Keep your eyes open!...


September 28, 2010 

(Rev 3:14-17) And to the angel of the church of Laodicea write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, who is the beginning of the creation of God: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou wert cold or hot. But because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest: I am rich and made wealthy and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

CNA: Christians' lack of faith prevents cultural renewal, Archbishop Chaput tells Catholic scholars

HLI: Politics and the American Person by Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula

Father Corapi: Education, Faith & America

In speaking with faithful Catholics all over the world for the past twenty years there is a consensus among them that the average Catholic doesn't know much about their faith. Likewise there is an overwhelming consensus that if we did, the world would be a very different place. In the United Sates of America we have over sixty million Catholics. If these Catholic citizens knew their faith and then voted and lived their faith, this country would be incalculably better off. In turn, so would the entire world.

As Bishop Robert Vasa pointed out, clarifying the teaching of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in their excellent pastoral letter "Faithful Citizenship," a candidate or office holder is disqualified from receiving the vote of a Catholic in good conscience if they hold a pro-abortion position. In other words pro-choice candidates under the current set of circumstances are disqualified because of their pro-death political positions. We cannot vote for them. As the Bishops of Kansas asserted in their voter's guide, "Catholics would 'commit moral evil' by voting for a candidate who supports abortion and other intrinsically evil things. Voting is a moral act, and voting for pro-chice candidates is evil in itself. One becomes a collaborator in evil by so doing. No amount of rationalization can escape this logical and moral conclusion."

There was some confusion over this, based on a statement made some time ago by Pope Benedict, who was speaking in general terms, saying that for a "proportionate reason" it would be possible to vote for such candidates. However, in the concrete situation we face, with the candidate who is pro-life, this would not be possible. No amount of "other reasons" would excuse voting for a pro-choice candidate. The Church clearly teaches that life begins at conception. As Pope John Paul II state many times, "abortion is murder." Following logically from this, if a single abortion is murder, then 48,000,000 (the approximate number of abortions in this country since Roe v. Wade) of them is genocide. What would be the "proportionate reason" supporting such an outrage? There is none.

Lack of understanding of what the Catholic Church teaches is grossly harmful to the individual Catholic and to society in general. It is for this reason that I have always tried to promote and teach the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is a sure norm for teaching the faith, as Pope John Paul II asserted in promulgating the Catechism. "Guarding the Deposit of Faith is the mission which the Lord entrusted to His Church," are the first words of the Apostolic Constitution " "Fidei Depositum." These are the worlds the Holy Father used to introduce us to the Catechism.

Ignorance of the Faith can prove fatal - for individuals and for nations. Learning our faith is the best investment we can make. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the very best way to do this.

CATHOLIC TRANSCRIPT: Infertility, sex trafficking, death penalty among USCCB Respect Life topics 

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

18. As too many sticks often choke a fire and put it out, while making a lot of smoke, so excessive sorrow often makes the soul smoky and dark, and dries the stream of tears.

September 23, 2010


(Mat 9:9) And when Jesus passed on from thence, he saw a man sitting in the custom house, named Matthew; and he saith to him: Follow me. And he arose up and followed him.

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI: Mass With the Beatification of Venerable Cardinal John Henry Newman

SECULAR VIEW: Maureen Messent looks at the life of John Henry Newman

VIA Father Ted
Reflection by Father Ted – September 21, 2010

My dearest Lord Jesus, what love you reveal to us today as You remind us that like Saint Matthew we too have been called to follow You, to become Your disciples, to enjoy a close and intimate relationship with You.

You know the hunger in our hearts – for love, for truth, for eternal life.

For You are the one who placed that hunger within our hearts.

And so I ask You this afternoon, as I sit before my computer, touch our hearts so that we will respond to Your call as did Saint Matthew.

Call out to each one of us with Your gentle voice – “Come to Me, my child!  Come; spend some time with Me so that I may speak to Your heart of My love for you.” Lord Jesus, provide us with the opportunity to be quiet – so that we can hear Your call.

Help us to let go of all that distracts us so that we can hear Your call.

