Keep your eyes open!...


First Week of Advent, 2016  

(Mat 24:42-44) Watch ye therefore, because you know not what hour your Lord will come. But this know ye, that, if the goodman of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch and would not suffer his house to be broken open. Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come.

POPE FRANCIS: "Advent is an invitation to vigilance, because, not knowing when He will come, we must always be ready to depart. During Advent we are called to enlarge the horizons of our hearts, to be surprised by the life that is presented each day with its newness. In order to do this we need to learn to not depend on our own securities, our own established plans, because the Lord comes in the hour which we don’t imagine."

CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT: Advent is Apocalyptic

: Advent Calendar 2016


DYNAMIC CATHOLIC: Best Advent Ever Rediscover Mercy! Are you Ready?

CREIGHTON UNIVERSITY'S ONLINE MINISTRIES: Praying Advent and Celebrating Christmas

: Let’s prepare for Christmas

We are now entering the Advent season—we have four Sundays to prepare ourselves to welcome the Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer of mankind. During this time, we are called to unclutter our lives to make room for the Lord Jesus.

Naturally, Advent is also a time of material preparation for the big Christmas celebration, but this should not over take our inner preparation. We have to find the right balance. Who better than a woman—and a mother—to teach us how we can live this time of Advent in a meaningful way?

We should set out then on our journey with the Virgin Mary. Mary received the Word of God, she allowed the Word to grow, then gave it to the world. So let us be vigilant and prepare ourselves with Mary, who also prepared for this beautiful and great mission that transformed the history of mankind forever.

As Saint John Paul II said: "Walk with Mary. Walk with Mary. Let the echo of her fiat resound in your hearts." This is my wish for all of you during this time of Advent.

Father Pierre Le Bourgeois Former pastor of Nantua (France)

CATHOLICPHILLY.COM: Advent has changed with the centuries but its focus remains on Christ

ICN: Unlike Lent, the four weeks preceding the great feasts of Christ’s birth and Epiphany are not times of great penance. We are asked to prepare ourselves to welcome these feasts, but more in prayerful anticipation and silent prayer, it is the season for wakefulness, being attentive to the call of God right in our daily lives. It is also a reminder that we anticipate not only the festivals of light and joy but look beyond the limits of our world into that dark winter sky and see in the twinkling of those so far distant stars a hint of the glory and majesty of Christ our God who one day will come again.

Perhaps in our security of life we might feel that this is a long way off, we have another Christmas to get through, plenty to do, friends to contact, relations to visit. It is a season of giving! And yet, the insistent voice of scripture tells us that we have been promised that the Son of Man will come. Matthew in his direct way prepares us for that second coming, reminding us to stand ready and be prepared. That is very much the message of Advent; that He will come again as surely as He came into the world as a little child. This is why Isaiah tells us to walk in the light of the Lord, why Paul tells us that the night is nearly over and the day is at hand!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 8- "On Freedom from Anger and on Meekness"

12. Nothing is so inappropriate to those repenting as a spirit agitated by anger, because conversion requires great humility, and anger is a sign of every kind of presumption.

November 23, 2016


(Mat 9:12-13) But Jesus hearing it, said: They that are in health need not a physician, but they that are ill. Go then and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I am not come to call the just, but sinners.

CARDINAL DANIEL N. DiNARDO: Christ's mercy endures. The healing power of God's forgiveness is available to all who earnestly seek it. In his apostolic letter concluding the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis invites us to carry this life-giving message to all who need it. The Jubilee Year has been filled with grace, a grace that has refreshed our faith for the path of service ahead.

In our human weakness, we may feel beyond God's reach and forgotten by society. The merciful heart of Jesus is stronger than sin and Christians cannot be indifferent to the suffering around us. Let us seek out the poor, the sick and all those in spiritual need. As we, ourselves, have been redeemed through God's mercy, let us generously share with our sisters and brothers what He has so generously given us. In this way, we will transform a Year of Mercy into a life of mercy.

We rely on the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy and Consolation, who constantly intercedes for the Church and draws us ever closer to the compassionate embrace of her Son.

CATHOLIC PHILLY: Making mercy a way of life

ROME REPORTS: 7 keys to understanding the Apostolic Letter "Misericordia et Misera"


An apostolic letter is a document of papal magisterium, less solemn than an encyclical, but of great importance. John Paul II published one after closing the Jubilee year in 2000.

In the letter, the pope combines the greatest lines of the Jubilee and explanations so that these intense months are not reduced to a mere "theory of mercy."

