Keep your eyes open!...


October 31, 2014  

(1Co 12:24-27) But our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, giving to that which wanted the more abundant honour. That there might be no schism in the body: but the members might be mutually careful one for another. And if one member suffer any thing, all the members suffer with it: or if one member glory, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ and members of member.



ALETEIA: Afraid to Celebrate Halloween? Don't Worry, It's Very Christian

EXCERPT ST. LOUIS REVIEW: Halloween: Another secularization of a Catholic tradition

Communion of saints

Since the dawn of Christianity with Christ's death and resurrection around 33 A.D., the Church has commemorated its martyrs, and the feasts of All Saints Day and All Souls Day have grown out of that.

"It seems that it comes from the Eastern part of the Roman Empire a little before 400 A.D., and then spread to the West," Msgr. Witt said. "By this time, we had gone through three centuries of martyrdom, but in the fourth century, Emperor Constantine ended that with a needing of tolerance and then a little later Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire so there were no more persecutions for the most part."

But there had been many before, and hence the need to recognize them en masse. Martyrs had been commemorated on the anniversary of their martyrdom but with so many of them in so many areas, that became unwieldy.

"This was a time to begin commemorating all of them," Msgr. Witt said. "Beside the ones we know about, there were thousands of others who had given their lives for Christ, so this put them all in together."

The commemoration initially was called the Feast of All Martyrs and celebrated in May. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III renamed it All Saints and moved the date to Nov. 1, according to the Original Catholic Encyclopedia. It was a regional celebration until Pope Gregory IV in the ninth century made it a universal feast day for the universal Church.

The vigil -- All Hallows Eve, Hallowe'en, then Halloween -- was celebrated as early as the Feast of All Saints, according to the encyclopedia.

Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day are such a big deal because they represent the hat trick of souls in heaven, purgatory and earth as well as the links between them -- aka the communion of saints.

"They talk in terms of the Church having three categories," Msgr. Witt said. "The saints are the Church Triumphant. They're victorious; they've arrived (in heaven). Those in purgatory are the Church Suffering; they haven't gotten there yet. For those of us who are living, they used to use the term 'Church Militant.'"

In other words, we have a ways to go.

"We don't use that terminology anymore, but it's still all there," Msgr. Witt said. "It's wrapped up in the feasts on November first and second."

The Church Triumphant and the Church Militant offer prayers for the Church Suffering, that they may be cleansed and join the saints in heaven. The Church Militant also venerates the Church Triumphant, asking the saints to intercede with God on their behalf so that they may join them one day in heaven.

EXCERPT: All Souls Plenary Indulgence

During November Holy Church promotes prayers for the souls in purgatory. The souls in Purgatory are members of the Church just like we are but of the Church “Suffering”. We are members of the Church “Militant”, and we are like soldiers on the march through the world on the way with our Great Captain towards our heavenly home to join the members of the Church “Triumphant”. We can help the souls in Purgatory through our good works as assigned by the Church, who has the authority from Christ to apply to them the merits of His Passion and death, and the merits of the saints.

A plenary (“full”) indulgence, which is applicable only to the souls in Purgatory is granted to the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a church or an oratory on (November 2nd) All Souls Day.

Requirements for Obtaining a Plenary Indulgence on All Souls Day (Nov. 2nd)

To obtain a Plenary Indulgence for a soul in Purgatory on each of the days from 1-8 November

Several indulgences may be gained on the basis of a single confession but only one may be gained after a single good reception Communion and prayer for the Pope’s intentions.

If you are not correctly disposed or if you don’t fulfill the prescribed works and/or the three conditions the indulgence will be partial and not plenary.

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

103. A hermit said,"If some distracting dispute arises between you and another, and the other denies it and says, "I said no such thing," do not argue with him or say, "You did say it." For he will be exaperated, and will say, "Very well, and I meant it."

October 29, 2014  

(Mat 16:18-19) And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

CHIESA: “Renunciation of the Truth is Lethal to Faith" by Benedict XVI

LIFESITE NEWS: Cardinal Pell: ‘Today we have one of the more unusual popes in history’

TEXT OF FULL HOMILY:Traditional Mass Ss. Trinità Church, Rome 10th Anniversary Iuventutem and Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage 24 October 2014

We Catholics have strange beliefs; our planet earth is like a grain of sand in an unbelievably vast universe and we believe God’s Son came to live on this tiny speck to teach us and redeem us.

We believe in angels, spiritual beings outside our physical universe; in Raphael one of the seven who stands before God, who brought Tobias healing and taught him the truth.

We want to know and love the truth and we hope to spread these truths, which are costly, but life-giving. We too want to be cured by Raphael as we come out of the troubled waters.

Tonight on your pilgrimage to the Urbs Aeterna we should remember St. Peter and St. Paul, founders of the Church in the city of Rome.

Peter of course was the first head of the Christian community in this capital of the Roman Empire which lasted for over over 600 years in the West and for another 1000 years in the East. Peter was the first Pope.

Peter of course was the first head of the Christian community in the capital of the Roman Empire, the first bishop of Rome.

And on this occasion a few words on the Papacy would not be inappropriate because the Pope is the successor of St. Peter as head of the Church and bishop of Rome, and because the papacy is one of the most amazing institutions in history; the oldest surviving office or ruler.

China did have an emperor a couple of hundred years before Rome had a bishop, but China has emperors no more! Hundreds of years before there was a King of England there was a Pope in Rome. Even in secular terms the papacy is extraordinary, but for us the Catholic religious significance is infinitely more important.2 Peter’s office or role is well attested in the New Testament writings.

In chapter 16 from Matthew’s gospel, after Peter had affirmed that Our Lord was the Son of God, he was declared to be the rock man on whom the Church is built. Jesus is of course the only central figure in the Catholic dispensation, but Peter is the main foundation stone in the apostolic foundations of the universal church communion.

The Church is not built on the rock of Peter’s faith, as a popular hymn claims, but on Peter himself despite his faults and failings. It was Jesus who gave Simon the additional name of Peter, the rock man. In English the words “Peter” and “rock” have different derivations, but in Greek, Latin and Italian they are almost the same word. In this passage Peter was given the Keys of the Kingdom and the power to bind and loose. The sense of this passage is not unique in the New Testament as in chapter 21 of John Peter is exhorted to feed the sheep and in chapter 22 of Luke he is commissioned to strengthen his brothers. He always heads the list of the apostles.

Over 2,000 years these theological foundations have been developed and changed. The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) set out to complete the work of the First Vatican Council (1870), by recognizing that as Peter was one of the twelve apostles, so the Pope is assisted by the other bishops throughout the world, forming the College of Bishops.

This college and all synods work by consensus and teachings and pastoral practice can only be changed by consensus.

Pope Francis is the 266th Pope and history has seen 37 false or anti-Popes. From the eighth to the nineteenth century the Popes ruled most of central Italy, an area known as the Papal States. For the last
150 years, plus or minus, the Church has been led by Popes, who were better, wiser, holier and more learned, than the historical papal average for the two millennia.

