. If you don't respect an individual's right to life, how will you ever ultimately respect a worker's right to work? You won't.

We are on a collision course with social and economic chaos unless we begin to live charity in truth. This happens one person at a time. Make sure that you are one person that is living charity in truth.

EDITORIAL: Can The Economy Recover? by Paul Craig Roberts

HEADLINES

The economy's littlest victims- Emergency Infant Services program hard hit during recession
Local Catholic schools hit by budget crunch
O'Malley decries immigrant health care cut
Catholic Charities finishes shy of goal

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

2. With regard to its form, vainglory is a change of nature, a perversion of character, a note of blame. And with regard to its quality, it is a dissipation of labours, a waste of sweat, a betrayal of treasure, a child of unbelief, the precursor of pride, shipwreck in harbour, an ant on the threshing-floor which, though small, has designs upon all one's labour and fruit. The ant waits for the gathering of the wheat, and vainglory for the gathering of the riches of virtue; for the one loves to steal and the other to squander.

July 29, 2009  

(Joh 15:20) Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.

BISHOP FULTON J. SHEENMary and the Muslims
   
HEADLINE
: Middle East Christians Hit the Road 

Attacks on six churches in Iraq early this month and the targeting of Christians across the country have served as a microcosm of the difficulties facing Christians in the Middle East today. Migration, whether forced or to pursue a better life and employment opportunities elsewhere, has seen Christian numbers in the Middle East drop dramatically.

in 1948 Jerusalem was about one-fifth Christian but today that number stands at 2%, the New York Times reported in May. In Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, Christians now account for about 30% of the population, where they once made up around 80% of its inhabitants. In Lebanon, where Christians continue to hold significant political and social sway, their numbers are considerably higher than elsewhere in the region but are believed to be falling. A region that a century ago was 20% Christian is about 5% today, with the figures still dropping fast.

Uneasy existence for Christians The rise of political Islam and conservative thought across the region has been regarded as a refutation of an all-encroaching and consuming globalization. Radical Islam has also been identified as a political body with which to oppose a West whose interests in the Middle East have led it to be perceived as an exploiter and as responsible for the damage brought to Iraq and the Palestinian territories and for the siphoning off of oil.

Religion has become more politicized, and with divisions between Islam and the West gaining currency across the world, Christians in the Middle East increasingly feel caught in the middle. Identity has become a major issue for Muslims as a sense of inferiority (in terms of technology and popular culture) and attack reverberate around a region where foreign powers have attempted to conquer and collude for centuries. As a consequence of being a minority and as their numbers continue to shrink, Christians often feel vulnerable in a region that gave birth to the faith of 33% of the entire world.

During his visit to the Holy Land in May this year, Pope Benedict XVI lamented, "While understandable reasons lead many, especially the young, to emigrate ... the departure of so many members of the Christian community in recent years" is a "tragic reality".

RELATED EDITORIAL: Saving the Islamic World's Christians

IN THE NEWS

Jihad Watch Reports Persecution of Christians Increasing in Iraq
Young Christian Arrested for Blasphemy in Pakistan
Religious Cleansing in Iran

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE: Lone priest shepherds tiny flock of Catholics in Afghanistan

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 21- "On unmanly and puerile cowardice"

6. Although all cowardly people are vainglorious, yet not all who are unafraid are humble, since even robbers and grave-plunderers may be without fear.


July 28, 2009  

(Luk 10:2) And he said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he send labourers into his harvest.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: Priests are ‘instruments of salvation’ for all

During the Year for Priests, the Holy Father explained, "we priests especially can turn again to this text of John, where the Apostles say: Where will we be able to find bread for all these people? Reading of this anonymous boy who has five loaves and two fish, we too come to say spontaneously: But, what is this for such a crowd?"

"Who am I? How can I, with my limitations, help Jesus in His mission?" He continued: "The Lord's response is that by placing in his 'holy and venerable' hands the little that they are, priests become instruments of salvation for many, for all!"

APOSTOLIC PENITENTIARY DECREE SPECIAL INDULGENCE FOR THE YEAR FOR PRIESTS:
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/tribunals/apost_penit/documents/rc_trib_appen_doc_20090425_indulg-anno-sacerd_en.html

COMMENTARY: Priests Bring Light of Christ Into Our Hearts

It is so easy to criticize priests. This one delivers dull sermons. That one is always asking for money. The other one sings off-key.

And of course many lay people think they know the perfect cure for whatever ails any particular priest. “Oh, if the Church would just let them get married,” they say, “everything would be fine.” These folks forget, obviously, that marriage isn’t a cure-all for anyone’s problems, judging from the rate of divorce in our nation.

Still, it is quite true that one of the great sacrifices of the priesthood is giving up a wife and a family. But the very fact that so many men continue to be called to the priesthood reveals the deep supernatural stream that runs beneath the vocation.

How else to explain the attraction to a job that pays very little money, requires impossibly long hours and demands that you give up the comforts of marriage?

From the secular perspective, it makes no sense at all. But from the secular perspective, the love of Jesus Christ also makes no sense. And it is this love that sustains priests: not only their longing for Christ, but his tender heartfelt compassion toward them.

Many years ago, Southern writer Flannery O’Connor pointed out how easy it is to criticize priests. In fact, she said, any child could find fault with a sermon on his way home from Sunday Mass.

