Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"The Imitation of Christ" - Thomas A. Kempis

One of the most enlightening books for advice from One who knows far better than we do; a comforting and helpful guide for life.
"Man's pride causes his humiliation, but he who is humble of spirit obtains honor." - Proverbs 29:23
"Don't let yourselves be intimidated by an environment that pretends to exclude God, and in which power, possessions and pleasure are often the criteria by which people judge their lives." - Pope Benedict XVI
"If God made it too simple to find Him, it would do nothing for our pride -- rather, it would inhibit us from growing in humility."

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Dialogue of Saint Catherine of Siena

"In my limited experience, I have found that adults are essentially large children with more sophisticated ways of saying 'I will get what I want.' If they actually grow up before they die, the Catholic Church canonizes them and calls them Saints."-Anon

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"We are encouraged to keep our souls pure, because our nature was ennobled and raised through being united to God, to the extent of being assumed into union with a divine Person." - St. Thomas Aquinas
"As long as there remains a drop of blood in our body, there will be a struggle between right and wrong."- St. Padre Pio
"Raise up your heart after a fall, sweetly and gently, humbling yourself before God in the knowledge of your misery, and do not be astonished at your weakness, since it is not surprising that weakness should be weak, infirmity infirm, and frailty frail." - St. Francis de Sales

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jesus and Israel (taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church ("CCC") click here to view the CCC section in connection with this post)


574 From the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, certain Pharisees and partisans of Herod together with priests and scribes agreed together to destroy him.317 Because of certain acts of his expelling demons, forgiving sins, healing on the sabbath day, his novel interpretation of the precepts of the Law regarding purity, and his familiarity with tax collectors and public sinners318--some ill-intentioned persons suspected Jesus of demonic possession.319 He is accused of blasphemy and false prophecy, religious crimes which the Law punished with death by stoning.320

575 Many of Jesus' deeds and words constituted a "sign of contradiction",321 but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply "the Jews",322 than for the ordinary People of God.323 To be sure, Christ's relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting;324 Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes.325 Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God's people: the resurrection of the dead,326 certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer),327 The custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbour.328

576 In the eyes of many in Israel, Jesus seems to be acting against essential institutions of the Chosen People: - submission to the whole of the Law in its written commandments and, for the Pharisees, in the interpretation of oral tradition; - the centrality of the Temple at Jerusalem as the holy place where God's presence dwells in a special way; - faith in the one God whose glory no man can share.


577 At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus issued a solemn warning in which he presented God's law, given on Sinai during the first covenant, in light of the grace of the New Covenant:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets: I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law, until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.329

578 Jesus, Israel's Messiah and therefore the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, was to fulfill the Law by keeping it in its all embracing detail - according to his own words, down to "the least of these commandments".330 He is in fact the only one who could keep it perfectly.331 On their own admission the Jews were never able to observe the Law in its entirety without violating the least of its precepts.332 This is why every year on the Day of Atonement the children of Israel ask God's forgiveness for their transgressions of the Law. the Law indeed makes up one inseparable whole, and St. James recalls, "Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it."333

579 This principle of integral observance of the Law not only in letter but in spirit was dear to the Pharisees. By giving Israel this principle they had led many Jews of Jesus' time to an extreme religious zeal.334 This zeal, were it not to lapse into "hypocritical" casuistry,335 could only prepare the People for the unprecedented intervention of God through the perfect fulfillment of the Law by the only Righteous One in place of all sinners.336

580 The perfect fulfillment of the Law could be the work of none but the divine legislator, born subject to the Law in the person of the Son.337 In Jesus, the Law no longer appears engraved on tables of stone but "upon the heart" of the Servant who becomes "a covenant to the people", because he will "faithfully bring forth justice".338 Jesus fulfills the Law to the point of taking upon himself "the curse of the Law" incurred by those who do not "abide by the things written in the book of the Law, and do them", for his death took place to redeem them "from the transgressions under the first covenant".339

581 The Jewish people and their spiritual leaders viewed Jesus as a rabbi.340 He often argued within the framework of rabbinical interpretation of the Law.341 Yet Jesus could not help but offend the teachers of the Law, for he was not content to propose his interpretation alongside theirs but taught the people "as one who had authority, and not as their scribes".342 In Jesus, the same Word of God that had resounded on Mount Sinai to give the written Law to Moses, made itself heard anew on the Mount of the Beatitudes.343 Jesus did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it by giving its ultimate interpretation in a divine way: "You have heard that it was said to the men of old. . . But I say to you. . ."344 With this same divine authority, he disavowed certain human traditions of the Pharisees that were "making void the word of God".345

582 Going even further, Jesus perfects the dietary law, so important in Jewish daily life, by revealing its pedagogical meaning through a divine interpretation: "Whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him. . . (Thus he declared all foods clean.). . . What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts. . ."346 In presenting with divine authority the definitive interpretation of the Law, Jesus found himself confronted by certain teachers of the Law who did not accept his interpretation of the Law, guaranteed though it was by the divine signs that accompanied it.347 This was the case especially with the sabbath laws, for he recalls, often with rabbinical arguments, that the sabbath rest is not violated by serving God and neighbour,348 which his own healings did.


