Saturday, March 14, 2009

Holy Father Promotes Eucharistic Adoration

Eucharistic Jesus

"The doctrine of the transubstantiation of the bread and wine, and of the real presence, are a truth of faith," the Holy Father affirmed, "already evident in sacred Scripture and later confirmed by the Fathers of the Church."

"Adoration must become union," Benedict XVI added, "union with the living Lord and with His mystical Body."


Read the rest here

Prayer in Time of Jealousy

Lord Jesus Christ,
I am caught in a web of jealousy
that stays with me night and day.
Help me to put away from me this evil
which your Word tells us rots bones (Prov 14:30)
and even shortens lives (Sir 30:24).
Bring home to me the further evils
to which it leads if left unchecked:
slander, calumny, hatred,
damaged relations, persecutions, and worse things.

Let me dwell constantly on the motives for loving others
rather than being jealous of them.
Remind me of the fleeting character
of all life's attachments and successes
and of the fact that our true happiness
lies in being united closely with you
and with all others in you.

Amen.


- New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing Company

Lord of the World

Those of you who are interested in the Fanzaga book Wrath of God, will be interested in Fr. Schall's recent article which can be found at Inside Catholic: The Lord of the World.

Friday, March 13, 2009

PART II - The Wrath of God: The Days of the Antichrist

My initial post on the book can be found here

Since one of my readers asked me to share more about Fr. Fanzaga's book, I thought I would share the following:

Betrayal of Believers and Growth of Apostasy

Father Fanzaga posed the question "How can it come about that Christianity, which once formed entire civilizations, will be reduced to a 'little flock'?

According to Monsignor Benson's (inadvertently referred to as "Father Benson" in my first post) gives us food for thought:

"The reduction of the Church to a 'little flock' comes about through the betrayal of Christians who, having absorbed Christianity, become tired of the faith and behave as the Galatians of whom Paul says: 'Are you people of Galatia mad? Has someone put a spell on you in spite of the plain explanations yo have had of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?..." [Gal. 3:1-5]
From a conversation in Benson's novel, the following question is posed:
"Was the fall of the Church a consequence of having lost faith or was it its cause?
The response in that conversation:
the fall of the Church was brought about by loss of faith. The faithful rejected the faith. They fell because of internal collapse. The religious deception is well advanced.
When I read this part again, it was obvious that is what Fr. John Corapi was trying to emphasize on his recent appearances on EWTN. He was addressing the wake-up call Catholics recently had in Connecticut as well as the other evils that we are faced with now on an almost daily basis. He pointed out that only 20% of "Catholics" go to Church regularly. He was sure that if all those Catholics were firm Catholics (I'm paraphrasing) we could stand up to these evils.

Father also firmly stated that we need to wake up and not be complacent. Father said the days of it being enough to go to Sunday Mass are not enough. We need to be watchful and be ready and also as importantly, not to be fearful.

There are two important themes in the Benson novel:

1. The Church cannot be broken by external persecution. Father Fanzaga quotes Tertullian's believe that external persecution strengthens the Church. The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.

2. The Church falls because of internal betrayal and infidelity.

The infidelity referred to due is "our desire to diminish God and replace Him with ourselves and our desire for this world".

According to Benson's novel, one of the movements which prepared for the arrival of the Antichrist was that of "Free Ecclesiastics":
"Then there was a strange little movement among the Free Churchmen even earlier: when ministers who did no more than follow the tide--who were sensitive to draughts, so to speak--broke off from their old positions. It is customary to read in the history of the times how they were hailed as independent thinks...
Fr. Fanzaga praises the foresight that Benson had in 1907 when he wrote the novel. It was then that he envisioned the erosion of the Holy Bible's authority as a Sacred Book. This would in turn change Christianity to a religion that denied the divinity of Christ. There would be "a desire for emancipation on the part of a clergy which no longer perceives its supernatural state, loses its identity, abandons celibacy and which becomes absorbed by the world."

Father Fanzaga here reminds us that in the 1970's the Church who had 400,000 priests, lost 80,000 of them.