But it was impossible, she said, for that same child to see the bigger picture: to understand the “hidden love that makes a man, in spite of his intellectual limitations, his neuroticism, his own lack of strength, give up his life to the service of God’s people, however bumblingly he may go about it.” In fact, even the most “bumbling” priest can make a deeper difference in a person’s life than an investor, a surgeon or a professor. A professor can open the door to knowledge, an investor may show the way to huge wealth and a surgeon may cure a disease.

But a priest can gently lead a person in darkness to the light of Christ. He can nudge one who might otherwise end up in hell onto the road to heaven. And given that our earthly lives may equal 80 years at best, while the after-life has no end, it would seem the conclusion is obvious.

The work of a priest is the most important in the world.

This was brought home to me recently when my brother-in-law was hospitalized for a very long time at a Catholic hospital in Oklahoma City.

Although he is Catholic, my brother-in-law is the type of guy who finds fault with organized religion. You probably know people like him. Somehow, the fact that the local priest isn’t perfect or the local congregation harbors sinners is enough to make these folks bitter, and keep them from going to Mass.

But the great thing about hospital chaplains is they bring Christ to the very bedside of the patient.

Now the disgruntled Catholic can no longer complain that the Church demands too much money in the collection basket, because the chaplain asks for no money at all. The disgruntled Catholic can’t rail about Church hierarchy, because this one humble and smiling chaplain sits at the bedside, listening compassionately to the patient.

My brother-in-law received holy Communion daily when he was hospitalized repeatedly over a series of months, as he battled cancer. The priest who really broke through to him was 82 years old and retired.

And my niece described this priest very well: “He lights up the room when he walks in.” And that, of course, is the essence of being a good priest. A good priest brings the light and love of Christ into every room, into every house and into every heart.

Pope Benedict XVI has launched a “Year for Priests,” a special time to encourage priests as they strive to improve spiritually.

It would be wonderful over the summer to attend Mass and offer our Communion for the priests who have touched our lives.

They have given up wealth, family and prestige to serve us. They don’t expect awards, accolades, bonuses or benefits. But I have never known a priest who would turn down a prayer.

IN THE NEWS: Call from God changes plans

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 21- "On unmanly and puerile cowardice"

5. Those who mourn and those who are insensitive are not subject to fear, but the cowardly often have become deranged. And this is natural. For the Lord rightly forsakes the proud that the resut of us may learn not to be puffed up.


July 23, 2009  

THE TRIB TIMES WILL RETURN NEXT WEEK, GOD WILLING (James 4:15).

(1Pe 2:19-20) For this is thankworthy: if, for conscience towards God, a man endure sorrows, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, committing sin and being buffeted for it, you endure? But if doing well you suffer patiently: this is thankworthy before God.

PIUS XII-  Nothing is better able to restrain the movements of the soul, better able to subject to right reason the natural appetites, than penance.

FROM THE MAILBAG
VIA CABIO
: Praying, Fasting, and Pleasing Ourselves (Sermons of the Cure of Ars)

My dear brethren, we read in holy Scripture that the Lord, while speaking to His people of the necessity to do good works in order to please Him and to become included in the number of saints, said to them: "The things that I ask are not above your powers; to do them it is not necessary for you to lift yourselves to the clouds nor to cross the seas. All that I command is, so to speak, in your hands, in your hearts, and all around."

I can easily repeat the very same thing to you, my dear brethren. It is true that we shall never have the happiness of going to Heaven unless we do good works, but let us not be afraid of that, my dear children. What Jesus Christ demands of us are not the extraordinary things or those beyond our powers. He does not require that we should be all day in the church or that we should do enormous penances, that is to say, to the extent of ruining our health, or even to that of giving all our substance to the poor (although it is very true that we are obliged to give as much as we possibly can to the poor, which we should do both to please God, Who commands it, and also to atone for our sins). It is also true that we should practice mortification in many things to make reparation for our sins. There is no doubt but that the person who lives without mortifying himself is someone who will never succeed in saving his soul. There is no doubt but that, although we cannot be all day in the church, which yet should be a great joy for us, we do know very well that we should never omit our prayers, at least in the morning and at night.

But, you will say, there are plenty who cannot fast, others who are not able to give alms, and others who have so much to do that often they have great difficulty in saying their prayers in the morning and at night. How can they possibly be saved, then, if it is necessary to pray continuously and to do good works in order to obtain Heaven?

Because all your good works, my dear brethren, amount to prayer, fasting, and almsdeeds, which we can easily perform as you shall see.

Yes, my dear brethren, even though we may have poor health or even be infirm, there is a fast which we can easily perform.

Let us even be quite poor; we can still give alms. And however heavy or demanding our work, we can still pray to Almighty God without interfering with our labours; we can pray night and morning, and even all day long, and here is how we can do it. All the time that we deprive ourselves of anything which it gives us pleasure to do, we are practicing a fast which is very pleasing to God because fasting does not consist solely of privations in eating and drinking, but of denying ourselves that which pleases our taste most.

Some mortify themselves in the way they dress; others in the visits they want to make to friends whom they like to see; others in the conversations and discussions which they enjoy. This constitutes a very excellent fast and one which pleases God because it fights self-love and pride and one's reluctance to do things one does not enjoy or to be with people whose characters and ways of behaving are contrary to one's own. You can, without offending God, go into that particular company, but you can deprive yourself of it to please God: there is a type of fasting which is very meritorious.

