19 March 2017

LEARN AUTHENTIC SPIRITUALITY from St. Patrick's Example


+JMJ+

Third Sunday of Lent, 2017 

Just two days ago, many people celebrated with beer, meat (even meat on that Friday), even over-eating and lots of noise and wearing green, all in the name of celebrating St. Patrick.  Yet, none of this has anything to do with him, and even more, he would have regretted seeing frivolity, vanity, and worldliness.

Sounds harsh?  If you think so, put that disturbance of your 'peace' aside, and let's together consider the humility of St. Patrick, by observing one of his manuscripts.

His last surviving manuscript, known as his 'Confession' (in the sense of 'confessing the faith', not 'confessing of sin', although, he does mention his past way of life, that was not the meaning of the title here), begins with the words, ",


"My name is Patrick...

I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many."


St. Patrick's writings sound a lot like St. Paul, as he accounts his many trials and tribulations.  We learn that at the heart of St. Patrick's life, was his love and complete abandonment and 100% trust of God in His Providence.  While he admits to suffering pain from the treachery of even friends and clergy, he is humble enough to see that while these things were based on falseness and/or a lack of mercy, that to look at his life as a whole, he did not EARN the grace of God, but it was given.  It was given because of his obedience which opened him to live out the graces given to him, and in his complete abandonment and trust to God, he was able to receive great strength from God.

So what does St. Patrick's life teach us?  One can say that it boils down to three life lessons.  They are:


1.)  NEVER DETEST ANYTHING IN THE WORLD BUT SIN, AND ESPECIALLY THAT OF YOUR OWN.

2.)  GO ON THE WAY OF BECOMING A SAINT; THE WAY IS NEITHER TOO SMALL, NOR TOO BIG.

3.)  AS MUCH AS YOU ARE AMONG THE SAINTS, THEY WILL BE AMONG YOU.  


Let's break this down, as these can easily be misinterpreted:

1370s: The Fiacail Phádraig or shrine of St Patrick’s 
tooth. The fourteenth-century figure of St Patrick is 
located directly below the crucified Christ.
1.) NEVER DETEST ANYTHING IN THE WORLD BUT SIN, AND ESPECIALLY THAT OF YOUR OWN SIN.

Often we have in our thoughts to hate this or hate that, and we forget who we are in the site of God.  What difference does your preference make?  Are you a saint yet?  Then you still have a tendency to sin, so everywhere your will is not refined and purified, it opposes God.  There is no middle road to this way, it is either the way of the flesh, the world and/or the devil,  Compromise or anything under the false guise of 'mercy' (mercy is always directed back to gratitude to God, and it is NEVER without conversion.  IF there is no conversion from a sin, there is no room for the mercy of God, and our mercy is NEVER greater than His).  Dialogue, with the intention of compromise is not mercy or charity.

The only 'opinion' that should matter is that of God.  

As much as we abandon ourselves to His will and in our love, seek Him in every moment, looking for His admonishments and direction of our hearts purely to Him, the less preference we have for any creature, comfort, or any kind of preference outside of God and His Holy Will.  The virtue of humility will further help us to detest our own sins far more than all the sin in the world, because it is our own souls to which we have first responsibility.  Furthermore, if we happen to be a parent, or a spiritual parent, we will teach more by our example than word or writings.

For all the things we say we complain about, how many of them are not about sin, but rather, frivolous?  For each of these one commits, he will be made to make account of to God.  It is best, then, to keep in mind the reason you were created and your final end at all times, that you do not displease Him to whom you owe your life.

2.) GO ON THE WAY OF BECOMING A SAINT; THE WAY IS NEITHER TOO SMALL, NOR TOO BIG.

Many people think that becoming a saint is not realistic, but these are those who either deny that the Bible is the Word of God, or that it needs to be redacted to a new meaning relevant to today, by the world's standards.  Our Lord commands us, rather, to "be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Yet, how many times we busy ourselves with this project, or that project, yet last on our day's list of things to do is to recall our sins, and to regard what progress we have made that day, and/or what little gratitude we have for our suffering Savior's price, and the Holy Spirits grace won for us by that Price?

We have such important things to do, but are they really God's will?  If not, they are not nearly as "important" as you make them out to be, if they have the tiniest significance at all, when it comes to why you were created.  Even pious are often caught by the devil in this manner, to make themselves busy in pious activities to which they call themselves (falsely) in the name of God.

Some of the basic things we must do are outlined in the Catholic classic known and loved among saints, "The Spiritual Combat"* (and a Treatise on Peace of Soul)" by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli.  The first print in America was in 1945, and contained the preface by B.F. Marcetteau, S.S., which contained within it a summary of the basic things one must do to simply enter the spiritual life.  They are identified as "spiritual weapons":  1 - Self distrust, 2- confidence in God, 3 - training in spiritual warfare through the proper use of our mental and physical powers, and 4 - both short and ejaculatory, and prolonged in the form of mental prayer."  The book explains each of these points in detail and ought to be among your most important books.

The way of becoming a saint is not too big, because it is through God's grace that we come to love and trust in Him and Him alone.  The degree that we allow ourselves to be attached to things that are to their own end, we lock God out of our lives and hearts.  Even certain things that seem to be for God may not be entirely for Him, even with good intention.  No good intention is purely for God, unless one is willing to give it up on a dime because He desires it.  But one also cannot truly discern His will any other way, without keeping to their daily spiritual duties, without excuse, and living in grace, and pursuing consistency and virtue, especially focused on the virtue opposing our major vices in a conscientious, deliberate, and consistent manner.  Otherwise, we give way to the devil.  There is no middle road.



