22 December 2010

Gabriel Appeared

A few weeks delayed, but I couldn't resist posting this, one of my favorite videos.  It is of a Russian Orthodox choir singing a very solemn hymn, "Gabriel Appeared."  See if you can follow the words along with the music, and pray for our absent brothers to rejoin under the Chair of Peter (and that the mainstream Catholics within the Church learn that worship must not only be under the Authority of God by the Chair of Peter, but also worship oriented to GOD, and not to each other).   These lyrics are so POWERFUL and the music is so expressive; it is easy to follow them even without knowing Russian. See, if you have time, if you can't follow them, and find the part where the soloist sings, "Rejoice, O depth hard to fathom!" and see how the choir follows this part. How very solemn, yes, indeed, Miss Caroline! (HINT in following: It seems that the choir sings the 'intro', with the soloist taking the part of the angel, St. Gabriel.)  Even the angel Gabriel finds that the depth of this mystery is even hard for him to fathom! And he beholds the beatific vision!

When the angels bow and tremble in awe, who are we not to be in the most solemn disposition interiorly and exteriorly when approaching our Lord's True Presence in the tabernacle, when entering a Catholic church, and most especially when anticipating and witnessing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

English translation:


Gabriel stood before thee, O Maiden, 
Revealing the pre-eternal counsel, 
Saluting thee and exclaiming: 

"Rejoice, O earth unsown!
Rejoice, O bush unburnt! 
Rejoice, O depth hard to fathom! 
Rejoice, O bridge leading to the heavens and lofty ladder, which Jacob beheld! 
Rejoice, O divine jar of Manna! 
Rejoice, annulment of the curse! 
Rejoice, restoration of Adam: the Lord is with thee!"

13 December 2010

Our Greatest Loss

Society's greatest moral loss is the sense of the sacred.

There is no wonder why many Christians today do not hold sacred even the Commandments from God.  The Most Holy Living Tabernacle of God the Son, espoused to the Holy Spirit and chosen by God the Father is regarded very little today by most folk.  She that was chosen from the beginning of time to be the woman who would "crush the head of Satan" (Genesis 3), is regarded little more than a utility for God for some short space in time, for so little is spoken of her in the amount of content in the Bible.  What nonsensical thoughts!   Such persons who believe such blasphemy *(and blasphemy it is, indeed, to belittle that which belongs to God in a most special way --- His most perfect creation --- as Christ was not created, but existed from the beginning, having later taken the flesh of the Holy Virgin Mary in time) do so because they do not have spiritual eyes, and have lost the sense of obedience with which comes the loss of the sense of the sacred.  

Jesus is not a human person.  He was and is a Divine person, one with two natures united to each other (hypostatically; the divine nature acted when also at the same time the human nature acted, and vice versa): human and divine.   It is undeniable that The Virgin Mary gave birth to God, although Jesus was needed to redeem her.  Jesus was needed to redeem her not for sin, since she had no sin and never sinned, but because the redemption given to mankind through/by Christ also gave sanctification to those in his Church, giving them the ability to be without sin (even while many do not yet remain in this grace and are in need of the redeeming graces of the Sacraments of Penance and our Lord Himself in Holy Communion).   Mary is the Mother of God, and since she is so, and God must be adored, it stands to reason that the Mother of God should be venerated that one may adore God.

The Blessed Mother is the New Eve and was born immaculate.  She is not less than the 1st Eve, but greater.  The first man and woman were brought into the world without sin --- Adam, from the pure slime of the earth, and Eve from the rib of Adam.  Did God the Father give flesh to Jesus by impure matter?   Not at all.  Such an accusation is blasphemous.  Honoring the Mother of God is honoring God Himself as she belongs to Him in a most special way, and brings Christ to us through her example of her most holy obedience.  Those who know her by way of prayer and veneration will benefit from her prayers on their behalf and subsequently grow in holy obedience, making the way for Christ to be formed in their own hearts.  The Blessed Virgin Mother, in this way, continues to be the Living Tabernacle of Christ, bringing those under her mantle to better know and love him.  

