Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I just read this article about the Catholicity of Mark Wahlberg. In it, the article states, "The Catholic actor takes his religion seriously." Then it goes on to say, "....which stands in an antechamber of the master bedroom he shares with girlfriend Rhea Durham and their two kids..."

It doesn't sound like he takes his religion seriously to me. If he did, then he would not be living with his girlfriend and he would not have two children out of wedlock. Last I checked co-habitation and fornication were against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Now, I don't intend to put down Mark Wahlberg. He may be a great guy. But just because you own religious items and hang them up in your bedroom doesn't make you serious about your faith!

If he really took his faith seriously, he would be striving to live out his faith fully and in contrast to his surrounding environment of secular-run Hollywood.

"The Catholic actor takes his religion seriously"

Sorry, but I don't buy it!

If you want to see a Hollywood actor who takes his faith seriously check out Eduardo Verástegui, the star of the movie Bella, who left his former life of stardom to form his own company, Metanoia Films. "A company committed to projects that entertain, engage and inspire."

Quote Of The Day

"You attacked reason. That's bad theology."

-Father Brown in G.K. Chesterton's The Blue Cross.

Apostolic Evidence

"[W]e need to remind ourselves that Christianity does not primarily rest upon the evidence of dead books, but of living men. In other words, the ultimate authority upon which the Christian faith rests is the evidence of the Apostles. It is this evidence which the Church transmits. She has always considered that this transmission was the essence of her mission. It is in relation to this evidence that she has distinguished what was authentic and what was not. The canonical Gospels are the written record of this evidence. And it is the Church which provides the basis of their authority by recognizing them as canonical, in the name of the apostolic authority which she continues."

-Jean Danielou in Christ and Us.

Philosophy Is The Handmaid Of Theology

"As the summons to become the Mother of the God-man involved the highest dignity for Mary, and raised her from a humble maid to be the Queen of all creation, thus also there is no greater distinction for reason than its vocation to cooperation with faith in the generation of theological knowledge, whereby it is elevated beyond its native lowliness to the highest nobility. Mary rose to the dignity of Mother of God by the humble obedience of a handmaid of the Lord. With this obedience she assented to the invitation of her divine bridegroom, and even in her high estate preserved the humility fitting for the Lord's handmaid. So too, reason can receive faith only by the humble acknowledgment of the rights of revelation and an obedient assent to God's call. Even in its intimate union with faith, it must remain conscious of its subjection to faith. With the humility of a maidservant, reason may not contradict faith, but, mistrustful of self, must gladly submit to the infallible guidance of faith. In both cases, however, the bride's dignity ensures that the obedience will be a free and liberating, noble obedience which is not under the constraint of harsh subjection to a master. On the contrary, this obedience proceeds from a tender devotedness that fittingly corresponds to the gracious kindness of the lord.

Therefore he who is repelled by the axiom, 'philosophy is the handmaid of theology,' should turn his thoughts to the handmaid of the Lord and the merit of her humility; he should think of her who is the pinnacle of human eminence and dignity in her attitude toward the divine. For by her humble submissiveness and by her sublime union she prefigures the perfect relationship of all that is human with the divine."

-Matthias Scheeben in The Mysteries of Christianity.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Gospels Are Composed For A Liturgical Purpose

"The Evangelists have arranged [the Gospels] in accordance with a historical scheme. But we notice, in the freedom with which they are arranged, that concern for historical accuracy was secondary with them, and that the Gospels in their turn are not 'Lives of Jesus' in the modern sense of the words, but writings intended perhaps for liturgical reading, and whose very plan may well have been inspired by the requirements of this liturgical purpose."

-Jean Danielou in Christ and Us.


I saw a tomb in Mexico with the names "Jesus" and "Maria" on it. Surely, it must have been the tomb of Jesus Christ!

Yes, the above statement is just as absurd as James Cameron seeing the names "Jesus" and "Joseph" on a tomb and coming to the same conclusion.

Monday, February 26, 2007


"The Christ who invites us to the eucharistic meal is always the same Christ who exhorts us to penance, continually saying 'Repent!'"

-John Paul the Great in Redemptor Hominis.


"The Council reminded us most explicitly that the liturgy is, in the Church’s language, actio, and action. Therefore it implies the participatio actuosa, the active participation of all the faithful. But here again the impression has been given, to a greater or lesser extent, that, if the liturgy is to be the work of the community, it must also be created by it; and, putting it crudely, this led to its being measured by its entertainment value. The idea was to make it as exciting as possible, shaking up the standoffish, the fringe members, and drawing them into community; but, strangely, what happened was that, as a result of all this, the liturgy actually lost its authentic inner vibrancy. For this does not arise from what we do but from the fact that something is being done here which all our concerted efforts cannot achieve. What has created the liturgy’s special position, down the centuries, is the fact that in it a supreme authority is operative, an authority which no one can arrogate to himself. In the liturgy the absolutely Other takes place, the absolutely Other comes among us....

Eucharist means that the Lord’s Resurrection gives us this joy which no one else can. So it is not enough to describe the Eucharist as the community meal. It cost the Lord his life, and only at this price can we enjoy the gift of the Resurrection. Therefore the Eucharist does not stand or fall by its effects on our feelings. Feelings come to an end, and ultimately all entertainment becomes tedious— as we know only too well nowadays. What we need is the presence in our lives of what is real and permanent so that we can approach it. No external participation and creativity is of any use unless it is a participation in this inner reality, in the way of the Lord, in God himself. Its aim is to lead us to this breakthrough to God. This involves two further practical considerations: the liturgy is not a matter of variety and change; it is concerned with an ever-deeper experience of something that is beyond change because it is the very answer that we are seeking. Secondly, liturgy is not only concerned with the conscious mind and with what can be immediately understood at the superficial level, like newspaper headlines. Liturgy addresses the human being in all his depth, which goes far beyond our everyday awareness; there are things we only understand with the heart; the mind can gradually grow in understanding the more we allow our heart to illuminate it.

