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Wednesday 4 December 2013

If this is not "big brother".....

If this is not "big brother".....

Yet another prayer request

A Latina friend of mine has a leaking roof, and the government will not have money to help her for three to five years. She takes care of four grandchildren during the day.

Please pray for someone to help her. There are so many people suffering at this time.

She does not want me to ask for money at this time from the blog, so please pray she finds a benefactor in the area.


UPDATE: Since asking for your prayers, a company said it will donate materials, but the woman needs men to do the job. Keep praying.

The Incredible Weakness of the Church In England

No longer Catholics 

LONDON, Dec. 4, 2013 ( – An extensive survey conducted by YouGov and designed by a leading secular sociologist have found that only small fraction of self-identified Catholics agree with Church teaching on “hot-button” moral issues like contraception, “gay marriage,” abortion and euthanasia. However, the survey also found that among weekly mass attendees, the number who support the Church's teachings is considerably higher.
Altogether 19 percent of the total 1062 self-identified Catholics surveyed said that abortion ought to be “banned altogether.” That number rose significantly among weekly mass attendees (17% of the total sample of 1062), but still only reached 42%, with another 29% of weekly mass attendees saying that the time limit for when abortion can be legally obtained should be lowered (abortion is currently legal practically on-demand up to 24 weeks gestation in the UK). 
Conducted ahead of the annual Westminster Faith Debates, the poll, designed by sociologist Prof. Linda Woodhead of Lancaster University, compared attitudes of Catholics towards a variety of moral and political issues. It broke the data down into various categories including age, frequency of church attendance and what religious factors influenced the respondents’ life decisions. 
Breaking down the numbers by age groups, 25 percent of the total respondents over 60 years old wanted a full ban on abortion, with that dropping to just 14 percent in the youngest age group of 18-24. Thirty-one percent of older respondents said the legal gestational age limit of 24 weeks for abortion should be lowered, and 22 percent of the youngest agreed.
The differences between age groups was perhaps most pronounced on the question of same-sex “marriage,” with 68 percent of those over 60 saying it is “wrong” and only 30 percent of the youngest Catholics agreeing with their elders. Twenty-four percent of Catholics aged 35-39 thought same-sex “marriage” was “wrong” and 22 per cent in that age range said they “don’t know.” 
Among weekly mass attendees, on the other hand, 68% agreed that same-sex "marriage" was wrong. 
Fifty-eight percent of respondents agreed that euthanasia should be legal.  Forty-one percent of those over 60 said that Britain should retain its law against euthanasia, with 46 percent saying euthanasia should be allowed. Thirty percent of the 18-24 age group wanted to retain the current law, and 58 percent wanted a change. The spread was even more broad for the 25-39 age group, with only 22 per cent opposing euthanasia and 62 per cent favouring a change to the law. 
However, among weekly mass attendees, opposition to euthanasia rose to 63 percent. 

Warning on false groups

I warned some people in Europe about the OSMA group. It is not orthodox.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) were informed by the Apostolic Nunciature recently on the activity of the associations.
According to an article released by the CBCP, the “Roman Catholic Society of Pope Leo XIII” (Societas Catholica Romana Papae Leonis) and the Opus Sancti Michaelis Archangeli (OSMA) have spread through several countries.

On fish, bread and doughnuts...

This is "my" passage of Scripture. I am sure we all have one given to us by God at some point in our lives. Perhaps at our conversion or re-version, perhaps on a special occasion, such as a wedding day, or birth of a child, some passage stood out as very personal.

God decides what passages "belong" to us. I know two people besides me who were "given" particular passages when they came into the Church after falling away.

I have few talents. These are my fives loaves and two fish. But, God can take our one, or two, or three "talents" and use them for His Kingdom, if we let Him take those.

I wanted to publish my myriad plays, short stories, novellas, poetry, fairy tales, etc, mostly sitting in boxes in storage or on old disks and discs. That idea was not God's plan.

I wanted to finish a novel I began years ago. That was not God's plan.

I have a blog, which is not my blog, but God's and I can say this was His Idea, as the idea did not start with me.

Do not be afraid if God takes your fish and loaves and uses these in another way, unknown, unanticipated by you.