There were three particularly difficult periods; first of all in the tenth century when a succession of Popes were dominated by a local noble woman called Marozia; secondly in the 14th century when the Popes were based in Avignon, Southern France and were followed by 3 multiple claimants to the papacy when they came back to Rome; and in the 16th century, the time of the Protestant Reformation and the Renaissance, when many of the Popes were formidable rulers and patrons of the arts, but none of them were over-interested in religion.

Earlier on the role of the Popes was a significant factor in the final break in 1054 between the Eastern and Western churches, between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

The role of the successor of St. Peter has always been vital to Christian and Catholic life, especially as a touchstone of doctrinal fidelity and as a resolver of disputes, pastoral as well as doctrinal.

Today we are inclined to judge communities, institutions and individuals according to the criterion of modernity. No one wants to be accused of being old fashioned and nearly everyone likes to be thought “up to date”. In the ancient world they didn’t quite think like that, and much public opinion tended to look back to golden ages, real or imagined.

The early Christians’ questions were somewhat different, because they wanted to know whether the teachings of their bishops and priests were in conformity with what Christ taught.

In an age before books and radio, long before you could look up information on Google, Christians used to ask what the churches founded by the apostles regarded as apostolic, genuinely early Christian teaching.
Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Rome were such churches and Constantinople was added in the fourth century, although certainly not founded by an apostle.

Among those churches however, Rome had pride of place as the principal guarantor of orthodoxy, because both Peter and Paul had been martyred there and of course because Peter had been appointed the rock man by Christ himself. The apostolic tradition, announced first by Christ and founded in the scriptures is the touch stone for truth and genuine pastoral practice. Doctrine does develop – we understand truth more deeply – but there are no doctrinal back-flips in Catholic history.4 Often our enemies recognize better than us the importance of the papacy. In every country where the Communists gained power, they tried to separate the local Catholics from the Pope into national, so called “patriotic” Churches. We know from Hitler’s table talk that if he had won the Second World War he would have set up a Pope in every Catholic country. Napoleon imprisoned two Popes, one of whom died in captivity.

The story of the Popes is stranger than fiction, but the contribution of the many good Popes far outweighs the sins and mistakes of the minority.

Today we have on of the more unusual popes in history, enjoying almost unprecedented popularity. He is doing a marvelous job backing the financial reforms.

We all have an important task during the next twelve months i.e. to explain and build a consensus out of the present divisions. We will be counter productive if we have anger or hate in our hearts, if we lapse into sterile polemics against a surprisingly small number of catholic opponents. Our task is to explain the necessity of conversion, the nature of the Mass, the purity of heart Scriptures requires to receive Holy Communion. We, and especially you young people, must live this in love, giving reason for your hope. This is a unique opportunity which we must seize in God’s name.

So I conclude with the prayer I was taught as a child. “May the Lord preserve the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and give him life, keep him safe on earth and deliver him not into the hands of his enemies”.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

George Cardinal Pell
Cardinal Prefect Secretariat for the Economy

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

93. A hermit said, 'Anyone who wants to live in the desert ought to be a teacher and not a learner. If he still needs teaching, he will come to harm.'

October 27, 2014  

(Mat 5:11-12) Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

POPE FRANCIS: “It seems that the awareness of the value of human life has been lost; it seems that the person does not count and can be sacrificed to other interests. And all of this, unfortunately, with the indifference of many.”

AINA: The Persecution of Christians in Iraq Is Untold Story By Georgie Anne Geyer

Avidly reading and watching the news, from ISIS to Ebola recently, I have been repeatedly surprised by the absence of one rather important word: Christian.
In all the innumerable words and pictures that have told the misery-ridden stories of these two sagas, almost none have attempted to tell the story of Christianity being wiped out, usually viciously, in the very sands in which Christ and the Bible were born.

And this is strange, indeed, for Christianity remains the world's largest religion, with 2.18 billion adherents, or a third of the global population.

Consider first the American doctor Kent Brantly, whose work confronting Ebola in Nigeria resulted in being infected himself. He became the very symbol of the disease when he was flown back to the U.S. and was healed at Emory University Hospital. Dr. Brantly is an impassioned member of the medical wing of Samaritan's Purse, the Protestant overseas missionary group led by Billy Graham's son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, and yet I never saw him referred to as a Christian missionary.

After he had recovered, Dr. Brantly spoke to other members of the group, expressing his Christian faith, saying: "I will never grow tired of talking of this. I'm going to keep telling my story, so I can remember what God has done in my life."

Yet, it is not only in the Ebola story, which has primarily spread its poison across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea on the northwest coast of Africa, but also in the story of ISIS, the Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria that the Christian element has been ignored.

For days after ISIS seemingly came out of nowhere to ride across the sands of Iraq in tanks and trucks, ravaging everything in sight, the story seemed to be about their persecution of a religious group rare to Iraq, the Yazidis.

An ancient group with touches of Zoroastrianism, this people were driven by the ISIS zealots to a lone mountain, where they survived thanks to American bombs and Kurdish fighters.

The strange thing here is that the Yazidis, one of many fascinating minority religious groups in Iraq (another one still baptizes new believers in the name of "John the Baptist"), were neither as numerous as Iraqi Christians nor more persecuted. ISIS had been going house to house in Christian neighborhoods in northern Iraq marking doors to identify the residents as Christians, to be moved out and/or destroyed.

Almost nothing has been reported with regard to this persecution, although the Christians (like the earlier Jewish community, which was sent to Israel) were a large group. Pre-2003, the Christian population of Iraq was about 1.5 million or 5 percent of the population, according to The Economist; today it has fallen to under 400,000, and is falling every day.

I have surely missed articles on Christianity's demise in both the Holy Land and the Mesopotamian plains from which Abraham, the father of all the great Middle Eastern religions, sprang; but I do read six major papers daily and scour the press regularly. Ironically, during this time, the most complete and moving article on the media's silence has been from Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, in The New York Times.

"Historians may look back at this period and wonder if people had lost their bearings," Lauder wrote.

"Few reporters have traveled to Iraq to bear witness to the Nazi-like wave of terror that is rolling across that country. The United Nations has been mostly mum. World leaders seem to be consumed with other matters in this strange summer of 2014. There are no flotillas traveling to Syria or Iraq. ... Why doesn't the slaughter of Christians seem to activate their social antennas?"

But where are the words that should be coming from the heads of the Methodist church, from the Presbyterians, from the Episcopalians? The pope has rent his conscience over the persecution of the Christians in both Iraq and the West Bank, but where are the other Catholic leaders, much less the accomplished scholars from the various divinity schools?

In America, most articles about the Catholic church focus on pedophile priests and the new pope. And the word "Protestant," a movement that gave birth to modern economic capitalism, human equality and the constitutional construction of modern states, is virtually never seen in the media.