I would like to mention a third aspect involved in the proper celebration of the Eucharist. It is one of the happy features of worship in the wake of the Council that more and more people participate fully in the Eucharist by receiving the body of the Lord, communicating with him and, in him, with the whole Church of God. Yet do we not feel a slight uneasiness at times in the face of an entire congregation coming to communion? Paul urgently insisted that the Corinthians should ‘discern’ the Lord’s body (1 Cor 11:29): is this still happening? Occasionally one has the feeling that ‘communion’ is regarded as part of the ritual— that it goes on automatically and is simply an expression of the community’s identity. We need to regain a much stronger awareness that the Eucharist does not lose all its meaning where people do not communicate. By going to Communion without ‘discernment’, we fail to reach the heights of what is taking place in everyday ordinariness and manipulation. The Eucharist is not a ritual meal; it is the shared prayer of the Church, which the Lord prays together with us and gives us himself. Therefore it remains something great and precious, it remains a true gift, even when we cannot communicate. If we understood this better and hence had a more correct view of the Eucharist itself, many pastoral problems— the position of the divorced and remarried in the Church, for instance— would cease to be such a burden."

-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in The Feast of Faith.

As a side note to this post, I would like to encourage everyone to read more of Pope Benedict's (Joseph Ratzinger's) works. I think time will show that Pope Benedict is one of the greatest thinkers and theologians of our age. The Church would benefit greatly if there was a wider reading and implementation of his work. I truly believe that this is why the Holy Spirit chose him to be our Pope. To give a greater presence to the extraordinary importance of his writings.

Despise Not Those Made In The Image Of God

"Christ, that is to say, heavenly mercy, comes to the door of your house every day, not only spiritually to the door of your soul, but also materially to the door of your house. For every time a poor person approaches your house, it is without any doubt Christ who is coming, he who said: 'As often as you did it for one of these little ones, you did it for me.' So don’t harden you heart; give a little money to Christ, from whom you want to receive the Kingdom. Give a piece of bread to him, from whom you hope to receive life. Welcome him into your home, so that he might welcome you into his paradise. Give him alms, so that in return he might give you eternal life.

What audacity to want to reign in heaven with him to whom you refuse to give alms in this world! If you receive him during this earthly journey, he will welcome you into his heavenly happiness; if you despise him here in your homeland, he will turn his eyes away from you in his glory. A Psalm says: 'In your city, Lord, you despise their image.' If we despise those who are made in the image of God in our city, that is to say, in this life, we must fear being rejected in his eternal city. So be merciful here below… Thanks to your generosity, you will hear that wonderful word said to you: 'Come. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you'"

-Saint Cesarius of Arles

Friday, February 23, 2007

Jigsaw Puzzles Do Not Matter

"[T]he Church was living in its liturgy the words 'This is my Body; this is my Blood' long before later exegetical affirmations and denials of the Real Presence and long before later theological explanations of impanation, transsubstantiation, transsignification. She had been living the evangelical counsel of poverty of the passage regarding the rich young man (Mk 10:17-22; Mt 19:16-22; Lk 18:18-23) and seeing it as applicable to the religious life long before some scholars began to deny this application. He who divorces himself from the Church cuts himself off from the rich, moving and enlightening mine of patristic spirituality. The insights of these spiritual giants, their tender devotion to Christ, their complete immersion in the revealed word, their prayerful meditatio were all parts of an integrated whole. True enough, a person can choose to follow the supermarket approach to the patristic stores just as he can pick and choose among the doctrines of the contemporary Church. So also can one pick and choose among the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, but he does so at the price of losing the whole picture. The difference is that jigsaw puzzles do not matter. Revelation does."

-Thomas Dubay in Faith and Certitude.

Authority Of The Catholic Church

"By what right and on what basis dare we accept the authority of the New Testament and yet call into question, in some other realm, the Catholic patristic tradition which determined that authority?....Protestantism has yet to find an adequate response to Augustine's 'Ego vero Evangelio non crederem, nisi me catholicae Ecclesiae commoveret auctoritas.'" (I would not believe the Gospel, if there were not the authority of the Catholic Church moving me to it.)

-Patrick Henry Reardon (who happens to be an Episcopalian).

There Is No Excuse To Leave

"My own experience has made it plain to me that few people leave the Church for intellectual reasons. The main reason by far is moral. And so it has been through the ages. The ancient people of Israel did not leave Yahweh because they had theoretical problems about him or his revelation. The problem was behavior. It still is. Power, prestige and pleasure are the main reasons most people depart -although, of course, they place the blame elsewhere. Sheldon Vanauken, a historian and convert from Anglicanism in the early 1980s, speaking of the Church of England being compromised by its origins in Henry VIII, remarks that 'we claimed to see through the pretensions of the papacy, which we had previously accepted for a thousand years, but this sudden insight of Henry's sprang from being refused a divorce in order to marry his floozie (a not-uncommon cause of others leaving Christ's Church ever since).'"

-Thomas Dubay in Faith and Certitude.


