Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"In the Beginning... A Catholic Understanding of Creation and the Fall" - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

I plan to type this book out (it's very short) in its entirety and post it here. It's fascinating, logical, and utterly brilliant; it can only come from a loving God.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This position is not meant to hurt, offend or single out any one of us, as we are ALL flawed human beings who naturally fail to measure up to the moral standard of Judeo-Christian values: none of us should EVER use God's loving advice in order to point out, or call attention to the struggles of another human being.

Reflecting on the fruit that our conduct bears helps all of us understand the purpose of Judeo-Christian values, and in that, it helps us see that such values are nothing more than advice from a loving Father, a Father who is unlimited by time, and who knows our hearts and needs better than any of us ever will. Such values are very clearly advice from a loving Father (God) to us, His children, who He clearly does not want to ever see hurting, or even bickering amongst eachother. None of us, naturally, would or could create Judeo-Christian values in their entirety - we don't know ourselves which conduct causes us pain and which conduct does not, unless it is plainly obvious. We, like children, need advice from One who is unlimited by time, and who foresees the conduct we engage in and the "fruit" it produces. And then, He warns us either against it, or advises us to embrace it.

It is trust in God and knowledge of His wisdom (through personal reflection of our own conduct and the fruit it produces) that is, or at least SHOULD BE, the basis for conservative views. It is NOT to point out struggles each of us have, and our failings, but instead, it guides us all in joy and peace, so that peace spreads among one another, instead of other negative emotions (sadness, anger, jealousy, frustration, impatience, etc.).

None of us live up to conservative standards naturally, which is why to point out the struggles and failings of others when they are already aware of them is useless, hurtful, and thus, wrong.

But like children who do not naturally live up to the advice/rules of their loving parents, this does not make such advice/rules incorrect, or wrong; the same concept holds true for God's loving advice/rules for us.

Our personal struggles and how we feel inside do not make any of us an "abomination," so long as we focus on what is best for us and for those around us, and to strive in always conducting ourselves in ways that help heal ourselves and others. Loving one's neighbor calls each of us to refuse conduct that we may enjoy, but that proves to be hurtful to ourselves and/or to those around us... and of course, to those even beyond our sphere of influence.

Being imperfect, we are entirely unable to live up to even some Judeo-Christian values, without God's grace. Let us always work toward loving one another, and reflect on our conduct and the fruit it produces for us and for others (something as small as impatience, or something as large as rage/anger/hate), and lovingly encourage one another in an honest and sincere way... because the truth is, none of us are without sin, giving none of us the right to torment fellow sinners.

Catholic Bible for the Young (and Adults) -

More on Fr. Steven Scheier's Near Death Experience (shorter version)

Father Steven Scheier Describes his Near Death Experience on Mother Angelica Live

Thanks for this, Mike

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"When we speak about the wrath of God, what we are really saying are the consequences of not following the law of God that we bring upon ourselves, that come out of the nature of things; they are so terrible, that it looks like God is angry at us, when we indeed are the ones who have caused the wrath, not God." - Fr. Groeschel

The Cost of Abortion

The One True Faith : The Book of Revelation

The One True Faith : Eucharistic Miracles

The One True Faith : Eat My Flesh

The One True Faith : Joy of the Faith

The One True Faith : There's Only One True Church

The One True Faith : The Church Fathers

The One True Faith : Twelve Catholic Myths

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Role of the Priesthood in Demonic Possession/Exorcisms

The Existense of Evil Spirits

Fr. Frank Pavone - Our Bodies Now & In Eternity

Fr. Corapi on How to Read the Bible & the Church's Authority

Lay Faithful

From the Catechism:


897 "The term 'laity' is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in Holy Orders and those who belong to a religious state approved by the Church. That is, the faithful, who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ and integrated into the People of God, are made sharers in their particular way in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ, and have their own part to play in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the World."[430]
The vocation of lay people

898 "By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God's will.... It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and maybe to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer."[431]