God makes new doughnuts every day....and bread and fish....And, I just discovered it is National Cookie Day. A food theme today.....
Matthew 15:29-37

15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying: This is a desert place, and the hour is now past: send away the multitudes, that going into the towns, they may buy themselves victuals.
16 But Jesus said to them, They have no need to go: give you them to eat.

17 They answered him: We have not here, but five loaves, and two fishes.
18 He said to them: Bring them hither to me.
19 And when he had commanded the multitudes to sit down upon the grass, he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes.
20 And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up what remained, twelve full baskets of fragments.
21 And the number of them that did eat, was five thousand men, besides women and children.

Other doughnut posts may be found from the tag.

Thought for The Day from God

For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?  Luke 23:31

Repost on Mini-Series on Grace....follow the tags

There is much confusion among Catholics less than 55 years old on the nature of grace. This is owing to bad catechesis and the Protestant mindset which crept into the Church in the 1970s. I am reposting this and one can go back and read the first four posts in this mini-series.

Christian Perfection and Contemplation According to St. Thomas Aquinas 
and St. John of the Cross

by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (What would I do without this great man?)

Copyright 1937, Herder Book Co., 1937
Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat, 1937

The Practical Consequences of the
Doctrine of St. Thomas on Grace

Page 1 

St. Thomas, following St. Augustine and opposing Pelagian or semi-Pelagian naturalism, grasped the depth and the height of our Lord's words: "Without Me you can do nothing," [1] and of St. Paul's words: "For it is God Who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to His good will." [2] "For who distinguisheth thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received?" [3] In the work of salvation we cannot distinguish any part that is exclusively ours; all comes from God, even our free co-operation, which efficacious grace gently and mightily stirs up in us and confirms.

This grace, which is always followed by its effect, is refused to us, as we said, only if we resist the Divine, auxilium praeveniens, sufficient grace, in which the efficacious help is already offered us, as fruit is in the flower. If we destroy the flower, we shall never see the fruit, which the influence of the sun and of the nourishment of the earth would have produced. Now man is sufficient to himself to fall; drawn from nothingness, he is by nature defectible. He is sufficiently assisted by God so that he falls only through his own fault, which thus deprives him of a new help. This is the great mystery of grace. We have elsewhere explained what St. Thomas and his best disciples teach about this mystery. [4]

With him and St. Augustine we must submit our intelligence before this Divine obscurity, and as Bossuet says, "confess these two graces (sufficient and efficacious), one of which leaves the will without excuse before God, and the other does not permit the will to glory in itself." [5] Is this not in conformity with what our conscience tells us? According to this doctrine, all that is good in us, naturally or supernaturally, has its origin in the Author of all good. Sin alone cannot come from Him, and the Lord allows it to happen only because He is sufficiently powerful and good to draw from it a greater good, the manifestation of His mercy or justice.

All grace is from God, all....and our free will either hinders or encourages holiness.

This teaching of the great doctors of grace lifts our mind to a lofty contemplation of God's action in the innermost depths of our heart. To prove this, we have only to demonstrate that this doctrine should lead those who understand it well to profound humility, to almost continual interior prayer, to the perfection of the theological virtues and of the corresponding gifts of the Holy Ghost. Besides, we find it in the writings of all the great masters of the spiritual life. Considering the importance and the difficulty of the problem, we shall affirm nothing in this article except according to the very words of Scripture, as the greatest doctors explain them.

This doctrine leads first of all to profound humility. According to this doctri
ne man has as his own, as something coming exclusively from himself, only his sin, as the Council of Orange declared.[6] He never performs any natural good act without the natural aid of Godor any supernatural good act without a grace which solicits or attracts him, and also efficaciously moves him to the salutary act. As St. Paul says: "Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God." [7] Even holy souls that have reached a high degree of charity are always in need of an actual grace in order to merit, to advance, to avoid sin, and to persevere in goodness. 

At every state, we need grace.

