Friday, July 23, 2010

Practical Tips for Evangelizing Atheists



H/T to Patrick Madrid

"Christian identity in the Holy Land is in danger"

The Pierced Side of Jesus - St. Bridget

23 Reasons Why A Priest Should Wear His Collar


1. The Roman collar is a sign of priestly consecration to the Lord. As a wedding ring distinguishes husband and wife and symbolizes the union they enjoy, so the Roman collar identifies bishops and priests (and often deacons and seminarians) and manifests their proximity to the Divine Master by virtue of their free consent to the ordained ministry to which they have been (or may be) called.

2. By wearing clerical clothing and not possessing excess clothes, the priest demonstrates adherence to the Lord’s example of material poverty. The priest does not choose his clothes – the Church has, thanks to her accumulated wisdom over the past two millennia. Humble acceptance of the Church’s desire that the priest wear the Roman collar illustrates a healthy submission to authority and conformity to the will of Christ as expressed through his Church.

3. Church Law requires clerics to wear clerical clothing. We have cited above number 66 of the Directory for priests, which itself quotes canon 284.
You can read the entire list over at Courageous Priest

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Patience, My Constant Battle


The first virtue I want to obtain is patience. I have wanted to obtain patience in the past but quite honestly, I was afraid of asking God for patience. I knew He would not grant me immediate patience. No, God does not help us spiritually that way. If I asked for patience, God would give me countless opportunities to grow in patience. So for many years, I held back asking God to make me a more patient person, thinking I could avoid many trials and tribulations that way.

It was only recently that I understood that anger is linked to impatience. I had never thought of it like that before. In my mind, I really believed that being impatient was one thing and being angry was quite another thing. Yet, when I reflected on impatience/anger, it made sense. If I had been patient, I would not have lost my temper. If I had not been angry, I would have the peace and patience to deal with whatever situation came my way, no matter how unpleasant.

Well, after much procrastination in this area, I finally decided to ask God to help me be a more patient person. But then I made the mistake of forgetting that I had asked God for this grace.

It happened almost immediately, but it seemed like the world was out to get me. AFTER, losing my patience and complaining about these crosses, I realized that God had answered my prayers but I was to blind to see and appreciate the opportunities that came my way until it was too late.

God is so good and so forgiving, that each day I am given a new day that I can begin again to try to achieve patience. Each morning at Mass, all my venial sins are forgiven. Each morning at Mass, I tell God I am sorry for not being patient the day before and I promise to try to do better that day.

The day isn't over yet but I have already failed so many times today.

I figured that if I share my struggles with you here, it will help me better remember my promise to God, to carry my little crosses without complaining.

Although, Father Scupoli in his book Spiritual Combat could not put a time table on how long it would take to achieve each virtue, he did give a rough estimate of a few weeks. Just to let you know, I think it will take me longer than that but I am determined to try harder. Just so you know, the next virtue on my list is humility. I am not quite ready to face humiliations just yet. But by the time I get to that virtue, I hope I have the strength with God's grace, to do so.

On Judging Others

Picture Source

In Spiritual Combat, Father Scupoli states very clearly Jesus' admonishment "Judge not, lest ye be judged." It seems very clear that when we judge others, we are also led to disparage, despise and lower the other person. This is caused by our self-conceit and pride. We are exalting ourselves by finding faults in  another person.

The devil makes sure we "detect, examine and exaggerate the deficiencies of others." He wants us to lose our souls and will try every means possible for that gain. In order to fight him we have to be vigilant and ever mindful of his wily ways.

Do not yield to his temptations. In other words, do not yield to our desire to judge others.

"Remember that the right to judge another is not yours and that, even if it had been entrusted to you, you would be incapable of exercising it with integrity, as you are encompassed by a thousand passions, and only too prone to think evil of another without just cause."

The next time you are tempted to judge someone say to yourself "How dare I, wretched being, buried in this very fault myself, and in far more grievous ones, lift up my head to see and judge the faults of others?"

"...every good and kindly feeling toward your neighbor is the work of the Holy Spirit; and that all disparagement, rash judgment, and bitterness against him owe their origin to the evil that is in ourselves and to the suggestions of the Devil."

- Spiritual Combat, Lorenzo Scupoli, Sophia Press

Dietrich von Hildebrand, Catholic Philosopher, and Christopher West

Dr. Alice von Hildebrand once again addresses the Christopher West approach to the Theology of the Body.

