Sunday, 15 February 2015
Friday, 13 February 2015
Cardinal Burke visits England in March
SPUC is pleased to announce a talk by Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta Remaining in the truth of Christ on holy matrimony on Friday, 6th March, 2015, at, at Abbey Suite, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Warrington Road, Chester, CH2 3PD. All are welcome. Admission free.
Cardinal Burke is also speaking at SPUC’s youth conference. The SPUC Youth Conference will take place from the 6-8th of March 2015 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Southport. It is a unique opportunity to motivate the pro-life youth to go out and spread the pro-life message. The price of the youth conference is £100, including all meals and accommodation. Contactrhoslynthomas@spuc.org.uk A few sponsored places are available.
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Labels: Cardinal Burke
St. Augustine in the City of God makes several comments concerning evil which help us understand what is happening in the world today.
As we face the rise of evil in the world, the unleashing of satanic forces not seen for a very long time, St. Augustine reminds us that God did not take away the power of the fallen angels, after their decision to rebel against Him. He allowed the original power of their offices, which is the same as their beings, in order for more glory to come out of evil. In other words, one sees the victory of good over evil even in the most extreme cases, such as in the lives of the martyrs so cruelly murdered in England, for example, being hung, drawn and quartered.
That God allowed the power of the demons to remain in their fallen state also means that God trusts His faithful to respond to grace and overcome evil with good.
The second idea from St. Augustine, in this context, has to do with the fact that after the Fall, God allowed mankind to retain free will. That we are made in the image and likeness of God involves God seeing us as free to chose or reject Him. In our freedom of choice, we are “like God”. Remember that St. Bernard of Clairvaux said that we kept the image (free will) but lost the likeness (grace) in Original Sin.
St. Augustine writes that the human race, so justly condemned to hell by the Sin of Adam, now has grace through Christ to choose good over evil and in the face of evil. God's glory will be seen in these victories.
We are “animals fit for heaven” because of our free will and the grace bestowed on us by God.
Thus, the City of God is built up daily, growing next to the City of Man, but with a difference, that this City of God will last forever. Quoting Philippians 2:13, St. Augustine reminds us that God works both the will and the good in us. We cannot, contrary to the belief of the Pelagians, move our wills towards God without His grace.
God's righteousness, notes St. Augustine, in man comes from God, not from our own efforts. His will dictates that we pray in His will and that we join in His will more perfectly as we die to ourselves. This, of course, is the great message of the perfection series.
One of the sections of St. Augustine's masterpiece lists many of the Old Testament references to eternal life, to heaven, to the New Jerusalem, as clearly not being simply a messianic age on earth, but the fullness of the Kingdom of God in heaven. Many of our Protestant brethren seemed confused on this point.
The materialist philosophy has infiltrated both some of the Protestant denominations and the Muslim “faith” making heaven into some kind of Caribbean hot-spot for vacations. The Kingdom of God, Christ reminds us in the Gospels, and in front of Pilate, “is not of this world”, but a spiritual Kingdom.
Sadly, too many Catholics want to equate the City of Man with the City of God, such Catholics as those who follow the heresies of liberation theology, or communism, or socialism.
One is constantly, in the teachings of the Catholic Church, brought back to individual dignity and responsibility. The rise of evil is happening not only because God's wrath will come upon us all for the sins of the nations, but because of individual, daily decisions made against God's Holy Will.
What heaven resembles, outside of the unity of our bodies and souls in the Beatific Vision, is a mystery to us. But, we clearly cannot confuse the Kingdom of God with any messianic ideal on this earth.
One more brief point from St. Augustine: the spreading of the Kingdom of God was not because of the efforts of the mk and work and work on a project of evangelization, then wonder why this effort fails. Perhaps those involved have merely done their own work, out of ego, rather than praying for the acceptance of the Gospel accordissionaries but because of Divine Intervention in preparing the Gentiles to accept Christ thousands came to Christ within a short period of time. Without this willing of God for the coming into the Church of the Gentiles, St. Augustine rightly notes, that no one would have accepted the resurrection of the body from the dead, reunited with the soul forever in heaven, as first witnessed in and through and with Christ's own Resurrection. Such an idea would not have been accepted without grace.
Too often Catholics, like those this morning at Mass who were not working out of humility or perfection but out of egotism (my music, my choir, my flute playing, my guitar playing, my collecting of money and so on) think that good works will save them. Holiness is service from the heart of God, not from one's own will.
to be continued...
Horrible...asking the wrong group to move....
Horrible...asking the wrong group to move....
This morning I attended the worst Mass I have been to in over ten years.
List of abominations.
List of abominations.
- The altar is placed to one side of the sanctuary, not in the middle. I am not sure I have ever seen this before. The ambo is in equal space. Horrible.
- The priest referred to the Mass as a meal and the altar as a table.
- The choir used a bassoon, guitars, and piano and all the music sounded Proddie.
- The congregation "blessed" the children going out for children's liturgy...those adults have NO power of blessing. The priest sang a trendy blessing song.. horrid.
- The men who took the collection slapped people on the back when they gave in their envelopes and talked in the back of the church during most of the Mass.
