Keep your eyes open!...


June 30, 2016  

(Php 1:9-11) And this I pray: That your charity may more and more abound in knowledge and in all understanding: That you may approve the better things: that you may be sincere and without offence unto the day of Christ: Filled with the fruit of justice, through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

PETER KREEFT: Discernment

EXCERPT NCREGISTER: What Is God’s Will for Me?

Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa, host of EWTN Live and author of How to Listen When God Is Speaking: A Guide for Modern-Day Catholics (The Word Among Us Press, 2011), explains this method.

“The first and most basic principle is that a person needs to have enough humility to accept God on his own terms,” he says. That means accepting what the Lord has revealed about himself in Scripture, Tradition and the magisterium.

“Discernment comes into play quite legitimately when you have two options, both of which are good in and of themselves,” Father Pacwa adds.

For instance, discovering what state in life one is called to: priesthood, married life or religious life.

“All of these in and of themselves are apparently good,” he says. “The question is of knowing which one of those goods is the best way for me to give greater glory to God.”

Two attitudes help us better able to discern God’s will, Father Pacwa says. “One: What is for the greater glory of God? How am I going to give him better service and greater glory in my life? Two: being truly equal-minded toward all good things.” This means wanting to do whatever God wants because I trust that he has the greatest good for me involved in that.

After this groundwork, says Msgr. Charles Pope, “we have to start with our state in life, where we are now — young or old, single or married, physically strong or challenged.” Msgr. Pope, pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian in Washington, discusses discernment on his blog for the Archdiocese of Washington (

He says one’s state in life will reveal open and closed doors. For instance, a young woman may feel called to pray four hours a day. If she’s single and discerning religious life, this is a good idea — not so if she’s a wife with small children who need attention and care during that time.

Father Morris suggests asking ourselves, “Is it helping me or hurting me to fulfill the duties of my state in life as a parent, husband, wife, mother, student, priest, and so on.”

Next, examine your gifts and talents. In discerning the will of God, “we have to carefully ponder if it will make good sense or bad sense based on our skills and talents,” says Msgr. Pope. Consider: Are my God-given gifts and talents a good match for what I want to do or am being called to do?

Desire is another important factor. “When God wants to inspire us to do something, he puts within us a desire to do it,” says Msgr. Pope, cautioning that when it comes to following doctrine and moral law, our feelings and desires are largely irrelevant. We must follow God’s teaching.

But regarding various courses of action that are good (like marriage and priesthood), Msgr. Pope explains, “feelings and desires do matter and may help indicate the will of God for us. For when God wants us to move in a direction of something good, he most often inspires some level of desire for it. God’s will for us gives joy.”

Consequently, true peace is a major factor for discernment.

As Father Pacwa puts it: “The normal way we experience that discernment is through various interior movements in our spiritual life, movements of peace and consolation or movements of disturbance and desolation.

“When somebody begins to find peace in regard to a certain option and then finds that that peace remains and lasts a serious amount of time, that is probably going to be the way God is leading you.”

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[Rom. 4:13–25; Matt. 7:21–23]

Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven (Matt. 7:21). You will not be saved through prayer alone; you must unite with prayer fulfilment of the will of God — all that lies upon each person according to his calling and way of life. And prayer should have as its subject primarily the request that God enable us not to depart in any way from His holy will.

Conversely, he who is zealous to fulfil God's will in all things has boldness in prayer before God and greater access to His throne. Moreover, prayer that is not accompanied by walking in God's will is often not true, sober and heartfelt prayer, but only external reading, during which one's moral dysfunction is concealed by a multitude of words like a mist, while the thoughts are actually disorderly and wandering. Both must be made orderly through piety, and then there will be fruit.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

4. As of all foods, bread is the most essential, so the thought of death is the most necessary of all works. The remembrace of death amongst those in the midst of society gives birth to distress and meditation, and even more, to despondency. But amongst those who are free from noise, it produces the putting aside of cares and constant prayer and guarding of the mind. But these same virtues both produce the remembrance of death, and are also produced by it.

June 29, 2016

(Isa 44:24) Thus saith the Lord thy redeemer, and thy maker, from the womb: I am the Lord, that make all things, that alone stretch out the heavens, that established the earth, and there is none with me.

