Keep your eyes open!...


June 27, 2013  

(Mat 24:37-39) And as in the days of Noah, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For, as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noah entered into the ark: And they knew not till the flood came and took them all away: so also shall the coming of the Son of man be.

LIFESITENEWS.COM: BREAKING: Supreme Court strikes down part of Defense of Marriage Act as ‘unconstitutional’

NCR: 12 things you need to know about the Court’s homosexual “marriage” decisions

HUMAN LIFE INTERNATIONAL: SCOTUS Rulings Don’t Change True Definition of Marriage

: DOMA and Prop 8: The reality of God's definition of marriage cannot be changed

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and to dismiss the California Proposition 8 appeal does not change the reality of marriage, nor does it change the Archdiocese of St. Louis's responsibility to defend marriage as being between one man and one woman. It is important to note that marriage predates both the U.S. government and Western civilization.

From a Catholic perspective, it is not enough to offer the Church’s position on same-sex union without also saying how it fits into a broader understanding of the sacrament of marriage, human sexuality, and the Gospel of Life as taught by Blessed John Paul II. The vocation to serve God and society through married life is a sacred union in which man and woman become one flesh. The Catholic Church does not condemn individuals for having same-sex attraction. She teaches that all people are called to responsibility regarding sexuality. The sexual union of a man and woman, when not obstructed by contraceptives, is the kind that is open to life even if new life is not the result.

We understand that married persons imitate the way Christ offers His body completely and permanently to the Church so that we might have life, and have it abundantly. This truth is written into our bodies as well as on the pages of the Old and New Testaments. While the law can allow other things to be called marriage, it cannot make them into the kind of union that is marriage.

ALETEIA COMMENTARY: Fr. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D., pastor of Holy Family parish in New York.

"The Supreme Court, in striking down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, has accomplished a societal and legal revolution by annihilating in Federal law the fundamental human institution of marriage. The People of the United States, acting through their elected officials in Congress, decided in 1996 that the word marriage meant what marriage has always meant: the union of man and woman in view of procreation. Today the Court overthrows both the dictionary and the constitutional order. The coercive power of the Court has been misused to force the People of the United States to recognize a counterfeit version of marriage as being marriage, or face the wrath of the Federal government in multiple ways.

"Religious and other institutions which refuse to comply with this re-defintion of marriage now face hitherto unimaginable intrusions upon their right to act freely in accord with both right reason and religious doctrine. This is a terrible day for the United States. The Supreme Court has essentially said: Words, and hence laws made up of words, have no meaning apart from what we decide.This is perilous for liberty and heralds a flood of discrimination lawsuits and enforcement actions that will make the free exercise of religion in America ever more difficult."

DISSENTING OPINION: Justice Samuel Alito: "Same-sex marriage presents a highly emotional and important question of public policy—but not a difficult question of constitutional law. The Constitution does not guarantee the right to enter into a same-sex marriage.  Indeed, no provision of the Constitution speaks to the issue".

COURAGEOUS PRIEST: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone: Gay Marriage, “It’s My Duty to Speak Up”

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

19. Suffer bravely, and be content that the divine good pleasure be accomplished in you. You must ever be immolated and sacrificed to it with unshaken trust that the Sacred Heart will not forsake you: It is closer to you in suffering than in consolation.

June 26, 2013  

(Mat 16:24-25) Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it.

POPE FRANCIS: "The Church exists to proclaim, to be the voice of a Word, her husband, who is the Word. The Church exists to proclaim this Word until martyrdom. Martyrdom precisely in the hands of the proud, the proudest of the Earth".

BISHOP OLMSTED: The Freedom Faith Gives

GEORGIA BULLETIN: The Martyr Who Walked On His Hands

: Syrian priest killed during rebel attack on Franciscan convent

A 49-year-old Syrian priest and hermit was killed June 23, apparently when a group of rebels attacked the Franciscan Convent of St. Anthony in Ghassanieh, a village in the north near the Turkish border.

Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, told Vatican Radio June 24 that Father Francois Murad was not a Franciscan, but had taken refuge in the convent when it became clear he was not safe at the Syriac Catholic hermitage he was building nearby.

Syriac Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo of Hassake-Nisibi told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, that Father Murad "sent me several messages which showed he was aware of living in a dangerous situation and was willing to offer his life for peace in Syria and the world."

Father Pizzaballa told Vatican Radio that Ghassanieh -- "like other Christian villages -- has been almost completely destroyed and is almost totally abandoned." He said he believes the only people left in Ghassanieh "are the rebels with their families, rebels who are not from Syria and who are extremists."

"The only thing we can do, other than pray for Father Francois and all the victims, is pray that this folly ends soon and that no more weapons are sent to Syria because that would only prolong this absurd civil war," Father Pizzaballa said.

The Franciscan leader said Syria is a "battleground, and not just between Syrian forces, but also for other Arab countries and the international community. The ones paying the price are the poor, the small and the least, including the Christians."

"The international community must put the brakes on this," he said.

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

18. I know of no other happiness in life than to remain ever hidden in our nothingess- to suffer and love in silence- to embrace our crosses, praising and thanking Him Who gives them to us.

June 21, 2013  

(Luk 11:11-13) And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? Or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him?


Pray, Pray, Pray for Priests!
How Catholics Can Still Achieve Great Things
Always in a Hurry

USCCB: Fortnight For Freedom
June 21 to July 4

The U.S. bishops have called for a Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer and action, to address many current challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, Supreme Court rulings that could attempt to redefine marriage in June, and religious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services.

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: ‘If laypeople don’t love their Catholic faith enough to struggle for it in the public square, nothing the bishops do will finally matter.’

: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[Acts 25:13–19; John 16:23–33]

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you (John 16:23) the Lord said, even confirming the point: Verily, verily, I say unto you.  What a shame for us that we do not know how to make use of such a true promise! It would be alright if were only the shame this causes; but a shadow is cast also over the promise itself, as though it were too great and impossible.

No, the guilt lies entirely on us, mainly because we recognize that we are not faithful servants of Christ, and our conscience does not allow us to expect mercy from the Lord. In addition it happens that if someone starts asking God about something, he does it with divided soul: he mentions that thing in his prayer once or twice as if in passing — and drops it, and then says later: “God does not hear.”

No, when asking for something in particular, one must be persistent and indefatigable in prayer, like the widow who forced even the heartless judge to satisfy her petition by simply not giving him any peace. When true men of prayer ask for something in prayer, they unite with it fasting, vigil, all sorts of deprivation, and charity; furthermore they ask not for a day or two, but for months and years. For this they receive it. Imitate them, if you desire to have success in prayer.

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

15. Trust to the goodness of our Lord in the crosses which He sends you; He will never abandon you, for He knows how to draw good from our ills and His glory from our trials.

June 19, 2013  

(Mat 5:10-12) Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

VIDEO: Syria: The Civil War and the Christian Minority

ASIANEWS.IT: Beirut: appeal for Catholic-Orthodox unity and an end to the war in Syria

The leaders of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches opened their respective synods today in Beirut to discuss the grave situation facing Syria's Christian communities, caught between warring Shias and Sunnis, whose conflict has now spilled over into neighbouring Lebanon.

From Ain Trez, home of the Melkite Catholic Church, Gregory III Laham, patriarch of Antioch, slammed the decision by the United States and some other European countries to send weapons to the rebels. Because of this move, the population "will face more problems" than in the past.

According to the prelate, the position of Western countries is incomprehensible. "It's as if the world is no longer able to understand anything save the language of arms, war, destruction, violence and terrorism."

Weapons, he added, only "fuel the violence and hatred, and lead to more killing, destruction, displacement and more suffering-economically, socially, health-wise-for families, young people, students and workers".

For this reason, Laham appealed to the international community for an immediate cessation of all arms transfers, and for the world's major powers to work together towards a political solution rather than contributing to the "division" of the Arab world along political, social, religious and tribal lines.