- Jeans, jeans, jeans, jeans and this is a wealthy parish....I just do not get it.
- People holding up their hands in the Our Father, in the priestly orans position which the Pope Emeritus said was a huge no-no.
- Holding hands as well...ieeuu.
- Talking going up to Communion
- Two announcements both about money
- Talking in church.
It is nine degrees and minus with the wind chill. I took a cab to church as the secretary of this wealthy parish could not find me a ride.
After Mass, I could not get a cab, as many people most likely are having car problems and need cabs to pick up prescriptions. I asked four people after church for a ride before one said yes. The irony was the priest spoke of not judging people and reaching out....
Catholic, but not Christian...and I think of the little birds of the field, so cold, like me outside in this weather.
Today, is, perhaps one of the coldest days I have experienced in a year. Yet, outside, several kinds of birds are singing. One is a warbler, one a cardinal, and I am touched by their persistent songs in the morning cold.
These humble creatures of God teach us a lesson. That in terrible times, we keep praising God. We praise Him for graces, for life, and even for trials.
Yesterday, walking home from a close mini-mall, I thanked God for suffering: for pain in my feet, my face (I have had frostbite there), my hands, my back. I felt the joy of having something to offer up to my Dear Lord, Who suffered on the Cross for me.
This joy is a quiet joy, a simple joy of joining just a tiny bit in the sufferings of the Bridegroom. If we want to be with Christ, we accept the sufferings He brings, He allows.
Thousands of miles from the person, after Christ and Mary, I love the most, I suffer loss of my only son, but realizing that Mary lost her Son helps me as well. Does she not help all who have lost children through separation, even that terrible separation of death?
The tiny bird sings outside my small patio, and its song drives away doubt, fear.
Did not the Second Son of the Blessed Trinity remind us of the Father's care for the least of His creatures?
I am reminded of the British robin I saw on the lower promenade in Sliema, a time which now seems long ago as I sit in this barren landscape. No flowers, no leaves on the trees, but one small bird singing the praises of the God it does not even know as we do.
Can we do less, those of us who know His Love, His Sacrifice daily re-enacted at daily Holy Mass, (which I miss so much since I have landed here-a cross, indeed). I miss the walk to Whitefriars, or Clarendon Street, on my daily visit to my Dear Lord. Now, I must carry Him within me without the great comfort of the sacrament.
But, like this little bird, I praise God in the barrenness and in the plenitude. This is why I was created, to know, to love, to serve, to praise God in this world and in the next. This is why you were created.
Let us praise God together, joining this little creature, which sings so brightly in the dim cold.
Raissa Maritain notes in her writings that the New Testament covenant presents a higher standard than the Old Covenant. (Testament means Covenant, so I could write Old Covenant and New Covenant for Old and New Testament. One testifies to a covenant, even a marriage covenant, the hesed.)
That the New Covenant demands a higher level of the life of virtue simply follows the fact that now the graces bound by Original Sin flow through the Church to us in Christ, through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.
We are called to greater holiness than the Hebrews in the desert of Sinai. We have grace, the sacraments, baptism for adoption as sons and daughter of God, confession for purification, Eucharist for endurance. We have the witnesses of 2,000 years of those who chose Christ, His Mother, His Church over sin and error. The sons of Aaron who perished only had to stop complaining, stop murmuring against God's chosen leader and obey him. They only had to become humble and leave prideful thoughts, leave the pursuit of power among the chosen ones.
Things have not changed, except we have more grace, more chances to turn to Christ and be saved.
Pray that those who have fallen away will respond to those graces the Lord gives them to return to Him.
One of the questions people have asked me in the past, especially if they have read the Acts of the Apostles, and the list of miracles reported by St. Augustine in the City of God, is this “Why are there not miracles like in the days of the Early Church, or in the dioceses and shrines, as in the days of St. Augustine?”
There is a simple answer to this question, and that is “People lack faith.” Too many times, Catholics work out of their own power, their own abilities and do not trust in God alone. Trusting in God alone, trusting in Divine Providence proves to be a tricky state of mind and soul.
One cannot fall into the sin of presumption, which assumes that God must and will answer one's prayers. Nor can one fall into doubt.
This position of trust really comes only after the Dark Night, when one has been purified to the point that one is no longer either presumptuous or doubting. To be in that state of complete trust demands a deep humility. Until one is purified, one vacillates between presuming that God will answer one's prayers and doubt that He will do so. Humility alone brings about the detachment necessary for pure prayer.
Miracles are rare, always, but more miracles could come from the Will of God if people really believed that He wanted to create these miracles.
A person must get beyond trusting in people, but it is true that the People of God can work miracles as well.
I have friend who was literally homeless with four children after her husband left her. Her miracle came when she finally found a sensitive and non-officious person in the welfare office to “hear” her after several tries.
God must move people to do good. As St. Teresa of Avila writes, our hands are His Hands.
I need several miracles. Most of my readers who have been following me know what these are. God works in mysterious ways, as we all know, as He is deferring these miracles while I am being humbled and put into the position where it is obvious that only He can find the solution.
To trust in God completely shows God that one loves Him as God, and as Father.
The miracles of the Early Church came from hearts of trust.