Keep your eyes open!...


June 23, 2011 

(Mat 7:21-23) Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

EXCERPT ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT : Ideals for Social Ministry

To sum up, all acts of Christian charity should be offered as a means of communicating to other people the highest form of charity — the knowledge of Jesus Christ and his love for them. From this basic understanding we can draw some important ideals for Catholic social ministry in general and Catholic Charities organizations in particular. These are not exhaustive, and I look forward to hearing your own thoughts as well.

First, every act of Catholic social work should function faithfully within the mission and structures of the local diocese, with special respect for the role of the bishop. All such social work should be true to Scripture, Church teaching and the Code of Canon Law.

Second, every Catholic social ministry, along with providing material aid, should allow for the possibility of verbally professing the Gospel, as prudence permits.

Third — and this should be obvious — no Catholic charitable worker should ever engage in coercive proselytization. He or she should always embody respect for an individual's freedom and be governed by humility and common sense.

Fourth, every Catholic social ministry should insist on the best professional skills from its staff and should use the best professional means at its disposal in serving others — so long as those skills and means reflect the truth of Catholic moral teaching.

Fifth, Catholic Charities and similar Catholic organizations should always provide opportunities for prayer for their employees and volunteers. Prayer is integral to Christian charity, both as the means of experiencing the love of God ourselves and of seeking God's help — without which none of our works can prosper.

Sixth, every Catholic social ministry — guided by charity and prudence, but also by courage — should bear witness to the truth of Jesus Christ to the wider community. This includes giving a public voice to the rights of the poor, the homeless, the disabled, the immigrant and the unborn child, consistent with the particular nature of its work.

Seventh, every Catholic Charities organization, both through action and instruction, should seek to deepen an awareness of Catholic social teaching within the Christian community.

Eighth, Catholic social work always should involve both an effective outreach to individuals struggling with poverty and a frank critique of the structural causes of poverty through the lens of Catholic social teaching.

Ninth and finally, Catholic social ministries should welcome opportunities to work with other individuals, groups and social agencies in ways that are compatible with Catholic teaching. But we need to stay alert to the fact that cooperation can easily turn Catholic organizations into sub-contractors of large donors — donors with a very different anthropology and thus very different notions of authentic human development. And that can undermine the very purpose of Catholic social work.

Given the state of Catholic charitable organizations, pursuing these ideals will involve serious cultural change within many Catholic agencies. That will take time. It will also demand people who, first, believe in real human development, as understood in the light of Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith; and, second, who have the courage to speak the truth and act on it confidently, despite the "humanism without God" that shapes so much modern social-service thinking. There is no such thing as "humanism without God." It never endures, and it ends by debasing the humanity it claims to serve. The record of the last century proves it again and again in bitterly painful ways.

ARCHBISHOP JOSE H. GOMEZ: "Bishops are pastors of souls, not politicians. But we have a mandate from Jesus Christ -- to proclaim his Gospel for the salvation of the world. And Catholic social teaching is vital to the good news we bring to our society," Archbishop Gomez said. "In Catholic teaching, every person is sacred and endowed with God-given dignity and rights. We believe God created the good things of this earth -- all its resources and opportunities -- to be shared by everyone."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

39. We should always perform every virtue, especially prayer, with great feeling. A soul prays with feeling when it gets the better of bad temper and anger.

June 21, 2011

(Luke 1:47-49) And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is his name.

ARTICLE VIA GOOGLE TRANSLATE: The pilgrims remain faithful to Garabandal apparitions half a century later

EWTN on Garabandal:


Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel:

Today (06/18/11) marks the fiftieth anniversary of the commencement of the apparitions at Garabandal by the appearance of the Archangel Saint Michael to the four seers on this date in 1961. Saint Michael came to announce the appearance of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary which was to follow on July 2.