The title translates to "Mercy and Misery." St. Augustine used this expression to remember the scene of the Gospel in which they wanted to stone an adulterous woman and Jesus forgives her.

The main point is to do everything possible to make it easier for people to go to confession. There are many transformations. One for example, is it will be easier to find priests available to hear confessions, because the sacrament should not only be a novelty.

It proposes that each Catholic community dedicate one Sunday a year to "renew its efforts to make the Sacred Scriptures better known and more widely diffused."

He also instituted a "World Day of the Poor," to be held in all churches on the last Sunday before the feast of Christ the King.

From now on all priests will be able to absolve the sin of abortion from those who confess it, both from the doctors performing it and the parents of the child. Previously, only bishops could absolve people from this sin.

Pope Francis is maintaining the force of the "Missionaries of Mercy," a thousand priests from all over the world who can absolve these five sins reserved only to the Vatican:
The violation of the secret of confession
The ordination of bishops without the approval of the pope
The complicity of priests who propose sexual relations to another person and then confess of that sin
Desecration of the Eucharist
Violence against the pope

Pope Francis returns to the main idea contained in the document "Amoris Laetitia," and asks the Church to "regard all human problems from the standpoint of God’s love, which never tires of welcoming and accompanying."

Pope Francis reminds priests how they should care for those who want to return to the life of faith, but are divorced and have remarried or live a delicate personal situation. It is a matter of exercising "a careful, profound and far-sighted spiritual discernment, so that everyone, none excluded, can feel accepted by God, participate actively in the life of the community and be part of that People of God which journeys tirelessly towards the fullness of his kingdom of justice, love, forgiveness and mercy."

The pope shows that in addition to receiving mercy, it must be given. That means not being indifferent to the sufferings of people.

He calls on Catholics to work to "restore dignity to people." Especially those who do not have work, do not have a house, are marginalized, are hungry, have to migrate, are in prison in inhuman conditions or do not have access to education.

VATICAN RADIO: Vatican unveils new website for Pope's collection: Peter's Pence

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 8- "On Freedom from Anger and on Meekness"

11. An angry person is a willing epileptic, who due to an involuntary tendency keeps convulsing and falling down.

November 21, 2016

(Luk 9:24-26) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: for he that shall lose his life for my sake shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world and lose himself and cast away himself? For he that shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him the Son of man shall be ashamed, when he shall come in his majesty and that of his Father and of the holy angels.


VATICAN RADIO: Pope Francis on Jubilee close: become instruments of mercy

In his homily, Pope Francis said, “[E]ven if the Holy Door closes, the true door of mercy which is the heart of Christ always remains open wide for us.”

The kingship of Christ in its cosmic, social, and personal dimensions was the main focus of the Holy Father’s remarks to the faithful.

“[T]he grandeur of [Christ’s] kingdom is not power as defined by this world, but the love of God, a love capable of encountering and healing all things,” said Pope Francis. “Christ lowered himself to us out of this love, he lived our human misery, he suffered the lowest point of our human condition: injustice, betrayal, abandonment; he experienced death, the tomb, hell.”

“And so,” the Pope went on to say, “our King went to the ends of the universe in order to embrace and save every living being.  He did not condemn us, nor did he conquer us, and he never disregarded our freedom, but he paved the way with a humble love that forgives all things, hopes all things, sustains all things (cf. 1 Cor 13:7).”  “This love alone,” Pope Francis said, “overcame and continues to overcome our worst enemies: sin, death, fear.”

Following the conclusion of the Mass, the Holy Father signed the Apostolic Letter Misecordia et misera, addressed to the whole Church, which is to be published Monday as a concluding reflection on the Year of Mercy.

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[Col. 2:20-3:3; Luke 9:23-27]

Do not be ashamed to confess the Lord Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God who redeemed us through His death on the cross, who through His resurrection and ascension opened for us the entrance into the Kingdom of heaven. If you shall be ashamed, then He shall be ashamed of you, When he shall come in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy Angels.

Now in society there is a trend to not talk at all about the Lord and about salvation, whereas in the beginning these dear subjects were all that people talked about. One's talk more readily flows from the place where the heart abides. Can it really be that people's hearts abide less with the Lord? Judging from the talk, this must be the case. Some do not know Him at all, others are cold towards Him. Fearing encounters with such people, even those who are warm towards the Lord do not direct the conversation towards Him, and the priesthood is silent. Now, talk about the Lord and Saviour and about our main concern — salvation — is excluded from the circle of talk acceptable in society.