CNA: Supreme Court ruling blasted for pro-abortion bias in Texas ruling

TCC: Texas Bishops highly concerned with ruling that puts women at grave risk

USCCB STATEMENT: "The Court has rejected a common-sense law protecting women from abortion facilities that put profits above patient safety," McQuade said. "The law simply required abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centers – standards like adequate staffing, soap dispensers, and basic sanitary conditions. It required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and that hallways be wide enough to allow emergency personnel through with stretchers, should a life-threatening emergency arise."

: effort launched in response to Supreme Court decision

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, announced today that his organization is re-launching and intensifying, by which the abortion industry will be exposed to the light of day and the conscience of the American public.
"Obviously, the Supreme Court decision in Whole Woman's Health vs. Hellerstedt demonstrates that not enough people know and care about the fact that the abortion industry is an unscrupulous, unregulated industry that cares no more for women than for the children it kills and throws away," Fr. Pavone explained.
"Consistent with our approach to abortion over the last 25 years, we will increase our efforts to expose it. will be the central focus for efforts, both online and in the streets, in legislators and in courts, in churches and in classrooms, to expose abortion on several levels:
a) the procedure itself, via photos, diagrams and videos (;
b) the impact on women, men, and families via the testimonies of our Silent No More Awareness Campaign (; and
c) the corruption of the abortion industry, via testimonies of former and current abortionists and undercover investigations.
"We will call upon all people of good will to join us in this effort, which is not based on religious arguments, but simply on the facts of what abortion is and what it does," Fr. Pavone concluded.
Priests for Life is the nation's largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit

YOUTUBE: Celebrate Life: An Abortion Documentary

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

2. The remembrance of death is a daily death; and the remembrance of our departure is an hourly sighing or groaning.

June 27, 2016

(Joh 15:18-21) If the world hate you, know ye that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they have kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for my name's sake: because they know not him that sent me.

CNA: Beware 'polite persecution,' archbishop warns

With relics of two English martyrs currently touring the U.S., the Archbishop of Baltimore implored Catholics to follow their example by defending religious freedom.

Speaking at the opening Mass of the annual “Fortnight for Freedom,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chair of the U.S. bishops’ ad hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, clarified that “we are not here tonight to argue a point of constitutional law nor are we here to re-argue what has already been persuasively argued in our courts.”

“No, we are here to honor the martyrs, to celebrate the freedom to bear witness, beginning with Jesus Christ, ‘the faithful witness’ of the Father’s love, for Christ and his sacrificial love are the very heart of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

The “Fortnight for Freedom” is an annual two-week period of prayer, fasting, and education for religious freedom, called for by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The fortnight begins on the eve of the feast of English martyrs Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher – whose relics are currently touring the U.S. – and ends on July 4, Independence Day.

More, chancellor of England, and Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, were beheaded by order of King Henry VIII because they would not honor him as head of the Church in England. “Both Fisher and More died not merely for freedom of conscience in the abstract but for freedom of conscience in defending marriage and the rights of the Church,” Archbishop Lori said.

Yet they, and martyrs throughout the centuries, followed Christ’s example of meekness and self-sacrifice, he noted.

“All these martyrs faced unjust judgment yet responded truthfully and respectfully to their accusers,” he said, and they “re-produced in their own flesh the sacrificial death of Christ.”

Their witness to the Church’s teaching is an example for Catholics everywhere to defend freedom of religion, Archbishop Lori insisted, adding that Catholics should remember all the martyrs, particularly those of recent decades.  

“We may think that the days of the martyrs have ended but as Pope Francis points out there are more martyrs for the faith in our times than there were during the first centuries of the Church,” Archbishop Lori said, noting Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant martyrs under Nazism and Communism that formed an “‘ecumenism of blood,’ as Pope Francis says.”

HLI: What a Strong Bishop Can Do

RELATED: Faithful Catholic Colleges: Beacons of Hope in a Sea of Ambivalence

CRISIS MAGAZINE: Author Says a New Religion Persecutes Christians

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

1. Every word is preceded by thought. And the remembrance of death and sins precedes weeping and mourning. Therefore, this subject comes in its proper place in this chapter.

