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Thursday 2 January 2014

Need Advice

I have no sound on my computer. Someone just bought me a month ago a subscription to ChurchMilitant. Also, I cannot hear anything on YouTube or Father Ripperger.

I assume it is the sound card. Or driver. Is there anyone who would like to help me with this?

I cannot talk to my son on Skype either, or any other of my friends. I do not have a phone.

I need a little help from my friends......who are online!


Pray for The Southeast of England, Please

The Gap Widens-An Important Post

Christians of all denominations are facing a world-wide shift in opposition. This is not only obvious in the horrific persecutions of our brothers and sisters across the world, seen in daily news coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Kenya and Indonesia, to name a  few places, but also in the hardening of attitudes in the Western World.

Here is the core problem.  More and more people simply do not believe in the soul as the "form" of the body. They do not believe in the eternal life of the soul. They do not believe in a soul.

More and more people equate humans with animals totally, not making the Catholic distinction between an animal soul and a human soul.

More and more people deny that there is an afterlife, that humans were created to live forever with God.

More and more people deny any spiritual principal as making a human human.

This phenomenon goes beyond the ancient times of pagan ascendancy, when most people believed in some sort of afterlife, although not in the fullness of Revelation as we now have through the Scriptures.

The fact that a growing, strong minority of people deny any spiritual aspect of being human impacts the lives of Christians daily.

If we are all only animals, laws and governments will become more and more utilitarian.

If people see us as no longer a superior creation, we shall lose rights and privileges.

We already witness this in the holocaust of abortion.

In this post-Christian world, the moral framework of Christianity is fast disappearing from the public square.

One can no longer have conversations with people while referencing the divine, as the divine is not seen, as we see it,  a reality of eternal, immortal life, which is our goal.

Sadly, those in academia, the medical fields, and the media, as well as many government officials, and world leaders are practical atheists, if not declared atheists.

Look at the number of world leaders in the West who do not attend any religious services on Sunday.

Look at the decisions made in academia and in the medical fields regarding life, the nature of life, the definition of "human". 

We are losing common ground in conversation, as I have discovered. No longer do professionals in several areas believe in the soul, eternal life, or morality based on transcendent ideals.

This is a result of relativism and the lack of training in schools in logical thinking.

Without this shared view of what is means to be human, we can no longer enter into discussions with philosophers who are are closed to the idea of the soul, or doctors, or psychologists, or anthropologists, or 

Before the last thirty years or so, there was an implicit acceptance of the reality of the eternal soul which informed most people's decisions in the West.

This is simply no longer the case. Without common ground, one must evangelize at a much more basic level.

We need to enter into conversations with questions such as "What does it mean to be human?", or "Are men and women more than merely the material body?" or "Are humans capable of more than living at the level of passion and material desires?"

Recently, I tried to introduce into a conversation with some professionals the idea of the soul as that which informs the intellect, the heart, the will.  This idea was rejected immediately, as those with whom I was discussing this approach to humanity wanted to look at the human and define the human in scientific terms only.

To evangelize or merely suggest that most problems in the world are owing to spiritual chaos or spiritual realities brings about a response that one is stuck in the Middle Ages. The so-called modern world is rejecting more and more the concept that what is seen is more important than what is not seen.

Many, many Catholics, especially those who follow the heresy of Liberation Theology, have fallen into this false thinking, denying that the soul is more important than the body.

We have entered a time when many, many souls will be lost simply because people deny the hierarchy of the spiritual over the material.

We have lost the battle already in academia, where more and more professors hired claim to be atheists. 

We have lost the battle in the medical schools, where the vast majority of students work from philosophies of utilitarianism and materialism.

We have lost the battle in the law schools, where natural law is no longer taught, only the idea that law is what governments make without reference to God, or the nature of a human being with a soul.

We have lost the battle in politics, where utilitarianism, totalitarianism, socialism, and communism have gained strength, even in so-called democracies. Look at the laws in the EU in particular countries which have been passed against the majority wishes of the people.  Democracy is dead in Ireland, Great Britain, France and many other countries as laws have been passed in the past year against the desires of the majority.

