Keep your eyes open!...


May 30, 2014  

(1Pe 4:14-16) If you be reproached for the name of Christ, you shall be blessed: for that which is of the honour, glory and power of God, and that which is his Spirit resteth upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or a railer or coveter of other men's things. But, if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed: but let him glorify God in that name.

ARCHDIOCESE OF WASHINGTON: How Modern Heresies Isolate Us and Leave Us Unfulfilled by Msgr. Charles Pope

ESSAY: The Abhorrence of Liberalism by Jim J. McCrea   

*Liberalism,* whether religious or secular, is based upon *self,* in the satisfaction of one's own pride and concupiscence, regardless of the consequences to others, to the Church, or to society. That is why liberalism as an ideology is so abhorrent.

Liberalism is fundamentally an atomizing principle in which the unholy Trinity of "me, myself, and I" are at the center of reality.

In an "idea" liberal society, there would be as many gods as there are individuals. No common good is recognized to provide cohesion, harmony, and peace.

As we can know by merely logical principles, atomization is the disintegration of a thing. Liberalism causes both Church and society to disintegrate (if liberals get along with respect to some project, it is only a manifestation of what is known as *compatible egotisms.* That states that "I will let your pride go so far, if you let my pride go so far." It involved a barter of various types of intellectual and psychological "goods." There is no true love involved)

Orthodoxy (right thinking) and traditional values, on the other hand, rest on the primacy of the fundamental metaphysical moment of the "other." Self is transcended to serve that which is other than the self and higher than the self.

We can see this in the old style Western ethic where one fulfilled oneself by serving family, neighbor, country, Church, and God. Getting out of oneself in that way made one happy, and made for peace and goodness in society.

But the old style ethic has been replaced by a new ethic in which *self* is the center. We can see this on mainstream TV, secular magazines, and men's and woman's magazines. Those are all about satisfying one's appetites and actualizing oneself. The "other" is only a means to that end and not an end it itself.

Such a thing is also bolstered in academia in disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology. In the modern secular variants of these disciplines, human action is reduced to fulfilling self (or to serving the species through autonomous instinctive mechanisms brought about by "natural selection"). There is no recognition of the virtue of *integrity* where one does what is good or right, simply because it is good or right.

This has resulting in all the terrible problems that have developed in society and the Church over the past 40 years. A total coldness towards neighbor, widespread psychological violence as one tries to build one's ego on the carcasses of another's (which sometimes degenerates into physical violence), is now the norm. It accounts for all the meaninglessness and emptiness that people experience today in a land of material plenty.

People today mistakenly believe that they can find happiness where it cannot be found - by having a fundamental self centered orientation (which our culture encourages right now).

Only by getting back to the older style values, in getting out of oneself to serve the "other," will happiness, peace, and prosperity return to society.

One who looks for their "rights" in the Church, precisely, by bucking Church teaching and discipline, or one who looks for their "rights" in society by demanding contraception, abortion, euthanasia, divorce (divorce outside of real necessity), fornication, alternate sexualities, can only create a hell for themselves in this world which will turn into eternal hell at death (if unrepentant).

It is simply *impossible* for happiness to emerge with such a selfist ethical orientation.

That is not because of arbitrary religious dogma or because of some decree that God has decided on, but because the very laws and design of human nature, when violated, brings of itself disastrous results. It is simply a matter of natural cause and effect.

MORE BY JIM J. McCrae: The Logic of the Culture of Death

CRISIS MAGAZINE: Obedience and the Christian Life


Note from Ron: To receive my Catholic Q&A reports please contact me with your correct email address.

IN THE NEWS: New ‘morality clause’ at Catholic schools prompts outcry

SPIRITDAILY: "They have given every American a cell phone, a computer, an iPad, a car, a six pack, and a TV full of sports (or Kardashians, plus a job, for now) -- and that seems to be all it takes for indifference of the potentially enslaving kind."

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

45. A hermit said, 'If you fall ill, do not complain.  If the Lord God has willed that your body should be weakened, who are you to complain about it?  Does he not care for you in all your needs?  Surely you sould not be alive without him.  Be patient in your illness and ask God to give you what is right, that is, that which will enable you to do his will, and be patient, and eat what you have in charity.'

