Keep your eyes open!...


July 25, 2013 


(John 2:4-5) And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? My hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.

POPE FRANCIS: "When the Church looks for Jesus”, he said on this occasion, 'she always knocks at his Mother’s door'. I too have come here to knock on the door of the house of Mary, so she may help us pass on to future generations those values necessary to build both a more just and fraternal nation and world".


ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT AT WORLD YOUTH DAY: Thirsting for God, thirsting for hope

TIMELY: Four Common Tactics of the Devil by Msgr. Charles Pope

EXCELLENT REVIEW: The Last Four Things Lecturer by Father Francis Peffley


Catholic News

Signs of the Times

Catholic Commentary
Statements of Archbishop Chaput
Barnhardt Blog

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Various Subjects

4. I am very glad that our divine Master has shown you that these trials add to the burden of your office; for He wishes them to be the cause of your having more frequent recourse to His Goodness, which will turn all these things to His glory and to your advantage, if you second His designs.

July 18, 2013

(Rom 11:25-26) For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery (lest you should be wise in your own conceits) that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved, as it is written: There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.

CATHOLIC SENTINEL: Pope says Catholic-Jewish dialogue enriches faith, humanity

: Some thoughts on the course of Catholic-Jewish relations

Most people involved in inter-religious dialogue would trace the conversion of Catholic attitudes toward Judaism to two things: emotionally, to the shock of the Holocaust; and intellectually, to the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s.  Vatican II was what Catholics call an “ecumenical council” — a gathering of all Catholic bishops from around the world, under the guidance of the Pope, the bishop of Rome.

Vatican II wanted to renew the way the Church interacted with the modern world.  So a key part of the council’s work was reexamining the way religious truth should relate to freedom of conscience.  And that led to a formal statement on the relationship of the Church and non-Christian religions, Nostra Aetate.  The Latin name means “in this age of ours.”  Nostra Aetate repudiated anti-Semitism and sins against the Jewish people; and it called for a new kind of relationship with Jews based on a common spiritual heritage.

For Catholics, Nostra Aetate was revolutionary.  It opened the possibility of a dialogue of equals; a dialogue of mutual respect.  One of the vital things Vatican II did for Jewish-Catholic affairs was to point Catholics back to their own origins.  It’s impossible to pray over the Word of God in Scripture and ignore the Jewish roots of the Catholic faith.  The more deeply a Catholic encounters Scripture, the more contradictory anti-Judaism becomes.

Nostra Aetate bore good fruit.  When John Paul II traveled to Yad Vashem 13 years ago and expressed his sorrow for “the hatred, acts of persecution and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews by Christians at any time and in any place,” he did it for two reasons.

First, it’s the truth, and justice requires that the truth be spoken.  Only in speaking the truth, can the sinner become free.  Second, by his witness, Pope John Paul gave an example to the entire Church about how to live the Christian vocation, not just in relationship to the Jewish people, but to the whole world.

My point here is that the Church since Vatican II genuinely desires to renew the spiritual life of her people — and that can’t be done without real repentance and conversion.  So I believe we really are living a new and unique moment in Catholic-Jewish relations.  And Catholics will never be able to go back to the kind of systemic prejudice that marked the past.

That’s the good news.  The more complicated news is that repentance, as hard as it can be, is the easy part.  Repentance requires a sinner to acknowledge his sins, turn to God, and change his actions.  But reconciliation requires both the sinner and the person sinned against to want some sort of common future, and to work toward it honestly.  And frankly there’s no easy blueprint to make that happen.

As unaware as many Catholics are about the Jewish roots of their faith, I suspect that at least some Jews would be happy just to have the Catholic Church go away and leave them alone.  And that flows both from painful historical memories, and from Jewish apprehensions about the Church as a kind of religious corporation with institutional power.

For believing Catholics, the institutional side of the Church is probably the least important part of their faith.  The institutions are necessary in the way a skeleton is necessary to support the muscle and organs of the body.  But that’s not where the soul resides.

The Catholic soul resides in prayer and worship, in service to others, and in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  I’m not sure Jews always see that, or even try to see that, in their understanding of the Church.