June 23, 2016

(Rom 13:1-2) Let every soul be subject to higher powers. For there is no power but from God: and those that are ordained of God. Therefore, he that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist purchase to themselves damnation.

POPE FRANCIS: "Let us think today about what the Lord says to us: Do not judge, lest you be judged; the measure… by which we judge will be the same that will be used for us; and, third, let us look in the mirror before judging. 'But this fellow does this ... that fellow does that...' 'But, wait a minute ...'  I look in the mirror and then think. On the contrary, I'll be a hypocrite if I put myself in the place of God and, also, my judgement is poor judgment. Human judgement lacks the mercy of the Lord’s judgment, may the Lord make us understand these things."

VIA FR. IANNUZZI: Is Criticizing a Pope a Sin?

MORE VIA FR. IANNUZZI:  Is it Wrong to be Critical of this Pope?

Pope Francis and the Eye of the Tiger

: On Judging and Condemning the Supreme Pontiff

Who is qualified to judge the Vicar of Christ, the Supreme Pontiff of the Church on earth — ANY Supreme Pontiff at all?

It is scandalous and gravely immoral for Catholics to judge and condemn Pope Francis — or any other Pope. To do so, whether in a private conversation with one other person or secretly in one’s own heart and mind, is sinful, and could perhaps be of grave moral weight. To do so publicly, repeatedly, based merely on extemporaneous remarks of personal papal opinion, is certainly a grave sin. The sin is grave because the Church is harmed and the salvation of souls is impeded by this type of scandalous attack on the Supreme Teacher of the Faith.

Hypocrites! These same papal accusers regularly offer controversial opinions on every topic under the sun. But if the holy Roman Pontiff offers his own opinions, they grind their teeth and murmur against him. They quickly utter vicious calumny against the Vicar of Christ, because he dared to speak his mind freely, just as they do.

The love of God and neighbor — without which no one goes to Heaven — requires us to treat the words and deeds of our neighbors with forbearance and charity. We cannot jump to an accusatory conclusion, nor exaggerate our neighbors apparent error, without sinning against God and neighbor.

And the charitable treatment of our neighbor applies to everyone. Every human person. Even politicians! Even known criminals! Even liberal Popes! Are you kidding me!?! Does Jesus really expect us to be charitable and loving toward even liberal Popes?!? Wow, that Guy is a radical!

And IF it were ever the case, I said IF, that the Pope erred in some way in a personal opinion or an extemporaneous remark, no one on earth has the authority to judge and condemn him. We can discuss his remarks and opinions, CHARITABLY. We can disagree, faithfully, reasonably, and RESPECTFULLY. But NO ONE on earth has the authority to judge the Pope, nor to condemn him.

Moreover, BEFORE anyone disagrees with the Pope, even with his off-the-cuff remarks or personal opinions, they are morally obligated to consider his remarks charitably — before speaking publicly — to see if they themselves might have erred or misunderstood. The Vicar of Christ has the AUTHORITY to teach and correct EVERYONE. If you choose to take up the attitude that the Pope is incapable of teaching or correcting you, because he is liberal or because you have such a high opinion of yourself or for some other reason, then you sin against Christ by that choice. Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ, and when Catholics refuse to treat him as the Supreme Teacher and Shepherd of the Church of Christ, they sin against Christ himself.

When Pope Francis makes “shocking” extemporaneous remarks, learn from him. And I don’t mean learn from his mistakes, as if from a cautionary tale. Pope Francis has good insights into the Faith, and his supposedly harmful remarks always seem to me to express (perhaps imperfectly, perhaps awkwardly) good insights into certain aspects of the Faith.

The Magisterium

The Magisterium has a definitive teaching on who may judge the Pope. Pope Boniface VIII taught on this subject in the Constitution Unam Sanctam (which was renewed and approved by the Fifth Lateran Council).

7. Therefore, if the earthly power goes astray, it will be judged by the spiritual power; but if a lesser spiritual power goes astray, [it will be judged] by its superior; and truly, if the highest [power] goes astray, it will not be able to be judged by man, but by God alone. And so the Apostle testifies, “The spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is judged by no one.” [1 Corinthians 2:15]

If secular society or culture or government goes astray, the Church has the authority and ability from God to judge — and to condemn or to exonerate in each case. If a lower spiritual authority in the Church goes astray, or is at least accused, a superior power in the Church will judge, as when the pastor of a parish judges a dispute among parishioners, or when a Bishops judges a dispute about a priest.