3.) AS MUCH AS YOU ARE AMONG THE SAINTS, THEY WILL BE AMONG YOU.  

We live in a society where social media has become the most successful weapon of the devil for entering into people's hearts.  Social media is merely one path of many, while the window to the soul is the vice of human respect.  However, the desire for creature comforts over and above doing the Holy Will of God is an every day common vice for almost every person, and can be observed in most circumstances.  

People (yes, and even pious Catholics) wish to be accepted by others.  There is a good to community, but only when it is ordered to God.   There can never be a community truly ordered to God where a majority of the members do not pray as they ought daily.  This prayer, again, should consist not just of the discursive prayers, but also of the authentically Catholic, mental prayer, joined also by daily examination of conscience and of some focus on overcoming their major vice. The point of this is to simply stop offending God.  This must also be understood in the context of points one and two, made previously here.

Our hearts and minds tend to be preoccupied, on some level, to all kinds of vain pursuits, ambitions, sentiments, and devices towards sensible pleasures towards their own end.  Even for one who prefers his own company to that of even small groups, there is a need to order ones mind and heart to this community of the saints.

St Patrick in St Dominic's Statue of the patron
 and apostle of Ireland in St Dominic's priory church in London.
+Sancte Patrice, ora pro nobis.+
The Perfect Community resides in those heavenly souls who are now perfectly united to the Holy Will of God.  Even in death, their character remains, yet they are more influential by their prayers than when they were alive on this earth, because even their perfection was made perfect*.  (*Meaning, now their having died in being united to God, and purified in this life or in Purgatory, now they are without any disordered attachments, but also even those who died without them, they are 'perfected further' by the glory of God transmitting through them by their having abandoned themselves to His Holy Will in their lifetimes.) Just as St. Patrick called on Elias to help him, we should call on the saints to come to our aide, especially in our spiritual struggles.

These are meant for you and are waiting for you, and will be "among you" in their intercession and guidance, in so far as you learn of them, call on them for assistance, and put into practice that which you have learned from them.


In the end of St. Patrick's "Confessions", he wrote, "I pray for those who believe in and have reverence for God.  Some of them may happen to inspect or come upon this writing which Patrick, a sinner without learning, wrote in Ireland.  May none of them ever say that whatever little I did or made known to please God was done through ignorance.  Instead, you can judge and believe in all truth that it was a gift of God.  This is my confession before I die."

Celebrate St. Patrick, but by becoming a saint.  Anything less, is not really of St. Patrick, but celebrating the world, and this life, that is not ours.


Ad JESUM per MARIAM

+




*Footnote:  The book mentioned in this post, "The Spiritual Combat", while was published with the imprimatur in the US in the 1940s, it was actually first published in 1589.  St. Frances de Sales, Doctor of the Church, kept a copy of this book in his pocket and for 18 years, he read from it every day.  He also recommended it to everyone under his spiritual direction.  Also, St. Teresa of Avila, another Doctor of the Church, said that this was one of the most instrumental books in her conversion, along with "The Third Alphabet", by Francisco de Osuna.

28 February 2017

One of the Many Problems with the New Mass...

+JMJ+


One of the many problems with the New Order Mass is that it is focused on the community rather
than constantly and consistently on the Holy Sacrifice of Christ.  It even has lay people bring up the "offering of the gifts", as if the Mass was about what we were giving to God of our own selves.  In reality, the offering is Christ; the priest does act as an "alter Christe", sacrificing himself to bring down Christ in the Consecration, but we participate in the offering of Christ.  

This focus as if the highest good is what we can do for one another in the name of Christ stems from the immanentistic basis on which the Novus Ordo Missae was intentionally formed.  It was for this reason that inevitably, abuses would stem, while this breaks down into many specifics which for purposes of this post, I will defer to discuss at a possible future post.

This looking to one another in the name of worship, rather than looking chiefly to Christ in the context of worship is not just the reason we lost external solemnity with the New Order Mass, but also internal solemnity, as a result.  Never-the-less, BOTH are necessary, not one or the other.

In preparation for this Lent, which begins tomorrow, I wanted to share with you the need to practice this internal solemnity by simply referring more to the saints in Heaven for assistance than to friends and family.  I do not mean to advise you avoid speaking to them for advice if they are known to give good counsel, but do not do so then exclude first and foremost the saints.  And when you speak to the saints, detach from the response, for it will not come as if you are having a dialogue (unless you are a highly advanced, Catholic mystic ... insert joke here as to why you would bother with this blog ....), both practice anticipating their intercession, and as God wills, re-devoting yourself to holy Providence.  This heavenly community has "made it" already to being perfectly united to God and His Divine Will, and will guide you better by the most pious earthly community. Remember that charity is love first of God, and secondly, love of neighbor out of that first love, as He loved us first.

And their is no dichotomy in love of God vs. love of neighbor.  God loves our neighbor more than you will ever love him, and for ANYONE to suggest that we could be too "rigid" in putting God and obedience to Him first, is suggesting that we put ourselves and the world before Him (if even in His name).  Remember also that the grace of God TRANSFORMS, and not simply covers us and leaves as as "cow dung", as Luther would have you believe.  Our Lord says that "my grace is sufficient" and to "be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect."  No one says it happens over night, but only someone without the faith will say it is impossible.

Love God and seek Him.  Find help in the Church Triumphant.