Here is a little more on that new religion...new Christianity:

Benson did not perceive that atheism would cause the crisis of faith but instead the rise of a new religion which deifies man. This new religion would have its ministers, own rites, own ceremonies, etc.
..."Churches and abbeys will be transformed into temples of the new religion of humanitarianism and the Mass will be displaced by the celebration of the new rites. The statue of Christ will disappear and in its place the statue of 'man' will be raised up in the form of 'Apollo,' symbol of corporeal beauty and virility. The statues of 'maternity' and 'fertility' will replace those of Our Lady. Former priests will defect to the new religion...While churches in which Christ is still adored and Our Lady honored will be empty, those of the new religion will be filled to capacity....

Man will go to Church to worship himself...The crisis of faith is the crisis of the supernatural. Man no longer believes in something beyond his own reason...

The 'new age' phenomenon corresponds exactly to the growth of the new humanitarian religion which denies a transcendent God and exalts man and his resources into an absolute...
Who is the Antichrist?

I would like to add a little more to Fr. Fanzaga's interpretation of Benson's Antichrist is as follows:
The person of the Antichrist is manifest at the center of the great schism of man from God. He is at the heart of man's self-deification. He is the one whome Paul calls 'the man of iniquity.' He is the supreme manifestation of humanitarian religion. It is impossible to separate the Antichrist from the specific context of apostasty, loss of faith and rebellion against God.

A Prayer in Time of Criticism

Heavenly Father,
I am the butt of severe criticism
on the part of others
and I do not know how to react to it.
Help me to know what to do
and to carry it out without fear or hesitation.
Let me fear nothing except to be faithless to you while avoiding bitterness, defensiveness, or retaliation.

Grant that I may have the moral strength
to keep my poise and my faith in myself
because they are founded on you.
If I deserve the criticism, let me realize it
so that I may change my ways.
If I do not deserve it
let me be gracious in being vindicated,
in imitation of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.


New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing Company

On Setting an Example of Being a Christian

St. Josemaria Escriva

661 Long face, rough manner, ridiculous appearance, unfriendly attitude. Is that how you hope to inspire others to follow Christ?

Works of St. Josemaría Escrivá

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Prayer in a Bad Mood

Heavenly Father,
I awoke this morning in a bad mood
and I have been unable to shake it so far.
Everything bothers me
and everyone rubs me the wrong way.
I just cannot seem to get my true bearings.
Help me to think of your salvation-
your countless gifts and overwhelming love for me.

Let me relax and forget life's cares
by placing myself wholly in your hands.
Grant that this mood will soon pass
and I will be able to bask in your love
and communicate it to others.

Amen.

- New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing Company

On Blessings from God

St. Josemaria Escriva

658 If things go well, let us rejoice, blessing God who makes them prosper. And if they go badly? Let us rejoice, blessing God who allows us to share in the sweetness of his Cross.


The Works of St. Josemaría Escrivá

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wrath of God: The Days of the Antichrist

Wrath of God

"Who is the Antichrist?"
..."I am convinced that Christians should free themselves from the idea that the Antichrist can come from anywhere, Heaven or Hell, and that he will manifest himself s an evil person who will impose his dominion by force. Dear friends, the contrary is the case. The Antichrist will appear in a very specific context--that of the triumph of the spirit of the world in the form of the religion of man. From a human point of view he will be a fascinating person. From a natural perspective he will be the best human being produced by nature. He will be proclaimed as Lord and God by all the churches of the world which he will have reordered for the adoration of man. Everything will be done through conviction and not through force.

With the eyes of faith we can see him as the incarnation of the Devil and the supreme manifestation of evil. From a worldly perspective, however, he will regarded as one of the greatest men ever to have been born. He will possess an incredible power to seduce man. He will possess in himself a fascination for everything beautiful that nature has ever produced. For this reason, perhaps, Christians will find it difficult to see him for what he is...Fr. Livio Fanzaga.

A few years ago, one of my good friends not only highly recommended Fr. Fanzaga's book Wrath of God: The Days of the Antichrist, she loaned it to me. I picked it up, tried reading it but I could not get interested in it. That was the end of that and I put the book out of my mind.

Since it was Lent, I decided to finally read this book and I haven't been able to put it down.