However, if the highest power in the Church on earth, the Supreme Pontiff, is accused of going astray, he “will not be able to be judged by man, but by God alone.” So the Pope is not able to be judged by a Cardinal or Bishop, nor by all the Cardinals or all the Bishops gathered together, nor by any lesser religious or secular authority, such as a popular priest or speaker or author.

Now as my readers know, I teach and believe unequivocally that no Pope can ever go astray by teaching heresy, nor by committing apostasy, heresy, or schism. But a Pope can go astray, to a limited extent, in other ways. A Pope can err in an extemporaneous remark, or in a personal opinion, even a published theological opinion. He can err in a decision on discipline. He can even err — only to a limited extent — in a non-infallible teaching of the ordinary Papal Magisterium.

Proof that a Pope can err is found in Sacred Scripture. Saint Paul rebuked Saint Peter, the first Pope, for an error in his behavior (eating only with Christians who were former Jews), as described in Galatians 2. And proof that the possibility of papal error is limited is found in the Gospels: “And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt 16:18).

8. But this authority, even though it may be given to a man, and may be exercised by a man, is not human, but rather divine [power], having been given by the divine mouth [of Christ] to Peter, and to him as well as to his successors, by [Christ] Himself, [that is, to him] whom He had disclosed to be the firm rock, just as the Lord said to Peter himself: “Whatever you shall bind,” [Matthew 16:19] etc. Therefore, whoever resists this authority, such as it has been ordain by God, resists the ordination of God. [Romans 13:2]

Whosoever resists the authority of Peter and his successors, resists what has been ordained by God. You can faithfully disagree with any Roman Pontiff, to a limited extent, charitably, if you have a well-considered reason. But the way that many Catholic commentators treat Pope Francis is far beyond such limits and is in no way charitable or reasonable or well-considered. They have no respect for his authority as Teacher and Shepherd of the Church. If he says anything contrary to their own thoughts, they immediately assume that the Rock on which the Church was founded by Christ has shattered and been crushed into dust. For it seems impossible to them that they themselves may have misunderstood, or may be in need of teaching or correction. Inwardly, they worship only themselves.

9. Moreover, that every human creature is to be subject to the Roman pontiff, we declare, we state, we define, and we pronounce to be entirely from the necessity of salvation.

It is an essential part of God’s plan of salvation that the Church on earth be led by one particular High Priest, who is the representative of Christ himself on earth: the Pope. And so, whoever treats the Pope with contempt, is guilty of a sin against Christ and is guilty of doing harm to the plan, and to the Ark itself, of salvation.

Why are so many Catholics publicly sinfully rebuking the holy Roman Pontiff? Why are so few Catholics speaking out against this sin?

MORE: Mirus and Lawler versus Pope Francis

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

39. In the case of cowardly and slothful people, the falls that occur after our call are hard to bear; they crush the hope of dispassion and persuade us to regard our having barely risen form the pit of sin as a state of blessedness. Look, look! For certainly we do not return by the way we went astray, but by another shorter route.

June 21, 2016

(Joh 14:26) But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.

POPE FRANCIS: “The Holy Spirit exercises a role of teaching and memory...the Holy Spirit doesn't bring a different teaching, but makes that of Jesus alive and active, so that the time that the passage of time does not erase it or make it fade. He grafts this teaching into our hearts, helps us to interiorize it, making it become part of us, flesh of our flesh,” the Pope continued, adding that at the same time, the Spirit “prepares the heart so that it is able to truly receive the words and example of the Lord.”

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: In the School of the Holy Spirit Kindle Edition by Jacques Philippe

In the School of the Holy Spirit will help you get to know the Sanctifier of your soul. It will lead you to be more attentive to the movements of the Holy Spirit in your life as you learn to love the third person of the Holy Trinity. Philippe explains the rewards of being attentive to the Holy Spirit and provides simple and concrete ways to grow in this inner sensitivity. In his clear and simple style, he illustrates his points with many examples from modern life. In the School of the Holy Spirit is a valuable aid in your own spiritual journey.

