Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Florilegia, Friday, April 27, 2012

The reading for the coming week is from next Sunday’s first reading.  How wonderful it would be if today the Church around the world was at peace and being built up, walking in the fear of the Lord.

Reading 1 Acts 9:26-31

When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples,
but they were all afraid of him,
not believing that he was a disciple.
Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles,
and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord,
and that he had spoken to him,
and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
He moved about freely with them in Jerusalem,
and spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord.
He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists,
but they tried to kill him.
And when the brothers learned of this,
they took him down to Caesarea
and sent him on his way to Tarsus.

The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace.
It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, April 25, 2012, St Theresa of Avila

"He who neglects mental prayer needs not a devil to carry him to hell, but he brings himself there with his own hands."  St Theresa of Avila

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Early Church Fathers, Sunday, April 22, 2012 St Clement of Rome

"And know, brethren, that our stay in this world in the flesh is short and fleeting; but the promise of Christ is great and wonderful, and brings us rest in the kingdom which is to come and in life everlasting . . .If then, we do the will of Christ, we shall obtain rest; but if not, if we neglect His commandments, nothing will rescue us from eternal punishment." Clement of Rome

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Florilegia, Friday, April 20, 2012

This weeks reading is from the Gospel for next Sunday, April 27.

Gospel Jn 10:11-18

Jesus said:
"I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Miscellaneous Musings, Thursday, April 19, 2012, How Did This Happen?

I remember growing up that many, if not most, stores and businesses were closed on Sunday.  I remember that the question was never whether a person you knew went to church or not, the question was, which church did he or she go to?  When I was young, Bishop Fulton J Sheen had the number one rated television show in the land – Protestants and Catholics alike tuned in to watch him, my parents included.  In other words, faith, Christian faith, was an integral part of society and, yes, even culture.  What we have today is a disaster that seems only to get worse with each passing day.  Bishop Chaput asks a very good question when he writes,

The question is: How did we get from the America of Tocqueville, where on Sundays “the commercial and industrial life of the nation seems suspended [in piety, and] all noise ceases,” to the America where—borrowing from the words of Pascal Bruckner— we’re the “galley slaves of pleasure,” an America of obsessive consumption and confused sexuality where “the intention was to produce freedom, but the result was advertising; [where] what was liberated was less our libido than our appetite for unlimited shopping”? Archbishop Charles Chaput, A Heart on Fire: Catholic Withness and the Next America, Kindle edition, Location 232

“The galley slaves of pleasure. . .” is an apt description of what is going on today, and a very sad one.  To make matters worse, we have an administration bent on making in impossible legally to return our society to some sort of freedom and sanity; they consider what was once good and normal in this country to be evil and repressive.  One can only see the work of dark forces in their motives, and one can spend a lot of time in prayer and remembrance that these forces must lose, have already truly lost.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Desert Fathers, Sunday, April 15, 2012, St Irenaeus

The Lord of all gave to His apostles the power of the gospel, and by them we also have learned the truth, that is, the teaching of the Son of God - as the Lord said to them, `He who hears you hears Me, and he who despises you despises Me, and Him Who sent Me' [Lk.10:16]. For we learned the plan of our salvation from no other than from those through whom the gospel came to us. The first preached it abroad, and then later by the will of God handed it down to us in Scriptures, to be the foundation and pillar of our faith. For it is not right to say that they preached before they had come to perfect knowledge, as some dare to say, boasting that they are the correctors of the apostles. For after our Lord had risen from the dead, and they were clothed with the power from on high when the Holy Spirit came upon them, they were filled with all things and had perfect knowledge. They went out to the ends of the earth, preaching the good things that come to us from God, and proclaiming peace from heaven to all men, all and each of them equally being in possession of the gospel of God.
St. Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, III

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Natural Law and the Constitution

Hadley Arkes, at The Catholic Thing, offers a wonderful, if brief, analysis of the understanding our Founding Fathers had of the role of natural law in framing our Constitution, I hope you give it a read.  This is especially important for all Catholics to be informed on, so I present a brief quote from the column:

William Blackstone, that legendary commentator on the laws of England, remarked that the law could not contain a principle of revolution. Laws settle the order of things; revolutions unsettle them. But James Wilson, one of the leading minds among the American Founders, insisted that “a revolution principle certainly is, and certainly should be taught as a principle for the constitution.”

For the law in America would begin with the recognition that there could indeed be an unjust law. But that made sense only if one understood that there was a body of principles by which one could judge the rightness or wrongness, the justice or injustice, of those measure that were enacted into law.

The philosopher John Locke unfolded the logic of the matter in a series of questions. What was the source, he asked, of the positive law, the law that was “posited” or enacted. Answer: the legislature. What was the source of the legislature? Answer: the constitution, for it tells of whether we have a legislature and of how many chambers.