20 February 2017

More on the Vice of SLOTH

+JMJ+



(Note:  Please refer to the previous two posts, as they relate to this one.)




St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, he describes the vice as the "sorrow for spiritual good", but also explains why it is a capital sin, and not to be confused as something of just a feeling or less dangerous.  One might say wrongly that sloth moves one to inaction, and therefore there is no sin to which it is motivated, but Pope St. Gregory listed "daughters of sloth", from which St. Thomas Aquinas primary draws.  They are:



Malice

Spite
Faint-heartedness
Despair
Sluggishness in regard to the Commandments
Wandering of the mind after unlawful things


Before I go through which each of these mean, let's first define what we mean by 'spiritual good'.  Since we are here to know, love and serve God with our whole heart and whole mind and being, then we can see that a spiritual good can be more than the liturgy, private prayers, and spiritual readings (etc.), but seeing all daily avoiding sin, whether great (grave) or small and the pursuit of greater virtue.  Furthermore, the end to which these are to be pursued is for God and God alone, rather than for some feeling or any other gain.  



St. Thomas says that the two steps by which someone fails to regard an unpleasant good are: 

1.) First, he comes to withdraw from, or avoid, the good itself, 
2.) Then, he seeks for something else more agreeable.  In other words, he struggles actively against having to perform the higher good in question.


Malice
Malice is one of the daughters of sloth because it is the result of the habit of preferring one's will over God's to such a degree that the perceived arduous good is one that threatens the ease or lesser good that the person prefers.  Quite simply, it is malice because one becomes angry to think that they should have to do that which has become so distasteful to them, even to the point of detesting that good.  Examples:  Hating a liturgy that looks only to God for looking only to God, or detesting to put God first in daily priorities to the point of having to put one's wants last over another needs for whom we are responsible (i,e.: our child, or spouse).  



Spite
This is when our struggle against an unpleasant spiritual good leads us to attack those people who lead others to that good, we have descended into "spite."  These people will often accuse by detraction and/or even rash judgement a sinful reason that a person will have the virtue to pursue the spiritual good in question that the spiteful person wishes to avoid. And so, to quell their suffering of conscience, and attenuated preference towards a lesser good, they will use spite as a way to distract themselves, and sometimes also others, of their own vice of sloth.  


Faint-Heartedness
This is the avoidance of spiritual good that is the reasonable means to the end in matters of genuine difficulty.  One example is avoiding deliberate unnecessary near occasions of sin.  This is always a bad thing, but in the faint-hearted, often they will even make excuses to not avoid the near occasions that lead them to their chief vices, whether they are mortal or venial sins.   Just because something is difficult, doesn't mean that you should not own up to your responsibility.  Jesus, God the Son, suffered and died on a Cross, so that your crosses for what you are Commanded to do are bearable through grace (that he won for you).  To say otherwise is a lack of humility (*to see oneself in the light of who God is), because He gives us the means to overcome temptation, if we are close to the Blessed Mother and "do whatever He tells you."  Jesus, who commands that we "be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect," does not command the impossible, but it is we who, in faint-heartedness, lose faith by not living by it in charity.


Despair
Ultimately, the more one becomes faint-hearted, the more one deeply descends into the vice of sloth, they not only weaken their faith, but they lose hope in the things of Heaven, and the promises of the helps of God to get to Heaven.  Despair is then the avoidance of spiritual good considered as an end in itself. Since sloth tends towards one's feelings, whether one reasons these feelings are a priority or not, the deeper descent into this vice often leads to sins of lust, which further ties one to this sin.  Also, since one despairs of the spiritual goods as ends in themselves, to give glory to God in gratitude to Him, for it is our duty to know, to love, and to serve Him (it's why we are here), one despairs, inevitably of the promises that God makes to those that do serve Him in this life.



Sluggishness in the Practice of the Commandments.
This is the avoidance of spiritual good that is the reasonable means to the end in matters of common righteousness. Even private sins affect the world, because they create disorder in the soul, and in the resulting actions borne of the wounds from those effects in the soul, heart and mind of the sinner.   The person with this daughter of sloth doesn't look to observe the commandments closely, with eagerness and faith that they will overcome their most deeply seeded vices by the grace of God (and prayer of the Blessed Virgin), and working towards constancy and consistency, because they have chosen to perceive the pursuit (of the Commandment in question or Commandments in general) as either looking too closely at the obligation, or because they want to procrastinate their observance.  


(Incidentally:  The suggestion that the practice of the commandments "paralyzes" one from their freedom is a great example of sloth, but of a different daughter.  It encourages the daughter of sluggishness in the practice of commandments by the the daughters of malice and spite.  Freedom is ability to chose the higher good, and graces are the means to obedience.  We should follow them, less we lose them and offend God who gave us His only son to die on a cross as a means of giving us graces.  Obedience to God IS the measure of gratitude to Him.)


Wandering of the Mind to Unlawful Things
This daughter is the last step which the vice of sloth generates over vices, where we pass over the arduous or unpleasant good in favor of something easy and pleasant, simply because they find no joy in spiritual things.  Now, this means in context within one's state of life, and takes into account those duties and with their priority, with our reason for being (the eschatological realities) as our final end. By that, even in the smallest duties that are required of our state may be prioritized and not ignored, but done with God as our devotion in their accomplishment, and both with Him and by Him, that they be for Him.  If we dissipate our time, rather, in frivolous pursuits, or sin in loquacity for sake of avoidance of spiritual good, even unconsciously but out of habit, or if we simply allow ourselves to be distracted at Mass or in private prayer, these are all examples of "unlawful things".  Someone might say, "Well, having a conversation is not 'unlawful'!"  Well, it itself, of course not, neglect of duties due to long conversations would be giving in to a "wandering of the mind".  Often, the mind might be accustomed to wandering in prayer, or leaving it off to a point where one is more inclined to not being as mindful.  You can see how easily the mind becomes trained to this vice, as one takes his mind and heart off of God, who never-the-less, is always seeing everything we are doing or thinking in every given moment.