Let us feel the promptings of Your gentle voice – “Here I am, My child.  Come to visit with Me.  Tell me of your struggles, your worries, your concerns.  Tell me about your doubts, your disappointments, your hurts.  I am here to hear you.” Jesus, may I not be afraid to express to You all that You want me to.  May I speak from my heart – hiding nothing from You.

Then may I listen to You – with patiences.

You know how impatient I am.  You know how I want instant answers.  You know that I want simple solutions to my problems, to my difficulties.

What I don’t realize, what I often do not want to accept is that there are no instant answers – there are no simple solutions.

But if I go to You, and let You show me Your love, I will be willing to follow You and to follow Your directives – which You will reveal to me gradually – so that I will begin to trust You – who are true love.

You have the solutions to all of my problems, to all of my difficulties.

You are the solution – for You are the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Lord Jesus, help me to believe.

Help me to come to You.

Help me to listen to You.

Help me to respond to You – to Your call to accept Your Love, to accept Your Way, to accept the Truth.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

17. Dried up mire offers no attraction for swine, and in exhausted flesh demons no longer find anywhere to rest.

September 22, 2010

(Col 1:22-24) Yet now he hath reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unspotted and blameless before him: If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven: whereof I Paul am made a minister. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church 


"The visitor to this cathedral cannot fail to be struck by the great crucifix dominating the nave, which portrays Christ's body, crushed by suffering, overwhelmed by sorrow, the innocent victim whose death has reconciled us with the Father and given us a share in the very life of God.

The Lord's outstretched arms seem to embrace this entire church, lifting up to the Father all the ranks of the faithful who gather around the altar of the eucharistic sacrifice and share in its fruits.

The crucified Lord stands above and before us as the source of our life and salvation, "the high priest of the good things to come", as the author of the letter to the Hebrews calls him in today's first reading (Heb 9:11).

It is in the shadow, so to speak, of this striking image, that I would like to consider the word of God which has been proclaimed in our midst and reflect on the mystery of the precious blood. For that mystery leads us to see the unity between Christ's sacrifice on the Cross, the eucharistic sacrifice which he has given to his church, and his eternal priesthood, whereby, seated at the right hand of the Father, he makes unceasing intercession for us, the members of his mystical body.

Let us begin with the sacrifice of the cross. The outpouring of Christ's blood is the source of the church's life. St John, as we know, sees in the water and blood which flowed from our Lord's body the wellspring of that divine life which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit and communicated to us in the sacraments (Jn 19:34; cf Jn 1:7; 5:6-7).

The letter to the Hebrews draws out, we might say, the liturgical implications of this mystery. Jesus, by his suffering and death, his self-oblation in the eternal Spirit, has become our high priest and "the mediator of a new covenant" (Heb 9:15).

These words echo our Lord's own words at the Last Supper, when he instituted the Eucharist as the sacrament of his body, given up for us, and his blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant shed for the forgiveness of sins (cf Mk 14:24; Mt 26:28; Lk 22:20).

Faithful to Christ's command to "do this in memory of me" (Lk 22:19), the church in every time and place celebrates the Eucharist until the Lord returns in glory, rejoicing in his sacramental presence and drawing upon the power of his saving sacrifice for the redemption of the world.

The reality of the eucharistic sacrifice has always been at the heart of Catholic faith; called into question in the 16th century, it was solemnly reaffirmed at the Council of Trent against the backdrop of our justification in Christ.

In England, as we know, there were many who staunchly defended the mass, often at great cost, giving rise to that devotion to the most holy Eucharist which has been a hallmark of Catholicism in these lands.

The Eucharistic sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ embraces in turn the mystery of our Lord's continuing passion in the members of his mystical body, the church in every age. Here the great crucifix which towers above us serves as a reminder that Christ, our eternal high priest, daily unites our own sacrifices, our own sufferings, our own needs, hopes and aspirations, to the infinite merits of his sacrifice.

Through him, with him, and in him, we lift up our own bodies as a sacrifice holy and acceptable to God (cf Rom 12:1). In this sense we are caught up in his eternal oblation, completing, as St Paul says, in our flesh what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, the church (cf Col 1:24). In the life of the church, in her trials and tribulations, Christ continues, in the stark phrase of Pascal, to be in agony until the end of the world (Pensées, 553, ed Brunschvicg).