American democracy is dying a death which few notice.

Catholics must think of the consequences of living in a world which denies the supernatural. Catholics need to study Aristotle, and Aquinas. More than ever, we need solidly orthodox Catholic philosophers to be able to evangelize and produce apologetics starting with basic principles.

Catholics need to understand that they will be increasingly derided and marginalized.

The gap widens....

What we are facing is the spirit of the anti-Christ growing in our midst.

Here is one of the readings from today's Mass:

1 John 2:22-28

New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.
26 I write these things to you concerning those who would deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him.
28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming.

In September, I wrote a series on the philosophies being taught in med schools. Just extrapolate...

Doctors of the Church Series 2:37

Friday, 15 March 2013

Basil, Doctor of the Church and Perfection

Found here.  If you want to be perfect, think and pray like one who is perfect. Pray to one who is perfected in his being-St. Basil the Great. Hymns from his feast day.

Troparion — Tone 1

Your proclamation has gone out into all the earth / Which was divinely taught by hearing your voice / Expounding the nature of creatures, / Ennobling the manners of men. / O holy father of a royal priesthood, / Entreat Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion — Tone 4

You were revealed as the sure foundation of the Church, / granting all mankind a lordship which cannot be taken away, / sealing it with your precepts, / venerable Basil, reveal-er of heaven.

Kontakion — Tone 4

You were revealed as the sure foundation of the Church, / Granting all men a lordship which cannot be taken away, / Sealing it with your precepts, / O Venerable and Heavenly Father Basil.

Doctors of the Church Series 2:36

Friday, 15 March 2013

Basil, Doctor of the Church and Perfection

Thanks to Religion Wiki

If you want to be perfect, pray like Basil the Doctor of the Church....

Prayer of Saint Basil the Great

O God and Lord of the Powers, and Maker of all creation, Who, because of Thy clemency and incomparable mercy, didst send Thine Only-Begotten Son and our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind, and with His venerable Cross didst tear asunder the record of our sins, and thereby didst conquer the rulers and powers of darkness; receive from us sinful people, O merciful Master, these prayers of gratitude and supplication, and deliver us from every destructive and gloomy transgression, and from all visible and invisible enemies who seek to injure us. Nail down our flesh with fear of Thee, and let not our hearts be inclined to words or thoughts of evil, but pierce our souls with Thy love, that ever contemplating Thee, being enlightened by Thee, and discerning Thee, the unapproachable and everlasting Light, we may unceasingly render confession and gratitude to Thee: The eternal Father, with Thine Only-Begotten Son, and with Thine All-Holy, Gracious, and Life-Giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer of Saint Basil the Great After Communion

We give Thee thanks, O Lord our God, for the Communion of Thy holy, pure, deathless and heavenly Mysteries, which thou hast given for the good, the hallowing, and the healing of our souls and bodies. Do Thou, O Sovereign of the world, cause this Communion in the Holy Body and blood of Thy Christ to nourish us in unashamed faith, sincere charity, ripe wisdom, health of soul and body, separation from all ills, observance of Thy Law, and justification before His awful Judgment Seat. O Christ our God, the Mystery of Thy Providence has been accomplished according to our ability. We have been reminded of Thy Death and we have seen a figure of Thy Resurrection; we have been filled with Thine Infinite Life, and we have tasted Thine inexhaustible joy; and we pray Thee to make us worthy of these things in the life to come, through the grace of Thine Eternal Father and of Thy holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and forever, eternally. Amen.