ZENIT: An Interview with Fr. Jacques Philippe


PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Holy Spirit, we need you!

“Come, Holy Spirit, we need you!” More than ever, we should pray this much, and pray this more. We cannot, must not, leave out the stirring and leading of the Holy Spirit in the events that are unfolding in our midst right now. Let us not be so caught up in human efforts and achievements to the point of leaving out or belittling the divine. Let us not be proud. Let us not be blinded by worldly power and might. It has been said before, and we say it again: Pride comes before the fall.

Someone once said that in life, we should be busy building, not walls, but bridges. It is time for healing. It is time to extend our hands to one another, and reach out toward unity and peace. Peace is the fruit of the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts. Hatred, revenge, pride and being unforgiving come from the evil one.

The evil one scatters, the Holy Spirit gathers. Let us all pray and work for unity and peace. How far easier it is to destroy and divide. It is not easy to become an instrument of unity and peace. It is not easy to stand forrighteousness and justice, and to proclaim Gospel truths.

Fr. Jun Ocampo, SVD, the chaplain of the Filipino community in Berlin, Germany, is doing very good work for the Holy Spirit as an instrument of unity and peace among our overseas Filipino workers. But all of us, too, wherever we are and in whatever situation we are in, should do our part to spread goodness, peace and love in keeping with our Lord’s mandate that we love one another. Yes, we need the Holy Spirit to enlighten, guide and strengthen us to do our mission. Please remember that life is short, death is certain, and we have a final destination—heaven—where there are no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain, no more politics and no more goodbyes.

A moment with the Lord: Come, Holy Spirit, we need you. Rekindle in us the fire of Your love, and revive in us whatever goodness that has died. Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

38. Nothing equals or excels God's mercies. Therefore, he who despairs is committing suicide. A sign of true repentance is the acknowledgment that we deserve all the afflictions, visible and invisible, that come upon us, and even greater ones. Moses, after seeing God in the bush, returned again to Egypt, that is, to darkness and to the brick-making of Pharaoh, who was symbolical of the spiritual Pharaoh. But he went back again to the bush, and not only to the bush, but also up the mountain. Whoever has known divine vision will never despair of himself. Job became a beggar, but he became twice as rich again.

June 8, 2016  


(Lam 3:24-26) The Lord is my portion, said my soul: therefore will I wait for him. The Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good to wait with silence for the salvation of God.

MSGR. CHARLES POPE: When God Says No – A Meditation On the Sometimes Mysterious Providence of God

LINK: Three-Hundred Sayings of the Ascetics of the Orthodox Church

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[Acts 17:19–28; John 12:19–36]

Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit (John 12:24). And so, if you want to be fruitful, die. Die in a real way, bearing always the feeling in your heart that you have already died. Just as a dead man does not respond to anything surrounding him, so do the same: if they praise you — be silent, and if they rebuke you — be silent, and if you make a profit — be silent; if you are full — be silent, or hungry — be silent. Be this way to all external things; inwardly abide in the place where all the dead abide — in the other life, before the all-righteous face of God, preparing to hear the final sentence.

You may say, what fruit can come everything dying? No, nothing will die. Rather, abundant energy will appear! “I have but one minute remaining,” you will say to yourself. “Now will come the verdict; let me hurry to do something;” and you will do it. And thus continue every minute.


Recently I had dinner with a young man and woman who are close friends of mine. They had been married for less than two years and were expecting their first child. Both had relatively good jobs; he in communications, she in teaching.

Their relationship to each other, while perhaps past that highly charged passion of first fervor, was, by every appearance, good, respectful, loving and easeful. By every practical standard, they should have been happy, in a good season of their lives.

But that was not the case. Individually, and as a couple, they were quite restless and frustrated, without being able to pinpoint precisely why. They talked about it in this way:

“It’s not that we are unhappy, it’s just that our lives seem too small for us. We want to do something more significant than what we are doing, to somehow leave a mark in this world. The city we live in, our jobs, our circle of friends, even our relationship to each other and our involvement with the church, somehow doesn’t seem enough.”

