Keep your eyes open!...






 

November 17, 2017  

(Rom 12:9-15) Let love be without dissimulation. Hating that which is evil, cleaving to that which is good, Loving one another with the charity of brotherhood: with honour preventing one another. In carefulness not slothful. In spirit fervent. Serving the Lord. Rejoicing in hope. Patient in tribulation. Instant in prayer. Communicating to the necessities of the saints. Pursuing hospitality. Bless them that persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that rejoice: weep with them that weep.

GALWAY ADVERTISER: A journey in Syria, among its resilient people

ALETEIA: Syria claims victory over ISIS amidst signs of rebuilding and new life

Reuters reported last week that Syria’s army and its allies have fully liberated the largest remaining stronghold of the Islamic State group. The news came from Hezbollah-controlled media, but Reuters said it signals the “imminent fall of the militant group’s self-proclaimed caliphate.” ISIS’ last Syrian stronghold, the report said, is in the eastern border town of Albu Kamal.

Victory over the militant jihadist group does not mean an end of difficulties for Syria, of course, as Reuters points out:

In Syria, the end of major battle operations against Islamic State may only prefigure a new phase of the war, as the rival forces which have seized territory from the jihadists square off.

But there have been positive signals from various parts of the shattered country that a resurrection is beginning. Even before the latest victory, Metropolitan Jean-Clement Jeanbart, Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, wrote in a September 22 pastoral letter that “the war against Syria is over.”

“Syria is preparing the launching of reconstruction projects to rebuild its infrastructures and the innumerable institutions which were destroyed,” wrote Archbishop Jeanbart, who said that “all the sectors of the city of Aleppo are now secure” and that houses have electricity and running water. “Our schools are functioning; our universities and institutes which are still standing have energetically restarted their activities. The economy is reviving; this will offer numerous opportunities for those looking for work. And this is only the beginning as many important projects, financed by other countries and international companies will now be looking for competent and reliable workers to be part of their enterprises in order to achieve satisfying and significant profits.”

The archbishop, who has spent the past six or seven years trying hard to stem a mass exit of Christians from Aleppo, said at the Knights of Columbus international convention in August that more than half of the Christian population had left Aleppo because of the fighting. He expects only around one-quarter of those to return.

He said in the new letter that in the months to come Syria will need doctors, teachers, executives, skilled technicians and laborers.

“We have noticed that many industrialists and businessmen have returned to Aleppo, either to repair their factories or to reestablish their offices and businesses,” the archbishop said. “In addition, there are government projects for the construction of affordable accommodation as well as the rebuilding of schools and public and social institutions.”

Avvenire, an Italian daily, said that Syria is “returning to life” after six and a half hard years of civil war. Aleppo is no longer a ghost town, the news outlet affirmed, which described residents repairing their houses or operating pastry shops and hardware stores.

“We have been financing these activities for more than a year now,” said Father Ibrahim Alsabagh, a parish priest. A local engineer said that there have been 900 requests from “Christians who want to return to the city.” So far, the homes of 90 have been rebuilt.

In Damascus, “water and electricity are back,” Avvenire noted.

“It seemed absurd to think it just a few months ago,” says Franciscan Father Bahjat Karakach, guardian of the Friary of St. Paul, “and now we can breathe a sigh of relief.” The market in front of the big mosque is hard to walk: tourists are not there, but traders welcome all those who can finally buy a scarf or some coffee. “Tell everyone that here is no longer so terrible, I recommend.” “Education is the first step in starting to rebuild Syria,” a Sister Yola, who runs a children’s shelter next to where tradition holds that St. Paul encountered Christ, told Avvenire. Many of the 140 children aged 3 to 5 are refugees.

Archbishop Jeanbart encouraged those who have suffered this far to continue to have patience. “This blessed land has given us a sweet and comfortable life under the eyes of God; it will be even more favorable and generous with the end of this senseless and crazy war,” he wrote. “Our trial is ended; be prepared for a future radiant with promise.”

CRUX: Vatican gravely concerned about Palestinian refugees in Syria

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[II Thess. 2:13-3:5; Luke 13:1-9]

Pilate mingled the blood of Galileans with their sacrifices — the Lord said: except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish; the tower of Siloam fell and killed 18 people — the Lord again said: except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. This gives an understanding that when some misfortune befalls others, we must not reason about why it happened, but rather look at ourselves and examine whether there are any sins on us deserving temporary punishment for the instruction of others, and hasten to wipe them out with repentance. Repentance cleanses sin and removes the cause which attracts a catastrophe.

