I pray for the Lord's blessings to be upon all who keep a day of Giving Thanks to Almighty God.
25 November 2014
I pray for the Lord's blessings to be upon all who keep a day of Giving Thanks to Almighty God.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Book of Common Prayer
With the excellent news of Cardinal Sarah's appointment to the Curia, I am most happy to post the following homily by the Holy Father:
Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
23 November A.D. 2014
Today’s liturgy invites us to fix our gaze on Christ, the King of the Universe. The beautiful prayer of the Preface reminds us that his kingdom is “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace”. The readings we have listened to show us how Jesus established his kingdom; how he brings it about in history; and what he now asks of us.
First, how Jesus brought about his kingdom: he did so through his closeness and tenderness towards us. He is the Shepherd, of whom the Prophet Ezekiel spoke in the First Reading (cf. 34:11-12, 15-17). These verses are interwoven with verbs which show the care and love that the Shepherd has for his flock: to search, to look over, to gather the dispersed, to lead into pasture, to bring to rest, to seek the lost sheep, to lead back the confused, to bandage the wounded, to heal the sick, to take care of, to pasture. All of these are fulfilled in Jesus Christ: he is truly the “great Shepherd of the sheep and the protector of our souls” (cf. Heb 13:20; 1 Pt 2:25).
Those of us who are called to be pastors in the Church cannot stray from this example, if we do not want to become hirelings. In this regard the People of God have an unerring sense for recognizing good shepherds and in distinguishing them from hirelings.
After his victory, that is after his Resurrection, how has Jesus advanced his kingdom? The Apostle Paul, in the First Letter to the Corinthians, says: “for he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (15:25). The Father, little by little, subjects all to the Son and, at the same time, the Son subjects all to the Father. Jesus is not a King according to earthly ways: for him, to reign is not to command, but to obey the Father, to give himself over to the Father, so that his plan of love and salvation may be brought to fulfilment. In this way there is full reciprocity between the Father and the Son. The period of Christ’s reign is the long period of subjecting everything to the Son and consigning everything to the Father. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15:26). And in the end, when all things will be under the sovereignty of Jesus, and everything, including Jesus himself, will be subjected to the Father, God will be all in all (cf. 1 Cor 15:28).
The Gospel teaches what Jesus’ kingdom requires of us: it reminds us that closeness and tenderness are the rule of life for us also, and that on this basis we will be judged. This is the great parable of the final judgement in Matthew 25. The King says: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (25:34-36). The righteous will ask him: when did we do all this? And he will answer them: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).
The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus’ works of mercy through which he brought about his kingdom. The one who accomplishes these works shows that he has welcomed Christ’s sovereignty, because he has opened his heart to God’s charity. In the twilight of life we will be judged on our love for, closeness to and tenderness towards our brothers and sisters. Upon this will depend our entry into, or exclusion from, the kingdom of God: our belonging to the one side or the other. Through his victory, Jesus has opened to us his kingdom. But it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now, by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who ask for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity. If we truly love them, we will be willing to share with them what is most precious to us, Jesus himself and his Gospel.
Today the Church places before us the example of these new saints. Each in his or her own way served the kingdom of God, of which they became heirs, precisely through works of generous devotion to God and their brothers and sisters. They responded with extraordinary creativity to the commandment of love of God and neighbour. They dedicated themselves, without holding back, to serving the least and assisting the destitute, sick, elderly and pilgrims. Their preference for the smallest and poorest was the reflection and measure of their unconditional love of God. In fact, they sought and discovered love in a strong and personal relationship with God, from whence springs forth true love for one’s neighbour. In the hour of judgement, therefore, they heard that tender invitation: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34).
Through the rite of canonization, we have confessed once again the mystery of God’s kingdom and we have honoured Christ the King, the Shepherd full of love for his sheep. May our new saints, through their witness and intercession, increase within us the joy of walking in the way of the Gospel and our resolve to embrace the Gospel as the compass of our lives. Let us follow in their footsteps, imitating their faith and love, so that our hope too may be clothed in immortality. May we not allow ourselves to be distracted by other earthly and fleeting interests. And may Mary, our Mother and Queen of all Saints, guide us on the way to the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
“Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” – St. Pio of Pietrelcina
24 November 2014
The following (identified by Alexander Fraser Tyler) is the cycle for the rise and fall of civilisations:
“From bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from great courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency;
from complacency to apathy;
from apathy to dependence;
and from dependence back again to bondage.”