What, you say, are we really supposed to talk only about that? Why only about that? One can talk about anything, but in a way that is shaded by the spirit of Christ. Then it would be possible to guess whether the speaker is Christian or pagan. Now, however, it is impossible to guess what they are, neither by their talk, nor by their writings. Look through all the periodicals — what don't they write there? But nobody wants to make Christian conversation. What a complicated time!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 8- "On Freedom from Anger and on Meekness"

10. As a hard stone with sharp corners has ll its sharpness and hard formation dulled by knocking and rubbing against other stones, and is made round, so in the same way, a sharp and curt soul, by living in community and mixing with hard, hot-tempered men, undergoes one of two things: either it cures its wound by its patience, or by retiring it will certainly discover its weakness, its cowardly flight making this clear to it as in a mirror.

November 17, 2016

(Rom 12:14-17) Bless them that persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that rejoice: weep with them that weep. Being of one mind one towards another. Not minding high things, but consenting to the humble. Be not wise in your own conceits. To no man rendering evil for evil. Providing good things, not only in the sight of God but also in the sight of all men.

CATHOLIC JOURNAL: By Your Perseverance, You Will Secure Your Lives

ACN: Report warns of global rise of religious 'hyper-extremism'

Religious Fundamentalism—more lethal than ever before—is unleashing death, destruction, displacement and instability at unprecedented levels, according to a report out today.

The Religious Freedom in the World 2016 report, produced by international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, warns of the global impact of “a new phenomenon of religiously-motivated violence—‘Islamist hyper-extremism.’” The report points to the Islamic State (ISIS) as the prime example.

Key characteristics of “Islamist hyper-extremism” include systematic attempts to drive out all dissenting groups—including moderates, unprecedented levels of cruelty, global reach and the effective use of social media, often used to glamorize violence.

Compiled every two years, the report, which assesses the situation regarding religious freedom in each of the world’s 196 countries, charges: “In parts of the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria, this hyper-extremism is eliminating all forms of religious diversity and is threatening to do so in parts of African and the Asian sub-continent.

In an introduction to the report, Father Jacques Mourad—a Christian monk who was held by ISIS in Syria for five months before escaping in October 2015—writes that “our world teeters on the brink of complete catastrophe as extremism threatens to wipe out all trace of diversity in society.”

The report, which draws on research by journalists, academics and clergy, records that in the two-year period under review which ended last June, attacks linked to “hyper-extremism” had taken place in one out of five countries worldwide—from Australia to Sweden as well as 17 African countries.

With refugee numbers at a new high of 65.3 million according to the UN, the report describes extremist Islamism as a “key driver” in the massive displacement of people fleeing countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria.The report also highlights the impact on countries in the West, whose socio-religious fabric is being destabilized by the challenge of having to absorb unprecedented numbers of refugees.

However, the report stresses that not all problems regarding religious freedom are linked to militant Islam—with a “renewed crackdown” on religious groups reported in China and Turkmenistan and an ongoing denial of human rights for people of faith in worst-offending North Korea and Eritrea.

Nor is the outlook universally bleak – looking at Bhutan, Egypt and Qatar, countries notorious for religious freedom violations, the report found that the situation had improved for faith minorities during the period under review.

Bishop Gregory Mansour, who heads the Maronite Eparchy of St. Maron in Brooklyn, NY, and serves on the Advisory Board of ACNUSA, expressed hope that the report will “help the Trump Administration in developing a strategy to step up US support for persecuted religious minorities around the world—in particular the Christians in Iraq and Syria.”

The ‘Religious Freedom in the World’ 2016 report’ is available at  To read the Executive Summary of the Report, please click here.

EDITORIAL:  When Walls Are More Merciful Than Bridges


Iraqi Catholics return to church ransacked by ISIS
Why Are Muslims Who Attack Christians In Egypt Not Being Brought To Justice?
Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Vicar of Aleppo, wounded by a gunman: "I share the cross of those who suffer"
Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 8- "On Freedom from Anger and on Meekness"

9. And we ought not to forget, my friends, that the wicked demons sometimes suddenly leave us, so that we may neglect our strong passions as of little importance, and then become incurably sick

November 15, 2016

(John 8:31-32) Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him: If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth: and the truth shall make you free.

VATICAN INSIDER: Four cardinals openly challenge Francis over “Amoris Laetitia”

CATHOLIC ACTION FOR FAITH AND FAMILY: Exclusive Interview: Cardinal Burke Explains Plea to Pope for Clarity

Catholic Action: Your Eminence, thank you for taking the time to have this interview with us about what you have published today. The substance of the documents which you and the other Cardinals have made public is called “Dubia.” Can you please explain what Dubia means and what the presentation of Dubia involves?