We see this aspect of the mystery of Christ's precious blood represented, most eloquently, by the martyrs of every age, who drank from the cup which Christ himself drank, and whose own blood, shed in union with his sacrifice, gives new life to the church.

It is also reflected in our brothers and sisters throughout the world who even now are suffering discrimination and persecution for their Christian faith. Yet it is also present, often hidden in the suffering of all those individual Christians who daily unite their sacrifices to those of the Lord for the sanctification of the church and the redemption of the world."

IN THE NEWS: Pope visit declared 'overwhelming success' by Lord Patten

: If only the Archbishop of Canterbury dared to speak with a fraction of Benedict's authority

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

15. As a snake cannot strip itself of its old skin unless it crawls into a tight hole, neither can we shed our old predispositions, our oldness of soul and the garment of the old man unless we go by the strait and narrow way of fasting and dishonour.

September 21, 2010

(Mat 10:32-33) Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.

FIRST THINGS: Catholics and the Next America by Archbishop Charles J.  Chaput

VIA INSIDE THE VATICAN: Excerpt Pope Benedict XVI Address to Politicians

Pope Benedict XVI then went to Westminster Hall, where he spoke to both houses of the British Parliament.  It was a much-awaited speech, as it dealt with the obligations of politicians in pluralistic democracies.

The Pope's essential point is that religious faith should not be excluded from the public discourse, or the public policy, of a secular democracy.

The Pope said: "I would suggest that the world of reason and the world of faith – the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief – need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilization.  Religion, in other words, is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation."

And Benedict said that he is very concerned about the increasing attacks on religious belief and its expression in the Western democracies.

The Pope said: "In this light, I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalization of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance.

"There are those who would advocate that the voice of religion be silenced, or at least relegated to the purely private sphere.

"There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none.

"And there are those who argue – paradoxically with the intention of eliminating discrimination – that Christians in public roles should be required at times to act against their conscience."

What does the Pope propose?  He makes only a very modest request: that room be made for religious faith in public life: "I would invite all of you, therefore, within your respective spheres of influence, to seek ways of promoting and encouraging dialogue between faith and reason at every level of national life."


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

14. By means of things in the natural order, we can be trained to a clear perception of all spiritual truths.

September 20, 2010

(Rom 12:1-2) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and the acceptable and the perfect will of God.

: Pope Benedict's Address to Pupils

It is not often that a Pope, or indeed anyone else, has the opportunity to speak to the students of all the Catholic schools of England, Wales and Scotland at the same time. And since I have the chance now, there is something I very much want to say to you. I hope that among those of you listening to me today there are some of the future saints of the twenty-first century. What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy. He loves you much more than you could ever begin to imagine, and he wants the very best for you. And by far the best thing for you is to grow in holiness.

Perhaps some of you have never thought about this before. Perhaps some of you think being a saint is not for you. Let me explain what I mean. When we are young, we can usually think of people that we look up to, people we admire, people we want to be like. It could be someone we meet in our daily lives that we hold in great esteem. Or it could be someone famous. We live in a celebrity culture, and young people are often encouraged to model themselves on figures from the world of sport or entertainment. My question for you is this: what are the qualities you see in others that you would most like to have yourselves? What kind of person would you really like to be?

When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best. I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be generous and to do good in the world, but on its own, it is not enough to make us happy. Being highly skilled in some activity or profession is good, but it will not satisfy us unless we aim for something greater still. It might make us famous, but it will not make us happy. Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple – true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts.

Not only does God love us with a depth and an intensity that we can scarcely begin to comprehend, but he invites us to respond to that love. You all know what it is like when you meet someone interesting and attractive, and you want to be that person’s friend. You always hope they will find you interesting and attractive, and want to be your friend. God wants your friendship. And once you enter into friendship with God, everything in your life begins to change. As you come to know him better, you find you want to reflect something of his infinite goodness in your own life. You are attracted to the practice of virtue. You begin to see greed and selfishness and all the other sins for what they really are, destructive and dangerous tendencies that cause deep suffering and do great damage, and you want to avoid falling into that trap yourselves. You begin to feel compassion for people in difficulties and you are eager to do something to help them. You want to come to the aid of the poor and the hungry, you want to comfort the sorrowful, you want to be kind and generous. And once these things begin to matter to you, you are well on the way to becoming saints.