While a person is in sin, an axe is laid to the root of the tree of his life, ready to cut it down. It does not cut because it waits for repentance. Repent and the axe will be taken away, and your life will flow to its end in the natural order of things; if you do not repent — expect to be cut down. What man can know whether he will live to the next year? The parable about the fruitless fig tree shows that the Saviour prays that Divine justice spare each sinner in the hopes that he will repent and bring forth good fruits. But it sometimes happens that Divine justice no longer hears the intercessions, and perhaps He will only agree to allow somebody one more year to remain alive. How do you know, sinner, that you are not living your last year, your last month, day and hour?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

5. It is possible for all to pray with a congregation; for many it is more suitable to pray with a single kindred spirit; solitary prayer is for the very few.


November 16, 2017
 

(Wis 6:10-12) To you, therefore, O kings, are these my words, that you may learn wisdom, and not fall from it. For they that have kept just things justly, shall be justified: and they that have learned these things, shall find what to answer. Covet ye, therefore, my words, and love them, and you shall have instruction.

LIFESITENEWS.COM: Cardinal Burke makes ‘final plea’ for clarity to Pope Francis on dubia anniversary

EXCERPT ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: ‘Amoris Laetitia’ and the nature of mercy

I want to spend my remaining time on the pastoral challenges the text itself may seem to create; some general comments on the state of our Church; and how we as priests need to respond as “missionaries of mercy.” Ground Zero is this: For Christians, sexual intimacy outside a valid marriage can never be morally legitimate. And it’s the Church that determines what a valid marriage is.

Scripture’s clearest words about the indissolubility of marriage come from Jesus himself in Matthew 19. They can’t be softened, or reinterpreted, or contextualized. Christian marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman. When valid, it endures until the death of one or the other spouse. And our task as priests is to uphold and advance that truth as a message of liberation, even when it’s difficult.

The most widespread concerns voiced about the content of Amoris Laetitia – in public, but even more urgently and commonly in private — focus on Chapter 8, including footnote 351. Critics see in the text a preference for ambiguity over clear teaching and a resentment toward defenders of traditional Church teaching that seem out of sync with the rest of the document.

Since at least some of the people raising these issues are persons of fidelity and substance, their concerns can’t — in justice — be dismissed. And the resulting confusion is regrettable, because the whole purpose of Chapter 8 is to provide a merciful outreach to decent persons entangled in irregular marital situations.
So how should we proceed?

First, as with all papal documents regarding faith and morals, if any confusion exists in a text, it must be interpreted consistent with the magisterium of previous popes.
Second, I’ve been a priest for 47 years and a bishop for nearly 30. In all that time, I’ve met very few priests who like punishing anyone, kicking anyone out of their parish, or keeping anyone from taking part in the sacraments. But I’ve met hundreds of priests who worry that their people, while loving God, don’t really know their faith, don’t understand the sacraments, don’t catechize their children, and don’t know what a properly formed Catholic conscience is. Poorly formed, immature consciences are among the biggest pastoral challenges facing the Church. This is what makes delegating decisions about the nullity or validity of a first marriage to the internal forum a matter of real concern.

The Christian virtue of mercy flows out of charity and depends on the existence of justice and truth. Romano Guardini argued that mercy is a greater virtue than justice. And rightly so. But he also stressed that truth undergirds and is essential to both virtues. In other words, real mercy is always more than mere sentiment. It can never exclude careful moral reasoning about right and wrong. It can never be set against, or elevated above, the other virtues that are key to life-giving human behavior. Otherwise it becomes just another source of confusion. Permanent truths exist about human nature, sexuality, behavior and relationships. Those truths apply to all of us, in all circumstances, and justice involves living according to those truths.

But of course, all of us fail many times every day. Thus, mercy is God’s outreach through the Church to offer a way back to grace. It’s a living expression of his tenderness. But mercy does not abolish God’s justice any more than it can soften or adjust the demands of truth in order to be more congenial to our weaknesses, to our culture, or to our times.
Christian marriage is never simply an “ideal.” Describing it as an “ideal” tends to open the door to excusing and then normalizing failure. Clearly many married couples do fail, especially in today’s world of institutionalized selfishness. They need our understanding and support, especially in cases of domestic violence.