O Antiphons









The Veni Veni Emmanuel is based on the "O Antiphons" in the Catholic liturgy.  
Read more about it here:




05 December 2010

Veni, Veni Emmanuel



O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-star, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads to Thee,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come to lead us Adonai,
Who to the tribes on height of Sinai
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.




23 October 2010

St. John Chrysostom on Living Simply

+JMJ+


“We who are disciples of Christ claim that our purpose on earth is to lay up treasures in heaven. But our actions often contradict our words. Many Christians build for themselves fine houses, lay out splendid gardens, construct bathhouses, and buy fields. It is small wonder, then, that many non-believers refuse to believe what we say. “If their eyes are set on mansions in heaven,” they ask, “why are they building mansions on earth? If they put their words into practice, they would give away their riches and live in simple huts.” So these non-believers conclude that we do not sincerely believe in the religion we profess; and as a result they refuse to take this religion seriously. You may say that the words of Christ on these matters are too hard for you to follow; and that while your spirit is willing, your flesh is weak. My answer is that the judgment of the non-believers about you is more accurate than your judgment of yourself. While the non-believers accuse us of hypocrisy, many of us should plead guilty.”


A.M.D.G.

22 October 2010

LIST OF "CONSIDERATIONS" ON GOD'S SPIRITUAL MERCIES

What follows is a selection from St. Alphonsus's list of "considerations" on God's spiritual mercies, and how we can receive them. They are listed below in order, in the saint's own words, but without the extended explanation that he provided for each one.

1. The necessity of obedience to your confessor.
2. When you suffer misfortune of any kind, endeavor to accept whatever comes as coming to you from the hand of God. ... Say simply, the Lord has permitted me to bear these sufferings not because He dislikes me but because He loves me. And shall I not therefore accept them with resignation?
3. The Lord is full of goodness to those who seek Him. No one has ever trusted in the Lord and been rejected.
4. When souls seek to love the Lord, He finds it impossible not to love them in return.
5. Souls who love their crucified Lord in the midst of their own desolation grow closer to Him in their hearts.
6. To advance in the way of holiness it is necessary above all else to concentrate one's efforts on loving God.
7. In your prayers do not neglect to offer yourself to God unreservedly. From your heart say: "My Jesus, I give myself to You without reserve. I wish to be wholly Yours."
8. When you experience great aridity of spirit, be sure then to rejoice unselfishly in the bliss your God enjoys in heaven. This is an anticipation on earth of that perfect act of love of the blessed in heaven, since they do not so much rejoice in their own happiness as in the infinite happiness of God Himself. They love God much more than they love themselves.
9. As regards your prayers and reflections, never neglect to meditate on the Passion of Jesus Christ. There is no other subject more calculated to elicit our love than the thought of the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
10. Place yourself on the Hill of Calvary, where you will find your Lord dying on the Cross, consumed with sufferings. Seeing Him in this terrible condition, is there any way you could refuse to undergo willingly all types of suffering for a God who dies out of love for you?
11. I recommend prayer to you above all else. When you can say nothing else, simply say, "Lord, help me, and help me without delay."
12. When you ask for graces from God, make sure you ask them in the name of Jesus Christ. ... So when you fear that God will send you to hell, think for a moment how could it be possible that one who has said to you that whatever you ask Him [in His name] will be granted, would send you to hell!
13. How is it that you think you are not pleasing to God when you suffer desolation in spirit? Rather than being worried you should feel reassured, since God is dealing with you in the very same way that He treats His most intimate friends.
14. Keep on praying to Him with love and tenderness and have no anxiety that He will abandon you. Say in the words of the apostle ... [nothing can] separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38-39).
15. When you are oppressed by fears for your salvation or by desolation of spirit, do not neglect to have recourse to Our Lady, who has been given to us by God as the Consolatrix of those who are afflicted.
16. The more trust we have in the Lord the more we receive from Him. He Himself has declared that He rewards those who trust Him.
17. The Lord has declared that His great joy is to be with us: "And I found delight in the sons of men" (Pr 8:31). ... This thought alone should encourage us to pray to God with all confidence.
18. My God, why is it that scrupulous and anxious souls treat You as if You were a tyrant who demands nothing more from Your subjects than fear and trepidation? The result is they think that God gets angry at every thought that passes through their minds and at every word that slips involuntarily from their lips and wishes to cast them into hell.
19. God's infinite majesty certainly deserves all our reverence and submission, but He Himself prefers to receive from souls desirous of loving Him their love and confidence rather than fear and servility.
20. Frequent reception of the sacraments [St. Alphonsus here directly opposes the teachings of the Jansenist heretics, who demanded near perfect contrition for sin before a soul could dare to go to confession and receive Holy Communion].
21. Your love should be centered above all else on the two great mysteries of our Lord's love, the Holy Sacrament of the Altar and the Passion of Jesus Christ. If the love of all human hearts could be concentrated in one heart it would not approach in the slightest degree to the greatness of the love which Jesus Christ has shown us in these two mysteries. And so, in short, concentrate all your efforts for the future on love for God, and confidence in His great mercy.