"Here I would like to refer to the gesture which is central to worship, and one which is threatening to disappear, namely, the practice of kneeling. We know that the Lord knelt to pray (Lk 22:41), that Stephen (Acts 7:60), Peter (Acts 9:40) and Paul (Acts 20:36) did so too. The hymn to Christ in Philippians 2:6-11 speaks of the cosmic liturgy as a bending of the knee at the name of Jesus, seeing in it a fulfillment of the Isaian prophecy (Is 45: 23) of the sovereignty of the God of Israel. In bending the knee at the name of Jesus, the Church is acting in all truth; she is entering into the cosmic gesture, paying homage to the Victor and thereby going over to the Victor's side. For in bending the knee we signify that we are imitating and adopting the attitude of him who, though he was 'in the form of God', yet 'humbled himself unto death'. In this way, by combining the prophetic word of the Old Covenant and the manner of life of Jesus Christ, the Letter to the Philippians has taken up the sign of kneeling, which it regards as the appropriate posture for Christians to adopt at the name of Jesus, and has given it a cosmic significance in salvation history. Here, the bodily gesture attains the status of a confession of faith in Christ: words could not replace such a confession."

-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in The Feast of Faith. (Emphasis added)

I Agree!

Cardinal Ruini: The teachings of Pope Benedict transmit the joy of being believers.

Illegitimate Sons

"We must receive the traditions and the orthodox teaching from the Fathers, unless we wish to become illegitimate sons."

-St. Athanasius

The traditions and orthodox teaching of the Fathers are all Catholic Doctrines because, guess what?......The Fathers were all Catholic!

So, if you don't receive these traditions and orthodox teachings, but diverge from them......

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Feast Of The Chair Of Saint Peter

"Out of the whole world one man, Peter, is chosen to preside at the calling of all nations, and to be set over all the apostles and all the fathers of the Church. Though there are in God's people many bishops and many shepherds, Peter is thus appointed to rule in his own person those whom Christ also rules as the original ruler. Beloved, how great and wonderful is this sharing in his power that God in his goodness has given to this man. Whatever Christ has willed to be shared in common by Peter and the other leaders of the Church, it is only through Peter that he has given to others what he has not refused to bestow on them.

The Lord now asks the apostles as a whole what men think of him. As long as they are recounting the uncertainty born of human ignorance, their reply is always the same.

But when he presses the disciples to say what they think themselves, the first to confess his faith in the Lord is the one who is first in rank among the apostles.

Peter says: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus replies: Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven. You are blessed, he means, because my Father has taught you. You have not been deceived by earthly opinion, but have been enlightened by inspiration from heaven. It was not flesh and blood that pointed me out to you, but the one whose only begotten Son I am.
He continues: And I say to you. In other words, as my Father has revealed to you my godhead, so I in my turn make known to you your preeminence. You are Peter: though I am the inviolable rock, the cornerstone that makes both one, the foundation apart from which no one can lay any other, yet you also are a rock, for you are given solidity by my strength, so that which is my very own because of my power is common between us through your participation.

And upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. On this strong foundation, he says, I will build an everlasting temple. The great height of my Church, which is to penetrate the heavens, shall rise on the firm foundation of this faith.
The gates of hell shall not silence this confession of faith; the chains of death shall not bind it. Its words are the words of life. As they lift up to heaven those who profess them, so they send down to hell those who contradict them.

Blessed Peter is therefore told: To you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.

The authority vested in this power passed also to the other apostles, and the institution established by this decree has been continued in all the leaders of the Church. But it is not without good reason that what is bestowed on all is entrusted to one. For Peter received it separately in trust because he is the prototype set before all the rulers of the Church."

-St. Leo the Great

"Where Peter is, there is the Church." -St. Ambrose

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John the Baptist.

May we all decrease during this season of Lent, so that Christ may increase in us!

Reason Is The Bride of Faith, The Bridegroom

"It is clear that by entering into this union with faith as bridegroom, reason must be subordinate to faith and must be submissive to it. This subjection of the bride to the bridegroom is the necessary consequence of the union, the natural correlative of the bridegroom's descent to the bride and of the bride's elevation to union with the bridegroom. Reason must be submissive to faith especially in their common activity in the theological sphere, by dedicating its entire effort to the service of faith, and by receiving from faith the law of its behavior. Even in its own proper actions and omissions, reason may not proceed as if it stood alone. It may utter no opinion that opposes the law of its bridegroom, and as a true bride must endeavor even in its own affairs to follow the path pointed out by faith's superior wisdom. Reason may no longer regard itself as isolated, because it is no longer isolated. Much less may it look upon the curtailment of the liberty it possesses in the abstract as a misfortune, for the enjoyment of true liberty is not thereby impeded, but is safeguarded and enhanced."

-Matthias Scheeben in The Mysteries of Christianity.

Hermeneutic Of Faith: The Right Way To Do Biblical Exegesis

"Of course, exegesis can and must also investigate the internal history of the texts in order to trace their development and thought patterns. We all know that there is much to learn from such work. But it must not lead us to neglect the principal task, which is to understand the text as it now stands, as a totality in itself with its own particular message. Whoever reads Scripture in faith as a Bible must make a further step. By its very nature, historical interpretation can never take us beyond hypothesis. After all, none of us was there when it happened; only physical science can repeat events in the laboratory. Faith makes us Jesus' contemporaries. It can and must integrate all true historical discoveries, and it becomes richer for doing so. But faith gives us knowledge of something more than a hypothesis; it gives us the right to trust the revealed Word as such."

