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Tuesday 3 December 2013

New Blog Kid on The Block

Persecution Watch for Today

From a Domer

I took my degree and put it in the bottom of a box when POTUS was given that honorary degree. But, maybe, in the future, I shall dig it out again. Notre Dame renews lawsuit against Obamacare.

Did you know about the mini-series on socialism and Deus Caritas Est?

 Pope Emeritus  Benedict XVI

“We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything”

“The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person − every person − needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need. … In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3) − a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human.” (Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, December 25, 2005, n. 28)

My mini-series on socialism and Deus Caritas Est may be found on the links below.

Teenager And The Latin Mass

Now for something completely different

"Happy are the painters for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour.....will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day." -Winston Churchill, 1921 December. ("Painting as a Pastime", Strand Magazine; Thoughts, 220-21.)

The Giza Pyramids at Cairo, an oil painting by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Photo: Christie’s/PA Wire

Love, Grace, Perfection and Veritatis Splendor

It is clear that the grace of the sacraments leads one to perfection. The Eucharist, states Blessed John Paul II, gives us both the power and the source of that complete gift of self. Christ gives Himself to each one of us and each one gives himself to Christ. 

From Veritatis Splendor again:

21. Following Christ is not an outward imitation, since it touches man at the very depths of his being. Being a follower of Christ means becoming conformed to him who became a servant even to giving himself on the Cross (cf. Phil 2:5-8). Christ dwells by faith in the heart of the believer (cf. Eph3:17), and thus the disciple is conformed to the Lord. This is the effect of grace, of the active presence of the Holy Spirit in us.
Having become one with Christ, the Christian becomes a member of his Body, which is the Church (cf. Cor 12:13, 27). By the work of the Spirit, Baptism radically configures the faithful to Christ in the Paschal Mystery of death and resurrection; it "clothes him" in Christ (cf. Gal 3:27): "Let us rejoice and give thanks", exclaims Saint Augustine speaking to the baptized, "for we have become not only Christians, but Christ (...). Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ! ".28 Having died to sin, those who are baptized receive new life (cf. Rom 6:3-11): alive for God in Christ Jesus, they are called to walk by the Spirit and to manifest the Spirit's fruits in their lives (cf. Gal 5:16-25). Sharing in the Eucharist, the sacrament of the New Covenant (cf. 1 Cor 11:23-29), is the culmination of our assimilation to Christ, the source of "eternal life" (cf. Jn 6:51-58), the source and power of that complete gift of self, which Jesus — according to the testimony handed on by Paul — commands us to commemorate in liturgy and in life: "As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (1 Cor 11:26).

And, of course, as seen in the sections from St. John of the Cross and others, the seeking of perfection is rooted in love. Love demands perfection and perfection demands love. Such is the relationship between Christ and His Church, Christ and each one of us.

24. And so we find revealed the authentic and original aspect of the commandment of love and of the perfection to which it is ordered: we are speaking of a possibility opened up to man exclusively by grace, by the gift of God, by his love. On the other hand, precisely the awareness of having received the gift, of possessing in Jesus Christ the love of God, generates and sustains the free response of a full love for God and the brethren, as the Apostle John insistently reminds us in his first Letter: "Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love... Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another... We love, because he first loved us" (1 Jn 4:7-8, 11, 19).

Grace leads us to love and perfection. We become like Christ through this process. 

By the way, if someone is still confused as to natural law philosophy, the evil of "teleological", "consequentialist" and "proportionalist" ethical theories, and how a Catholic approaches moral issues, this encyclical provides excellent definitions and guidelines. There is much confusion among younger Catholics who have not had the advantage of good catechesis on these matters.

Take advantage of the fact that this encyclical in on line here.

Perfection Series Starting Up Again

Several readers have asked me questions about perfection which reveal a confusion on the call of Christ to all Catholics. Too many priests have watered down this call and have not taught the way to perfection.

I am looking at Veritatis Splendor, by Blessed John Paul II to help in this regard.

Bl. John Paul II notes that perfection is maturity. And the section on baptism helps answer the question which plagues the Protestants, who believe that all our sins are taken away at once forever, denying concupiscence and the need for the sacraments.

First, this section, then another below.

