your eyes open!...
July 24, 2017
(2Ki 13:20-21) And
Eliseus died, and they buried him. And the rovers from Moab came into
the land the same year. And some that were burying a man, saw the
rovers, and cast the body into the sepulchre of Eliseus. And when it
had touched the bones of Eliseus, the man came to life and stood upon
THE TRIB TIMES WILL RETURN AFTER A SUMMER RECESS IN MID-AUGUST, GOD WILLING (James 4:15).
APOSTLESHIP OF PRAYER SHORT VIDEO: Saint Charbel
YOUTUBE VIDEO MOVIE: Saint Charbel
FROM THE MAILBAG
VIA Fr. George W. Rutler:
There are saints whose lives were inconspicuous and whose canonizations
surprised some who thought they were unexceptional. There are others
whose mystical gifts were so prodigious that they made every effort,
sometimes amusingly as in the instance of Philip Neri, to distract
attention from themselves. In recent centuries these would certainly
include John Vianney, Padre Pio and Charbel Makhlouf, canonized in
1977, whose feast we celebrate on July 24.
He was born in 1828 in the northern Lebanese village of Biqa-Kafra. He
became a monk at the age of twenty-three and was ordained a priest in
1859. After sixteen years in the Monastery of St. Maroun, Charbel was
allowed by rare exception to live on his own as a hermit. For the next
twenty-three years he lived a harshly mortified life. Given the rigors
he endured, and neglect of any comfort, is it remarkable that he lived
to the age of seventy. He wanted to be forgotten, and it was assumed
that he would be, despite his quiet reputation for giving inspired
spiritual advice to many who went to him. But for forty-five nights
after his burial, an intensely bright light shone from his grave,
attracting the devout as well as curiosity-seekers and even Muslims.
Since then, an astonishingly long list of seemingly miraculous cures
have been attributed to his intercession.
The Maronite Church to which Saint Charbel belonged uses the ancient
West Syrian liturgy, with the consecration prayers in the Eucharist
retained in the Aramaic that our Lord spoke. The Maronites, whose
vernacular is Arabic, are in full communion with the Pope. Their
origins as a distinct rite go back to Saint Maron in the late fourth
century, and Saint John Maron, patriarch of Antioch from 685 to 707,
who led a successful military resistance against the invading Byzantine
armies of Justinian II, enabling the Maronites to be fully independent.
The Maronites preserved their identity during the Muslim caliphate
(632-1258) and the Ottoman rule, and have maintained their presence
since Lebanon became an independent state in 1943. The Maronite
diaspora increased after the Muslim-instigated massacre of 1860. In
1902 a fourteen-year old Maronite named Khalil Salim Haddad Aglamaz
emigrated to Mexico and started a dry goods business. One of his sons
is Carlos Slim, who lives a relatively modest life for a man Forbes
magazine declared the world’s richest in 2014.
At Sunday Mass we pray to our Patron, Saint Michael the Archangel, for
our fellow Christians in the Middle East in these trying days. While
Lebanon is safer for Christians than most regions in that part of the
world, and by law its president must be a Maronite, its Christian
population is shrinking. The Maronites have a tradition of hospitality,
and bid visitors welcome: Ahlan wa sahlan. And now we also know why
Saint Charbel is such a popular saint in Mexico, far from Biqa-Kafra.
Signs of the Times
Statements of Archbishop Chaput
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity
The rule and limit of absolute and perfect purity
is to be equally disposed towards animate and inanimate bodies,
July 21, 2017
(Rev 12:13-17) And
when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the
woman who brought forth the man child. And there were given to the
woman two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the desert,
unto her place, where she is nourished for a time and times, and half a
time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his
mouth, after the woman, water, as it were a river: that he might cause
her to be carried away by the river. And the earth helped the woman:
and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the river which the
dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was angry against the
woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the
commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
EXCERPT VATICAN INSIDER: The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart: The Light from the East is Dawning
I mentioned in the introduction that Fatima must be considered
alongside the other approved private revelations in order for us to
deduce exactly what the Holy Spirit is saying (in an extraordinary way)
to the Church in this particular era. Without any doubt, the most
important revelations apart from Fatima in the past century are the
divine mercy revelations given to St. Faustina Kowalska. They have
inspired millions to either return to their faith, or deepen their
existing spiritual life. One thing perhaps still hidden somewhat, yet
which cannot be denied, is the deep eschatological undercurrent that
runs through these writings. On several occasions Jesus revealed the
seriousness of the times: “You [St. Faustina] will prepare the world
for my final coming”, “Speak to the world about my mercy; let all
mankind recognize my unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end
times.” “Secretary of my mercy, write, tell souls about this great
mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of justice is near.”
Perhaps the most famous prophecy though from St. Faustina’s Diary
concerns these words: “I bear a special love for Poland…from her will
come forth the spark that will prepare the world for my final coming.”
It is certain that St. John Paul took these warnings extremely
seriously-as Pope Benedict said of him: “Indeed, it was a concern of
John Paul II to make clear that we are looking ahead to the coming of
Christ.” This truth is borne out by the countless references to the
second coming of Jesus in the magisterium of the Polish pontiff. In
fact as early as 1976, in the Lenten retreat he gave as Cardinal
Wojtyla for Blessed Paul VI, he wondered if we were on the “last lap of
history” awaiting the coming of the Man of Sin. He saw our era finally
as the one throughout all of history that could give fullest expression
to Satan’s temptation from Genesis chapter 3 that “you will become like
God.” Returning to his promotion of Divine Mercy, he referred to Jesus’
startling prophecy about Poland when he consecrated the Basilica of
Divine Mercy in Krakow in 2002: “May the binding promise of the Lord
Jesus be fulfilled: from here there must go forth ‘the spark which will
prepare the world for his final coming (cf. Diary, 1732).’”