[Quotations from St. Alphonsus' essay "Motives for Confidence in the Divine Mercy" are taken from Alphonsus Liguori: selected writings, New York: Paulist Press, Classics of Western Spirituality series, 1999

21 October 2010

16 October 2010

Some Brief Thoughts on God's Mercy and the 4 Last Things





+JMJ+  If you only had the slightest, true awareness of the immensity of God's mercy, you would not commit a single, fully deliberate venial sin, much less a mortal sin.  Such an understanding, however, is supernatural, that is to say, we are not naturally capable of acquiring such understanding. Only by God's grace can we have such an understanding even in the slightest capacity.  


You've heard it said that God does not wish anyone to go to Hell, then why does anyone end up there?   People who go to Hell choose Hell --- they chose separation from God by sin.  How can anyone choose Hell, or even Purgatory, for that matter?   It is not enough to say to oneself, "Well, I choose Heaven, therefore, I shall go there," for with any destination, even in the life of the soul after death, it is not enough to choose any path to get to one's destination, for not all paths end up in the desired destination, or are expedient in arriving to one's intended destination within the time alloted.  Since we do not know definitively, our alloted times, we must choose the expedient path to being united with God.  

"How is it that one could choose a place to dwell in eternity if in death one no longer has free will?"  By the moment our souls are separated from our bodies, we lose our free will. 

If a person was to learn of God's infinite goodness, truth, beauty and mercy, and yet he had any stain of sin on his soul, or attachment to sin, he would be so humiliated by seeing God for Who He is, and who he is himself as a creature of God by what he has become by his choice (by his being in sin or attachment to sin), he could not chose Heaven because it would not be possible for him to will it by this knowledge of God.  We cannot choose Heaven truly without having chosen to know, love and serve the one, true, Triune God in the way that He desires.  (This ability to know love and serve God comes to us through Baptism, when the supernatural ability of faith, hope and charity are infused into the soul, and remains animated in the soul as long as it is in a state of grace.)