May 29, 2014  

(Php 4:6-7) Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Have confidence in the Providence that so far has never failed us. The way is not yet clear. Grope along slowly. Do not press matters; be patient, be trustful. With Jesus, what shall we have to fear?
- Saint Théodore Guérin (1798-1856)


YOUTUBE: Jim Caviezel - Inspirational video

EXCERPT ALETEIA: Prayer Is the Only Way- This life is difficult, frightening at times, and even risky. But you can find peace in God. by Fr. James Farfaglia

It is true that the adversities of life can challenge our faith.  Many times we seek instant solutions for our problems.  Faith allows us to be calm and patient, since it is faith that allows us to trust.  God does not have an email address.  He is not as fast as a microwave oven.  He does not work like instant oatmeal.  God is different because he is eternal.
Of necessity, the gift of faith needs to be cultivated if it is to flourish.  We must cultivate our faith through prayer, study, and a well disciplined spiritual life.  Moreover, the best way to cultivate the gift of faith is through our daily encounter with our Eucharistic Lord.  The Eucharist is the mystery of faith.
The Eucharist must be the center of our spiritual lives.  Daily Mass, adoration, and frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament will ignite the fire of faith and provide us with the strength that we need to journey every day towards eternal life. 
Moreover, aside from a deep Eucharistic life, a deep life of prayer is essential for us to have.  Prayer is conversation with God. Prayer is a continual being in love because God is real and personal.   No matter what might be going on in our lives, we must always pray, and pray daily.  Prayer is the air that we breathe.  

When I speak to you about a life of prayer, I am not referring to the mere saying of prayers.  I am talking about something much deeper.  There are different types of prayer.  One form of prayer is vocal prayer and another form of prayer is mental prayer.  There are two types of mental prayer.  One form of mental prayer is meditation and the other form of mental prayer is contemplation.  

Meditation and contemplation are quite different.  The person who meditates usually uses the Scriptures or some other spiritual book.  Contemplation does not employ any books at all.  Contemplation is the prayer of the heart. It is the prayer of being in God’s presence.  It is a gift from God.  It is the prayer of allowing God to pray in you.   My website contains a short e-book that explains Contemplative Prayer in easy terms that everyone can understand.  

You do not have to live in a monastery to be a contemplative.  Everyone can be a contemplative.  No matter what your profession may be, everyone has the possibility of having a deep relationship with Jesus.  

One of the greatest challenges that we encounter is our inability to see and to listen to God.  We are caught up in the distractions of daily life that prevent us from really encountering God.

Our busy lives require refreshing times of prayer throughout the day.  If we fail to incorporate prayer into our schedules, we will be overcome by the difficulties and challenges of life.  Prayer feeds faith.  Saint Teresa of Avila, the famous Spanish mystic, once wrote: “Let nothing trouble you.  Let nothing frighten you.  Everything passes.  God never changes.  Patience obtains all.  Whoever has God, wants for nothing.  God alone is enough.” (Poesías 30)

A serious life of contemplative prayer is very important for the times in which we live. The traditional structures of support that have made our lives comfortable and easy are presently engulfed in confusion, but transformation is slowly taking place.

God is moving us away from clinging to things, people and institutions.  He is calling us to detachment, to the desert, to the journey into the night of naked faith.  He is calling us to cling to him, and only him.  This journey is difficult, frightening at times, and even risky.  But, those who embark upon the journey will be transformed into living witnesses of the God of love.

My dear friends, this may sound a bit extreme, but I have reached the conclusion that the only way that we will be able to handle the challenges of our times and the difficulties that are to unfold is through the exercise of daily contemplative prayer.  This is true because contemplative prayer allows us to experience the peace that only God can give us.  

Faith allows us to be calm and patient, since it is faith that allows us to trust.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14: 1).

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

41. There was a hermit who was often ill. But one year he did not fall ill and he was very upset and wept saying, 'The Lord has left me, and he has not visited me.'

May 27, 2014  

(Luk 22:39) And going out, he went, according to his custom, to the Mount of Olives. And his disciples also followed him.

EXCERPT: Pope Francis: discourse to priests, religious, seminarians in Holy Land

At the hour which God had appointed to save humanity from its enslavement to sin, Jesus came here, to Gethsemane, to the foot of the Mount of Olives.  We now find ourselves in this holy place, a place sanctified by the prayer of Jesus, by his agony, by his sweating of blood, and above all by his “yes” to the loving will of the Father.  We dread in some sense to approach what Jesus went through at that hour; we tread softly as we enter that inner space where the destiny of the world was decided.

In that hour, Jesus felt the need to pray and to have with him his disciples, his friends, those who had followed him and shared most closely in his mission.  But here, at Gethsemane, following him became difficult and uncertain; they were overcome by doubt, weariness and fright.  As the events of Jesus’ passion rapidly unfolded, the disciples would adopt different attitudes before the Master: attitudes of closeness, distance, hesitation.

Here, in this place, each of us – bishops, priests, consecrated persons, and seminarians – might do well to ask: Who am I, before the sufferings of my Lord?

Am I among those who, when Jesus asks them to keep watch with him, fall asleep instead, and rather than praying, seek to escape, refusing to face reality?

Or do I see myself in those who fled out of fear, who abandoned the Master at the most tragic hour in his earthly life?