THE TELEGRAPH: War in Syria: what would Thomas Aquinas do?

A decision by the Government to arm the rebels in Syria ought to be taken as carefully as one to commit British troops. It is akin to war, albeit by proxy, and must be treated with equal seriousness and meet the tests for a just war. Thomas Aquinas set out three criteria for such a war. It must be waged by a legitimate authority; the cause needs to be just; and there has to be a right intention to restore peace. Tony Blair, in his Chicago speech in 1999, set out five conditions for intervention in his view of the new world order. Inevitably, both sets of tests are matters of judgment but neither seems to be met in full.

The first question is who is the legitimate authority? It is clearly the nation state when it is attacked or its essential interests are threatened. Only it can decide if these conditions are met. This is not the case for the United Kingdom in relation to Syria, so legitimacy must be sought in international conventions. There are certain circumstances in which it is agreed that nations may intervene in the internal affairs of sovereign states. However, this needs the sanction of an international body –otherwise it would allow arbitrary attacks. The United Nations Security Council has served this purpose in the past and although it is a flawed body, it can legitimise military action against independent states for their internal actions. There is no prospect of this happening in the case of Syria, which is seen as a reason for ignoring the UN. This ought to lead to pause for thought as it makes it hard to show that there is a legitimate authority, and so Aquinas’s first test is not met.

The second condition is easier to meet as it allows that "those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault". Assad is unquestionably guilty of the most grievous fault and has inflicted horrors upon his people. This would make war just in the event that the other conditions were met, but cannot stand alone.

The third test is that the "belligerents should have a rightful intention". Essentially they need to have a realistic prospect of promoting peace. This is hard to meet as foreign intervention so far has prolonged war and has allowed some wicked, extreme figures to grow in importance. The response to America's promise to send arms seems to be the dispatch of 4,000 troops by Iran and anti-aircraft missiles by Russia: in other words, the intent may be pious but it is not rightful as it has little prospect of leading to peace.


Syria: Priest gives poignant description of struggle to offer hope and help in Homs
Analyst: Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria now best-equipped of the group
Freedom fighters? Cannibals? The truth about Syria’s rebels
First European & NATO heavy arms for Syrian rebels. Russian reprisal expected

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

14. You must constantly carry the cross which He lays on you, be it interior or exterior, without growing weary or complaining of its length or weight. Does it not suffice that it has been given you by the hands of a Friend Whose all-loving Heart had destined it for you from all eternity?

June 7, 2013  


(John 19:33-34) But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side: and immediately there came out blood and water.


Jesus’s Heart: An abyss of love and mercy
5 reasons to adore the Sacred Heart
Mama Mary as shield against war, disaster

ARCHBISHOP CHARLES J. CHAPUT, O.F.M.CAP.: The evidential power of beauty

“Beauty is the battlefield where God and Satan contend for the hearts of men.”
– Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

“Late have I loved thee, Beauty so old and so new; late have I loved thee. Lo, you were within, but I was outside, seeking there for you, and upon the shapely things you have made I rushed headlong — I, misshapen. You were with me, but I was not with you. They held me back far from you, those things which would have no being, were they not in you.”
– Augustine, The Confessions

A friend once told me the story of how she first met God. She doesn’t remember her age; it must have been about 4 or 5. Her family lived in the countryside on the rim of one of our big eastern cities. And one June evening, cloudless, moonless, with just the hint of a humid breeze, her father took her out into the back yard in the dark and told her to look up at the sky.

From one horizon to the other, all across the black carpet of the night, were the stars — thousands of them, tens of thousands, in clusters and rivers of light. And in the quiet, her father said, “God made the world beautiful because he loves us.”

That was more than 50 years ago. My friend grew up and learned all about entropy and supernovae and colliding galaxies and quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity. But still, when she closes her eyes, she can see that carpet of stars and hear her father’s voice. God made the world beautiful because he loves us.

Creation is more than an accident of dead matter. It’s a romance. It has purpose. It sings of the Living God. It bears his signature.