Fr. Livio Fanzaga is a well known Catholic writer in Italy. He is known as the "radio priest". This book consists of the transcripts of two of Father's radio broadcasts in 1993-1994 on Radio Maria. In those broadcasts, Fr. Lanzaga tackled the topic of the Antichrist, based mainly on two works of literature: A Short Tale of the Antichrist by Vladimir Soloviev and Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson.

Soloviev saw the Antichrist as follows:
..."[he] was a convinced idealist. He believed in the Good, even in God, but he only loved himself. The inordinate pride of the great idealist seemed justified both by his exceptional genius, beauty and nobility, and his lofty asceticism, disinterestedness and active philanthropy....

...At the beginning he has no hostility against Jesus. He recognized his good intention and his lofty teaching. Three things about Jesus were unacceptable to him: firstly, his moral preoccupations; then his claim to uniqueness; and the third thing the Antichrist could not accept about Christ was that He lives, so much so that he screams to himself repeatedly: "He is not living, He is not and shall not be! He rotted in the tomb, rotted like the lowest...!"
There is so much that I could go into greater detail of Father's analysis of the Antichrist such as his political and social agendas. Since space does not permit, I will focus on the Antichrist's religious agenda.

Of course, the Antichrist doesn't introduce himself to the world as such. He instead declares himself to be emperor of the world.

Why his interest in religion? It is because it is his objective to eradicate Christianity, ..."after which he knows that he will have no difficulty in brushing away all other religions."
"At the time of the Antichrist the number of believers will be greatly reduced. In the whole world Christians will number no more than forty-five million.

A great apostasy is taking place. The program of political and social reform, so successfully carried through, seems to satisfy man's every desire and need. Many are enchanted by the new religion of humanitarianism and have turned their backs on the faith. What the Gospel says of false prophets has come to pass (cf. Mt. 23:11 ff; Mc 12:22). The greatest of these is the Antichrist."
In one powerful section of the book, the Antichrist decides to call the religions together to a council which he will lead. It is to be held in Jerusalem.

Soloviev's tale on how only a "tiny flock" will remain is very intriguing. Those who stand firm and who will expose the Antichrist will be Pope Peter II of the Catholic Church, the unofficial leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Starets John and a a religious Protestant professor named Ernst Pauli.
"The Antichrist attempts to unite the Church and end all divisions among Christians. Finally, he, and not Christ, is savior of the Church...

The emperor transfers his residence to Jerusalem...Only one temple will be erected. It will be an imperial temple in which all religions will be united.

But who will be adored in this temple? The man made god, the Antichrist, will be worshiped in this temple. "
This emperor soon to be exposed as the Antichrist as aforesaid, speaks to all present in a soothing, seemingly concerned tone and manner.
"Dear brother Catholics! oh, how well I understand your view and how I should like to find support for my power in the authority of your spiritual head! ....I solemnly declare: in accordance with my autocratic will the chief bishop of all Catholics, the Pope of Rome is henceforth restored to his Roman See with all the rights and privileges that had ever been given it by my predecessors beginning with Emperor Constantine the Great.
Ah, but what does this benevolent ruler want in return:
"And all I want of you, brother-Catholics, is an inner heart-felt recognition of me as your only defender and patron. Let those who regard me as such in their heart and conscience come to me here.' And he pointed to the empty seats on the platform."
How do the Catholics respond to this request? How would each and everyone of us react if we were given the choice? I have been thinking and praying about this a lot lately.
"With joyful cries 'Gratias agimus! Domine, salvum fac magnum imperatorem' almost all the princes of the Catholic Church, cardinals and bishops, the majority of believing laymen and more than half the monks went up on the platform and after low bows to the emperor, took their seats there."
It appears that the Catholics have abandoned the Catholic Church for the promises of the Antichrist. So, what happened to the Church?
"But down below in the middle of the hall, straight and immovable as a marble statue, the Pope, Peter II sat in his place."
Where the pope is, there too is the Church.
Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia
"All who had surrounded him were on the platform. But the thinned ranks of monks and laymen closed around him, forming a narrow ring, and a restrained whisper came from there. "Non praevalebunt, non praevalebunt porte inferni.'"
And so, after the Emperor finishes with the Catholics, he addresses the Russian Orthodox in a similar manner and then the Protestants. It is quite moving reading about how the leaders of the other two Christian religions unite with the Catholic Pope and his tiny flock.