Cardinal Burke: It is my pleasure to discuss these important matters with you. The title of the document is, “Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in ‘Amoris Laetitia’.” It has been co-authored by four cardinals: Walter Cardinal Brandmüller, Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, Joachim Cardinal Meisner, and myself. My fellow cardinals and I are publicizing a plea that we have made to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, regarding his recent Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. Portions of the document contain ambiguities and statements that are like knots that cannot be easily untied and are causing great confusion. Sharing the Pope’s devotion to Our Lady, Untier of Knots, we are asking him to clarify these ambiguous statements and, with the help of God, to untie some of the knotty statements of the document for the good of souls.

Dubia is the plural form of the Latin word, dubium which means a question or a doubt. When, in the Church, an important question or doubt arises about the faith itself or its practice, it is customary for Bishops or priests or the faithful themselves to articulate formally the question or doubt and to present it to the Roman Pontiff and his office which is competent to deal with it. The formulation of an individual question or doubt is called simply a dubium. If more than one question or doubt is articulated, they are called dubia. The Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia has raised a number of questions and doubts in the minds of Bishops, priests and the faithful, many of which have already been presented to the Holy Father and discussed publicly. In the present case, four Cardinals have presented formally to the Holy Father five fundamental questions or doubts regarding faith and morals based on the reading of Amoris Laetitiae.

CA: Many people in the Church right now are discussing what is designated as “pastoral.” Can you tell us a little about the document you have published today, and how that relates to being pastoral?

Truth spoken with charity is clear and pastoral. It is never helpful pastorally to leave important matters, in the present case matters touching upon the salvation of souls, in doubt or in confusion. We four Cardinals, as Bishops who the pastoral care of the universal Church and as Cardinals who have the particular responsibility of assisting the Holy Father in the teaching of the faith and in the fostering of its practice in the universal Church, have judged it our responsibility to make public these questions for the sake of the good of souls. 

CA: This co-authored document is actually a number of documents, as the headings indicate. Would you mind explaining why there are different parts, and what they mean?

The core of what we are publishing today is a letter which we four Cardinals initially sent to Pope Francis, along with the dubia – that is, along with a series of formal and serious questions – about Amoris Laetitia. The process of submitting formal questions is a venerable and well-established practice in the Church. When the question concerns a grave matter that affects many of the faithful, the Church responds to these questions with a “yes” or “no”, sometimes with explanation. We also sent a copy of the letter and dubia to Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which has the particular competence regarding such questions.

In order to provide the background for the letter and our questions about Amoris Laetitia, we are also publishing a brief foreword and an explanatory note, which explain the context of the letter and the dubia or questions along with a commentary on each of the questions themselves. 

CA: So you are saying that you are publishing a letter that you sent to the Pope privately. This is extraordinary. Isn’t this action objectionable from a Christian point of view? Our Lord said in the Gospel of Matthew (18:15) that if we have a problem with a brother, we are supposed to talk with him privately, one-on-one, not publicly.

In the same portion of Sacred Scripture to which you refer, Our Lord also said that, after addressing a difficulty to a brother, individually and together with others, without it being resolved, then, for the good of the Church the matter is to be presented to the whole Church. This is precisely what we are doing.

There have been many other statements of concern regarding Amoris Laetitia, all of which have not received an official response from the Pope or his representatives. Therefore, in order to look for clarity on these matters, three other Cardinals and I used the formality of presenting fundamental questions directly to the Holy Father and to the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. No response has been given to these questions either. Therefore, in making public our questions or dubia, we are being faithful to Christ’s mandate to first talk with a person privately, then in a small group, and finally, taking the matter to the Church as a whole. 

CA: As you say, Amoris Laetitia has been the subject of much discussion, and even criticism. For example, you have famously stated that you believe it is not a Magisterial document. Could you explain how your current questions to the Holy Father relate to these other analyses of the Apostolic Exhortation?

To understand the present publication, we need to consider what has led up to it.

Just after his election, in his first Sunday Angelus message, Pope Francis praised Cardinal Walter Kasper’s understanding of mercy, which is a fundamental theme in Amoris Laetitia. Only a few months later, the Vatican announced an Extraordinary Synod about Marriage and Family for October 2014.

In preparation for the Synod, I, along with four other Cardinals, an Archbishop, and three theologians, published a book, Remaining in the Truth of Christ. As a member of the Synod, I noted that the mid-term report lacked a solid foundation in Sacred Scripture and the Tradition of the Church. Later, I agreed with other Cardinals that there was manipulation in the running of the Synod itself, and in the writing of the final report of the Synod.

