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Monday 13 January 2014

Pope Francis Against Abortion

On Catholic Community, Again

Years ago, many years ago, in Sherborne, one of my co-workers in the parish said to me that I was a "community builder."  I took this as a compliment. However, community could not be built at that time in that parish for several reasons. Some of us tried to do our little bit. We had the priest over on Saturdays for tea, and sometimes the nuns there. We also were friends with the Anglicans, building community by sharing in charity works in the town.

I have talked for decades to young people about setting up real communities. Some wanted to do so, but not enough people in their areas were interested. I especially remember one young man and his wife who were very keen on community, but could not get anyone interested in their Catholic family, their town, or their parish.

If there is a community there in his small town, I praise God. But, my idea of Catholic communities dotting the landscape of Great Britain and America has not come to pass. This is, to be blunt, a tragedy which will be clearly seen in days to come.

Catholics, to quote an often-stated truism, are not good at building communities. I have thought about this since 1972. 42 years is a long time to be considering the need for Catholic communities. From 1972-1979, I was part of a large community, which, sadly, no longer exists. At its peak, this community had 2000 members. Much of my formation for prayer and for learning to read the signs of the times came from that community experience. In those years, we were discussing the times we now see. We anticipated persecution. We talked and prayed about the decay of America. Many of us have been active in the Church since those days. A study over twenty years was done on our community and the vast majority of youth stayed in the Church as middle-aged people and were active, orthodox Catholics. Interesting.

Why  most Catholics are not good at community building has been a mystery to me. I think there are several reasons and some readers will not like these points, but these must be considered. It is not too late, in my opinion, to create real communities.

1) Idolatry of the family-too many Catholics spend too much time with nonbelievers. If that energy was put towards building community with Catholics, the nonbelievers would see "how they love one another" and want to become a Catholic. Idolatry of the family also means too much of an inward looking emphasis for those with children, and the lack of effort to reach out to singles and the elderly.

2) Idolatry of independence. This is a curse of both the Americans and the British. Too many people want to spend the entire day doing what they want to do when they want to do it, not realizing that most of the time, they are indulging themselves. I speak mostly of those who could be building community, such as single people and retirees. Community means inter-dependence, and many people simply do not want this.

3) Attachment to things and to sin. Community demands sharing worldly goods and a sharing of self. If one is attached to things and to self-love, one will not want to engage with others. Too many people are "house proud" in the States and only want to entertain at parties rather than opening their houses for the sake of community building. Some British people do not want "intrusions" by people and only want to talk to people on Sunday at Church. This is very sad. And, one reason why people talk in Church in England is that they rarely see each other during the week.

4) Thinking it is too hard. It is hard, but not that hard. Some communities begin with Bible studies or shared pro-life work. Some start with home schooling moms and dads who get together with the children and parents of other home schooling moms and dads. Some start with parish projects and Adult Faith Formation classes.

5) Just plain selfishness. Community building demands time and effort. It demands sharing. Some people do not want to share. Some people do not want to share time and do not want others to know what they are doing. Period. In a good community, a balance can be made for the introverts and for the extroverts, but this takes selflessness.

6) Not seeing the absolute necessity of community. Many Catholics will fall away in the hard times because these times will be hard. The stronger members need to reach out to the weaker ones. This is a concept really lacking in Catholic circles.

7) Many Catholics, still after all this time and these posts and the warnings of others, do not believe there will be persecution of the Church. These people are lying to themselves. Communities would strengthen the Church in times of trial.

8) Catholic communities are an excellent way to raise children, but some people do not understand the need for faith formation in children. Children need to be formed with other children who are also being formed. And, Catholics communities are good for parents, to get input, and even time to be a couple without the children as shared babysitting can be set-up.

9) Some people lack creativity regarding how to set up shared activities and projects in order to build community. Catholic communities can be Adoration or Mass centered and should be. Then, in persecution, these communities can aid priests in doing their work.

