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Sunday 12 April 2015

Pope Francis Absolutely Correct On This

I wrote a lot about the first genocide in the past. Thank God, truth has more and more emerged on this suppressed information. I am sure Turkey will not be the first to remove their ambassadors once the real lines of division become more clear about so-called "revisionist" history some nations and some peoples insist upon writing and teaching.

Check out some of my past posts using the tags.

from the article:

Francis, who has close ties to the Armenian community from his days in Argentina, defended his pronouncement by saying it was his duty to honor the memory of the innocent men, women and children who were "senselessly" murdered by Ottoman Turks.
"Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it," he said at the start of a Mass in the Armenian Catholic rite honoring the centenary.

Francis is not the first pope to call the massacre a genocide. In his remarks, Francis cited a 2001 declaration signed by St. John Paul II and the Armenian church leader, Karenkin II, which said the deaths were considered "the first genocide of the 20th century."

More false historical attempts to make a certain revision of history...sad, as one cannot understand one's self out of context.

Spe Salvi Four

As I noted earlier, this mini-series is not a line-by-line unpacking of this encyclical, but rather random notes for our times, today. 

The Pope Emeritus is spot-on defining the weaknesses of modern thinking and the strength of Catholic approaches to life, both on earth and the afterlife. He is always years ahead of us in thinking and explaining the Faith for our times. My comments are in blue.

The transformation of Christian faith-hope in the modern age

16. How could the idea have developed that Jesus's message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the “salvation of the soul” as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation which rejects the idea of serving others? In order to find an answer to this we must take a look at the foundations of the modern age. These appear with particular clarity in the thought of Francis Bacon. That a new era emerged—through the discovery of America and the new technical achievements that had made this development possible—is undeniable. But what is the basis of this new era? It is the new correlation of experiment and method that enables man to arrive at an interpretation of nature in conformity with its laws and thus finally to achieve “the triumph of art over nature” (victoria cursus artis super naturam)[14]. The novelty—according to Bacon's vision—lies in a new correlation between science and praxis. This is also given a theological application: the new correlation between science and praxis would mean that the dominion over creation —given to man by God and lost through original sin—would be reestablished[15].

Arrogance and wishful thinking has led to social engineering, a direct consequence of this type of thinking.

17. Anyone who reads and reflects on these statements attentively will recognize that a disturbing step has been taken: up to that time, the recovery of what man had lost through the expulsion from Paradise was expected from faith in Jesus Christ: herein lay “redemption”. Now, this “redemption”, the restoration of the lost “Paradise” is no longer expected from faith, but from the newly discovered link between science and praxis. It is not that faith is simply denied; rather it is displaced onto another level—that of purely private and other-worldly affairs—and at the same time it becomes somehow irrelevant for the world. 

We see these errors in thinking defined by Pope Pius IX and Pope St. Pius X in their writings againt Modernism.

This programmatic vision has determined the trajectory of modern times and it also shapes the present-day crisis of faith which is essentially a crisis of Christian hope. Thus hope too, in Bacon, acquires a new form. Now it is called: faith in progress

I call this the "Star Trek heresy". (But, belief in the progress of the soul and spiritual, moral life of man is not the only heresy in that series.)

For Bacon, it is clear that the recent spate of discoveries and inventions is just the beginning; through the interplay of science and praxis, totally new discoveries will follow, a totally new world will emerge, the kingdom of man[16]. 

Ah, we are back to St. Augustine and the City of Man...

He even put forward a vision of foreseeable inventions—including the aeroplane and the submarine. As the ideology of progress developed further, joy at visible advances in human potential remained a continuing confirmation of faith in progress as such.

God becomes sidelined in these ideals, or rather, heresies.

18. At the same time, two categories become increasingly central to the idea of progress: reason and freedom. Progress is primarily associated with the growing dominion of reason, and this reason is obviously considered to be a force of  good and a force for good. Progress is the overcoming of all forms of dependency—it is progress towards perfect freedom. Likewise freedom is seen purely as a promise, in which man becomes more and more fully himself. In both concepts—freedom and reason—there is a political aspect. The kingdom of reason, in fact, is expected as the new condition of the human race once it has attained total freedom. The political conditions of such a kingdom of reason and freedom, however, appear at first sight somewhat ill defined. Reason and freedom seem to guarantee by themselves, by virtue of their intrinsic goodness, a new and perfect human community. The two key concepts of “reason” and “freedom”, however, were tacitly interpreted as being in conflict with the shackles of faith and of the Church as well as those of the political structures of the period. Both concepts therefore contain a revolutionary potential of enormous explosive force.

