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Wednesday 23 July 2014

Cantalamessa's New Book

Father Raniero Cantalamessa's new book In Love with Christ is a little jewel. I shall highlight a few choice ideas.

Francis was a reformer by way of holiness, not criticism.

He spread the Gospel idea of conversion, and of penance.

Francis died to himself, which is why God could use him to renew the Church.

Little things are practice for big things.

Francis is like St. Bernard's description of a humble man. "The truly humble man is anxious not to be acclaimed for his humility, but to be reputed as vile."

Cantalamessa quotes St. Augustine, just as Garrigou-Lagrange did in Providence:

This was the gift Saint Augustine had asked of God and which he considered the height of all wisdom: "Noverim me, noverim te. Let me know myself and let me know You; let me know myself in order to humble myself, and let me know You in order to love You.

Cantalamessa also quotes St. Teresa of Avila, "I asked myself one day why the Lord love humility so much and suddenly there came to my mind, without any reflection on my part, that it must be because he is total Truth, and humility is truth."

The priest states, "God is humility because He is love." And, "But its nature love created dependence and dependence creates humility. So it is also, mysteriously, in God."

We know from the Gospels that Christ is God because of His awareness of his innocence, not found in any other creator of any religion.

Christ can only be humility, as the "Greek Fathers said, synkatabasis, that is, condescendence."

The entire town of Assisi thought Francis as "ungrateful, proud, one who would never do anything good in life."

Cantalamessa states this: "....I have tried to put into practice the advice given by an ancient desert Father, Isaac of Nineveh, to one who was obliged because of his office to speak of spiritual things which he had not yet attained in his own life: 'Speak, he said, as one who belongs to the category of disciples, and not with authority, after humbling your soul and making yourself small than any of your listeners.'"

The good priest has a lovely meditation on the first nativity scene, which I shall let you discover on your own.

However, here is one quotation: "A German scholar has seen in Francis the one who created the conditions for the birth of modern Renaissance art, in as much as it frees sacred persons and events from the stylized rigidity of the past and confers on them concreteness and life."

Reading Newman Again and The Road to Perfection

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman notes that if one wants to be perfect, there are some possible routes.

The first is study. For those with an intellectual bent, the study of the teachings of the Church, the Fathers of the Church and the Councils can lead one to perfection, as the mind informs the soul and natural wisdom moves into infused wisdom.

The second way is through believing everything the Church teaches without understading. This is a position of humility and most people would fall into this category.

But, the key to perfection in Newman, as in all those I have read on the subject, is obedience, complete obedience to Church Teaching.

Newman also notes that if one is not working on perfection, cooperating with grace, suffering, that person will not be saved in the end.

Sounds familiar, does it not?

From Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. i (1888), p. 114


The Via Media of the Anglican Church vol i (1888) pp 135-136

People, we do not have time. Do not put off the dedication to the way of perfection.

Newman warned of individualism and subjectivism in the Anglican Church. He saw the dangerous emphasis on feeling from the Evangelicals. He predicted all the problems the Anglican Church faces today.

It will melt away into paganism.

Serious Net Problems

Get back to you dear readers later. I do not know why the connection is very poor today.

I think I need to live in an urban area!

Hey, This Could Happen Anywhere

Giving in to terrorists is not the answer.

On The Angels of The Churches

This is a continuation of the last posting. Again, one starts with Scripture. Here is Revelation 1:11-20.
Revelation 1:11-20 DR