I hope this makes more sense.  There aren't a lot of resources on the web for this, but you can read St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica: The Vice of Sloth online.  


A few final words on this subject:


Sloth is the sorrow for the spiritual good, and what is sorrow?  But it is the absence of joy, so that is why often when we commit this sin, we EXAGGERATE the effort required for the spiritual good. Why do we do this?  We do this because of a LACK OF FAITH.  The easy solution to this is to ACT OUT OF FAITH.  Our Lord tells us (and shows this all the time, since He is never outdone in charity, since HE IS the Creator of all good), that we only need a "mustard seed of faith" with which to begin. (Notice:  I said, "begin", not end and/or sit there and say that a "seed" should remain just a "mustard seed".  Remember the Gospel reading for Sextagesima Sunday (according to the traditional cycle based on the Breviary), Luke 8:4-15.   Actions based on faith are essentially planting the seeds of grace that were given to us by God.  They are, as a good canon once put, and I love this, "GOLDEN OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRACE!"   So, unlike any other kind of commerce, the more we SPEND this well, the more of this we receive back.  It's like, imagine going to a store to purchase something you need.  You pay the total for the bill, and then you are handed back all that you just handed over and a whole lot more.  That's a great deal!  I DARE YOU to find a better 'bargain' anywhere!   You certainly won't find a better 'commodity' in this life.)

So let us not be slothful in winning the war on sloth within our souls.  We start with our minds and our hearts will soon follow.  We will very soon be given the GREAT JOY, that increases beyond imagination, and is constant and consistent to the degree that we remain constant and consistent in pursuing the virtues for the love of God, who Loves us first and MADE us that we *might* give HIM glory by turning our self-inclined wills over to His will.  For He alone knows what will give us the deepest and greatest happiness, and the kind that can never be taken away or damaged, if we hold onto it tightly with both hands, with our practice of overcoming vice.  Let us even enjoy the struggle, as we battle, "not as though beating the air" but TO WIN the award, and in the end, an AWARD SO GREAT, that we cannot imagine.  Feeling still overwhelmed?  Don't be, because the battle is now.  The adventure is not one you pursue:  you're in it.  You just have to decide whether you're going to float like a dead fish on the tides, or fly soar like an eagle in the clouds.  The Commandments are not just rules, they are our guide, and within each of them we can find every virtue.  This is your game plan, God's means to the path HE has chosen from your very beginning, as He knew you even before you were born.

You were made to know, to love, and to serve God.

You've got this; now GO TO IT!

19 February 2017

The Truth Most Everyone is Unwilling to Hear (*includes most Catholics), Part II of II

+JMJ+


(Recommended meditation:  Sexagesima's Gospel Reading: Luke 8:4-15)
In the previous post, we left looked at the fact that we are often unwilling to look at things from a moral perspective.  Even when we do look at it from a moral perspective, it is usually from a self-directed perspective rather than transcendent, looking at our rights over God's rights.   For example, mercy then become redefined as if they are at odds with justice (that old, dialectic heresy of the Modernists).  Some, who as if they are "traditional", but in fact, unknowingly infected with Modernism by being scandalized and not knowing the faith, will think that mercy must be earned. Now, he's no theologian, but Shakespeare happened to hit the nail on the head with his description of mercy:



"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes" 
 -- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act IV Scene I

Why is it charity, to which mercy belongs, is misunderstood and/or repressed?  First of all, what is charity?  Let's take a look at the Baltimore Catechism:

Q. 467. What is Charity?
A. Charity is a Divine virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.


What causes one to lose the theological gift of Charity?  We lose charity when we do not abide in it.  The reason we don't abide in it is because we lose the theological gift of supernatural Hope.  The reason we lose Hope, is because we have lost and/or weakened Faith.  


(Note: while the greatest virtue is charity, it is supported by Faith and Hope, in that order, as defined by God, and revealed dogmatically by His Holy Bride.)


The chief means to lose of Faith is the vice of sloth.  When we think of the word, "sloth", we often limit it to meaning only a type of sluggishness in behavior, but it as actually, in the theological sense, a lot more defined significance.  Despite it being known as one of the 7 Deadly Sins, sloth is probably the single least understood and underestimated vice, and for these reasons, the most damaging because it is very insidious in today's world, and especially in the new order/modernist theology.  St. Thomas Aquinas, a Doctor of the Church, described it as the "sorrow for spiritual good," at its genus.  It is more defined as the act or inaction based on that sorrow, with the sorrow being at the genus of the vice.  It is not, therefore, a feeling, but an attitude resulting in the resistance towards or repression of certain spiritual goods.  Often people look at sloth mere as inactivity, but in reality, people today busy themselves in vain activities that they make out to be necessary and in the way of the time availability to do the spiritual requirements of their Christian faith.  This might be anything from holding one's tongue from an unkind word of look, or neglecting daily mental prayer and/or spiritual reading and anything and everything in between.  It is not merely, therefore, a sluggishness, but often a deliberation.  Things like, "Not now", or "I'll eventually work on building that virtue/praying silently/daily spiritual reading of the saints" or, "Let's not exaggerate things."  We even have prelates in high places calling the self-observance of whether or not we are ordering our moments to God as "fundamentalism" and a bunch of other misappropriated insults often used to distract from some weakness in their theology and/or practice. Another big excuse is that one is "too busy at the moment", and they go from moment to moment, without any self-discipline, ordering all their life to giving God what believe is enough to get them to Heaven, the same God who commands us to "be perfect."  