If the word Protestant is not heard here, then perhaps one should not be surprised when one day it becomes as rare as the Chaldeans, the Melkite Greek Catholics, the Syrian Orthodox, the Nestorians or the Assyrian Church of the East, only a few of the churches that have constituted the rich Christian tradition in what was once the true world of the Bible.

ACN: ACN aid for Iraq

VATICAN RADIO: Chaldean Abp: a Mideast without Christians?

CNA: 'Don’t abandon us' – Church in Mosul 'no longer exists'

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

92. A hermit said this about evil thoughts, 'I beg you, my brothers, control your thoughts as you control your sins.

October 24, 2014  

(Psa 46:10) Be still and see that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth.

CWR BLOG: Finding Peace in the Midst of Chaos

FSO: Christian Perfection and Human Perfectionism - A meditation with thoughts of Mother Julia Verhaeghe

RON ROLHEISER, OMI: The Language of Silence

“Nothing resembles the language of God so much as does silence.”

Meister Eckhard wrote those words. What do they mean? Among other things, they speak of a deep mystery.

What language will we speak in heaven? We don’t know, but we have some inkling of it in the deep experiences of intimacy we have on earth. In our deepest experiences of intimacy and communion, we come together beyond words, in a silence that isn’t empty but is too full for words. In heaven, I suspect, just as in our deepest experiences of intimacy here, there won’t be a need for words. We will know and be known in a language beyond ordinary words, in the language of intimacy and the language of God.

We already experience this somewhat. Sometimes, for instance, we understand someone or feel understood by someone intuitively, beyond words, beyond anything we’ve ever spoken to each other, and often this understanding is deeper than the understanding we come to through normal conversation.

The same is true for intimacy within community. I remember doing a 30-day Ignatian retreat some years ago. About sixty of us were on the retreat and we arrived there as total strangers. The thirty days were spent in silence, except for celebrating Eucharist together each day in the chapel. We ate our meals in silence, never recreated with each other, and never, except for two very brief occasions early on in the retreat, had any conversations with each other at all. Yet, when the retreat ended we had the feeling that we knew each other more deeply than we would have had we socialized and talked during those days. The silence was a powerful language, stronger than words, and it brought us into community in a way that words often cannot.

I’ve experienced this too inside of religious community. I am a member of a missionary order, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and one of the things our founder, St. Eugene de Mazenod, mandated for us was that, each day, we should sit together as a community in chapel for a long period of silence. My experience has been that whenever we do this, something akin to a “Quaker silence”, the silent time spent together does more to bind us into community than do any number of community meetings. Silence is a special language.

But that doesn’t put silence in opposition to words. Silence and words need each other. Words take on greater power when they issue forth from silence, just as they begin to lose their force when they are constant and never-ending. Conversely silence is more powerful after we have already come to know each other through words. There are things that we can only know through silence, just as there are things we can only know through conversations inside of a community.

That is why solitude is such paradox: Solitude, as we know, is not defined as being alone, but as being at peace, as being restful rather than restless. And we all know the strange anomalies that can happen here: Sometimes we are at a celebration with others, but we are too restless to enjoy the occasion or even to be present to it. Socializing with others paradoxically serves to heighten our restlessness and disquiet. Conversely, sometimes we are alone, away from others, but are restful, comfortable, and at peace inside of our own lives. Being alone paradoxically works to still our disquiet and silence is what brings us into community.

And so it is important that we try to learn the language of silence, just as we also try to learn the words that can help us know each other. There is a huge silence undergirding us and inside of us that is trying to draw us into itself. To enter that silence is to enter the reality of God and the reality of our real communion with each other. For this reason, all great religious traditions and all great spiritual writers emphasize the need for silence at times in our lives.

Sadly, we are too often afraid of silence, afraid of being alone, afraid of what we might meet there. Too often silence speaks to us of loneliness, of missing out on life, of being disconnected, of a being a tomb of non-life. And so we cling to each other and look for conversations, amusements, and distractions that can fill in the silent spaces in our lives. Ultimately this running away from silence is founded unconsciously on the fear that, deep down, something is missing, both inside of the world and inside ourselves and we are best to cling to whatever can protect us from that painful truth.

But that fear is unfounded. As Thomas Merton put it, there is a hidden wholeness at the heart of things and that hidden wholeness can only be discovered if we get to the deepest level of things. And the language we need to get there is the language of silence – the language of God and the language of intimacy.

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

90. A hermit said, 'Do not give to or receive anything from worldly people. Take no notice of women. Do not remain long in the company of a boy.

October 22, 2014  

(Luk 12:42-44) And the Lord said: Who thinkest thou is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord setteth over his family, to give them their measure of wheat in due season? Blessed is that servant whom, when his lord shall come, he shall find so doing. Verily I say to you, he will set him over all that he possesseth.

POPE FRANCIS: “Today we celebrate the liturgical memorial of St. John Paul II, who invited everyone to open their doors to Christ. In his first visit to your homeland he invoked the Holy Spirit to come down to renew the land of Poland; he reminded the remembered the mystery of Divine mercy. His spiritual heritage is not forgotten, but urges us to reflection and concrete act for the good of the Church, the family and society. Praised be Jesus Christ.”

ALETEIA: Video Celebrating the First Feast Day of Saint John Paul II

VATICAN RADIO: Universal Church marks first feast day of St. John Paul II

The Universal Church is marking the first liturgical feast day of Saint John Paul II, Tuesday October 22. Poland’s greatest son led the Church from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005. He was canonized along with Pope John 23rd earlier this year by Pope Francis. Prayer was the pillar that supported him throughout his life and pontificate. Veronica Scarisbrick takes a look back at the prayer life of this new Saint.

CATHOLIC STANDARD: In the footsteps of St. John Paul II- Through new exhibit, viewers can make a pilgrimage of faith through life of St. John Paul II

The most powerful and unforgettable museum exhibits transport you to another time, another place, and through personal artifacts or works of art, through images and sound, give you a glimpse of the heart and soul of an artist or of a person who made history.

The new permanent exhibit at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, “A Gift of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II,” does just that. From an opening film viewed on a panoramic screen that introduces the viewer to the life of St. John Paul II, to a closing film on his death and legacy, one feels transported as if on a pilgrimage with the pope on his journey that circled the globe and ultimately led him to “the house of the Father,” to heaven, the destination he sought for the worldwide flock he served.

The exhibit has been in the making since the Knights of Columbus took ownership of the facility three years ago to create a shrine dedicated to John Paul II and his contributions to the Church and the world, and the display opened on Oct. 22, the first feast day of St. John Paul II, who was canonized by Pope Francis this past April 27.

The masterful 16,000 square foot, multimedia exhibit on St. John Paul II was designed by Gallagher & Associates, the firm that also designed the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, the visitor’s center at the Gettysburg National Park, and the presidential libraries of Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Virtual Tour:

ZENIT.ORG: The Unknown Relic of St. John Paul II- Convent Enshrines Vest Worn By Pontiff During Assassination Attempt in 1981

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

89. A hermit said, 'We are not condemned if bad thoughts enter our minds, but only if we use them badly. Because of our thoughts we may suffer shipwreck, but because of our thoughts we may also earn a crown.