Is there perhaps duplicity in me, like that of the one who sold our Lord for thirty pieces of silver, who was once called Jesus’ “friend”, and yet ended up by betraying him?

Do I see myself in those who drew back and denied him, like Peter?  Shortly before, he had promised Jesus that he would follow him even unto death (cf. Lk 22:33); but then, put to the test and assailed by fear, he swore he did not know him.

Am I like those who began planning to go about their lives without him, like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, foolish and slow of heart to believe the words of the prophets (cf. Lk 24:25)?

Or, thanks be to God, do I find myself among those who remained faithful to the end, like the Virgin Mary and the Apostle John?  On Golgotha, when everything seemed bleak and all hope seemed pointless, only love proved stronger than death.  The love of the Mother and the beloved disciple made them stay at the foot of the Cross, sharing in the pain of Jesus, to the very end.

Do I recognize myself in those who imitated their Master to the point of martyrdom, testifying that he was everything to them, the incomparable strength sustaining their mission and the ultimate horizon of their lives?

Jesus’ friendship with us, his faithfulness and his mercy, are a priceless gift which encourages us to follow him trustingly, notwithstanding our failures, our mistakes, also our betrayals.

But the Lord’s goodness does not dispense us from the need for vigilance before the Tempter, before sin, before the evil and the betrayal which can enter even into the religious and priestly life.   We are all exposed to sin, to evil, to betrayal.  We are fully conscious of the disproportion between the grandeur of God’s call and of own littleness, between the sublimity of the mission and the reality of our human weakness.  Yet the Lord in his great goodness and his infinite mercy always takes us by the hand lest we drown in the sea of our fears and anxieties.  He is ever at our side, he never abandons us.  And so, let us not be overwhelmed by fear or disheartened, but with courage and confidence let us press forward in our journey and in our mission.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Pope Francis in the Holy Land 2014

INSIDE THE VATICAN COMMENTARY: Letter #17, 2014: An unscheduled stop, and a proposal


Pope Francis at the Nativity Grotto
Pope Francis visits Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Pope Francis Prayer at the Wailing Wall


Pope Francis: homily in the Upper Room
Patriarch Bartholomew's Homily at Prayer Service With Pope
Francis' Address at Prayer Service With Patriarch Bartholomew


Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Wrap Up

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

38. A hermit said, 'The monk's cell is the furnace in Babylon in which the three children found the Son of God. It is the pillar of cloud out of which God spoke to Moses.'

May 23, 2014  

(1Co 11:26) For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.

POPE FRANCIS“At times someone may ask: ‘Why must one go to Church, given that those who regularly participate in Holy Mass are still sinners like the others?’ We have heard it many times! In reality, the one celebrating the Eucharist doesn’t do so because he believes he is or wants to appear better than others, but precisely because he acknowledges that he is always in need of being accepted and reborn by the mercy of God, made flesh in Jesus Christ. If any one of us does not feel in need of the mercy of God, does not see himself as a sinner, it is better for him not to go to Mass! We go to Mass because we are sinners and we want to receive God’s pardon, to participate in the redemption of Jesus, in his forgiveness.”

VIDEO: Archbishop Sample: Pontifical Mass Homily

LINK: Serving the Holy Mass of Padre Pio

EXCERPT BOOK REVIEW: Behold the Mystery: A Deeper Understanding of the Catholic Mass

The first thing Hart does is set up the problem, illustrated in the question asked by his daughter, “Why is Mass so boring?” The answers are typical: the mistaken idea of not enough entertainment value, loss of mystery, fallen-away Catholics, churches converted into bicycle garages, and the after-Mass rush to get the best doughnuts.

Pity us.

The problem, however, is so much deeper than those of us in the modern Church who are lacking; it’s the entire “postmodern” world that is intentionally lacking. Those who read this monthly review know a little about postmodernism with its deliberate secularism (removing religious belief from the public square) and its insidious relativism in which all beliefs are the same, neither worse than nor better than any other beliefs. It’s not only that we lack a sense of mystery; it’s that the whole world tells us that there is no mystery, no absolute truth to cling to, and no real beliefs to hold, which I have quoted over and over again.

So now what is Mark Hart supposed to do for us?

He pushes forward, making the following mysterious things completely understandable to the non-theological: the sabbath, worship, tradition, the priesthood, true community, liturgy, wedding rings, God’s desire for intimacy, and understanding our role in the kingdom.