He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in that which is greater: and he that is unjust in that which is little, is unjust also in that which is greater." -- Luke 16:10

There is an old saying, "Lex Orandi.  Lex Credendi."  The rest of that saying is, "Lex Vivendi."  This saying, however, can be rearranged, indicating that our interior worship may be shallow and weak, if how we live the faith is inconstant, and inconsistent.  (This saying translates to:  The law by which we worship, determines the law by how we believe, which determines the law by which we live.  However, it is important to acknowledge that BOTH external AND internal worship are necessary, and one does not preclude the other.)

The vice of sloth wants everything to be easy; it always procrastinates against doing the difficult things of higher priority.  Eventually, it weakens the faith to where the vice becomes so strong in an individual, that they perceive the justice or charity in ordering certain things to God as God commands.  Truth and the practice of virtue seem to be at odds with reality to these people, and then they will call this the "old way" that is no longer relevant to the complexity of the reality.  (I like to call this, "50 Shades of Theology." It's very philosophical orientation is immanent and not transcendent, as it pretends that their is a dichotomy between mercy and justice, as it is lacking grounding in the Faith.  Such prelates attempt to devalue all the Church Father and Doctors in this way, as well as the rights of God and his ability to grant supernatural grace.)  


The Reverend Canon Talarico, provincial superior of the Institute of Christ the King, listed the following means of overcoming the vice of sloth:


1.)  Build up love of God.

This is accomplished by greater knowledge of God.  Read the writings of the saints, in particular the Doctors.  Read the Dogmatic counsel documents (I personally recommend, "Sources of Catholic Dogma," by Denzinger, which is out of print, but you might find online).  

2.)  Spiritual Reading
By this, Canon means GOOD spiritual reading. (I recommend, again, the Church Doctor's provide great meditations, as well as Dom Gueranger.)

3.)  Praying the Stations of the Cross
If you can't pray all of them everyday, but pray and meditate on at least one station every day.  

4.)  Meditation on the 4 Last Things (a.k.a. The eschatological realities): Death, Heaven, Hell, Judgement.  

5.)  Being cheerful givers in their manner of interacting with others.  
Canon also further explains that Catholics must not withdraw from other people via spiritual sloth. They should be joyful in sincere overflowing gratitude for the graces of God in His mercy to them that He forgives them their sins, and even gives them the graces of conversion (hopefully, continued conversion, again, depending upon their charity, and cancelling the vice of sloth in their lives through consistent and constant charity from moment to moment).  This joy is also a Fruit of the Holy Ghost.

6.)  Say a prayer to Mother Immaculate.  Canon recommends a morning Memorarae, and/or an Angelus, and/or 1 decade of the Rosary, to petition Our Lady specifically to grow that day against the vice of sloth.  (I might add: singing the Marian Antiphon for that liturgical time, preferably the solemn chant in Latin version.)

If you're still looking for another aide, I recommend this simple trick:


7.)  Get a notebook and a pen.  In the evening before or the morning of, write down what you need to get done that day as a schedule.  SCHEDULE what you need to for the steps advised above, 1-4 (#5 is a regular moment-to-moment practice, and #6 is a given to be done with Morning Prayers).  Then, simply, stick to the schedule.

The stronger we are in charity, the more we will strengthen our hope and faith.  We will then have the courage by the Faith, and true Charity, to speak with courage and share in the Hope we have in Christ with others.



"PERFECT Thou my going in Thy paths that my footseps be not moved:  incline Thine ear, and hear my words: show forth Thy wonderful mercies, Thou Who savest them that trust in Thee, O Lord." Ps. 16:5,6,7.  Offertory prayer for Sexagesima Sunday.



The Truth Almost EVERYONE* is Unwilling to Hear (*includes most Catholics), Part I of II

+JMJ+


A LITTLE BACKGROUND TO THIS POST:

This post was inspired by a recent 'debate' that took place by some pseudo Catholic (?) group (which I won't bother naming) that had famous Chesterton advocate (who promotes Chesterton as if he is greater than the Church Doctors and Fathers, and Chesterton was hardly a Catholic theologian) who is an "apologist"* (*which for an upcoming post on "Why We DON'T Need Apologists, and Should AVOID Them"), and some proud, liberal, extreme Modernist, and Michael Matt from "The Remnant."  First I saw the clip, then eventually I got myself to watch the debate.  It was so painful, because it was not a good debate, the whole thing was formatted against Truth, and Michael Matt, unintentionally, contributed to more confusion by emphasizing that the issue mainly came down to a matter of canon law, which was incorrect.  I am not suggesting that the issue at hand was dealt within canon law, but that was not the crux of the matter.  Not only that, as Michael was talking, it almost sounded as if all of canon law was up for future debate, and that is just not the case.  Some canon law CANNOT CHANGE where it is law that supports dogmatic teaching in practice.  Whoever gave him the idea that canon law can change as if ALL of it can change was feeding him a gross lie (whether intentionally or not).  People just don't understand these basic things about it, and even say that if something is not contained expressly in canon law, it is up for grabs in terms of practice.  That is just not true.  If something is omitted from any publication of Canon Law, without their ever being an expressed reason for its being omitted, it is not, by Canon Law itself, to be deemed as having been abrogated from Canon Law, but I have digressed.  The main point I am trying to make is that the heart, or crux of the issue, is not that it is mainly canonical, but in fact, moral.  He (Michael Matt) should have drawn specifically on the Church Doctor's words, and dogmatic definitions, and beat the Modernists (both lite had heavy versions) at their game by stressing the definition of charity (while they redefined it) and obedience (while they redefined it). 