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

13. The deer is a destroyer of all visible snakes, but humility destroys spiritual ones.

September 17, 2010


(1Co 15:1-2) Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received and wherein you stand. By which also you are saved, if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.

HEADLINE: Pope Benedict XVI goes to war with 'atheist extremism'

Benedict XVI used the first papal state visit to Britain today to launch a blistering attack on "atheist extremism" and "aggressive secularism", and to rue the damage that "the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life" had done in the last century.

The leader of the Roman Catholic church concluded a speech, made before the Queen and assembled dignitaries at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, with the argument that the Nazi desire to eradicate God had led to the Holocaust and a plea for 21st century Britain to respect its Christian foundations.

"Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society," he said.  "In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate.  Let it not obscure the Christian foundation that underpins its freedoms; and may that patrimony, which has always served the nation well, constantly inform the example your government and people set before the two billion members of the Commonwealth and the great family of English-speaking nations throughout the world."

The pontiff's speech set the wide-ranging tone for his four-day visit: despite attacking atheism, he paid tribute to the UK's historic achievements and offered "a hand of friendship" to all its people.


TELEGRAPH.CO.UK LINK: Pope Visit UK 2010: Live


RELATED: Pope admits failures in abuse scandal

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

13. The deer is a destroyer of all visible snakes, but humility destroys spiritual ones.

September 16, 2010

(Rev 22:18-19) For I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from these things that are written in this book.

BLOG POST: HILAIRE BELLOC: A Disintegrated Christianity Will Lead to the Rise of Islam

VIDEO: Islamization of France!

AINA NEWS: Islamist Propaganda in the K-12 Classrom

: A Review of Spencer's "Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran"

RELATED: Austrian Counter-Jihad Activist Facing "Hate Speech" Charges for Criticizing Koran

Cyber-jihad hacker claims credit for 'Here you have' worm

A virus writer who claims to have created the 'Here you have' worm that flooded corporate email boxes last week claims the malware was designed as a propaganda tool.

The cracker, who uses an Iraq Resistance email address associated with the worm, told IDG that "the creation of this is just a tool to reach my voice to people maybe ...  or maybe other things".  The miscreant confessed surprise at the spread of the worm, which accounted for an estimated 10 per cent of internet spam last week, spread.

The VXer boasted that he could have designed a more destructive payload.  "I could smash all those infected but I wouldn't," he told IDG.  "I hope all people understand that I am not negative person!"

Over the weekend, Iraq Resistance posted a video protesting the war in Iraq and arguing that his actions paled by comparison to those of Terry Jones, the obscure pastor at a small Florida church who became the centre of worldwide attention after he threatened to burn copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The 'Here you have' worm has marked coding similarities to an earlier strain of malware, called Imsolk-A, released last month.  Both make reference to a Libyan hacker using the nickname Iraq Resistance, who has recently attempted to form a hacking crew called Brigades of Tariq ibn Ziyad.  the name reference a Muslim commander who conquered much of Spain in the eighth century.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

12. Visible pride is cured by grim conditions, but invisible pride can be healed only by Him who before the ages is invisible.

September 15, 2010 

(John 19:25) So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag'dalene.

BEAUTIFUL YOU TUBE VIDEO: Stabat Mater (Marco Frisina)

TEXT: Stabat Mater dolorosa- At the Cross Her Station Keeping

: Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

A day after celebrating the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we celebrate today the memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the little “Our Lady of Sorrows.” The image of the Mater Dolorosa is a prominent figure in our churches especially during Holy Week processions. She is depicted as a sorrowful mother dressed in black. Her heart is seen pierced with a lance. It is an artistic representation of the prophecy of Simeon: “And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (cf. Luke 2:34)

The church instituted this feast to give the faithful an opportune moment to meditation on the role that Mary played in our salvation. She, who accompanied Jesus faithfully throughout his life and ministry, also shares in the glory of eternal life. Likewise, today, we ask for her intercession so that we may follow her example in following Christ her Son.