In the second part of his book, Father Fanzaga analyzes the Antichrist in Father Robert Hugh Benson's Lord of the World.

Julian Felsenburgh is the name of Benson's Antichrist. Unlike Soloviev's European born Antichrist, Felsenburgh is an American.

According to Fr. Fazgana:
"Benson presents a positive image of the Antichrist. It is a portrait of a politician of high human qualities. He is calm, serene, educated, a pacifist and a universalist. He can bring people into the way of justice, prosperity and peace. There will be no more misery or violence at the time of his appearance. Instead there will be perfect concord and fulfillment of the materialist ideal as well as that of Masonry and communism.

Catholicism alone will resist him.
At the end of the Benson novel, there is a "settling of accounts" by two armies. The Humanitarians who followed the religious deception of the Antichrist and the tiny flock of the Catholic Church, led by the Vicar of Christ.

The book is very interesting reading. It was hard to put down. I suggest that if you do read it to do so with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Holy Bible at your side for references to many of Father Fanzaga's citations.

Father does delve into several possibilities regarding the coming of the Antichrist and the end of the world according to two main writers as well as his own interpretation.

A red flag did go up when I saw Father Fanzaga referring to works of controversial Maria Valtorta, until I realized he was not focusing on her spiritual writings such as the Poem of the Man-God, but instead of the context of her description of the Antichrist. He even offers a disclaimer about her works as the Vatican has cautioned.

I highly recommend this book. In searching for another copy for my family, I noticed that it is very expensive to obtain. It is more affordable when buying from an online Catholic book supplier.

If you are interested in reading the two novels referred to in Father Fanzaga's book, you can find them online at the following:

Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson

Note: I found a blog writer who has attempted to translate Soloviev's book from the original Russian. Source: here If you read Russian, then you can read the book in the original Russian by clicking a link on that blog. BTW, the complete title is The Three Dialogues and the Story of the Antichrist by Vladimir Sergeyevich Soloviev.

On Refraining From Passing Judgment on Sinners

St. Josemaria Escriva

675 It's true that he was a sinner. But don't pass so final a judgment on him. Have pity in your heart, and don't forget that he may yet be an Augustine, while you remain just another mediocrity.

The Works of St. Josemaría Escrivá

Prayer for a Holy Life

Sorrowful Mother

Virgin Immaculate,
Mother of God and my Mother,
from your throne in heaven
turn your merciful eyes upon me.
With full confidence in your goodness and power,
I beg you to help me in this journey of life,
which is strewn with dangers for my soul.

I entrust myself completely to you,
that I may never be the devil's slave through sin,
but may always live a humble and pure life.
I consecrate my heart to you forever,
since my sole desire is to love your divine Son Jesus.
O Mary,
since none of your devoted servants has ever perished,
let me too attain salvation.


- New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing Company

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Proud to Be Catholic

Check out this video over at Padre Steve's Blog

St. Joseph Novena Starts Today

Death of St. Joseph
The following was shared by Madalena via email.

St Joseph is the patron of a Happy Death.

One day a woman emerged from confession to ST PIO OF PETRELCINA weeping profusely because he had told her that her three sons had already been lost forever, and they could have been saved if she had prayed for them.

This is confirmed by Our Blessed Mother at FATIMA: “So many souls are lost because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them”.

Let this not happen to any of our children.

In preparation for the Feast of St Joseph let us pray each day of the novena to take care of our children and obtain for them a happy death. Set out below is a prayer we can say for this intention, for each day of the novena and perhaps every day. Remember too that if you enroll any nearest and dearest as a third party living member you will have the holy souls praying for their salvation as well as yourself.


Prayer to St Joseph : "O Saint St Joseph, you who felt the tribulation and worry of a parent when Our Blessed Lord was lost, protect my dear children for time and eternity, may you be their father and counselor, let them like Jesus grow in age as well as in wisdom before God and men, preserve them from the corruption of this world and grant us the grace that one day we may be united in Heaven forever Amen
St Joseph pray and intercede for (name)

St Joseph pray and intercede for (name)

St Joseph pray and intercede for (name)

For I am their Mother/Father. AMEN.