We would like to honor this day by spreading devotion to Saint Michael as Our Lady recommended throughout the course of the apparitions. Our treatment of the devotion which we sent via email on September 29 of last year is entitled The Angel of Garabandal and is located on the Joey's Message page of

The response to the article drew over one thousand requests for Saint Michael Chaplets from around the world. We have but a few cord chaplets left but would like to offer them at this time gratis to email subscribers who wish to increase their devotion to Saint Michael. Please send an email with  CHAPLET in the subject line to [email protected] with your complete mailing address. This offer remains open as long as our supply lasts.

These are times of crisis and with so much violence and catastrophe around us we do well to heed Our Lady's request to increase our devotion to the Prince of the Holy Angels and secure for ourselves and our families the assistance and protection of all the angels that we may be delivered from the evil of this age.

With her permission, we reprint a brief note from Conchita to the present pastor of the village of Garabandal, Padre Rolando, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary.


May 17, 2011

Dear Father Rolando,

I join with you in the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the events of Garabandal. It is for me fifty years of contemplating the most beautiful thing in the world. I give thanks to God for having been a part of those experiences, impossible to describe adequately, but which have pressed upon my soul the secure assurance of faith and hope.

I thank you, Father Rolando, for granting me the opportunity to recite the Message of Our Mother in the village yet again.

[ October 18,1961-We must make many sacrifices, perform much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. If we do not, a chastisement will befall us. The cup is already filling up, and if we do not change, a very great chastisement will come upon us.]

The Angel said:

As my message of October 18 has not been complied with and has not been made known to the world, I am advising you that this is the last one. Before, the cup was filling up. Now it is flowing over. Many cardinals, many bishops and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist. You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask His forgiveness with sincere hearts, He will pardon you. I, your mother, through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, ask you to amend your lives. You are now receiving the last warnings. I love you very much and do not want your condemnation. Pray to us with sincerity and we will grant your requests. You should make more sacrifices. Think about the passion of Jesus.

Father Rolando, there is nothing of greater importance that I can speak about than this Message of Our Mother.

In Union of Prayer,

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

37. Do not be puffed up if you have prayed for another and been heard, for it is his faith that has been strong and effective.

June 17, 2011 


(Job 38:1-4) Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said: "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know….!

MEDITATION:  God in the Midst of the Storm – A Meditation on the Mystery of God's Providence

EDITORIAL: Tragedy, Prophecy and Divine Providence - I


US bishops approve first collective statement on assisted suicide
US bishops revise abuse charter to reflect new Vatican norms
US bishops approve Spanish translation of Mass texts

: I am very delighted to announce a brand new initiative and valuable resource from Human Life International to affirm the culture of life, and fight the culture of death around the world: HLI World Watch.

At, our team of international pro-life experts and missionaries will monitor events and trends that affect the pro-life and pro-family movement, and help you understand the larger context behind the stories.

Why is this important? Too often anti-life forces operate under the radar implementing their destructive agenda. We must shed light on this agenda in every corner of the world by recognizing and refuting their false claims, and by pointing toward the truth and hope offered by a culture of life."

VIA Mary Brescia: I have been guided by the Holy Spirit to present a conference on behalf of St.  Joseph's Church in Middletown, NY, entitled, The Divine Mercy of God: Healing, Deliverance, and Spiritual Warfare.  This conference will provide rich opportunities for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing and restoration.  Come and experience the grace and freedom only Jesus Christ can provide.  I sincerely encourage your taking the opportunity to experience each speaker and the special charisms Our Lord has given them with, as their gifts for healing, teaching, and touching your heart are sure to be what our souls truly thirst for in an age where we combat so much sickness and evil.  Come and receive the tools the Lord intends all Christians to have in order that we may have the knowledge and peace we truly need to navigate these challenging times. 

I would sincerely appreciate you forwarding the attached to everyone in your address book as well as making copies to share in your places of worship and workplace.  

Link to flyer: Rosary Conference 2011.docx

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

35. He who is busy with something, and continues it when the hour of prayer comes, is deceived by demons. Those thieves aim at stealing from us one hour after another.

June 16, 2011 

(Luke 23:31) For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?