A Morning prayer of St. Basil the Great 

O Christ our God,
the ever-shining
and most-bright sun of righteousness,
You who shone with Your flesh
in the darkness of our ignorance
and called all people
to the deep knowledge of Your ineffable glory,
consume in the fire of Your incomprehensible Divinity
our wickedness
which furiously desires material things.
Extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one.
Shine within our hearts
Your pure light of the knowledge of God,
and open the eyes of our mind
that we may understand Your gospel teachings
and be aware of Your marvelous works.
Instill in us also
the fear of Your blessed commandments
so that by trampling down all the desires of the flesh,
we may live a spiritual life,
thinking and doing
all those things that are pleasing to You;
For You are blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Doctors of the Church Series 2:35

Friday, 15 March 2013

DoC and Perfection: St. Basil "Ουρανοφαντωρ"

Some very cool chant

I love St. Basil. I used to have a magnificent icon of him which I gave to a Basilian priest. One reason I love this Doctor of the Church so much is that he helped us to understand the Holy Spirit. Also, he wrote so much, he keeps one quite busy and, in addition, he died early. I am always astounded as to how much work these men and women accomplished; he has over 300 letters alone.


But, here is a snippet to begin a few posts on St. Basil. From Letter VIII.  My comments are in blue.

So much must suffice for the present on the subject of the adorable and holy Trinity.  It is not now possible to extend the enquiry about it further.  Do ye take seeds from a humble person like me, and cultivate the ripe ear for yourselves, for, as you know, in such cases we look for interest.  But I trust in God that you, because of your pure lives, will bring forth fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred fold.  For, it is said, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.1865  And, my brethren, entertain no other conception of the kingdom of the heavens than that it is the very contemplation of realities.  This the divine Scriptures call blessedness.  For “the kingdom of heaven is within you.”1866

Immediately, we see the key points of perfection: 1) that only the pure in heart see God'; 2) contemplation brings about the awareness of the kingdom of heaven,; and 3) the kingdom of heaven is within us.

Perfection is possible and needed to see God, and because of the sacraments, we have the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and, therefore, the Kingdom of God within. For the modern person, the busyness of daily life impinges on the pursuit of holiness, of perfection. 

Contemplation is the thinking awareness of the attributes of God. It is not meditation on a passage of Scripture, but the direct, immediate focusing on God Himself, and where He meets one.

The inner man consists of nothing but contemplation.  The kingdom of the heaven, then, must be contemplation.  Now we behold their shadows as in a glass; hereafter, set free from this earthly body, clad in the incorruptible and the immortal, we shall behold their archetypes, we shall see them, that is, if we have steered our own life’s course aright, and if we have heeded the right faith, for otherwise none shall see the Lord.  For, it is said, into a malicious soul Wisdom shall not enter, nor dwell in the body that is subject unto sin.1867  And let no one urge in objection that, while I am ignoring what is before our eyes, I am philosophizing to them about bodiless and immaterial being.  It seems to me perfectly absurd, while the senses are allowed free action in relation to their proper matter, to exclude mind alone from its peculiar operation.  Precisely in the same manner in which sense touches sensible objects, so mind apprehends the objects of mental perception.  This too must be said that God our Creator has not included natural faculties among things which can be taught.  No one teaches sight to apprehend colour or form, nor hearing to apprehend sound and speech, nor smell, pleasant and unpleasant scents, nor taste, flavours and savours, nor touch, soft and hard, hot and cold.  Nor would any one teach the mind to reach objects of mental perception; and just as the senses in the case of their being in any way diseased, or injured, require only proper treatment and then readily fulfil their own functions; just so the mind, imprisoned in flesh, and full of the thoughts that arise thence, requires faith and right conversation which make “its feet like hinds’ feet, and set it on its high places.”1868  

Basil moves from an orthodox treatment on the Holy Spirit to a thoughtful contemplation of God. He is noting that the mind, the intellect, as part of the soul, is made for contemplation.

How astounding is this idea for modern men and women, who, too often, only see what is material and not what is spiritual.

What helps the mind in contemplation? Basil tells us it is faith and right conversation.

How simple this sounds and yet, how one is raised above the mindlessness of daily stress and work to be brought into the high places. 

Surround yourself with good and holy friends, people who want to be perfect as well.