St Joseph, Foster Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ and True Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for the dying of this day and this night."

----------------------

Prayer for Employment

God our Father and Creator, You bestow on us gifts and talents to develop and use in accord with Your will.

Grant to me, thru the intercession of St. Joseph the Worker as model and guide, employment and work that I may with dignity provide for those who depend on me for care and support.

Grant me the opportunities to use my energy and my talents and abilities for the good of all, and the glory of Your name.

Amen

Prayer for Priests

St. Joseph and Jesus

O Illustrious Patriarch St. Joseph, who carried the Infant Jesus in thy blessed arms and who, during the space of thirty years, lived in the most intimate familiarity with Him,
take under thy powerful protection those whom He has clothed with His authority and honored with the dignity of His Priesthood,
whom He has charged to continue His mission,
to preach His Gospel, and
to dispense everywhere His graces and blessings.
Sustain them in their fatigues and labours;
console them in their pains;
fortify them in their combats;
but above all, keep far from them all the evils of sin.

Obtain for them the humility of St. John the Baptist,
the faith of St. Peter,
the zeal and charity of St. Paul,
the purity of St. John and
the spirit of prayer and recollection of which thou, my dear Saint, are the model, so that, after having been on earth, faithful dispensers of the Mysteries of thy foster Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ,
they may in Heaven receive the recompense promised to pastors according to the Heart of God, Amen.


- St. Michael Center

Prayer in Time of Aridity

Heavenly Father,
I am enmeshed in a time of spiritual aridity.
You seem so far removed from me
and I cannot even pray.
I am deprived of all sensible consolations
which facilitate prayer and the practice of the virtues.
Yet I want to pray
and I want to remain close to you.

Let me realize the truth of the well-known axiom:
when we think God is furthest away from us
that is when he is closest to us.
Make me increase my efforts at prayer
even if I feel they are useless.
Keep me from being discouraged
and help me remain united with you.
Grant that I may regain my love for prayer
and grow in my relationship with you,
your Son Jesus,
and the Holy Spirit.

- New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing Company

On Giving Our Opinions

St. Josemaria Escriva

674 Never give your opinion if you are not asked for it, even if you think that your view is the best.

The Works of St. Josemaría Escrivá

Monday, March 09, 2009

Prayer in Time of Anger

Lord Jesus,
there is anger in my heart
and I cannot root it out.
I know that I should calm down
and offer the hurt and disappointment to you
but my emotion is running away with me.
Help me to overcome this weakness
and give me peace of heart as well as mind.
Let me learn from this experience
and grow into a better human being.


- New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing Company


On Being Silent

St. Josemaria Escriva

671 Jesus remains silent. Jesus autem tacebat. Why do you speak, to console yourself, or to excuse yourself?

Say nothing. Seek joy in contempt: you will always receive less than you deserve.

Can you, by any chance, ask: Quid enim mali feci, what evil have I done?


The Works of St. Josemaría Escrivá

Sunday, March 08, 2009

What Book Did My Husband Read During Adoration?

Grace CafeYes, DH began reading Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle's book Grace Cafe.

When my family and I go for our Hour of Adoration, we bring a tote bag full of books to read should we care to do so, during our visit with Jesus. This week, a few of the choices included St. Josemaría Escrivá's The Way and Grace Cafe. Before I knew it, my husband was engrossed in reading Donna's book. He told me afterward, he thought it was beautifully written. He loved the clever way it was laid out with old-fashioned recipe cards. He said he could see it helping women to re-identify with the traditional values and the importance of being a wife and mother.

Dan: "Since I plan to continue reading this book, my initial impression is to recommend it anyone who needs a book that is thought-provoking and introspective in its Catholic spirituality."

So thank you Donna for writing a book that both my husband and I enjoy reading and one that makes us grow closer as a Catholic family.


A Beautiful Story of Conversion

Rembrandt's Prodigal Son

America Needs Fatima's "It Began When My Father Left"