October 21, 2014  

(1Ti 2:1-4) I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Father Joseph Iannuzzi, STD, Ph.D.: Can a Pope Become a Heretic?

STATEMENT: ChurchMilitant.TV Will Not Engage in Public Criticism of the Pope

RELATED VIA FIRST THINGS: The Danger of Good Popes by Brantly Millegan

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

87. A hermit said, "If a man has words but no works, he is like a tree with leaves but no fruit. Just as a tree laden with fruit is also leafy, the man of good works will also have good words.

October 19, 2014  

(1Co 3:10-11) According to the grace of God that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation: and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus.

OFFICIAL FINAL SYNOD MESSAGE: Synod14 - Message of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops , 18.10.2014

U.S. CATHOLIC: Catholic bishops narrowly reject a wider welcome to gays, divorced Catholics

Catholic bishops meeting here narrowly defeated proposals that would have signaled greater acceptance of gays and lesbians and divorced Catholics, a sign of the deep divisions facing the hierarchy as Pope Francis continues his push for a more open church. While the various proposals received a majority of support from the bishops gathered for the Synod on the Family, they failed on Saturday (Oct. 18) to receive the required two-thirds majority that would have carried the weight of formal approval and churchwide consensus.

Saturday’s vote was an abrupt about-face from Monday’s mid-term report from the Synod, which spoke of “welcoming homosexual persons” and acknowledging the gifts they have to offer the wider church. The revised proposal on homosexuality, that “men and women with homosexual tendencies should be welcomed with respect and delicacy,” failed in a vote of 118 to 62; a similar statement about opening communion to divorced Catholics who remarry outside the church failed in a vote of 104-74.

Despite the divide, Francis received a standing ovation that lasted several minutes in his final address to the Synod, where he had called for “sincere and open” debate.

After days in which divisions inside the Vatican spilled over into the press, the pope described the two-week summit as a “journey together,” and like any human journey, one that featured moments of “desolation, tension and temptations”. He said the role of the pope was to guarantee the unity of the church, and that he would have been “very worried and saddened if there had not been these temptations and animated discussions.” Even though the sections on homosexuality and divorce did not pass with formal approval, Francis ordered them into the Synod’s final report so that Catholics could continue to debate the ideas.

Saturday’s vote, however, is not the final word. Francis plans to host a follow-up summit a year from now, and both sides are expected to spend the next 12 months trying to either reinforce existing policy or trying to nudge the bishops toward a more open approach.

LIFESITE ANALYSIS: Robert Royal’s synod call to vigilance for the next year

CRUX: Votes on four key sections reveal synod’s fault lines

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

86. One of the monks said, 'If a labourer remains where there are no other labourers, he can make no progress. The true labourer struglles that the work may not deteriorate. If an idle man works with a labourer the idle man becomes less idle; and if he does not make progress, at least he does not get idler by seeing someone else working.

October 17, 2014  

(Heb 13:8-9) Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today: and the same for ever. Be not led away with various and strange doctrines. For it is best that the heart be established with grace, not with meats: which have not profited those that walk in them.

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: Cardinal Burke: ‘The Truths of the Faith Have Not Changed’

BLOG: 10 Reasons To Chill Out About Our Sinking Church

: Relatio - Circulus Anglicus "A"

Moderator: Card. Raymond Leo BURKE
Relator: SE Mons. Atcherley John DEW

I present this report of Behalf of the Inglese speaking group Anglicus "A" . Has The group suggested a number of Amendments to the RELATIO POST DISCEPTATIONEM , some are major Amendments and others quite small, Nevertheless they have significant meaning attached to them. In Proposing Amendments we have shifted the focus from Particular situations described in the Relatio to the people involved-in the situations, concentrating on the goodness to be found in them.

We believed to That there needed to be a new introduction to the Relatio . Our Introduction to proposed is Placed Within the context of the great gift of the Sacrament of Matrimony and the grace of God freely Given through the sacraments. It Also Provides a theological anthropological foundation, Which we believe is needed in order to address serious issues in spoken on the Synod. We have addressed These issues Within the context of Scripture and the remarkably rich Magisterium of the Church. We want the final document Synod to speak of human life, marriage and family life, as we know it to be revealed to us by God through reason and faith, both aided by the grace of God. The Relatio Synodi must proclaim the truth of the Gospel, the truth of human life and sexuality as revealed by Christ. The Word of Christ illuminates our knowledge of human nature and the intrinsic sexuality of man and woman through the natural law.

We agreed That this is to be a pastoral document, as Has Been Expressed as the wish of the Synod, a document Which speaks to people about the critical issues Which Often families confront today. Those issues can not be separated from Church teaching found in the treasury of her documentation. We are aware That the final Relatio Synodi will be discussed and debated over the next year; Therefore as we Amendments to proposed we Indicated appropriate references to the Sacred Scriptures and Magisterial documents We used the referred to the methodology as appearing to be based on the SEE, JUDGE, ACT Principles, but in this case it was LISTEN, JUDGE, ACT.

LISTEN and the observe what others are saying and what the situation is Regarding marriage and family life in the world today.

JUDGE according to Functional what We have been gifted with through the Deposit of Faith.

ACT through our pastoral Accompanying all of God's people entrusted to our care.

W e have attempted to show in our Amendments That the "Listening" or "seeing" must always be through the lens of the Gospel. Our Proposals have stressed God's love and our love and pastoral care for individuals, while at the same time honestly Recognizing and acknowledging sinful situations, and searching for ways to invite conversion of heart.

In our Amendments suggest we see a return to the EEA Agreement, Judge, Act formula.

We know That the final document Synod Gives us a wonderful opportunity to influence the prevailing culture and for the Church to present the way of Jesus Christ who is "The Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14). Our Amendments have tried to show That living as disciples of Jesus Christ, with all the challenges That brings is the life That leads to true joy and human happiness.

For example, where the Relatio Suggesting That Appeared to be sex outside of marriage may be permissible, or cohabitation That may be permissible, we have attempted to show why longer available lifestyles do not lead to human fulfillment. At the same time, we want to acknowledge That there are seeds of truth and goodness found in the persons involved-, and through dedicated pastoral care These can be appreciated and developed. We believe That if we imply That Certain life-styles are acceptable, then Concerned and worried parents could very easily say "Why are we trying so hard to Encourage our sons and daughters to live the Gospel and embrace Church teaching?"

We did not recommend the admission to the sacraments of divorced and re-married people, but we included a very positive and much -needed appreciation of union with Christ through other appropriate means.

The group Recognizes and favors the concern and compassion the Relatio shows for Those Who face difficult pastoral situations in Their Lives. However suggest That we express our Amendments These carefully so as not to create confusion in the minds and hearts of our people.