Perfection demands that maturity in self-giving to which human freedom is called. Jesus points out to the young man that the commandments are the first and indispensable condition for having eternal life; on the other hand, for the young man to give up all he possesses and to follow the Lord is presented as an invitation: "If you wish...". These words of Jesus reveal the particular dynamic of freedom's growth towards maturity, and at the same time they bear witness to the fundamental relationship between freedom and divine law. Human freedom and God's law are not in opposition; on the contrary, they appeal one to the other. The follower of Christ knows that his vocation is to freedom. "You were called to freedom, brethren" (Gal 5:13), proclaims the Apostle Paul with joy and pride. But he immediately adds: "only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another" (ibid.). The firmness with which the Apostle opposes those who believe that they are justified by the Law has nothing to do with man's "liberation" from precepts. On the contrary, the latter are at the service of the practice of love: "For he who loves his neighbour has fulfilled the Law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet,' and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself' " (Rom 13:8-9). Saint Augustine, after speaking of the observance of the commandments as being a kind of incipient, imperfect freedom, goes on to say: "Why, someone will ask, is it not yet perfect? Because 'I see in my members another law at war with the law of my reason'... In part freedom, in part slavery: not yet complete freedom, not yet pure, not yet whole, because we are not yet in eternity. In part we retain our weakness and in part we have attained freedom. All our sins were destroyed in Baptism, but does it follow that no weakness remained after iniquity was destroyed? Had none remained, we would live without sin in this life. But who would dare to say this except someone who is proud, someone unworthy of the mercy of our deliverer?... Therefore, since some weakness has remained in us, I dare to say that to the extent to which we serve God we are free, while to the extent that we follow the law of sin, we are still slaves".27

St. Augustine is aware of the battle for perfection. Yet, he attained this or we would not call him "Saint". 

And, as Garrigou-Lagrange and others have noted, the call is for all the baptized, who follow Christ in Truth. Here is Blessed John Paul II again.

This vocation to perfect love is not restricted to a small group of individuals. The invitation, "go, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor", and the promise "you will have treasure in heaven", are meant for everyone, because they bring out the full meaning of the commandment of love for neighbour, just as the invitation which follows, "Come, follow me", is the new, specific form of the commandment of love of God. Both the commandments and Jesus' invitation to the rich young man stand at the service of a single and indivisible charity, which spontaneously tends towards that perfection whose measure is God alone: "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:48). In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus makes even clearer the meaning of this perfection: "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful" (Lk 6:36).

To be continued....

More from Aquinas on the Passion

Summa Part III, Q 48; art. 5

I answer that, For someone to redeem, two things are required--namely, the act of paying and the price paid. For if inredeeming something a man pays a price which is not his own, but another's, he is not said to be the chief redeemer, but rather the other is, whose price it is. Now Christ's blood or His bodily life, which "is in the blood," is the price of our redemption(Leviticus 17:11-14), and that life He paid. Hence both of these belong immediately to Christ as man; but to the Trinity as to the first and remote cause, to whom Christ's life belonged as to its first author, and from whom Christ received the inspiration of suffering for us. Consequently it is proper to Christ as man to be the Redeemer immediately; although the redemption may be ascribed to the whole Trinity as its first cause.
Reply to Objection 1. A gloss explains the text thus: "Thou, O Lord God of Truth, hast redeemed me in Christ, crying out, 'Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.'" And so redemption belongs immediately to the Man-Christ, but principally to God.
Reply to Objection 2. The Man-Christ paid the price of our redemption immediately, but at the command of the Father as the original author.
Reply to Objection 3. The sufferings of the saints are beneficial to the Church, as by way, not of redemption, but of example and exhortation, according to 2 Corinthians 1:6: "Whether we be in tribulation, it is for your exhortation and salvation.