In like manner, Catholics often find it hard to understand what holds the Jewish community together.  Catholics — and by “Catholics” I mean those who actually believe and practice their faith, because they’re the ones who keep the Church alive from one generation to the next — tend to approach things from a religious perspective.  But in our dialogue with the Jewish community Catholics soon discover that being Jewish — depending on the Jewish dialogue partner — can have a religious definition, or a cultural or ethnic definition, or some combination of all of three.  And being genuinely Jewish may or may not include a belief in God.

Being Catholic is a different kind of experience.  What holds the Church together is mainly what we believe and how we worship.  So unity on central matters of faith is not a technicality.  It becomes very important.  Real Catholic faith is not rooted in cultural or ethnic identity or a good system of ethics.

You can’t deny the Resurrection and honestly call yourself Catholic, even if you’re a very good person.  Of course, some people do — but when they do, they separate themselves from the Catholic community, as it has always defined itself from Scripture and tradition.  So – for example — when the Church corrects a theologian for teaching what she regards as an error, she’s not doing it out of some arbitrary misuse of power.  She’s doing it to help ensure unity in what Catholics profess, because that unity of creed is our lifeblood.

So where does that leave our discussion?

Aside from the obvious fact of rejecting anti-Semitism, Vatican II has two legacies crucial for our time together today.  The first is the Catholic recognition that God’s covenant with the Jewish people is unique, permanent and fruitful in its own right.  It can’t be rendered null by any other religious claim or revelation.  The second is that all people have a right to freedom of conscience as persons created by God — and that freedom implies the right to be free from being forced into accepting what they don’t believe to be true.

The Church’s understanding of her missionary mandate has changed to acknowledge that any kind of coercion in the name of truth ends up subverting the truth and undermining the sanctity of the human person.  To put it another way:  If the Gospel is a message of salvation and freedom, then how can it be imposed and still be believed?  Having learned this lesson the hard way, the Church can never really “unlearn” it.

Cooperation between Catholics and Jews, whatever shape that takes in the future after so many centuries of friction, is finally something that will be the work of God.  And God will do it in his own time using us as his instruments — not in dramatic gestures, but in the little things we can do together that accumulate to make a difference.

RELATED:  Jews also cheer for John XXIII and John Paul II

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Various Subjects

3. Do not think that to work for the salvation of the souls He has entrusted to you is an obstacle to your own salvation. On the contrary, by this means you will oblige His Goodness to give you greater help to work it out with less danger. Watch carefully, therefore, over your little flock.

July 16, 2013

(Mat 24:6-8) And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass: but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And there shall be pestilences and famines and earthquakes in places. Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows.


VATICAN RADIO: Catholics urged to pray for victims of Syria conflict

The head of the bishops conference of England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols presided at a Mass in London’s Westminster Cathedral on Friday to pray for all those suffering the effects of the civil war in Syria.

In a statement issued earlier in the week, all of the English and Welsh Church leaders called on Catholics to pray for a peaceful solution to the conflict and to offer whatever practical support they can through aid agencies that are operating in the region.

The bishops first appealed for solidarity with the people of Syria following their plenary meeting last autumn, asking the Catholic community to make December 4th, feast day of St John Damascene, a day of prayer for all those suffering from violence and injustice in the region.  Since then the conflict in Syria has intensified with the death toll now reaching 100.000.

: 'Shadow war' targets Christians in Syria

ZENIT: Please Pray for Egypt

The UK head of a charity that supports persecuted Christians is calling on people to pray for peace in Egypt after a sudden spike in attacks on Copts in the wake of President Morsi’s dramatic downfall.

Neville Kyrke-Smith of Aid to the Church in Need, whose fact-finding trip to Egypt coincided with the demonstrations that preceded Mohammed Morsi’s fall from power, spoke of his concern about a “specific and targeted assault” on Christians across the country since the change of regime.

Mr Kyrke-Smith, National Director of ACN UK, said: “At this critical time in Egypt – as reports come in of recent attacks on churches in the regions – it is very important to pray for peace in Egypt for Christians and all peoples.

RELATED: A Christian’s Ground-Zero View of Revolution in Egypt


: Israel struck Latakia arsenal last week. Will Putin and Assad make good on threats of reprisal?

BLOG: Has the end game begun? Privately, senior Israeli officials now warning Iran war could come in 2013.

COMMENTARY: Is Obama Trying to Start Israel-Syria War?