Two other recent apparitions with Church approval also speak of the
approaching second coming of the Lord: In Kibeho Rwanda, which has the
same level of approval as Fatima, the Blessed Virgin told the main
visionary Alphonsine Mumarake (now a nun) that she had come to prepare
the world for the return of her Son, while in San Nicholas, Argentina
Our Lady told the visionary, Gladys Herminia Quiroga de Motta , “the
coming of the Lord is imminent” and “Daughter, the Prince of Evil pours
out his venom today with all his might, because he sees that his sorry
reign is ending. Little is left to him. His end is near”. Both these
apparitions were in the 1980’s at a time when St. John Paul II was
quietly promoting the devotion to divine mercy in anticipation of the
official approval that would come with Sr. Faustina’s canonization.
There is no doubt that when we look at the magisterium of the past
century, there is a prophetic element that is often overlooked. Pope
Pius XII in his 1957 Easter Urbi et Orbi address stated: “Come Lord
Jesus, there are numerous signs thy return is not far off.” He saw the
two world wars as fulfilling Jesus’ words in the Gospels that nation
would fight against nation. St. John XXIII took his name after St. John
the Baptist because he saw his pontificate as similar in preparing for
the coming of Jesus. Even the Second Vatican Council can be seen in the
light of the end times. The Decree of Missionary activity, Ad Gentes,
states the “sacred synod’s” intention in part is to “prepare the way
for his coming”, while Blessed Paul VI stated: “The Council sought to
enlarge the horizons of the Church…and finally to hasten it on its
pilgrim journey towards its eschatological goal—its final, open and
glorious encounter with Christ, Our Lord.” The Pontiff also sensed the
signs of the end emerging in a conversation with his friend Jean
Guitton; although he was careful to note we cannot know when the end
will come. St. John Paul II certainly understood the events of the 20th
century as a decisive stage in salvation history: “We believe that if
the convulsions of our century are the death pangs of an old world,
they are also the birth pangs of your new birth. We perceive that the
hour is approaching for the young mother of the new Advent.”
Those words were spoken at the first ever World Youth Day event in
1985; similar words were spoken in Edmunton, Canada in 1984: “May
justice and peace embrace at the end of the second millennium, which
prepares us for the coming of Christ in glory.” Pope Benedict continued
the prophetic and urgent theme on several occasions; notably on two
successive Christmas Midnight Mass homilies in 2010 and 2011. In the
former he prayed: “Lord, make your promise come fully true. Break the
rods of the oppressors. Burn the tramping boots. Let the time of the
garments rolled in blood come to an end. Fulfil the prophecy that ‘of
peace there will be no end’ (Is 9:7). We thank you for your goodness,
but we also ask you to show forth your power. Establish the dominion of
your truth and your love in the world – the “kingdom of righteousness,
love and peace.”
So how do we approach this apocalyptic scenario? It seems that St. John
Paul had the correct idea: to live the Christian life with an “advent
spirit”, as the early Christians did. This is not to be caught up in
endless speculation and worries about certain cataclysmic events that
may or may not come; or to concern ourselves with date setting that
nobody can know except the Eternal Father. Rather, it is to place at
the centre of our spiritual lives the joyful hope and knowledge that
Jesus will return with his saints, transforming the universe
definitively. In this way, we can pray “Maranatha, come Lord Jesus” not
with fear for the future, but with real anticipation that evil and
death will be destroyed forever. Fatima invites us to offer our lives
towards this goal when the world will be saved forever, when we will
all stand under the miracle of the true Sun as he illuminates the earth
at his glorious coming. Pope Francis tells us: “With Mary’s protection,
may we be for our world sentinels of the dawn, contemplating the true
face of Jesus the Saviour, resplendent at Easter.” That dawn is now
slowly rising from the East.
by St Theophan (1815-1894)
[I Cor. 3:18-23; Matt. 13:36-43]
And shall cast them (those who
offend and do iniquity) into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing
and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun
in the Kingdom of their Father. Thus will be carried out the division
of good and evil, light and darkness. Now is the period of time in
which they are mixed. It pleased the Lord to arrange that the freedom
of creatures should grow and be strengthened in good through the
struggle with evil; evil is tolerated within the vicinity of inward
freedom, and in contact with a person externally. It does not determine
anything, only tempts. One who feels a temptation must not fall, but
enter into battle. He who conquers is freed from one temptation, and
advances forward and upward to find new temptation there — and so on,
until the end of his life.
Oh, when will we comprehend this
meaning of the evil which tempts us, so we might arrange our lives
according to this understanding! The strugglers are finally crowned,
and pass on to the other life where there is neither sickness nor
sorrows from the outside, and where they become inwardly pure like
angels of God, free from the sting of tempting inclinations and
thoughts. This is how the triumph of light and good is being prepared,
and it will be revealed in all of its glory on the last day of the
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity
He is chaste who has continually acquired perfect
insensibility to difference in bodies.
July 19, 2017
(Mat 10:34-36) Do
not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send
peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his
father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law
against her mother in law. And a man's enemies shall be they of his own
ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: A Word about Useful Tools
History is full of great quotations that people never said. One of the
best lines comes from Vladimir Lenin. He described Russian
progressives, social democrats, and other fellow travelers as “useful
idiots” – naïve allies in revolution whom the Bolsheviks promptly
crushed when they took power.
Or so the legend goes. In fact, there’s no evidence Lenin actually
spoke those words, at least in public. But no one seems to care. It’s a
compelling line, and in its own way, entirely true. The naïve and
imprudent can very easily end up as useful tools in a larger conflict;
or to frame it more generously, as useful innocents. The result is
usually the same. They’re discarded.