-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Will To Believe

"The act of faith, the acceptance of the divine self-disclosure, is based on intellectually grasped evidences, but it remains an act of will, and it is effected by grace. By reason we can see clearly that we ought to believe, that the evidence is adequate, but it is by the will accepting grace that we desire to believe. This is why the proud person will not believe: he does not want God to be God over him. He does not want the entire gospel to be true. He does not accept that the Church’s moral teaching will regulate his lifestyle. He chooses not to make his will correspond to what his intellect sees."

-Thomas Dubay in Faith and Certitude.

Ask A Father

Q: Mr. Augustine, What Am I When I Pray?
A: "You are God's beggar. I mean, we are all God's beggars when we pray. We stand in front of the great householder's gate. In fact we go so far as to prostrate ourselves, we whine and implore, wanting to receive something, and that something is God himself. What does the beggar ask from you? Bread. And you , what do you ask from God, if not Christ, who says, 'I am the living bread who came down from heaven?'"

Ask A Father

Q: Hey Ambrose! Why Doesn't The Lord Rain Down Manna On Us Like He Did To Our Ancestors?
A: "You asked me why the Lord God does not now rain down manna as he did on our ancestors' people. If you reflect, you will realize that he does, even daily, rain down manna from heaven on his servants. In fact, a corporeal manna is found today in many places, but it is not now a matter of such great wonder, because what is perfect has come. This is the Bread from heaven, the Body from a virgin, of which the gospel sufficiently tells us. How much more excellent this is than what went before! Those who ate that manna, or bread, are dead, but he who eats this bread will live forever......Whoever experiences this downpour of divine Wisdom is delighted, and needing no other food, lives not on bread alone but on every word of God."

Gee, Thanks Ambrose! I don't know how I missed that. I'll have to reflect more from now on. But first, I'm gonna go to Mass and receive this wonderful new manna that is the Body and Blood of Christ!

And You Thought Computers Were Tough.....

....See what they had to deal with in the middle ages!

A New Diet For Lent: Daily Eucharist

"God elaborates on a suitable and wholesome new diet for the newly-formed and new-born babe. He says it consists of the one who nourishes and who is the Father of all that are generated and regenerated -just as manna, the celestial food of angels, flowed down from heaven on the ancient Hebrews.....But when our kind and loving Father rained down the Word, he himself became spiritual nourishment to the good. This is a truly amazing mystery, because.....this is the kind of diet the Lord administers: he offers his flesh and pours out his blood, so that nothing is lacking for his children's growth. This is almost too much to take in! And then we are to throw out the old and carnal corruption, our old diet, receiving in exchange a totally new diet -Christ himself as we ingest him for him to remain hidden there. Then, with our Savior enshrined in our souls, as it were, we can correct the affections of our flesh."

-St. Clement of Alexandria

Faith And Works: Distinguish, But Do Not Separate

"Faith is, indeed, distinguished from works, as the apostle says, 'that a person is justified by faith without works.' And there are works that seem to be good....because they are not referred to that end from which they are good. 'For the end of the law is Christ, unto justice to everyone who believes.' Therefore, he did not wish to separate faith from work, but he said that faith itself is a work. For this is the faith that works by love. He did not say, 'This is your work' but 'This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent,' so that he who takes glory may take glory in the Lord."

-St. Augustine

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Prodigal Anglicans Return Home?!

It just may happen!

Michael Barber has the info.


In Luke 1:28, the Archangel Gabriel greets the Blessed Virgin Mary with the words, "Hail, Full of Grace."

The Greek for "Full of Grace" (Gratia Plena in the Vulgate) is "kecharitomene" which comes from the verb "to endow." The word kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle. It refers to an event completed in the past, but with continued relevance to the present.

It is only used elsewhere one other time in the New Testament, and in that case it is not a perfect passive participle.

In the greeting from Luke 1:28, the Archangel is giving Mary a new name. She is now "Full of Grace", who was once known as Mary.

Putting all this together the Archangel is saying to the Virgin, "Hail, You who have been completely, perfectly, and enduringly endowed with grace."

This is why the verse is the seed of the Immaculate Conception.

Origen, in his commentary on this passage says:
"Because the angel greeted Mary with new expressions, which I have never encountered elsewhere in the Scriptures, it is necessary to comment on this. I do not, in fact, recall having read in any other place in the Sacred Scriptures these words: Rejoice, O Full of Grace. Neither of these expressions is ever addressed to a man: such a special greeting was reserved only for Mary."

The Mystery Of The Hypostatic Union: Part 2

"He who is true God is also true man; there is no falsity in this union, wherein the lowliness of man and the greatness of the divinity are mutually united. Just as God is not changed by His show of mercy, so the man is not swallowed up in majesty. Each aspect performs its own acts in co-operation with the other; that is, the Word doing what is proper to the Word, the flesh pursuing what pertains to the flesh. The first of these is ablaze with the miraculous, the other is overpowered with injuries. And just as the Word does not give up any of His equality in the Father's glory, so also the flesh does not abandon the nature of our species. He is one and the same, truly Son of God and truly Son of man. He is God because of the fact that 'in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God'; and man through the fact that 'the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.'"

-St. Leo the Great.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Quote Of The Day

"'Freedom is being allowed to do whatever you want.' There is a deeply profound theological word for this manure!"