You are in some situation in which you can indulge your appetite? Instead of doing so, you take, without making it obvious, something which appeals to you the least. When you are buying chattels or clothes, you do not choose that which merely appeals to you; there again is a fast whose reward waits for you at the door of Heaven to help you to enter. Yes, my dear brethren, if we want to go about it properly, not only can we find opportunities of practicing fasting every day, but at every moment of the day.

Tell me, now, is there any fasting which would be more pleasing to God than to do and to endure with patience certain things which often are very disagreeable to you? Without mentioning illness, infirmities, or so many other afflictions which are inseparable from our wretched life, how often do we not have the opportunity to mortify ourselves in putting up with what annoys and revolts us? Sometimes it is work which wearies us greatly; sometimes it is some person who annoys us. At another time it may be some humiliation which is very difficult to endure. Well, then, my children, if we put up with all that for God and solely to please Him, these are the fasts which are most agreeable to God and most meritorious in His eyes. You are compelled to work all the year round at very heavy and exacting labor which often seems as if it is going to kill you and which does not give you even the time to draw your breath. Oh, my dear children, what treasures would you be storing up for Heaven, if you so desired, by doing just what you do and in the midst of your labours having the wisdom and the foresight to lift up your hearts to God and say to Him: "My good Jesus, I unite my labours to Your labours, my sufferings to Your sufferings; give me the grace to be always content in the state in which You have placed me! I will bless Your holy Name in all that happens to me!" Yes, my dear children, if you had the great happiness to behave in this way, all your trials, all your labours, would become like most precious fruits which you would offer to God at the hour of your death. That, my children, is how everyone is his own state in life can practice a kind of fasting which is very meritorious and which will be of the greatest value to him for eternal life. I have been telling you, too, that there is a certain type of almsgiving which everyone can perform. You see quite well that almsgiving does not consist solely in feeding those who are hungry and giving clothes to those who have none. It consists in all the services which one renders to a neighbour, whether of body or soul, when they are done in a spirit of charity. When we have only a little, very well, let us give a little; and when we have nothing, let us lend if we can. If you cannot supply those who are sick with whatever would be good for them, well then, you can visit them, you can say consoling words to them, you can pray for them so that they will put their illness to good use.

Yes, my dear children, everything is good and precious in God's sight when we act from the motives of religion and of charity because Jesus Christ tells us that a glass of water would not go unrewarded. You see, therefore, my children, that although we may be quite poor, we can still easily give alms.

I told you that however exacting our work was, there is a certain kind of prayer which we can make continually without, at the same time, upsetting our labours, and this is how it is done.

It is seeking, in everything we do, to do the will of God only.

Tell me, my children, is it so difficult to seek only to do the will of God in all of our actions, however small they may be? Yes, my children, with that prayer everything becomes meritorious for Heaven, and without that will, all is lost.

Alas! How many good things, which would help us so well to gain Heaven, go unrewarded simply by not doing our ordinary duties with the right intention!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 21- "On unmanly and puerile cowardice"

4. A proud soul is a slave of cowardice; it vainly trusts in itself, and is afraid of any sound or shadow of creatures.


July 22, 2009  

(1Pe 5:8) Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.

EDITORIALS FOR PRAYERFUL CONSIDERATION

Lucifer's Rebellion Gains Momentum
Why does evil prosper?
Revolution
A German Lady Remembers and Speaks

HEADLINE: Middle East atomic conflict would kill tens of millions: report

It's the nightmare that haunts the modern Middle East --Iran succeeds in its quest for nuclear weapons and goes to war with Israel, causing massive human casualties and destruction on a demonic scale that in turn could trigger a worldwide economic collapse.

Now, researchers at Washington's Center for Strategic & International Studies have tried to assess the extent to which civilian targets will be damaged in any Iran-Israel nuclear exchange.

The initial fireball accompanying a 100-kiloton nuclear bomb exploding in the heart of Tel Aviv will instantly kill 8,966 people and injure 3,243 more, say Anthony Cordesman and Abdullah Toukan.

But within three weeks, that death toll will soar to nearly 800,000 as a plume of radiation spreads across the country.

Given its tiny size and 7.2 million population, a single nuclear blast could devastate Israel.

It could "wipe Israel off the map in a matter of seconds," Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, said recently. The Iranians could "accomplish in a matter of seconds what they denied Hitler did, and kill six million Jews, literally."

"Any missile with a nuclear warhead landing in Tel Aviv, Israel, will affect the West Bank, causing a large number of fatalities and injuries to the Palestinian inhabitants, pollute and contaminate the agricultural land and resources that lie in the Jordan Valley and, over the longer term, fallout radiation would reach the outskirts of Amman, Jordan, which is some 108 kilometres from Tel Aviv," the study warns.

Retaliatory Israeli nuclear strikes, with higher-yield bombs and accurate rocket delivery systems, would be far more destructive.

A single 500-kiloton Israeli nuclear bomb dropped on Tehran would instantly kill 56,771 people and the death toll would soar to 1.47 million, with 5.1 million injured, within a week.

A full-fledged Israeli nuclear response, using some, but not all, of its 200 nuclear weapons, would target most major Iranian cities and major military bases. It would kill 16 million to 28 million people within three weeks.