899 The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. This initiative is a normal element of the life of the Church:
Lay believers are in the front line of Church life; for them the Church is the animating principle of human society. Therefore, they in particular ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the Church, but of being the Church, that is to say, the community of the faithful on earth under the leadership of the Pope, the common Head, and of the bishops in communion with him. They are the Church.[432]

900 Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it.[433]
The participation of lay people in Christ's priestly office

901 "Hence the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvellously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the Spirit maybe produced in them. For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit - indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born - all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of the Lord. And so, worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives."[434]

902 In a very special way, parents share in the office of sanctifying "by leading a conjugal life in the Christian spirit and by seeing to the Christian education of their children."[435]

903 Lay people who possess the required qualities can be admitted permanently to the ministries of lector and acolyte.[436] When the necessity of the Church warrants it and when ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply for certain of their offices, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside over liturgical prayers, to confer Baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion in accord with the prescriptions of law."[437]
Participation in Christ's prophetic office

904 "Christ . . . fulfills this prophetic office, not only by the hierarchy . . . but also by the laity. He accordingly both establishes them as witnesses and provides them with the sense of the faith [sensus fidei] and the grace of the word"[438]
To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer.[439]

905 Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, "that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life." For lay people, "this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world."[440]
This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful.[441]

906 Lay people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in catechetical formation, in teaching the sacred sciences, and in use of the communications media.[442]

907 "In accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess, [lay people] have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons."[443]
Participation in Christ's kingly office

908 By his obedience unto death,[444] Christ communicated to his disciples the gift of royal freedom, so that they might "by the self-abnegation of a holy life, overcome the reign of sin in themselves":[445]
That man is rightly called a king who makes his own body an obedient subject and, by governing himself with suitable rigor, refuses to let his passions breed rebellion in his soul, for he exercises a kind of royal power over himself. And because he knows how to rule his own person as king, so too does he sit as its judge. He will not let himself be imprisoned by sin, or thrown headlong into wickedness.[446]

909 "Moreover, by uniting their forces let the laity so remedy the institutions and conditions of the world when the latter are an inducement to sin, that these may be conformed to the norms of justice, favoring rather than hindering the practice of virtue. By so doing they will impregnate culture and human works with a moral value."[447]

910 "The laity can also feel called, or be in fact called, to cooperate with their pastors in the service of the ecclesial community, for the sake of its growth and life. This can be done through the exercise of different kinds of ministries according to the grace and charisms which the Lord has been pleased to bestow on them."[448]

911 In the Church, "lay members of the Christian faithful can cooperate in the exercise of this power [of governance] in accord with the norm of law."[449] And so the Church provides for their presence at particular councils, diocesan synods, pastoral councils; the exercise in solidum of the pastoral care of a parish, collaboration in finance committees, and participation in ecclesiastical tribunals, etc.[450]

912 The faithful should "distinguish carefully between the rights and the duties which they have as belonging to the Church and those which fall to them as members of the human society. They will strive to unite the two harmoniously, remembering that in every temporal affair they are to be guided by a Christian conscience, since no human activity, even of the temporal order, can be withdrawn from God's dominion."[451]

913 "Thus, every person, through these gifts given to him, is at once the witness and the living instrument of the mission of the Church itself 'according to the measure of Christ's bestowal."'[452]

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Modern Day, Short Clip of God, Christ, and Us - Tear Alert

The Blessed Mother & the Moon in the book of Revelation

In the book of Revelation, the "moon" is said to be under the Blessed Mother's feet, because the moon is not the source of the light; instead, the moon gives no light of its own, but rather, the moon reflects the light of the sun.

In this case, the sun is Christ, and the moon is the blessed mother, who serves to reflect the light of "the sun" - her son; Christ, the "light of the world."

The Blessed Mother is the perfect reflection of Christ, the light of the world, in that she guides people to Him.

Our Father




Philosophy of Life

The Mercy of God

The Love of God

The Purpose of Life

Fr. Robert Barron on the Point of the Cross and the Triumph of the Cross

Missed Opportunities

"The healthy, untroubled, human heart beats 60 beats per second - which corresponds to the fact that there are 60 seconds per minute... and 60 minutes per hour." - thanks Lorena, great observation

"We are so inlove with the gifts God has given us, that we have lost love for the One who gave them."