But then what was the source of the constitution? It had to be found, said, Locke in some source “antecedent to all positive laws” and that authority was “depending wholly on the people,” on their natural right to be governed with their own consent.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Florilegia, Friday April 13, 2012

The reading for next week is the first reading of the third Sunday of Easter. I hope you prayerfully enjoy!

Reading 1: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Peter said to the people:
"The God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus,
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
Now I know, brothers,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

'My hope is in Christ, who strengthens the weakest by His Divine help. I can do all in Him who strengthens me. His Power is infinite, and if I lean on him, it will be mine. His Wisdom is infinite, and if I look to Him for counsel, I shall not be deceived. His Goodness is infinite, and if my trust is stayed in Him, I shall not be abandoned.'
Pope St. Pius X

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, April 11, 2012

For today, I offer a slight change of pace while trying to stay within the spirit of ‘A Word on Wednesday’.  The following quote is from Archbishop Chaput’s recent Kindle ebook, A Heart on Fire: Catholic Witness and the Next America.  I heartily recommend this book to all Catholics;  it gives a wonderful celebration of the truth the Church teaches that exemplifies the kind of thinking so common among our Founding Fathers.  We badly need to relearn these ideas today.

“Most people know [John Courtney] Murray for his work on Vatican II’s Decree on Religious Liberty. In his 1960 book We Hold These Truths—which has never gone out of print—Murray argues the classic Catholic case for the legitimacy of American democracy. But Murray’s real genius is tucked inside his earlier words from 1940, where he says that “a profound religious truth is at the basis of democratic theory and practice, namely the intrinsic dignity of human nature; the spiritual freedom of the human soul; its equality as a soul with others of its kind; and its superiority to all that does not share its spirituality.” (Kindle e-book edition, Location 114)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Early Church Fathers, Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012, St Ignatius of Antioch

The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection)The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)He underwent all these sufferings for us, so that we might be saved; and He truly suffered, just as He truly raised Himself, not as some unbelievers contend, when they say that His passion was merely in appearance. It is they who exist only in appearance; and as their notion, so shall it happen to them: they will be bodiless and ghost-like shapes. I know and believe that He was in the flesh even after the resurrection.  And when He came to those with Peter He said to them: “Here, now, touch Me, and see that I am not a bodiless ghost.” Immediately they touched Him and, because of the merging of His flesh and spirit, they believed. For the same reason they despised death, and in fact were proven superior to death.  After His resurrection He ate and drank with them as a being of flesh, although He was united in spirit to the Father.  St Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans
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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Authentic Spirituality

“An authentic spirituality is a simple spirituality.”[1]

’ve been reading this book recently, feeding my growing interest in Ignatian spirituality, and the profundity of just this one sentence seems immense.  I’ve often thought it true that the simpler something can be done, or made, the better; great, complex projects or other contrivances usually seem to lead to great difficulties, if not absolute failure.  What’s true in the world can be no less true in our spiritual lives, the simpler the better.

What do I mean?  Well, for example in lectio very often 10 minutes is better that both nothing and an hour.  These days, it’s hard enough to find 10 minutes to sit down, focus, and just soak in God’s Word – an hour is impossible and even attempting such a thing can be disastrous.  Prayer doesn’t have to be difficult, just sit down and talk to God.  Perhaps more importantly, when you’re done talking, take a few minutes to listen to what He has to say.

It’s quite simple really.

[1] From God's Voice Within: The Ignatian Way to Discover God's Will by Mark E. Thibodeaux  (Kindle E-book, Location 70)

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Florilegia, Friday, April 6, 2012

This weeks reading is from the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter next week.  May you have a blessed Easter Triduum and glorious Easter morning!
Gospel Jn 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, "Peace be with you."
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
"Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained."

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord."
But he said to them,
"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe."
Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, April 4,2012 St John Vianny

“One can offer himself as a victim for 8-15 days for the conversion of sinners. One can suffer cold, heat, deprive oneself of looking at something, go visit someone who would appreciate it, make a novena, attend daily Mass for this intention in places where it is possible. Not only would one contribute to God’s glory by this holy practice of praying for sinners, but one would obtain an abundance of grace.”  St John Vianny

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Early Church Fathers, Sunday, April 1, 2012, St Cyprian of Carthage

Saint Cyprian via Wikipedia
[Christ’sl every act, even from His first coming, is marked by an accompanying patience. From the first moment when He descended from the sublimity of heaven to earthly things. The Son of God did not disdain to put on the flesh of man; nor, although not Himself a sinner to bear the sins of others. He put aside His immortality for a time, and allowed Himself to become mortal, so that, although innocent. He might be slain for the salvation of the guilty. St Cyprian of Carthage, The Advantage of Patience.
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