She is the first and perfect disciple of Jesus. She followed Jesus all the way to the foot of the cross. In joyful moments as well as in moments of sadness and defeat, Mary stood by her Son. Traditionally, we reflect on the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

These are events in the life of Mary which “pierced her heart,” to experiencing suffering because of the sufferings her Jesus had to endure.

The seven Sorrows of Mary are: The Prophecy of Simeon over the Infant Jesus (Gospel of Luke 2:34); the Flight into Egypt of the Holy Family (Gospel of Matthew 2:13); the Loss of the Child Jesus for Three Days (Luke 2:43); the Meeting of Jesus and Mary along the Way of the Cross (Luke 23:26); the Crucifixion, where Mary stands at the foot of the cross (Gospel of John 19:25); the Descent from the Cross, where Mary receives the dead body of Jesus in her arms (Matthew 27:57); and the Burial of Jesus (John 19:40).

May we, like Mary, be a faithful disciple of Jesus and follow Him in times of great difficulty and persecution as well in times of joy and gladness. Discipleship is not an easy task but it is not impossible to stay with Jesus. Mary has shown us how to persevere. May we also persevere in our faith and follow Jesus wholeheartedly.

CATHOLIC SENTINEL: Stabat Mater by Most Rev. John Vlazny Archbishop of Portland

Our Lady of the Rosary Library: Now, owing doubtless to the sad times we are going through, Christian souls turn instinctively to Mary, the sorrowful Mother. Their pains are so like an echo to Mary's pains.

In meditating on her sorrow, they find much relief and strength. The contemplation of the Passion of Christ is a fruitful source of spiritual help, nor can we ever know or understand His sufferings, as when we meditate on them in the company of His most Holy Mother. For no one in this world ever entered so deeply into those sorrowful mysteries. Houses of the Servite Order being established in England and America are so many means to help the development of that so Christian devotion to the Mother of Christ in English speaking countries.

O sweet Virgin, made sad by our sins and former ingratitude to Jesus and to thee, to thee we turn, humbled and contrite that thou mayest show thy mercy towards us, as thou didst upon the seven glorious Saints called by thee to establish the Order of thy Servants.

Yes make us thy true servants, make us serve Jesus faithfully, increase the number of thy faithful ones and their fidelity, that even as thy pains merited for thee the queenly diadem, so our affection for thee may entitle us to be thy happy subjects forever. Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

11. Silence and stillness are the foes of vainglory. And if you are amongst people, seek dishonor.

September 14, 2010

(1Co 9:22-24) To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "Dear brothers and sisters, on Thursday I will travel to the United Kingdom, where I will proclaim Cardinal John Henry Newman blessed," he said. "I ask everyone to accompany me with prayer on this apostolic voyage. To the Virgin Mary, whose most holy name is celebrated today by the Church, I entrust our path of conversion to God."

Vatican is not worried by planned anti-pope protests in Britain

The Vatican is not concerned by a "hostile minority's" plans to demonstrate against Pope Benedict XVI during his three-day visit to Britain next week, the pontiff's spokesman said Friday.

"It is not surprising because these (protests) have happened before," Father Federico Lombardi said at a Vatican briefing on Benedict's Sept.  16-19 visit to England and Scotland.

"Such demonstrations have always occurred, also during other (papal) travels , Lombardi said.

In Britain, the issue of protests is "a broader one because in the United Kingdom there are atheist groups, some of them anti-papal in nature, but also this forms part of a plural society like the British one," Lombardi said.

"However the resonance given to these sentiments by the media has been greater than that given to several authoritative surveys which suggest a substantial interest among the (British) population for Benedict XVI's visit," Lombardi added.

Benedict's visit is the first papal trip to Britain since 1982, when Pope John Paul II came on a pastoral visit in the year of the Falklands conflict, during which he also visited Argentina.

Britain Can Benefit from Benedict
by George Weigel


RELATED: Catholics in England suffered long repression

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

10. Detachment from things of the senses is divine vision of spiritual things.

September 10, 2010

(Mar 16:15) And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature.