And Article 6

There is a twofold efficient agency--namely, the principal and the instrumental. Now the principal efficient causeof man's salvation is God. But since Christ's humanity is the "instrument of the Godhead," as stated above (Question 43, Article 2), therefore all Christ's actions and sufferings operate instrumentally in virtue of His Godhead for the salvation of men. Consequently, then, Christ's Passion accomplishes man's salvation efficiently.
Reply to Objection 1. Christ's Passion in relation to His flesh is consistent with the infirmity which He took upon Himself, but in relation to the Godhead it draws infinite might from It, according to 1 Corinthians 1:25: "The weakness of God is stronger than men"; because Christ's weakness, inasmuch as He is God, has a might exceeding all human power.
Reply to Objection 2. Christ's Passion, although corporeal, has yet a spiritual effect from the Godhead united: and therefore it secures its efficacy by spiritual contact--namely, by faith and the sacraments of faith, as the Apostle says (Romans 3:25): "Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood."
Reply to Objection 3. Christ's Passion, according as it is compared with His Godhead, operates in an efficient manner: but in so far as it is compared with the will of Christ's soul it acts in a meritorious manner: considered as being within Christ's very flesh, itacts by way of satisfaction, inasmuch as we are liberated by it from the debt of punishment; while inasmuch as we are freed from the servitude of guilt, it acts by way of redemption: but in so far as we are reconciled with God it acts by way of sacrifice, as shall be shown farther on (49)

When God Allowed His Son To Be Killed

The Crucifixion was in the Will of God. God the Father allowed His Own Son to incur the just punishment or of our sins and those of all humans from Adam and Eve to the last person to live on earth.

This great suffering, which only a God-Man could endure and take on Himself, as the One Who Is All Good, All Pure, All Innocence, will come upon the Church in the final days of tribulation.

I do not know when this will happen, but I do know this. That a great suffering will come upon the Church soon. This is why I write so much. This is why I write on perfection and being in the Will of God.

This small post is a continuation of this one.

God will allow the Church to share in His Passion, which we do daily in the Mass.

It is His Will that Catholics become saints and that saints bring others to Him through the Church.

The evil which is gathering against the Church will not look evil to many. It will look like good.

That many will be deceived is already obvious, as many are deceived now.

When I attend the small Tridentine Masses here, as I did in England and in Ireland, I am struck by the smallness of the communities. I am struck by those isolated suffering people I met in Malta who are waiting for God without the TLM.

When God allowed His Son to be Crucified, to be killed, God suffered as did the entire Trinity in some mysterious way. God, Three in One, will allow His Bride to suffer. The suffering of Christ is unique, but God the Father allows this suffering in His Plan. John 14:8-11 reminds us that the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son. That God the Father would allow suffering is a great mystery, but such was His Plan.

Why? Because as St. Paul states, "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church". Colossians1:24

This is not poetry, but fact. Here is Aquinas....Summa, III Part, Q 48, art. 5

....For someone to redeem, two things are required--namely, the act of paying and the price paid. For if in redeeming something a man pays a price which is not his own, but another's, he is not said to be the chief redeemer, but rather the other is, whose price it is. Now Christ's blood or His bodily life, which "is in the blood," is the price of our redemption (Leviticus 17:11-14), and that life He paid. Hence both of these belong immediately to Christ as man; but to the Trinity as to the first and remote cause, to whom Christ's life belonged as to its first author, and from whom Christ received the inspiration of suffering for us. Consequently it is proper to Christ as man to be the Redeemer immediately; although the redemption may be ascribed to the whole Trinity as its first cause.

The wanting of the sufferings of Christ does not mean that Christ did not take upon Himself all the sins of men and women of all ages. No.

It means that in every age, there is a need for the Crucifixion to bear fruit among the people on the earth.

It means that in every age, Christ is Incarnated, as He is Present in the Eucharist, in the sufferings of the Church. If we allow ourselves to be conformed to Christ, we shall be invited to join Him in His Passion.

This is the mystery of the Passion. 

Many years ago, I saw the Caravaggio Conversion of St. Paul in Rome. What has struck me about this painting is that Paul is on the ground, on the road to Damascus, but his body is in the shape of the Cross. It is as though St. Paul is reaching out to the Crucified One already, in imitation of Christ's sacrifice.

This perspective is different than the heresy of "patripassionism" which is connected with modalism and states that God the Father died on the Cross. Of course, this is not true. But, God did suffer and St. Paul states this.  "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself" (2 Cor 5:19). 

We cannot say that Christ was ever separated from the Trinity. There is a mystery here and a mystery for the Church. We can say that God gave us His Son and did not spare the One He Loves.