Such are the thoughts of every ideologue, who denies Original Sin and concupiscence. 

19. We must look briefly at the two essential stages in the political realization of this hope, because they are of great importance for the development of Christian hope, for a proper understanding of it and of the reasons for its persistence. First there is the French Revolution—an attempt to establish the rule of reason and freedom as a political reality. 

And, therefore, denied sin, grace, God and descended into tyranny, as do all isms which desire to supplant God's Church. See how these ideas want to make the City of Man into the City of the New god Man.

To begin with, the Europe of the Enlightenment looked on with fascination at these events, but then, as they developed, had cause to reflect anew on reason and freedom. A good illustration of these two phases in the reception of events in France is found in two essays by Immanuel Kant in which he reflects on what had taken place. In 1792 he wrote Der Sieg des guten Prinzips über das böse und die Gründung eines Reiches Gottes auf Erden (“The Victory of the Good over the Evil Principle and the Founding of a Kingdom of God on Earth”). In this text he says the following: “The gradual transition of ecclesiastical faith to the exclusive sovereignty of pure religious faith is the coming of the Kingdom of God”[17]. He also tells us that revolutions can accelerate this transition from ecclesiastical faith to rational faith. The “Kingdom of God” proclaimed by Jesus receives a new definition here and takes on a new mode of presence; a new “imminent expectation”, so to speak, comes into existence: the “Kingdom of God” arrives where “ecclesiastical faith” is vanquished and superseded by “religious faith”, that is to say, by simple rational faith. In 1794, in the text Das Ende aller Dinge(“The End of All Things”) a changed image appears. Now Kant considers the possibility that as well as the natural end of all things there may be another that is unnatural, a perverse end. He writes in this connection: “If Christianity should one day cease to be worthy of love ... then the prevailing mode in human thought would be rejection and opposition to it; and the Antichrist ... would begin his—albeit short—regime (presumably based on fear and self-interest); but then, because Christianity, though destined to be the world religion, would not in fact be favoured by destiny to become so, then, in a moral respect, this could lead to the (perverted) end of all things”[18].

One can see how these ideas lead to all the isms-communism, socialism, fascism, etc. A Catholic cannot be a Catholic and a true socialist. One has to see revolutions as anti-Church.

20. The nineteenth century held fast to its faith in progress as the new form of human hope, and it continued to consider reason and freedom as the guiding stars to be followed along the path of hope. Nevertheless, the increasingly rapid advance of technical development and the industrialization connected with it soon gave rise to an entirely new social situation: there emerged a class of industrial workers and the so-called “industrial proletariat”, whose dreadful living conditions Friedrich Engels described alarmingly in 1845. For his readers, the conclusion is clear: this cannot continue; a change is necessary. Yet the change would shake up and overturn the entire structure of bourgeois society. After the bourgeois revolution of 1789, the time had come for a new, proletarian revolution: progress could not simply continue in small, linear steps. A revolutionary leap was needed. Karl Marx took up the rallying call, and applied his incisive language and intellect to the task of launching this major new and, as he thought, definitive step in history towards salvation—towards what Kant had described as the “Kingdom of God”. Once the truth of the hereafter had been rejected, it would then be a question of establishing the truth of the here and now. The critique of Heaven is transformed into the critique of earth, the critique of theology into the critique of politics. Progress towards the better, towards the definitively good world, no longer comes simply from science but from politics—from a scientifically conceived politics that recognizes the structure of history and society and thus points out the road towards revolution, towards all-encompassing change. With great precision, albeit with a certain onesided bias, (love this aside), Marx described the situation of his time, and with great analytical skill he spelled out the paths leading to revolution—and not only theoretically: by means of the Communist Party that came into being from the Communist Manifesto of 1848, he set it in motion. His promise, owing to the acuteness of his analysis and his clear indication of the means for radical change, was and still remains an endless source of fascination. Real revolution followed, in the most radical way in Russia.
21. Together with the victory of the revolution, though, Marx's fundamental error also became evident. He showed precisely how to overthrow the existing order, but he did not say how matters should proceed thereafter. He simply presumed that with the expropriation of the ruling class, with the fall of political power and the socialization of means of production, the new Jerusalem would be realized. Then, indeed, all contradictions would be resolved, man and the world would finally sort themselves out. Then everything would be able to proceed by itself along the right path, because everything would belong to everyone and all would desire the best for one another. Thus, having accomplished the revolution, Lenin must have realized that the writings of the master gave no indication as to how to proceed.