REVIEW: Update in Middle East: Turmoil Continues, Christians Live in Fear

STUDY: The worst places in the world to be a woman


Pakistan: bishop urges release of woman forced to convert to Islam
Prisoner for Christ; An Iranian Christian Rejoices in Suffering

Jim J. McCrea:: How the Radical Transcendence of God in Islam Undermines His Greatness 

Muslims attempt to preserve the absolute greatness of God by affirming an idea of his absolute transcendence in which he has nothing in common with creation.

That actually undermines the greatness of God and limits him.

For then God is something "over there" and creation is something "over here," each with their own attributes that defines it, which makes it what it is.  God's attributes then cannot include what is in creation since they are radically different.

With Catholic Christian metaphysics, on the other hand, creation is not distinguished from God because it is "something over here" different from God.  Rather creation is distinguished from God by a mere relation.  Creation is distinguished from God because it proceeds from God's creative power and is finite whereas God is self-existent and infinite.

Everything good, true, and beautiful in creation is contained within God.  For example the truth of every good thing in creation is pre-eminently contained within God as its archetype and exemplar cause.  The essences of all things in their integrity are contained within God's being.  For example, "catness" "treeness" "birdness" exist in God - that is, the intelligible principles of all things exist in God, not as separate essences as they do in creation, but as identical with each other and with the very being of God.

Therefore, creation in sharing what is true in it with God, points to His infinite greatness, for then something does not exist that has a truth other than what is in God.

As Bishop Fulton Sheen said in his book: "God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy," when God created, there were more beings, but there was no more being.

Creation plus God is not greater than God alone.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

34. Your prayer will show you what condition you are in. Theologians say that prayer is the monk's mirror.

June 14, 2011 

(Act 2:1-4) And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming: and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire: and it sat upon every one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. 


In his homily the Holy Father said that "the Spirit which created all things, and the Holy Spirit which Christ caused to descend from the Father upon the community of disciples, are one and the same.  Creation and redemption are mutually intertwined and constitute a single mystery of love and salvation".

"The Holy Spirit", he went on, "is first and foremost the Spirit of creation; and so Pentecost is the feast of creation.  For we Christians the world is the result of an act of love by God, Who made all things.  ...  Thus God is not the Absolute Other, indescribable and obscure, God reveals Himself, He has a face, God is reason, God is will, God is love, God is beauty".

Benedict XVI explained that "the Holy Spirit is the One Who enables us to recognise ourselves in Christ the Lord, and causes us to pronounce the Church's profession of faith: 'Jesus is Lord'".  In this context, he also pointed out that "by reciting the Creed we enter into the mystery of the Pentecost.  ...  The Creed brings us together from all over the world.  Through the Holy Spirit, it ensures we understand one another though speaking different languages.  Through faith, hope and love, the new community of the Church of God is formed".

"The Holy Spirit animates the Church", the Pope said.  "The Church is not the result of human will, of reflection, of man's abilities or his capacity for organisation.  If this were the case she would have passed out of existence a long time ago, just as all human things pass.  She is, rather, the Body of Christ animated by the Holy Spirit".

"The Church was catholic from the first moment of her existence.  Her universality is not the result of the subsequent inclusion of different communities: from the first instant the Holy Spirit created her as the Church of all peoples.  She embraces the entire world, crossing frontiers of race, class and nation, breaking down barriers and uniting mankind in the proclamation of the One and Triune God.  From her beginnings, the Church was one, catholic and apostolic.  This is her true nature and as such she must be recognised.  She is holy, not thanks to any capacity of her members, but because God Himself, with His Spirit, continuously creates, purifies and sanctifies her".

COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL (John xiv.  23-31) for Pentecost Sunday from the St. Andrews Daily Missal (1937)

"This is the day," says St.  Gregory, "on which the Holy Ghost descended upon the apostles, and changing the hearts of those carnally minded men, led them to the love of Himself.  While the tongues of fire appeared externally, the hearts of the disciples were enkindled within, and as they beheld God under the appearance of fire, they became aflame with love together with unspeakable sweetness of soul.  For the Holy Ghost is love, and therefore St.  John says : "God is Charity." Now love is proved by action.  St.  John says again : "Whosoever says: I love God, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar." Our love for God is genuine if we resist the attractions of pleasure in order to obey Him, and anyone who goes on devoting himself to pleasure does not truly love God, since he acts contrary to His will.  Do not think, then, that you love Him unless you prove it by good works.  Let your speech, your mind, your whole life be consecrated to the quest for God's love, for in that love inertia has no place" (Homily at Matins).

Christ was the model of this love, since He always did what His Father commanded.

EXCERPT, Pentecost on Mount Athos:

Vassilios, igoumenos of Ivíron, another of the monasteries, echoes the sentiment: "In the West, action rules; they ask us how we can stay here for so many hours in church without doing anything. I reply: What does the embryo in the maternal womb do? Nothing, but since it is in its mother's womb it develops and grows. So it is with the monk. He preserves the holy space in which he finds himself and he is preserved, molded by this same space. The miracle is here: We are entering into paradise, here and now. We are in the heart of the communion of saints."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

33.  War proves the soldier's love for his king; but the time and discipline of prayer show the monk's love for God.

June 10, 2011 


(John 14:23) Jesus answered and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word. And my Father will love him and we will come to him and will make our abode with him.

CHRISTIAN POST: 54 Anglican Clergy to Defect to Catholic Church in Pentecost Ordinations

The first of a series of ordinations are set to take place, which will see former Anglican clergy defect from the Church of England and become Roman Catholic priests, on Saturday.

Overall more than 50 former Anglican clergy will complete their defection over the next two weeks in a series of Pentecost ordinations.

The first of these will see seven former Church of England clergy be ordained in London by the Most Rev.  Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark.  The event will further establish the new Ordinariate formed by Pope Benedict XVI for Anglicans that wished to defect from the Anglican Church of England in protest against its moves to accept women bishops.

In excess of 900 laity have already moved to the Catholic Church and have been waiting for their clergy to complete training for Catholic priesthood at a seminary in West London.

As the former Anglican clergy become ordained as Catholic priests, they will lead groups of former Anglican laity to branch off from the core Catholic congregations to worship as a separate Ordinariate group.  The Vatican will soon publish a separate liturgy for these Ordinariate groups to follow.

According to The Times in London, Keith Newton, who heads up the Ordinariate, has explained that dozens more Church of England clergy are currently also considering their positions within the Anglican Church.

ST. LOUIS REVIEW: Episcopal community's faith journey led to Catholic Church

Christian Witness: The grave harm of underestimating the divine plan

God is ready to shed His graces upon us as abundantly and as usefully as those He shed upon the first Christians. He does not love us less than He loved them. All the means of sanctification that they had, we too possess; and we have besides, the examples of the saints who have followed Christ to encourage us. But we are too often like Naaman the leper who came to consult the prophet and beg his cure; he was on the point of not obtaining it because he found the remedy too simple. That is the case with some of those who undertake the spiritual life; who are so attached to their own way of seeing things that they are scandalized at the simplicity of the divine plan. And this scandal is not without harm. Why is this? Because all that our human ingenuity is able to create for our inner life serves for nothing if we do not base our edifice upon Christ.

Blessed Columba Marmion

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

32. Psalmody in a crowded congregation is accompanied by captivity and wandering of the thoughts; but in solitude, this does not happen. However, those in solitude are liable to be assailed by despondency, whereas in congregation the brethren help each other by their zeal.

June 7, 2011 

(2Ti 4:7-8) I have fought a good fight: I have finished my course: I have kept the faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming.

NEWS ITEM: Twin friars, 92, die within hours of each other

POPE BENEDICT TO CROATIAN YOUTH: Referring to the reading in which St. Paul invites the community to "rejoice in the Lord always", the pope said that the Apostle's experience, which he writes while imprisoned, "reveals how it is possible, along the journey of our lives, to preserve joy even in moments of darkness".