The Grief of God

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fr. Robert Barron Responds to Hawking/Atheism

Wonderful reflections (lectures) on a variety of topics

Quotes about Christ over the years

"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." -C.S. Lewis

"As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene....No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life." -Albert Einstein

"God may thunder His commands from Mount Sinai and men may fear, yet remain at heart exactly as they were before. But let a man once see his God down in the arena as a Man--suffering, tempted, sweating, and agonized, finally dying a criminal's death--and he is a hard man indeed who is untouched." - J.B. Phillips, "Your God Is Too Small"

"I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him." –Napoleon

"No one else holds or has held the place in the heart of the world which Jesus holds. Other gods have been as devoutly worshipped; no other has been so devoutly loved." -John Knox

Even those who have renounced Christianity and attack it, in their inmost being still follow the Christian ideal, for hitherto neither their subtlety nor the ardour of their hearts has been able to create a higher ideal of man and of virtue than the ideal given by Christ of old. --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander the Great, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, he shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of school, he spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times." –Philip Schaff

"I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history." -H.G. Wells

"As the centuries pass, the evidence is accumulating that, measured by His effect on history, Jesus is the most influential life ever lived on this planet." -Historian Kenneth Scott Latourette

"Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the Child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His Divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a Cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was His coat. When He was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Such was His human life—He rises from the dead. Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the Centerpiece of the human race and the Leader of the column of progress. I am within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life." -James C. Hefley

"Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40, and Jesus for only 3. Yet the influence of Christ's 3-year ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined 130 years of teaching from these men who were among the greatest philosophers of all antiquity."

"I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful; but I never read in either of them: 'Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden.' " -St. Augustine

"Buddha never claimed to be God. Moses never claimed to be Jehovah. Mohammed never claimed to be Allah. Yet Jesus Christ claimed to be the true and living God. Buddha simply said, "I am a teacher in search of the truth." Jesus said, "I am the Truth."
Confucius said, "I never claimed to be holy." Jesus said, "Who convicts me of sin?" Mohammed said, "Unless God throws his cloak of mercy over me, I have no hope." Jesus said, 'Unless you believe in me, you will die in your sins.'"

Fundamentally, our Lord's message was Himself. He did not come merely to preach a Gospel; He himself is that Gospel. He did not come merely to give bread; He said, "I am the bread." He did not come merely to shed light; He said, "I am the light." He did not come merely to show the door; He said, "I am the door." He did not come merely to name a shepherd; He said, "I am the shepherd." He did not come merely to point the way; He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." -J. Sidlow Baxter

"Jesus is the God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair." –Blaise Pascal

A"n unsurpassed master of the art of laying bare the inmost core of spiritual truth." -Geza Vermes

"There is something so pure and frank and noble about Him that to doubt His sincerity would be like doubting the brightness of the sun."- Charles Edward Jefferson

"Jesus Christ is to me the outstanding personality of all time, all history, both as Son of God and as Son of Man. Everything he ever said or did has value for us today and that is something you can say of no other man, dead or alive. There is no easy middle ground to stroll upon. You either accept Jesus or reject him." -Sholem Asch

"Jesus is God spelling Himself out in language that men can understand." -S.D. Gordon

"Only Christ could have conceived Christ." -Joseph Parker

In Jesus, God wills to be true God not only in the height but also in the depth – in the depth of human creatureliness, sinfulness and mortality. --Karl Barth

"It was this same Jesus, the Christ who, among many other remarkable things, said and repeated something which, proceeding from any other being would have condemned him at once as either a bloated egotist or a dangerously unbalanced person...when He said He himself would rise again from the dead, the third day after He was crucified, He said something that only a fool would dare say, if he expected longer the devotion of any disciples—unless He was sure He was going to rise. No founder of any world religion known to men ever dared say a thing like that! --Wilbur Smith

"Because Christianity’s influence is so pervasive throughout much of the world, it is easy to forget how radical its beliefs once were. Jesus’ resurrection forever changed Christians’ view of death. Rodney Stark, sociologist at the University of Washington, points out that when a major plague hit the ancient Roman Empire, Christians had surprisingly high survival rates. Why? Most Roman citizens would banish any plague-stricken person from their household. But because Christians had no fear of death, they nursed their sick instead of throwing them out on the streets. Therefore, many Christians survived the plague." -“2000 Years of Jesus” by Kenneth L. Woodward, NEWSWEEK, March 29, 1999, p. 55.

Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: "a virgin's womb and an empty tomb". Jesus entered our world through a door marked,"No Entrance" and left through a door marked "No Exit." -Peter Larson

"The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. If the resurrection did not take place, then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth." -Henry Morris

"If I might comprehend Jesus Christ, I could not believe on Him. He would be no greater than myself. Such is my consciousness of sin and inability that I must have a superhuman Saviour."-Daniel Webster

"Our problem is this: we usually discover him within some denominational or Christian ghetto. We meet him in a province and, having caught some little view, we paint him in smaller strokes. The Lion of Judah is reduced to something kittenish because our understanding cannot, at first, write larger definitions."-Calvin Miller

"People talk about imitating Christ, and imitate Him in the little trifling formal things, such as washing the feet, saying His prayer, and so on; but if anyone attempts the real imitation of Him, there are no bounds to the outcry with which the presumption of that person is condemned." -Florence Nightingale

"Even Christ pleased not Himself. He was utterly consumed in the zeal of His Father’s house. As man He ever moved for God. As God He ever moved for man." -Geoffrey T.Bull

"There was no identity crisis in the life of Jesus Christ. He knew who He was. He knew where He had come from, and why he was here. And he knew where He was going. And when you are that liberated, then you can serve." -Howard Hendricks

"The Lord ate from a common bowl, and asked the disciples to sit on the grass. He washed their feet, with a towel wrapped around His waist - He, who is the Lord of the universe!" -Clement of Alexandria

"How was it that, even in the common tasks of an ordinary life, Jesus drew the praise of heaven? At the core of His being, He only did those things which pleased the Father. In everything, He stayed true, heartbeat to heartbeat, with the Father's desires. Jesus lived for God alone; God was enough for Him. Thus, even in its simplicity and moment-to-moment faithfulness, Christ's life was an unending fragrance, a perfect offering of incomparable love to God." -Francis Frangipane

"Jesus Christ: The meeting place of eternity and time, the blending of deity and humanity, the junction of heaven and earth" – Anonymous

"You cannot go outside of A and Z in the realm of literature; likewise Christ Jesus is First and Last of God's new creation, and all that is in between; you cannot get outside of that." -T. Austin Sparks

"It is as if God the Father is saying to us: "Since I have told you everything in My Word, Who is My Son, I have no other words that can at present say anything or reveal anything to you beyond this. Fix your eyes on Him alone, for in Him I have told you all, revealed all, and in Him you will find more than you desire or ask. If you fix your eyes on Him, you will find everything, for He is My whole word and My reply, He is My whole vision and My whole revelation." -Anthony M. Coniaris

"Whenever the method of worship becomes more important than the Person of worship, we have already prostituted our worship. There are entire congregations who worship praise and praise worship but who have not yet learned to praise and worship God in Jesus Christ."-Judson Cornwall

"The message of Christ is not Christianity. The message of Christ is Christ." -Gary Amirault

"To holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living."- John Henry Newman

"God will answer all our questions in one way and one way only. Namely, by showing us more of his Son." -Watchman Nee

"Christianity is not a doctrine, not truth as truth, but the knowledge of a Person; it is knowing the Lord Jesus. You cannot be educated into being a Christian." -T. Austin-Sparks