Alexander Fraser Tyler
The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Empire
I have been spending some time reading through the eucharistic liturgy and offices of the Catholic Apostolic Church [Irvingite]. The denomination may be defunct, but the vision enshrined in the Liturgy deserves far more study.
Below, dear reader, you will find scans of the beginning of the Holy Eucharist of the Catholic Apostolic Church. To my knowledge no community makes use of this liturgy today:
God replies, ‘Do you really want Me?’
And straightaway in our prayers we find darkness and coldness, and the numbing loss of energy.
If we were speaking the truth, we go on praying in spite of it; if we were not, we stop. And if we go on praying, the darkness becomes not a hindrance but a help, for the measure by which God values our prayers is the amount of desire in them, and it shows much greater desire to pray in darkness than in the light.
For this reason it has been said that we walk faster on the Road to God in darkness than in light. If you persist in prayer through darkness, you will assuredly find yourself after the darkness has passed much nearer to God.”
R. Reginald Somerset Ward: His Life and Letters
A. R. Mowbray Co., Ltd
London, 1963, p. 141
23 November 2014
“The most powerful instrument for the conversion of the world is the converted individual. Those who have a real desire and passion to help others must, of necessity, first attack their own lives and find in them the tool they can use to help others.
“The missionary spirit without the spiritual life is helpless. The failure to grasp this is responsible for the small return we perceive for such great activity.
“There is no lack of the power needed to convert the world–power and more than abundant power is waiting to be used–but the instruments which will give it free play are too few.”
R. Reginald Somerset Ward: His Life and Letters
A. R. Mowbray Co., Ltd
London, 1963, p. 77
22 November 2014
The following is from Pope Benedict's remarks before the Angelus on the 25th of November A.D. 2012:
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today the Church celebrates Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This solemnity comes at the end of the liturgical year and brings together the mystery of Jesus “firstborn from the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth” (Collect Year B), extending our gaze towards the full realisation of the Kingdom of God, when God will be all in all (cf 1 Cor 15.28).
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem says: “We announce not only the first coming of Christ, but also a second which is much more beautiful than the first. The first, in fact, was a manifestation of suffering, the second brings the diadem of divine kingship…..in the first, He was subject to the humiliation of the Cross, in the second He is surrounded and glorified by a host of angels” (Catechesis XV,1 Illuminandorum, De secundo Christi adventu: PG 33, 869 A).
All the mission of Jesus and the contents of His message consist in announcing the Kingdom of God and implementing it among men through signs and wonders. “But – as the Second Vatican Council reminds us – above all, the Kingdom is made manifest through the person of Christ (Lumen gentium, 5), who established it through His death on the Cross and His Resurrection, whereby He showed Himself to be the Lord and Messiah, the High Priest for eternity.
This Kingdom of God was entrusted to the Church, which is the “seed” and the “beginning”, and has the task of announcing it and spreading it amongst all peoples through the strength of the Holy Spirit.
At the end of time, the Lord will deliver the Kingdom to God the Father and will present to Him all those who have lived according to the commandment of love.
[ . . . ] May the Virgin help each one of us to live this present time as we await the return of the Lord, as we decisively pray to God: “Your Kingdom come”, and as we carry out those works of light which bring us ever closer to Heaven, knowing that, in the tormented affairs of history, God continues to build His Kingdom of love.
21 November 2014
Below is the opening of a fine column by Bishop Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska:
Looking to the east
Jesus Christ will return in glory to the earth.
We do not know when he will return. But Christ promised us that he would return in glory, “as light comes from the east” to bring God’s plan of redemption to its fulfillment.
In 2009, Bishop Edward Slattery, of Tulsa, Okla., wrote that “the dawn of redemption has already broken, but the sun —Christ Himself—has not yet risen in the sky.”
In the early Church, Christians expected that Christ would come soon—any day. There was hopeful expectation. They were watchful—they looked to the sky in the east to wait for Christ. And because they did not know when he would return, they proclaimed the Gospel with urgency and enthusiasm, hoping to bring the world to salvation before Christ returned.