15 September 2010

St. Alphonsus's Meditation on The Sorrows of the Blessed Mother


"We have now to witness a new kind of martyrdom—a Mother condemned to see an innocent Son, and one whom she loves with the whole affection of her soul, cruelly tormented and put to death before her own eyes.
“There stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother.” Saint John believed that in these words he had said enough of Mary’s martyrdom. Consider her at the foot of the cross in the presence of her dying Son, and then see if there be sorrow like unto her sorrow.
Listen to the words in which Mary revealed to Saint Bridget the sorrowful state in which she saw her dying Son on the cross: “My dear Jesus was breathless, exhausted, and in His last agony on the cross; His eyes were sunk, half-closed, and lifeless; His lips hanging, and His mouth open; His cheeks hollow and drawn in; His face elongated; His nose sharp; His countenance sad: His head had fallen on His breast, His hair was black with blood, His stomach collapsed, His arms and legs stiff, and His whole body covered with wounds and blood.”
All these sufferings of Jesus were also those of Mary: “Every torture inflicted on the body of Jesus,” says Saint Jerome, “was a wound in the heart of the Mother.” “Whoever then was present on the Mount of Calvary,” says Saint John Chrysostom, “might see two altars, on which two great sacrifices were consummated; the one in the body of Jesus, the other in the heart of Mary.”
Nay, better still may we say with Saint Bonaventure, “there was but one altar-that of the cross of the Son, on which, together with this Divine Lamb, the victim, the Mother was also sacrificed;” therefore the Saint asks this Mother, “O Lady, where art thou? Near the cross? Nay, rather, thou art on the cross, crucified, sacrificing thyself with thy Son.” Saint Augustine assures us of the same thing: “The cross and nails of the Son were also those of His Mother; with Christ crucified the Mother was also crucified.” Yes; for, as Saint Bernard says, “Love inflicted on the heart of Mary the tortures caused by the nails in the body of Jesus.”
Mothers ordinarily fly from the presence of their dying children; but when a mother is obliged to witness such a scene, she procures all possible relief for her child; she arranges his bed, that he may be more at east; she administers refreshments to him; and thus the poor mother soothes her own grief. Ah, most afflicted of all Mothers! O Mary, thou hast to witness the agony of the dying Jesus; but thou canst administer Him no relief.


She would have clasped Him in her arms to give Him relief, or that at least He might there have expired; but she could not. “In vain,” says Saint Bernard, “did she extend her arms; they sank back empty on her breast.”
Our Blessed Lady herself said to St. Bridget, “I heard some say that my Son was a thief; others, that He was an impostor; others, that no one deserved death more than He did; and every word was a new sword of grief to my heart.”
But that which the most increased the sorrows which Mary endured through compassion for her Son, was hearing Him complain on the cross that even His Eternal Father had abandoned Him: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” Words which the Divine Mother told the same Saint Bridget, could never, during her whole life, depart from her mind.
“All,” says Simon of Cassia, “who then saw this Mother silent, and not uttering a complaint in the midst of such great suffering, were filled with astonishment.”
“Christ,” says Lanspergius, “was pleased that she, the cooperatress in our redemption, and whom He had determined to give us for our Mother, should be there present; for it was at the foot of the cross that she was to bring us, her children, forth.” If any consolation entered that sea of bitterness, the heart of Mary, the only one was this, that she knew that by her sorrows she was leading us to eternal salvation, as Jesus Himself revealed to Saint Bridget: “My Mother Mary, on account of her compassion and love, was made the Mother of all in heaven and on earth.”
And indeed these were the last words with which Jesus bid her farewell before His death: this was His last recommendation, leaving us to her for her children in the person of Saint John: “Woman, behold thy son.”"   --- from The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Liguori 

Domenico Scarlatti Stabat Mater IV-VI

Domenico Scarlatti: Stabat Mater I-III

The Many Faces of Protestantism Among Catholics - Part I

There are many 'faces' of Protestantism among Catholics today.  As-a-matter-of-fact, there number is so proliferate, pretty much as many as there are errors and flavors of Protestantism, that it is impossible to enumerate them.  However, this blogger is a bit perturbed over the frequent recurrence, that it seems there is little chance of fully escaping them while even among practicing Catholics.  So, at the invariable risk of making a countless number of people (namely confused Catholics) angry with me, I decided to go ahead, never-the-less, and point them out as they may often appear, and allow the reader to decide for him/herself as to whether or not this is hogwash, or something of a rather serious concern. 