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Various Subjects

2. In a word, let us be all to God, all for God and all in God; and remember that He wills you to lead an exemplary life, wholly pure and angelic.

July 12, 2013


(Joh 16:33) These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress. But have confidence. I have overcome the world.

VIA Abba Anthony:
St John of Kronstadt: Do not be despondent when the clouds of hell, one darker than the other, descend upon your soul; when infernal malice, envy, doubt, obstinacy, and other passions, rise up in your soul; know surely that the gathering of these dark clouds upon your mental horizon is inevitable; but they are not always there and will not remain long; they are like the appearance of dark clouds on the sky in nature--they pass over and disappear, after which the mental atmosphere of the soul is cleared up again. In nature there must be clouds on the sky, and the darkening of the light of day; but these clouds are not constant, they soon pass away, and then the light of the sun shines again with renewed power.

VIA BHLA2: How to Overcome Discouragement! By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P. 

Most of us at one time or another are tempted to discouragement. The spiritual combat gets too tough and we’d like to call it quits. It seems so hard to keep on trying-especially when we don’t seem to be going anywhere. Or when just about everything seems to be going against us.

It may help to know that the saints had the same struggle. At times they had to grind out their acts of faith, hope and charity through clenched teeth. Don’t think they were swept along without effort. They waged an uphill battle against discouragement, failure and despair. They became saint not by never failing, but by refusing to give in to their falls.

At times the saints even experienced a repugnance for the things of God. They didn’t deny this condition, but rather faced up to it. Our Lord never said to deny that a cross exists, or even to say that it didn’t hurt. He told us to “take it up.” And to do it daily.

Maybe you feel spiritually “beat.” Everything seems just too hard. You don’t feel like praying. You feel the need for God, but He seems beyond hope and charity-and just about everything else! This can be a greater mortification than some of the bodily austerities of the saints.

Be assured-you may be much closer to God than you think. It’s not thinking of God that is the most important. Nor the feeling that He is near. Or even wanting to pray. It’s just trying to pray. And wanting Him-even when you think you’ve lost God. God permits this rough going, because we hang onto Him more fiercely at a time like this.

Don’t say to yourself: “It’s no use. I just don’t have what it takes.” OF course, you haven’t! But none of us have. God is a merciful supplier who will supply just what is needed when you need His help. Don’t sit back and hang your head in discouragement. Lift up your heart and approach Him exposing your need like a begging child.

I think that the trouble often is not so much lack of courage as lack of correct vision. We haven’t lost our backbone-but we’re just looking in the wrong way. We are looking too much at ourselves and not enough at God. He told us that “to those that love God ALL things work unto good.” Not “some” things or “most” things. He excluded absolutely nothing!

Really, what is there to be discouraged about? Past mistakes, no matter how serious, are erased by the merciful forgiveness of God. Possible future troubles haven’t even arrived. Spiritual success, at least, is available. Happiness can be yours for the asking-if you are willing to set your heart on the right things.

Discouragement can be the sign that we have trusted too much in our own abilities and not enough in God’s. Or that we are taking ourselves too seriously. Or perhaps overemphasizing our importance in the scheme of things. Or it could be that we want things that aren’t good for us and God simply refuses to let us have them. If He shakes us up it’s only because He wants us to find Him more perfectly.

So, don’t be discouraged over your failures-or anything else. Whatever the cause of discouragement, lift up your eyes and your heart. Your eyes to make you see that there’s never an excuse for self pity, for one who is loved by a God of love.

Your heart to make you realize that you shouldn’t feel sorry for yourself as long as you are an object of His tender concern. Our need is the perfect invitation for God to take over in our lives. Let us not be afraid to ask Him to do so!