-Fr. John Corapi

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Message For Exegetes

"How can we believe that an Evangelist, who evidently intends to recount real facts, would have intentionally inserted false episodes in his narrative? One or the other of these two must be true: he did not do this knowingly, and thus our confidence in him is seriously compromised, or he did this intentionally. But we must prove this latter convincingly. One must at the same time also show that so doing the Evangelist intended to trick or to deceive no one, even though he took no pains to note this expressly, or indicate how the narrative belongs to a literary genre so special that we are authorized to treat it in a manner apart. This is not all. Once on this path, how can we stop?...

In reality, once one admits as present in the Gospels even one purely fictitious account, the exegete finds himself in a hellish bind. Why admit one and not another? The same reasons for calling the historicity of a passage into question can continue to present themselves in relation to other passages, and so in fact has it happened. Initially it was the historicity of the accounts of the infancy to be attacked, then the resurrection, next the baptism of Jesus, the transfiguration and naturally the miracles. We supposedly do not know with certainty whether Jesus actually spoke the words of institution of the Eucharist....all is called into question. This slide into doubt becomes unstoppable and denial inevitable, as experience proves. Skepticism runs wild, a skepticism ruinous of faith, a ruin which little by little includes anything relative to the fundamental events of salvation history. In regard to the multiplication of bread, which some critics in the past sought to transform into a banal picnic rather than acknowledge a miracle, Fr. Lagrange once made this witty observation (as told to me): ‘if the miracle was invented, why not regard the whole event as a complete fiction? One can imagine anything’. Effectively the position of the extreme critics, excluding nothing from denial, at least has the merit of logic. As regards, for example, the accounts of the infancy in St. Matthew and St. Luke, a thoroughly logical negation would consist in refusing to believe everything en bloc, including the virginal conception of Jesus, on the grounds that it belongs to an autonomous literary genre. This genre consists in a clever exegetical, theological and symbolic montage, constructed with the purpose of illustrating the singular greatness of Jesus, by introducing into the Gospel bits and pieces of the Old Testament. But by what right do we refuse some parts of the account and accept the rest?....

Hence, how can I distinguish between the narrative historical and non-historical elements? I will be condemned by this method to everlasting doubt. It is prudent, then, to ponder the words of Fr. Lagrange: ‘one can imagine anything’, everything, including the apparitions of Christ Crucified. (If, as is often said, the details of the apparitions of the Risen Christ were invented, why not consider the fact of the Resurrection fictitious as well?) What certain datum in such a scenario could support a firm conviction to the contrary?"

-Andre Feuillet in Mary: Mother of the Messiah, Mother of the Church.

Christ Hungers For Faith Active In Love

"Did Christ really want physically to relish and consume fruit himself when he sought the fruit of this fig tree? And if he had found it there, would he then even have eaten it? Did he really want to drink water when he said to the woman of Samaria, 'Give me a drink"? When he was on the cross saying "I thirst," was this really all about his physical thirst? For what does Christ hunger more than our good works? For what does Christ thirst more than our faithful response?"

-St. Augustine

One Of Them Cannot Stand Without The Others

"It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls."

-Catechism of the Catholic Church #95

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Letter Of Invitation To The Wedding Of Sister Therese Of The Child Jesus And The Holy Face

God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, and the Most Glorious Virgin Mary, Queen of the Heavenly Court, announce to you the Spiritual Espousals of Their August Son, Jesus, King of kings, and Lord of lords, with little Therese Martin, now Princess and Lady of His Kingdoms of the Holy Childhood and the Passion, assigned to her in dowry by her Divine Spouse, from which Kingdoms she holds her titles of nobility -of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Monsieur Louis Martin, Proprietor and Master of the Domains of Suffering and Humiliation and Madame Martin, Princess and Lady of Honor of the Heavenly Court, wish to have you take part in the Marriage of their Daughter, Therese, with Jesus, the Word of God, the Second Person of the Adorable Trinity, Who through the operation of the Holy Spirit was made Man and Son of Mary, Queen of Heaven.

Being unable to invite you to the Nuptial Blessing which was given on Mount Carmel, September 8, 1890, (the heavenly court alone was admitted), you are nevertheless asked to be present at the Return from the Wedding which will take place Tomorrow, the Day of Eternity, on which day Jesus, Son of God, will come on the Clouds of Heaven in the splendor of His Majesty, to judge the Living and the Dead.

The hour being as yet uncertain, you are invited to hold yourselves in readiness and to watch.

-Composed by St. Therese the Little Flower.

St. Peter, Sacred Scripture, And The Church

I re-read the Second Letter of St. Peter this weekend and I noticed a couple of things.

First, St. Peter begins and ends his letter with a warning about the misinterpretation of Scripture.
2 Pet 1:20-21:
"First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

2 Pet 3:15-17:
"So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability."

Second, St. Peter warns against the idea of "Faith Alone."
2 Pet 1:5-11:
"For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

2 Pet 3:17:
"So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability."

Peter knew that Paul's words were easily twisted to teach false doctrines, not unlike what happens today. Anyone who interprets St. Paul to say that "Faith Alone" is all we need for salvation ignores Christ's demand that we obey his commandments and do the will of the Father. If faith is not supplemented by the other things St. Peter lists at the beginning of his letter, the a person is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

Peter is saying that Scripture must be read with the Church, not apart from it. Those who choose to read Scripture without the Church will be carried away with error and lose their stability. We have seen the truthfulness of St. Peter's teaching with our Protestant brethren. They have countless divisions amongst them and all claim to be using the Bible alone. Mainline Protestant denominations are quickly becoming blatantly liberal and approving of same-sex "marriages" and supporting abortion. Case in point is the Episcopal Church who is headed by a woman who has publicly said that she supports both same-sex "marriage" and abortion. She is also a disciple of the retired Episcopal bishop of New Jersey, Jack Spong, who denies the Resurrection. And that is just one denomination.