EXCERPT: John Adams Letter On The Catholic Mass

"This afternoon, led by curiosity and good company, I strolled away to mother church, or rather grandmother church. I mean the Romish chapel. I heard a good, short moral essay upon the duty of parents to their children, founded in justice and charity, to take care of their interests, temporal and spiritual. This afternoon’s entertainment was to me most awful and affecting; the poor wretches fingering their beads, chanting Latin, not a word of which they understood; their pater nosters and ave Marias; their holy water; their crossing themselves perpetually; their bowing to the name of Jesus, whenever they hear it; their bowings, kneelings and genuflections before the altar. The dress of the priest was rich white lace. His pulpit was velvet and gold. The altar-piece was very rich, little images and crucifixes about; wax candles lighted up. But how shall I describe the picture of our Savior in a frame of marble over the altar, at full length, upon the cross in the agonies, and the blood dropping and streaming from his wounds! The music, consisting of an organ and a choir of singers, went all the afternoon except sermon time, and the assembly chanted most sweetly and exquisitely.

Here is everything which can lay hold of the eye, ear, and imagination–everything which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell. Adieu."

OF RELATED INTEREST: America’s First Mass

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

37. When a brother was troubled by thoughts of leaving the monastery, he told this to his abbot. He said, 'Go and sit down, and entrust your body to your cell, as a man puts a precious possession into a safe, and do not go out of it. Then let your thoughts go where they will. Let your mind think what it likes, so long as it does not drive your body out of the cell.'

May 19, 2014  

(Joh 14:21-24) He that hath my commandments and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith to him, not the Iscariot: Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not to the world? 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. He that loveth me not keepeth not my words. And the word which you have heard is not mine; but the Father's who sent me.

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: Love is our mission: The family fully alive

MSGR CHARLES POPE: Some Good Common Sense on Marriage, Sexuality, and the Family

A MOMENT WITH MARY: My Immaculate Heart will triumph: What does this mean?

“Finally, I would like to revisit another key message of the secret made quite rightly famous: ‘My Immaculate Heart will triumph.’ What does this mean?” Cardinal Ratzinger asked.

He answered: the triumph of one who leaves everything to God like Mary did, and in imitation of Mary: “The heart that is open to God, purified by the contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and arms of all kinds.” The victory of Mary's Heart therefore is an appeal to the freedom of each Christian to enter into God's loving plan for us on a daily basis.

And he also explained: “Mary's fiat, the word of her heart, changed the course of history, because she introduced the Savior into the world – since, thanks to her 'yes,' God could become man in our world and remain so for ever. The devil has some power over this world, we can see it and experience it continually; he has some power because our freedom accepts to be diverted from God.”


It’s a false question. God doesn’t send anyone to hell and God doesn’t deal out eternal punishment. God offers us life and the choice is ours as to whether we accept that or not.

God, Jesus tells us, doesn’t judge anyone. We judge ourselves. God doesn’t create hell and God doesn’t send anyone to hell. But that doesn’t mean that hell doesn’t exist and that it isn’t a possibility for us.

Here, in essence, is how Jesus explains this:

God sends his life into the world and we can choose that life or reject it. We judge ourselves in making that choice. If we choose life, we are ultimately choosing heaven. If we reject life, we end up living outside of life and that ultimately is hell. But we make that choice: God doesn’t send us anywhere. Moreover, hell is not a positive punishment created by God to make us suffer. Hell is the absence of something, namely, living inside of the life that’s offered to us.

As Jesus tells us in John’s Gospel: “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, the light has come into the world, and the people loved darkness rather than light … I judge no one.”

To read more click here:

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

36. A hermit said, 'A tree cannot bear fruit if it is often transplanted.  So it is with the monk.'

May 15, 2014  

(Joh 17:20-22) And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me. That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them: that, they may be one, as we also are one.

BC CATHOLIC: Pope Francis will make history in the Holy Land

The principal purpose of the visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land May 24-26 will not be a conventional pilgrimage like those of Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. It is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I.

The commemoration will be observed - indeed celebrated - by Francis meeting with Bartholomew, the successor of Athenagoras as ecumenical patriarch. This is a very different type of pilgrimage. Although the Pope will go to Jerusalem, there will be no trip to Nazareth, Capernaum, the Mount of the Beatitudes, or the Sea of Galilee, all very important places for pilgrims.

Instead the Pope will meet with the ecumenical patriarch in Jerusalem and they will sign a joint statement. They will then meet at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, enter together, and pray together.

The next day they will meet and pray at the Mount of Olives, the place of the Garden of Gethsemane. While all of this might seem somewhat anticlimactic for the average Christian, this "non-conventional" pilgrimage is immensely important.

The meeting between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I in Jerusalem in 1964 was, therefore, not a meeting of "old friends." It was a brave and prophetic act on the part of the two to overcome 1,000 years of hostility.

Indeed it was the first time that a Pope had met with an ecumenical patriarch since the ill-fated Council of Florence. It seems that as a result of their meeting, Paul VI and Athenagoras developed a deep mutual respect and friendship.