Now, with that introduction, I begin.

By now, most faithful Catholics have noticed that there is the tail wagging the dog with regards to politics and even within the Catholic Church:  a small number of people are storming the castle of a Christ-centered civilization.  In this first article, we will look at how this is being accomplished.

The short of it is that the (metaphoric) 'castle' (or 'castles') was found to be vulnerable to attack.  Were people who were watchers by night bought by the enemy?  Were security secrets stolen?  Did the lord of the castle become weakened by calumny or blackmail?

When we look at who is really the King of the World, we can see that on the broadest stage, our Lord is never blackmailed, and is always in control, but allows us to have our way.

So the question is:  how did WE let this happen?

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THE WRONG CONVERSATION

One of the chief reasons things went haywire is because devout Catholics --- even conservatives in general --- have been having THE WRONG CONVERSATION.  They have let the liberals take control of the terms of the debate.  Let me first explain what that means:


The Rules of Debate:



Step 1)  Agree on the issue in discussion, and form the issue into a question that is not leading, and/or based on false premise.

Step 2.)  Any valid conclusion must be support by at least 2 valid premises, and these premises must be actually correlative to the conclusion, not supposition.

Step 3.) Terms of the debate must be recognized, agreed upon and given agreed upon definitions prior to the debate's start.

There are other important qualities of a debate, like staying to the topic, and that is just assumed. Some participants will try to get off topic in order to redefine the terms and the even the question of the debate.  If there is a Moderator, the Moderator must, not simply from the start of the debate, but through out the debate, work to ensure that the debate is directed towards the end in which it was created, at the very least.


Unpopular views win popularity by redefining the issues.  The issues are redefined by redefining of the terms.  

This is a most vital importance to acknowledge, because we do this to ourselves all the time.  We ALLOW ourselves to be lied to, because often we lie to ourselves (see PART II, to be posted after this post).  Unpopular views win gain strength by the real issues having been redefined.  The real issues are redefined by the terms having been redefined.

Here are some of the key means to redefining issues:

1.)  Not discussing the issues on the grounds of morality.  I will expound on this in a moment.

2.)  The error of humanism.  This will either be by openly promoting secularization over the Kingship of Christ, or, pretending to be either Christian (Catholic) or friendly to Catholic morality, it will, in the (false) name of Catholicism, use humanism to purport to defend its interpretation of Catholic dogma in a new, enlightened fashion, relevant to 'today' (because, allegedly, to these faithless, God hasn't always said or supported ideas that are infinitely relative.)  In order to support the humanist's approach, the heretic will use gnostic principles and turn things into always dialectics.  The trap is then soliciting pride by those entrapped by these "feel good" ideas that are based on false obedience.  and false charity, and tremendous amounts of inflated pride.

The chief reason that these errors have prevailed on the level of  Western society is thanks to Protestantism. The ideas of the ironically and diabolically called, "Enlightenment" were only able to take any root as a direct result to the errors of Martin Luther.  Luther rightly saw some errors in the Church hierarchy that were NOT dogmatic, but as a result of a handful of corrupt prelates, their nepotism to certain benefactors, and disingenuous and even spiritual harmful means to soliciting for financial support of their churches.  HE USED THESE LESSER EVILS to excuse his own evils, by redefining, in his mind, the nature of supernatural grace.  He said that the most God's grace could do was cover a soul like white snow, and the soul was "cow dung".  Therefore, God's SANCTIFYING GRACE does not, in his error, TRANSFORM THE SOUL by ordering the heart and mind to the perfect will of God and the truths of who He Is, but rather, it just "covers" us, like signing up for car insurance.  This error occurs throughout formal Protestantism, as well as informal Protestantism, where ever error against dogmas is promoted, and sometimes (and more often than not) where necessary truths of the unchangeable dogmas are not spoken (at many Catholic pulpits, for example, where political correctness in the name of "welcoming our absent brethren" has replaced the 1st Commandment.)


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THE AVOIDANCE OF THE DISCUSSION OF MORALITY;  THE ELEPHANT IN OUR LIVING ROOMS, SANCTUARIES, AND VIRTUAL PUBLIC SQUARE


Now, let us return to the #1 reason the 'terms' in the debates we have are being redefined against truth (as well as goodness, unity and beauty -- all the transcendentals).

Devout Catholics are simply, almost always, not really all that devout.  Let's face it:  the bar has been lowered thanks to the Modernism, and its infiltration into most churches.  No one wants to bring issues to the light in terms of morality because that instantly puts to the forefront the reason truths have a hierarchy.  The discussion of truth in the terms of morality is being ignored by conservatives, only to find faithless people in all kinds of positions of authority beat them to the punch by redefining the transcendentals (what is good, what is united, what is beautiful, and first and foremost, what is TRUE).   They can do the impossible by (seemingly) redefining dogma by redefining obedience and charity (and doesn't Satan love this?  It is the means to emulate* obedience --- FALSE obedience).  (Note:  Notice I didn't say "imitate" obedience, but actually, he plagiarizes it by supporting false obedience.)  