VIA A Moment with Mary: Saved through the Mother of God

He was young, handsome and the father of three small children. But misfortune and calamity dogged his footsteps. Wearied by tormenting trials and worries, and having no confidence either in God or man, he chose to accept the failure of his life and set out to commit suicide.
Even before the early rays of the sun could scatter away the dullness of dawn, he stealthily stole away from his home and made for a solitary spot, nervously holding a rope in his right hand. Downcast and disheartened, he walked down the lonesome path in a nearby wood. Then all of a sudden he stopped in his tracks. He saw a piece of white paper on the ground and picked it up just out of curiosity. It was an image of Our Lady bearing the following invocation: "Consoler of the afflicted, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
"This is strange," he thought. "Why should I have found such an image at this juncture?" He walked on reading the phrase: "Consoler of the afflicted, pray for us who have recourse to thee." He paused again. A flash of light illuminated his mind and he felt a renewed desire to live and pray.
"Mother of the afflicted, pray for me who has recourse to thee," he whispered almost unconsciously.
He threw away the rope, hastened back to his wife and children and told them the striking manner in which Mary had saved him from a shameful death. Trusting in God and his Heavenly Mother, Mary, he started afresh, and lived a happy and successful family life filled with many joys and consolations.

MUSIC VIDEO: Casting Crowns East to West

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Various Subjects

1. I hope all from the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ Who is so filled with love for you that, cost what it may, He will you should become a saint (To her brother, the priest).

July 10, 2013

(Luke 10:17-18) And the seventy-two returned with joy, saying: Lord, the devils also are subject to us in thy name. And he said to them: I saw Satan like lightning falling from heaven.

EXCERPT THE CATHOLIC REGISTER: Keep Dreaming by Michael Coren

Of course the devil prowls around looking for meat. We can’t just believe the nice, easy bits of Scripture, and salvation doesn’t make any sense if we accept only half of the story. As C.S. Lewis said, there are two errors we can fall into regarding Old Nick.

One is to assume he doesn’t exist, the other is to think about little else and to obsess about him.

For those Catholics who assume the Church is merely a pressure group working for a higher minimum wage, clean energy and fair trade coffee, the reality that we’re fighting an eternal war against the forces of darkness might come as something of a shock. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. Life is great, life is fun, life is to be enjoyed and we should never live it in fear of the big nasty down below, but if we assume he’s a myth we are in deep, diabolical trouble.

: Does Satan Really Exist? It’s time to fight for your Church and your country! by Fr. Daniel E. Doctor:

Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lighting from the sky.”  Most modern progressive Catholic thinkers would say, that Jesus was using some very colorful language to make His point about evil and its existence but – He did not mean this literally.

So the question remains, does personal evil really exist?

I mean the modern Catholic, who is uneducated in their faith, would say; that isn’t the devil just some story or tool invented by the Church to control people?  You know to make us afraid so we will follow blindly whatever the Church says – so the popes, bishops and priests could control us?

Can’t all those stories in the Bible about Jesus casting out demons be explained away by modern psychology and its understanding of psychological disorders – or religious fanatical behavior?  Aren’t Hell and the devil just childhood stories told around the campfire, to entertain us with a little bit of fear?  Or maybe just the reoccurring plot – of too many horror movies?

Didn’t the Second Vatican Council with its new modern liberal mindset bring us out of a backward medieval belief system to make us modern progressive thinkers capable of realizing that hell and Satan are just the products of ignorance, superstition, or an over active imagination?

Well, lets think about this for a moment.  Here is what Gaudium et Spes, one of the Second Vatican Council documents has said; “The whole of man’s history has been the story of our combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield, man has struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity” (Gaudium et Spes, 37).

Some Catholics maybe surprised in this day and age, that the existence of evil, the devil as well as hell, are all truths of our Catholic Faith. All one has to do is pick up a copy of the Catechism and look it up and you will find that the Church officially teaches – from paragraph #1033 through paragraph #1037 – that evil does exist, that there is a person, a fallen Angel to be exact, who wants nothing more than to destroy humanity and if that is not possible then at least to get as many people away from God, away from salvation to spend eternity in hell with him.

Pope Paul IV, taught that “evil is not merely a lack of something, but an effective agent, a living spiritual being, perverted and perverting.   A terrible reality – mysterious and frightening – who goes about acting in a way contrary to the teaching of the Bible and the Church.”

Of course there is the New Testament, which alone refers to the devil and his wickedness nearly 300 times as a warning to us of his presence and activity in our world.

This leads us to the Gospels, where Jesus talks more about the devil and evil then anything else except His divinity.  We also heard in today’s Gospel, that the disciples were overjoyed because – demons were subject to them through the Holy Name of Jesus.  This power of the name of Jesus was given not only to the disciples but to the whole Church to fight against and overcome any and every evil in this world.   This power is the authority of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, built on the authority of Jesus Christ Himself, which causes the gates of hell to tremble.