583 Like the prophets before him Jesus expressed the deepest respect for the Temple in Jerusalem. It was in the Temple that Joseph and Mary presented him forty days after his birth.349 At the age of twelve he decided to remain in the Temple to remind his parents that he must be about his Father's business.350 He went there each year during his hidden life at least for Passover.351 His public ministry itself was patterned by his pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great Jewish feasts.352

584 Jesus went up to the Temple as the privileged place of encounter with God. For him, the Temple was the dwelling of his Father, a house of prayer, and he was angered that its outer court had become a place of commerce.353 He drove merchants out of it because of jealous love for his Father: "You shall not make my Father's house a house of trade. His disciples remembered that it was written, 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'"354 After his Resurrection his apostles retained their reverence for the Temple.355

585 On the threshold of his Passion Jesus announced the coming destruction of this splendid building, of which there would not remain "one stone upon another".356 By doing so, he announced a sign of the last days, which were to begin with his own Passover.357 But this prophecy would be distorted in its telling by false witnesses during his interrogation at the high priest's house, and would be thrown back at him as an insult when he was nailed to the cross.358

586 Far from having been hostile to the Temple, where he gave the essential part of his teaching, Jesus was willing to pay the Temple-tax, associating with him Peter, whom he had just made the foundation of his future Church.359 He even identified himself with the Temple by presenting himself as God's definitive dwelling-place among men.360 Therefore his being put to bodily death361 presaged the destruction of the Temple, which would manifest the dawning of a new age in the history of salvation: "The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father."362


587 If the Law and the Jerusalem Temple could be occasions of opposition to Jesus by Israel's religious authorities, his role in the redemption of sins, the divine work par excellence, was the true stumbling-block for them.363

588 Jesus scandalized the Pharisees by eating with tax collectors and sinners as familiarly as with themselves.364 Against those among them "who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others", Jesus affirmed: "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."365 He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves.366

589 Jesus gave scandal above all when he identified his merciful conduct toward sinners with God's own attitude toward them.367 He went so far as to hint that by sharing the table of sinners he was admitting them to the messianic banquet.368 But it was most especially by forgiving sins that Jesus placed the religious authorities of Israel on the horns of a dilemma. Were they not entitled to demand in consternation, "Who can forgive sins but God alone?"369 By forgiving sins Jesus either is blaspheming as a man who made himself God's equal, or is speaking the truth and his person really does make present and reveal God's name.370

590 Only the divine identity of Jesus' person can justify so absolute a claim as "He who is not with me is against me"; and his saying that there was in him "something greater than Jonah,. . . greater than Solomon", something "greater than the Temple"; his reminder that David had called the Messiah his Lord,371 and his affirmations, "Before Abraham was, I AM", and even "I and the Father are one."372

591 Jesus asked the religious authorities of Jerusalem to believe in him because of the Father's works which he accomplished.373 But such an act of faith must go through a mysterious death to self, for a new "birth from above" under the influence of divine grace.374 Such a demand for conversion in the face of so surprising a fulfillment of the promises 375 allows one to understand the Sanhedrin's tragic misunderstanding of Jesus: they judged that he deserved the death sentence as a blasphemer.376 The members of the Sanhedrin were thus acting at the same time out of "ignorance" and the "hardness" of their "unbelief".377


592 Jesus did not abolish the Law of Sinai, but rather fulfilled it (cf ⇒ Mt 5:17-19) with such perfection (cf ⇒ Jn 8:46) that he revealed its ultimate meaning (cf ⇒ Mt 5:33) and redeemed the transgressions against it (cf ⇒ Heb 9:15).

593 Jesus venerated the Temple by going up to it for the Jewish feasts of pilgrimage, and with a jealous love he loved this dwelling of God among men. the Temple prefigures his own mystery. When he announces its destruction, it is as a manifestation of his own execution and of the entry into a new age in the history of salvation, when his Body would be the definitive Temple.

594 Jesus performed acts, such as pardoning sins, that manifested him to be the Saviour God himself (cf ⇒ Jn 5:16-18). Certain Jews, who did not recognize God made man (cf ⇒ Jn 1:14), saw in him only a man who made himself God (⇒ Jn 10:33), and judged him as a blasphemer.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"The Desire for God" - Catechism of the Catholic Church

The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for: The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.