It is a fact that God exists. It is a fact that He created us and all of existence from nothing. As creatures we naturally long for our Creator. St. Augustine said that our hearts are restless until they rest in God. It is a fact that God came down to earth and became man to offer Himself up as a sacrifice to atone for Israel's breaking of the Dueteronomic Covenant and the sins of the whole world. We deserved to die for breaking the covenant. But God loves us so much that He would rather take the curses of the covenant upon Himself instead of giving us our just rewards. And because Christ is the perfect priest offering up Himself as the perfect sacrifice, not only are the curses of the covenant removed, but the blessings of the covenant are sent out to all. And before Christ offered Himself on the Cross He established the New Davidic Kingdom, the Kingdom of God; a heavenly Kingdom. This Kingdom established by Christ the King is the Supreme Kingdom. It Has ministers established by the King (the bishops) and a Prime Minister (the Pope) who has authority given to him by the King. The Prime Minister is second in authority, only behind the King. He has been given power to bind and loose, to shut and open. The Kingdom of God also has a Gebirah, a Great Lady, a Queen Mother (Mary). The Queen Mother is the chief counselor of the King and Advocate for the people. This honor is given to the Queen Mother by the King not out of obligation, but out of honor and filial love.

This Kingdom has a Liturgy. It has sacred writings which are for the Liturgy and are meant to be read in the Liturgy. This Kingdom has the authority to guide the interpretation of these sacred writings. To separate the interpretation of these writings from the Church is to desacrilize them.

This Kingdom is present here on earth and in Heaven. This Kingdom is the Catholic Church.

Seriously, How Can You Not Love A Pope Who Drinks Bier?

See, Frank. This makes my profile photo legit!

Natural Law

"Awareness of natural law is inscribed in our very being. The law inscribed in our nature is the true guarantee offered to everyone to be able to live freely and in dignity....No law made by man can overturn that of the Creator without dramatically affecting society in its very foundation."

-Pope Benedict XVI

Abortion and homosexuality are against the natural law. But if the natural law is inscribed in our very being, how have we come to the point where people not only go against their very being, but vehemently deny it?

St. Paul tells us the answer in Romans 1:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fact Or Fiction?

"That the Gospels are the work of eye-witnesses (or are based on eye-witness sources) is indicated not only by the things which they record, but by the things which they do not record. The Gospels are full of homely details which an eye-witness would have recorded, and are full of gaps which a fiction writer would have filled in. Read the most perfect short story in literature, the story of the woman taken in adultery. The great masters of the short story might have invented the sublime touch, 'Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground', but they would not have been content to leave us ignorant of what Christ wrote. It is contrary to the canons of fiction to arouse the reader's expectations without easing his curiosity. Had Tolstoy invented this touch, Christ would have written something very telling in the dust, something very telling indeed, but nothing half so telling as the silence of St. John. Reticence is the keynote of the Gospels. The Evangelists record unadorned fact. They never point a moral or adorn the tale."

-Arnold Lunn, from the article "The Objectivity of the Gospels."

Take A Lesson From The Fathers

"They [the Fathers of the Church] wrote so richly of the spiritual life because they first lived what they studied and pondered. They wrote of what they knew, not merely what they concluded. Exegesis is, therefore, to happen within ecclesial life, for the New Testament itself emerged wholly from the womb of the first-century Church and was judged from the outset as expressing authentically her mind and spirit and worship."

-Thomas Dubay in Faith and Certitude

The Supermarket Approach Doesn't Cut It

"It is clear that the person who is selective in his acceptance and rejection of diverse items in the deposit of revelation is not accepting what he does accept on authority of God's revealing it but on the basis of his own private judgement. This supermarket approach of selecting some doctrines and rejecting others makes it obvious that God's word is not the reason for this person's religious commitment."

-Thomas Dubay in Faith and Certitude.

Let us also remember the words of St. Peter:

"First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." -2 Peter 1:20-21

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Business Retreat

I was on a business retreat this weekend. It was spent talking to my Boss. That is praying to God. You see, as a Theology major, I take my orders from the Supreme Boss, God. We got down to some serious business about strategies for my work...or rather His Work, as it was an Opus Dei retreat. This was my first retreat and it truly was a blessing. I learned so much from it and I can definitely say that my spiritual life has been deepend greatly! If you have never gone on a retreat before, find the next one that it coming up and and sign up now! You won't regret it. You will thank yourself for it and more importantly thank God for it.

Here are some things I learned or deepend my understanding of through prayer and meditation:

First of all, I learned that my daily meditations should be more focused, instead of trying to meditate on every mystery of Christianity. St. Josemaria suggests praying along with the Church with these specific subjects during the week:
Monday-> Holy Souls of Purgatory
Tuesday-> Guardian Angels
Wednesday -> St. Joseph
Thursday -> Eucharist
Friday -> Passion of the Lord
Saturday -> The Blessed Virgin Mary
Sunday -> The Holy Trinity

One of the things I pondered on which I wrote down was the Eucharist. It says in the Gospels that Christ desires to celebrate the Passover with the Apostles. Why? Was it just to pass on some symbolic action that they must do over and over? No. It was because He earnestly desired to institute this Sacrament of His Body and Blood, whereby He gives Himself totally and completely to us. He desires to fill us with His grace. To actually live within us! And it's not just Christ we receive and who lives in us, but the entire Trinity! For wherever Christ is, the Father and the Holy Spirit are there as well. What a glorious gift the Eucharist truly is!