History is also full of unfortunate comments that really were said – as
found, for example, in a recent Rome-based journal article that many
have already rightly criticized. The article in question, La Civiltà
Cattolica’s “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism,”
is an exercise in dumbing down and inadequately presenting the nature
of Catholic/evangelical cooperation on religious freedom and other key
Catholics and other Christians who see themselves as progressive tend
to be wary of the religious liberty debate. Some distrust it as a
smokescreen for conservative politics. Some see it as a distraction
from other urgent issues. Some are made uneasy by the cooperation of
many Catholics and evangelicals, as well as Mormons and many Orthodox,
to push back against abortion on demand, to defend marriage and the
family, and to resist LGBT efforts to weaken religious freedom
protections through coercive SOGI (sexual orientation/gender identity)
But working for religious freedom has never precluded service to the
poor. The opposite is true. In America, the liberty of religious
communities has always been a seedbed of social action and ministry to
those in need.
The divide between Catholic and other faith communities has often run
deep. Only real and present danger could draw them together. The
cooperation of Catholics and evangelicals was quite rare when I was a
young priest. Their current mutual aid, the ecumenism that seems to so
worry La Civilta Cattolica, is a function of shared concerns and
principles, not ambition for political power.
As an evangelical friend once said, the whole idea of Baptist faith
cuts against the integration of Church and state. Foreign observers who
want to criticize the United States and its religious landscape – and
yes, there’s always plenty to criticize — should note that fact. It’s
Dismissing today’s attacks on religious liberty as a “narrative of
fear” — as the La Civiltà Cattolica author curiously describes it —
might have made some sense 25 years ago. Now it sounds willfully
ignorant. It also ignores the fact that America’s culture wars weren’t
wanted, and weren’t started, by people faithful to constant Christian
So it’s an especially odd kind of surprise when believers are attacked
by their co-religionists merely for fighting for what their Churches
have always held to be true.
Earlier this month, one of the main architects and financiers of
today’s LGBT activism said publicly what should have been obvious all
along: The goal of at least some gay activism is not simply to assure
equality for the same-sex attracted, but to “punish the wicked” – in
other words, to punish those who oppose the LGBT cultural agenda.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out whom that might include. Today’s
conflicts over sexual freedom and identity involve an almost perfect
inversion of what we once meant by right and wrong.
Catholics are called to treat all persons with charity and justice.
That includes those who hate what we believe. It demands a conversion
of heart. It demands patience, courage and humility. We need to shed
any self-righteousness. But charity and justice can’t be severed from
truth. For Christians, Scripture is the Word of God, the revelation of
God’s truth – and there’s no way to soften or detour around the
substance of Romans 1:18-32, or any of the other biblical calls to
sexual integrity and virtuous conduct.
Trying to do so demeans what Christians have always claimed to believe.
It reduces us to useful tools of those who would smother the faith that
so many other Christians have suffered, and are now suffering, to fully
This is why groups that fight for religious liberty in our courts,
legislatures, and in the public square – distinguished groups like the
Alliance Defending Freedom and Becket (formerly the Becket Fund for
Religious Liberty) – are heroes, not “haters.” And if their efforts
draw Catholics, evangelicals and other people of good will together in
common cause, we should thank God for the unity it brings.
CNA: What Civilta Cattolica's analysis of US Christianity missed
THE CATHOLIC THING: Are Americans from Mars?
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity
He is chaste who, even during sleep, feels no
movement or change of any kind in his constitution.
July 17, 2017
(2Ti 3:1-5) Know
also this, that in the last days shall come dangerous times. Men shall
be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers,
disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked, Without affection, without
peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness, Traitors,
stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasure more than of God: Having an
appearance indeed of godliness but denying the power thereof. Now these
EXCERPT MESSAGE OF AKITA (10/13/73):
"As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father
will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a
punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before.
Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity,
the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The
survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the
dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and
the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary.
With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests."
"The work of the devil will infiltrate
even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing
cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be
scorned and opposed by their confreres...churches and altars sacked;
the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon
will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of
"The demon will be especially
implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of
so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number
and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them."
BLOG: “History has NOT always been like this. It has never been this bad.”
MORE: A MESSAGE FOR OUR TIMES: Our Lady of Good Success
EMERITUS POPE BENEDICT XVI: Church Is ‘on the Verge of Capsizing’
The Catholic Church is a boat “on the verge of capsizing,” said Pope
Emeritus Benedict XVI in a personal message for the funeral Mass of his
close friend, Cardinal Joachim Meisner on Saturday.
Given his inability to travel, the usually silent retired Pope delivered the message
in writing, and had it read aloud in the Cologne Cathedral by his
personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who also serves as
Prefect of the Papal Household for Pope Francis.
In the text, Benedict said that Cardinal Meisner “found it difficult to
leave his post, especially at a time in which the Church stands in
particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can resist the
dictatorship of the spirit of the age and who live and think the faith
What moved me all the more, Benedict said, was that, “in this last
period of his life, he learned to let go and to live out of a deep
conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the
boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.”
At this hour, when the church of Cologne and faithful from further a
field gathered to say goodbye to Cardinal Joachim Meisner, my heart and
thoughts are with you also, and gladly accepting the invitation of
Cardinal Woelki, I wish to address a word of remembrance to you.
When I heard of the death of Cardinal Meisner last Wednesday, I did not
want to believe it. The day before we had talked on the phone. His
gratitude for the fact that he had been on vacation after he had
participated in the beatification of Bishop Teofilius Matulionis in
Vilnius on Sunday before (June 25) was clear in his his voice. The love
for the Church in the neighboring countries in the East, which had
suffered under the Communist persecution, as well as the gratitude for
the withstanding the sufferings of that time, shaped his life. And so
is it is no coincidence that the last visit to his life was one to a
Confessor of the Faith in those countries.