Prior to the 2015 Synod, to which I was not invited, eleven Cardinals contributed to a book about marriage and the family. Although I did not contribute to this book, I read it with great interest. Also prior to the 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family, over 790,000 Catholics signed a “Filial Appeal” to Pope Francis about the future of the family, asking him to say “a clarifying word” to dissipate the “widespread confusion” about Church teaching. Along with other Cardinals, I was a signatory. During the 2015 session of the Synod, thirteen Cardinal-participants signed a letter to the Pope indicating their concern about its manipulation of the process of the Synod.

In April 2016, Pope Francis published Amoris Laetitia as the fruit of the 2014 and 2015 sessions of the Synod of Bishops. In the summer of 2016, forty-five academics, including some prelates, wrote to the Holy Father and to the College of Cardinals, asking the Pope to repudiate a list of erroneous propositions that can be drawn from portions of Amoris Laetitia. This received no public response.

On 29 August, 2016, I joined many bishops, priests, and lay faithful in signing a Declaration of Fidelity to the Church’s Teaching on Marriage and to Her Uninterrupted Discipline. This also has received no public response.

My position is that Amoris Laetitia is not Magisterial because it contains serious ambiguities that confuse people and can lead them into error and grave sin. A document with these defects cannot be part of the Church’s perennial teaching. Because that is the case, the Church needs absolute clarity regarding what Pope Francis is teaching and encouraging. 

CA: Some Catholics may be concerned that your current publication is an act of disloyalty.

I, together with the other three Cardinals, are striving to be loyal to the Holy Father by being loyal to Christ above all. By making public our plea for clarity of doctrine and pastoral practice, we are hoping to make this a discussion for all Catholics, especially our fellow bishops. Every baptized person should be concerned about doctrine and moral practices regarding the Holy Eucharist and Holy Matrimony, and about how we are to identify good and evil actions.  These matters affect all of us.

Rather than being a matter of disloyalty to the Pope, our action is deeply loyal to everything that the Pope represents and is obliged to defend in his official capacity. Pope Francis has called for candid speech in the Church a number of times, and has asked members of the hierarchy for openness and accountability. We are being candid, with the fullest respect for the office of the Holy Father, and exercising, according to the light of our consciences, the openness and accountability which the Church has the right to expect of us.

This is my duty as a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. I was not created a Cardinal in order to receive an honorary position. Rather, Pope Benedict XVI made me a Cardinal to assist him and his successors in governing the Church and teaching the Faith. All Cardinals have the duty of working closely with the Pope for the good of souls, and this is precisely what I am doing by raising questions of grave importance regarding faith and morals. I would not be fulfilling my duty as a cardinal, and therefore as counselor to the Pope, if I remained silent on an issue of such serious matter. 

CA: If I may, I would like to continue this line of thought. It is unclear how your publication is being docile to the Pope’s desire for greater pastoral sensitivity and creativeness in the Church. Hasn’t the Pope indicated his position in a letter to the Argentine Bishops? Other Cardinals have said that the proper way to read Amoris Laetitia is that it allows divorced-and-remarried couples to receive communion in certain circumstances. In that light, one could argue that your document is creating more confusion.

First, a point of clarification. The issue is not about divorced and remarried couples receiving Holy Communion. It is about sexually active but not validly married couples receiving Holy Communion. When a couple obtains a civil divorce and a canonical declaration that they were never validly married, then they are free to marry in the Church and receive Holy Communion, when they are properly disposed to receive. The Kasper proposal is to allow a person to receive Holy Communion when he or she has validly pronounced marriage vows but is no longer living with his or her spouse and now lives with another person with whom he or she is sexually active. In reality, this proposal opens the door for anyone committing any sin to receive Holy Communion without repenting of the sin.

I would also like to point out that only the first of our questions to the Holy Father focuses on Holy Matrimony and the Holy Eucharist. Questions two, three, and four are about fundamental issues regarding the moral life: whether intrinsically evil acts exist, whether a person who habitually commits grave evil is in a state of “grave sin”, and whether a grave sin can ever become a good choice because of circumstances or intentions.