Read all my posts on Gramsci, the real evil genius on how to proceed. What we see today...

 True, Marx had spoken of the interim phase of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a necessity which in time would automatically become redundant. This “intermediate phase” we know all too well, and we also know how it then developed, not ushering in a perfect world, but leaving behind a trail of appalling destruction. Marx not only omitted to work out how this new world would be organized—which should, of course, have been unnecessary. His silence on this matter follows logically from his chosen approach. His error lay deeper. He forgot that man always remains man. He forgot man and he forgot man's freedom. He forgot that freedom always remains also freedom for evil. He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism: man, in fact, is not merely the product of economic conditions, and it is not possible to redeem him purely from the outside by creating a favourable economic environment.

Most historians in academia fall for this materialistic view of man and many priests and bishops do as well. 

One cannot define man according to economics, but as made in the image and likeness of God. So, the Pope Emeritus continues, where is our hope, if not in the material order?

The true shape of Christian hope
24. Let us ask once again: what may we hope? And what may we not hope? First of all, we must acknowledge that incremental progress is possible only in the material sphere. Here, amid our growing knowledge of the structure of matter and in the light of ever more advanced inventions, we clearly see continuous progress towards an ever greater mastery of nature. Yet in the field of ethical awareness and moral decision-making, there is no similar possibility of accumulation for the simple reason that man's freedom is always new and he must always make his decisions anew. These decisions can never simply be made for us in advance by others—if that were the case, we would no longer be free. Freedom presupposes that in fundamental decisions, every person and every generation is a new beginning. 

Too many people are not making fundamental decisions, but living in reaction or deciding for the purely sensual. Their decisions are anti-God, anti-natural law, anti-self.

Naturally, new generations can build on the knowledge and experience of those who went before, and they can draw upon the moral treasury of the whole of humanity. But they can also reject it, because it can never be self-evident in the same way as material inventions. The moral treasury of humanity is not readily at hand like tools that we use; it is present as an appeal to freedom and a possibility for it. This, however, means that:
a) The right state of human affairs, the moral well-being of the world can never be guaranteed simply through structures alone, however good they are. Such structures are not only important, but necessary; yet they cannot and must not marginalize human freedom. Even the best structures function only when the community is animated by convictions capable of motivating people to assent freely to the social order. Freedom requires conviction; conviction does not exist on its own, but must always be gained anew by the community.

Remember my comment long ago that I told seminarians that they were looking to politics for change instead of God? Political thinking about structures permeates some seminarian formation, sadly, and it is Marxist.

b) Since man always remains free and since his freedom is always fragile, the kingdom of good will never be definitively established in this world. Anyone who promises the better world that is guaranteed to last for ever is making a false promise; he is overlooking human freedom. Freedom must constantly be won over for the cause of good. Free assent to the good never exists simply by itself. If there were structures which could irrevocably guarantee a determined—good—state of the world, man's freedom would be denied, and hence they would not be good structures at all.
25. What this means is that every generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs; this task is never simply completed. Yet every generation must also make its own contribution to establishing convincing structures of freedom and of good, which can help the following generation as a guideline for the proper use of human freedom; hence, always within human limits, they provide a certain guarantee also for the future. In other words: good structures help, but of themselves they are not enough. Man can never be redeemed simply from outside. Francis Bacon and those who followed in the intellectual current of modernity that he inspired were wrong to believe that man would be redeemed through science. Such an expectation asks too much of science; this kind of hope is deceptive. Science can contribute greatly to making the world and mankind more human. Yet it can also destroy mankind and the world unless it is steered by forces that lie outside it. On the other hand, we must also acknowledge that modern Christianity, faced with the successes of science in progressively structuring the world, has to a large extent restricted its attention to the individual and his salvation. In so doing it has limited the horizon of its hope and has failed to recognize sufficiently the greatness of its task—even if it has continued to achieve great things in the formation of man and in care for the weak and the suffering.