As a further result of the meeting in Jerusalem, relations between the two churches have slowly but steadily improved. In 1965, in a symbolic gesture, the Pope and patriarch rescinded the mutual excommunications of their 11th-century predecessors.

The meeting between Francis and Bartholomew is extremely important. The fact the Holy See stresses that it is the "principle purpose" of the Pope's visit to the Middle East and Holy Land underlines the significance of the event.

As a celebration of the anniversary of the meeting 50 years ago, the meeting in May is a look back, but it is far more than that. It is as historic as the meeting half a century ago. It is the commitment of both Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to take the "next step" on the pilgrimage toward unity that their predecessors initiated courageously.

This renewed collaboration is crucial if Christians are to survive the instability in the region.

MORE:  Orthodox bishop outlines hopes for Pope’s visit to Israel

LINK:  Pope Francis' Holy Land visit: The Itinerary


Orthodox Jews gather to protest against Pope's Jerusalem trip
Holy Land Christians hope Pope Francis' visit might revive peace talks
Moslem Fatwa Allows Visits To Al-Aksa Mosque

PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, you never tire of being compassionate and loving. The successor of St Peter plans to visit the Holy Land sanctified by your Son’s birth, baptism, teaching, death and resurrection. Be with him, sanctify him, and bless him. Spread the mantle of your kindness over every stage of his pilgrimage among us, that one may see in him a believing pilgrim, a wise teacher, and a humble leader”.

Source: Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

32. It used to be said that if you were tempted where you were living, you should not leave the place at the time of the temptation.  If you did leave it then, you would find that the temptation that you were fleeing would go with you to the next place.  You should be patient until the temptation is over, then you could leave without upsetting anyone or troubling others who lived there.

May 13, 2014  

(Rev 12:3-5) And there was seen another sign in heaven. And behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns and on his heads seven diadems. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered: that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her son was taken up to God and to his throne.

Rev. Gabriele Amorth:“The sad truth is that there are many bishops and priests in our church who do not really believe in the Devil.  I believe Pope Francis is speaking to them. Because when you don’t believe, the Devil wins.”

IN THE NEWS: Satanic mass riles Catholics

CATHOLIC ONLINE: The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima: Site of a vision of the Virgin Mary

VIDEO: Fatima for Today - Dr. Miravalle

TRACT EXCERPT: Our Lady of Fatima

We celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13th. On this day in 1917, Our Lady made her first appearance to three shepherd children, Jacinta (age 7), Francisco (age 9) and Lucia (age 10), at Fatima in Portugal.  She appeared to them once a month from May through October.  The lives of the three children of Fatima were entirely transformed by the heavenly apparitions.  While fulfilling the duties of their state with the greatest fidelity, those children seemed now to live only for prayer and sacrifice, which they offered in a spirit of reparation to obtain peace and the conversion of sinners.  They deprived themselves of water during the periods of great heat; they gave their lunch to poor children; they wore around their waists thick cords that even drew blood; they abstained from innocent pleasures and urged one another to the practice of prayer and penance with an ardor comparable to that of the great saints.

A Sure Means of  Salvation

Our Lady communicated with Lucia, the oldest of the three children, in her six monthly appearances.  She asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to take them to Heaven.  "Yes," Our Lady answered, "I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon.  You, however, are to stay here a longer time.  Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved.  He wants to establish the devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world.  I promise salvation to those who embrace it and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself to adorn His throne".

There are three principal practices of devotion which Our Lady has requested in honor of her Immaculate Heart:  the First Saturday of the month, the Five First Saturdays, and the Consecration of Russia.  They bear a marked similarity to the devotions in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

In all of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima, she insisted on praying the Rosary. “Pray the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world”.  Lucy is heard to repeat as if to retain well what Our Lady had first recommended to her: “Yes, she wishes people to recite the Rosary, people must recite the Rosary,” She asked them to add after each decade the short prayer: “Oh my Jesus forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven especially those most in need of thy mercy.” In the final apparition on October 13, 1917, Our Lady silently held out the scapular (the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel). Lucia had said the Blessed Mother wants everyone to wear it. “The Scapular and the Rosary are inseparable.”

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

31. A hermit lived in the desert twelve miles from the nearest water.  Once, on his way to draw water, he was tired out.  So he said, 'Why suffer this?  I will come and live by the spring.' As soon as he said this, he turned round and saw a man following him and counting his steps.  He asked him, 'Who are you?  He said, 'I am an angel of the Lord, sent to count your steps and reward you.' When the hermit heard this, his resolve was strengthed, and he moved his cell five miles further from the spring.'

May 10, 2014  

(Isa 55:8-9) For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.

MARK MALLLET BLOG: Prophecy Properly Understood

THE VORTEX: On Private Revelation

RON SMITH REPORT: Laying on Hands

Note from Ron: To receive my Catholic Q&A reports please contact me with your correct email address.