CNA Dietrich von Hildebrand, Catholic Philosopher, and Christopher West, Modern Enthusiast:Two Very Different Approaches to Love, Marriage and Sex

Benedict XVI seventh-oldest pope in history

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Truth About Mary and Scripture: MUST SEE!



This is a well done video comparing the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The Great Pardon: The Portiuncula Indulgence


Picture Source

The following was shared by Father Vince Inghilterra.

Dear Friends:

On a hot July evening in the year 1216 Saint Francis of Assisi at prayer devoured by his love for God and a thirst to save souls was visited upon by Our Blessed Savior and Our Blessed Mother. Our Lord spoke to him "Francis you are very zealous for the good souls. Ask me what you want for their salvation." Francis answered that he wanted an indulgence to all those who enter this church,(The Portiuncula) who are truly contrite and have confessed their sins. Our Lord consented to Francis' wish, but only after he received approval from Pope Honorius III. The pope granted this petition, and this indulgence has been extended to all parish churches throughout the world from noon August 1 until midnight on August 2.

The conditions to obtain the Plenary Indulgence of the Forgiveness of Assisi (for oneself or for a departed soul) are as follows:

* Sacramental confession (during eight days before or after the above dates)

* Participation in the Mass and Eucharist.

* Recitation of the Apostles' Creed, Our Father and a prayer for the pope's intention.

The Portiuncula Indulgence is a grace not to be missed, not only for yourself but for the many souls suffering in purgatory.

The dates are from noon on August 1 until midnight on August 2, the feast of Our Lady of the Angels.

God graces be with you all,
Father Vince Inghilterra FSD

"The Liturgical Year: History of Mystery?"

DO THE LITURGICAL YEAR AND THE EUCHARIST PRESENT

HISTORY OR MYSTERY?


by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M. reprinted here with permission


The Church’s liturgy demonstrates varied symbolism and a wide versatility in the presentation of content and meaning. Some texts reflect history, at times so vividly the events seem current. Sometimes the action reported pertains to the present as it petitions or proclaims grace. Or our gaze is lifted high to the Parousia, to judgment and heaven, oriented toward the future. The liturgical texts seemingly leap from one area of reference to another, sometimes within the same sentence. Frequently it is doubtful which area of concern is intended, or it may be left undecided. How are we to absorb and gainfully employ this lively variation in proper perspective? What does the liturgy expect of us? Is it inviting us to recall salvation history? Is it offering us the grace of the present? Or is it perhaps preparing us for the life to come?

Living Liturgy


When we celebrate liturgy we are doing the work of the People
of God. The Fathers of the Church, both East and West, taught us that liturgy is nothing less than the ongoing saving work of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, still present and operative among us through the Holy Spirit. The great Latin Father, Pope St. Leo the Great, in the fifth century explained it in this way: “What was visible in our Redeemer has passed over into the sacraments.” In other words, what Jesus did historically during his earthly life, he continues to do sacramentally through the liturgical mysteries he celebrates in and with his Church. Remember that “sacraments” in the language of the Fathers refers to the mysteries of the whole, visible ministry of the Church, not just the seven sacraments in the popular, technical sense of the term. This reminds us that Jesus is working in us and through us. In effect, each of us is a sacrament of Christ.

From the very beginning it is important that we have a clear understanding of the distinct planes, layers, or dimensions on which the liturgical drama is enacted: history, grace, and eschatology.

History

On the historical plane the liturgy re-presents events of the past so vividly as to make them appear as happening today – some from the Old Testament but most from the life of Christ. As an example, consider the Christmas season. The liturgy dramatically re-enacts Christ’s advent and birth. During four weeks it prepares us for the birth of our Savior. In a spirit of simple, childlike longing
we approach the great feast. On Christmas day itself the liturgy
leads us to the crib at Bethlehem and shows us the newborn Son of God, and speaks of a “new birth in the flesh.” This historical application concerns not only the birth of Christ, but his whole life, the entire history of salvation, and the lives of the saints. Consequently history is an important constituent of liturgy.

Grace

Action on the plane of grace pertains directly to us and takes place in the present. The liturgy is operative here when it proclaims and produces God’s life in our souls. The historical plane serves as a framework for the plane of grace. The plane of grace is the pledge of future glory and anticipates the dimension of eschatology.