11 Saying: What thou seest, write in a book, and send to the seven churches which are in Asia, to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamus, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.
12 And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks:
13 And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 And his head and his hairs were white, as white wool, and as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire,
en:User:Jonadab thanks to wiki 
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as in a burning furnace. And his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars. And from his mouth came out a sharp two edged sword: and his face was as the sun shineth in his power.
17 And when I had seen him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying: Fear not. I am the First and the Last,
18 And alive, and was dead, and behold I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell.
19 Write therefore the things which thou hast seen, and which are, and which must be done hereafter.
20 The mystery of the seven stars, which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. And the seven candlesticks are the seven churches.
Here is Christ revealing to St. John that there are angels over the seven ancient (now ALL gone) churches of the Middle East. 
Each church had an angel. Each church was being given a message by Christ. This passage shows us that there were guardian angels over the churches.
Do we have guardian angels over our Catholic dioceses or churches?
I wonder at the spiritual warfare in some dioceses, like my own, which had one of the biggest sex-scandal settlements after Los Angeles and Boston. I wonder why I can never work in the churches there. 
These angels of the seven now extinct churches, were they sent somewhere else?
These angels seem to be addressed as good angels. But, all those churches are now gone. 
Those seven stars, could they have been driven out, or hindered, like Gabriel?
Nothing is an accident.
However, in a window of York Minster in England, the angels are interpreted as bishops. St. Augustine seemed to have this idea according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. But, the word angel in the Scriptures specifically means "angel" not bishop. The word star, according to this article, underlines the interpretation of bishop. But, angel means angel. This is interesting.
Andrewrabbott on wiki
St. John in the Apocalypse is shown seven candlesticks and in their midst, the Son of Man holding seven stars (Revelation 1:13, 20). The candlesticks represent the seven Churches of Asia; the stars, the angels of those Churches. He is bidden to write to the respective angels of those Churches and distribute to each his meed of praise or blame. Origen (Hom., xiii in Luc., and Hom., xx in Num.) explains that these are the guardian angels of the Churches, a view upheld by Dean Alford. But St. Epiphanius (Hær., xxv) explicitly rejects this view, and, in accordance with the imagery of the passage, explains it of the bishops. The comparison of a teacher to a star is quite Scriptural (Daniel 12:3). St. Augustine's reason for interpreting angels of the Churches as the prelates of the church is that St. John speaks of them as falling from their first charity which is not true of the angels [Epistle 43, n. 22].
One may see St. Augustine and others as the more "conservative" and ecclesiastical interpretation of the angels of the churches. One would like to know if churches have guardian angels, or if the bishops are being addressed. 

On The Demons of The Air

This is a completely personal meditation from three Scripture passages. 

When the evil angels fell with Lucifer, they were from all the levels of angels. There is a hierarchy of devils, just as there is a hierarchy of angels. Now, I want to refer to two types, which have been defined in Scripture 

Catholics need to wake up and realize that daily we are all bombarded by these evil spirits who want to destroy the life of grace in us and bring us into their own misery.

The first category are the demons of the air. I do not know what level these evil ones came from, but these are all around us. I want to point out that they come through and in the air.

I am convinced that such demons have the power to come through electronic devices such as computer and especially, televisions/

Here is one passage:

Ephesians 2 Douay-Rheims 

And you, when you were dead in your offences, and sins,
Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of this air, of the spirit that now worketh on the children of unbelief:
In which also we all conversed in time past, in the desires of our flesh, fulfilling the will of the flesh and of our thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:
But God, (who is rich in mercy,)  for his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ, (by whose grace you are saved,)
And hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus.
Here is another passage from the same epistle which uses the names of two of the levels of angels, high levels, who have fallen.
Ephesians 6:10-13Douay-Rheims 
10 Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power.
11 Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.
12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.
13 Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect.
One must be vigilant about computer games (D and D, WoW for example) and movies and television shows regarding these demons.
Another group are the strategic demons, again, noted in Scripture.

Daniel 10 Douay-Rheims 

10 In the third year of Cyrus king of the Persians, a word was revealed to Daniel surnamed Baltassar, and a true word, and great strength: and he understood the word: for there is need of understanding in a vision.
In those days I Daniel mourned the days of three weeks.
I ate no desirable bread, and neither flesh, nor wine entered into my mouth, neither was I anointed with ointment: till the days of three weeks were accomplished.
And in the four and twentieth day of the first month I was by the great river which is the Tigris.
And I lifted up my eyes, and I saw: and behold a man clothed in linen, and his loins were girded with the finest gold:
And his body was like the chrysolite, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as a burning lamp: and his arms, and all downward even to the feet, like in appearance to glittering brass: and the voice of his word like the voice of a multitude.
And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw it not: but an exceeding great terror fell upon them, and they fled away, and hid themselves.
And I being left alone saw this great vision: and there remained no strength in me, and the appearance of my countenance was changed in me, and I fainted away, and retained no strength.
And I heard the voice of his words: and when I heard, I lay in a consternation, upon my face, and my face was close to the ground.
10 And behold a hand touched me, and lifted me up upon my knees, and upon the joints of my hands.
11 And he said to me: Daniel, thou man of desires, understand the words that I speak to thee, and stand upright: for I am sent now to thee. And when he had said this word to me, I stood trembling.
12 And he said to me: Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thy heart to understand, to afflict thyself in the sight of thy God, thy words have been heard: and I am come for thy words.
13 But the prince of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me one and twenty days: and behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I remained there by the king of the Persians.
14 But I am come to teach thee what things shall befall thy people in the latter days, for as yet the vision is for days.
15 And when he was speaking such words to me, I cast down my countenance to the ground, and held my peace.
16 And behold, as it were the likeness of a son of man touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spoke, and said to him that stood before me: O my Lord, at the sight of thee my joints are loosed, and no strength hath remained in me.
17 And how can the servant of my lord speak with my lord? for no strength remaineth in me, moreover my breath is stopped.
18 Therefore he that looked like a man touched me again, and strengthened me.
19 And he said: Fear not, O man of desires, peace be to thee: take courage and be strong. And when he spoke to me, I grew strong: and I said: Speak, O my lord, for thou hast strengthened me.
20 And he said: Dost thou know wherefore I am come to thee? and now I will return, to fight against the prince of the Persians. When I went forth, there appeared the prince of the Greeks coming.
21 But I will tell thee what is set down in the scripture of truth: and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince.
What is in Scripture is true, so here we have two specific demons, one called the Prince of Persia (modern day Iran) keeping a special messenger from God, most likely Gabriel, from coming, until Michael came and helped.
Michael, as guardian of the Jewish people, was hindered at this time.
There is also, in addition, a Prince of the Greeks. That these good angels fought literally with the bad ones seems to indicate that the bad ones were strategically fighting over two countries, Greece and Persia.
Why some countries have good angels and some bad fighting over them, in the air, is a mystery, unless one thinks that these fell with Lucifer in their pride and in their role. An angel is his role. Gabriel is the Messenger of God, Raphael is the Healing of God, and Michael, the Guardian-Fighter.
Note the language in these passages. 
I write of these as I have felt in the past and now that different areas have different spiritual characters.
Some people have said this of New York City or Las Vegas, that they "sensed the evil". Others have felt or sensed this about Chicago or other places.
As a child, certain places struck me as evil or good.
I think in these times of chaos, we need to ask God to make keen the gift of discernment, to protect ourselves and our families from evil. We need to avoid the demons of the air.