The same advice is given us by Solomon the wise, who in one passage offers us the example of the diligent worker the ant,1869 and recommends her active life; and in another the work of the wise bee in forming its cells,1870 and thereby suggests a natural contemplation wherein also the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is contained, if at least the Creator is considered in proportion to the beauty of the things created.

But look here, busy lay person. Basil tells all of us that the ant and the bee thrive in work and that we too, in doing our duty, find the Holy Trinity is the simplicity of our lives. All living things have a beauty created by God and in that beauty is the natural ability to do what one must to find God.

Before I leave, here is a bit about his amazing family. He was born in 330. To be continued...

St Basil’s mother St Emilia was the daughter of a martyr. On the Greek calendar, she is commemorated on May 30. St Basil’s father was also named Basil. He was a lawyer and renowned rhetorician, and lived at Caesarea.
Ten children were born to the elder Basil and Emilia: five sons and five daughters. Five of them were later numbered among the saints: Basil the Great; Macrina (July 19) was an exemplar of ascetic life, and exerted strong influence on the life and character of St Basil the Great; Gregory, afterwards Bishop of Nyssa (January 10); Peter, Bishop of Sebaste (January 9); and Theosebia, a deaconess (January 10).

The Anti-Love Generation

I am discovering something interesting. There are some people who have never learned how to love. They hate.

They have been trained to only think of themselves-the cult of self-worship is their religion.

This cult of self-worship begins at birth, when parents have only one or two children, and never treat them like children who need formation and discipline.

These parents are the types, as I have noted here before, who just "want to be friends" with their kids.

The kids grow up in a house run by kids; that is, adults who refuse to take the responsibility of parents.

These households resemble more the trees and caves of the Lost Boys than a family.

And, in these places, some of the children never learn to love.

They never have to share.

They never have to sacrifice.

They are never told, "No, you cannot have that..."

They take selfies, and have everything except they have not learned how to love.

They believe all the lies of modern culture and the media, which tell them they have to have everything in order to be happy. They, also, are miserable.

They learn to hate because their world revolves around them, and if they do not get their way, or if someone disagrees with them, they either sulk or attack without reasonable arguments.

They form a group who think that love is something sentimental or self-serving.

They think that tough love is hate, and that "real" love has no moral basis.

I briefly encountered one of this generation today, one who hates without knowing exactly what it is he is hating.

He is narcissistic.

He was taught to hate all religions, and all people who believe in God and miracles.

This is the generation which will try and destroy the Church for two reasons.

One, the Church does not give them what they want-affirmation in their self-centeredness.

Two, they hate the spiritual life, and only desire the physical. Therefore, things of the spirit set them off into a spiral of hatred and denial.

This is the Anti-Love Generation. But, one cannot place them in a chronological generation.

They have existed before, and they always chose the god Mammon over the God of love.

Christians, get ready....

Pope Emeritus As Prophet

Pope Emeritus as Cardinal Ratzinger

Few people realize what a great gift the the Church the Pope Emeritus has been for a half-century.

I quote this selection from one of his essays, a quotation found in Martin's book.

" As far as the future is concerned, it seems likely that, in the view of the proportion between the growth of the Church and the growth of the world's population, the Church's influence in the world will constantly decrease. The numerical triumph of Catholicism over other religions,  which today may still be granted, will in all probability not continue much longer."

The Pope Emeritus wrote this in 1963.

I am more and more convinced that the rise of Liberation Theology and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which still has a false ideal of Catholic Triumphalism, especially in England, took people away from the real message which God was trying to tell us through his prophets.

We should have been getting ready, preparing our families for the remnant Church over fifty years ago.

We only have ourselves to blame for the loss of children to the world, the flesh, and the devil.

And those parents, who are not paying attention today, will have to answer for their own blindness.

Doctors of The Church 2:34

Saturday, 16 March 2013

DoC: Gregory "The Theologian" and Perfection continued

I do not think comments are necessary here. Gregory is called "The Theologian". However, he was also known for his poetry. Tomorrow, I shall share some of his poetry.