Redemption is only in Christ. But, we as laity have a duty to bring Christ and His teachings daily into the marketplace in order to create good structures...but, it may be too late.

26. It is not science that redeems man: man is redeemed by love. This applies even in terms of this present world. When someone has the experience of a great love in his life, this is a moment of “redemption” which gives a new meaning to his life. But soon he will also realize that the love bestowed upon him cannot by itself resolve the question of his life. It is a love that remains fragile. It can be destroyed by death. The human being needs unconditional love. He needs the certainty which makes him say: “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38- 39). If this absolute love exists, with its absolute certainty, then—only then—is man “redeemed”, whatever should happen to him in his particular circumstances. This is what it means to say: Jesus Christ has “redeemed” us. Through him we have become certain of God, a God who is not a remote “first cause” of the world, because his only-begotten Son has become man and of him everyone can say: “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).

Here, Benedict describes real hope-hope in God alone. Hope in Divine Providence. Hope in grace. Hope in God's Church, the Catholic Church.

27. In this sense it is true that anyone who does not know God, even though he may entertain all kinds of hopes, is ultimately without hope, without the great hope that sustains the whole of life (cf. Eph 2:12). Man's great, true hope which holds firm in spite of all disappointments can only be God—God who has loved us and who continues to love us “to the end,” until all “is accomplished” (cf. Jn 13:1 and 19:30). Whoever is moved by love begins to perceive what “life” really is. He begins to perceive the meaning of the word of hope that we encountered in the Baptismal Rite: from faith I await “eternal life”—the true life which, whole and unthreatened, in all its fullness, is simply life. Jesus, who said that he had come so that we might have life and have it in its fullness, in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10), has also explained to us what “life” means: “this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3). Life in its true sense is not something we have exclusively in or from ourselves: it is a relationship. And life in its totality is a relationship with him who is the source of life. If we are in relation with him who does not die, who is Life itself and Love itself, then we are in life. Then we “live”.

One thinks of the great epistles of St. John on love. Only is the love relationship of God can we find life.  Below, the Pope Emeritus refers to the fact that this hope does not exclude other people. 

Maximus the Confessor, one of my favorite writers, is quoted below, as is St. Augustine.

28. Yet now the question arises: are we not in this way falling back once again into an individualistic understanding of salvation, into hope for myself alone, which is not true hope since it forgets and overlooks others? Indeed we are not! Our relationship with God is established through communion with Jesus—we cannot achieve it alone or from our own resources alone. The relationship with Jesus, however, is a relationship with the one who gave himself as a ransom for all (cf. 1 Tim 2:6). Being in communion with Jesus Christ draws us into his “being for all”; it makes it our own way of being. He commits us to live for others, but only through communion with him does it become possible truly to be there for others, for the whole. 

In this regard I would like to quote the great Greek Doctor of the Church, Maximus the Confessor († 662), who begins by exhorting us to prefer nothing to the knowledge and love of God, but then quickly moves on to practicalities: “The one who loves God cannot hold on to money but rather gives it out in God's fashion ... in the same manner in accordance with the measure of justice”[19]. Love of God leads to participation in the justice and generosity of God towards others. Loving God requires an interior freedom from all possessions and all material goods: the love of God is revealed in responsibility for others[20]

As someone who is poor, I can share what I have-research skills, insights from God, spiritual direction-we all have something to share according to justice and mutual love within the community of God.