We'll start with a relatively 'lighter' one...



ERROR:  "The 'NEW' Pentecost"
WHERE YOU'LL LIKELY SEE IT:   EWTN, Catholic Radio, Steubenville.
 WHAT THEY SAY:   There is to be a "New Pentecost" and/or that every one is in need of experiencing their personal "Pentecost"
WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES:  There is only one Pentecost.  It already happened.  Guess when? 
  
This is a hoot.  This is ever so popular among the Charismatics, even those who are careful enough to not come out and admit to you that they are Charismatic (but they won't deny having gone to a Charismatic service and that they found nothing wrong with it).   It ranges from just starting to step in it, to those who are knee-deep in and even swimming in it.  

"But," you say, "what's wrong with saying that people need to have a conversion of heart by the Holy Spirit?"  Answer:  Nothing, except when you call it another "Pentecost".   The reason:   Pentecost happened once, for the purpose of giving the Apostles a special commission that will not, to that extent and purpose of first bringing the Word of God and the sacred traditions supporting its understanding as given to them by Christ himself --- to the entire world.  That was a time in history that formed the Church and all that was needed to be revealed for the purpose of salvation was revealed.   Since then, anyone else going out to do something similar would not be given the same charisms to the same extent, or for the same purpose.  Rather, charisms may be given to spread what was given to the world already by the Apostles.  Nothing new can be taught, because nothing new will be revealed.   Yes, further clarification can be imparted, but nothing contrary to what is already revealed nor contrary to the understanding of the Church.  It can only be further clarified within the understanding that was already passed down through the Holy Ghost by way of the Apostles. 

Another way this error comes out is through people asking for charisms, and/or putting charisms at a higher level than virtue and holiness.  They aren't even at the same level.  A person can have a charism and not be particularly virtuous.  Also, charisms should not be sought out because it is tempting God.   God gives to whom He wills such things, and they are special gifts --- not graces.  They do not assist in the spiritual welfare of the person who has the charism, but their benefit is intended for others for whom this person comes in contact.   People cannot impart what they don't have, that is why even if someone has a charism, it doesn't mean that their first priority should be, say, evangelization.  Always, our first priority should be to love God, and in order to do that, we must receive His grace.  Therefore, we should be asking for graces to grow in holiness, and not charisms.  

The saints always warned us not to ask for such things, as they will be often granted --- but not from God, who wills not to be tempted, but from the devil, who, by the way, is the great imitator of every virtue except obedience, and can always grant what appears to be a charism to someone with unholy desires for such special gifts. 

Incidentally, Charismatics see holy obedience as a secondary, even at times optional virtue, and definitely second to mystical experiences.  Again, this was warned against by the saints, in particular the Church Doctors, who tell us that even they could be fooled by the tricks of the devil, and that no one should ever ask for charisms or mystical experiences because it is a type of idolatry and in the context of any liturgy, it is sacrilegious.



ERROR:  Dale Carnegie Catholicism:  Being a Good Catholic = Winning Friends and Influencing People (i.e. success in career, family, etc.)
WHERE YOU'LL LIKELY SEE IT:   Sermons from both confused traditional and confused Novus Ordo priests, some of EWTN (Johnette B.), Calvin-inspired theologians.
WHAT THEY SAY:   When you use your talents, God will bless you.  He will bless you and with temporal success.    It’s that simple.   Also, you might hear that if you are doing the holy Will of God, that you will become irresistible, and have many friends, and that if you have many enemies, you are probably doing something wrong.  
WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES:   Our Lord teaches that if you truly follow him, you will end up being a “sign of contradiction”.   Many people will not understand you.   There are those few for whom God has a special vocation to keep them in the limelight so to speak, and God gives them characteristics and opportunities where as they discern and follow HIS will, they will, in fact, grow admirers, but enemies as well.  However, this has more to do with God’s calling for them in their path than anything else.  The grace of God does make a person more appealing, but to those that are on the same path.  Otherwise, people often attack the weaknesses that they are afraid of seeing in themselves, even limitations that are temporal, e.g.: poverty, handicaps, etc.  They will tend avoid such people when they themselves have disordered attachments to the opposite, which in this case would be money and physical well-being. 