“It’s all too ordinary, too domestic, too insignificant. Life seems so big and we seem so small! Maybe having this baby will change things—bringing a new person into this world is pretty significant and very irrevocable.”

“At least that will be one timeless thing that we did. But… maybe it will make us even more restless because now we will be tied down in ways that we can no longer leave or change.”

I found it difficult to offer much to them by way of advice. I sensed their restlessness; indeed, I often feel just that kind of dis-ease within my own life. My life is going on, full of many things, and, too often, I am absent from those things, too restless to receive the spirit of my own life.

Rich life, life-giving love, true community and God are present… but I, like the young couple I just talked about, am absent. Perhaps it sounds strange to suggest that we can be absent from our own lives, but in fact it is rare that we are present to what’s actually there and taking place within our lives.

St. Augustine, in a famous prayer after his conversion, expresses this well: “Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved! You were within me, but I was outside and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you.” (Confessions, Book 7).

”You were within me, but I was outside.” Few phrases more accurately describe how we relate to God, life, love and community than does that line from Augustine. It’s why my friends could have so rich a life and yet be so deeply restless; it’s why we all generally look everywhere else rather than to our own actual lives for love and delight; and it’s why we are perennially so deeply restless.

This restlessness cannot be stilled by a journey outward. It’s inward that we need to go. Inside of our own actual lives, beyond our restless yearnings and fantasies, God, love, community, meaning, timeless significance and everything else that we search for, are already there.

We become bigger than our seemingly too small lives not by finding and doing something extraordinary and timeless—great achievements, world fame, leaving a mark in history, being known by and connected to more and more people—but in being present to what’s timeless and extraordinary within our ordinary lives.

I have a series of axioms that I try to meditate on regularly to keep myself aware of how, perennially, what I am yearning for is inside of me but I am outside. Allow me to share them with you:
The Prayer of St. Francis captures the same thing—and it’s that kind of prayer we need most when our restless yearning overwhelms us and our lives feel too small for us.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

37. We must carefully consider whether our conscience has ceased to accuse us, not as a result of purity, but because it is immersed in evil. A sign of deliverance from our falls is the continual reckoning of ourselves as debtors.

June 6, 2016  

(Gen 3:3-5) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.

CATHOLIC EDUCATION RESOURCE CENTER: The Case Against Perfection  -What's wrong with designer children, bionic athletes, and genetic engineering?
: Ethics committee greenlights UK gene editing

TECHTIMES: The Battle Over The Synthetic Human Genome

The creation of a synthetic human genome is now within the reach of researchers, and the possibility of forming a genetic blueprint of a human being is stirring controversy. While one group of researchers praises the vision of the project, others are urging their fellow scientists to wait to develop a synthetic human genome until the moral implications of such a development can be decided.

Human Genome Project-write (HGP-write) presents a significant goal for researchers as, so far, only the genes of baker's yeast and simple bacteria have been developed in the laboratory.

In May, a group of scientists met at a closed-door meeting held at Harvard University. Although organizers of the event claimed the secrecy was due to discussion of a non-public scientific paper, the nature of the meeting drew ire from around the globe.

"I think it's a brilliant project. If you want to do this, it's going to be on the same scale as the Human Genome Project, it's going to need some big funding agencies and hundreds and hundreds of researchers around the world," Paul Fremont, a synthetic biologist at Imperial College London and attendee at the meeting, said.

Current technology is too costly, as well as too slow, to form a completely synthetic genome of a human being. One path toward the development of such a gene could be to form segments of code to carry out specific functions. Such a plan could save a significant portion of the full project cost.

Developing a complete human genome from scratch is a project which would take a decade or more to complete, at a cost of billions of dollars. Developers of the technology are hoping to raise $100 million from a variety of sources in order to launch their project.

Some critics are concerned that focus on a synthetic human genome could draw attention and resources away from other research. Proponents of HGP-write believe their work will contribute greatly to knowledge of the genetics of other species.

"Exponential improvements in genome engineering technologies and functional testing provide an opportunity to deepen the understanding of our genetic blueprint and use this knowledge to address many of the global problems facing humanity," George Church of Harvard Medical School said.