EXCERPT: When St.  Francis preached to the Muslims

St.  Francis sent some of his friars from this chapter on their first missions to the infidels, to Tunis and Morocco, reserving to himself the Saracens of Egypt and Syria.  Innocent III’s appeal at the Lateran Council in 1215 for a new crusade had resulted only in a desultory attempt to bolster up the Latin kingdom in the East: Francis would wield the sword of the Word of God.

He set sail with twelve friars from Ancona in June 1219, and came to Damietta on the Nile delta, before which the crusaders were sitting in siege.  Francis was profoundly shocked by the dissoluteness and self-seeking of the soldiers of the Cross.  Burning with zeal for the conversion of the Saracens, he desired to pass to their camp, though he was warned that there was a price on the head of every Christian.  Permission was given him by the papal legate and he went with Brother Illuminato among the infidels, crying out, "Sultan!  Sultan!" Being brought before Malek al-Kamil and asked his errand, he said boldly, "I am sent not by men but by the most high God, to show you and your people the way of salvation by announcing to you the truths of the gospel".

Discussion followed, and other audiences.  The sultan was somewhat moved and invited him to stay with him.  Francis replied, "If you and your people will accept the word of God, I will with joy stay with you.  If you yet waver between Christ and Mohammed, cause a fire to be kindled, and I will go into it with your priests that you may see which is the true faith." The sultan answered that he did not believe any of the imams would be willing to go into the fire, and that he could not accept his condition for fear of upsetting the people.  After some days Malek al-Kamil sent Francis back to the camp before Damietta.  Disappointed that he could do so little either with the crusaders or their opponents, St.  Francis returned to Akka, whence he visited the Holy Places.  Then, summoned by an urgent message of distress, he returned to Italy. 

BOOK LINK: St. Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslims


Vatican criticises Kadhafi's Islamic Europe call
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An ancient echo of NYC mosque debate in Córdoba, Spain

AMERICAN CATHOLIC: As The September 11 Anniversary Nears, A Review Of Al Qaeda's Little Reported-On War Against The Catholic Church

CNA: Christian leaders in Asia concerned Koran burning will affect Christian minorities

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

9. Love of indignity is a cure for anger. Hymnody, compassion and poverty are the suffocation of sorrow.

September 9, 2010

John 21:17  He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.

INSPIRATIONAL: No rest for the holy

VIA Father Ted
Reflection by Father Ted – September 8, 2010

My dearest Lord Jesus, help us to guide and to teach Your children and Your youth.

So many do not know You; they do not know their purpose in life; they do not know how to live.

My Jesus, we have failed to shepherd them. Forgive us, Lord. Have mercy on us.

Enable us to fulfill our responsibilities of feeding Your lambs.

We have not taught them that they are created by You.

We have not taught them that You want them to know You personally.

We have not taught them how to get to know You personally.

We have not taught them how much You love each one personally and passionately.

We have not taught them how to respond to Your passionate love.

We have not taught them how gifted each one of Your loved ones is.

We have not taught them how to deal with their weaknesses – by calling upon You who will help them – always.

We have not taught them how to talk to You and how to listen to You.

We have not taught them the joy of daily prayer.

We have not taught them how to experience Your Presence in the Eucharist.

We have not taught them how to grow in wisdom and in strength.

We have not taught them how to recognize temptations and how to resist them.

We have not taught them the reality of sin. We have not taught them the dangers of sin.

We have not taught them about angels and demons – how their guardian angels help them and how demons strive to seduce them.

We have not taught them the value of Holy Mass, the value of Adoration, the value of the Rosary, the value of confession.

Jesus, we have failed to feed Your lambs.

Forgive us. Help us to begin once again.

Mary, our Mother and the Mother of Jesus, help us to do His Will.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

8. Unflagging prayer is the ruin of despondency. Remembrance of the judgment is a means of fervour.

September 3, 2010

(Mar 1:15) And saying: The time is accomplished and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel:

VIA MANILLA: A Communist’s Conversion

Let me relate the story of Douglas Hyde, a statesman, who was a dedicated communist and former editor of Britain’s communist paper.