What particularly impressed me in that last talk with the retired
Cardinal, was the loosened joy, the inner joy, and the confidence he
had found. We know that this passionate shepherd and pastor found it
difficult to leave his post, especially at a time in which the Church
stands in particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can
resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age and who live and think
the faith with determination. However, what moved me all the more was
that, in this last period of his life, he learned to let go and to live
out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church,
even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of
Two things in recent times which pleased him more than anything:
When, on his last morning, Cardinal
Meisner did not appear at Mass, he was found dead in his room. His
Breviary had slipped out of his hands: he was praying as he died,
looking at the Lord, talking to the Lord. The death that was given to
him, shows once again how he lived: looking at the Lord and talking to
him. So we can confidently recommend his soul to the goodness of God.
Lord, we thank thee for the testimony of thy servant Joachim. Let him
be an intercessor for the Church of Cologne, and on the whole world!
Requiescat in pace!
- On the one hand, he has always told me how deeply he in the
Sacrament of Penance, how young people, especially young men, are
experiencing the grace of forgiveness - the Gift, they have found the
life that only God can give.
- The other thing that has always touched him and gave him joy, was
the quiet growth of Eucharistic Adoration. At the World Youth Day in
Cologne yhis was a central point for him - that there was Adoration, a
silence in which only the Lord spoke to the heart. Some Pastoral and
Liturgal experts felt that such silence in looking at the Lord can not
be achieved with such a huge number of people. Some were also of the
opinion that Eucharistic Adoration was overtaken as such, by the Mass,
since the Lord would be received in Eucharistic bread and not be looked
at. But that this Bread can not be eaten like any food, and that the
Eucharistic sacrament "welcomes" all dimensions of our existence - that
reception must be worship, has now become very clear. Thus, the time of
Eucharistic Adoration at the Cologne World Youth Day has become an
interior event, which remained unforgettable to the Cardinal.
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity
Chastity is the name which is common to all
July 14, 2017
(Gen 41:55) And when there also they began to be famished, the people cried to Pharao, for food. And he said to them: Go to Joseph: and do all that he shall say to you.
(Joh 2:4-5) And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? My hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.
SEMINARY LECTURE: The Story of Joseph, Sold by His Brothers
The story of Joseph is also extremely rich in typology. Joseph
the dreamer is hated by his brothers on account of envy. He has
prophetic dreams which foretell that all his brothers, and indeed even
his father and mother, would worship him; and he is the favorite son of
his father, begotten by Rachel in his old age. “Now Israel loved Joseph
more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old
age; and he made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his
brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers,
they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him” (Gen 37:3–4).
Jacob sent Joseph to visit his brothers in the field to see how they
were doing. The envy of his brothers incited them to plan to kill him,
but seeing the opportunity for a profitable transaction, they preferred
to sell him into slavery for twenty pieces of silver. They presented
the cloak of many colors, stained with the blood of a goat, to their
Thus far, it is easy to see in these events a typological allegorical
sense. Joseph represents Christ, the promise of Israel and of the
nations, sent by His Father to assist his brethren. “He came into his
own, but his own received him not” (Jn 1:11). Both the plan to kill him
and to sell him for a few pieces of silver were realized in His
Passion. His cloak of many colors represents His sacred humanity,
with blood, was presented by his brethren to God the Father.
However, as we know, the allegory does not end here. The
treachery and malice worked on Joseph redounds to the salvation of the
very same brothers who betrayed him, of their whole house, and indeed
of the nations, represented by Egypt, and all those who came to Egypt
to buy grain in the time of famine.
Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt. There, because of his purity in
refusing the advances of Potiphar’s wife, he is put in prison. In
prison he correctly interprets the dreams of the cupbearer and the
baker. Much later, when Pharaoh has the dream of the seven fat cows,
followed by seven lean ones, the cupbearer tells Pharaoh of Joseph’s
ability, and Pharaoh summons him to interpret his dream. He is then set
over all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh, who orders that all are to
go to Joseph in their need. In this capacity his brothers are sent to
him to buy grain during the great famine. Although he knows their
treachery, Joseph tries their repentance and forgives them with deep
How marvelous and mysterious are the plans of God! An abominable crime
of betrayal and ingratitude is worked, which results in the salvation
of the treacherous brothers and their house, and also of Egypt, the
greatest of nations. If Christ is prefigured in the prophetic
dreams of Joseph, in his predilection by his father, and in his
betrayal for twenty pieces of silver, He is no less prefigured in the
wonderful consequences of that betrayal. God permits evil so as to
enable an incomparably greater good to be accomplished. He
permits Joseph to be sold by his brethren into slavery so as to save
all—both his family and the gentile Egyptians— thereby prefiguring how
the betrayal of Christ would work the salvation of the children of
Israel and of all the Gentiles. Here we can apply the profound
phrase that the liturgy of the Church says of the sin of Adam: “O happy
fault (felix culpa), which merited us so great a Redeemer.”
Blaise Pascal summarizes beautifully:
by Joseph. Innocent, beloved of his father, sent by his father to see
his brothers, is sold for twenty pieces of silver by his brothers.
Through this he becomes their lord, their savior, savior of strangers
and savior of the world. None of this would have happened but for their
plot to destroy him, the sale, and their rejection of him.
In prison Joseph, innocent between two criminals. Jesus on the
cross between two thieves. He prophesies the salvation of the one and
the death of the other when to all appearances they are alike. . . .
Joseph only prophesies, Jesus acts. Joseph asks the man who will be
saved to remember him when he comes in glory. And the man Jesus saves
asks to be remembered when He comes into His Kingdom.