What we learn from the New Testament, is that the main purpose of Jesus’ ministry was to destroy the works of the devil and to bring about the Kingdom of God, which will destroy the Kingdom of Satan. Christ came to cast out, bind up and deliver humanity from its slavery to sin and death as well as from the chief works of the devil – called vices.  According to the Old Testament, the devil gets his foot hold in this world and in our lives through things like fortune-tellers, soothsayers, charms, diviners, and spells as well as when we consult with ghosts and spirits or seek oracles and revelations from the dead.  In our day and age, He still uses these things including horoscopes, the new age movement, Gnosticism, moral relativism, or even more explicitly through Satanism and the worship of the devil.

Everyday we see his evil played out right in front of our eyes and then we ignore what we see and the underlying cause.  We fail to recognize that there is a very real enemy, who likes to remain hidden, while he plots our destruction and doom.  This evil is increased with the destruction of Fatherhood, marriage and traditional family life. In the increase in war, murder, and suicide.  The devastation of our youth through drugs and sexual addiction.  The massive diffusion by the media of corrupting errors and sinful practices.  And most especially in our day, with the ruinations of our religious freedoms and those individuals who bravely speak up for them. (Link to remainder of article here)

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of the Cross, Contempt and Suffering

31. There can be no consolation for me but to see the reign of the Heart of my adorable Saviour. Whenever this devotion makes some progress, He always favors me with some unusual suffering.

July 8, 2013

(2Co 10:3-5) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty to God, unto the pulling down of fortifications, destroying counsels, And every height that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God...

LIFENEWS.COM: Abortion Activists Yell “Hail Satan” as Texas Pro-Lifers Sing Amazing Grace

CATHOLIC REGISTER: Christians are Called to ‘Spiritual Warfare’

: Benedict XVI joins Pope Francis in consecrating Vatican to St Michael Archangel

To the joy of Vatican City State workers, Friday morning Pope Francis was joined by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in the gardens for a ceremony during which the Holy Father blessed a statue of St Michael Archangel, at the same time consecrating the Vatican to the Archangel’s protection.

Following a brief ceremony, Pope Francis addressed those present noting how St. Michael defends the People of God from its enemy par excellence, the devil. He said even if the devil attempts to disfigure the face of the Archangel and thus the face of humanity, St Michael wins, because God acts in him and is stronger:

"In the Vatican Gardens there are several works of art. But this, which has now been added, takes on particular importance, in its location as well as the meaning it expresses. In fact it is not just celebratory work but an invitation to reflection and prayer, that fits well into the Year of Faith. Michael - which means "Who is like God" - is the champion of the primacy of God, of His transcendence and power. Michael struggles to restore divine justice and defends the People of God from his enemies, above all by the enemy par excellence, the devil. And St. Michael wins because in him, there is He God who acts. This sculpture reminds us then that evil is overcome, the accuser is unmasked, his head crushed, because salvation was accomplished once and for all in the blood of Christ. Though the devil always tries to disfigure the face of the Archangel and that of humanity, God is stronger, it is His victory and His salvation that is offered to all men. We are not alone on the journey or in the trials of life, we are accompanied and supported by the Angels of God, who offer, so to speak, their wings to help us overcome so many dangers, in order to fly high compared to those realities that can weigh down our lives or drag us down. In consecrating Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel, I ask him to defend us from the evil one and banish him."

"We also consecrate Vatican City State in St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus, the guardian of the Holy Family. May his presence make us stronger and more courageous in making space for God in our lives to always defeat evil with good. We ask Him to protect, take care of us, so that a life of grace grows stronger in each of us every day."


Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of the Cross, Contempt and Suffering

24. When you have anything to suffer, rejoice and unite it to that which the Sacred Heart has suffered and still suffers in the Blessed Sacrament.

July 4, 2013

(2Co 4:3-4) And if our gospel be also hid, it is hid to them that are lost, In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them.

ARCHBISHOP CHARLES J. CHAPUT: Christian witness and America’s birthday

RON ROLHEISER, OMI: Faith and a Time of Agnosticism

Why does our generation struggle with faith?

Martin Heidegger once gave this answer: "We are too late for the gods and too early for Being."