  "We all know", he stated, "that lodged in the heart of every person is a strong desire for happiness. Every action, every decision, every intention holds hidden within itself this deep, natural desire. But all too often we realize that we put our trust in things that cannot fulfill that desire, things that turn out to be shifting sands. At such moments we recognize our need for something 'greater', capable of giving meaning to our daily lives".

  "This time of youth...", he continued "is a time of vast horizons, of powerful emotions, but also a time of concern about demanding, long-term choices, a time of challenges in your studies and in the workplace, a time of wondering about the mystery of pain and suffering. What is more, this wonderful time of life is marked by a deep longing which, far from canceling everything else, actually lifts it up and fulfils it".

  "Jesus speaks to you today, through the Gospel and his Holy Spirit. He is your contemporary! He seeks you even before you seek him! While fully respecting your freedom, he approaches each one of you and offers himself as the authentic and decisive response to the longing deep within your hearts, to your desire for a life worth living. Let him take you by the hand! Let him become more and more your friend and companion along life's journey. Put your trust in him and he will never disappoint you!".

  "Jesus enables you to know at first hand the love of God the Father; he helps you realize that your happiness comes from his friendship, from fellowship with him. Why?  Because we have been created and saved by love, and it is only in love, the love which desires and seeks the good of others, that we truly experience the meaning of life and find happiness in living it, even amid difficulties, trials and disappointments, even when it means swimming against the tide".

EXCERPT, ST. LEO THE GREAT: We Must Despise Earthly Things and Rise to Things Above, Especially by Active Works of Mercy and Love.

And so, dearly-beloved, let us rejoice with spiritual joy, and let us with gladness pay God worthy thanks and raise our hearts' eyes unimpeded to those heights where Christ is. Minds that have heard the call to be uplifted must not be pressed down by earthly affections, they that are fore-ordained to things eternal must not be taken up with the things that perish; they that have entered on the way of Truth must not be entangled in treacherous snares, and the faithful must so take their course through these temporal things as to remember that they are sojourning in the vale of this world, in which, even though they meet with some attractions, they must not sinfully embrace them, but bravely pass through them. For to this devotion the blessed Apostle Peter arouses us, and entreating us with that loving eagerness which he conceived for feeding Christ's sheep by the threefold profession of love for the Lord, says, "dearly-beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul." But for whom do fleshly pleasures wage war, ifnot for the devil, whose delight it is to fetter souls that strive after things above, with the enticements of corruptible good things, and to draw them away from those abodes from which he himself has been banished? Against his plots every believer must keep careful watch that he may crush his foe on the side whence the attack is made. And there is no more powerful weapon, dearly-beloved, against the devil's wiles than kindly mercy and bounteous charity, by which every sin is either escaped or vanquished. But this lofty power is not attained until that which is opposed to it be overthrown. And what so hostile to mercy and works of charity as avarice from the root of which spring all evils? And unless it be destroyed by lack of nourishment, there must needs grow in the ground of that heart in which this evil weed has taken root, the thorns and briars of vices rather than any seed of true goodness. Let us then, dearly-beloved, resist this pestilential evil and "follow after charity," without which no virtue can flourish, that by this path of love whereby Christ came down to us, we too may mount up to Him, to Whom with God the Father and the Holy Spirit is honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

31. Prepare yourself for your set times of prayer by unceasing prayer in your soul, and you will soon make progress. I have seen those who shone in obedience and who tried, as far as they could, to keep in mind the remembrance of God, and the moment they stood in prayer they were at once masters of their minds, and shed streams of tears, because they were prepared for this beforehand by holy obedience.

June 3, 2011 


(Matthew 17:17-20) And Jesus rebuked him, and the devil went out of him, and the child was cured from that hour.  Then came the disciples to Jesus secretly, and said: Why could not we cast him out?  Jesus said to them: Because of your unbelief.  For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain: Remove from hence hither, and it shall remove: and nothing shall be impossible to you.  But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting. 