Developers of HGP-write state their project will uncover the mechanisms by which genes are tied to biological mechanisms and functions. This research could assist in the development of new medicines and targeted treatments for a wide variety of ailments.

Investigators will first focus on synthesizing a segment of about 1 percent of the human genome, in order to test if such a complete undertaking is feasible.

Information and knowledge gained from the development of HGP-write will be made available for free to the general public. The portions of genes selected for this test of concept are those likely to yield results advantageous to medical research.

The greatest fears of opponents of HGP-write could center on nightmarish visions of clones and a modern age of eugenics. For now, however, scientists are not yet even able to insert functional synthetic genomes into a working cell of a mammal.

MORE: Dare we edit the human race? Star geneticists wrestle with their power

EXCERPT: The Catholic moral tradition and the genome project

The Catholic Church is not hostile to science. On the contrary, it is welcomed as a project which can enrich human beings through the knowledge that it makes available as well as the beneficial contributions to the health and general well-being of mankind.

But the Catholic Church is conscious, too, of the rejection of fundamental human values, which is both implicit and explicit in the philosophical assumptions and the praxis of modern science. The rejection by the Church of practices which violate fundamental human rights should not be seen as a rejection of science. It is, rather, a call to science to recognise the limits of its own knowledge and sphere of action.

For example, in discussing the Catholic Church’s rejection of reproductive cloning of human beings as being contrary to “the dignity of the person subjected to cloning and the dignity of human procreation” the Pontifical Academy for Life (Pontificia Academia Pro Vita) has stated that “the scientist cannot regard the moral rejection of human cloning as a humiliation; on the contrary, this prohibition eliminates the demiurgic degeneration of research by restoring its dignity.” That is to say:

The most urgent need now seems to be that of re-establishing the harmony between the demand of scientific research and indispensable human values.

It is the fostering of a strong relationship between biomedical science and the true welfare of man and society which is the emphasis that the Catholic Church brings to the discussion of the HGP and the HGDP. For that relationship to flourish it is necessary to foster what the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II calls a “contemplative outlook” on man himself and the world, “with a vision of reality as God’s creation and in a context of solidarity between science, the good of the person and of society.”

It is the outlook of those who see life in its deeper meaning, who grasp its utter gratuitousness, its beauty and its invitation to freedom and responsibility. It is the outlook of those who do not presume to take possession of reality but instead accept it as a gift, discovering in all things the reflection of the Creator and seeing in every person his living image.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

34. Let no one who laments expect assurance at his departure. For the unknown is not sure. Spare me, through assurance, that I be refreshed before I go hence unassured (of salvation). Where the Spirit of the Lord is, the bond is loosed. Where there is profound humility, the bond is loosed. But let those who are without these two assurances make no mistake: they are bound.

June 3, 2016

(Joh 19:34-35) But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side: and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony: and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true: that you also may believe.

CHURCH MILITANT: The Download- Sacred Heart Miraculously Appears


LINK: Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Adapted from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger

EXCERPT: Doctrinal Foundation of Devotion to the Sacred Heart by John Hardon, S.J.

Margaret Mary was chosen by God to provide the Church and through the Church all mankind with a deep and clear understanding of God's love for us and the love we should have for Him. In spite of the trial and tribulation, including the reputation in her community for being out of her mind, she never wavered in her loving trust in God.

Love is mainly proved by suffering. No wonder Margaret Mary could ask in one of her letters, "What can keep us from loving God and becoming saints, since we have a body that can suffer and a heart that can love?" Margaret Mary became the catalyst whose mission was to restore to the Catholic Church what some had lost and to strengthen what was so weakened _ the mystery of human freedom in responding to the merciful love of God.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart can be pathetically cheapened by treating it as just another devotion. On the contrary, it contains in its doctrinal foundation what the popes have reminded us are the seven cardinal mysteries of our Faith, which the world denies but we accept. These seven cardinal mysteries are:

_God created the human race out of love. He did not need to create anything or anyone. Moreover, He elevated the human race to a supernatural destiny, nothing less than the vision of the Holy Trinity for all eternity. All of this not because He had to, but only because He loves.