[8] They should say: "For the thoughts of mortal man are fearful, and our counsels uncertain," [9] "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven . . . and lead us not into temptation." After striving greatly, they should admit: "We are unprofitable servants," [10] for the Lord might have chosen others who would have served Him much better. In all truth we should say, according to the teaching of St. Thomas, that there is no sin committed by another man which I might not commit in the same circumstances by reason of the infirmity of my free will, and of my own weakness (the Apostle Peter denied his Master three times). And if actually I have not fallen, if I have persevered, this is doubtless because I worked and struggled, but without Divine grace I should have done nothing. [ll] "Not to us, O Lord, not to us; but to Thy name give glory"; [12] "as the potter's clay is in his hand, to fashion and order it . . . so man is in the hand of Him that made him." [13] "Thy hands have made me and formed me"; [l4] "Thou hast redeemed us to God, in Thy blood." [15] "If I have not perished, it is because of Thy mercy." [16] "Into Thy hands I commend my spirit." [17] "This," says St. Augustine, "is what must be believed and said in all piety and truth, so that our confession may be humble and suppliant, and that all may be attributed to God." [18] Such is true humility. "Or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" [19]

Efficacious grace 

The Saints, considering their own failures, say to themselves that if such and such a criminal had received all the graces the Lord bestowed on them, he would perhaps have been less unfaithful than they. The sight of the gratuity of the Divine predilections confirms them in humility. They recall our Lord's words: "You have not chosen Me: but I have chosen you."
This doctrine leads also to continual intimate prayer, to profound thanksgiving, to the prayer of contemplation.
It leads to intimate prayer; for this is a very secret grace that must be asked. We must ask not only the grace which solicits and excites the soul to good but also that grace which makes us will it, which makes us persevere, which reaches the depths of our heart and of our free will; that grace which moves us in these depths, so that we may be delivered from the concupiscence of the flesh and the eyes, and from the pride of life. God alone saves and snatches us from these enemies of our salvation. At the same time He does not wound our liberty, but establishes it by delivering us from the captivity of these things of earth.

Thus Scripture teaches us to pray: "Have pity on me, O Lord, according to Thine infinite mercy. Be propitious to a sinner. Help my unbelief. Create a clean heart in me, and renew a right spirit within me. Convert me, O Lord, make me return to Thee, and I shall return. [20] Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." Give me Thy sweet and mighty grace in order that I may truly accomplish Thy holy will. As St. Augustine says: "Lord, give what Thou dost command, and command what Thou pleasest."

Thus again the Church prays in the Missal: "Lord, direct toward Thyself our rebellious wills; grant that unbelievers, who are unwilling to believe, may have a will to believe. Apply our hearts to good works. Give us good will. Convert us and draw us strongly to Thyself. Take from us our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh, a docile and pure heart. Change our wills and incline them toward what is good." [21]

Such is the holy confidence of the prayer of the Church because she is sure that God is not powerless to convert the most hardened sinners. What should a priest do who cannot succeed in converting a dying sinner? Persuaded that God can convert this guilty will, above all the priest will pray. If, on the contrary, he imagines that God holds this will only from without, by circumstances, good thoughts, good inspirations, which remain external to the consent to salutary goodness, will not the priest himself delay too long in the use of superficial means? Will his prayer possess that holy boldness which we admire in the Saints, and which rests on their faith in the potent efficacy of grace?

I love the term here, "holy boldness" which is missing in most Catholics, who only want to be nice.

Likewise prayer should be, in a sense, continual, since our soul needs a new, actual, efficacious grace for every salutary act, for each new merit. With this in mind, we clearly see the profound meaning of our Lord's words: "We ought always to pray, and not to faint." [22] This truth is fully realized only in the mystical life, in which prayer truly becomes, as the fathers say, "the breath of the soul," which hardly ceases any more than that of the body. The soul constantly desires grace, which is like a vivifying breath renewing it and making it produce constantly new acts of love of God. Such ought to be the prayer of petition. And we ought also to thank God for all our good actions, since without Him we could have done nothing. This is what makes St. Paul say: "Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all." [23] "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual canticles, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God and the Father." [24]

This doctrine of the intrinsic efficacy of grace leads also directly to the prayer of contemplation, which considers chiefly the profound action of God in us to mortify and to vivify, and which is expressed by the fiat of perfect abandonment. In contemplation we see realized in the intimate depths of souls the words of Scripture: "Thou are great, O Lord, forever. . . . For Thou scourgest, and Thou savest: Thou leadest down to hell, and bringest up again." [25] "Thy word, O Lord, which healeth all things." [26To utter a perfect fiat to this intense and hidden work of grace in us, even when it crucifies and seems to destroy all, is the most secret but also the most fruitful co-operation in God's greatest work. It is the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane and that of the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross.