We had serious questions about the presentation of the principle of GRADUALITY. We Wished to show in our Amendments That we are not speaking of the GRADUALITY of DOCTRINE of faith and morals, but rather the gradual moral growth of the individual in His or her actions.

We also believe That in the Relatio Synodi we need to express words of encouragement and support to Those Who are faithfully living out Their marriage vows and their Families according to Functional Bringing up the teaching of the Church. We are grateful to Those married couples who Gave Their witness in the Synod Hall and thank them sincerely. We also wish to address words of encouragement to grandparents and extended family members who support their Families Often at great expense to themselves.

There is agreement That the Relatio Synodi needs to be a pastoral document in Which We use language Which does not hurt people but Which Encourages them and helps them in Their journey to God. It must speak the Truth of the Gospel Clearly and Directly, using language That can not be interpreted by some to be condemning them, but rather expressing the Church's deep interest and care for them.

As the Conclusion of the Relatio Post Disceptationem states the Synodal dialogue Took place in a spirit of freedom and reciprocal listening. It has raised questions Certainly That will have to be seriously Considered and clarified by reflection in the Particular Churches of the world over the next year. Our prayer too Is that all God's people under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will find roads of truth and mercy for all. We thank Francis for the Pope's invitation to us to live the faith and courage of the humble and honest welcome of the truth in charity.

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

85. A hermit said, "As the order of monks is more honourable than that of men of the world, so the travelling monk ought to be in every way a mirror for the monks of the places where he stays.

October 15, 2014  

(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.

HEADLINE: Cardinal concerned by new Church stance advanced at Synod

A leading conservative member of the Vatican administration has accused the organisers of the Synod on the Catholic Family of advancing positions which many of the 193 bishops in attendance do not and cannot accept.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American who runs the Vatican's High Court, said the immediate response to yesterday's interim document - which softened the Church's language on gays, contraception and divorced and civilly remarried people - showed that "a great number of the Synod Fathers found it objectionable".

In an interview with Catholic World Report, Cardinal Burke said the document "lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church) and gives the impression of inventing a totally new, what one member of the Synod called ‘revolutionary’, teaching on marriage and the family".

He said it invokes, repeatedly and in a confused manner, principles which are not defined.

Asked how important it is that Pope Francis make a statement soon in order to address the growing sense that the Church is on the cusp of changing her teaching on various essential points, Cardinal Burke said that, in his judgement, "such a statement is long overdue".

He said the debate on questions like "remarriage", receiving Communion, and the place of homosexual unions has been running for almost nine months, and that the liberal German Cardinal Walter Kasper - and others who support his position - had been making speeches and giving interviews.

He said "the faithful and their good shepherds are looking to the Vicar of Christ (Pope Francis) for the confirmation of the Catholic faith and practice regarding marriage, which is the first cell of the life of the Church".

Cardinal Burke also accused the General Secretariat of the Synod of clearly favouring, from the beginning of the Synod nine days ago, the positions expressed in the yesterday's discussion document, the Relatio post disceptationem.

He complained that "while the individual interventions of the Synod Fathers (voting bishops) are not published, yesterday's Relatio, which is merely a discussion document, was published immediately and … even broadcast live. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to see the approach at work, which is certainly not of the Church."

The conservative Voice of the Family organisation has welcomed Cardinal Burke's criticism of what it calls "Pope Francis's silence on Catholic teaching".

COMMENTARY: No earthquake here. At the Synod, the Church teaches us how to dress for the feast.

NEWS ANALYSIS: Pushback on Synod document


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

84. A hermit was asked, 'What is meant by the text "Narrow and straight is the way" (Matt. 7:14)?' He answered, 'Narrow and stait is the way by which a man does violence to his thoughts and for God's sake breaks down his self-will. That is what was written about the apostles, "Lo, we have left all, and followed thee" (Matt. 19:27).

October 12, 2014  

(Deu 30:19) I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live

HEADLINE: U.S. bishops emphasize traditional marriage after Supreme Court action

EXPOSITION: Reconciling Man's Free Will with God's Sovereignty

MORE VIA DR. PETER KREEFT: Free Will and Predestination

: Jesus Christ is the Key to Understanding the Meaning of Human Freedom

EXCERPT HOMILY FR. JOSEPH ESPER: We as a nation are just as guilty as ancient Israel in terms of pride, arrogance, and disobedience; in fact, it can be argued that our sin is much greater, for far more has been entrusted to America in the 20th and early 21st centuries than any other society in history. In the 1960s a sly and sinister voice began whispering to our national soul, “All those commandments about sexual morality are outdated and no longer apply; you’re here on earth to have fun and fulfill yourself, not to obey some stupid and unnecessary rules.” As a result, with the coming of the so-called “Sexual Revolution,” there was a wholesale abandonment of traditional morality. Soon the voice was becoming more blatant and insistent: “Contraception and abortion are necessary in order to preserve your sexual freedom; besides, if a woman gets pregnant, it’s not a human being, but only a blob of tissue.” The U.S. Supreme Court, many politicians, and most of our nation’s cultural and intellectual elite, were easily deceived and convinced. Beginning in the 1990s the voice began saying outright, “You have the authority to manipulate and control human life through cloning and embryonic stem cell research and other scientific techniques; after all, if the technology exists, that gives you the right to use it however you want.” Once again, our society has fallen into the temptation to play God; we are trying to seize for ourselves something that has been entrusted to us, but which does not belong to us.

Jesus asks us, “What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” The chief priests and elders of the people knew the answer—but do we? Over 1 million abortions are committed in our country each year, with many millions more occurring through the use of certain types of contraception. In light of this, and considering our society’s high levels of crime and violence, can we seriously claim that 21st century America is still “one nation under God,” or believe that we, unlike every previous generation, will somehow be exempt from Divine Justice? How is it possible that so many supposedly intelligent people seem to believe there will be no consequences for abusing, tampering with, or destroying God’s gift of life?

Unlike the poor man who chose to remain honest instead of digging up his neighbors’ treasure, we as a nation have given into the temptation of seizing something that doesn’t belong to us; we are trying to usurp God’s unique authority over human life. However, even though the hour is late, there is still time for repentance—if those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus take the lead. Our prayers and sacrifices, our use of the opportunities we’re given to influence others, our support of the Right to Life Movement, our unyielding acceptance and defense of Catholic morality and teaching on life issues, and our commitment to vote only for political candidates pledged to defend human life, can still make a difference; our efforts to help America repent and again acknowledge God’s divine authority can once more draw down His blessings upon our land. St. Paul urges us in the 2nd Reading to think about “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, [and] whatever is pure”—and today’s observance of Respect Life Sunday is the Church’s attempt to help America do just that. If we truly love God, we’ll try to center our lives around His Will—and if we truly love our country, we’ll do our part in helping America repent of its sins against human life and dignity, and instead return to the ways of humility, obedience, and righteousness.

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

83. A hermit said, "if you do anything according to self-will, and not according to God's will, you can afterwards return to the Lord's way, if you did it in ignorance. But whoever obeys self-will and not God's, and refuses to listen to warnings, but claims to know best, he will scarcely be able to come back to the Lord's way.

