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Monday 27 January 2014

To Be Lay

I was sent back out into the world last year to be a lay person for sure.

God did not want me in Tyburn, which broke my heart, but it was clear to me, after a second time, and after hearing God loud and clear to go out and pray and write, that I was to be lay.

But, too many Catholics do not embrace the baptismal call of being lay. They either want the clericalism of careerism or they want to be clergy themselves.

Our role is to be leaven in the world. We are to learn, to preach, to teach over coffee, at work, finding people who are open, ready to hear the Gospel.

Be lay, and stop being clerical. But, read my post below on learning to be lay saints.

If we are not evangelizing daily, we are not being Catholics living up to our baptismal promises and duties.

Please pray daily as to how God can use you in your life to save souls.

Save souls.
The age of the lay person should be the time of lay evangelization.

Remember the remnant will be very, very, very small. Very.



Another topical re-view

Doctors of the Church and Perfection Series

Within the long perfection series, I remind readers that there are over 235 posts on the Doctors of the Church.

I have re-posted some in the past few weeks, just as a reminder, on some of the feast days of these great saints.

Doctors of the Church 2:54

St. John Chrysostom lived for a while in the very area in Syria now ravaged by civil war.

He had an interesting take on monasteries. He thought that if one could become perfect in the world, as God had called all Catholics to become, one did not have to enter a monastery.

The monastery was created because it was getting too hard to become perfect while in the world.

St. John Chrysostom had to leave to go to Antioch and serve the Church at large.

Here is one commentator on this desire for finding perfection in a monastery:

Chrysostom's preference is not a contradiction to his teaching that Christian perfection is also possible in the world, because the superiority of virginity is not ethical but rather in its way and method. The sacred father concludes this from the following: Because life in the cities has been equated with the "goings on of Sodom", and because the prevailing corruption has eclipsed the necessary conditions to exercise Christian perfection. Because cities have, in his opinion, ended up in a satanic fire, a monastic community is safer. It was a prayer for Chrysostom to have a perfect society, so that monasteries were not necessary; that is, if society identified with the Church and the world identified with the kingdom of God. That is, if monks ruled, or kings "philosophized", there would be no need for monasticism. Worthy critics of the situation as it is in reality are not the monks, but those who make cities a rugged terrain of the virtues.

and more here

Sober Thought from St. John Chrysostom Doctors of The Church 2:53

'I do not speak rashly, but as I feel and think. I do not think that many bishops are saved, but that those who perish are far more numerous.' 

St. John Chrysostom, Doctor and Father of the Church

Doctors of The Church 2:52

For parents some advice from St. John Chrysostom

St John Chrysostom is a Doctor of the Church and a man for our time. His time was rent with serious splits among Catholics and the failing Roman empire.

His strengths were his great classical education and his intelligence, which coupled with faith brought about two mighty weapons against chaos-his oratory and exegesis of the Scriptures. We still use his sermons and insights today. Of course, all Byzantine Catholics owe him great gratitude for the sublime Divine Liturgy he wrote. It is beautiful. I have been in this church pictured below.

We need some Chrysostoms. Pray for them. Now. St. John Chrysostom, pray for us and for the Church.

Here are two quotations from this great saint for parents.

Children must be instructed in the Scriptures, beginning with the learning of psalms and hymns.  "But now your children will utter songs and dances of Satan, like cooks, and caterers, and musicians; no one knows any psalm but it seems a thing to be ashamed of even, a mockery and a joke. There is the treasury house of all these evils. For whatsoever soil the plant stands in, such is the fruit it bears; if in a sandy and salty soil, of like nature is its fruit; if in a sweet and rich one, it is again similar. So the matter of instruction is a sort of fountain. Teach him to sing those psalms which are so full of the love of wisdom. When in these you have led him on from childhood, by little and little you will lead him forward even to the higher things"  (Hom. IX  On Colossians)