In fact, it is easy to see in this story a figure not only of Christ,
but of the centuries of Christendom. In Egypt, Joseph was first put
into prison, which could signify the three hundred years of brutal
Roman persecution of the Church. He was then raised up to the right
hand of Pharaoh, to whom all pay deference, which can be seen as a
figure of the social kingship of Christ during the centuries of
Christendom. Joseph ruled for fourteen years (and more), as a parallel
to the same number of centuries in which the nations publicly
recognized Christ. In the end, the once perfidious brethren themselves
come to be reconciled, in the final triumph of providence worked
through Joseph. This final element of the story is, it would
seem, a figure of an event foretold, but not yet fully realized: the
final conversion of Israel to faith in Christ in the last times before
Christ our Lord comes a second time in majesty to judge the living and
BIBLE STUDY: A Comparison between Joseph and Jesus
HAPPY CATHOLIC: Parallels Between Joseph and Christ
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity
Purity means that we put on the angelic nature.
Purity is the longed-for house of Christ and the earthly heaven of the
heart. Purity is a supernatural denial of nature, which means
a mortal and corruptible body is rivalling the celestial spirits in a
July 12, 2017
(Mat 19:17-19) Who
said to him: Why askest thou me concerning good? One is good, God. But
if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He said to him:
Which? And Jesus said: Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit
adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness.
Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as
CARDINAL GERHARD MULLER:
"Euthanasia not only constitutes a grave wrong in itself, but its
legalisation creates toxic and deadly social pathologies that
disproportionately afflict the weakest members of society".
CATHOLIC VOTE: The Catholic Leaders Who Left Charlie Gard for Dead
BLOG: Will the U.S. accept Euthanasia?
Euthanasia is intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral. It is not
justified by a good intention or purpose, not even by the medical
purpose of relieving severe suffering. It is not justified by a dire
circumstance, not even that a person is terminally ill and in severe
pain. Euthanasia is a form of murder, and murder is the direct and
voluntary killing of an innocent human being.
The nation with the most extensive acceptance and legal use of
euthanasia is the Netherlands. In 2015, they euthanized 5,561 persons
out of a population of 16.94 million. That’s a rate of 0.000328 (or
0.0328%). It’s a small percentage, but a large number.
If euthanasia ever becomes as accepted in the U.S. as it is in the
Netherlands, that percentage of our population would imply 106,928
deaths per year, making it 6th leading cause of death overall (not
The arguments used to justify euthanasia and to widen its legality
proceed along much the same course as the arguments for legalized
abortion. They start with the most severe cases. The propose the case
of a conception by rape or incest, when the prenatal has a severe
disability. They propose the case where direct abortion will save the
life of the mother. Then once they obtain legalization of some
abortion, they push the door open wider. Abortion becomes legal in more
and more cases, until it is proclaimed to be a right and is available
The same process will likely happen with euthanasia. They will obtain
its legalization in very limited cases, as when the person is
terminally ill and near death. Then they will widen the types of cases
where euthanasia is permitted. In the end, they will proclaim the
supposed right to die, and obtain the legalization of euthanasia for a
wide range of reasons.
In California, a devout Roman Catholic woman was struggling with
cancer, and needed a different type of chemotherapy. But then the State
approved physician-assisted suicide. She was denied coverage for the
cancer treatment medications, but offered coverage for a suicide pill:
Terminally ill mom denied treatment coverage, but gets suicide drug
“Then her doctors suggested that switching to another chemotherapy drug
might buy her time. Her medical insurance company refused to pay. She
says she asked if the company covered the cost of drugs to put her to
death. She was told the answer is yes — with a co-payment of $1.20.”
Euthanasia is inexpensive. Treating the elderly and the dying is
costly. So there is an inevitable push from sinful secular society
toward euthanasia. It is portrayed as compassion, but it is a way to
get rid of people who seem like a burden on society, financially or
otherwise. And once it becomes legal, the expansion of cases where
euthanasia is deemed appropriate never stops.
A 24 year old woman in Belgium obtain permission for physician assisted
suicide. She was not terminally ill, just suffering from depression.
The Netherlands is considering a change to their laws to allow
euthanasia in cases where the person is simply elderly, not ill at all.
But they also currently allow euthanasia for children as young as 12,
with their parents’ consent. “Euthanasia now accounts for 4% of total
deaths in the Netherlands….” [Wikipedia]
The teaching of the Roman Catholic Church is clear and definitive.
Euthanasia is intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral. Neither a
good purpose, nor a dire circumstance can ever justify an intrinsically
evil act. But secular society (and many Catholics, too, unfortunately)
does not accept the idea that some acts are immoral, regardless of
intention or circumstances.
A Dutch euthanasia pioneer surveys the wreckage and despairs
SHOCKING STUDY: 431 People Involuntarily Euthanized in the Netherlands in 2015
Church and states braced for biggest battle on euthanasia
of Divine Ascent excerpt: step 14- "On that clamorous
He who cherishes his stomach and hopes to overcome
the spirit of fornication, is like one who tries to put out a fire with
July 10, 2017
(Rom 1:26-28) For
this cause, God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their
women have changed the natural use into that use which is against
nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of
the women, have burned in their lusts, one towards another: men with
men, working that which is filthy and receiving in themselves the
recompense which was due to their error. And as they liked not to have
God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to
do those things which are not convenient.
CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT: Bishop Paprocki responds to controversy, criticisms over decree on same-sex “marriage”
CANON LAWYER'S BLOG: Bp Paprocki’s norms on ‘same-sex marriage’
CATHOLIC CULTURE: Bishop Paprocki and his critics: someone here is unhinged
LINK TO TEXT: Bishop Paprocki's Same-Sex Marriage Decree
ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: A letter to the Romans
Christians are always, in a sense, outsiders. We have the joy and
privilege to be a leaven for good in society. That’s an exhilarating
vocation. It means working for as much justice and virtue in human
affairs as we can. We have a special obligation to serve the weak and
the poor, and to treat even those who hate us with love.