This same connection between love of God and responsibility for others can be seen in a striking way in the life of Saint Augustine. After his conversion to the Christian faith, he decided, together with some like-minded friends, to lead a life totally dedicated to the word of God and to things eternal. His intention was to practise a Christian version of the ideal of the contemplative life expressed in the great tradition of Greek philosophy, choosing in this way the  “better part” (cf. Lk 10:42). Things turned out differently, however. While attending the Sunday liturgy at the port city of Hippo, he was called out from the assembly by the Bishop and constrained to receive ordination for the exercise of the priestly ministry in that city. Looking back on that moment, he writes in his Confessions: “Terrified by my sins and the weight of my misery, I had resolved in my heart, and meditated flight into the wilderness; but you forbade me and gave me strength, by saying: ‘Christ died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died' (cf. 2 Cor 5:15)”[21]. Christ died for all. To live for him means allowing oneself to be drawn into his being for others.

Divine Providence does the calling and fulfills the call with the gifts of grace.

29. For Augustine this meant a totally new life. He once described his daily life in the following terms: “The turbulent have to be corrected, the faint-hearted cheered up, the weak supported; the Gospel's opponents need to be refuted, its insidious enemies guarded against; the unlearned need to be taught, the indolent stirred up, the argumentative checked; the proud must be put in their place, the desperate set on their feet, those engaged in quarrels reconciled; the needy have to be helped, the oppressed to be liberated, the good to be encouraged, the bad to be tolerated; all must be loved”[22]. 

Sounds like now, and Augustine sounds like the heroes we need now in the episcopacy. 

“The Gospel terrifies me”[23]—producing that healthy fear which prevents us from living for ourselves alone and compels us to pass on the hope we hold in common. Amid the serious difficulties facing the Roman Empire—and also posing a serious threat to Roman Africa, which was actually destroyed at the end of Augustine's life—this was what he set out to do: to transmit hope, the hope which came to him from faith and which, in complete contrast with his introverted temperament, enabled him to take part decisively and with all his strength in the task of building up the city.

Again, here we are in 2015, facing the complete Death of the West....sounds familiar, does it not?

In the same chapter of the Confessions in which we have just noted the decisive reason for his commitment “for all”, he says that Christ “intercedes for us, otherwise I should despair. My weaknesses are many and grave, many and grave indeed, but more abundant still is your medicine. We might have thought that your word was far distant from union with man, and so we might have despaired of ourselves, if this Word had not become flesh and dwelt among us”[24]. On the strength of his hope, Augustine dedicated himself completely to the ordinary people and to his city—renouncing his spiritual nobility, he preached and acted in a simple way for simple people.

to be continued, prayer and suffering and hope

On Free Will, Again, on Divine Mercy Sunday

Much was lost between the teaching of the Penny or Baltimore Catechism and the newer versions, until the CCC was published. One of the greatest losses which affects millions of Catholics under the age of sixty, must be the understanding of free will, a theme on this blog, sin and holiness.

Too many Catholics do not understand that the will is informed by the intellect. Please see my numerous posts on this point.

As the Catechism notes, one is freest when one is obedient to God's ways and His will. Those who are in slavery to sin have given up their wills to sin.

One of the footnotes in this section on freedom in the CCC is on Romans 6:7.

Romans 6:6-7Douay-Rheims 

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer.
For he that is dead is justified from sin.
The CCC states that, 
1731 Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one's own responsibility. By free will one shapes one's own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.
The more one sins habitually, the more one puts the will under the power of Satan. Choosing one's own will over and over creates a will which has not been strengthened by prayer or mortification.
So, if one has allowed one's will to be weakened, by not reflecting, not studying, not praying, how does one go about strengthening the will? Sin and giving into the senses create chains which must be broken. 
On this Mercy Sunday, one can remember Jesus' words to St. Faustina:
"You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone."
and again, 
My daughter, you give Me most glory by patiently submitting to My will, and you win for yourself greater merit than that which any fast or mortification could ever gain for you. Know, My daughter, that if you submit your will to Mine, you draw upon yourself My special delight. This sacrifice is pleasing to Me and full of sweetness. I take great pleasure in it; there is power in it."
But, we must do mortification and submit to suffering without complaint. 
To overcome sin and strengthen the will, one must concentrate on our worst sins. Are you attached to things, money, certain persons? Are you attached to certain devotions and consolations in an excessive manner? Can you honestly give up anything?
St. Faustina noted that those nuns who chose the worst shoes or clothes as necessities were the most humble.
 "But I also came to recognize the great virtues of some sisters who always asked for the poorest things from the vestiary. I admired their spirit of humility and mortification."
Are you able to buy the least expensive shampoo, or the cheaper wine? Can you eat whatever is placed in front of you without complaint? Can you wear shoes and clothes which may not fit or be uncomfortable without complaint? Can you deny yourselves vacations for the sake of time with those who are less fortunate? Can you die to self even in relating with the most unattractive and lowly of God's creatures, recognizing Christ in them, in suffering?
My beloved St. Bernard wrote this: "small indeed must be the spiritual progress of the religious who is continually seeking physicians and remedies; who is sometimes not content with the prescription of the ordinary physician; and who, by her discontent, disturbs the whole Community."
Can we live with pain and not get extravagant operations, or seek long treatments, instead allowing God to use our suffering? This has been shown to some to be a way of mortification. The poor already follow these ways, as a poor person, or one alone, cannot always get the medical treatment one's needs.
Mortification is most perfect when the person is detached from his activities. Penance is the only thing which will strengthen the will, and if one is not open to seeking mortification, one simply will not grow spiritually. Those who continually give into their senses, will not become saints on earth, and, worst, risk falling back into the serious sins from which they were freed.