If you are traveling and find yourself in a place where is seems hard to pray, there could be demonic influence in that area. Remember where you can pray easily, or at least with some ease and not as if in a battle zone. Sometimes one feels blocks, or even a strange cloudiness over an area. I had a strange experience like this flying into Ireland for the first time, and in a certain place in Illinois, and in a certain place in New York State.

Stay in the state of grace. Pray. Keep close to the sacraments and pray the rosary-the weapons of our "side".

On Prayers Against Demons

Father Chad Ripperger has many talks on his site, which I have featured here many times on this blog.

He also has begun both the group called Auxilium Christianorum, found here at and the Third Order, The Society of The Most Sorrowful Mother, found here,

Now, if you have a spiritual director, ask that priest first before joining. If you do not, just write to the website and inquire.

There is much confusion about the use of prayers against demons. One may pray for one's self and one's family. That is it. Lay people cannot pray over others for deliverance or pray at healing Masses. Only priest exorcists can do this.

However, parents and husbands have authority in families, as would a single mom or a mom whose husband is not taking authority over a situation.

For example, if a child decides to break away from some habit of evil and goes to confession, the parents should encourage that decision and take the child to confession. A parent who is blinded by sin may disagree with the other parent, but the duty of the parent who sees the sin is to help the child break out of that habit.

Therefore, authority is given to both parents, to husbands and then to wives.

Husbands are the spiritual leaders of the family, but if a husband neglects his duty, the wife must lead if there are children.

Too many husbands abdicate their priestly role in the family.

Too many wives give in to unbelieving or disobedient husbands.

We can never cooperate with evil.

Sometimes women are afraid to confront husbands and sometimes husbands are afraid to confront a wife about sin.

God gave husband and wife to each other to lead each other to heaven.

If the road to perfection seems particularly rocky in a family, perhaps there are blockages.

The Auxilium Christianorum can help.

The Society of the Most Sorrowful Mother is another possibility in the Third Order.

Please consider these groups if there are blockages in your self or family.

Reason, Passive Purification and Study

Some Catholics have become so anti-intellectual that they do not see the need for study. Unless one is mentally challenged, we all have a duty to study and know our faith.

Why? First of all, God has given us Reason, which, when combined to Revelation, forms one of the two pillars of our Faith. I use to draw two pillars on the board in religion class, reminding my students that we believed in Revelation, that is the Old and New Testament, but that Reason has brought us Tradition.

For Catholics, Tradition includes the teachings of the councils and the popes, primarily.

When we are on the road to perfection, we must allow God to passively purify us. This passive purification, to which I have brought your attention in the perfection series, must happen for us to attain holiness.

Purification happens here or in purgatory. Period.

Passive purification can lead to infused wisdom, the gift of wisdom. Now, wisdom also comes in study, but the gift of wisdom, as noted by Garrigou-Lagrange in the book I am sharing, brings higher knowledge, the knowledge of certain mysteries.

Predestination is one of those mysteries which may be enlightened by the gift of wisdom given after the passive purification is done.

Do not fear this purification. It brings life and love.