But if grace is real, and God’s word is true, then the joy of a permanent marriage is possible for anyone called to the vocation. This is why better preparation and support for couples considering marriage are so vital. It’s also why we need to defend the permanence of the marriage bond wherever and whenever we reasonably can. The permanent, loving bond between a man and a woman open to new life is the glue of a culture and the guarantee of its future. We need to fight for it, and not collapse – like so many other Christian communities — into the confusion of a society based on compromises, caveats and alibis. That’s the message we need to preach and teach.

More than 70 years ago the economic historian Karl Polanyi wrote a book called The Great Transformation. It’s one of the seminal works of the last century. It chronicles the deep changes that took place during the Industrial Revolution – not just in economics but in politics, law, patterns of thought, and all kinds of human relationships. We’re living in that same kind of moment right now. So much of life can seem out of our control and beyond our influence. As Joseph Ratzinger saw five decades ago, the Church of the future will very likely be smaller, poorer, and empty of prestige – not everywhere, but certainly in the nations that like to posture themselves “advanced.” We might mitigate that outcome with smart thinking and good Church leadership. But we probably can’t prevent it. The reason is simple. We can’t quick-fix ourselves out of moral and social problems we behaved ourselves into. And knowing that can easily lead to frustration and despair.

But God doesn’t ask us to save the Church or fix the world. That’s in his hands. What he asks is much simpler and more important. He asks each of us as priests to be faithful, and to be his healing presence to his – and to our – people.

In the midst of confusion, he asks us to speak and live the truth. In the midst of conflict, he asks us to be peacemakers. In the midst of distress, he asks us to be sources of hope. The curse of our age is loneliness; a loneliness wrapped in relentless noise to muffle the worry that our lives and sufferings have no meaning. No matter how intractable or unfixable the problems of a marriage or family might be, the priest who listens and counsels with a spirit of mercy guided by truth is doing what God called him to do: to be the presence of God’s love in the world.

There’s no greater mission of mercy than that, and no greater joy in the life of a priest.

CDL. MÜLLER: No Exceptions on Communion for Divorced and Civilly Remarried

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

4. The really obedient man often suddenly becomes radiant and exultant during prayer; for this wrestler was prepared and fired beforehand by his sincere service.


November 10, 2017
 

(Sir 39:8-13) For if it shall please the great Lord, he will fill him with the spirit of understanding: And he will pour forth the words of his wisdom as showers, and in his prayer he will confess to the Lord. And he shall direct his counsel, and his knowledge, and in his secrets shall he meditate. He shall shew forth the discipline he hath learned, and shall glory in the law of the covenant of the Lord. Many shall praise his wisdom, and it shall never be forgotten. The memory of him shall not depart away, and his name shall be in request from generation to generation.

CATHOLIC FAITH AND REASON: Leo the Great: The First Pope Doctor of the Church

GET FED: Pope Saint Leo the Great and the Persuader

FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Medieval Sourcebook: Leo I and Attila

Attila, the leader of the Huns, who was called the scourge of God, came into Italy, inflamed with fury, after he had laid waste with most savage frenzy Thrace and Illyricum, Macedonia and Moesia, Achaia and Greece, Pannonia and Germany. He was utterly cruel in inflicting torture, greedy in plundering, insolent in abuse. . . . He destroyed Aquileia from the foundations and razed to the ground those regal cities, Pavia and Milan ; he laid waste many other towns, and was rushing down upon Rome. [This is, of course, an exaggeration. Attila does not seem to have destroyed the buildings, even in Milan and Pavia.]

Then Leo had compassion on the calamity of Italy and Rome, and with one of the consuls and a lar,e part of the Roman senate he went to meet Attila. The old man of harmless simplicity, venerable in his gray hair and his majestic garb, ready of his own will to give himself entirely for the defense of his flock, went forth to meet the tyrant who was destroying all things. He met Attila, it is said, in the neighborhood of the river Mincio, and he spoke to the grim monarch, saying "The senate and the people of Rome, once conquerors of the world, now indeed vanquished, come before thee as suppliants. We pray for mercy and deliverance. O Attila, thou king of kings, thou couldst have no greater glory than to see suppliant at thy feet this people before whom once all peoples and kings lay suppliant. Thou hast subdued, O Attila, the whole circle of the lands which it was granted to the Romans, victors over all peoples, to conquer. Now we pray that thou, who hast conquered others, shouldst conquer thyself The people have felt thy scourge; now as suppliants they would feel thy mercy."