What does he mean by that? First, quite simply that less and less people today have faith in the old way. The gods are receding, as any look around the Western world will tell you. But Heidegger has something else in mind too, namely, the reason the gods are receding is that we don't have the same fears our ancestors once had. Belief in God, he feels, is predicated on a certain fear and astonishment. Former generations, much more than we, felt their vulnerability, mortality, and helplessness in the face of energies and forces beyond them. Because of that, they looked for a power outside of themselves, God, to help them. Fear, among other things, made them believe in God.

And they, of necessity, feared many things: plagues that could come at a whim and wipe out whole populations, illnesses for which there was no cure, natural disasters against which there was no defence, hunger as an ever-present threat, and even the normal process of childbirth as potentially ending a woman's life. There were no antibiotics or sophisticated medications or procedures to prolong life, no vaccinations, none of the things we have that make us less vulnerable to whim, nature, disease. Beyond this, they also lived with the fears that came from superstition, from lack of knowledge and of science. There were dark powers, they believed, that could curse you, bring bad luck, kill you. Many things were to be feared. This kind of vulnerability helps induce faith.

More positively, though, this vulnerability brought with it the capacity to be astonished. Before a universe that holds so many mysteries - thunder, lightning, the stars, the changing seasons, the process of conception, and the simple inexplicable fact that the sun rises and sets every day - there is cause for healthy astonishment, for holy fear, and there is the constant reminder of our littleness and the fact that life cannot be taken for granted.

Today, of course, we have few of these fears. We have faith in medicine, rationality, science, and in what we, humanity, can do for ourselves. As for astonishment before the power of nature? The weather channel has demythologized that.

Much of this, in fact, is good in terms of God and faith. Fear is not a good motive for religion, but rather the antithesis of true religion (whose task it is to cast out fear). Mature faith must take its roots in love and gratitude, not fear. Thus, freedom from false fear holds a rich potential for a maturer faith and religion.

Nonetheless, for now at least, we don't seem to be actualizing that potential. There is less and less conscious faith. Ordinary consciousness, at least in the Western world, is agnostic and even atheistic. We don't seem to feel a need for God and, consequently, the transcendent is slowly receding. We're too late for the gods.

Moreover, as Heidegger adds, we're also "too early for Being." What does this add?

For Heidegger, we've lost many of our old fears and superstitions, but aren't necessarily more mature and understanding because of it. We've moved beyond the old sense of helplessness, vulnerability, and mortality, without recognizing the new helplessness, vulnerability, and mortal danger within which we live. Like a child, sauntering along a dangerous ledge but blissfully unaware that he or she is one slip away from serious injury or death, so too are we in our new-found sense of confidence and fearlessness: We think ourselves invulnerable, but are only one doctor's visit, chest pains, or a terrorist attack away from a fearful reminder of our own vulnerability. We aren't immortal after all.

But this is not our real helplessness. Fearing for our physical health and safety is not the kind of vulnerability that today opens up a place for God in our lives. The scary ledge we walk along and are in constant danger of falling off has to do with the heart and its illnesses and deaths. More than our bodies, our souls are menaced today: We're all one slip away from a broken heart, a broken family, a broken marriage, a broken life, the loss of a loved one, a betrayal in love, the bitterness of an old friend, the jealousy of a colleague, a coldness of heart within, an anger which won't let go, a wound too deep for forgiveness, and a family, community, church, and world that cannot reconcile. Self-sufficiency is always an illusion, most especially today.

We need God as much as did our ancestors. We just don't know it as clearly. Nothing has changed. We still stand in radical insecurity before energies and powers beyond us, storms of the heart, no less frightening than the storms of nature. We're no less helpless, vulnerable, mortal, or fearful than the people of old and need God as much as they did, only for different reasons.

PETER KREEFT: The Argument from Pascal's Wager

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of the Cross, Contempt and Suffering

21. Our Lord will delight in making you conformable to Him, and will show you that He is not less worthy of being loved when your soul is filled with the bitterness of Calvary, than when it is enjoying the delights of Thabor.

July 2, 2013  

(Php 4:4-6) Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. 