Predestination Part Five

To unravel the mystery of predestination is impossible for us, but try we do in order to understand good and evil in the world.

The basic truth is this: God gives grace, but we choose whether to use that grace with our free wills or not.

But, grace is efficacious "only as regard the elect". Garrigou-Lagrange outlines more points for us, using the sources on pages 19-20.

"Whatsoever the Lord pleased he hath done in heaven and on earth. For nothing is done in heaven or on earth, except what He Himself is pleased to do, or justly permits to be done....(2) God wills all men to be saved and no on to perish...nor after the fall of the first man is it His will forcibly to deprive man of free will. (3) That those, however, who are walking in the path of righteousness in their innocence, He heals and aid their free will by grace. (4) The who go far from God, who is desirous of gathering the children of Jerusalem that will it not, will perish. (5) Hence it is because of God's grace that the world is saved; and it is because man has free will that the world will be judged. (6) Adam, through willing what was evil, lost the power to do what is good....Wherefore the whole human race became a mass of perdition. If no one has been rescued from it, God's justice would not have been to blame. That many are saved, however, is due to God's ineffable grace."

Council of Thuzey

Of course, the Council of Trent had to revisit this topic because of Protestantism and Jansenism-the subjects of Part Six.

Resisting Grace and Cooperating with Grace-Part Six

St. Augustine notes this and it is used in the Council of Trent: "God commands not impossibilities , but, by commanding, both admonishes thee to do what thou art able, and, to pray for what thou art not able to do."

Also stated is that, "God does not abandon the just without previously having been abandoned by them."

To simplify this introduction to the meaty bits, one can say this. God gives all of us the grace necessary for our salvation. All have sufficient grace for salvation.

So, many people chose not to cooperate with grace. Why would anyone do this?

The predominant faults we have cause us not to cooperate with grace. Pride, greed, envy, lust and so on keep one from following the urgings of grace. Do people actually ignore little hints, or even big hints?

Yes. A man I know was in a horrific accident between his small sport car and a huge truck. He walked away with no injuries. He was living a life away from God as a fallen-away Catholic. Did he mend his ways? No, and in fact, he became a Unitarian.

Another man I know was in a horrible accident as well which would have killed anyone not protected by God. He did not stop being an agnostic and did not see the brush with death as a warning.

Cooperating with grace means reflecting and listening to one's angel, to God, maybe even Our Lady.

Cooperating with grace implies obedience and humility. Resisting grace implies pride and a stubbornness to continue on one's way.

God does not test us nor present us with difficulties beyond our capabilities.

But, He does allow us to become holy in trials.

"...that some are saved is the gift of Him who saves."

to be continued...

Predestination Part Four

In the order of nature and in the order of grace, St. Augustine tells us that God alone is the author of all good in us. We cannot wish to do good or do good without Him.

Natural goodness is what those who are not baptized and try to be good have, but even this is from God.

Garrigou-Lagrange clearly refers to the teachings of the Church on this matter. Basically, the Church has accepted and made into teachings the insights of St. Augustine against the Pelagians and Semipelagians. There is Original Sin, grace is necessary and gratuitous, and we are absolutely dependent on God for all good actions and good thoughts.

From St. Augustine was formed the teaching on predilection; again, a state which demands grace from God.

St. Paul, again, is the master of theology regarding this subject, as noted in the posts below. Garrigou-Lagrange refers to him again.

"It is God who worketh in you, according to His good will. For who distinguisheth thee? Or what has thou that thou hast not received?" Phil. 2:13 and I Cor. 4:7.

The Church then, as Garrigou-Lagrange notes, clarified this position further as against the Calvinists, Bajanists, and Jansenists.

Also, there is an entire series of councils earlier than these heresies which addressed the teaching, on page 18 of the book here examined.

One of the most important points clarified early on was that God does not predestine anyone to evil. There is no such thing as destiny or fate to become evil. The Church has always held up the primacy of free will in man to choose. That God permits evil is a mystery.

Here is a quotation from the Council of Quierzy:

"Our will, aided by prevenient grace and concomitant is free to do what is good; and our will, forsaken by grace, is free to do what is evil."

Sin happens with God's permission because of justice.

Again, another quotation from the above council: "Almighty God will without exception, all men to be saved, however, it is the gift of Him who saves; if some perish, it is the fault of them that perish."

There is no predestination to evil; God want all men to be saved and gives to all the graces necessary for salvation. But, free will is also a gift.

All sin is committed with His foreknowledge and permission. This is a hard statement for some people. But, as one who has sinned seriously, I can state that the sin led me back to God in a more realistic and humble way. That God allowed sin in my life makes me realize His great mercy and my freedom.

To be continued....