God more often separates little by little, those for whom He calls closer to Him in this life.   Again, this is partly to do with the path that God has for them.  Also, don't forget, many of the saints had pretty tough lives, and had many enemies within their very ranks:  St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Basil the Great, St. Bernadine of Sienna, etc. See Bob and Penny Lord's book here.    



ERROR:  What we can do for one another is greater than God in The Sacraments.
WHERE YOU'LL LIKELY SEE IT:   Peppered through out the Church, from both traditional priests and Novus Ordo.
WHAT THEY SAY:   Loving your brother is either (or a combination of): a.) more important than even the Sacraments, b.) more necessary than the Sacraments for salvation, c.) A greater sacrifice than even Christ’s Sacrifice at the Altar, d.) A greater proof of God’s love living within you than His giving to you the body of His Son, e.) *Jesus gave us only 2 commandments, and not one of them was pertaining to the Sacraments.
WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES:  The Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation.   While it is possible to do a moral good without the Sacraments, it is impossible to please God without being in a state of grace.  The means to this grace begins by receiving the Sacrament of Baptism, and then that life of grace must be nurtured after the age of reason by receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist.   We are able to love our neighbor in the natural sense without the Sacraments, but Jesus tells us first to love God, then (secondly) to love our neighbor as ourselves.   The means to this order of love is what Christ tells the baptized … “Unless you eat of my body… you do not have life in you.”  God wishes for us to have a supernatural love for our neighbor as that gives Him glory, living under the under this order of love in which we were made to live and give Him glory.

That last point of how I’ve heard this extreme error *(under “what they say”, letter ‘e’), is extreme blasphemy.  God, Himself, comes to us through the Sacraments. 



ERROR:  Calling those who deny Christ our "brothers and sisters in Christ"
WHERE YOU'LL LIKELY SEE IT:   Just about everywhere, but happening less and less.
WHAT THEY SAY:   “…Our “Jewish/Muslim/Protestant” brothers and sisters in Christ…”
WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES Indifferentism is a heresy.  It is condemned by the Church.  We don’t really know whether or not someone is promoting the ever-so-popular false ecumenism when they say this, but it leans towards that direction.   The Church teaches that in the visible body of Christ, our brothers and sisters are not recognized by those outside the Church.  (see Catechism).
The Church also recognizes that people can be outside the physical body, but incorporated in a mystical way into the spiritual body of Christ, if they do not knowingly object to Christ and/or his teachings given to us by the Holy Ghost through the Bride of Christ.  However, we do not know who these people might be, and it is wrong to presume that those who deny Christ and/or the teachings of His Bride are in Christ’s mystical body.   The Church, therefore, traditionally reserves referencing only those formally in the visible, body of Christ as “brothers and sisters” in Christ.  This, too, has scriptural origins besides traditional.

More often than not, immanentism, the heresy which seeks to place God at level with us by saying either that the highest good is what we can do for one another. Sometimes, this occurs more subtly, suggesting that what we can do for one another is greater than what God does for us in giving us the supernatural life of sanctifying grace (which does not eliminate our free will, but promotes within us the love of God, among other infused graces, from which comes the love of neighbor).



ERROR:  The 15-Passenger Van is the modern sign of the Predestined.
WHERE YOU'LL LIKELY SEE IT:   A little everywhere, but predominating in traditional circles, where the people mean to follow the Church teachings on everything, but lose sight of the difference between having something better (the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, for example) and being someone better (as comparing oneself to others).
WHAT THEY SAY:   “I give thanks, Oh Lord that I am not like this here sinner/Publican/heretic/fill-in-the-blank!”  It becomes evident also by gossip and detraction perpetuated commonly by unholy curiosity and spiritual slothfulness.
WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES:   OK, this isn’t just families, but this can be anyone who thinks that they are better than anyone else.   They can recognize that they are better off for having the things that were given to them by God --- not even deserving them, but that is different. 