NEWS.VA: Pope at Mass: Resting our faith on the rock of Christ

There are people who "masquerade as Christians," and sin by being excessively superficial or overly rigid, forgetting that a true Christian is a person of joy who rests their faith on the rock of Christ. Some think they can be Christian without Christ; others think being Christian means being in a perpetual state mourning. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass on Thursday.

Rigid and sad. Or happy but with no idea of ​​Christian joy. These are two - in a sense opposite - "houses", in which two categories of believers live and which are both seriously flawed: they are grounded in a Christianity made of words and fail to rely on the "rock" of the Word of Christ. Pope Francis identified both groups in his comments on the Gospel of the day, the famous passage from Matthew of the houses built on sand and rock.

"In the history of the Church there have been two classes of Christians: Christians of words - those" Lord, Lord, Lord "- and Christians of action, in truth. There has always been the temptation to live our Christianity not on the rock that is Christ. The only one who gives us the freedom to say 'Father' to God is Christ, our rock. He is the only one who sustains us in difficult times, no? As Jesus said: the rain falls, rivers overflow, winds blow, but the rock is safe, words, the words take flight, they are not needed. But this is the temptation of these Christians of words, of a Christianity without Jesus, a Christianity without Christ. And this has happened and is happening today in the Church: being Christians without Christ. "
Pope Francis went on to analyze these "Christians of words," revealing their specific characteristics. There is a first type – which he defined as "gnostic -"who instead of loving the rock, loves beautiful words "and therefore lives floating on the surface of the Christian life. And then there's the other, who Pope Francis called "pelagian", who leads a staid and starched lifestyle. Christians, the Pope ironically added, who “stare at their feet” : 

"And this temptation exists today. Superficial Christians who believe, yes, God, yes Christ, but not ‘everywhere’: Jesus Christ is not the one who gives them their foundation. They are the modern gnostics. The temptation of gnosticism. A 'liquid' Christianity. On the other hand, there are those who believe that the Christian life should be taken so seriously that they end up confusing solidity, firmness, with rigidity. They are rigid! This think that being Christian means being in perpetual mourning. "

Pope Francis continued that the fact is that there “are so many” of these Christians. But, he argued, "they are not Christians, they disguise themselves as Christians." "They do not know – he added - what the Lord is, they do not know what the rock is, do not have the freedom of Christians. To put it simply ‘they have no joy ": 

"The former have a ‘superficial’ happiness. The others live in perpetual state of mourning, but do not know what Christian joy is. They do not know how to enjoy the life that Jesus gives us, for they know not to talk to Jesus. They do not feel that they rest on Jesus, with that firmness which the presence of Jesus gives. And they not only have no joy, they have no freedom either. They are the slaves of superficiality, of this life widespread, and the slaves of rigidity, they are not free. The Holy Spirit has no place in their lives,. It is the Spirit who gives us the freedom! Today, the Lord calls us to build our Christian life on Him, the rock, the One who gives us freedom, the One who sends us the Spirit, that keeps us going with joy, on His journey, following His proposals. "

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[Rom. 2:28–3:18; Matt. 6:31–34; 7:9–11]

Take no thought (Matt. 6:31). Then how is one to live? We have to eat, drink, and wear clothes. But the Saviour does not say, “do nothing,” but rather, take no thought. Do not weary yourself with care that consumes you both day and night, and gives you not a moment of peace. Such care is a sinful disease. It shows that a man is relying upon himself and has forgotten God; that he has lost hope in the Providence of God, wants to arrange everything for himself solely by his own efforts, to procure all that is necessary, and to preserve what he has procured by his own means. He has become chained in his heart to his property, and thinks to rest on as if it were a solid foundation. Love of possessions has bound him and he only thinks of how to get more into his hands. This mammon has replaced God for him.

Work by all means, but do not weary yourself with evil cares. Hope for every success from God and commit your lot into His hands. Accept all that you obtain as a gift from the Lord's hand, and wait with a firm hope that He continue His generous giving. Know that if God so desires, a rich man can lose all he has in one minute. All is decay and dust. Is it worth it to weary yourself for that? So, take no care!

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of the Cross, Contempt and Suffering

20. Take up your abode in the lovable Heart of Jesus, and you will find therein imperturbable peace and the strength to carry out the good desires He gives you.  Bring to this divine Heart all your troubles and afflictions, for whatever emanates from the Sacred Heart is sweet: It changes everything into love.
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