Douglas Hyde was converted to Catholicism through the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As the editor of their communist paper, he began to read all about the Catholic Church with the avowed intention of tearing it down in his writings.

But something happened as he tried to gather more weapons to destroy the church.  The more he read, the more intellectually convinced he became of its truthfulness and origin as a divine institution.

But he could not yet bring himself to believe.  Something was holding him back.

One day, he was going to work in London on the daily commuter train.  When the train arrived at the Ely Place station, he saw a sign he had seen a hundred times.  It read, “St.  Etheldreda’s Catholic Church.” He decided to get off the train and go to it.

When he arrived, he sat in the last pew, wondering what strange power had brought him here.  Suddenly a teenage girl came in.  She walked down the center aisle and went straight to a statue of Mary.  As she passed, Hyde noticed the troubled look on her face.

The girl knelt at Mary’s feet for a long time.  Then she got up and left the church.  As she did, Hyde noticed that her troubled look was gone.  She was totally at peace.

When she had gone, he decided to do what she had done.  He decided to take his problem to Mary.

As he knelt down and looked up into the face of the Virgin, he wondered how one prayed to Mary.  These are his exact words, written in his book titled I Believed:

“How did one pray to Our Lady?  I did not know...  At last I heard myself mumbling something which seem appropriate enough, when I began it, but petered out, becoming miserably inappropriate.

“But it did not matter.  I knew my search was at an end...  Outside the church I tried to remember the words I had said and almost laughed as I recalled them.  They were those of a secular dance tune:

“O sweet and lovely lady, be good, O lady be good to me.”

Mary is indeed a sweet and lovely lady. And she will indeed be good to you – as she was to an atheist and communist Douglas Hyde.

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CATHOLIC.NET: Cardinal Newman's cost of discipleship

On Sept.  19, 2010, in Birmingham, England, the long awaited beatification ceremony will take place for the great Victorian Catholic theologian, John Henry Cardinal Newman, one of the most influential English Catholics of the 19th century.  He journeyed from Anglicanism to Catholicism and used his great intellect and masterful writing ability to win over thousands of people to Christ and the Roman Catholic Church.

In becoming Catholic, Newman had to make many sacrifices.  Many of his friends broke off relations with him after his conversion, and his family kept him at a distance.  He had to resign his teaching fellowship and lost his only source of income.  He lived the terrible pain of misunderstanding from his own family, from Church leaders, and those closest to him.  Newman said that the one thing that sustained him during this trying period was Christ's presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

As a tribute to his extraordinary work and devotion, Pope Leo XIII named Father John Henry Newman a Cardinal in 1879.  After a life of trials, Newman received the news with joy and declared, "The cloud is lifted forever."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

7. Faith and exile are the death of cupidity. But compassion and love betray the body.

September 1, 2010

(Eph 6:11-12) Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

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Christian-Witness: Trapped by the Devil

If you, O Lord, will not give me who am miserable understanding, nor enlighten my heart, then, due to my great indifference, shall I be unable to recognize my ruin and decay.

Because I am trapped by the merciless enemy who oppresses me, with tears do I ceaselessly cry day and night to your goodness to deliver me from his snares.
For hourly does he renew the trickery he wields against me; hourly does he disturb my soul with wanton thoughts and desire for pleasure.

May your power, O Christ, that rebuked the waves of the sea also rebuke him, that he may have no influence on me, your useless servant. Be quick to send, O Master, your grace that it might drive away from your servant the great serpent and all his defilements and evil thoughts. For the wounds that his arrows have inflicted on my heart have become fetid sores, and I in my folly try to hide them every way I can.

The good Physician calls me and demands no payment, nor does he spill my blood.
But my slothfulness prevents me from going to him. He comes himself to heal me, but always finds me engaged in acts that prevent his remedies from rendering me their healing power.

O Lord, enlighten and sober me. Cure me and I will be cured!

Saint Ephrem the Syrian, deacon and hermit (+ 373)

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

6. The helper and foundation of chastity is stillness. The quenching of fleshly burning is fasting. The adversary of evil and shameful thoughts is a contrite spirit.
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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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