for more ideas on mortification, and for more quotations from the saints, look here at this good site. 

Musings on Mercy and The Incarnation

Some Catholics are confused about the coming of Christ into the world and the fall of Lucifer. For clarification, one can look at the early commentators and Doctors of the Church. Some commentators on the Scriptures have indicated that Lucifer foresaw the creation of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, and hated the thought of a human woman being so perfect, that he rebelled in his arrogance.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux indicates that Lucifer saw the Incarnation, that Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity would become Man, and rebelled, again, out of disgust that God Himself would take on humanity.

The Lord, as St. Bernard notes, descended not merely to earth, but to hell, in the Harrowing of Hell, in order to free all those who died before His Salvific Action of the Passion. Only a few were spared hell, Elijah, Moses, and Enoch. Some modern lay persons have suggested that St. Joseph did not have to endure hell, but there is no Scriptural, nor ancient tradition of this, and in my mind, it must be ignored as fantasy.

God decided who endured this first limbo, or part of hell.

If Adam had not sinned, would Christ have come? Some theologians, such as Blessed Duns Scotus, states yes, and here is part of his various writings on this point found here.

“If man had not sinned, there would have been no need for our redemption.  But that God predestined this soul [of Christ] to so great a glory does not seem to be only on account of that [redemption], since the redemption or the glory of the soul to be redeemed is not comparable to the glory of Christ’s soul.  Neither is it likely that the highest good in creation is something that was merely occasioned only because of some lesser good; nor is it likely that He predestined Adam to such good before He predestined Christ; and yet this would follow [were the Incarnation occasioned by Adam’s sin].  In fact, if the predestination of Christ’s soul was for the sole purpose of redeeming others, something even more absurd would follow, namely, that in predestining Adam to glory, He would have foreseen him as having fallen into sin before He predestined Christ to glory.
“It can be said, therefore, that with a priority of nature God chose for His heavenly court all the angels and men He wished to have with their various degrees of perfection before He foresaw either sin or the punishment for sinners; and no one has been predestined only because somebody else’s sin was foreseen, lest anyone have reason to rejoice over the fall of another.”[1]
“I say that the Incarnation of Christ was not foreseen as something occasioned [by sin], but that it was foreseen by God from all eternity and as a good more immediately proximate to the end…  Hence this is the order followed in God’s prevision. First, God understood Himself as the highest good.  In the second instant[2] He understood all creatures.  In the third He predestined some to glory and grace, and concerning some He had a negative act by not predestining.[3]  In the fourth, He foresaw that all these would fall in Adam.  In the fifth He preordained and foresaw the remedy—how they would be redeemed through the Passion of His Son, so that, like all the elect, Christ in the flesh was foreseen and predestined to grace and glory before Christ’s Passion was foreseen as a medicine against the fall, just as a physician wills the health of a man before he wills the medicine to cure him.”[4]
St. Francis de Sales notes this about the Incarnation, that God meant to join with man for love:
Now of all the creatures which that sovereign omnipotence could produce, he thought good to make choice of the same humanity which afterwards in effect was united to the person of God the Son; to which he destined that incomparable honour of personal union with his divine Majesty, to the end that for all eternity it might enjoy by excellence the treasures of his infinite glory. Then having selected for this happiness the sacred humanity of our Saviour, the supreme providence decreed not to restrain his goodness to the only person of his well-beloved Son, but for his sake to pour it out upon divers other creatures, and out of the mass of that innumerable quantity of things which he could produce, he chose to create men and angels to accompany his Son, participate in his graces and glory, adore and praise him for ever. And inasmuch as he saw that he could in various manners form the humanity of this Son, while making him true man, as for example by creating him out of nothing, not only in regard of the soul but also in regard of the body; or again by forming the body of some previously existing matter as he did that of Adam and Eve, or by way of ordinary human birth, or finally by extraordinary birth from a woman without man, he determined that the work should be effected by the last way, and of all the women he might have chosen to this end he made choice of the most holy virgin Our Lady, through whom the Saviour of our souls should not only be man, but a child of the human race.