No one has yet discovered or ever shall discover what God is in his nature and
essence. As for a discovery some time in the future, let those who have a mind to it
research and speculate. The discovery will take place, so my reason tells me, when
this God-like, divine thing, 

I mean our mind and reason, mingles with its kin,
when the copy returns to the pattern it now longs after. This seems to me to be the
meaning of the great dictum that we shall, in time to come, “know even as we are
known.” (Unitive State)

But for the present what reaches us is a scant emanation, as it were a small beam from a great light 

(Illumination/Illuminative State)

which means that anyone who “knew” God or whose
“knowledge” of him has been attested in the Bible, had a manifestly more brilliant
knowledge than others not equally illuminated. This superiority was reckoned
knowledge in the full sense, not because it really was so, but by the contrast of
relative strengths.

And a convenient answer to our Protestant brethren, who do not necessarily believe in perfection....

To Whom was that Blood offered that was shed for us, and why was It shed? I
mean the precious and famous Blood of our God and High priest and Sacrifice.
We were detained in bondage by the Evil One, sold under sin, and receiving
pleasure in exchange for wickedness. Now, since a ransom belongs only to him
who holds in bondage, I ask to whom was this offered, and for what cause?
If to the Evil One, fie upon the outrage! If the robber receives ransom, not only
from God, but a ransom which consists of God Himself, and has such an illustrious
payment for his tyranny, a payment for whose sake it would have been right for
him to have left us alone altogether.

But if to the Father, I ask first, how? For it was not by Him that we were being
oppressed; and next, On what principle did the Blood of His Only begotten Son
delight the Father, Who would not receive even Isaac, when he was being offered
by his Father, but changed the sacrifice, putting a ram in the place of the human

Is it not evident that the Father accepts Him, but neither asked for Him nor
demanded Him; but on account of the Incarnation, and because Humanity must be
sanctified by the Humanity of God, that He might deliver us Himself, and
overcome the tyrant, and draw us to Himself by the mediation of His Son, Who
also arranged this to the honour of the Father, Whom it is manifest that He obeys

On November 27, 2004, those relics (of Gregory) (along with the remains of John Chrysostom), were returned to Istanbul by Pope John Paul II, with the Vatican retaining a small portion of each. They are now in a place of honor at the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George in the Phanar (from wiki). With the problems of Islamists burning monasteries and some churches in Turkey at this time, I wish those relics had stayed in Rome.

Modern Silifke,  place of ancient Seleucia ad Calycadnum

Reposts on The Saint of the Day Doctors of the Church Series 2:33

DoC and Perfection: Gregory of Nazianzus

The Orations, from which I took the last post and this one, are phenomenal works. These are found on the above link.

We moderns think we are so much more intelligent than ancient peoples. Silly idea. The sublime writings of Gregory on the Trinity provide beautiful meditations.

But, here, I am concentrating on perfection. I wonder is St. Teresa got her image of the Mansions from Gregory as well as the Scriptures? Comments in blue....

VIII. And yet, O talkative Dialectician, I will ask thee one small question,24 and answer thou me, as He saith to Job, Who through whirlwind and cloud giveth Divine admonitions.25 Are there many mansions in God's House, as thou hast heard, or only one? Of course you will admit that there are many, and not only one. Now, are they all to be filled, or only some, and others not; so that some will be left empty, and will have been prepared to no purpose? Of course all will be filled, for nothing can be in vain which has been done by God. And can you tell me what you will consider this Mansion to be? Is it the rest and glory which is in store There for the Blessed, or something else?-No, not anything else. Since then we are agreed upon this point, let us further examine another also. Is there any thing that procures these Mansions, as I think there is; or is there nothing?-Certainly there is-What is it? Is it not that there are various modes of conduct, and various purposes, one leading one way, another way, according to the proportion of faith, and these we call Ways? 