But while we’re in the world and for the world, we’re never finally of the world. And we need to understand what that means.
Writing in the mid-first century to “all God’s beloved in Rome, who are
called to be saints” — and despite the dangers and frustrations he
himself faced — St. Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is
the power of God for everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also
to the Greek, for in it the righteousness of God is revealed …” (Rom
Paul’s Letter to the Romans became a key text of the New Testament. The
Church has always revered it as part of the inspired Word of God and
incorporated it into her thought and practice. The books of Scripture,
even when they’re morally demanding, are not shackles. They’re part of
God’s story of love for humanity. They’re guide rails that lead us to
real dignity and salvation.
That’s a good thing. Much of human history – far too much — is a record
of our species’ capacity for self-harm. The Word of God is an
expression of his mercy. It helps us to become the people of integrity
God created us to be. As Paul reminds us, we’re “called to be saints.”
Sometimes Scripture’s lessons toward that end can be hard. But God
cannot lie. His Word always speaks the truth. And the truth, as Jesus
tells us in the Gospel, makes us free. This is why Christians must
never be ashamed of God’s Word – even when it’s inconvenient.
Which brings us to the heart of my comments this week.
In Romans 1:21-27, speaking of the men and women of his time “who by their wickedness suppress the truth,” Paul wrote:
“… for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give
thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their
senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools….
“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity,
to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they
exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the
creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women
exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up
natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one
another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their
own persons the due penalty for their error.”
If reading that passage makes us uneasy, it should. Many of Paul’s
Roman listeners had the same response. Jesus didn’t come to affirm us
in our sins and destructive behaviors – whatever they might be — but to
redeem us. Paul’s message was as resented in some quarters then as it
is now. In an age of sexual confusion and disorder, calls to chastity
are not just unwelcome. They’re despised. But that doesn’t diminish the
truth of the words Paul wrote, or their urgency for our own time.
What we do with our bodies matters. Sex is linked intimately to human
identity and purpose. If our lives have no higher meaning than what we
invent for ourselves, then sex is just another kind of modeling clay.
We can shape it any way we please. But if our lives do have a higher
purpose – and as Christians, we find that purpose in the Word of God —
then so does our sexuality.
Acting in ways that violate that purpose becomes a form of self-abuse;
and not just self-abuse, but a source of confusion and suffering for
the wider culture. The fact that an individual’s body might incline him
or her to one sort of damaging sexual behavior, or to another very
different sort, doesn’t change this.
This can be a difficult teaching. It’s easy to see why so many people
try to finesse or soften or ignore Paul’s words. In a culture of
conflict, accommodation is always the least painful path. But it leads
nowhere. It inspires no one. “Fitting in” to a society of deeply
dysfunctional sexuality results in the ruin that we see in so many
other dying Christian communities.
In his recent book “Building a Bridge” (HarperOne), Father James
Martin, S.J., calls the Church to a spirit of respect, compassion and
sensitivity in dealing with persons with same-sex attraction. This is
good advice. It makes obvious sense. He asks the same spirit from
persons in the LGBT community when dealing with the Church. Father
Martin is a man whose work I often admire. “Building a Bridge,” though
brief, is written with skill and good will.
But what the text regrettably lacks is an engagement with the substance
of what divides faithful Christians from those who see no sin in active
same-sex relationships. The Church is not simply about unity – as
valuable as that is – but about unity in God’s love rooted in truth.
If the Letter to the Romans is true, then persons in unchaste
relationships (whether homosexual or heterosexual) need conversion, not
merely affirmation. If the Letter to the Romans is false, then
Christian teaching is not only wrong but a wicked lie. Dealing with
this frankly is the only way an honest discussion can be had.
And that honesty is what makes another recent book – “Why I Don’t Call
Myself Gay” by Daniel Mattson (Ignatius) – so extraordinarily moving
and powerful. As Cardinal Robert Sarah writes in the Foreword,
Mattson’s candor about his own homosexuality, his struggles and
failures, and his gradual transformation in Jesus Christ “bears witness
to the mercy and goodness of God, to the efficacy of his grace, and to
the veracity of the teachings of his Church.”
In the words of Daniel Mattson himself:
“We cannot remain reluctant to speak about the beauty of the Church’s
teaching on sexuality and sexual identity for fear that it will appear
‘unloving,’ ‘irrational,’ or ‘unreal.’ We need to love the world enough
to speak about the Christian vision of sexual reality, confident that
God’s creation of man as male and female is truly part of the Gospel of
Jesus Christ we are called to proclaim to a lost and confused world.
“We need to be a light for the world and speak passionately about the
richness of the Church’s understanding of human sexuality. We can’t
place the Good News of the Church’s teaching on human sexuality under a
bushel any longer, for the world desperately needs the truth we have
(p. 123).” Spoken from experience. Spoken from the heart. No one could
name the truth more clearly.
of Divine Ascent excerpt: step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the
20. Satiety of the stomach dries the tear springs,
but the stomach when dried produces these waters.