Metropolitan Tehran, with a population of 15 million, is "a topographic basin with mountain reflector -- nearly an ideal nuclear killing ground," the study said.

With thousands of centrifuges spinning away to produce highly enriched uranium, Iran gets closer to owning nuclear weapons with each day that passes.

RELATED HEADLINES

Report: Israel Preparing to Strike Against Iran
Q+A-Could Israel-Iran standoff turn violent?
Netanyahu defies U.S. on East Jerusalem settlement

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 21- "On unmanly and puerile cowardice"

3. Fear is a rehearsing of danger beforehand; or again, fear is a trembling sensation of the heart, alarmed and troubled by unknown misfortunes. Fear is a loss of assurance.


July 21, 2009  

(John 2:5) His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.

VIA A MOMENT WITH MARY: The Mother of God Pours Out Her Mercy (Orthodox Hymn)


O people, let us run to that quiet good haven, to the speedy helper, the warm salvation, to the Virgin's protection. Let us speed to prayer and hasten to repentance. For the Mother of God pours out her mercy, anticipates needs, and averts disasters for her patient and God-fearing servants.

LINK: Rosary Miracle - Safe in the Midst of Hiroshima Nuclear Blast !!
 
LINK: Power of the Most Holy Rosary- A Revolution in 1986 (Phillipines)

CATHOLIC BLOG (05/09): How I knew the priest who ministered to Ted Bundy & his victims

Monsignor William Kerr has died. Among other things, he was famous for having administered the last rites to one of serial killer Ted Bundy's victims and then became a spiritual counselor for Bundy on death row.

I met Monsignor Kerr in 1994, I believe, when he was president of La Roche College, outside Pittsburgh. I was a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville and I'd been preparing for the Total Consecration to Mary according to St. Louis de Montfort with some of my friends. One of them was my roommate, Kevin Gillen, now Fr. Gabriel Gillen, OP, who knew the monsignor. Kevin arranged for Msgr. Kerr to lead us in the final consecration following Mass at La Roche. I don't remember too much about the day, but I do remember Msgr. Kerr was kind and gracious to us.

Kevin told us the story Msgr. Kerr told him about that awful night in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1978. He said Kerr got the call from the police in the middle of the night to rush out to the sorority house. When he arrived he was told that all but one of the girls in the house were dead or near death, killed by a serial killer who was later to be known to the world as Ted Bundy. After giving those last rites to the dying college girl, then-Fr. Kerr was asked by the police on the scene to talk to the girl who survived unscathed. They wanted to know how she survived the brutal attacks, because Bundy had stopped right inside the door to her room, dropped his weapon, and left without touching her. But the girl would talk to no one but a priest.

When Fr. Kerr approached the near-catatonic girl, she told him that her mother had made her promise before going off to college for the first time that she would pray the Rosary every night before bed for protection; even if she fell asleep praying the Rosary, which she had that night so that when Bundy came into her room with murder on his mind, the beads were still clutched in her hands.

Later, Bundy would tell Monsignor that when he entered the girl's room, he just couldn't go on, he dropped his weapon, and he fled. Such is the power of our Mother's protective mantle.

Rest in peace, Msgr. Kerr, and thank you for your small part in my faith journey and for your witness.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 21- "On unmanly and puerile cowardice"

2. Cowardice is a childish disposition in an old, vainglorious soul. Cowardice is a falling away from the faith that comes of expecting the unexpected.


July 17, 2009  

THE TRIB TIMES WILL RETURN NEXT WEEK, GOD WILLING (James 4:15).

(Mat 5:14-16) You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

ESSAY: Split in Conscience: "liberal" and "conservative" reactions to Caritas in Veritate
by Michael D. O'Brien

MORE: For Catholics, charity is 'guiding principle'


THECATHOLICSPIRIT.COM:
Spotlighting a century of Catholic social teaching

VATICAN
- Benedict XVI tells European university students:

 “Your missionary work in the university setting consists in bearing witness to the personal encounter you have had with Jesus Christ, the Truth that lights the path of every man. From that encounter with Him comes a 'newness of heart,' capable of giving a new orientation to one's personal existence. Only in this manner does one become yeast and leaven for a society enlivened by evangelical love.” This was the exhortation that the Holy Father Benedict XVI made to the participants in the First European Encounter of University Students, sponsored by the Catechesis-School-University Commission of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE), whom he received in an audience on Saturday, July 11, Feast of Saint Benedict, Patron of Europe.

Benedict XVI said: “After the European meeting of professors held two years ago, you students now gather together to offer the Bishops' Conferences of Europe your openness to continuing on the path of cultural elaboration that Saint Benedict saw was necessary for human and Christian maturing of the people of Europe. This could occur if you, like the disciples of Emmaus, meet the Risen Lord in a concrete ecclesial experience, and especially in the Eucharistic Celebration.” The Pontiff then highlighted that university pastoral action should express itself “in all its theological and spiritual rigor, helping young people in making their communion with Christ lead them to perceive the deepest mystery of man and history,” and the university chaplaincies “can be sites for the formation of mature believers, men and women who know they are loved by God and called, in Christ, to contribute to the university campus ministry.” He then mentioned how the Christian presence in the university “becomes increasingly demanding and also attractive, because the faith is called, as in past centuries, to offer its irreplaceable service to knowledge, which in modern-day society is the true motor of development. From knowledge, enriched by the contribution of the faith, depends the ability of a people to look upon the future with hope, overcoming the temptations of a purely materialistic vision of our essence and history.”