It is true that the Holy Father wrote a letter to the Argentinian Bishops, and that some Cardinals have proposed the interpretations of Amoris Laetitia that you have mentioned. However, the Holy Father himself has not clarified some of the “knotty” issues. It would contradict the Faith if any Catholic, including the Pope, said that a person can receive Holy Communion without repenting of grave sin, or that living in a marital way with someone who is not his or her spouse is not a state of grave sin, or that there is no such thing as an act that is always and everywhere evil and can send a person to perdition. Thus, I join my brother Cardinals in making a plea for an unmistakable clarification from Pope Francis himself. His voice, the voice of the Successor of Saint Peter, can dispel any questions about the issue.

NCR: Full Text and Explanatory Notes of Cardinals’ Questions on ‘Amoris Laetitia’

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 8- "On Freedom from Anger and on Meekness"

8. There is a quick movement of a millstone which, in one moment, grinds and does away with more spiritual grain and fruit than another crushes in a whole day. And so we must pay attention with understanding. It is possible to have such a blaze of flame, suddenly fanned by a strong wind, as will ruin the field of the heart more than a lingering flame.

November 14, 2016

(1Pe 5:8-11) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

ESSAY CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT: "The Battle Against the Devil Is Still Being Fought Today"

ANGELUS: Spiritual Warfare and the Saints Who Help

EXCERPT DR. PETER KREEFT: Who, then, is our enemy?

There are two answers. All the saints and popes throughout the Church’s history have given the same two answers, for these answers come from the Word of God on paper in the New Testament and the Word of God in flesh in Jesus Christ.

Yet they are not well known. In fact, the first answer is almost never mentioned today. Not once in my life have I ever heard a homily on it, or a lecture by a Catholic theologian.

Our enemies are demons. Fallen angels. Evil spirits.

So says Jesus Christ: “Do not fear those who can kill the body and then has no more power over you. I will tell you whom to fear. Fear him who has power to destroy both body and soul in Hell.”

So says St. Peter, the first pope: “The Devil, like a roaring lion, is going through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.”

So says St. Paul: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of wickedness in high places.”

So said Pope Leo the XIII, who received a vision of the 20th century that history has proved terrifyingly true. He saw Satan, at the beginning of time, allowed one century in which to do his worst work, and he chose the 20th. This pope with the name and heart of a lion was so overcome by the terror of this vision that he fell into a trance. When he awoke, he composed a prayer for the whole Church to use to get it through the 20th century. The prayer was widely known and prayed after every Mass—until the ’60s: exactly when the Church was struck with that incomparably swift disaster that we have not yet named (but which future historians will), the disaster that has destroyed a third of our priests, two-thirds of our nuns, and nine-tenths of our children’s theological knowledge; the disaster that has turned the faith of our fathers into the doubts of our dissenters, the wine of the Gospel into the water of psychobabble.

The restoration of the Church, and thus the world, might well begin with the restoration of the Lion’s prayer and the Lion’s vision, because this is the vision of all the popes and all the saints and our Lord himself: the vision of a real Hell, a real Satan, and real spiritual warfare.

I said there were two enemies. The second is even more terrifying than the first. There is one nightmare even more terrible than being chased and caught and tortured by the Devil. That is the nightmare of becoming a devil. The horror outside your soul is terrible enough; how can you bear to face the horror inside your soul?

What is the horror inside your soul? Sin. All sin is the Devil’s work, though he usually uses the flesh and the world as his instruments. Sin means inviting the Devil in. And we do it. That’s the only reason why he can do his awful work; God won’t let him do it without our free consent. And that’s why the Church is weak and the world is dying: because we are not saints.

MSGR. CHARLES POPE: Who Is Your Real Enemy and What Are His Tactics?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 8- "On Freedom from Anger and on Meekness"

7. Some who are prone to anger are neglectful of the healing and cure of this passion. But these unhappy people do not give a thought to him who said: 'The moment of his anger is his fall.' (Eccl 1:22).