As Leo said these things Attila stood looking upon his venerable garb and aspect, silent, as if thinking deeply. And lo, suddenly there were seen the apostles Peter and Paul, clad like bishops, standing by Leo, the one on the right hand, the other on the left. They held swords stretched out over his head, and threatened Attila with death if he did not obey the pope's command. Wherefore Attila was appeased he who had raged as one mad. He by Leo's intercession, straightway promised a lasting peace and withdrew beyond the Danube.

ST PETERS BASILICA: Altar of St. Leo the Great by Alessandro Algardi, 1645-53

The Meeting between St. Leo the Great and Attila is the only altarpiece in St. Peter's consisting of a monumental marble relief.

It depicts the pope repelling Attila and the Huns from attacking Rome. Attila raises his arm as Sts. Peter and Paul appear in the sky.

UNIVERSALIS: A sermon of St Leo the Great

The special obligations of our ministry

Although the universal Church of God is constituted of distinct orders of members, still, in spite of the many parts of its holy body, the Church subsists as an integral whole, just as the Apostle says: We are all one in Christ. No difference in office is so great that anyone can be separated, through lowliness, from the head. In the unity of faith and baptism, therefore, our community is undivided. There is a common dignity, as the apostle Peter says in these words: And you are built up as living stones into spiritual houses, a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. And again: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart.

For all, regenerated in Christ, are made kings by the sign of the cross; they are consecrated priests by the oil of the Holy Spirit, so that beyond the special service of our ministry as priests, all spiritual and mature Christians know that they are a royal race and are sharers in the office of the priesthood. For what is more king-like than to find yourself ruler over your body after having surrendered your soul to God? And what is more priestly than to promise the Lord a pure conscience and to offer him in love unblemished victims on the altar of one’s heart?

Because, through the grace of God, it is a deed accomplished universally on behalf of all, it is altogether praiseworthy and in keeping with a religious attitude for you to rejoice in this our day of consecration, to consider it a day when we are especially honoured. For indeed one sacramental priesthood is celebrated throughout the entire body of the Church. The oil which consecrates us has richer effects in the higher grades, yet it is not sparingly given in the lower.

Sharing in this office, my dear brethren, we have solid ground for a common rejoicing; yet there will be more genuine and excellent reason for joy if you do not dwell on the thought of our unworthiness. It is more helpful and more suitable to turn your thoughts to study the glory of the blessed apostle Peter. We should celebrate this day above all in honour of him. He overflowed with abundant riches from the very source of all graces, yet though he alone received much, nothing was given over to him without his sharing it. The Word made flesh lived among us, and in redeeming the whole human race, Christ gave himself entirely.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

2. Just as over-drinking is a matter of habit, so too from habit comes over-sleeping. Therefore we must struggle with the question of sleep, especially in the early days of obedience, because a long-standing habit is difficult to cure.


November 8, 2017
 

(Rev 6:9-11) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: How long, O Lord (Holy and True), dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given to every one of them one; And it was said to them that they should rest for a little time till their fellow servants and their brethren, who are to be slain even as they, should be filled up.

REVIEW: "We Are Going to Burn You Alive!" Muslim Persecution of Christians, June 2017

AINA: Christians in Egypt Pelted With Rocks in Attack on Town - Four Churches Forced to Shut


ICN: Coptic priest murdered in Cairo - Statement by Bishop Angaelos

Another day in Egypt with another Coptic Christian murdered; this time a priest from Beni Suef, Upper Egypt, who was in Cairo collecting humanitarian aid for those most needy in his parish. Fr Samaan was paying a pastoral visit to a family in Cairo and returned to the church where he was earlier to collect his mobile phone. On the way, he was attacked by a knife-wielding assailant who chased him, stabbed him repeatedly, and then brutally killed him.

This incident makes us once again ask so many questions. Why should a priest not be able to walk safely down a street, especially a suburban street in Cairo? Why should he be chased by a man brandishing a deadly weapon and have no one run to his aid; in actual fact, everyone was running away. Why, when he lay drenched in his own blood did the ambulance service not arrive for over an hour, and then not treat him? Why, when the police finally arrived, and he lay dead, was a crime scene not secured and forensic evidence not collected to enable a robust and serious investigation? Why is his assailant immediately deemed mentally incapable without professional diagnosis, and why, if he is incapable, and a known violent criminal, is he left in the community with weapons within his reach?