It has been nearly two thousand years now since Christ ascended into heaven. It has become easier to forget that he will come again to earth. It has become easier to forget that we must be waiting, we must be watching, and we must be ready.
In the season of Advent, as we recall Christ’s Incarnation at Christmas, we are reminded to be prepared for Christ’s coming. In the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent this year, Nov. 30, Christ tells us his disciples “to be on the watch.”
“You do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,” Jesus says. “May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.” [. . .]
I strongly suggest the reading of the rest of the bishop's column please click here.
17 November 2014
The following transcription remains the finest sermon I have heard from a Catholic bishop in the USA, a homily preached by Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception from A.D. 2010:
|The Most Rev. Edward J. Slattery|
+Announcement of the 2015 Third Annual Nellie Gray Mass
Mass of the Holy Innocents
The Mass will be celebrated at 4 p.m. in the Extraordinary Form (traditional Latin Mass) at St. Mary Mother of God Church at 5th and H Sts. NW in downtown Washington DC.
St. Mary’s was Nellie Gray’s place of worship at the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form, which she loved and held deeply related to her cause for The March for Life.
A Pontifical Solemn High Mass will be celebrated at the faldstool by The Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki, S.T.B., M.Div., S.T.L., J.D., J.C.D., M.B.A., Bishop of Springfield in Illinois. The Mass of The Holy Innocents will be said as a votive Mass for the Unborn.
Assisting ministers will be Rev. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, Assistant Priest; Rev. Monsignor Charles Pope, Deacon (Pastor, Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Church, Archdiocese of Washington); and Rev. Paul Scalia, Subdeacon (Bishop’s Delegate for Clergy, Diocese of Arlington).
The choir will be The Schola Cantorum of The Lyceum School in South Euclid, Ohio, who sang so beautifully at this year’s Nellie Gray Mass.
All are invited.
Contact The Paulus Institute through their website, www.ThePaulusInstitute.org.
Donations to The Paulus Institute can be sent to:
The Paulus Institute
308 S. Green St., Berkeley Springs, WV 25411-1414
The Paulus Institute requests your most generous contribution to St. Mary Mother of God Church at the collection to be taken during Offertory of the Mass.
16 November 2014
I am reading a most remarkable book that should be read by all Catholics who have a serious interest in political theory and constitutional law. It is entitled "The State in the Third Millennium" by Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein.
In his introduction the Prince writes:
What kind of state does humanity want in the third millennium? President Kennedy, whom I had the honor to meet personally when I was a young man, said in his Inaugural Address in 1961: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” As a young, idealistic person, I was in those days convinced by this statement.
Today, I may not have lost all of my ideals, but decades of experience in national and international politics, including many years as the head of state of a small but modern democracy, have convinced me of the truth of the reverse statement: Ask not what a citizen can do for the state, but rather what the state can do better for the citizen than any other organization. This organization could be a community, an international organization, or a private company.
I would like to set out in this book the reasons why the traditional state as a monopoly enterprise not only is an in efficient enterprise with a poor price–performance ratio, but even more importantly, becomes more of a danger for humanity the longer it lasts.
|Princess Marie & Prince Hans-Adam II|
The Reigning Prince of Liechtenstein
van Eck Verlag, 2009
[Publisher's Notice: Prince Hans-Adam of Liechtenstein is able to look at the modern nation-state from many different angles: as a head of state; as a politician, who had to win popular votes in a direct democracy; as a businessman active not only in his own state but also in different continents; as an amateur historian fascinated by the evolution of humanity and the influence of military technology, transportation and the economy on the size of states. He analyses those forces that have influenced human history in the past and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. These include religions, ideologies, military technology and economics. He suggests how to make the traditional democratic constitutional state both more democratic and more efficient. He also discusses strategies on how to realise worldwide the modern democratic constitutional state in the third millennium. His goal is that people don't have to serve the state anymore and be threatened by wars or other state measures, but that all states have been turned into peaceful service companies which serve the people and humanity. That is the purpose of the draft constitution for the state of the third millennium which closes this eloquent, lucidly argued and exemplarily concise manifesto.]
14 November 2014
For a long time now this blog of mine has languished in a twilight state. This will begin to change soon.