Here is Aquinas again: Summa Part III Question 4 Article 3

As observed above (Article 2), Christ suffered voluntarily out of obedience to the Father. Hence in three respects God the Father did deliver up Christ to the Passion. In the first way, because by His eternal will He preordained Christ's Passion for the deliverance of the human race, according to the words of Isaias (53:6): "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquitiesof us all"; and again (Isaiah 53:10): "The Lord was pleased to bruise Him in infirmity." Secondly, inasmuch as, by the infusion of charity, He inspired Him with the will to suffer for us; hence we read in the same passage: "He was offered because it was His own will" (Isaiah 53:7). Thirdly, by not shielding Him from the Passion, but abandoning Him to His persecutors: thus we read (Matthew 27:46) that Christ, while hanging upon the cross, cried out: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" because, to wit, He left Him to the power of His persecutors, as Augustine says (Ep. cxl).
Reply to Objection 1. It is indeed a wicked and cruel act to hand over an innocent man to torment and to death against his will. Yet God the Father did not so deliver up Christ, but inspired Him with the will to suffer for us. God's "severity" (cf. Romans 11:22) is thereby shown, for He would not remit sin without penalty: and the Apostle indicates this when (Romans 8:32) he says: "God spared not even His own Son." Likewise His "goodness" (Romans 11:22) shines forth, since by no penalty endured could man pay Him enough satisfaction: and the Apostle denotes this when he says: "He delivered Him up for us all": and, again (Romans 3:25): "Whom"--that is to say, Christ--God "hath proposed to be a propitiation through faith in His blood."
Reply to Objection 2. Christ as God delivered Himself up to death by the same will and action as that by which the Father delivered Him up; but as man He gave Himself up by a will inspired of the Father. Consequently there is no contrariety in the Father delivering Him up and in Christ delivering Himself up.

Reply to Objection 3. The same act, for good or evil, is judged differently, accordingly as it proceeds from a different source. The Father delivered up Christ, and Christ surrendered Himself, from charity, and consequently we give praise to both: but Judas betrayed Christ from greed, the Jews from envy, and Pilate from worldly fear, for he stood in fear of Caesar; and these accordingly are held guilty.

To be continued....

Various Posts on Grace-there are more....repeats

21 Mar 2013
Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated ...
21 Mar 2013
Internal helps, which are either permanent (such as infused habits, for instance, sanctifying grace, the virtues and gifts) or transient (such as supernatural movements which excite in us indeliberate acts, pious thoughts and ...
02 Jun 2012
The phrase Dei Gratia, is part of the title of the monarch of Great Britain. By the grace of God, she reigns. Now, Americans have a hard time with this overlap of religion and politics. And, this weekend's amazing celebration of ...

20 Jun 2012
Here is Leo XIII on the matter--"the Sacraments of the New Law, as sensible and efficient signs of invisible grace, ought both to signify the grace which they effect, and effect the grace which they signify" in Apostolicae Curae.
08 Dec 2012
These good works do not merit grace unless these good people, who may be confused, are in and with the Catholic Church. Many heretics begin as good Catholics but get caught up in one or more "disagreements"with the ...
09 Mar 2013
The Council asserted that salvation is the work of God's grace and that even the beginning of faith or the consent to saving grace is itself the result of grace. By our natural powers, we can neither think as we ought nor choose ...
25 Nov 2012
All baptized people are in sanctifying grace. But, there is a catch. As soon as one is at an age of reason and is choosing to be a Protestant, this relationship is broken. The stages of holiness I have been describing cannot be ...

30 Jan 2012
The concept of grace is rarely taught in catechesis and yet, a Catholic needs an excellent grasp on the concept of, especially, sanctifying grace, in order to grow in the interior life. The other concepts which an adult Catholic ...

06 Mar 2013
Those who busy themselves with other types of activities may be ignoring the life of the sacraments, which is sanctifying grace. Remember, one cannot get sanctifying grace outside the sacraments, unless God chooses to ...
02 Nov 2013
Cooperate with grace. Pay attention to those small warnings and ideas which come into one's head as reason helps us with the way of perfection. Those who are detached from venial sin gain plenary indulgences for others.
22 Aug 2013
Firstly, grace determines the growth of holiness and grace is a free gift from God. God decides to whom He gives graces to early in life. Like the workers in the famous parable, who received wages for one hour of work, these ...
28 Aug 2013
Years of bad habits, turning away from grace, the lack of penances and the avoidance, or hatred of suffering create obstacles to the free flowing of the virtues. Purification is like putting Drano in the drains so that the river of ...