The story of my friend offers several lessons we might consider this week as summer begins and life starts to briefly slow down.

First, the most powerful kind of witness doesn’t come from a classroom or pulpit. It doesn’t need an academic degree or special techniques. Instead, it grows naturally out of the lives of ordinary people – parents and spouses and friends; people confident in the love that God bears for them and eager to share it with others; people who know the world not as a collection of confused facts but as a symphony of truth and meaning.

Second, nature is sacramental. It points to things outside itself. God speaks and creation sings in silence. We can’t hear either if we’re cocooned in a web of manufactured distraction, anxiety and noise. We can’t see the heavens if our faces are buried in technologies that turn us inward on ourselves. Yet that’s exactly what modern American life seems to promote: a restless and relentless material appetite for “more,” that gradually feeds selfishness and separates each of us from everyone else.

Third and finally, every experience of real beauty leads us closer to three key virtues: humility, because the grandeur of creation invites awe and lifts us outside ourselves; love, because the human heart was made for glory and joy, and only the Author of life can satisfy its longings; and hope, because no sadness, no despair, can ultimately survive the evidence of divine meaning that beauty provides.

If the world we see taking shape around us today in the name of a false freedom often seems filled with cynicism, ugliness, little blasphemies and sadness, we need to ask why. And then we need to turn our hearts again to the God of beauty – Augustine’s “Beauty so old and so new” — who created us, who sings his longing for us in the grandeur of the world he made, and who renews our souls.

God lives in the summer rain, the stars in the night sky, the wind in the leaves of the trees. He speaks to us through a creation alive with his love. We need to be silent, and watch and listen. And then we need to join in nature’s symphony of praise.

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[Acts 14:20–27; John 9:39–10:9]

And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind (John 9:39). They which could not see were the simple people who believed the Lord in simplicity of heart, while they which saw were the scribes and learned men of that time, who due to their pride of mind did not believe, and held back the people.

Our clever ones think that they see, and, this is why they are alienated from that faith in the Lord that the simple in heart and mind firmly hold to. Therefore, according to the truth of the Lord they are blind, whereas the people see. They are exactly like those birds which can see at night, but not during the day.  The truth of Christ is dark for them, whereas what is contrary to this truth — falsehood — to them seems clear: here they are in their element. This is so obvious, but nevertheless they are ready to ask: Are we blind also? (John 9:40). There is nothing to hide; you are blind. But since it is your own fault that you are blind, the sin of blindness and not seeing the light lies on you. You can see, but you do not want to, because you came to love a deceptive, yet tempting lie.

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

13. Nothing unites us so closely to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ as the cross which is the most precious pledge of his love.

June 4, 2013  

(Luk 11:9-13) And I say to you: Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh receiveth: and he that seeketh findeth: and to him that knocketh it shall be opened: And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? Or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him?

POPE FRANCIS ON PRAYER: "I remember once, I was in a dark moment in my spiritual life and I asked a favor from the Lord. Then I went to preach the annual spiritual retreat to nuns and on the last day the made their confession. One elderly nun, over 80 years of age, but with clear, bright eyes came to confession: she was a woman of God. In the end I saw that she really was a woman of God so I said ‘ Sister, as penance, pray for me, because I need a grace, ok? If you asks the Lord for this grace on my behalf, I am sure to receive it'. She stopped for a moment, as if in prayer, and said, 'Of course the Lord will grant you this grace, but do not be deceived: in His own divine manner’. This did me a lot of good. To hear that the Lord always gives us what we ask for, but in His own divine way. And this is the divine way to the very end. The divine way involves the Cross, not out of masochism: no, no! Out of love. For love to the very end”.

ARCHDIOCESE OF WASHINGTON: A Word from the Lord and a Saint as to what Prayer Does by Msgr. Charles Pope

VATICAN RADIO: The Apostleship of Prayer in cyberspace

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

12. This is the thought He wishes me to dwell upon:
"The cross do I glory to bear,
 And love to it leadeth me e'er;
 Love divine my entire being doth own,
 And for me, love sufficeth alone".
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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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