November 9, 2016

(Psa 150:6) Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

CNA: US bishops encourage unity, prayer after election night


(Dan 3:23) But these three men, that is, Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, fell down bound in the midst of the furnace of burning fire.
(3:24) And they walked in the midst of the flame, praising God, and blessing the Lord.
(3:25) Then Azarias standing up, prayed in this manner, and opening his mouth in the midst of the fire, he said:
(3:26) Blessed art thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers, and thy name is worthy of praise, and glorious for ever:
(3:27) For thou art just in all that thou hast done to us, and all thy works are true, and thy ways right, and all thy judgments true.
(3:28) For thou hast executed true judgments in all the things that thou hast brought upon us, and upon Jerusalem, the holy city of our fathers: for according to truth and judgment, thou hast brought all these things upon us for our sins.
(3:29) For we have sinned, and committed iniquity, departing from thee: and we have trespassed in all things:
(3:30) And we have not hearkened to thy commandments, nor have we observed nor done as thou hadst commanded us, that it might go well with us.
(3:31) Wherefore, all that thou hast brought upon us, and every thing that thou hast done to us, thou hast done in true judgment:
(3:32) And thou hast delivered us into the hands of our enemies that are unjust, and most wicked, and prevaricators, and to a king unjust, and most wicked beyond all that are upon the earth.
(3:33) And now we cannot open our mouths: we are become a shame, and a reproach to thy servants, and to them that worship thee.
(3:34) Deliver us not up for ever, we beseech thee, for thy name's sake, and abolish not thy covenant.
(3:35) And take not away thy mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham, thy beloved, and Isaac, thy servant, and Israel, thy holy one:
(3:36) To whom thou hast spoken, promising that thou wouldst multiply their seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is on the sea shore.
(3:37) For we, O Lord, are diminished more than any nation, and are brought low in all the earth this day for our sins.
(3:38) Neither is there at this time prince, or leader, or prophet, or holocaust, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place of first fruits before thee,
(3:39) That we may find thy mercy: nevertheless, in a contrite heart and humble spirit let us be accepted.
(3:40) As in holocausts of rams, and bullocks, and as in thousands of fat lambs: so let our sacrifice be made in thy sight this day, that it may please thee: for there is no confusion to them that trust in thee.
(3:41) And now we follow thee with all our heart, and we fear thee, and seek thy face.
(3:42) Put us not to confusion, but deal with us according to thy meekness, and according to the multitude of thy mercies.
(3:43) And deliver us, according to thy wonderful works, and give glory to thy name, O Lord:
(3:44) And let all them be confounded that shew evils to thy servants, let them be confounded in all thy might, and let their strength be broken:
(3:45) And let them know that thou art the Lord, the only God, and glorious over all the world.
(3:46) Now the king's servants that had cast them in, ceased not to heat the furnace with brimstone and tow, and pitch, and dry sticks,
(3:47) And the flame mounted up above the furnace nine and forth cubits:
(3:48) And it broke forth, and burnt such of the Chaldeans as it found near the furnace.
(3:49) But the angel of the Lord went down with Azarias and his companions into the furnace: and he drove the flame of the fire out of the furnace,
(3:50) And made the midst of the furnace like the blowing of a wind bringing dew, and the fire touched them not at all, nor troubled them, nor did them any harm.
(3:51) Then these three, as with one mouth, praised and glorified and blessed God, in the furnace, saying:
(3:52) Blessed art thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers; and worthy to be praised, and glorified, and exalted above all for ever: and blessed is the holy name of thy glory: and worthy to be praised and exalted above all, in all ages.
(3:53) Blessed art thou in the holy temple of thy glory: and exceedingly to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
(3:55) Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, and sittest upon the cherubims: and worthy to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
(3:56) Blessed art thou in the firmament of heaven: and worthy of praise, and glorious for ever.
(3:57) All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:58) O ye angels of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:59) O ye heavens, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:60) O all ye waters that are above the heavens, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:61) O all ye powers of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:62) O ye sun and moon, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:63) O ye stars of heaven, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:64) O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:65) O all ye spirits of God, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:66) O ye fire and heat, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:67) O ye cold and heat, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:68) O ye dews and hoar frost, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:69) O ye frost and cold, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:70) O ye ice and snow, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:71) O ye nights and days, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:72) O ye light and darkness, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:73) O ye lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:74) O let the earth bless the Lord: let it praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:76) O all ye things that spring up in the earth, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:77) O ye fountains, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:78) O ye seas and rivers, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:79) O ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:80) O all ye fowls of the air, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:81) O all ye beasts and cattle, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:82) O ye sons of men, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:83) O let Israel bless the Lord: let them praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:84) O ye priests of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:85) O ye servants of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:86) O ye spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:87) O ye holy and humble of heart, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(3:88) O Ananias, Azarias, Misael, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. For he hath delivered us from hell, ad saved us out of the hand of death, and delivered us out of the midst of the burning flame, and saved us out of the midst of the fire.
(3:89) O give thanks to the Lord, because he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever and ever.
(3:90) O all ye religious, bless the Lord, the God of gods: praise him, and give him thanks, because his mercy endureth for ever and ever.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 8- "On Freedom from Anger and on Meekness"

6. As with the appearance of light, darkness retreats; so at the fragrance of humility, all anger and bitterness vanishes.