NEWS REPORT: The Return of Meatless Friday


CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: From the dawn of Christianity, Friday has been signalized as an abstinence day, in order to do homage to the memory of Christ suffering and dying on that day of the week. The "Teaching of the Apostles" (viii), Clement of Alexandria (Stromata VI.75), and Tertullian (On Fasting 14) make explicit mention of this practice. Pope Nicholas I (858-867) declares that abstinence from flesh meat is enjoined on Fridays. There is every reason to conjecture that Innocent III (1198-1216) had the existence of this law in mind when he said that this obligation is suppressed as often as Christmas Day falls on Friday (De observ. jejunii, ult. cap. Ap. Layman, Theologia Moralis, I, iv, tract. viii, ii). Moreover, the way in which the custom of abstaining on Saturday originated in the Roman Church is a striking evidence of the early institution of Friday as an abstinence day. 

Christian Witness: Six reasons to keep Meatless Fridays:

1.  The tradition of eating fish and not beast flesh (now beef, pork, poultry) goes back to Noah's Ark where for the 40 day flood, they ate only fish and not beasts.

2.  The mystical institution of Friday penance is Luke 5:35 "The days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them: then shall they fast in those days." Christ was "taken away" from us on Friday and so we fast on "those days," i.e.  on Fridays.  Every Sunday is a "little Easter," which means that every Friday is a "little Good Friday." If you're going to party on Sunday, you need to do penance on Friday.

3.  The Friday abstinence from meat goes back to the Apostles.  The first-century document Didache records that the earliest Christians observed fasts on Wednesdays and Fridays: “But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week.  Rather, fast on the fourth day {Wednesday} and the Parasceve {Friday}."

4.  Saint Thomas Aquinas says that abstaining from beast flesh and animal products inhibits your libido and reduces lust.  See Summa theologiae II-II q.  147, a.  8 for more details!

5.  A pejoritive slur for Catholics is "fisheater" or alternatively "mackerel snapper." Wear these slurs as badges of honor.  Eat fish on Fridays.

6.  Christ expects us to fast.  In Matthew 6:17-8, Jesus says "But when you fast." He does not say, "But if you fast." So then, why not try to work in a penance related to food every week?  If you don't make it a habit, you'll never do it.  Friday penance is the time-honored practice.  It's hard and it will be inconvenient when you have to go with the cheese nachos instead of the hot-dog at the baseball game...but it's worth it.

If you get discouraged, just think of Saint John the Baptist.  He ate locusts!

VIA David J Sheehan: We are Roman Catholics; we are different.  In the rush of ecumenism, we have sometimes forgotten that.

We are the Prodigal son, still out feeding the pigs.  So, I am asking you to consider taking the first step back to the Father's house with meatless Fridays.

If Sunday is our day of rest, then let Fridays be a day of joy and also contemplation as we consider the Cross and how our Saviour used it for our salvation.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

30. A convict does not fear his sentence of punishment so much as a fervent man of prayer fears this duty of prayer. So if he is wise and shrewd, by remembering this he can avoid every reproach, anger, worry, and interruption, afflicton, satiety, temptation, and distracting thought.

June 1, 2011 

CARDINAL SARAH: "Undoubtedly, since the beginning of his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has considered this 'religious indifference' and 'silent apostasy' as the major challenge the Church has to take up today in her relations with the modern world. Therefore, he is more determined than ever to make our minds more aware and our faith more visible and more active, in order to show the world that the Church's mission is deeply rooted in faith in God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

THEOLOGY FOR THE LAITY: Cafeteria Catholics

EDITORIAL: I do believe in God, but…

If I were presenting a talk show and a member of the audience begins to express an opinion on a known scientific or geographical fact, I would certainly stop him/her from continuing further. I would not accept someone saying "They say that the world is round but my opinion is that it is flat" or "We were taught that two and two are four but my opinion…"

Similarly, I would also interrupt anyone who starts saying "I do believe in God, but…" because the proclamation "I believe" means I accept all the truths about God revealed to us, even though there may be some of these truths that I cannot understand fully (mysteries).