10) A problem may be irregular or mixed marriages, especially in England. Communities support marriage. In this day and age of gross hatred for God's idea of marriage, community can give support and even guidance. But, couples must be willing to be involved in order to see their marriages grow in holiness and Catholicism.

11) Too many people are Sunday Catholics and do not see the need to be living their faith daily. See point #3.

12) Many Catholics do not love Jesus or His Church. The essential root of community is conversion, continual conversion to Christ and love for His Church. Love and obedience to the Magisterium are essential for Catholic communities.

To be continued

Pray for this priest, please

thanks to Spencer for link...

Spiritual Warfare from the Trenches

God allows Satan freedom these days to test the faithful. Why, I am not sure, except that many who now live will see difficult times, need to learn to be strong, and need to be perfected.

If we give God our lives, our hearts, our wills, He will take us seriously that we want to spend eternity with Him.

If you are not suffering in some way, be worried, as that means Satan no longer has to fight for your soul.
In the past ten days, I have been increasing plagued with severe asthma. The "puffer" is no longer working. I have not slept at all for two nights and two days, going into the third. I was tired to begin with. I am wheezing constantly and need to get new medication. I shall find out today whether I can afford new medication or not.

I also have increasing eye problems and the still injured foot,which because of weather has not been seen by a doctor. The polar vortex early last week interfered with many appointments in this city.

My computer is also not working off and on-I think Windows is slowly breaking up. 

And, the Net is also off and on here, even though the fierce weather has passed.

I no longer am surprised at any of this, nor do I complain. God is in charge and He allows everything to happen.

I thank God for all trials and when I do so, He gives me peace, even though I am very, very tired.

Why God allows this tremendous burden which leaves me weak and confused, and other technical issues here may very well be to purify my mind, my heart, my soul. Indeed, it may also have to do with the fact that when we pray for some people, we are attacked by the evil one, who is angry that efficacious prayers are freeing people of sin, bondage, illnesses.

The "Father of Lies" may come in the guise of a person who says "God does not want suffering. He wants us all to be happy and prosperous". "Live long and prosper" may be an appropriate slogan for Vulcans, but it is not for Christians.

If one thinks one is not going to suffer, one need only read the lives of the saints. There are plenty of examples of stark spiritual warfare.

Pray for me and for all who suffer. Many people write to me for prayers and I try to pray for all the requests.

We are all in this together....just make sure you know who is behind chaos and confusion. It is the evil one.

A true story follows. I chose this to show that wherever we are, whatever we do, whoever we are, the dark evil demons will try and pull us down.

Satan went beyond all the limits of deception when he went to Father Pio pretending to be a penitent. This is the Father Pio’s testimony:  “One day, while I was hearing confessions, a man came to the confessional where I was. He was tall, handsome, dressed with some refinement and he was kind and polite. He started to confess his sins, which were of every kind: against God, against man and against the morals. All the sins were obnoxious! I was disoriented, in fact for all the sins that he told me, but I responded to him with God’s Word, the example of the Church, and the morals of the Saints.   But the enigmatic penitent answered me word for word, justifying his sins, always with extreme ability and politeness.  He excused all the sinful actions, making them sound quite normal and natural, even comprehensible on the human level.. He continued this way with the sins that were gruesome against God, Our Lady, the Saints, always using disrespectful round-about argumentation. He kept this up even with with the foulest of sins that could be conjured in the mind of a most sinful man.  The answers that he gave me with such skilled subtlety and malice surprised me. I wondered: who is he? What world does he come from? And I tried to look at him in order to read something on his face. At the same time I concentrated on every word he spoke, trying to discover any clue to his identity.. But suddenly; through a vivid, radiant and internal light I clearly recognized who he was. With a sound and imperial tone I told him: “Say long live Jesus, long live Mary!” As soon as I pronounced these sweet and powerful names, Satan instantly disappeared in a trickle of fire, leaving behind him an unbearable stench.”  (Don Pierino is a priest and one of the father Pio’s spiritual sons who were present at the same time.)