“Dear young people, you are the future of Europe!” the Pope exclaimed, recalling that during these years of study the university students are called to invest their greatest resources, not only intellectual ones, in forming their own personality and contributing to the common good. “Working for the progress of knowledge is the specific vocation of the university, and it demands increasingly higher moral and spiritual qualities, in the face of the vastness and complexity of the knowledge that mankind has at its disposition. The new cultural synthesis, which at this time is being elaborated in Europe and in the globalized world, is in need of contributions from intellectuals who are capable of returning talk of God to the classrooms – or better yet, of reviving man's desire to seek God – 'quaerere Deum' – which I have made reference to on other occasions.” The Pope's final invitation to the youth from 31 European nations was that, along with their professors, they may “create laboratories of faith and culture, sharing in the tiring work of study and research with all their friends.” “Love your universities, as they are the training ground for virtue and service. The Church in Europe places great trust in all your generous apostolic work.”

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 21- "On unmanly and puerile cowardice"

1. If you pursue virtue in a monastery or coenobium, you are not likely to be attacked much by cowardice. But the man who spends his time in more solitary places should make every effort to avoid being overcome by that offspring of vainglory, that daughter of unbelief, cowardice.


July 16, 2009  

(2Th 2:15) Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle.

BLOG: What is Devotional Catholicism?

VIA MANILA: Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Catholic tradition holds that on July 16, 1251, our Blessed Mother handed over a brown scapular to Simon Stock, a pious member who eventually became a leader of the Carmelite congregation for more than two decades, saying, "Take, beloved son, this scapular of your order as a badge of my confraternity and for you and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant.''

The Carmelite Order, at that time, was experiencing great trials and difficulties. They regarded the bestowal of the scapular by Our Lady as a response to their fervent prayers to God to keep them from all danger, harm, and suffering. They saw it as a blessing from the Lord, a symbol of God's ever abiding presence.

Pope John XXII in 1322 decreed a special indulgence for those who die wearing the brown scapular. The pontiff said that Our Lady appeared to him and asked him to specially look after the Carmelites. In addition to this, the Holy Father said, Our Lady promised that all faithful Christians who die wearing a scapular would enjoy early liberation from purgatory with her special intercession before God. The Blessed Mother herself would fetch the pious soul in purgatory the Saturday after their death in order to bring them to heaven. Marian devotees thus call this special intercession the "Sabbatine Privilege'' (from Sabbath, meaning Saturday).

Today, the devotion of wearing of the scapular of the Blessed Mother of Carmel is almost as popular as the recitation of the Holy Rosary. The Catholic Church recognizes the importance of these outward expressions of faith in God and seeking the intercession of the Blessed Mother and the saints. These signs and symbols will not by themselves bring us to heaven but will certainly help us live a holy life. May the scapular remind us always that God is near and we have a caring mother who is always there ready to lead us to Jesus, her Son and our Lord. Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

PRAYER: "Flos Carmeli" - Prayer of St. Simon Stock      

O beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, Splendor of Heaven, holy
and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a Pure
Virgin, assist me in this necessity. O Star of the sea, help and protect me!
Show me that Thou art my Mother.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!

Mother and Ornament of Carmel, Pray for us!
Virgin, Flower of Carmel, Pray for us!
Patroness of all who wear the Scapular, Pray for us!
Hope of all who die wearing the Scapular, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Friend of the Sacred Heart, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of Mary, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Our Patron, Pray for us!
O sweet Heart of Mary, Be our salvation!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

11. Long sleep is an unjust comrade; it robs the lazy of half their life, and even more.


July 15, 2009  

(Joh 8:31-32) Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him: If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth: and the truth shall make you free.

EXCERPT ESSAY BY ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: "Catholics and the "Fourth Estate"

Before the 1789 revolution in France, that country had a parliament called the Estates General. The Estates General had three houses representing the three main pillars or "estates" of French society: the clergy, the nobles and the common people. But there was also another, very powerful player in the revolutionary events of that time, and a British statesman coined the phrase "fourth estate" to acknowledge the huge influence of the press.

Over the past 200 years, the power of the press in democratic societies has grown dramatically. The influence of the press led the 19th century poet and playwright Oscar Wilde to write that :

"In old days men had the rack. Now they have the press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralizing. Somebody -- was it [Edmund] Burke? -- called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time, no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three . . . We are dominated by journalism."

Of course, Oscar Wilde was not exactly a model of piety and Spartan virtue. But he had the gift of very keen perception, and we should think about what he said. When the press portrays itself as the "tribune of the people," ensuring the honesty of the other major institutions in our society through relentless critical scrutiny – then we need to ask the question, who scrutinizes the press? Who keeps our news media honest? Who holds them accountable for humiliating one political candidate while fawning over another? Nobody elected Brian Williams as the NBC news anchor. And readers can't impeach the editor of The New York Times – though some people I know would find that a happy thought.

What we can do is refuse to be stupid. We can decline to be sandbagged by our news establishment into thinking that marriage for homosexual partners is inevitable or an obligation of social justice; or that Islam and Christianity lead to pretty much the same conclusions about freedom, society and the nature of the human person; or that the abortion issue is somehow "settled" when thousands of unborn children continue to be legally killed everyday.