VIA Jim J. McCrea: Resolving Evil in Eternity

Someone against the doctrine of divine providence states:
  "God is not purifying a child who was burned, a soldier who was dismembered, a woman who was raped. God is with them all as God was with Jesus on the cross but we are human and we get sick or get injured."
God is omnipotent. He can do all things. If God is all powerful, He can prevent any or all of these things from happening. Since they do in fact happen, we must conclude that God permits them. As St. Augustine said, "Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil."(Enchiridion xi). Many evils which are possible, God in fact prevents. He strictly sets the bounds of evil in this world (and in an individual person's life) as the shore sets the bounds of the sea. If God did not have absolute control of what evils occur, St. Paul's passage could not be realized. "He will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test he will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it." (1 Cor. 10:13) and "We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His decree." (Rom. 8:28)     

Someone objects:
  "God does not torture us [or allow it to be done] for some greater good. If God did, God is no God at all."
That assumes that God is on the same level as us, as simply a creature who flows through time as we do, perceiving good and evil as we do. God, however, is in eternity - that is, He is outside of time, seeing all time at once. His entire life is in an immobile *now,* without past or future. All is present to Him. That gives Him a radically different and higher perspective that we have little notion of now.

It is within this perspective of eternity that evil is resolved. In eternity, evil is transcended and transfigured, so the evil He allows in time, becomes part of the good within eternity.

An analogy my help to explain this. Life on earth is good and evil. It is a mixture of light and shadow. On earth, as we travel through time in this life, we experience good and evil in succession. We experience joy and pain in succession. We experience light and darkness in succession. But in the eternal perspective in heaven, we will experience this all at once. This is how God sees our lives, and how we will see them in heaven. It is like a Rembrandt painting which is beautiful because it has striking contrasts of light and dark. But we must see the whole painting at once to appreciate that. An individual region of darkness is a pure absence. It is a pure negation. And if some being who was traveling across the painting (analogous to our journey through life) happened to be situated over a region of darkness, it would probably experience suffering due to the negative nature of that region. It is only after that creature had "died" and could see the whole painting at once, will those regions of darkness which caused pain previously, be a source of joy.

We can provide some practical examples. An ancient and venerable artifact may be weathered and worn by time. That state of being weathered and worn is an ontological evil because it takes away from the integrity of its being. But given the context of its antiquity and its "enduring" through time, that state of being weathered and worn actually adds to its beauty and charm. That beauty and charm is only there because we, in some way, understand the entire temporal duration of the artifact.

When a person grows older, certain distortions occur on the face because the body due to age, can no longer maintain its proper form. This is an ontological evil because it is the absence of ideal form. However, it contributes to the good on another level because it may denote wisdom that the person has acquired by living a long life. So this ontological evil contributes to the good, actually adding charm and beauty on the spiritual level. This is possible by only taking into account the person's life "all at once," with the necessary phases of youth, middle age, and old age.

Consider the example of St. Therese. The tuberculosis she suffered near the end of her life which ended her life was an evil in itself. But considering her life as a whole, her sainthood would have been less beautiful without it.

Finally, Christ's passion was evil in itself, but God's plan overall has much more goodness and beauty with it included.

Only in eternity will evil be resolved in this way, and what caused the greatest pain on earth, will be the occasion for the greatest joy in heaven. In a sense, we will bring our wounds to heaven, but they will be glorious and not painful.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

30. A brother said to a hermit, 'My thoughts wander, and I am troubled.' He answered, 'Go on sitting in your cell, and your thoughts will come back from their wanderings. If a she-ass is tethered, her foal skips and gambols all round her but always comes back to the mother. It is like that for anyone who for God's sake sits patiently in his cell. Though his thoughts wander for a time, they will come back to Him again.'

May 8, 2014  

(Joh 15:19-21) 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.

RNS: Christian leaders say Middle East Christians must not be forgotten

Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox leaders joined forces on Wednesday (May 7) to call for an end to the silence over persecuted Christian communities in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.

“What we are seeing here is ecumenical cleansing,” said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, who called the region “the unsafest place in the world for Christians.”

“It’s an ecumenical cleansing that is forcing people who are Christians, by whatever label, out of countries where their roots are from the beginning.” Anderson and others were joined on Capitol Hill by the co-chairs of the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus, Reps. Frank Wolf, R-Va., and Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., who have pushed for the appointment of a special envoy focused on Middle East religious minorities.

More than 180 clergy, seminary professors, authors and activists have signed a “pledge of solidarity and call to action” that advocates for the special envoy in addition to a regional review of U.S. foreign aid to ensure recipients uphold principles of pluralism and religious freedom. They also seek assurance that religious minorities receive fair access to U.S. refugee assistance.