If we are not crucified with Christ we shall not be perfected. Sometimes, it does seem like God is destroying all. A spouse dies, a child walks away from God and the Church, one loses a job, one gets cancer. Yet, these are the raw material for holiness.

Lastly, this doctrine reminds us that even for prayer efficacious grace is necessary. "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings. And He that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what the Spirit desireth; because He asketh for the Saints according to God." [27

I know this is true. I cannot pray, meditate, or read Scripture without the grace of God. Now, we begin to understand those in the Unitive State, that last level of perfection on earth.

This mystery is verified especially in the mystical union, often obscure and painful, in which the soul learns by experience what great need we have of grace in order to pray, as also to do good. But, says St. John of the Cross, [28] souls that have reached a certain degree of union "obtain from God all that they feel inspired to ask of Him, according to the words of David, 'Delight in the Lord, and He will give thee the request of thy heart' " (Ps. 36:4). Moreover, every humble, confident, persevering prayer by which we ask what is necessary or useful for our salvation is infallibly efficacious, because our Lord uttered such a promise and because God Himself caused this petition to well up in our hearts. Resolved from all eternity to grant us His benefactions, He leads us to ask them of Him. [29]

The life of the virtues follows a life of grace, the sharing of divine life.

This doctrine of the powerful efficacy of grace leads finally to great heights in the practice of the theological virtues. This it does because it is intimately bound up with the sublime mystery of predestination, the grandeur of which it fully preserves. St. Paul, in the Epistle to the Romans, tells us: "And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to His purpose, are called to be Saints. For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of His Son; that He might be the first-born amongst many brethren. And whom He predestinated, them He also called. And whom He called, them He also justified. And whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who is against us?" [30] St. Paul teaches the same doctrine in the Epistle to the Ephesians. [31]

St. Augustine [32] and St. Thomas [33] have explained these words of St. Paul without lessening their real meaning. Bossuet, their disciple, sums them up with his usual mastery by saying: "I do not deny the goodness of God toward all men, or the means which in His general providence He offers them for their eternal salvation. The Lord does not will that any should perish, but that all should return to penance. [34] But however great His designs may be on everyone, He fixes a certain particular gaze of preference on a number that is known to Him. All those on whom He gazes in this way, weep for their sins and are converted in their time. That is why Peter burst into tears when our Lord looked at him benignly. Peter's repentance was the result of the prayer which Christ had offered for the stability of his faith; for it was necessary, first of all, to rekindle his faith, and then to strengthen it that it might endure to the end. The same is true of all those whom His Father has given Him in a special manner. Of these He said: 'All that the Father giveth to Me shall come to Me.  . . . Now this is the will of the Father Who sent Me: that of all that He hath given Me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again in the last day' (John 6:37, 39).