July 6, 2017
(Eph 6:13-15) Therefore,
take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the
evil day and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore, having
your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of
justice: And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
POPE FRANCIS TELEGRAM: "With
profound emotion I heard the news that suddenly and unexpectedly
Cardinal Joachim Meisner has been called from this earth to the God of
mercy," he said. "With profound faith and sincere love for the Church,
Cardinal Meisner dedicated himself to the announcement of the good
news," it continued. "May Christ our Lord reward him for his faithful
and courageous commitment on behalf of the people of the east and west,
and make him a participant in the communion of saints in heaven." The
telegram concluded with the Pope's bestowal of the apostolic blessing
on all those "who remember the deceased pastor with prayer and
HEADLINE: Cardinal Joachim Meisner, one of the four ‘dubia’ cardinals, has died aged 83
EXCERPT VOICE OF THE FAMILY: CARDINAL CAFFARRA: “WE ARE NO LONGER WITNESSES, BUT DESERTERS, IF WE DO NOT SPEAK OPENLY AND PUBLICLY”
Given that man is positioned between two opposing forces, the condition
in which he finds himself must necessarily give rise to two cultures:
the culture of the truth and the culture of the lie.
There is a book in Holy Scripture, the last, the Apocalypse, which
describes the final confrontation between the two kingdoms. In this
book, the attraction of Christ takes the form of triumph over enemy
powers commanded by Satan. It is a triumph which comes after lengthy
combat. The first fruits of the victory are the martyrs. “The great
Dragon, serpent of the primal age, he whom we call the devil, or Satan,
seducer of the whole world, was flung down to earth… But they [= the
martyrs] overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the
testimony of their martyrdom” [cfr. Ap. 12, 9.11].
In this second section, I would like to respond to the following
question: in our Western culture, are there developments which reveal
with particular clarity the confrontation between the attraction
exerted over man by the Crucified-Risen One, and the culture of the lie
constructed by Satan? My response is affirmative, and there are two
developments in particular.
The first development is the transformation of a crime [termed by
Vatican Council II nefandum crimen], abortion, into a right. Note well.
I am not speaking of abortion as an act perpetrated by one person. I am
speaking of the broader legitimation which can be perpetrated by a
judicial system in a single act: to subsume it into the category of the
subjective right, which is an ethical category. This signifies calling
what is good, evil, what is light, shadow. “When he lies, he speaks
according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies”.
This is an attempt to produce an “anti-Revelation”.
What in fact is the logic which presides over the ennoblement of
abortion? Firstly, it is the profoundest negation of the truth of man.
As soon as Noah left the floodwaters, God said: “Whoever sheds the
blood of a man, by a man shall that person’s blood be shed, for in his
own image God made man” [Gen. 9, 6]. The reason why man should not shed
the blood of man is that man is the image of God. Through man, God
dwells in His creation. This creation is the temple of the Lord,
because man inhabits it. To violate the intangibility of the human
person is a sacrilegious act against the Sanctity of God. It is the
Satanic attempt to generate an “anti-creation”. By ennobling the
killing of humans, Satan has laid the foundations for his “creation”:
to remove from creation the image of God, to obscure his presence
St Ambrose writes: “The creation of the world was completed with
formation of the masterpiece which is man, which… is in fact the
culmination of creation, the supreme beauty of every created being”
[Exam., Sixth day, Disc 9, 10.75; BA I, page 417]. At the moment at
which the right of man to order the life and the death of another man
is affirmed, God is expelled from his creation, because his original
presence is denied, and his original dwelling-place within creation –
the human person – is desecrated
The second development is the ennoblement of homosexuality. This in
fact denies entirely the truth of marriage, the mind of God the Creator
with regard to marriage.
The Divine Revelation has told us how God thinks of marriage: the
lawful union of a man and woman, the source of life. In the mind of
God, marriage has a permanent structure, based on the duality of the
human mode of being: femininity and masculinity. Not two opposite
poles, but the one with and for the other. Only thus does man escape
his original solitude.
One of the fundamental laws through which God governs the universe is
that He does not act alone. This is the law of human cooperation with
the divine governance. The union between a man and woman, who become
one flesh, is human cooperation in the creative act of God: every human
person is created by God and begotten by its parents. God celebrates
the liturgy of his creative act in the holy temple of conjugal love.
In summary. There are two pillars of creation: the human person in its
irreducibility to the material universe, and the conjugal union between
a man and woman, the place in which God creates new human persons “in
His image and likeness”. The axiological elevation of abortion to a
subjective right is the demolition of the first pillar. The ennoblement
of a homosexual relationship, when equated to marriage, is the
destruction of the second pillar.
At the root of this is the work of Satan, who wants to build an actual
anti-creation. This is the ultimate and terrible challenge which Satan
is hurling at God. “I am demonstrating to you that I am capable of
constructing an alternative to your creation. And man will say: it is
better in the alternative creation than in your creation”.
This is the frightful strategy of the lie, constructed around a
profound contempt for man. Man is not capable of elevating himself to
the splendour of the Truth. He is not capable of living within the
paradox of an infinite desire for happiness. He is not able to find
himself in the sincere gift of himself. And therefore – continues the
Satanic discourse – we tell him banalities about man. We convince him
that the Truth does not exist and that his search is therefore a sad
and futile passion. We persuade him to shorten the measure of his
desire in line with the measure of the transient moment. We place in
his heart the suspicion that love is merely a mask of pleasure.
The Grand Inquisitor of Dostoevsky speaks thus to Jesus: “You judge of
men too highly, for though rebels they be, they are born slaves …. I
swear to you that man is weaker and lower than You have ever imagined
him to be! Man is weak and cowardly.”
How should we dwell in this situation? In the third and final section of my reflection, I will seek to answer this question.
The reply is simple: within the confrontation between creation and
anti-creation, we are called upon to TESTIFY. This testimony is our
mode of being in the world.
CHIESA: Müller Out. But the Real Attack Is Against "Veritatis Splendor"
of Divine Ascent excerpt: step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the
19. The mind of a faster prays soberly, but the
mind of an intemperate person is filled with impure idols.
July 5, 2017
(Luk 10:2) And
he said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are
few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he send labourers
into his harvest.