Scripture tells us that the Christian citizen must "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God, the things that are God's." The press can't help us with that task, because it doesn't know, and often doesn't want to know, the difference.

What we owe Caesar above all is honest, vigorous, public moral witness on abortion and every other vital social issue, whether Caesar likes it or not. Our moral witness needs to be formed not by the nightly news, but by learning and living an authentic Catholic faith. And when it is, we'll be the kind of citizens who can appreciate the genuine service our news media provide to society. We'll also be the kind of citizens who demand that our news media act with the sobriety, integrity, fairness and honesty their vocation requires.

LINK TO ENTIRE ESSAY (PDF): http://www.archden.org/repository//Documents/ArchbishopChaputCorner/Addresses/Legatus_7.8.09.pdf

WSJ OPINION: The Catholic Double Standard

IN THE NEWS


Analysis: Translating the Sotomayor hearing code
The politics of compromise
Sotomayor confirmation all but assured

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

10. The farmer's wealth is gathered on the threshing floor and in the wine-press, but the wealth and knowledge of monks is gathered during the evenings and the night hours while standing at prayer and engaged in spiritual activity.


July 10, 2009  

THE TRIB TIMES WILL RETURN NEXT WEEK, GOD WILLING (James 4:15).

(Mat 10:18-20) And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles: But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak: For it is not you that speak, but the spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.

HEADLINE: Pope presses Obama on abortion, stem cells

Pope Benedict XVI stressed the church's opposition to abortion and stem cell research in his first meeting with President Barack Obama on Friday, pressing the Vatican's case with the U.S. leader who is already under fire on those issues from some conservative Catholics and bishops back home.

The 30-minute meeting Vatican audience was described by both sides as positive — constructive talks between two men who agree on helping the poor and pushing for Middle East peace but disagree on what the Vatican considers prime ethical issues.

Even in his gift to the U.S. leader, the pope sought to underscore his beliefs. Benedict gave Obama a copy of a Vatican document on bioethics that hardened the church's opposition to using embryos for stem cell research, cloning and in-vitro fertilization. Obama supports stem cell research.

RELATED NEWS ITEMS

Benedict gives Obama some life lessons -- literally
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HISTORY:
Presidents and popes: Obama is 12th US president to visit Vatican


LINK
: The Seventeen Evidences of a Lack of Humility

The Servant of God, Blessed Josemaria Escriva once compiled and inventory of pride so exhaustive that it is like something written on the shield of a soldier who has learned it all in true combat. Saint John Vianney (Cure of Ars) wrote the same thing in shorthand when he signed his name to a clerical petition. His fellow priests circulated a petition accusing St. Vianney of sensationalism, ignorance, and ostentatious poverty and austerities. As it was addressed to all clergy, St. Vianney got a hold of it, read it, and promptly signed it. By 1834 the local priests themselves were going to St. Vianney for confession.

The seventeen evidences of a lack of humility are:

1. To think that what one says or does is better than what others say or do
2. To always want to get your own way
3. To argue with stubbornness and bad manners whether you are right or wrong
4. To give your opinion when it has not been requested or when charity does not demand it
5. To look down on another's point of view
6. Not to look on your gifts and abilities as lent
7. Not to recognize that you are unworthy of all honors and esteem, not even of the earth you walk on and things you possess
8. To use yourself as an example in conversations
9. To speak badly of yourself so that others will think well of you or contradict you
10. To excuse yourself when you are corrected
11. To hide humiliating faults from your spiritual director, so that he will not change the impression he has of you
12. To take pleasure in praise and compliments
13. To be saddened because others are held in higher esteem
14. To refuse to perform inferior tasks
15. To seek to stand out
16. To refer in conversation to your honesty, genius, dexterity, or professional prestige
17. To be ashamed because you lack certain goods

For more information on the Cure of Ars, we recommend the book "Saint John Vianney", by George William Rutler.

MORE: Litany of Humility

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

9. Long sleep produces forgetfulnes, but vigil purifies the memory.


July 9, 2009  

(Heb 12:1-2) And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who, having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God.

AUTHOR: Viewing saints as perfect is a mistake


As the proposed sainthood of Emil Kapaun has advanced in the Catholic Church, an expert has watched with an interest stemming from his joy of studying Kapaun.

Many Catholics have made the mistake of "pasteurizing" their saints, making them into sanitized and de-humanized cliches, said Thomas J. Craughwell, a popular author and a writer on saints for the Catholic Church.

"Cleaning up" saints is a disservice to the saints, and to the church, he said; saints are appealing in part because of their sins, their rough edges and their ordinariness.

St. Augustine was a womanizer. St. Francis of Assisi was a party animal. Dismas was a thief and a condemned sinner until he turned to Jesus and asked forgiveness when they were being nailed to crosses side by side.

Part of what made Augustine and Francis and Dismas saints were the flaws that came with their humanity, Craughwell said.

He has written a dozen popular books, including secular ones like "Stealing Lincoln's Body," and religion-themed books including "Saints Behaving Badly: The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men and Devil-Worshipers Who Became Saints."

Craughwell thinks Kapaun has a "great chance" of becoming a saint. He said this would be good for the church for a number of reasons, not least of which is that Kapaun was heroic while also cranky at times, prone to swearing.