In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behaviour: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being:

From one ancestor (God) made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him - though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For "in him we live and move and have our being."

But this "intimate and vital bond of man to God" (GS 19 # 1) can be forgotten, overlooked, or even explicitly rejected by man. Such attitudes can have different causes: revolt against evil in the world; religious ignorance or indifference; the cares and riches of this world; the scandal of bad example on the part of believers; currents of thought hostile to religion; finally, that attitude of sinful man which makes him hide from God out of fear and flee his call.

"Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice." Although man can forget God or reject him, He never ceases to call every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness. But this search for God demands of man every effort of intellect, a sound will, "an upright heart", as well as the witness of others who teach him to seek God.

You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised: great is your power and your wisdom is without measure. and man, so small a part of your creation, wants to praise you: this man, though clothed with mortality and bearing the evidence of sin and the proof that you withstand the proud. Despite everything, man, though but a small a part of your creation, wants to praise you. You yourself encourage him to delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

The Misguided and, Unfortunately, "Popular," Flawed Christian View of the End of this World

With all due love and respect to those who entertain the thought, worrying, that a fellow human being could somehow know with certainty the precise date that God's plan will come to fruition/this world will pass away (end) and a new one will be created by Him, recall the words of Christ:

"But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." - Mark 13:32

God could not have possibly been any more clear: We will never know the precise date as to when the "end of the world" will be, and thus should not concern ourselves with it.

Like every verse in Sacred Scripture, as human beings with limited/flawed intellects, we fail to recognize the depth of this verse when reading it at face value -- that is, when reading it without taking into account every other verse in the Bible:

In the November/December issue of "The Catholic Answer," Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D., revealed its depth perfectly when a reader presented him with the following (very common) question:

"When the apostles asked Jesus when the end would come, he told them only the Father in Heaven knows when this will take place (see Matthew 24:36). However, in the Gospel of John, Jesus clearly declares that he and the Father are one (See John 10:30). This being the case, how is it that Jesus states He does not know when the end will occur? If they are one, how can this knowledge be lacking in Jesus? This episode in the Gospel has perplexed me for years."

To which Fr. Ryland responded:

"This seemingly puzzling statement is somewhat like that in Matthew 20:23. There, Jesus tells us granting places of honor in the Kingdom is His Father's prerogative, not His. The traditional interpretation of Matthew 24:36 is that this disclaimer of knowledge of the end of history IS NOT MEANT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY. Rather, in a somewhat overstated way, it speaks of that which is NOT TO BE DISCLOSED.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church ("CCC") sums up the matter this way:

What he [Jesus] admitted to not knowing in this area [[that is,] the date of His second coming [set forth in] Matthew 24:36], He ELSEWHERE declared Himself NOT SENT TO REVEAL." (CCC, No. 474; see also Acts 1:7).

Thus, ONLY GOD knows when His plan will come to fruition, and Christ was not sent to disclose to mankind precisely when it will occur.

My hope is that more of us will no longer place our faith in fellow human beings, whose knowledge of the future is as limited as our own, and recognize that with each passing second, our time on this earth is closer to the end. Thus we would do well to use our efforts in living lives of unselfish love while we are still being given one of the greatest gifts from our loving God in this life: The gift of time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jehovah's Witnesses

For those interested in educating themselves prior to being engaged by a Jehovah's Witness, knowing you may find yourself unable to respond to being presented with the materials they pass onto you, the information in the following clips will be of use to you. Enjoy:

(1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpp8mni9FQc

(2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLECidLxyHE

(3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlYBOM8UCF4

(4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW8TsjqP9QE

(5) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyBE6F8DgbU

(6) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwLkDJ1axGM

(7) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnUGfbbGoIg

(8) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXF3rMisK48

(9) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzKyubnUvYA

(10) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9WqbxQhKgM

(11) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkRb5oy6zNM

(12) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S59AzQgGpxc

(13) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gknndieRs9Y

(14) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq7y9jkHWkk

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our sins hurt us more than the sins committed toward us

"Christ said, 'Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?' (Mt 7:3); it is too easy to hate the sins of others (from slights and insults, directed toward us personally, to genocide and racism), but the sins that should really matter to us are the sins we commit ourselves, which hurt ourselves, and then naturally others, the most." - Scott Hahn

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Old Testament prophecies written about Christ

"When you pray, you listen as the Father and the Son talk about you"-Fr. Barron

Injustice of abortion

"Justice cannot allow the granting of legal rights to one person (such as the "right to an abortion") at the expense of the natural rights of another (in that case, the right to life and limb). To do so is to fail 'to give everyone his or her rightful due.'"

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many of you powerful, not many of you were of noble birth. God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God."-1 Corinthians