"I have one passion. It is He, only He." -Count Zinzendorf

Physics & God

Bichemistry & God

Cosmology & God

Physics, Astronomy & God

DNA & Creation

The Fossil Record Proves Creation - Lee Strobel

Effects of Sin

Joy & Depression

How to Control Your Anger

A Priest Explains the Rosary

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

15 Promises to those faithful to the Rosary

Besides the Indulgences attached to the Rosary, Our Lady revealed to St. Dominic and Blessed Alan de la Roche additional benefits for those who devoutly pray the Rosary. Our Lady's promise is shown in darker blue text. Additional explanation on and doctrinal connections to each promise is shown following in the smaller normal text font and color. Note that the Rosary is the prayer (non-Liturgical) with the most published Magisterial / Papal documents expounding on its excellence. Vatican II's summary on Our Lady is contained in Lumen Gentium chapter VIII.

1. Whosoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces. Signal Graces are those special and unique Graces to help sanctify us in our state in life. See the remaining promises for an explanation for which these will consist. St. Louis de Montfort states emphatically that the best and fastest way to union with Our Lord is via Our Lady [True Devotion to Mary, chapter four].

2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary. Our Lady is our Advocate and the channel of all God's Grace to us. Our Lady is simply highlighting that She will watch especially over us who pray the Rosary. (see Lumen Gentium chapter VIII - Our Lady #62) [a great more detail is available on this topic in True Devotion to Mary, chapter four, by St. Louis de Montfort]

3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies. This promise, along with the next, is simply the reminder on how fervent prayer will help us all grow in holiness by avoiding sin, especially a prayer with the excellence of the Rosary. An increase in holiness necessarily requires a reduction in sin, vice, and doctrinal errors (heresies). If only the Modernists could be convinced to pray the Rosary! (see Lumen Gentium chapter V - The Call to Holiness #42) St. Louis de Montfort states "Since Mary alone crushed all heresies, as we are told by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary)..." [True Devotion to Mary #167]

4. It will cause good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for Eternal Things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means. This promise, along with the previous, is the positive part, that being to live in virtue. Becoming holy is not only avoiding sin, but also growing in virtue. (see Lumen Gentium chapter V - The Call to Holiness #42)

5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish. Since Our Lady is our Mother and Advocate, She always assists those who call on Her implicitly by praying the Rosary. The Church reminds us of this in the Memorare prayer, "... never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided ..."

6. Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of Eternal Life. This promise highlights the magnitude of Graces that the Rosary brings to whomever prays it. One will draw down God's Mercy rather than His Justice and will have a final chance to repent (see promise #7). One will not be conquered by misfortune means that Our Lady will obtain for the person sufficient Graces to handle said misfortune (i.e. carry the Crosses allowed by God) without falling into despair. As Sacred Scripture tells us, "For my yoke is sweet and my burden light." (Matthew 11:30)

7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church. This promise highlights the benefits of obtaining the most possible Graces at the hour of death via the Sacraments of Confession, Eucharist, and Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick). Being properly disposed while receiving these Sacraments near death ensures one's salvation (although perhaps with a detour through Purgatory) since a final repentance is possible.

8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the Light of God and the plenitude of His Graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the Merits of the Saints in Paradise. Our Lady highlights the great quantity of Graces obtain through praying the Rosary, which assist us during life and at the moment of death. The merits of the Saints are the gift of God's rewards to those persons who responded to His Grace that they obtained during life, and so Our Lady indicates that She will provide a share of that to us at death. With this promise and #7 above, Our Lady is providing the means for the person to have a very holy death.

9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary. Should one require Purgatorial cleansing after death, Our Lady will make a special effort to obtain our release from Purgatory through Her intercession as Advocate.

10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of Glory in Heaven. This promise is a logical consequence of promises #3 and #4 since anyone who truly lives a holier life on earth will obtain a higher place in Heaven. The closer one is to God while living on earth, the close that person is to Him also in Heaven. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states "Spiritual progress tends toward ever more union with Christ." (Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2014)

11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by recitation of the Rosary. This promise emphasizes Our Lady's role as our Advocate and Mediatrix of all Graces. Of course, all requests are subject to God's Most Perfect Will. God will always grant our request if it is beneficial for our soul, and Our Lady will only intercede for us when our request is good for our salvation. (see Lumen Gentium chapter VIII - Our Lady #62)

12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities. If one promotes the praying of the Rosary, Our Lady emphasizes Her Maternal care for us by obtaining many Graces (i.e. spiritual necessities) and also material necessities (neither excess nor luxury), all subject to the Will of God of course.