I also thought more about this post I did last week on the speculation of Mary's baptism. I have changed my mind on the matter, but for a totally different reason than the poster I mentioned. Mary probably would have chosen to be baptized. Not because she needed it, but out of her humility. St. Josemaria in his meditation on the Presentation says that Mary offered the two doves for purification, not that she was defiled in the birth of Christ, but out of obedience to the law and out of the utmost humility of her heart! She would have done likewise with baptism.

I also read St. Therese of Lisieux's autobiography. What an amazing person she was! She has such a wonderful knowledge of Scripture and is able to explain the truths of Christianity in the simplest way. It's no wonder she is a Doctor of the Church. I learned so much more about redemptive suffering and loving Jesus than I had ever thought possible in 312 pages. And her devotion to the Blessed Mother is something to be sought after and greatly admired! I think the Little Flower is now my favorite saint....besides St. Patrick of course.

My goal is to combine St. Therese with St. Josemaria. I want to have the interior life of St. Therese in the world, so that I may win souls for Christ through prayer, suffering, and love as well as by the example I set. I want Christ's light to shine through me, so that all may see His glory. I want to be a theologian that does the kind of theology that Hans Urs von Balthasar described as "kneeling theology."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Don't Blame Jesus

“'Who can tell the mighty deeds of the Lord, or proclaim all his praises?' (Ps 106:2) Which shepherd ever nourished his sheep with his own body? But what am I saying – a shepherd? Often, mothers entrust their children to a wet nurse as soon as they are born. But Jesus Christ cannot accept that for his sheep; he himself nourishes us with his own blood, and thus he causes us to become one single body with him.

My brothers, consider that Christ was born of our own human substance. But, you will say, so what? That doesn’t concern all human beings. Excuse me, my brother; it is a great advantage for all of them. If he became man, if he came to take on our nature, that concerns the salvation of all human beings. And if he came for all, he also came for each one in particular. Perhaps you will say: So why have not all accepted the fruit that they were supposed to receive through that coming? Don’t blame Jesus, who chose this means for the salvation of everyone; the fault lies with those who reject this kindness. For in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ unites himself to each of his faithful; he causes them to be reborn, he nourishes them with himself, he does not abandon them to another, and thus he convinces them once again that he really took on our flesh."

-Saint John Chrysostom

Friday, February 09, 2007

In Touching Christ's Humanity, We May Perceive His Divinity

"Divine strength, which the human being cannot touch, came down; it covered itself with a palpable body, so that the poor might touch it, and in touching Christ’s humanity, they might perceive his divinity. Through the fingers of flesh, the deaf-mute felt that his ears and his tongue were being touched. Through the palpable fingers, he perceived the divinity that cannot be touched when his tongue’s bond was broken and when the closed doors of his ears were opened. For the body’s architect and artisan came to him, and with a gentle word, without pain, he created openings in deaf ears. Then the mouth as well, that had been closed and until then incapable of giving light to the word, put into the world praise of him who thus caused its sterility to bear fruit.

In the same way, the Lord made mud with his saliva and spread it over the eyes of the man born blind so as to make us understand that, like the deaf-mute, he was lacking something. An inborn imperfection in our human batter was removed thanks to the leaven that comes from his perfect body… To fill in what was missing in these human bodies, he gave something of himself, just as he gives himself to be eaten [in the Eucharist]. By this means he causes the faults to disappear and raises the dead, so that we might recognize that the faults of our humanity are filled, thanks to his body in which “the fullness of deity resides”, and that true life is given to mortals by means of this body, in which true life resides. "

-Saint Ephrem

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

From The Very Mouth Of A Saint

"The history of the church teaches us that the greatest saints are those who professed the greatest devotion to Mary."

-St. John Bosco

Our Lady's Perpetual Virginity

"Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut. And he said to me, 'This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.'"

-Ezekiel 44:1-2

This passage from Ezekiel is a favorite for the Church Fathers in defense of the Blessed Virgin Mary's perptual virginity.

"Some quite emphatically understand this closed gate through which only the Lord God of Israel the Virgin Mary, who remains a Virgin before and after childbirth. In fact, she remains always a Virgin. in the moment in which the Angel speaks with her and when the Son of God is born." -St. Jerome

"she is closed because she is a virgin; she is a gate, because Christ has entered through her......This gate faces east, because she has given birth to him who rises, the sun of justice.....Mary is the good gate that was closed and was not opened. Christ passed through it, but did not open it." -St. Ambrose

"[Christ] precisely as Legislator fulfills His own law in a manner transcending that law: He does not in fact open, but leaves closed the virginal gate, removes not the natural seal, injures not the Mother of God, but leaves intact her virginal honor." -Hesychius of Jerusalem

"[Jesus] as God does not break the virginal seals: in such wise He exits the womb as He entered there through the ear; thus He was born, as He was conceived: without passion He entered, without corruption He exited, according to the Ezekiel who says: 'This gate will remain closed.'" -St, Proclus of Constantinople

Monday, February 05, 2007

Women: Be Like Mary

"The mystery of Eve-Mary is also the mystery of every woman. In life, every woman is capable of being Eve or Mary, can conduct herself and fulfill herself either like Eve or like Mary. The first is the woman who degrades herself, the second is the woman who ennobles herself. The first capitulates to temptation; the second resists and defeats the tempter. The first brings ruin upon herself and other; the second saves herself and others. The first also involves Adam in her disgrace; the second collaborates with the New Adam in the work of redemption."