On the importance of instructing children in the Holy Scriptures
"Do you wish your son to be obedient? From the very first, "Bring him up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord." Never deem it an unnecessary thing that he should be  a diligent hearer of the divine Scriptures. For there the first thing he hears will be this: 'Honor thy father and thy mother'.  So then, this is for you. Never say, 'This is the business of monks'. Am I making a monk of him? No, there is no need he should become a monk. Why be so afraid of a thing so replete with so much advantage? Make him a Christian. For it is of all things necessary for laymen to be acquainted with the lessons derived from this source, but especially for children. For theirs is an age full of folly and to this folly are added the bad examples derived from the heathen tales, where they are made acquainted with those heroes so admired amongst them…[A child] requires therefore the remedies against these things. How is it not absurd to send children out to trades and to school, and to do all you can for these objectives, and yet, not to "Bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord?" And for this reason truly we are the first to reap the fruits, because we bring up our children to be insolent and profligate, disobedient and mere vulgar fellows. Let us not then do this; no, let us listen to this blessed Apostle's admonitions "Let us bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord". Let us give them a pattern. Let us make them from the earliest age apply themselves to the reading of the Scriptures…..Study not to make him an orator, but train him up to be a [Christian] philosopher. In the want of the one there will be no harm whatever; in the absence of the other, all the rhetoric in the world will be of no advantage. Tempers are wanted, not talking; character, not cleverness; deeds not word. These gain a man the kingdom. These confer what are benefits indeed. Whet not his tongue but cleanse his soul. I do not say this to prevent you teaching him these things, but to prevent your attending to them exclusively. Do not imagine that the monk alone stands in need of these lessons from Scripture. Of all others, the children just about to enter into the world especially need them." (Hom. XXI Ephesians)


 for the Feast of the Mother Sophia and Her Children shown above

The Church celebrates and is truly happy over the
newly born children and their happy mother. Like
the holy wisdom, she gave birth to three children
equal to the three theological virtues. In the company
of these wise virgins, she gazes on the Word and chaste
Groom. We join her in her happiness and sing:
O triple triumph - Faith, Hope and Charity - make us
firm in faith, hope and charity!

On Knowledge and God

Through-out my life, I have had a love affair with truth. I love teaching logic and reading essays, encyclicals, and documents which follow exquisite rational discourse.

Our faith embraces reason and rationality. We are made in the image and likeness of God and our intellect and rationality are part of that image and likeness. Along with the will and the immortal soul, reason marks each one of us as human, made for eternity.

When I try and speak with youth, especially, or the Gen-Xers on faith being reasonable, I find that there is a resistance to the idea that we can reason out many truths in our religion. The sign of an adult faith formation is the use of reason with regard to doctrine and spirituality.

But, the world, the flesh and the devil conspire to deny the use of reason with regard to the Faith. The over-emphasis on the appetites, the sensual, the idea that religion is always primarily "experiential", stop people of all ages of appropriating an adult faith.

I have written on this many times under the label "thinking like Catholics", which many of you have read.

Why logical reasoning has been denigrated has partly been for political reasons, partly because of the "Protestantization" of some Catholic circles, and partly because of laxity in the training of young minds.

Without reasonable discourse being trained in schools, at home, and even in the workplace, the ability to reason atrophies and one becomes either the cog in the machine or a emotionally reactive person, only.

This is what satan and his minions want; non-thinking Catholics, Catholics who only react, never reflect, do not read, do not study the Faith and do not want to apply the principles of religion to themselves. The unthinking Catholic cannot form a correct, right conscience and cannot critique the deceit of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

But, none of the intellectual capacities truly "work" with grace. Grace purifies and hones the intellect. The Benedictines have known this since the beginning of the Rule. The love of learning in the abbey schools was always connected to the desire for God, as one of my favorite books explained to me so long ago when I first read this masterpiece.

Since I started my blog in 2007, I have been referring to this book, but even though one may not read the book, the ideal is presentable is a simple phrase.

If one desires God, one will seek Him in learning.

Simple, really.

When St Anselm, in order to renew the seminaries, introduced the classical Trivium and Quadrivium into the training for the priesthood, he got his ideas from his own Benedictine order. Included in those studies were geometry, astronomy, music, art, mathematics, grammar. The study of the Scriptures, the Doctors of the Church, and  other Catholic literature, as well as philosophy, theology, and logic, brought alive the intellect to be cleaned from the cobwebs of the world in order to shine forth for the building of the Kingdom of God.

Some of the oldest libraries in the world are monastic.

What are you reading?

What are you studying?

Are you learning to think like a Catholic?

Ask yourself today, why this is more important now than ever before in the history of the world.

Oh, my soul, how much longer do you wish to be so stingy with Jesus? Why so negligent towards Jesus who made You? Why so lazy towards Jesus who redeemed you? Who do you want to love, if you do not want to love Jesus?  St. Gemma Galgani.

To know is to love and to love is to want to know. The pursuit of knowledge, using logic and reason, brings us closer to the One is Knows Himself and knows us intimately. There is a great mystery in learning and remembering, in that one creates, as Henri Gilson notes, a sort of metaphysical background to the soul"
Slowly, through the Dark Night, when one's intellect and soul are cleansed, one comes to the real knowledge of self and God, as much as He reveals Himself this side of death.