13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of death. Since Our Lady is our Advocate, She brings us additional assistance during our life and at our death from all the saints in Heaven (the Communion of Saints). See paragraphs 954 through 959 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

14. All who recite the Rosary are my Sons, and brothers of my Only Son Jesus Christ. Since the Rosary is a most excellent prayer focused on Jesus and His Life and activities in salvation history, it brings us closer to Our Lord and Our Lady. Doctrinally, Our Lady is our Mother and Jesus is our Eldest Brother, besides being our God. (see Lumen Gentium chapter VIII - Our Lady #62)

15. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination. Predestination in this context means that, by the sign which is present to a person from the action of devoutly praying the Rosary, God has pre-ordained your salvation. Absolute certainty of salvation can only be truly known if God reveals it to a person because, although we are given sufficient Grace during life, our salvation depends upon our response to said Grace. (See Summa Theologica, Question 23 for a detailed theological explanation). Said another way, if God has guaranteed a person's salvation but has not revealed it to Him, God would want that person to pray the Rosary because of all the benefits and Graces obtained. Therefore the person gets a hint by devotion to the Rosary. This is not to say that praying the Rosary guarantees salvation - by no means. In looking at promises #3 and #4 above, praying the Rosary helps one to live a holy life, which is itself a great sign that a soul is on the road to salvation. (See also paragraphs 381, 488, 600, 2782 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.) In fact, St. Louis de Montfort says even more strongly that "an infallible and unmistakable sign by which we can distinguish a heretic, a man of false doctrine, an enemy of God, from one of God's true friends is that the hardened sinner and heretic show nothing but contempt and indifference to Our Lady..." [True Devotion to Mary, #30]

Reminder: these promises mean that, by faithfully and devoutly praying the Rosary, Our Lady will obtain for us the necessary Graces to obtain said promises. It is still up to each individual soul to respond to those Graces in order to obtain salvation.

The Rosary - Sorrowful Mysteries - Part 2

The Rosary - Sorrowful Mysteries - Part 1

Why God Permits Evil

Fr Corapi on the Church and the present scandal - Part 4

Fr Corapi on the Church and the present scandal - Part 3

Fr Corapi on the Church and the present scandal - Part 2

Fr Corapi on the Church and the present scandal - Part 1

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Beatitudes (the spiritual equivalent to the 10 commandments) - Great actor

The meaning of each beatitude:

First beatitude

The word poor seems to represent an Aramaic 'ányâ (Hebrew 'anî), bent down, afflicted, miserable, poor; while meek is rather a synonym from the same root, 'ánwan (Hebrew 'ánaw), bending oneself down, humble, meek, gentle. Some scholars would attach to the former word also the sense of humility; others think of "beggars before God" humbly acknowledging their need of Divine help. But the opposition of "rich" (Luke 6:24) points especially to the common and obvious meaning, which, however, ought not to be confined to economical need and distress, but may comprehend the whole of the painful condition of the poor: their low estate, their social dependence, their defenceless exposure to injustice from the rich and the mighty. Besides the Lord's blessing, the promise of the heavenly kingdom is not bestowed on the actual external condition of such poverty. The blessed ones are the poor "in spirit", who by their free will are ready to bear for God's sake this painful and humble condition, even though at present they be actually rich and happy; while on the other hand, the really poor man may fall short of this poverty "in spirit."

Second beatitude

Inasmuch as poverty is a state of humble subjection, the "poor in spirit", come near to the "meek", the subject of the second blessing. The anawim, they who humbly and meekly bend themselves down before God and man, shall "inherit the land" and possess their inheritance in peace. This is a phrase taken from Psalm 36:11, where it refers to the Promised Land of Israel, but here in the words of Christ, it is of course but a symbol of the Kingdom of Heaven, the spiritual realm of the Messiah. Not a few interpreters, however, understand "the earth". But they overlook the original meaning of Psalm 36:11, and unless, by a far-fetched expedient, they take the earth also to be a symbol of the Messianic kingdom, it will be hard to explain the possession of the earth in a satisfactory way.