28 Aug 2013
Years of bad habits, turning away from grace, the lack of penances and the avoidance, or hatred of suffering create obstacles to the free flowing of the virtues. Purification is like putting Drano in the drains so that the river of ...
04 Jun 2013
If anyone says that, after receiving the grace of justification the guilt of any repentant sinner is remitted and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such a way that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be paid, ...
10 Feb 2012
When is grace with us? When we do not offend this benefaction, do not despise this gift. Who then in offending this grace can preserve it and not be deprived of it? God has granted thee absolution of sins, how then can a good ...
07 May 2012
If a person or a people refuse to accept grace, the grace of repentance, then there can be no renewal of a parish. No amount of programs can renew a parish, unless these programs hit the heart with the Truth and Love of ...

22 May 2012
1308 Although Confirmation is sometimes called the "sacrament of Christian maturity," we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited ...
09 Dec 2012
Many young Catholics do not realize that the Church has long honoured those in the Old Testament who were given grace. Unlike us in baptism, which is available to all, some had grace in the ancient times. St. David is ...
13 May 2012
Could it be that the reason why people, in my parish, talk before and after Mass, besides being lazy, is that these parishioners simply do not understand or see the value of responding to grace, the grace of thanksgiving, ...

21 Dec 2012
28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this ...
18 Nov 2013
If you are over-protecting your children by not explaining the times, you are not allowing them to grow in grace. If you are compromising about the truth in your life and allowing your children to compromise, both you and your ...
06 May 2012
Pelagianism denies the efficacy of baptism, sanctifying grace, and the life of the infuse virtues. Pelagianism denies the need for Christ to die for our sins on the Cross, the need for atonement. Here is a snippet from the online ...
07 Dec 2012
We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of ...

Faith Without The Imagination

In the long Dark Night of the Soul series, found through the labels at the side of this blog, I noted that the great saints teach us that Faith must be purged of the reliance on the imagination.

Some readers asked good questions on this point and I hope I answered some queries.

However, I want to expand on this idea today, as we are quickly entering into a time where any type of consolation of faith may be taken away from us, both as individuals and as a group.

I think of those who survived the concentration camps of Germany, or the Gulag of Russia, or even, of Frodo, in literature, who told Sam on Mt. Doom that he had forgotten what the Shire looked like.

In the face of grave isolation and in the midst of the enemies of the Church, one could forget the consolations of the sacraments and the Mass. One could be separated from the liturgical comforts of the great feast days and the days of the saints.

One could be removed from all physical beauty, and even from the memory of such beauty.

What happens in the Dark Night, in this purging of the imagination, is the complete destruction of intellectual and emotional input, but a slow changing of both to be born again in the Mind of Christ.

The intellect finally conforms to that of Christ's Mind, which sees all things in a different light than the world, the flesh or the devil.

The emotions are purged of selfishness.

The will is changed from being centered on self to being centered on God alone.

When one is in a desert, one sees mirages instead of reality. One must learn to trust something more than the senses. One must learn to trust in the deep recesses of the self, which hopefully rests in God. The self-will is gone.

That forceful push to the inner being of a person, that harsh glare of reality beyond fear and expectation, is the final stage in the Dark Night.

There, if one is quiet and listening, one will finally encounter God as He wants to be encountered, not as one imagines Him to be.

Like the person in the concentration camp who only sees violence and ugliness day after day, but hopes in the Unseen God, the person in the Dark Night transcends the ugliness of his own sin and tendencies towards sin.

Nothing matters but Love.

One may ask how Love is found in this dark passage from self to nothingness. Love seeks and finds. And, finally , one realizes that one can only rely on that Love and nothing, no one else.

If God decides to take all away, so be it. If He decides to bless, so be it.

In the next state, that of Illumination, one will finally come to understanding. But, until then, one waits in faith, hope and love. One must decide to live in the Shadow of God, rather than in the false bright lights of the world. This living both in the world but not being of the world is the call of each Catholic.

If you are feeling now that you do not "belong" anywhere but with God and His True Church, be glad. If you are abandoned by those in the world, and even by some Christians, do not be alarmed. So, too, was Christ.

You are moving into the great Darkness which will lead you to a greater encounter with God.

Do not be afraid.