October 10, 2014  

(Rev 22:12-13) Behold, I come quickly: and my reward is with me, to render to every, man according to his works. I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

LIFESITE EDITORIAL: ‘Very cold, dark winter’ for Catholic Church unless Synod addresses failure since 1968 to preach sexual teachings - Humanae Vitae preacher

Denial of Communion Awakens Conscience by Fr. Gerald E. Murray

ANALYSIS:  Recent Proposals for the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried: A Theological Assessment


[…] Chesterton said that we do not want a Church that will move with the world, but a Church that will move the world. Paraphrasing his words, we could say that families today, those in crisis and those that are happy, do not need pastoral care suited for the world, but pastoral care suited for He who knows what the heart of man desires.

I see the evangelical paradigm of this pastoral care in the dialogue of Jesus with the Samaritan woman, from which emerge all the elements that characterize the current situation of difficulties both of spouses and of priests involved in pastoral care.

Christ agrees to speak with a woman who is living in sin. Christ is not capable of hating, he is capable only of loving, and therefore he does not condemn the Samaritan woman but reawakens the original desire of her heart, which is obfuscated by the experiences of a disordered life. He forgives her only after the woman has confessed that she does not have a husband.

In this way the Gospel passage recalls that God does not make a gift of his mercy to one who does not ask for it, and that recognition of sin and the desire for conversion are the rule of mercy. Mercy is never a gift offered to someone who does not want it, it is not a product on sale because it is not in demand. Pastoral care requires a profound and convinced adherence of pastors to the truth of the sacrament.

In the private diary of John Paul II, we find this note written in 1981, the third year of his pontificate: “Lack of confidence in the family is the first cause of the crisis of the family.” One could add that lack of confidence in the family on the part of pastors is among the main causes of the crisis of pastoral care for the family. This cannot ignore the difficulties, but must not dwell upon them and admit discouragement and defeat. It must not conform to the casuistry of the modern Pharisees. It must welcome Samaritan women not to hide the truth about their behavior, but to lead them to conversion. Christians today are in a situation like the one in which Jesus found himself, when in spite of the hardness of heart of his contemporaries he re-proposed a model of marriage as God had wanted it from the beginning.

I get the impression that we Christians talk too much about failed marriages, and too little about faithful marriages, we talk too much about the crisis of the family and too little about the fact that the community of marriage and the family assures man not only earthly happiness but also that of eternity, and is the place in which the laity’s vocation to holiness is realized.

This also leaves aside the fact that, thanks to the presence of God, the community of marriage and the family is not limited to the temporal, but is open to the supertemporal, because each of the spouses is destined to eternal life and is called to live in eternity in the presence of God, who has created both of them and has wanted them to be united, sealing this union himself with the sacrament.

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

82. A hermit said, 'If someone lives in a place but does not harvest the crops there, the place will drive that person out for not having done the work of that place.

October 8, 2014  

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

CATHOLICPHILLY.COM: Father Groeschel, beloved author and preacher, dies

A wake is planned for Oct. 8 at St. Adalbert’s Church in the Bronx, with a wake to be held Oct. 9, followed by an evening vigil, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. A funeral Mass will be celebrated for Father Groeschel Oct. 10 at Newark’s cathedral basilica, followed by burial at Most Blessed Sacrament Friary in Newark. The burial will be private.

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: Father Benedict Groeschel: ‘A Heart for the Poor’

Priests for Life: Chosen by the Humility of God - My Thoughts on Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR by Fr. Frank Pavone 

The church on earth lost a great spiritual leader this past Friday night, October 3. On the very same day that St. Francis of Assisi died back in 1226, a priest who lived and taught the Franciscan spirituality and in fact founded a new community based on that spirituality, was called home to the Lord. Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR, was an inspiration, teacher, and mentor to so many people of all faiths throughout the world. Many, including myself, would say he was a saint.

I was privileged to have known him personally since I was 16 years old. His office at Trinity Retreat House in Larchmont New York was just minutes from where I grew up in Port Chester. I spent countless hours sitting as a student in his classes during my seminary years, conversing with him privately as a spiritual director, mentor, and advisor for my work, traveling with him and doing media interviews together. I chose him to be the priest to assist me, at my ordination, to put on my priestly vestments for the first time. He strongly encouraged my work with Priests for Life.

I am sure that so many others who knew him well as I did have similar thoughts and feelings in these days. Countless memories rush to our minds, renewing the inspiration he gave us, but this time in a different context: we have a sharper sense of duty now to hand on his teachings and example to those who did not know him. Many times when someone dies, we say to others, "It's too bad you didn't get to know him." But thanks to the dozens of books and countless interviews he left behind, instead, we can say on this occasion, "Please, do get to know him!"

Father Benedict knew and loved the lowly and the rejected. He took his name, Benedict Joseph, from St. Benedict Joseph Labre. Look him up, and you will get a sense of the spirit of Fr. Benedict. St. Benedict Joseph Labre is the patron of the homeless, of beggars, of rejects, of hobos and of the mentally ill. Father Benedict became a psychologist, because he loved and wanted to serve people like that. His profound insights into human nature enabled him to help not only the outcast on the streets of our cities, but countless priests in trouble and the bishops who had to take care of them.

One of the many stories Fr. Benedict told me was about one of the times he picked up Mother Teresa for one of her visits in New York. It was late at night, he was very tired, and when he thought it was time to say good night, she posed the question, "Father Benedict, why were you called by God?" Father said something to her like, "Mother, can't we talk about this tomorrow?" Mother Teresa responded with the answer to her own question, "Father Benedict, you were called by the humility of God." Isn't that a consoling thought for all of us? We think we are not worthy of God's call, and we are perfectly right. But it is by God's humility that he calls us anyway! He wants to do great things through instruments like us!

Father Benedict followed that call, no matter what. Not only did he bring faith to those who did not have any, but he defended the faith right within the heart of the church against cowards who either want to distort it for their own purposes or are afraid to speak it to protect their own backs. He was a reformer. I remember when he started his new community. It was during my days in seminary, and at the end of each class, he would take out his little calendar and talk to us about the changes in the class schedule we would have to make for the following week because of his travels. One day, he looked at the calendar, told us when the next class would be, and then quietly nodded his head and said, "By that day, there will have been some big changes in my life." None of us knew what he meant. He was referring to the start of his new community. But he ventured out to start that new community, not out of any sense of arrogance, judgment, or misguided independence. He did it out of a sense of duty to the young men already in community with him, who felt the call to something deeper. He said it would have been a sin for him not to respond to the grace of God working in their lives!

He was unashamed of the faith. One day, when walking through a rather wealthy section of town in his Franciscan habit, as he always was, a very distinguished lady looked at him and asked, "Are you for real?" He stopped, looked at her, and replied, "Yes, ma'am. Are you?"