"… in God" means the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the Almighty; Creator of heaven and earth; God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Three Persons in one God; God the Father revealed to us through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures; the Son, Jesus Christ, who came on earth to redeem and save us; the same son who was born of the Virgin Mary, died for us on the cross and rose again from the dead; the Holy Spirit, who fills people with His seven gifts and turns weak, illiterate and humble men into courageous apostles full of divine wisdom.

Our Lord Jesus Christ ordered the members of His Church to "go and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Those who believe and are baptised will be saved (heaven); those who do not believe will be condemned (hell). The sins of those you forgive on this earth will be forgiven in heaven; the sins of those you do not forgive on this earth will not be forgiven in heaven".

So the statement "I believe" includes the acceptance of Christ's teachings and of the Catholic Church as the only authority to interpret these teachings.

One day, when Jesus Christ was preaching, He said: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." Many disciples could not take this teaching and left Him. So Jesus turned to his apostles and said: "Do you also want to go?" And Peter replied: "To whom do you want us to go, Lord? You have the words of eternal life". Although the apostles could not understand what this statement meant, they had the patience to wait for the Last Supper, where Jesus Christ showed them the manner in which He was to become our spiritual sustenance and eternal salvation.

There is no compromise in Christ's teachings. The same applies when Peter tried to interfere with the will of the eternal Father that Christ had to suffer and die on the cross. Here, Christ chides Peter for letting sentiment cloud his judgement. Peter is called Satan for tempting Jesus to stay away from Jerusalem and the crucifixion.

In the same way, there cannot be any compromise with any of the articles in the Creed which we pronounce every Sunday during Holy Mass.

So, if anyone says to me: "I believe in God but not in the Catholic Church or the virginity of Our Lady or Jesus Christ, etc," I will reply: "You may be sincere in your statement but I am afraid you are wrong. You either believe in a god other than the one outlined above or else you do not understand what the word 'believe' fully entails. If you wish to remain a committed Christian, you are invited to rediscover the richness of the Christian faith, some aspects of which you might have forgotten. If you truly believe in God, then you have to believe in heaven, hell, the Catholic Church, the virginity of Our Lady, Holy Communion, confession to a priest and, in short, all the other articles of the Creed."

"I believe" is a package. One cannot pick and choose at random from this package (what some are now referring to as the supermarket syndrome), accepting what I like and discarding what does not tickle my fancy. One either accepts the whole package or none at all.

"But am I not supposed to follow my conscience," some might rightly ask. Rather than expressing my ideas I would like to offer those of an expert in the field – Richard M. Gula – who, in his book Moral Discernment, states among other things:

"If we are going to grow in our loving relationship with God and neighbour then we need to discern what is truly loving. Conscience is our capacity for making such discernment."

We must not confuse conscience with the superego. The superego is like a recording in our heads reminding us of all that we should do in the process of growing up under the influence of authority figures. It commands us to act for the sake of gaining approval or out of fear of losing love. The wants of conscience look to personalised and internalised values or acquired virtues.

Conscience responds to an invitation of love and is oriented towards the future – "the person one ought to become". In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself but which holds him to obedience. Man has in his heart a law written by God. In fact, conscience is the place where God speaks to us.

However, the obligation to follow conscience presupposes that we have properly formed our conscience. This is a lifelong task and an ongoing process of conversion. We are often blinded by sin to recognise moral truth all by ourselves. So we have to consult the established sources of wisdom. For a Catholic, these sources include our own experience and those of others around us; the testimony of the sacred scriptures and our creeds; the moral instruction of the teaching office (magisterium) of the Pope and the bishops: this office carries a weight of truth for Catholics that no other teacher can rightfully claim; and the informed judgement of theologians who are in communion with the Church's magisterium.

What we do ultimately shapes our character.

US CATHOLIC: Is there a list of infallible teachings?
LINK: Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio fidei

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

29. Do not say, after spending a long time at prayer, that nothing has been gained; for you have already gained something. And what higher good is there than to cling to the Lord and persevere in unceasing union with Him.
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