On the plane of grace the Eucharistic Liturgy is paramount. Its prayers and those of the Liturgy of the Hours reveal fully the effects of the Paschal Mystery. While quite clear, much is left to our meditation. The liturgy intimates its wealth to us, clothed in the garments of the history of salvation.

Eschatology

Many liturgical texts treat of the end of time, of the Parousia, of the next life, of heaven and hell. It is the consummation of the other two planes or dimensions of liturgical action, the end for which they exist and were providentially planned.

Advent offers a striking example of the interplay of these three
planes or dimensions. The texts of the liturgy express longing for
the first coming of Christ in the flesh in terms of history. Always implied is Christ’s coming in grace, a point frequently made explicit. In the mystery of the Mass the appearance of Christ upon the altar is awaited. The ultimate reference, however, is to his final coming at the end of time. We distinguish a threefold advent, although we do not always determine which one is intended in a particular liturgical reading. Sometimes all three may be possible. Stress may be placed now on one, now on the other, and often those at prayer choose the precise application. It is exactly this lively tension that makes the liturgy dramatic. To understand and differentiate these several areas of orientation is the first requirement for understanding the sacred texts. The second task is to apply this understanding to daily life.

Entering the mystery of the liturgy

How do we accomplish so beneficial a task? From the outset we must be convinced that the liturgy is concerned primarily with the present. The past or future are only symbols or signposts of today’s outpouring of grace. The chief function of the liturgy is to bring us divine life now. However, the present may be disguised in the raiment of the past or the future.

Looking at the Advent liturgy again, we notice that the texts speak at length about the first coming of Christ, the Incarnation. This deserves our serious consideration and grateful remembrance as we mine the spiritual value. But to make Advent a sentimental preview of Christmas would be a mistake. And this is the misdirection of civic and commercial observances. There is much more to Advent and Christmas. We no longer yearn for Christ’s first coming because it is past. But we can put such desire in the service of grace. Through grace Christ comes to us in a manner symbolized by his first coming. His earthly life and work foreshadowed his work in the Church and in our souls. Every year we should long for and prepare for his coming in grace, using the history and symbols of his first coming, his birth and infancy. Although grace is already within us, grace can come to us again and again in fuller measure.

In the Mass the liturgy attains its closest contact with the present. In the Mass not only are the Body and Blood of Christ present, but the Divine High Priest and Lamb of God appears on the altar, fulfilling the symbols of his earthly life. By the Eucharist history becomes present and hope becomes reality. The past and future become actual before our eyes. What we read as past history and what we await as future hope merge into a holy now and a blessed today in the Mass. Essential to the celebration and application of the liturgy is knowing that in the mystery of the Mass we transpose to the present everything relating to past or future.

The people of the early Church lived with the expectation of the second coming of Christ constantly in mind. With the passing of centuries interest shifted to the present. Yet many eschatological texts are found in the liturgy. However the liturgy does not suggest we dream away the present and live only in the future. When presenting to us the final times it is admonishing us to strip our hearts of fleeting earthly attachments and to anchor them where true joy is found. Thus the frequent repetition of the Lord’s admonition to be watchful and ready always for his coming. His final coming is anticipated in the Eucharistic mystery enacted before us now.

The Mass-mystery embodies all

Consequently the Eucharistic liturgy is the focal point to which all phases of the liturgy converge. Again recalling the Advent liturgy, we find in the Mass the symbol of Christ’s first coming taking on reality, his second coming is anticipated, and he comes to us in grace. The human soul becomes the scene of that threefold advent. Jesus appears on the altar, visits us in Holy Communion, and enlightens our darkness through the glory and grace of his presence.

Liturgy is no ethereal intangible; it is as absolute as birth and judgment and death. Our desire for the coming of the Newborn into the crib of our hearts is not empty sentiment. Underlying it is the solid truth of the “new birth of the Only-begotten in the flesh” (Vigil of Christmas). The sacramental interpretation of the Eucharist presents a veritable treasury of grace embodying all that is proper to the work of redemption -- commemorative, eschatological, or sacramental portent.

Through the liturgy we receive our true treasure, the pearl of divine life. Truly the Church year is a year of grace.

Is the liturgical year history or mystery? It’s not a case of either-or, but one of both-and.

Monday, July 19, 2010