One of my most memorable trips with him was a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I was impressed at how, at literally every holy site to which we went, the priests, both Catholic and Orthodox, knew him and would come up to him with joyful and reverent greetings. He seemed to know everybody. Even when he and I were walking at one point together in the Judean desert, he turned and pointed up the side of a mountain. Way up, we saw a small hole in the rocky side of the mountain. "There," he said, "a hermit lives there." He even knew him.

Father Benedict Groeschel was a saint, and let me be among the first to publicly call for the introduction of his cause of canonization. But let me hasten to say that I know full well what he would tell us at this moment: "Pray for me, and never stop praying for me or having masses offered for me for the rest of your lives. We never know, when we get into purgatory, whom we're going to meet, scolding us for having stopped praying for them!"

Perhaps Fr. Benedict had such a strong sense of the reality and need for purgatory because he delved so deeply into the woundedness of human nature. He was committed to bringing to that woundedness the liberating and healing power of Christ. This shaped the way he prayed before practically every talk and class he gave: "Holy Spirit, come and be with us. Guide and enlighten us. Help us to grow and to change." And in his chapel at the Trinity Retreat House in Larchmont, where he served for so many years, one of the images on the wall says it all. It is the tomb of Lazarus, with the inscription, "Unbind him, and let him go free!"

Fr. Benedict, we praise God that now you are more free than ever. We will not cease praying for you, and we will not cease spreading your teaching and example, to set countless others free as well!

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

80. A hermit said, 'All chatter is unnecessary. Nowadays everyone talks but what is needed is action. That is what God wants, not useless talking.

October 7, 2014  

(Luk 1:28) And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

FATHER LONGENECKER: The Rosary: Heaven Here and Now

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OPINION: Use the rosary to defeat ISIS

October 7 is the feast day of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Tradition tells us, the mother of God appeared to St. Dominic and asked him to propagate devotion of the Holy Rosary, a powerful means of combating error and vice.

The decisive victory of the Christians at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 prompted Pope Pius V to institute this feast and decree that the blessed Virgin Mary be invoked as “Help of Christians” as she is today.

The great Don Juan of Austria, son of Charles V, sailed to meet the Turkish fleet. Catholics were outnumbered by the Turks but Pope Pius V was praying the rosary, along with most of his faithful, and he knew from the Vatican that the Christians had won the battle of Lepanto. Ali Pasha, commander of the Turkish fleet, and all the rest of the Muslims were killed, 25,000 in number and 15,000 Christians in the Moslem galleys were liberated from their control.

There are several other situations where the rosary came into prayer as a powerful weapon to defeat the enemies of religion. Another wonderful time was in Austria. Again only 10 percent of them prayed the rosary every day for seven years and the Russians pulled out of their country of Austria. This was a most recent example of the power of the rosary, without bloodshed, on May 13, 1955.

So don’t you now believe it’s a nice idea to have your rosary handy, so you can pray for the conversion of those who are members of Lucifer’s religion?

You might be fortunate enough to have the assistance of one of the angels who serve Mary in heaven.

Even this threat of ISIS today can be eliminated with the humble recitation of the most holy rosary!

MORE: The Rosary has the power to touch God’s heart

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

78. Hyperichius said, 'He who teaches others by his life and not his speech is truly wise.

October 5, 2014  

(1Ti 2:1-4) I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

POPE FRANCIS: Above all, we ask the Holy Spirit, for the gift of listening for the Synod Fathers: to listen in the manner of God, so that they may hear, with him, the cry of the people; to listen to the people, until they breathe the will to which God calls us.

ICN: Synod: Cardinal describes objectives, participants and proceedings

The Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops opens on Sunday to discuss the theme “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” This morning the Synod’s Secretary General, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri said the Extraordinary Synod has been convened “to discuss a particularly urgent topic, using appropriate guidelines for the present time, for the good of the entire Church.” The Cardinal outlined the main objectives of the Synod, gave details on the make-up of the participants and described how the Synod’s proceedings will take place.

He said that from the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has presented a pastoral action plan with the aim of helping Bishops to walk alongside the Pope in “a Church that is increasingly open and missionary” along the streets of the world.

He reminded those present that this two-week Synod will precede a larger gathering: the Ordinary Synod on the family, taking place in the Vatican in October 2015. This month’s Synod concludes on 19 October, with the beatification of Paul VI, the Pope who set up the Synod of Bishops institution during his rule.

A total of 191 Synod Fathers hailing from all five continents will be attending. In addition there will be 16 experts, 38 auditors who are largely married couples and eight fraternal delegates. The couples include one of mixed religion where the husband is Muslim and the wife is Catholic.

Cardinal Baldisseri told journalists that Pope Francis wants the people of God, at every level, to express themselves and this is the unique feature of this Synod. He explained that participants will be able to express themselves freely and will even be allowed to change the text of their address that they had previously submitted. Answering questions about the Church and the Synod, Cardinal Baldisseri said “the Christian perspective is based upon history and not ideology and we find ourselves in an historical moment of change.” He said the Synod will conclude with a document of proposals concerning the family that will be made public in due course.

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

77. Sarah also said, 'If I asked God that everyone should see good in me, I should be doing penance at the door of each one. I pray rather that my heart should be pure in all things.

October 3, 2014  

(1Th 5:17-18) Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all.


: Excerpt from DAWN ON THE MOUNTAIN—The Gift of Dryness in Prayer by Mother M. Angelica

VIA [email protected]: Dryness in Prayer

Brother John Raymond - Community of the Monks of Adoration March 28, 1993

You may have read about or heard of certain stages in prayer. I would like to talk about what is perhaps the second stage a person enters into as he progresses in prayer.

Prayer is more than just words - it involves our whole relationship with God. Just as in any relationship the intimacy between two people takes time to grow. In the case of our relationship with God it is only our response to God's love that needs growth. God helps us in the beginning of our relationship with Him by drawing us to Himself through many consolations during our prayer. We pray to God and enjoy the consolations we receive from Him. God showers us with these consolations to form in us the habit of prayer.

Once we are firmly rooted in a life of prayer God sometimes withdraws these sensible consolations. Perhaps we have become use to them. We begin to feel like a "cold stone" when we try to pray. This dryness or loss of feelings we experience may even carry over into our charitable works. Some may experience other difficulties when praying. The first thought (though it's incorrect) that comes to many people when this happens is that they have done something wrong and therefore God has abandoned them. Yet when they examine themselves they cannot find any serious violations of His Law. This experience of dryness can be very painful. It can be even more painful if one was very attached to the former feelings of consolation.

What is happening? God is purifying our love for Him. We are now asked to pray and serve Him with higher motives than before. Our relationship with God becomes less of a "what I'm getting out of it" attitude. Then we'll grow in humility before God. We realize just how much we depend on Him for everything - even prayer. Thus this seemingly negative experience in prayer helps us to grow in a positive way.

Some people, however, turn back in their relationship with God at this point. They give up their daily prayers. Their "motive" for prayer is gone and so they give up. Others may not give up prayer altogether but cut down on the amount of time they used to spend in prayer. This is a sad mistake.