“The current trajectory, marked by political violence and, in the cases of Iraq and Syria, full-blown war, risks a Middle East largely emptied of the millennia-old presence of Christians,” reads the statement, citing cases of executed Christians, demolished churches, kidnapped clergy and forced conversions.

Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl said that if people wonder how atrocities like this violence and persecution can be occurring, it is because others are silent.

“If history has any lesson to teach us about silence, it’s not a good one,” he said, urging both the churches and lawmakers to take action to protect the religious freedom of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

MORE: With the rise of Islamist extremists, this situation has become so acute that, regarding the Christians, it is not only individuals who are threatened. The presence of the entire Christian community in the region of its birth is at stake. The pledge emphasizes:

"Since these communities account for most of the indigenous Christians in today's Middle East, the continued presence of Christians in the region where Christianity originated 2,000 years ago is threatened."

The pledge states that Egypt, Iraq and Syria have seen "scores of churches deliberately destroyed, many clergy and laypeople targeted for death, kidnapping, intimidation and forcible conversion, and hundreds of thousands of believers driven from their countries."

Specific patterns of attacks detailed in the pledge include:

TEXT: PLEDGE OF SOLIDARITY & CALL TO ACTION on behalf of Christians and Other Small Religious Communities in Egypt, Iraq and Syria

LATIN PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM: Persecution of Christians in the Middle East: Communiqué of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land


Holy Land Christians Look Forward to Pope Francis’ Visit
Aleppo Diary: Stories from the Front Lines
Syria - Hear the cries of the children

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

28. A hermit was asked by a brother why, when he stayed in his cell, he suffered boredom. He answered, "You have not yet seen the resurrection for which we hope, nor the torment of fire. If you had seen these, then you would bear your cell without boredom even if it was filled with worms and you were standing in them up to your neck.'

May 6, 2014  

POPE FRANCIS: “I would like to invite you to entrust to Our Lady the situation in Ukraine, where tensions continue unabated.  I pray with you for the victims of recent days, asking that the Lord instill sentiments of peacemaking and brotherhood in the hearts of everyone.”

NEWS UPDATE: New Violence Pushes Ukraine to the Brink of Civil War

NEWS COMMENTARY: Ukraine Heats Up ... Will Control Slip?

: A Message for Russia (and the World) From the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

Ukraine “does exist and will exist,” Major-Archbishop Shevchuk insisted. The Russian attack on Ukraine, he underscored, was not just military and para-military; it was “psychological,” aimed at deconstructing the very idea of Ukrainian nationhood, and thus Ukrainian statehood. And to that end, the extraordinary Russian propaganda blitz of recent months has been aimed at sowing “fear and panic” in a populace already on edge because of the failures of the Yanukovych regime and the struggle to reverse those failures embodied in the Maidan movement.

But “we are prepared,” Shevchuk said. And by “prepared,” I take it he meant that the resolve of the Ukrainian people, supported by their religious leaders, was strong enough to cope with the Big Lie tactics that continue to emanate from Russia — and from Russian mouthpieces in Western Europe and North America.

Major-Archbishop Shevchuk then said he had “a message for Russia” and “a message for the Russian Orthodox Church,” which he hoped I would transmit — a message all the more striking in light of the aggressions underway against the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Russian-ingested Crimea.

To the Russian people: “We in Ukraine wish to be good neighbors. Do not attack us. We are not your enemies, and we have no aggressive intentions.”

And to the Russian Orthodox Church:

“The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is not an enemy of the Russian Orthodox Church. We are your brothers; we have been born from the same spiritual womb. From the holy city of Kiev, where our peoples were baptized, we are sending you a message of peace. Do not let politicians provoke hatred and bloodshed among us.”


Ukraine and Christian disunity: Earthly causes, spiritual effects
Religion and Politics in Ukraine
Defender of The Faith?

CATHOLIC UPDATE: What All Catholics Should Know About Eastern Catholic Churches

A MOMENT WITH MARY, APRIL 26, 2014: The Statue of Fatima and the Hope of Ukraine

The makeshift tent-chapels on Maidan Square were destroyed in a fire during the riots—even though the violence was not aimed directly at the chapels.

Minutes before the fire broke out, a statue of Our Lady of Fatima had been removed for a special ceremony. As a result, the statue was preserved and is now “a sign of hope for us,” according to the local bishop.

Every day at 3 P.M., the Rosary is prayed on the square. The bishop explained that it was heartening to see the profound solidarity, without any religious discrimination between people. They all share in common whatever they have—clothes, blankets, and food—console each other and support each other spiritually. Many also donate blood.

Bishop Stanislav Szyrokoradiuk,  Latin rite diocese of Kiev – Jitomir

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

26. A hermit said, 'Our predecessors were reluctant to move from place to place, except perhaps for three reasons: first, if a man was angry with them and no amount of satisfaction would calm him down; secondly, if many praised them; and thirdly, if they wre tempted to lust.'