  1. John 15:5.
2. Phil. 2:13.
3. See 1 Cor. 4:7.
4. God, His Existence and His Nature, II, 365 ff. It is not necessary that our failure precede the refusal of efficacious grace, in priority of time; priority of nature is sufficient, in the order of material causality, according to the principle of the mutual relations of causes explained by St. Thomas (Ia IIae, q.113, a.8 ad ium; cf. Ia IIae, q. l09, a. l, a. 8, 9, 10). It is God Who anticipates us by His grace when He justifies us, and it is we who are the first to abandon Him when we lose Divine grace: "God will not desert the justified, unless He is first deserted by them." Council of Trent, Sess. VI, chap. 2.
5. Bossuet, (Euvres compl
รจtes, 1845, I, 643. Cf. the general index of Bossuet's works for references to "grace" (resistance to grace). See particularly Defense de la tradition, Bk. XI, chaps. 19-27: Demonstration of the efficacy of grace by the permission of sins into which God allows the just to fall in order to humble them. Permission of the triple denial of St. Peter: "Peter was justly punished for his presumption by the withdrawal of an efficacious help which would have effectively hindered his denial." Bossuet shows that such is the doctrine not only of St. Augustine but of St. John Chrysostom, of Origen, of St. Gregory the Great, and of St. John Damascene, since they say that Peter was deprived of help, a statement which cannot apply to sufficient grace, for without this grace he would have been utterly powerless to avoid the sin. The statement applies to an efficacious help which would have made him effectively avoid this fall. From all of which we see that sufficient grace indeed leaves our will without excuse before God, and that the efficacious grace which St. Peter received later does not permit us to glory in ourselves.
6. Canon 22: "No one has anything of his own except his deceitfulness and his sin." Denzinger. no. 195.
7. See 2 Cor. 3:5.
8. Cf. Ia IIae. q. 109. a. 2. 8, 9, 10.
9. Wis. 9:14.
10. Luke 17:10.
11. Cf. Del Prado. O.P., De gratia, III, 151.
12. Ps. 113:1.
13. Eccles. 33:18; Jer. 18:6.
14. Ps. 118:73.
15. Apoc. 5:9.
16. Lam. 3:22.
17. Ps. 30:6; Luke 23:46.
18. De dono perseverantiae, chap. 13.
19. See 1 Cor. 4:7.
20. Lam. 5:21.
21. On these prayers of the Church, cf. St. Augustine, Epist. ad Vital., 217 (al. 107), and Bossuet, Defense de la tradition, Bk. X, chap. 10.
22. Luke 18:1.
23. See 1 Thess. 5:17-18.
24. Ephes. 5:19-20.
25. Tob. 13:2.
26. Wis. 16:12.
27. Rom. 8:25-27.
28. The Dark Night of the Soul, Bk. II, chap. 20.
29. Cf. IIa IIae. q. 83, a. 2; St. Augustine. Enchirid., chap. 32; Bossuet. Defense de la tradition, Bk. XII, chap. 38.
30. Rom. 8:28-31.
31. St. Paul also says in the Epistle to the Ephesians. 1:3-6. 11-12: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with spiritual blessings, in heavenly places, in Christ: as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in His sight in charity. Who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto Himself: according to the purpose of His will: unto the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He hath graced us in His beloved Son.  . . . In whom we also are called by lot, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things according to the counsel of His will. That we may be unto the praise of His glory, we who before hoped in Christ."
32. De praedestinatione sanctorum, chaps. 3, 6-11, 14, 15, 17; De dona perseverantiae, chaps. 1, 6, 7, 12, 16-20, 23; De correptione et gratia, chaps. 9, 12, 13, 14. See also on these texts, Del Prado, De gratia et Libero arbitrio, III, 555-564; II, 67-81, 259; and Bossuet, Defense de la tradition, Bk. XII, chaps. 13-20.
33. In Ep. ad Rom. 8:28; In Ep. ad Ephes., I, no. 5; Ia, q.23.
34. Cf 
2 Pet. 3:9.

A Doctor of the Church Series Especially for Today Doctor of the Church Series 2:26

As readers know, I am putting the series on again with different numbering. As today is the Feast of St. John Damascene, I am putting his entries on the blog. I hope this helps for people still confused about invincible ignorance.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Part 80: DoC: John of Damascus

I shall look at Basil, Peter Chrysologus, Gregory Nazianzus, Hilary of Poitiers  Athanasius, the two Cyrils,  and John Damascene, John Chrysostom, and Isidore of Seville before moving on to others closer to our own time. I have written about John of the Cross before, but I shall look at him again in the context of this series. As I have noted before, I shall end the series with a few posts on Garrigou-Lagrange, who started this series.

On this day, when we may have a new pope, I shall start with St. John Damascene, who wrote among other things, a long treatise on the Faith.

Here is the beginning of the book, as a warning for those seeking perfection.

An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith.
Book I.
Chapter I.—That the Deity is incomprehensible, and that we ought not to pry into and meddle with the things which have not been delivered to us by the holy Prophets, and Apostles, and Evangelists.
No one hath seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him1406. The Deity, therefore, is ineffable and incomprehensible. For no one knoweth the Father, save the Son, nor the Son, save the Father1407. And the Holy Spirit, too, so knows the things of God as the spirit of the man knows the things that are in him1408. Moreover, after the first and blessed nature no one, not of men only, but even of supramundane powers, and the Cherubim, I say, and Seraphim themselves, has ever known God, save he to whom He revealed Himself.
God, however, did not leave us in absolute ignorance. For the knowledge of God’s existence has been implanted by Him in all by nature. This creation, too, and its maintenance, and its government, proclaim the majesty of the Divine nature1409. 

This is natural law.