I have sat under obedience to wise guidance from my spiritual director to wait until I am specifically called upon by God or the Blessed Mother to write of my personal experiences with the Lord and the Saints... especially those that would now be categorised as having occurred during near-death experiences. Now the time to write of these things is nearly at hand.
I suspect that the Lord has told me to prepare myself spiritually to begin writing is because these are days of confusion where we stand in the midst of a spiritual battleground but do not fully understand that we are all being called to spiritual warfer. Soon even those who think a new springtime is just around the corner will instead see that 'an axe has been taken to the root'.
We must fortify ourselves and clean up our souls 'while it is yet day'. If you have not been to Mass in a while or have not been to confession, call your parish and make an appointment with your priest for Confession. Or if your parish priest is not big on the Sacrament of Confession ... find a parish where the priest takes seriously his role as a Confessor and make an appointment to see him post haste. [Your priest may not have time to simply chat or visit, but I have yet to meet a sincere priest who did not make time for a specifically requested appointment for Confession.]
Each day when you log on to the internet, begin your time by unfailingly saying Fr. Zuhlsdorf's internet collect:
Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Also, I heartily encourage everyone to take up a new devotional practise. If you do not pray the Rosary, start praying it. I recommend to all that on a daily basis we take up the Golden Arrow Prayer which the Lord Jesus dictated to Sister Mary of St. Peter:
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.
[After receiving this prayer, Sister Mary of St. Peter was given a vision in which she saw the Sacred Heart of Jesus delightfully wounded by this "Golden Arrow", as torrents of graces streamed from It far the conversion of sinners.]
For those truly looking for a powerful devotion to anchor the spiritual warfare they are facing or are about to face, I recommend with all my heart the Devotion to The Holy Face of Jesus. Please click here for Holy Face Devotion resources for praying to Our Lord.
I also recommend praying the full and entire Litany to the Holy Face of Jesus each and every Friday. Please click here for this beautiful and powerful form of prayer and devotion.
It goes without saying that our prayers must be accompanied by actions and sacrifices pleasing to the Lord and which also bear witness to the truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Saint Veronica, pray for us to the Lord.
12 November 2014
The following link is to a post on the Rorate Caeli blog:
10 November 2014
09 November 2014
07 November 2014
With thanks to St. Tikhon's Monastery, Bookstore, and Press, I share with you, dear reader, a fine quote from St. Justin Popovich of the Serbian Orthodox Church:
"In [the Lives of the Saints] it is clearly and obviously demonstrated:
"There is no spiritual death from which one cannot be resurrected by the Divine power of the risen and ascended Lord Christ; there is no torment, there is no misfortune, there is no misery, there is no suffering which the Lord will not change either gradually or all at once into quiet, compunctionate joy because of faith in Him.
"And again there are countless soul-stirring examples of how a sinner becomes a righteous man in the Lives of the Saints: how a thief, a fornicator, a drunkard, a sensualist, a murderer, an adulterer becomes a holy man-there are many, many examples of this in the Lives of the Saints; how a selfish, egoistical, unbelieving, atheistic, proud, avaricious, lustful, evil, wicked, depraved, angry, spiteful, quarrelsome, malicious, envious, malevolent, boastful, vainglorious, unmerciful, gluttonous man becomes a man of God — there many, many examples of this in the Lives of the Saints."
Saint Justin Popovich
1894 - 1979
Kenya’s Catholic bishops are charging two United Nations organisations with sterilizing millions of girls and women under cover of an anti-tetanus inoculation programme sponsored by the Kenyan government.
According to a statement released Tuesday by the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, the organization has found an antigen that causes miscarriages in a vaccine being administered to 2.3 million girls and women by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Priests throughout Kenya reportedly are advising their congregations to refuse the vaccine.
“We sent six samples from around Kenya to laboratories in South Africa. They tested positive for the HCG antigen,” Dr. Muhame Ngare of the Mercy Medical Centre in Nairobi told LifeSiteNews. “They were all laced with HCG.”
Dr. Ngare, spokesman for the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, stated in a bulletin released November 4, “This proved right our worst fears; that this WHO campaign is not about eradicating neonatal tetanus but a well-coordinated forceful population control mass sterilization exercise using a proven fertility regulating vaccine. This evidence was presented to the Ministry of Health before the third round of immunization but was ignored.”
This is not the first time such evil has been perpetrated via vaccines.