This knowledge become a huge oasis, or universe surrounding one with the omnipresence of God, as Gilson notes, with the growing knowledge of the Indwelling of the Trinity.

Except for the chosen few mystics, like St. Gemma Galgani, or the young saints like St. Therese, the Little Flower who have infused knowledge, for most of us, the way through the years and years of learning and seeking, through the Dark Night into the Illuminative State is one of intense suffering and pain.

Those Catholics who refuse to start on the journey of learning, cannot get to the mystic places they believe come through experience, and this is the tragedy of so many good people who do not grow in holiness

They do not desire God enough to get out of their comforts zones in order to really learn, use the reason God has given them, and not only for themselves, but for the world, which is starving for reason.

Brno Capuchin

Those who deny themselves the time, or waste time instead of pursuing the knowledge of God may one day stand in heaven and see the great saints they could have been, if they had responded to the grace of learning.

Only in the Dark Night of the Soul is one then allowed to die to memory and understanding, as God takes that which has been learned and changes all into the infused knowledge of sheer grace.

This can only happen after the purification of the imagination and memory. Do not waste any time. Read, study, think, reflect, pray, act.

Be a Catholic. Think like St. Bernard below....from On Loving God.

   There is no glory in having a gift without
   knowing it. But to know only that you have it, without knowing that it
   is not of yourself that you have it, means self-glorying, but no true
   thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why
   glory in God. And so the apostle says to men in such cases, What hast
   dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? (I Cor. 4.7). .. .....
   The apostle shows how to discern the true glory from the false, when he
   says, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord, that is, in the
   Truth, since our Lord is Truth (I Cor. 1.31; John 14.6).
   We must know, then, what we are, and that it is not of ourselves that
   we are what we are. Unless we know this thoroughly, either we shall not
   glory at all, or our glorying will be vain. ...
   And this is right. For man, being in honor, if he know not his
   thou know not, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock' ..
   own honor, may fitly be compared, because of such ignorance, to the
   beasts that perish. Not knowing himself as the creature that is
   is own true glory which is within, he is led captive by his curiosity
   distinguished from the irrational brutes by the possession of reason,
   he commences to be confounded with them because, ignorant ...
   and...   concerns himself with external, sensual things. So he is made to
   resemble the lower orders by not knowing that he has been more highly
   endowed than they.

A Meditation on Today's Gospel

There are many people who are committing the most serious sin, that of blaspheming the Holy 

Spirit. Some are atheists, some are pagans, some are those of man-made religions, some are Catholics.

Some Catholics daily blaspheme the Holy Spirit sit next to us in Church, live in our families, teach in Catholic schools, speak from the pulpit.

What does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? The CCC notes, 1864 "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven."136 There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit.137 Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.

What does this mean? Why is this sin so serious?

This sin is the absolute rejection of salvation, the total rejection of repentance and accepting Christ as Savior.

This sin is the non-acceptance of forgiveness, thinking that one's sins are too horrible for forgiveness.

It is a sin which is based on obstinacy, despair, envy, resistance to Truth, Who is a Person.

Why is this sin so serious? Because all people are given grace to repent. All. No one is not given grace sufficient to repentance.

It is a serious sin, as it denies Christ Himself as Savior, as King, as Messiah, as God. 

Pray for those around us who are tempted or even living in this great sin. Pray.

Mark 3:22-30

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
22 And the scribes who were come down from Jerusalem, said: He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of devils he casteth out devils.
23 And after he had called them together, he said to them in parables: How can Satan cast out Satan?
24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
26 And if Satan be risen up against himself, he is divided, and cannot stand, but hath an end.
27 No man can enter into the house of a strong man and rob him of his goods, unless he first bind the strong man, and then shall he plunder his house.
28 Amen I say to you, that all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and the blasphemies wherewith they shall blaspheme:
29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, shall never have forgiveness, but shall be guilty of an everlasting sin.
30 Because they said: He hath an unclean spirit.

Please pray for the protection of this young man

The National Security Agency is involved in industrial espionage and will take intelligence regardless of its value to national security, the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has told a German television network. 
In text released ahead of a lengthy interview to be broadcast on Sunday, the public broadcaster ARD TV quoted Snowden saying the NSA does not limit its espionage to issues of national security and citing the German engineering firm Siemens as one target. 
“If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to US national interests – even if it doesn't have anything to do with national security – then they'll take that information nevertheless,” Snowden said, according to ARD, which recorded the interview in Russia, where Snowden has claimed asylum.