After the initial shock and the immense sadness, today is a day that brings anger and I am not apologetic for that anger. I would be just as angry if this was any other person being dealt with in this way, in any other part of Egypt or indeed any other part of the world. Yet he is a Christian, a Coptic Christian, and a Coptic priest, which makes it all the more close and all the more painful.

Just this week I have been with a Coptic delegation from Cairo seeking grants to serve not only the Coptic community but the wider Egyptian community. Grants that would cover health, education and poverty eradication. Where was this wider Egyptian community however when Father Samaan ran terrified through a street being chased by a violent criminal, and where was it when he lay dying and alone? Where was it when the assailant attacked him repeatedly, and where will it be while his family and congregation grieve the loss of their father, husband, brother, pastor and friend? These are questions that need to be addressed at every level of Egyptian community and leadership.

Crime cannot be totally eradicated, but at least it needs to be properly investigated, prosecuted, and shown to be a violation against the whole state and not just its immediate victim.

The immense pain of this incident and all that have preceded it, including: child kidnapping, forced conversion, individual targeting, bus attacks and church bombings against the Coptic Orthodox community in Egypt, leads us to hold more strongly onto the words of our Lord God in Exodus 3:7: "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry…for I know their sorrows." Coptic Christians who have endured injustice, persecution, and loss of life for centuries without retaliation, repeatedly forgiving unconditionally, deserve to live with respect and dignity in their indigenous homeland.

While recognising that anger may often open a path to hatred or resentment, there are times at which it is a natural expression of a human emotion, and reaction to a sense of deep injustice. I am sure that I am not alone in my anger, but that it is shared by every law-abiding person of any belief and indeed of none, who has witnessed this vicious and inhumane attack. In the midst of this anger and this sadness however I continue to pray. I pray repose for Father Samaan, I pray for his family, I pray for his community. I pray for the wider Egyptian Christian community that feels more and more vulnerable and targeted daily against a backdrop of negligence and injustice. I pray for the wider Egyptian society, that becomes more and more discredited and compromised as these incidents continue to happen.

This anger is not void of forgiveness, but cries out for accountability and justice.

CRISIS MAGAZINE: Islamic Family Values


MORE: Persecuted in Egypt, Christians aim for better life in York

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

1. Sleep is a particular state of nature, an image of death, inactivity of the senses. Sleep is one, but, like desire, its sources and occasions are many; that is to say, it comes from nature, from food, from demons, or perhaps, sometimes, from extreme and prolonged fasting, through which the flesh is weakened and at last longs for the consolation of sleep.


November 6, 2017  

(1Th 5:19-21) Extinguish not the spirit. Despise not prophecies. But prove all things: hold fast that which is good.

MARK MALLET BLOG: EXCELLENT REVIEW- MEDJUGORJE… WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW

VATICAN INSIDER (translated): Medjugorje, Parolin: "The Holy See wants to regulate the phenomenon"

On the question of Medjugorje, "it is the will of the Holy See to help regulate the phenomenon so that the faithful who come here can listen to the Word of God, celebrate the sacraments, and experience an authentic experience of faith." It is the Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, to intervene on the delicate affaire for years in the center of studies and investigations by the Vatican.

Visiting these days in Croatia Cardinal answers questions of journalists to whom - reports on Sir - recalls that the Commission led results by Cardinal Camillo Ruini and mandated to shed light on the "phenomenon" of the Marian apparitions, which began in 1981 and not still interrupted, in the village of Herzegovina that every year attracts hundreds of thousands of faithful and pilgrims are all "in the hands of the Holy Father."

There is not only the "supernatural" dimension of the events to be analyzed, it has also highlighted the cardinal, it is equally important the question of the "pastoral care" of pilgrims. This is why the Pope appointed the Polish Archbishop Henryk Hoser as his "special envoy" on February 11 , not for a supplement of inquiry, but as a Vatican press, in order to "acquire more in-depth knowledge of the pastoral situation of that reality and above all the needs of the faithful who come to pilgrimage. "

Along with the Croatian press, Parolin has come to the merits of another equally thorny issue, which has remained unanswered so far: the canonization of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac. The Archbishop of Zagreb is a figure that, after decades, creates a profound division of Catholic Catholics who acclaim him as a holy pastor and Orthodox Serbs accusing him of being a collaborator of the Nazi-fascist regime during the Second World War.