"I stumbled across a biography of Father Emil a few years ago," Craughwell said in a telephone interview from Connecticut. "He wasn't levitating three feet off the ground. He was an ordinary guy in a tough situation, acting in a way that was so admirable and inspiring.

"He seems like the kind of guy that if you were his neighbor, you could mow your lawn and then sit down with him on his porch and have a beer with him."

Kapaun, a Catholic priest and chaplain, deliberately allowed himself to be captured by the Chinese Army in 1950 during a disastrous U.S. Army retreat. He stayed behind with the wounded soldiers about to be executed by the roadside, then behaved heroically in prison camps until he died in May 1951.

Craughwell said from what he has read, Kapaun has a good chance of being canonized in the next few years because his heroism was so pronounced, because fellow soldiers said the Chinese camp guards murdered Kapaun because of his religious faith, and because Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005, sped up the canonization process.

It will still take miracles, Craughwell said. And those miracles may already have been identified.

Andrea Ambrosi, a lawyer and investigator for the Vatican, visited family members and doctors for two Wichita-area families last week who believe the survival of their children during recent medical crises should qualify as miracles. Afterward, the investigator told a local priest that he had never seen doctors make such a compelling case for miracles occurring.

MORE ON SAINTLY HOLINESS

Marshfield man's prayer an answer in sainthood query
Support for Aquino akin to prayerful time
The Blessed KŠteri TekahkwŪ:tha Feast Day July 14

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

8. The preparing of the table exposes gluttons, but the work of prayer exposes lovers of God. The former skip on seeing the table, but the latter scowl.


July 8, 2009  

(Luk 12:16-21) And he spoke a similitude to them, saying: The land of a certain rich man brought forth plenty of fruits. And he thought within himself, saying: What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said: This will I do: I will pull down my barns and will build greater: and into them will I gather all things that are grown to me and my goods. And I will say to my soul: Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years. Take thy rest: eat, drink, make good cheer. But God said to him: Thou fool, this night do they require thy soul of thee. And whose shall those things be which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God.

G. K. CHESTERTON: "Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists."

VATICAN: Pope calls for new approach to global finance

Pope Benedict XVI has called for a "profoundly new way" of organising global finance and business, and called for a broader social responsibility in relation to capitalism. In his third encyclical document, Caritas in veritate (Charity in Truth), released on Tuesday, Benedict also said that social issues cannot be disconnected from the defence of life from the moment of conception to death.

"The conviction that the economy must be autonomous, that it must be shielded from 'influences' of a moral character, has led man to abuse the economic process in a thoroughly destructive way," the pope said.

"In the long term, these convictions have led to economic, social and political systems that trample upon personal and social freedom, and are therefore unable to deliver the justice that they promise."

"The world's wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase," the pope said.

The pontiff expressed concern about certain "malfunctions" of development and "speculative" financial dealings that were creating new forms of poverty.

He also called for greater international co-operation to safeguard the human rights of immigrants.

"Every migrant is a human being who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance," he said.

The pope also reiterated the church's hardline opposition to abortion and used the encyclical to accuse governments and non-governmental organisations of working "actively" to spread abortion and promote sterilisation in poor countries.

"The church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics," the pope said.

"Moreover, there is reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked to specific health care policies which de facto involve the imposition of strong birth control measures."

"Further grounds for concern," the pope said, "are laws permitting euthanasia as well as pressure from lobby groups, nationally and internationally, in favour of its juridical recognition."

FULL TEXT: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20090629_caritas-in-veritate_en.html

COMMENTARY: Caritas in Veritate: Why Truth Matters

VATICAN RADIO: Charity in Truth: A Wake up Call for World Leaders and Civil Society

INSIDE THE VATICAN NEWSFLASH: http://insidethevatican.com/newsflash/2009/newsflash-jul-06-09.htm

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

7. The God-loving monk, when the trumpet sounds for prayer, says 'Good, good!' The lazy one says: 'Woe, alas!' 

July 2, 2009   

THE TRIB TIMES WILL RETURN NEXT WEEK, GOD WILLING (James 4:15).

(Zec 12:10)
And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn.

REVIEW: Church Fathers and Saints on the End-Times Conversion of the Jews

USCCB: Bishops clarify 'ambiguities' in 2002 Catholic-Jewish document

The USCCB committees on Doctrine and on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs said the Catholic section of a 2002 document, "Reflections on Covenant and Mission," written by participants in an ongoing dialogue between the National Council of Synagogues and the USCCB interreligious affairs committee, "contains some statements that are insufficiently precise and potentially misleading."

"'Reflections on Covenant and Mission' should not be taken as an authoritative presentation of the teaching of the Catholic Church," the committees said in a note issued in San Antonio during the bishops' June 17-19 spring meeting.

Of special concern are the document's "description of the church's mission and, in particular, what evangelization means with regard to the Jewish people," the committees said.

By stating that the Jewish people's "witness to the kingdom ... must not be curtailed by seeking the conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity," the document "could lead some to conclude mistakenly that Jews have an obligation not to become Christian and that the church has a corresponding obligation not to baptize Jews," they added.

The 2002 document also calls interreligious dialogue a form of evangelization that is "a mutually enriching sharing of gifts devoid of any intention whatsoever to invite the dialogue partner to baptism."