Third beatitude

The "mourning" in the Third Beatitude is in Luke (6:25) opposed to laughter and similar frivolous worldly joy. Motives of mourning are not to be drawn from the miseries of a life of poverty, abjection, and subjection, which are the very blessings of verse 3, but rather from those miseries from which the pious man is suffering in himself and in others, and most of all the tremendous might of evil throughout the world. To such mourners the Lord Jesus carries the comfort of the heavenly kingdom, "the consolation of Israel" (Luke 2:25) foretold by the prophets, and especially by the Book of Consolation of Isaias (11-16). Even the later Jews knew the Messiah by the name of Menahhem, Consoler. These three blessings, poverty, abjection, and subjection are a commendation of what nowadays are called the passive virtues: abstinence and endurance, and the Eighth Beatitude (verse 10) leads us back again to the teaching.

Fourth beatitude

The others, however, demand a more active behaviour. First of all, "hunger and thirst" after justice: a strong and continuous desire of progress in religious and moral perfection, the reward of which will be the very fulfillment of the desire, the continuous growth in holiness.

Fifth beatitude

From this interior desire a further step should be taken to acting to the works of "mercy", corporal and spiritual. Through these the merciful will obtain the Divine mercy of the Messianic kingdom, in this life and in the final judgment. The wonderful fertility of the Church in works and institutions of corporal and spiritual mercy of every kind shows the prophetical sense, not to say the creative power, of this simple word of the Divine Teacher.

Sixth beatitude

According to biblical terminology, "cleanness of heart" (verse 8) cannot exclusively be found in interior chastity, nor even, as many scholars propose, in a general purity of conscience, as opposed to the Levitical, or legal, purity required by the Scribes and Pharisees. At least the proper place of such a blessing does not seem to be between mercy (verse 7) and peacemaking (verse 9), nor after the apparently more far-reaching virtue of hunger and thirst after justice. But frequently in the Old and New Testaments (Genesis 20:5; Job 33:3, Psalms 23:4 (24:4) and 72:1 (73:1); 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:22) the "pure heart" is the simple and sincere good intention, the "single eye" of Matthew 6:22, and thus opposed to the unavowed by-ends of the Pharisees (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18; 7:15; 23:5-7, 14) This "single eye" or "pure heart" is most of all required in the works of mercy (verse 7) and zeal (verse 9) in behalf of one's neighbor. And it stands to reason that the blessing, promised to this continuous looking for God's glory, should consist of the supernatural "seeing" of God Himself, the last aim and end of the heavenly kingdom in its completion.

Seventh beatitude

The "peacemakers" (verse 9) are those who not only live in peace with others but moreover do their best to preserve peace and friendship among mankind and between God and man, and to restore it when it has been disturbed. It is on account of this godly work, "an imitating of God's love of man" as St. Gregory of Nyssa styles it, that they shall be called the sons of God, "children of your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:45).

Eighth beatitude

When after all this the pious disciples of Christ are repaid with ingratitude and even "persecution" (verse 10) it will be but a new blessing, "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

So, by an inclusion, not uncommon in biblical poetry, the last blessing goes back to the first and the second. The pious, whose sentiments and desires whose works and sufferings are held up before us, shall be blessed and happy by their share in the Messianic kingdom, here and hereafter. And viewed in the intermediate verses seem to express, in partial images of the one endless beatitude, the same possession of the Messianic salvation. The eight conditions required constitute the fundamental law of the kingdom, the very pith and marrow of Christian perfection. For its depth and breadth of thought, and its practical bearing on Christian life, the passage may be put on a level with the Decalogue in the Old, and the Lord's Prayer in the New Testament, and it surpassed both in its poetical beauty of structure.