SAINT JOHN VIANNEY: “O, how great is the priest! … If he realized what he is, he would die…"
FATHER JOHN A HARDON, S.J.: The Value of Prayer and Sacrifice for Priests
MSGR. POPE BLOG: Pray for Priests! An Urgent Call Based on a Teaching by Robert Cardinal Sarah
One of the most consistent concerns expressed both by my readers and by
attendees at the various talks I give, is the large number of tepid and
problematic clergy. We clergy give our people much to endure, yet for
the most part they are so very patient and loving with us despite our
foibles and idiosyncrasies.
Most of the people are highly concerned about the widespread silence
and/or vagueness of the clergy in the face of the grave moral meltdown
in our culture. At best, many pulpits are silent or replete with
abstractions and generalities. At worst, some pulpits and clerical
teaching contain outright errors or ambiguities that (intentionally or
not) mislead and confuse the faithful.
There are, to be sure, numerous exceptions to these concerns. There are
many fine, hard-working priests who teach courageously and clearly,
with love and zeal. However, the problem is widespread enough that it
is a common concern of the faithful.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, in his recent book The Power of Silence Against
the Dictatorship of Noise, presents an insightful analysis of the
problem and its causes. He relates the problem to a lack of prayerful
silence on the part of many priests, who find little time for prayer
let alone deeper silent contemplation. He begins by referencing Fr.
Henri Nouwen, who once said,
Silence is the
discipline by which the inner fire of God is tended and kept alive …
Especially we [priests], who want to witness to the presence of God’s
Spirit in the world, need to tend the fire within with utmost care …
[Yet] many minsters have become burnt-out cases … in whom the fire of
God’s Spirit has died, and from whom not much more comes forth than
their own boring and petty ideas and feelings; … It is as if [they] are
not sure that God’s Spirit can touch the hearts of people [cited in The
Power of Silence, p. 77].
Here are two key insights. First, a priest who is not accustomed to
silently praying and listening to the voice of the Lord begins to hear
only the voice of the world and to parrot its slogans and often
insipid, ephemeral notions. The voice of Christ and the light of the
Gospel grow dim, and his mind centers more on vain things and worldly
notions. Gradually, he “goes native,” taking up the mind of the world,
fleshly notions, and even the doctrines of demons.
Second, a priest can slip away from the “still, whispering voice of the
Lord.” He can begin to lose trust in the power of God’s grace to touch
and change people’s hearts. Vigorous preaching is rooted in confidence
about both the truth proclaimed and the power of grace to bring about
what the revealed Word announces. It is true that the Lord’s teachings
are often challenging to the faithful, but this did not trouble Christ
who, knowing the power of grace, did not hesitate to point to the
highest truths and confidently summon the faithful to trust in His
grace and mercy to get there! Without deep prayer, we lose our trust in
God and in His people.
Gradually, as Nouwen notes, a priest’s untended inner fire grows cool
and the numbness of the world extinguishes his joy, zeal, confidence,
and love. The demands of the Gospel come to seem unreasonable or even
impossible to him. And because he sees the Gospel as too challenging he
is hesitant to preach its demands. As the inner fire grows dim, he
slips into watering down the Gospel message, into the obfuscation of
abstractions and generalities, or into outright denial of the harder
Cardinal Sarah warns priests of this tendency and its outcome:
certainly distressed to see and to hear priests and bishops, who ought
to be protecting the integrity of the teaching of the Gospel and of
doctrine, multiply words and writing that weaken the rigor of the
Gospel by their deliberately confused, ambiguous statements. It is not
inopportune to remind these priests and prelates … of Christ’s severe
words: “Therefore I tell you every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven
men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven … either
in this age or the age to come. [He] is guilty of an eternal sin”
[Ibid., pp. 77-78].
Thus, as both Fr. Nouwen and Cardinal Sarah point out, priests who let
the fire of God grow dim and who no longer trust God or His people, sin
against the Holy Spirit. They do so because they come to doubt or even
deny the power of grace to make possible the satisfaction of the
Gospel’s demands. Human flattery and worldly perspectives are preferred
to the Holy Spirit’s urging to announce the Gospel plainly, lovingly,
and without compromise. Human weakness becomes the baseline for what is
expected. God the Holy Spirit is dismissed as irrelevant or incapable
of perfecting God’s people. This is a sin against the Holy Spirit and a
disastrous end for a priest, especially one who has reached the point
of outright misleading God’s people and confirming them in sinful and
Therefore, I ask all of the faithful to pray often for priests and
bishops. In our human weakness, we clergy can stray from prayer. From
there, the fiery zeal of God and the joy of the truth give way to the
thinking of the world and to a lack of confidence in preaching without
compromise. From the point of compromise, things just keep getting
In his book, Cardinal Sarah references St. Augustine’s own plea for prayer, and I will conclude with that:
It is not my
intention to waste my life on the vanity of ecclesiastical honors. I
think of the day when I will have to render an accounting for the flock
that has been entrusted to me by the Prince of pastors. Understand my
fears, because my fears are great [p. 79].
CNA: A Prayer for Priests by St. Therese of Lisieux
O Jesus, eternal Priest,
keep your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart,
where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands,
which daily touch Your Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips,
daily purpled with your Precious Blood.
Keep pure and unearthly their hearts,
sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and
shield them from the world's contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit and
may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here and in heaven their beautiful and
everlasting crown. Amen.
of Divine Ascent excerpt: step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the
17. Master your stomach before it masters you;
and then you are sure to control yourself with the aid of shame. Those
who have fallen into the horrible gulf know what I have said; but men who
are eunuchs have not experienced this.
Dr. Zambrano Home
2000: Bringing the World to Jesus
Tribulation Times Archives:
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