November 4, 2016

(Php 3:17-21) Be ye followers of me, brethren: and observe them who walk so as you have our model. For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping) that they are enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction: whose God is their belly: and whose glory is in their shame: who mind earthly things. But our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of his glory, according to the operation whereby also he is able to subdue all things unto himself.


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NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: Election 2016: U.S. Bishops on Voting

LINK: Novena for the Election

PRIESTS FOR LIFE: Election Prayer for Life

O God, we acknowledge you today as Lord,
Not only of individuals, but of nations and governments.

We thank you for the privilege
Of being able to organize ourselves politically
And of knowing that political loyalty
Does not have to mean disloyalty to you.

We thank you for your law,
Which our Founding Fathers acknowledged
And recognized as higher than any human law.

We thank you for the opportunity that this election
year puts before us,
To exercise our solemn duty not only to vote,
But to influence countless others to vote,
And to vote correctly.

Lord, we pray that your people may be awakened.
Let them realize that while politics is not their salvation,
Their response to you requires that they be politically active.

Awaken your people to know that they are
not called to be a sect fleeing the world
But rather a community of faith renewing the world.

Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to you in prayer
Are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth;
That the same eyes that read your Word
Are the eyes that read the names on the ballot,
And that they do not cease to be Christians
When they enter the voting booth.

Awaken your people to a commitment to justice
To the sanctity of marriage and the family,
To the dignity of each individual human life,
And to the truth that human rights begin when human lives begin,
And not one moment later.

Lord, we rejoice today
That we are citizens of your kingdom.

May that make us all the more committed
To being faithful citizens on earth.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[Col. 1:18-23; Luke 8:22-25]

When they got in the ship to sail to the other side of the lake, did the apostles think that they would meet with a tempest and expose their lives to danger? Meanwhile, a tempest suddenly arose and they did not expect to remain alive. Such is the path of our life! You do not know how or from where misfortune will sweep in, capable of destroying us. Air, water, fire, beasts, man, bird, house, in a word — everything around us could suddenly be transformed into a weapon for our death.

From this comes a law: live in such a way that every minute you are ready to meet with death and fearlessly enter into its realm. This minute you are alive, but who knows whether you will be alive the next? Keep yourself according to this thought. Do everything you have to, according to the routines of your life, but in no way forget that you could immediately move to a country from which there is no return. Forgetting this will not postpone the determined hour, and intentional expulsion of this decisive upheaval from your thoughts will not lessen the eternal meaning of what will happen after it.

Commit your life and all into the hands of God; spend hour after hour with the thought that each hour is the last. From this the number of empty pleasures will decrease; while at death this deprivation will be immeasurably recompensed with a joy to which there is nothing equal in the joys of life.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 8- "On Freedom from Anger and on Meekness"

5. Wrath is a reminder of hidden hatred, that is to say, remembrance of wrongs. Wrath is a desire for the injury of the one who has provoked you. Irascibility is the untimely blazing up of the heart. Bitterness is a movement of displeasure seated in the soul. Anger is an easily changeable movement of one's disposition and disfiguration of soul.

November 2, 2016

(2Th 2:13-15) But we ought to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved of God, for that God hath chosen you firstfruits unto salvation, in sanctification of the spirit and faith of the truth: Whereunto also he hath called you by our gospel, unto the purchasing of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle. 

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CATHOLIC CULTURE: November Octave and Novena

November 1 begins the “Poor Souls’ octave” during which a plenary indulgence for the Poor Souls in Purgatory can be gained each day from November 1 through 8.

I always like to issue an annual reminder of the wonderful opportunities we have to earn indulgences for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. There are the special opportunities during the first week of November:
  1. To Visit a Cemetery: One can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between November 1 and November 8 and praying for the departed, even if the prayer is only mental. These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory.
  2. To Visit a Church or Oratory on November 2: 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.
The usual plenary indulgence conditions apply: receiving Communion, going to Confession, and praying for the Holy Father while detached from sin. For more details, please see Praying for the Dead and Gaining Indulgences During November.

Depending on which day to end the novena, October 30 or 31 also begins an election novena in the United States, counting down the final nine days to the election on November 8. The Knights of Columbus have a beautiful election novena “addressed to the Holy Trinity through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, under her title of the Immaculate Conception.”

RESOURCE: Purgatory Project- Register your souls for Perpetual Masses

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 8- "On Freedom from Anger and on Meekness"

4. The beginning of freedom from anger is silence of the lips when the heart is agitated; the middle is silence of thoughts when there is disturbance of the soul; and the end is an imperturbable calm under the breath of unclean winds.
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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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