Regard to the work of Stepinac during those dramatic years was established a year ago a joint commission between the Croatian Bishops' Conference and the Serbian Orthodox Church, which has completed its work, in the Casa Santa Marta, the past 12 to 13 July, under the leadership of President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, Father Bernard Ardura , who, however, failed to achieve "a unambiguous interpretation".

However, Parolin says: "I believe that the work of the Commission has been helpful and that this process has helped to promote dialogue and understanding." "Wounds that leave historical facts can not be overcome from today to tomorrow," he added. It is important to keep the direction to go and work for communion and peace. Interreligious and ecumenical dialogue is a fundamental tool to achieve this goal. "

The documents produced by the Commission for the "common re-reading" of Archbishop Stepinac's life and work are, like those of Medjugorje, "in the hands" of the Pontiff, explained the Secretary of State. And he reiterated that Papa Bergoglio's "desire" is that this issue does not create tensions between the two peoples but help the common path. " In any case, "the question is internal to the Catholic Church and it seems important to emphasize it."

RELATED

Papal Envoy: Medjugorje Apparitions Could Be Recognized This Year
Is Rome changing course on Medjugorje

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 18- "On insensibility"

4. I have seen many people hear about death and the terrible judgment and shed tears, and with the tears still in their eyes they eagerly go to a meal. And I was amazed how this tyrant, this stinkpot of gluttony, by complete insensibility, can grow so strong as to turn the tables even on mourning.


November 2, 2017
 

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

MYSTICS OF THE CHURCH:  Amazing stories from Purgatory and the afterlife

CATHOLIC JOURNAL: My Home Is Just On The Other Side by Father Joseph Esper

CERC: All Saints, All Souls by Father George William Rutler

The greatest saints could have been the worst people who ever lived if they had misused their native gifts.

St. Augustine's intellect could have created a convincingly false religion. St. Louis IX could have used his rank to ruin his kingdom. St. John of Capistrano could have invoked his charismatic charm to persuade the Christian soldiers to surrender Western civilization, and St. Ignatius Loyola could have used his organizational skills to destroy the Faith in foreign lands.

By the same logic, the worst villains in history could have become saints if they had used their political power, rhetorical talents, and energy to spread the Gospel. Herod the Great might have become a Christmas hero; the faithful might now be lighting candles at the tomb of Lenin as at a reliquary, and churches might have been dedicated to saints named Mao Tse-tung and Pol Pot and Adolf Hitler if . . . On that "if" hangs all human destiny. "If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3: 20).

The Feast of All Saints celebrates those who opened their doors to Christ. On All Souls Day the Church prays for those who have offered their free wills freely to the Lord and who now prepare, with the help of our suffrages, to enter into his glory. St. Paul said that God "alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see" (1 Tim. 6:16). The same saint, who was blinded by the perceptible light of God in Christ on the Damascus road, later assured his friend Timothy: "I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance" (2 Tim. 4: 6-8). Last summer I ran a few miles in the Wall Street Race and at the finish line I received a T-shirt. I was not ungrateful for it, but Our Lord did not do all he did for us, showing us the face of God both battered and radiant, crucified and risen, just to give us a T-shirt.

The crown of righteousness is offered to all those who take off their masks, for we cannot see God if we are disguised by pride. A culture of death does not make the transition from All Hallows Eve to All Hallows Day. St. John never disguised his love for his Master, and he assures our confused world: "Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).


EXCERPT CATHOLIC CULTURE
: Praying for the Dead and Gaining Indulgences During November

Indulgenced Acts for the Poor Souls A partial indulgence can be obtained by devoutly visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed, even if the prayer is only mental. One can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between November 1 and November 8. These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory.

A plenary indulgence, again applicable only the Souls in Purgatory, is also granted when the faithful piously visit a church or a public oratory on November 2. In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.

A partial indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, can be obtained when the Eternal Rest (Requiem aeternam) is prayed. This can be prayed all year, but especially during the month of November:

Requiem aeternam dona ei (eis), Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei (eis). Requiescat (-ant) in pace Amen.

Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 18- "On insensibility"

2. Insensibility is negligence that has become habit, benumbed thought, the child of predispositions, a snare for zeal, the noose of courage, ignorance of compunction, a door to despair, the mother of forgetfulness which gives birth to loss of the fear of God. And then she becomes the daughter of her own daughter.
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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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