Moreover, by the Law and the Prophets1410 in former times and afterwards by His Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, He disclosed to us the knowledge of Himself as that was possible for us. All things, therefore, that have been delivered to us by Law and Prophets and Apostles and Evangelists we receive, and know, and honour1411, seeking for nothing beyond these. For God, being good, is the cause of all good, subject neither to envy nor to any passion1412. For envy is far removed from the Divine nature, which is both passionless and only good. As knowing all things, therefore, and providing for what is profitable for each, He revealed that which it was to our profit to know; but what we were unable1413 to bear He kept secret. With these things let us be satisfied, and let us abide by them, not removing everlasting boundaries, nor overpassing the divine tradition1414.

And, this means false, private revelations. Those seeking perfection follow the
"divine tradition", which is the Teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

How simple, yet, how difficult, it is for spiritually minded people to be disciplined, even in seeking for the life of prayer and perfection.

It is clear from John of Damascus, that Revelation, that is Scripture, and Tradition, that is the Teaching Magisterium of the Church, are the basis of our belief.

Orthodoxy first, and then the seeking of be continued.

Good article link, thanks to a reader

Pray for The Grace of Forgetfulness

Listen to the mp3s I listed earlier.....Fr. Ripperger notes that the way of perfection is brutal. God bless this good priest, carrying on the tradition of Garrigou-Lagrange and Aquinas.

St. Philomena, Pray for Us

Please pray for me, as I am ill again. Please pray for Sr. Trinity, SOLT, who is very ill.

Thank you.

Doctors of the Church Series Lost Postings

Well, God has a way of humbling each one of us, and I have lost many of the articles on the Doctors of the Church for some reason on this blog.

I have no idea why things did not stay saved. I shall have to ask my assistance, who saves my data, what happened. I know we switched servers from one in Germany to one in California. I do not know if the transfer caused some losses.

So, many are gone, over 25 at least. But, what has been saved will be repeated in this season of Advent.

I dread looking at the perfection series.

Such is life.....God bless all my readers. Enjoy what is here and to come.

If any of my readers copied or saved any of the posts from 40-49, please let me know for a start, and perhaps we can find some. In the meantime, I shall try and follow-up on the missing posts.


Doctors of the Church 2:3

Friday, 8 February 2013

St, John of Avila, part three of the series on the Doctors of the Church

For priests, there is a wonderful letter in this book, Letters of Blessed John of Avila, found here, on preparation for Mass. Here is only one page on that selection: I like the phrase, "Retire into the secrecy of your own heart"...there is so much here. BTW, a fellow blogger of mine, Reluctant Sinner, has a good post on St. John of Avila at this site.

For the laity today, I copy a section on his comments on persecution.

For the laity today, I copy a section on his comments on persecution.

Doctors of the Church 2:2

Friday, 8 February 2013

Doctors of the Church series, part two

This is the second in a long series I am going to do here on the Doctors of the Church. Highlighting their spirituality will cover both categories of the seeking of perfection and the lives of the saints. Enjoy.

Last year, the Pope made St. John of Avila a doctor of the Church. Many people do not know him. His feast day, which I celebrated in Ireland, is on December 14th.

Here is a snippet from the Mass where the Pope made this declaration along with St. Hildegard of Bingen.

At this point, let us pause for a moment to appreciate the two saints who today have been added to the elect number of Doctors of the Church. Saint John of Avila lived in the sixteenth century. A profound expert on the sacred Scriptures, he was gifted with an ardent missionary spirit. He knew how to penetrate in a uniquely profound way the mysteries of the redemption worked by Christ for humanity. A man of God, he united constant prayer to apostolic action. He dedicated himself to preaching and to the more frequent practice of the sacraments, concentrating his commitment on improving the formation of candidates for the priesthood, of religious and of lay people, with a view to a fruitful reform of the Church.

Saint Hildegard of Bingen, an important female figure of the twelfth century, offered her precious contribution to the growth of the Church of her time, employing the gifts received from God and showing herself to be a woman of brilliant intelligence, deep sensitivity and recognized spiritual authority. The Lord granted her a prophetic spirit and fervent capacity to discern the signs of the times. Hildegard nurtured an evident love of creation, and was learned in medicine, poetry and music. Above all, she maintained a great and faithful love for Christ and his Church.

St. John was going to be a missionary, but was asked to stay and help restore Catholicism in Andalusia. He is important to me as he wrote on Christian perfection, which is a theme of this blog.

His sermons and writings influenced SS. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Francis Borgia and others.