While it is absolutely true that if a child is raised in a family that teaches values and virtues, that he will likely grow in a better appreciation for them, and therefore be more likely to imitate them, it is not true that a person who does not grow in such a family will be able to lead a virtuous, and yes, holy life.   I mention this because I've heard a few priests say just the opposite:  That a person raised in a bad home will take with him these bad habits inevitably, and fight them even while trying to be holy and live in the Sacraments.  This is taking one bit of truth, and then carrying that ball in the wrong direction.  The bigger picture is that those who are brought to sanctifying grace are given infused graces of faith, hope and charity.  We do not merit these graces, therefore, it doesn't make us egalitarianists to say the simple fact that holiness, such grace comes from God, and not from our parents.   Likewise, it is possible that a child from a traditional home will lack the supernatural understanding and appreciation of the Sacraments, even while he might know more about them than anyone else.   What separates the just from the unjust is a spirit of poverty and humility.   Remember the Pharisee and the Publican:  the Pharisee did everything he was supposed to do and did it well, but without the spirit of poverty.  The Publican, on the other hand, not only did not do what he was supposed to, but then came to such remorse that he dared not approach near the sanctuary, yet begged God for mercy.   Only one of them left justified.


God choses to whom He will give His graces and to the degree that He wills.   


ERROR:  Holiness is passed on by one’s lineage.
WHERE YOU'LL LIKELY SEE IT:   This is a newbie heresy, coming predominately from traditional circles that are often rightfully indignant about the break down of families and the scandals in the Church and the lack of dignity in our culture that they fly off the reservation by becoming scandalized themselves.  When this leads to thinking that they are the chosen ones to lead the world they start forgetting the “first fruits” of charity and become blinded to the teachings of the Church.
WHAT THEY SAY:   “I was born Catholic!”  “David passed on his holiness through his bloodline.” 
WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES:  EACH AND EVERY, SINGLE ONE OF US was born with our father being the devil.  None of us were “born Catholic”.   We are baptized into the Church --- and it is by the blood of Christ that we are born into the Church and become a part of the Mystical Body.   None of us deserves to be in the Mystical Body, but can have this due to God’s mercy.

David did NOT pass along his holiness.  David passed on a spiritual lineage that designated a special office.  The closest thing we have to this today is the priesthood stemming from Christ, as he passed it to his Apostles.



ERROR: Seeking signs for those who are the Predestined:  i.e.:  Someone who lives a “miserable life” with much suffering is apparently not following God, and therefore predestined to Hell.”
WHERE YOU'LL LIKELY SEE IT:  Strange homilies…the occasional, well-meaning priest who may have missed class the day the seminary taught on the Molinists or the Council of Orange. 
WHAT THEY SAY:   “People who have numerous trials are receiving signs from God that they are headed in the wrong direction, and often have a predilection for eternal suffering,” or, “some people are predestined to hell”.
WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES:   The Church dealt with this a very long time ago, and re-dealt with it again.   The Molinists were heretics.  God wishes everyone to enter heaven, and no one is predestined to hell.  There are those that are predestined to Heaven, but we can’t know who they are without extra-ordinary graces that only very few saints were granted.  The Church Doctors, however, have taught that continued suffering can be a sign for predestination … to Heaven, but not to hell. Then again, it is only a single ‘sign’, and not meant to determine another person’s eternal destiny or state of soul.   Such thoughts stem from unholy (sinful) curiosities.  

It is important to remember that no one goes to hell by not having committed an unrepented, mortal sin with full knowledge and consent.  Likewise, no one who is goes to Heaven and was also predestined goes there without having consented by their free will to follow the Holy Will of God.+