May 2, 2014  

(1Pe 1:17-19) And if you invoke as Father him who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every one's work: converse in fear during the time of your sojourning here. Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers: But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled.

EXCERPT ALETEIA: Our False Compassion Ignores the Reality of Sin - To the Grave Detriment of Souls

We shouldn't lose sight of the Christian belief that we are all called to repentance, not murmurs of “oops, pard'n me.” Our God is a forgiving God, not an excusing one. The intentional effort to please Him is one of the things that sets the righteous apart from the rest, and we should at least try to hone our ability to recognize righteousness when we see it, while hating and fearing its opposite, both in ourselves and in others.

Here are a couple easy examples to get us warmed up: When the Little Sisters of the Poor stand their ground against powers and principalities, crying out, “[w]e cannot violate our vows by participating in the government’s program to provide access to abortion-inducing drugs,” we ought to recognize that these women are practicing the cardinal virtue of courage. They are acting "righteously." They are "good." When our president wages war on religious liberty by means of curtailing the economic liberty of Christian employers, while at the same time claiming to care about those who are persecuted for their “life-style choices” and economically oppressed by haters, we needn't hesitate to call him an “unrighteous” or a “wicked” man.

Many Christians have lost their taste for this kind of terminology. But if we can't speak in these moral terms, what good are we to each other or to God? The immorality that makes for an unjust society is best addressed by true, fatherly and motherly rebukes—first and most properly applied within the Church and in the family. The alternative of adjusting our private interactions, our public discourse, and (inevitably) our state to prop up immoral behaviors is fundamentally incompatible with a Christian culture.

: Do You Believe in Fairies? by Fr. Longenecker

This cafeteria Catholicism Benedict links with gluttony because they are driven by pleasure. The cafeteria Catholics go on choosing what they like, never realizing that in doing so they are undermining the very Catholicism they profess. In fact Cafeteria Catholicism doesn’t work because before too long it will cease to be Catholicism altogether. If you think something is true because just because you believe it, and you believe it because you have chosen to believe it you’re living in Never Never Land.

The whole genius of Catholicism is that it is solid and real. It is based on the life, teaching, passion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ–a real historical figure who was God in human form. He founded the Catholic Church by giving his apostles his own divine authority on earth. That Catholic Church is a real, historical institution. It has laws and property and prelates and priests and people. Each element of the Catholic Church is part human and part divine. The Body of Christ is incarnate today in a real and solid way within the structures and teachings and people and sacraments of this church.

It is not fairyland. It is not a fantasy. It is not something that happens to be true if you happen to choose to believe in it. The Catholic Church does not exist because you clap your hands.

When Catholics fall into the ways of the world and pick and choose what  elements of the church they think is true and reject other parts they really, in a profound way, cease to be Catholics because by doing so they are saying, “This is not a revealed religion. This is, after all, simply a man made rule of a man made institution. I can therefore do what I like.” Catholics who so undermine the Catholic faith are the true cause of the rot at the core of Catholicism. What the Catholic Church needs now more than ever are good, solid, supernaturally inspired, joyful, dynamic and energetic Catholics. What we need are Catholics who are empowered by the supernatural vision of the Church of Christ alive in the world as an objective reality.

Not something that is exists only if you happen to believe in it.

CRISIS MAGAZINE: Will Anyone End Up In Hell? by Regis Martin

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[Acts 4:23–31; John 5:24–30]

And they shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:29). This is how everything ends! As each river flows into its own sea, so the flow of each of our lives comes, at last, to a place according to its nature. Those who will be resurrected unto life will also be at the judgment; but the judgment will only seal their justification, and determine their life, while the others will be resurrected only to hear the condemnation of eternal death.

Their life and death are characterized even now — because some do living deeds, while others do dead and deadening deeds. Living deeds are those which are done according to the commandments, with joy of the spirit, unto the glory of God; dead deeds are those which are done in opposition to the commandments with forgetfulness of God, to please oneself and one's passions. Dead deeds are all which although in form may not oppose the commandments, are done without any thought about God and eternal salvation, according to some aspect of self-love.

God is life; only what contains part of Him is alive. And so whoever has only dead and deadening deeds is bound directly for death, and on the last day will come out into the condemnation of death; but whoever has all living deeds is bound for eternal life, and on the last day will come and receive it.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

30. A brother said to a hermit, 'My thoughts wander, and I am troubled.' He answered, 'Go on sitting in your cell, and your thoughts will come back from their wanderings. If a she-ass is tethered, her foal skips and gambols all round her but always comes back to the mother. It is like that for anyone who for God's sake sits patiently in his cell. Though his thoughts wander for a time, they will come back to Him again.'
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