More later...

I would like to have a copy of "Audi Fili", a perfect book for Lent,  English translation, 1620) and "Spiritual Letters"English translation, 1631, London and Stanbrook Abbey, 1904, if someone has those laying about.....and not using them. I think of all the books in the libraries of monasteries being ignored, simply because those coming in are so few, or that they need the basics of the Catechism, the milk and not the meat, yet.

Here is a selection from an online book found here. To be continued.................

I am repeating the entire series: The Doctors of the Church

I have decided for this First Week of Advent, to repeat the Doctors of the Church Series put on earlier this year.  Then, if I have the time and wifi, I shall repeat the entire Perfection Series. I know many of you do not have the time to follow the tags or labels. This series will be listed on the titles as 2:1, 2:2 and so on...So, here we go.
Friday, 8 February 2013

On being a bride......from St. Ephrem and the beginning of a new series

In response to those who want more lives of the saints, I am going to concentrate in Lent on the Doctors of the Church. There are so many, I am sure it will keep both readers and me busy in looking at the lives of these wonderful people. However, I shall not concentrate on biographies, but key ideas from each one. The emphasis will be on perfection.

I start with the great Syrian, Ephrem of Syria.

St. Ephraem, or Ephraim, (306 – 373), was the first to call Mary, the Bride of Christ. The second selection here is part of his hymn to Mary.

But, this saint also referred to the soul, each person's soul, as a Bride of Christ.

I cannot stress this idea enough here, as I have on this blog.

If we realize that the soul is Christ's Bride, we would respond quite differently to grace. Meditate on this saying of the great saint.

The soul is Your bride,

The body Your bridal chamber,

Your guests are the senses and the thoughts,

And if a single body is a wedding feast for You,
How great is Your banquet for the whole Church!
- St. Ephrem

Please take time to read all those posts on love here on this blog. Perhaps these will help you in Lent to come closer to Christ and understand how much you are loved and cherished by Christ Himself, Who is God and Who woos you. Here is a section from St. Ephrem on Mary as the Bride of Christ.

To Your Mother, Lord, no man knew what name to give. Should he call her Virgin, her Child stood ...; and married no man knew her to be! If then none comprehended Your Mother, who shall suffice for You?
For she was, alone, Your Mother; along with all, Your Sister. She was Your mother, she was Your Sister. She along with chaste women was Your betrothed. With everything You adorned Her, You ornament of Your Mother.
For she was Your Bride by nature ere You had come; she conceived You not by nature after You had come, O Holy One, and was a Virgin when she had brought You forth in holiness, Mary gained in You, O Lord, the honours of all married women. She conceived ... within her without marriage. There was milk in her breasts, not after the way of nature. You made the thirsty land suddenly a fountain of milk.
If she carried You, Your mighty look made her burden light; if she gave You to eat, it was because You were hungry; if she gave You to drink [it was], because You were thirsty; willingly if she embraced You, You, the coal of mercies, kept her bosom safe.
A wonder is Your Mother. The Lord entered her, and became a servant: the Word entered her, and became silent within her; thunder entered her, and His voice was still: the Shepherd of all entered her; He became a Lamb in her, and came forth bleating.
The Belly of Your Mother changed the order of things, O You that orders all! The rich went in, He came out poor: the High One went in, He came out lowly. Brightness went into her and clothed Himself, and came forth a despised form.


Another Festive Idea for Advent--Oh Dear

One can be free from all wounds

Listen and reflect on Fr. Ripperger's talks. We forgive, but we need to also be healed of the emotional and spiritual side-effects. God wants us to be strong.

Time does not heal spiritual wounds, only physical and psychological wounds. Spiritual wounds, which may be connected to demonic activity, need to be healed spiritually.

Pray for those you know who need spiritual healing.

Important Prayer Request

Please pray for a young woman seriously injured in a car accident.

Readers, please pray for her healing and for her family.


A friend of mine told me that she saw a pattern in my life praying for a certain type of person. She noted that reparation can be made for some, and  that one can learn to excel in the virtue of charity, because of intercessory prayer for those who have been abandoned and abused in some way.

Love is painful and intercessory prayer can be carrying the pain of others. I have written about some friends of mine for whom I pray.

Pray for me as well, dear readers.

Let us all grow in love so that suffering is no longer painful but a joy.