I hope you, dear readers, find the repetition of the possibility, as well as the call, to perfection in all the writers so far comforting? 

This persistent thread shows us all that we are called to this journey and we miss out on what it means to be truly human if we do not respond to grace and knowledge.

Must we, then, travel all, or some of these Ways ... the same individual along them all, if that be possible; or, if not, along as many as may be; or else along some of them? And even if this may not be, it would still be a great thing, at least as it appears to me, to travel excellently along even one.-"You are right in your conception."-What then when you hear there is but One way, and that a narrow one,26 does the word seem to you to shew? That there is but one on account of its excellence. For it is but one, even though it be split into many parts. And narrow because of its difficulties, and because it is trodden by few in comparison with the multi-trade of the adversaries, and of those who travel along the road of wickedness. "So I think too." Well, then, my good friend, since this is so, why do you, as though condemning our doctrine for a certain poverty, rush headlong down that one which leads through what you call arguments and speculations, but I frivolities and quackeries? Let Paul reprove you with those bitter reproaches, in which, after his list of the Gifts of Grace, he says, Are all Apostles? Are all Prophets? etc.27

Oration 16 in the Pennsylvania University Museum
The reference to Paul underlines the great respect all the Doctors have for the Apostle to the Gentiles. But, what is noted is the use of Paul for the way to perfection-the response to grace.

IX. But, be it so. Lofty thou art, even beyond the lofty, even above the clouds, if thou wilt, a spectator of things invisible, a hearer of things unspeakable; one who hast ascended after Elias, and who after Moses hast been deemed worthy of the Vision of God, and after Paul hast been taken up into heaven why dost thou mould the rest of thy fellows in one day into Saints, and ordain them Theologians, and as it were breathe into them instruction, and make them many councils of ignorant oracles? Why dost thou entangle those who are weaker in thy spider's web, if it were something great and wise? Why dost thou stir up wasps' nests against the Faith? Why dost thou suddenly spring a flood of dialectics upon us, as the fables of old did the Giants? Why hast thou collected all that is frivolous and unmanly among men, like a rabble, into one torrent, and having made them more effeminate by flattery, fashioned a new workshop, cleverly making a harvest for thyself out of their want of understanding? Dost thou deny that this is so, and are the other matters of no account to thee? Must thy tongue rule at any cost, and canst thou not restrain the birthpang of thy speech? Thou mayest find many other honourable subjects for discussion. To these turn this disease of thine with some advantage. Attack the silence of Pythagoras,28 and the Orphic beans, and the novel brag about "The Master said." Attack the ideas of Plato,29 and the transmigrations and courses of our souls, and the reminiscences, and the unlovely loves of the soul for lovely bodies. Attack the atheism of Epicurus,30 and his atoms, and his unphilosophic pleasure; or Aristotle's petty Providence, and his artificial system, and his discourses about the mortality of the soul, and the humanitarianism of his doctrine. Attack the superciliousness of the Stoa,31 or the greed and vulgarity of the Cynic.32 Attack the "Void and Full" (what nonsense), and all the details about the gods and the sacrifices and the idols and demons, whether beneficent or malignant, and all the tricks that people play with divination, evoking of gods, or of souls, and the power of the stars. And if these things seem to thee unworthy of discussion as petty and already often confuted, and thou wilt keep to thy line, and seek the satisfaction of thy ambition in it; then here too I will provide thee with broad paths. Philosophize about the world or worlds; about matter; about soul; about natures endowed with reason, good or bad; about resurrection, about judgment, about reward, or the Sufferings of Christ. For in these subjects to hit the mark is not useless, and to miss it is not dangerous. But with God we shall have converse, in this life only in a small degree; but a little later, it may be, more perfectly, in the Same, our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever. Amen.

This is the language aimed even at the New Agers and Atheists of our own time. What a fantastic orator is this great saint. I hope you smile in recognition of the vanities of human errors which he lists here.

How modern he sounds to us. To be continued....

Getting Snowed In And....