If we accept this new situation in our relationship with God and do not panic we actually will suffer less. After some time we will notice a deeper level of love for God developing. We will again "want" to pray regardless of what we "experience" while praying.  Just to spend time with God will be our delight.

We have to remain faithful to this relationship of prayer with God. Perhaps the only thing we are able to do during prayer is say to God "here I am." But God, Who looks at the heart, knows our intentions and is pleased with us.

When we arrive at a type of prayer where we are just happy to be in God's presence we have arrived at what spiritual authors call the Prayer of Simple Regard or a stage of prayer which involves a "look of love," a simple gazing upon God. Our will is attached to God and we are happy to just sit in His presence. St. John Vianney tells about a man who used to a lot of time before Our Lord present in the tabernacle of the church. One day St. John Vianney asked the man what he did during this time. The man responded, "I look at Him and He looks at me." In other words this man was experiencing this form of prayer.

I wish to point out that often spiritual writers are speaking about the stages of prayer that many people pass through. This does not mean that everyone travels by this path in their life of prayer. As the Benedictine, Father John Chapman stated, "Pray as you can, not as you can't." But for those who are experiencing dryness in prayer I hope and pray that they may persevere on the path they have begun. A path that will lead to a more intimate prayer-life with God.

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

73. She said, '"Let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (Eph. 4:26). Likewise, if you wait until the sun is going down on your life, you will not know how to say, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil therof" (Matt. 6:34). Why do you hate the man who has harmed you? It is not he who has harmed you but the devil. You ought to hate the sickness, not the sick man.

October 2, 2014  

(1Pe 5:8-9) Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls, your brethren who are in the world.

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NEWS REPORT: Pope calls Mideast envoys to Vatican as Islamic State advances

Pope Francis, who has expressed alarm over the rise of Islamic State militants and the plight of Christians in the Middle East, has summoned his envoys in the region to a rare meeting to discuss a response to the crisis, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

The Oct. 2-4 gathering will include Vatican ambassadors to Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinians as well as representatives to the United Nations and the European Union.

They will hold talks with more than a dozen top Vatican officials, including Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who addressed the United Nations on the Middle East crisis on Monday.

Earlier this month during a visit to predominantly Muslim Albania, Francis issued a strong criticism of Islamist militants, saying no religious group which used violence and oppression could claim to be "the armor of God."

Islamic State has declared a "caliphate" in the territories it controls in Syria and Iraq and has killed or driven out large numbers of Christians, Shi'ite Muslims and others who do not subscribe to its hardline version of Sunni Islam.

Asked about Islamic State last month when returning from a trip to South Korea, Francis endorsed action by the international community to stop "unjust aggression."

Parolin, the Vatican's top diplomat, told the the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday that it was "both licit and urgent to stop aggression through multilateral action and a proportionate use of force."

Islamic State is battling Shi'ite-backed governments in both Iraq and Syria, as well as other Sunni groups in Syria and Kurdish groups in both countries, as part of complex, multi-sided civil wars in which nearly every country in the Middle East has a stake.

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St. Gertrude's Guardian Angel Prayer
O most holy angel of God, appointed by God to be my guardian, I give you thanks for all the benefits which you have ever bestowed on me in body and in soul. I praise and glorify you that you condescended to assist me with such patient fidelity, and to defend me against all the assaults of my enemies. Blessed be the hour in which you were assigned me for my guardian, my defender and my patron. In acknowledgement and return for all your loving ministries to me, I offer you the infinitely precious and noble heart of Jesus, and firmly purpose to obey you henceforward, and most faithfully to serve my God. Amen.

BLOG: Padre Pio on Guardian Angels

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

72. She also said, 'It is good not to be angry. If it happens, do not give way to it for as much as one day.

October 1, 2014  

(Mat 18:3-4) And said: amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.

ALETEIA: St. Thérèse of Lisieux: Trusting to the Point of Folly

PROFILE: Saint Therese of Lisieux

VIA [email protected]: Saint Therese on Suffering

I have noticed that the experience of suffering makes us king and indulgent toward others because it is suffering that draws us near to God.

Trials help us detach ourselves from the earth; they make us look higher than this world. Here below nothing can satisfy us. One cannot enjoy a moment's rest save in constant readiness to do the will of God.

Life passes so quickly that it is better to have a most splendid crown in heaven and a little suffering than an ordinary crown and no suffering.

I realize that one will love the good God better for all eternity because suffering borne with joy! And, by suffering one can save souls...

Sanctity lies not in saying beautiful things, or even in thinking them, or feeling them; it lies in truly being willing to suffer.

It is so sweet to serve our Lord in the night of trial; we have only this life to practice the virtue of faith.

I suffer much but do I suffer well? That is the important thing.
from Prayers and Meditations of Therese of Lisieux

[we showed her a picture of Joan of Arc in prison] The saints encourage me, too, in my prison. They tell me: As long as you are in irons, you cannot carry out your mission; but later on, after your death, this will be the time for your works and your conquests.
from the notes of Mother Agnes

I'm suffering only for an instant. It's because we think of the past and the future that we become discouraged and fall into despair.
from the notes of Mother Agnes

Well, it's better to have several sicknesses together as long as one has to suffer very much and in all parts. It's like a journey on which we bear with all sorts of inconveniences, knowing very well that these will end promptly, and that once the goal is attained, we will enjoy ourselves all the more.
from the notes of Mother Agnes

[flies tormented her, but she wouldn't kill them] I always give them freedom. They alone have caused me misery during my sickness. I have no enemies, and since God recommends that we pardon our enemies, I'm happy to find this opportunity for doing so.
from the notes of Mother Agnes

I have found happiness and joy on earth, but solely in suffering, for I've suffered very much here below; you must make it known to souls . . . "Since my First Communion, since the time I asked Jesus to change all the consolations of this earth into bitterness for me, I had a perpetual desire to suffer.* I wasn't thinking, however, of making suffering my joy; this is a grace that was given to me later on. Up until then, it was like a spark hidden beneath the ashes, and like blossoms on a tree that must become fruit in time. But seeing my blossoms always falling, that is, allowing myself to fall into tears whenever I suffered, I said to myself with astonhisment and sadness: But I will never go beyond the stage of desires!
from the notes of Mother Agnes

This evening, when you told me that Dr. de Cornière believed I still had a month or more to live, I couldn't get over it! It was so different from yesterday when he was saying that I had to be anointed that very day! However, it left me in deep peace. What does it matter if I remain a long time on earth? If I suffer very much and always more, I will not fear, for God will give me strength; He'll never abandon me.
from the notes of Mother Agnes

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

73. She said, '"Let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (Eph. 4:26). Likewise, if you wait until the sun is going down on your life, you will not know how to say, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil therof" (Matt. 6:34). Why do you hate the man who has harmed you? It is not he who has harmed you but the devil. You ought to hate the sickness, not the sick man.
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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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