The subject of morality is one which many prelates have told us is only to be left to priests.  This is an untruth.  God gives us the truth to live under, so it is through the unchanging truths that we know the mind of God and that which is expected of us.  We are not unconscious creatures, to be living in blind obedience.  Rather, God's grace helps us to see the dogmatic truths as things to defend out of love of God firstly, and love of neighbor secondly, out of that first love.  These operate in the Gifts of the Holy Ghost, which (collectively) operate in both the intellect and the will/heart.


We have to recognize that God needs to be the center of our worship, and that true gratitude to the one, true God demands high solemnity in worship.  In daily life, it demands constancy and consistency in doing all things under Him (by holy obedience in observance of His commandments) and FOR Him.  Our merciful Lord, who is never outdone in *true" charity, will give us, in return, the means to order all things in our hearts and our minds to him and his holy will, by giving us the graces to accomplish all that He commands.

For whatever is at the center of worship, is the purpose of the worship, and whatever is the at the center of our motivation, is then its end.  We spend our time fighting battles unarmed with grace, battles that either are not meant for us to fight directly, or battles to which we come unprepared.

"But he said: Are you also yet without understanding? Do you not understand, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy?  But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man.  For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. [20] These are the things that defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands doth not defile a man."  - Matthew 15:16-20


There is an old saying that one knows a man's heart by what comes out of his mouth.  We would speak of moral truths if we loved them enough.  We would love them 'enough' if we made a point to make every day, every MOMENT be a love note to God.  Simply put:   SPEAK THE TRUTH, AND SPEAK IT BOLDLY, BUT FIRST, LIVE IN THE TRUTH FROM MOMENT TO MOMENT.

Don't waste tons of time on all kinds of activities that keep you from putting God first according to your daily duties.  IF you are not praying your morning prayers, your evening prayers, and your quite prayers during the day, if you are not finding time and putting it to use to do spiritual reading of the saints daily,  if you are fighting a vice even to the point of deliberate sin, you're not growing in the grace of God.  He demands your obedience.  He demands your constancy and consistency in the little things according to your state.


"He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in that which is greater: and he that is unjust in that which is little, is unjust also in that which is greater." -- Luke 16:10


continued in Part II...

REGARDING THE VICE OF SLOTH...

Part II (click here)




27 March 2016

How to Find Beauty and/or Truth

+JMJ+

AMDG

The Jews rejected Christ because he came and did nothing more than miracles that pointed back to his divinity.  That wasn't enough simply because they wanted a messiah that would bring them have the riches and power over the things of this world.   Some might assert that the Jews were "surprised" to see the Messiah in such a meek state, but no highly devout Jew, well-versed in scripture would have or should have been surprised by this, because of the writings of the prophets.

Jesus Christ's meekness was NOT a political statement that pointed back to himself and vertically to the natural order, but ordered everything to God the Father, even himself being divine.  He began to prove this when he celebrated the first sacrifice, not as the traditional pascal feast of a perfect lamb being sacrificed, but of HIMSELF as the sacrifice.  Here was the turning point for one of his disciples, that was scandalzied by this act of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist.   Judas refused to have a messiah that would allow himself to be a victim.  Judas essentially refused also the Good Friday of Jesus, although, running from it, he never-the-less participated by his refusing Christ's Sacrifice, and denying obedience to him.  Yet, he came back and kissed him on the cheek, and seeing the true divine goodness of Christ in Christ's response, he fell into despair.  Here he refuses also now, the promise of the Resurrection.

Do we forget our supernaturally supplied faith, hope and/or charity?  How often do we take for granted the Cross of Christ; His Passion and death, and his Resurrection?   How often do we take for granted the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass --- the true body and blood of Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist, when we do not regard first and lastly HIS Holy Will?

The remedy:

Pray daily in silence.  If you seek truth (in this world), seek (rather) Christ.  If you seek beauty, seek Christ.  If you seek unity, seek Christ.  If you seek any goodness, seek it in Christ, and you will find the origins of any true goodness firstly in God, for any created goodness pales by comparison to its Creator.  If you seek love, seek Christ, because there is no greater example of love in this world past, future or present, than that of Christ's love for you.  Seek Christ in quiet consideration and prayer, and ask him to bring you more graces to create in you a new will that longs for the things that obey his will, and you will find all truth, all beauty, all peace and goodness in him.


HAVE A BLESSED EASTER.

29 October 2015

REALITY CHECK

+JMJ+

NO MATTER WHO dislikes or even if the entire WORLD hates me,

NO MATTER WHAT happens, regardless of what I may experience,

NO MATTER WHERE I may end up, even alone and lost,

NO MATTER WHEN I may experience suffering of any kind or combination,

NO MATTER THE REASON...

I MATTER because GOD LOVES ME.

I matter because I have life, that I MAY have SUPERNATURAL LIFE to OBEY GOD,

I AM, not because of what I think, but because GOD MADE ME.

HE GAVE HIS SON TO DIE FOR ME, AND THE HOLY GHOST TO TRANSFORM and CONFORM MY HEART AND WILL, that I may ascent to the one, true Faith.

God the Son loves me so much, that He suffered more than I can or will ever suffer in this life, so that no matter what the circumstance, I can remember that HE SUFFERED AND DIED FOR ME because HE LOVES ME.