_God became man out of love for the sinful human race. He became a mortal man to die to prove how much He loves us. He assumed a human will that He might freely suffer. Do all humans suffer? Yes. Do all humans suffer willingly? No. The essence of love is to suffer willingly for the one you claim to love. God became man to suffer with a human will.

_Christ, the Son of God who became the Son of Man, suffered and died not just for the predestined elect, but for all mankind.

_God gives everyone enough grace to be saved. Is everyone saved? No. God wants all men to be saved yet gave us a free will with which we can choose either to love Him or love ourselves even to the contempt of God.

_We have a free will by which we can really choose to love God. When we want what God wants then we are loving Him. Love unites two wills: the will of God, by which He offers us His grace; and our will, by which we correspond with the graces we receive.

_We have a free will that can go beyond the call of duty. We can do more than just cooperate with God's grace to avoid sin. We can also love God more than we have to . . . more than we must. Read the letters of St. Margaret Mary. After twenty pages you will have to brace yourself. This loving God more than we have to means loving the cross. Christ joyfully chose the cross, and invites us to do the same, out of love for Him.

_We believe that Jesus Christ gave us Himself in the Holy Eucharist, by which He remains now on earth, in the fullness of his humanity and with his living human Heart. In every Mass, He freely offers Himself to his heavenly Father, and through the Mass confers the graces He won for us on the cross. In Holy Communion, we receive Him with his Heart into our own hearts, to sustain our selfless love of Him by our enduring love for everyone whom He places into our lives.

Lord Jesus, we believe you are our God who became man so that you might have a human heart, so that you might evoke in our hearts a corresponding love for you. Strengthen our weakness and protect us from ever running away from the cross. Help us to love you here in this valley of tears by faith, so that we can continue loving you in that everlasting embrace for which we were made.

MORE: 8 Astonishing Facts about the Sacred Heart You Never Knew

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

33. He who really keeps account of his actions considers as lost every day in which he does not mourn, whatever good he may have done in it.

June 2, 2016

(Rev 11:19-12:1) And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple. And there were lightnings and voices and an earthquake and great hail. And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

ALETEIA: Seven Times the Virgin Mary Has Visited Mankind

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: Bishop Call Apparitions of Mary in San Nicolas, Argentina, Supernatural and Worthy of Belief

Holy Trinity Sunday, May 22, was a banner blue-letter day — blue for our Blessed Mother — as Bishop Hector Cardelli of San Nicolas, Argentina, officially declared that the apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary in his diocese are of “supernatural character” and worthy of belief.

The apparitions took place in this city over 100 miles from Buenos Aires from Oct. 13, 1983 to Feb. 11, 1990. Our Blessed Mother appeared to a housewife named Gladys Herminia Quiroga de Motta nearly daily, giving 1804 messages. Gladys also received 68 visits and messages from Jesus.

Notice Oct. 13 was the anniversary of the last vision at Fatima and Feb. 11 is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes — a powerful providential sign.

Bishop Cardelli thoroughly studied everything according to Vatican guidelines during the last 12 years. At the time of the apparitions, his predecessor Bishop Domingo Salvador Castagna often presided over the processions and celebrated Mass for tens of thousands who gathered every 25th of every month to commemorate the Blessed Mother’s first appearance to Gladys on Sept. 25, 1983.

That happened while Gladys was in her room praying the rosary. It was a brief appearance. Mary was wearing a blue dress, carried the Child Jesus in her arms and held a rosary, but did not speak that time.

As in other apparitions, Mary appeared to a simple, humble woman. Married with two daughters, Gladys had only four years of elementary education.

The Blessed Virgin spoke for the first time on Oct. 13 — the anniversary of the last apparition at Fatima. “Do not be afraid,” were her first words.

MORE DETAILS: San Nicolas, Argentina (1983)

EXCERPTS: The Messages of San Nicolas

SPIRITDAILY COMMENTARY: Messages claim that the majority of mankind is 'contaminated' and a 'warning' covers the earth

MORE FROM SPIRITDAILY: Pope Francis Comes From Region Steeped in Marian Mysticism and an Apparition with Approved Messages

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

32. After your fall, do not believe him who says to you of small shortcomings: 'If only you had not done that great fault! But this is nothing in comparison'. Often small gifts appease the great anger of the Judge.
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