"Though Christian participation in interreligious dialogue would not normally include an explicit invitation to baptism and entrance into the church, the Christian dialogue partner is always giving witness to the following of Christ, to which all are implicitly invited," the committees' note said.

LINK TO DOCUMENT:  http://www.usccb.org/bishops/covenant09.pdf

CATHOLIC MESSENGER: ADL Injects New Tension in Catholic-Jewish Dialogue

NEWS FROM ISRAEL: Jewish-born Polish priest dreams of Aliyah

EDITORIAL: Redemption Comes Through The Jews… Jewish Businessman, Sam Miller, Whaps Anti-Catholic Bias in News Media

FROM THE MAILBAG
: A Jewish businessman in Chicago sent his son to Israel for a year to absorb the culture. When the son returned, he said, "Papa, I had a great time in Israel. By the way, I converted to Christianity."

"Oy vey," said the father. "What have I done?" He took his problem to his best friend.

"Ike," he said, "I sent my son to Israel, and he came home a Christian. What can I do?"

"Funny you should ask," said Ike. "I, too, sent my son to Israel, and he also came home a Christian. Perhaps we should go see the rabbi."

So they did, and they explained their problem to the rabbi.

"Funny you should ask," said the rabbi. "I, too, sent my son to Israel, and he also came home a Christian. What is happening to our young people?"

And so they all prayed, telling the Lord about their sons. As they finished their prayer, a voice came from the heavens: "Funny you should ask," said the voice... "I, too, sent my son to Israel....

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

6. A vigilant monk is a fisher of thoughts, and in the serenity of the night he can easily observe and catch them.

July 1, 2009

(Rom 6:16-18) Know you not that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey, whether it be of sin unto death or of obedience unto justice. But thanks be to God, that you were the servants of sin but have obeyed from the heart unto that form of doctrine into which you have been delivered. Being then freed from sin, we have been made servants of justice.

LINK:  Prayer for Priests

FROM THE MAILBAG
VIA Christian Witness : A Message for Independence Day from Father Corapi

I have fond memories of the 4th of July going back to when I was probably only four or five years old. We remember the parades, the picnics or barbecues, and the happy gathering of families. During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain actually took place on July 2,
1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve the resolution of independence previously put forth by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. After debate and revision Congress approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4th.

Of note is the letter John Adams, one of only two Founding Fathers who went on to become president, wrote to his wife Abigail:

"…This day ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forever more." (Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society)

Like so many of the Founding Fathers, Adams recognized that the day of deliverance came from the providential hand of almighty God. I am not sure about large numbers of duplicitous politicians and other so-called public servants today, whether elected or appointed.

Freedom is a great thing, and we do well to celebrate it on the 4th of July. That being said, it’s something rooted in truth, and apart from the truth there can be no authentic freedom.

"If you continue in my word [truth] you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31-32)

An individual, a country, or a world that does not remain rooted in objective truth cannot ultimately live in freedom. If you are serious about your faith, my dear friends, I strongly recommend that you read CCC #1730-1748 (here) as we approach the wonderful celebration of Independence Day, or the 4th of July.

Some highlights of this reality:

1731: Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude [true happiness].

1733: The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes… One of the most common errors of all time is to confuse freedom and license. Today, frequently under the specious pretext freedom, mankind acts in a manner that is really license. We are not morally free to do whatever we choose to do. Only when rooted in truth and acting in objective truth can we hope to be free. No one has the moral right to do evil. No one has the moral right to choose to take an innocent life or to engage in actions that are out of accord with right reason or any objective standards of morality we have ever known.

The inevitable consequence of abusing freedom is losing freedom. Soon, if we do not alter our present course, the United States will no longer be the home of the brave and the land of the free. Loss of personal freedoms, one at a time, is already well underway. One day we shall awake from our moral slumber and find that we have become slaves.

We must live in truth and act in truth if we are to remain free. Abuse it and I assure you we shall lose it! Wake up America! God is not a disinterested spectator. Let’s thank God for our freedom, but let’s not sit by idly while the forces of darkness divorce freedom from truth.
For, as Jesus says, “The man who sins is the slave of sin.” (John 8:34)

I’ll leave you with the motto of the United States Army Special Forces on this 4th of July:

De oppresso liber! (To free the oppressed)

Indeed, Jesus came to set the captives free.

Let’s do our part for our country and our world that we might all remain free in the glorious freedom of the children of God.

God Bless You, Fr. John Corapi

VIA Christians Against Blasphemy: Five Ploys of Satan 

Doubt - Tempts us to question God's Word and his goodness, forgiveness, and love 

Discouragement - Tempts us to focus intently on our problems rather than entrusting them to God's care 

Diversion - Tempts us to see the wrong things as attractive so that we will want them more than the right things 

Defeat - Tempts us to feel like failure so that we don't even try 

Delay - Tempts us to procrastinate so that things never get done 

Reflect on these ploys of Satan, and if you find that he has darkened your life on any of these counts, lift up the situation to Our Lady in prayer.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

5. Vigil is a quenching of lust, deliverance from dream phantoms, a tearful eye, a softened heart, the guarding of thoughts, the smelting furnace of food, the subduing of passions, the taming of spirits, the chastisement of the tongue, the banisment of phantasies.
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