I only need to concern myself with pleasing Him by avoiding sin and living in holy gratitude for His Creation, born out of His love.  This life I have is to give Him glory, by means of His Grace, which I may receive in the normal means He ordered since His death on the Cross.

Is this not proof also of His love, that I can know that I am loved?

Didn't the Blessed Mother --- a woman I have never seen with my own eyes --- pray for this poor, ungrateful creature, that I may have this Faith, that I may be obedient, as the servant she instructed at the wedding feast, "Do whatever He tells you?"

Yes, this is proof of the Blessed Mother and her power via her intercession.  Yes, this is proof of her Son's love, and that not long ago he suffered and died for me.  Yes, this is proof that there is a Heaven for those who give their wills and hearts to God in holy obedience to all He asks.  Here is proof of my purpose, that HUMAN LIFE IS ALWAYS INHERITANTLY GOOD by the fact that it is created to give HIM GLORY by the means of HIS GRACE, and OBEDIENCE to HIS LAWS.  All rights are His.

+++

Sin is saying that my rights are separate from God's, and that I am not grateful for His Sacrifice.  Nothing that can happen to me is worse than what I can do against God by sin.  Lord, Make me, therefore, a most faithful servant, always close to your Mother, that she may always continue interceding for me, until I am safely united to You forever in Heaven.  Amen.








15 September 2015

+++IN COMMEMORATION OF JARED CHEEK AND MATTY MOLNAR++++

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Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2015 A.D.
Adorolata


A dear friend used to say while he was in seminary:
"Don't sin, and do what you will."

This is bad theology.  If we do what WE will for ourselves, our imperfections will turn to sins, inevitably, if even first by small sins as concessions, and little by little into larger sins.  However, it's even more dangerous than being just plain "cold" of the faith, but it espouses lukewarmness as the idea.  

It's not.  Our Lord made that clear: "But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. "  Revelation 3:15



It doesn't matter if one gives his entire time, energy, and goods over to God.  God wants our hearts, and not just in a sentimental way.  He wants our WILL.  We are here to do GOD'S WILL, not our own.  Even Jesus Christ said that he "came to do the will of (his) Father," to humiliate his own --- in a good way, out of TRUE CHARITY --- which IS love of God, and secondly, love of neighbor out of that FIRST love: love of God.   

We need to remind ourselves and be reminded by others that because we are imperfect, we each also have an imperfect knowledge of God.  Therefore, we must not presume that we rely on our own understanding by doing the bare minimum, and simply obeying the Commandments.  We must have our actions out of love, that we conform our wills to God's, and then we can begin the path of spiritual progress.  The very last stage of the spiritual life (after the Purgative stages and Illuminative), is the Unitive stage, which is ultimately has in it's final part union with God's will.  This is what the saints in Heaven have, but one cannot enter Heaven without such union, if achieved in this life first, or later by purification in fire.  However, there are many in Hell who suffer eternal fire because they were lukewarm in this life, and died, as most of us will die, in an unplanned hour. 


LET US BE GRATEFUL FOR THE SACRAMENTS THAT LEAD US TO CONFORMITY and eventually to unity, if we truly love Christ and seek to obey God and HIS HOLY WILL in ALL THINGS.  

Not my will but GOD'S WILL BE DONE.



In loving memory of JARED CHEEK and MATTY MOLNAR.



REQUIEM aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescant in pace.  Amen.







Angel in Chapelle Royale
Dreux, France
Jean Marie Bienaimé Bonnassieux
(1839-1848)

Karl Keating's Comments on Michael Voris's False Allegations re.: SSPX

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Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows


Karl Keating:

"NOT A GOOD WAY TO START A SERIES ABOUT THE SSPX"

"Today’s episode of Michael Voris’s “The Vortex” is titled “SSPX Sadness.” It’s about the Society of St. Pius X, the religious group established by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Apparently this episode is the first of several that will air this week, with a more in-depth program to be devoted to the SSPX on Friday.
While much of what Voris said is accurate, much is not. I don’t know if he has time to rectify his errors before later episodes air, but it would be good if he could do so. His basic error—and the only one I’ll mention in this post—is to state that the SSPX, as an organization, is in schism. It isn’t, and the Vatican hasn’t claimed it is.
In 1988 Lefebvre (1905-1991) and Antonio de Castro Mayer (1904-1991), the retired bishop of Campos, Brazil, ordained four SSPX priests as bishops. This was done without papal approval and in contravention of canon law. All six men were excommunicated latae sententiae—that is, automatically.
Their excommunications were confirmed immediately by John Paul II, who noted that the illicit ordinations displayed a schismatic attitude on the part of the six. (The excommunications were lifted by Benedict XVI in 2009; this lifting in no way implied that the excommunications had been unjust or unwarranted.)
To the extent there was a schism, it was personal and on the part of the six bishops. The effects of their act did not automatically transfer to their followers, whether the priests and seminarians who are the formal members of the SSPX or the society’s lay followers, or to the SSPX as an organization. The SSPX is said by Rome to be in an irregular status within the Church, but it is not said to be in schism. It thus is incorrect to assert that the organization, its priests, or its followers are in schism.
Michael Voris should amend his comments to make this clear. There is plenty of reason to criticize the SSPX, its current leaders, its founder, and some of its vocal advocates, but that criticism should be in the context of an accurate representation of the status of the organization.
(There are other errors in today’s “Vortex,” but I don’t have time to dissect the whole episode.)"