-Fr. Stefano Manelli in All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed: Biblical Mariology.

Isaiah 7:14

"Critical problems with regard to the meaning of the term "virgin" involving philological exegesis of the text have now been definitively resolved. Rolla writes: 'The Virgin (in Hebrew ha'almah): the presence of the article indicates that the person in question is someone definite, if not from the context, at least in the prophet's mind. The person in question is 'almah, that is, a young girl, a girl of marriageable age, maiden, virgin. In fact, the Hebrew term, in the eight places where it does appear in the Hebrew Bible apart from the present text (Esther 2:8; Gen 24:43; 1 Chron 15:20; Song 1:3, 6:8; Ps 45:1, 67:26; Prov 30:19), always indicates a woman both sexually and chronologically mature, not named, and, therefore, ordinarily still a virgin."

-Fr. Stefano Manelli in All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed: Biblical Mariology.

Not to mention the exegesis St. Matthew does in his Gospel (which is the inspired word of God):
"All this was done in order to fulfill that which the Lord had spoken by the prophet: Behold, a virgin shall be with child and bring forth a son who will be called Emmanuel, which means God with us." (Mt 1:22-23)

St. Ambrose also points out that Isaiah 7:14 is evidence for Mary's virginity remaining intact during the very act of giving birth:
"This is the Virgin who conceived in her womb, the Virgin who bore a son. For thus it is written: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son. Not only is it said that the virgin would conceive, but that the virgin would bear a child."

The Fathers of the Church also compared the miracle of Mary's virginity remaining intact in giving birth to Christ with the example of light shining through a glass.

Baptized Or Not?

Mark Shea has a lively discussion going, speculating on whether or not Mary was sacramentally baptized. He is in favor of Mary not having been. The comments are up to 57 at the moment and I haven't read them all but rather briefly scanned through them.

One commenter has made these remarks in favor of Mary's baptism:

"Mary needed to baptised to receive the other sacraments (non baptized individuals can not validly receive any other sacrament). Mary could not have received the Eucharist with baptism......To hold the position that Mary never was baptized is to hold that she was never confirmed or received the Eucharist. If you do not know the theological principle stated above, look it up in any orthodox book on the Sacramental Theology.....The Immaculate Conception did not: Make Mary a Christian, because it did not give her the mark of baptism. It did not incorporate her into the Mystical Body of Christ."

As Mark noted, he seems very cocksure in speculation as if he were presenting dogma.
In all humility and as merely speculation, I would propose the following answer to the commenter (and maybe someone already has stated the same. As I said, I haven't read all the comments):

First of all, Mary wouldn’t require baptism because of her Immaculate Conception. Second she would be initiated into the life of Christ by the very fact that she is His Mother! One could say that Mary carrying Christ in the womb for 9 months (all the while receiving unlimited grace) would act as a sort of baptism. The problem with the commenter's logic is that he is comparing sinless and Immaculate Mary to the rest of sinful creation.

Now, Mark does bring up a good point that maybe Mary would have chosen sacramental baptism without needing it in order to be more like Christ who was baptized without the need for it. This would go hand in hand with the speculation of whether Mary died or not before her Assumption. The tradition in the East says that Mary chose to die in order to be more like Christ (yet her death did not corrupt her body) and the West traditionally says that she was assumed without death at the end of her life. The only thing about the baptism for Mary, is that it isn't anyway in Tradition (which is why I agree with Mark against it). Of course, arguments from silence aren't the best as well......isn't theology fun!

The Mystery Of The Hypostatic Union

"Lowliness is assured by majesty, weakness by power, and mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that is incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other...He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death. He who is true God is also true man."

-Saint Leo the Great.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Mother's Loving Words To Her Son: "Accept Death"

A classmate of mine, Kevin Clarke, has written an excellent paper comparing the Blessed Virgin Mary with the mother in Maccabees. Give it a read, you won't regret it!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

My Conversion Story

At least, the short version anyway.

Presentation Of Our Lord

I know the Presentation of Our Lord was yesterday, but I didn't want to miss commenting on it.

In the Presentation, we see Christ being set apart and consecrated for the priesthood. When Christ is presented in the Temple, he isn't bought back as the law proscribed for the firstborn sons, rather, like Samuel, he was dedicated to God. The two doves mentioned in Luke (the Gospel reading for yesterday) are not for Christ's ransom (which would have been five shekels), but for the removal of uncleanness incurred by Mary in giving birth to Christ according to Jewish custom.

The reading from Hebrews that we heard yesterday about Christ being the perfect mediator and priest also emphasize this fact. Another thing I found that went with this, is in the readings for the evening Daily Office from yesterday. The first psalm was from Psalm 110, the great psalm that links Christ with the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. Also, the Scripture reading for the Office was from Hebrews 4:15-16:

"We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet never sinned. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and favor and to find help in time of need."

Christ is our great high priest! For more on this subject, here is a paper I wrote on the priesthood of Christ for my Biblical Foundations class last semester.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Raise A Pint To Saint Brigid!

Today is her feast day, and here is one of my favorite quotes from a saint:

"I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all. I would like Jesus to be present. I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us. I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts. I would like myself to be a rent payer to the Lord; that I should suffer distress, that he would bestow a good blessing upon me. I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings. I would like to be watching Heaven's family drinking it through all eternity."

-Saint Brigid of Ireland.