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Sunday 30 November 2014


God called one man to start the Hebrew Nation-Abraham. Abraham, alone, answered the call and brought his entire family, clan, tribe to God.

Moses faced God in the Burning Bush, alone on Mount Horeb.

God called Samuel, alone, in the middle of the night.

Samuel anointed David, alone with the flocks of his father, 

The great prophets heard God's voice in the loneliness of their rooms, the desert, in a field, or a cave. So God called Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Elijah and the others by name, by themselves.

Daniel heard God alone in his rooms.

Mary encountered Gabriel alone. And, Joseph heard the angel alone in his house.

Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, gave us the example over and over again, of going away from the apostles, the crowds, in order to pray.

The meeting of God and man is personal, and takes place frequently in the loneliness of life.

Our culture demands social interaction. But, unless each one of us is willing to break away from the crowd, God will not be heard.

Loneliness can be, and is mostly, a painful reality for many, but it can be a blessing. To be alone, is not to be alone, for God is always with us.

To be alone is potentially to meet God.

Pay attention in your loneliness, and do not to miss the passing of God into your lives. Remember, that when we die, we meet God alone, and, hopefully, not for the first time.

Good thing...

...I only had one boy. I would have named number two Anselm, number three Bernard, and number four Bramwell. Such a strange son had the entire series of Old Bear books, which included Bramwell. Number five would have been Vaclav, (a family name), number six, Charles, (a family name), number seven, Johannes, (John being a family name), number eight Nicholas, (yet another family name), number nine being Placid, companion to Benedict, number ten coming in with Maxim, short for Maximus the Confessor and last, but not least, Paulinus, after Augustine of Canterbury's companion. If there had been twelve, Jacques would have followed, (not James, for a reason I cannot explain), as long as he was never Jimmy.

Of course, there is no saint Bramwell, but I would have stuck Augustine of Canterbury in there. as his second name. Bramwell Augustine of Canterbury.

I just wanted a cricket "eleven" team at home behind the house, plus one or two to watch with me...sigh. Girls' names coming up next...

Just wondering..

Are any readers inclined to see the new Exodus movie....?

In this day of technological skills in special effects, we are losing, as a culture, the art of acting...and screen writing.

Old but excellent read

What I am up against here and in England....been trying to deal with these prayer groups since 2012.

To Listen for Christ in Active Contemplation

If you, dear readers, have ever been in love, you understand this scenario. You go to a large gathering, like the opening of an art show, or a talk, and you know the one you love will be there. You go because you are being true to yourself, and would go whether he or she was going or not going to be there.

Hundreds of people are in the room, talking, moving about, but you are listening, listening for that special voice, the voice of the person you love so much. Now, you almost give up, when, suddenly you hear his or her voice, and see that person out of the corner of your eye across the room. When you hear the voice of the beloved, you experience a thrill of both anticipation and fear. Sometimes, one hears in a peace which passes human understanding. This is the peace of sacrificial love, which expects nothing in return for love. One lets love be love.

If you are a man, you can approach the beloved. If you are a woman, you must wait. Sometimes, the beloved never comes up to you, but you still love, in hope, until the day arrives when no more meetings are possible.

Waiting for God to speak is very much like this scene. One is on a bus, in a restaurant, at a gathering, and suddenly, one hears the Voice of the Beloved. Will He approach you? Will He make you wait? Will He talk to others and yet, know you are waiting to be approached?

Waiting for God is the core of active contemplation. One puts one's self in the position to listen, trying to be as passive and receptive as possible. Sometimes God makes one wait for a long time, until the Word is received in a purity of heart, mind, and soul. That is the essence of the Dark Night.

God's loving attention demands that one sets aside one's reasons for loving and merely loves.

One waits for God. He is, of course, always there, but many times, even for years, hides Himself until one is ready to receive Him as He really is.

And, so I wait, suffering, to hear the Voice of the Beloved, waiting for the scrap of tone, even without seeing. I wait until God decides to reveal Himself in whatever way He so desires. Sometimes I hear Him for an instant, just Him showing me that He is there, and then He is gone. Such is the Dark Night....

Such is the work of active contemplation...such is waiting for God.

St. Edmund Campion, Pray for Britain

‘In the time of Henry VIII what one believed about the doctrine of ‘transubstantiation’ was literally a matter of life and death.
‘Our 17th-century Civil War was fought in large part over the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings.
‘Without a knowledge of Christianity, what will our schoolchildren make of much of our finest literature and drama, filled as it is with Christian imagery? Or much of the finest European art?’

Read more:
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What is "the deposit of faith"?

Some Catholics have expressed to me that they like religions which allow them a fluidity of belief. Indeed, I heard a sermon last week, wherein the priest was appealing to the congregation to change their ideas concerning Church teaching. Only the Church, usually in the person of the Pope, can explain, modify or re-express the deposit of faith. That happens through the infallibility of certain documents, such as Humanae Vitae.

Explaining or modifying is not the same as a fluidity at base. This wish or desire for fluidity is a misunderstanding of the Church's depositum fidei, the deposit of faith.

One can start with the CCC, on the section concerning sacred transmission of truth. This truth is found in its fullness in the Catholic Church.

74 God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth":29 that is, of Christ Jesus.30 Christ must be proclaimed to all nations and individuals, so that this revelation may reach to the ends of the earth:

God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations.31
75 "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."32
In the apostolic preaching. . .
76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:
- orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";33
- in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".34
. . . continued in apostolic succession
77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority."35 Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."36
78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes."37 "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."38
79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."39

Now, we know that the Protestants chucked out most of Tradition in favor of the solas, to which I referred in a post yesterday, but also in the past on this blog. To disregard the preaching of the apostles and keep only Scripture (and not all) impoverished the Christian Faith in the Protestant denominations. Of course, without a concern for the deposit of faith, a fluidity of doctrine and knowledge became acceptable. If someone does not like something, one can change the doctrine-such as that of marriage. More from the CCC:

One common source. . .
80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal."40 Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".41
. . . two distinct modes of transmission
81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit."42
"And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching."43
82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."44
Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions
83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus' teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.
Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium.

An example of this would be the allowance of usury.  Such major changes are not based on the doctrines given to us by Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, passed to the apostles, down directly to us today, but only changes which are not key teachings of the Church. So, for example, the teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman for life cannot be changed. 

Now, two quick points-reason, not emotions, guide the acceptance of truth in the deposit of faith. Notice how the CCC refers to both the intellect and the heart.

Secondly, the faithful who are docile and obedient hold the sensus fidei. One, in other words, cannot be disobedient to Christ's words and the long heritage of Tradition and believe one is living in truth. Again, as an example, Humanae Vitae separates those who have the supernatural appreciation of the faith and those who do not.

See also the mini-series on infallibility.

The heritage of faith entrusted to the whole of the Church
84 The apostles entrusted the "Sacred deposit" of the faith (the depositum fidei),45 contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. "By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful."46
The Magisterium of the Church
85 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.
86 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith."48
87 Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me",49 the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.
The dogmas of the faith
88 The Church's Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.
89 There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith.50
90 The mutual connections between dogmas, and their coherence, can be found in the whole of the Revelation of the mystery of Christ.51 "In Catholic doctrine there exists an order or hierarchy of truths, since they vary in their relation to the foundation of the Christian faith."52
The supernatural sense of faith
91 All the faithful share in understanding and handing on revealed truth. They have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who instructs them53 and guides them into all truth.54
92 "The whole body of the faithful. . . cannot err in matters of belief. This characteristic is shown in the supernatural appreciation of faith (sensus fidei) on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals."55
93 "By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority (Magisterium),. . . receives. . . the faith, once for all delivered to the saints. . . The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life."

to be continued...

Will be blogging later today...

 Exhausted STM...