So, it is possible, especially seeing the Fall of Lucifer, that Christ would have come to earth Incarnated.
He also clearly foresaw that the first man would abuse his liberty and forsaking grace would lose glory, yet would he not treat human nature so rigorously as he determined to treat the angelic. It was human nature of which he had determined to take a blessed portion to unite it to his divinity. He saw that it was a feeble nature, a wind which goeth and returneth not,57 that is, which is dissipated as it goes. He had regard to the surprise by which the malign and perverse Satan had taken the first man, and to the greatness of the temptation which ruined him. He saw that all the race of men was perishing by the fault of one only, so that for these reasons he beheld our nature with the eye of pity and resolved to admit it to his mercy. But in order that the sweetness of his mercy might be adorned with the beauty of his justice, he determined to save man by way of a rigorous redemption. And as this could not properly be done but by his Son, he settled that he should redeem man not only by one of his amorous actions, which would have been perfectly sufficient to ransom a million million of worlds: but also by all the innumerable amorous actions and dolorous passions which he 76 would perform or suffer till death, and the death of the cross, to which he destined him. He willed that thus he should make himself the companion of our miseries to make us afterwards companions of his glory, showing thereby the riches of his goodness, by this copious, abundant, superabundant, magnificent and excessive redemption, which has gained for us, and as it were reconquered for us, all the means necessary to attain glory, so that no man can ever complain as though the divine mercy were wanting to anyone.
It is interesting to note, as an aside, that St. Francis indicates that like St. John the Baptist, who was freed from Original Sin in the womb and born free of it, so too was Jeremiah. But, enough for now on the mystery of the Incarnation.

No Mention of Divine Mercy

The priest in my temporary parish gave a sermon based on his personal experience. I shall not give details, as the sermons this priest gives are professional, but without heart. He speaks without zeal, as if he is giving a talk at some business meeting. He is an excellent speaker, but congregations need more than a personal gift. Today, they needed to hear about mercy.

And, he did not mention Divine Mercy Sunday at all. Perhaps the great indulgence of all time, this wonderful opportunity to be free of all sin and the punishment due to sin, Divine Mercy was not even eluded to by this cleric.

Why? Why would a priest ignore Divine Mercy, the entire reason for the Incarnation and Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord?

One can only come to the conclusion that this priest, like so many others, may not believe in sin or the terrible punishment which comes as a consequence of sin.

The last  several years, since St. John Paul II instituted this feast, have ushered in an Age of Mercy. This is not a permanent age. Days are coming when many of the faithful will not be able to receive the sacraments, or go to Mass. Now is the time to take advantage of this amazing indulgence.

For years, I could not manage to remember the beginning of the novena, on Good Friday, but now I do. Thankfully, this year I finished it. One feels so grateful for this blessing, that one is moved to tears. Divine Mercy Sunday should be celebrated in every parish, especially now.

I pray for that priest who ignored Christ as the Divine Mercy. May God bring him to understand how much his very large congregation, like me, like you, need to hear of God the Father's great mercy towards us today.

In Vilnius, is an ancient icon and devotion to Our Lady, The Gate of Dawn, The Mother of Mercy.

Mary ushered in the Age of Mercy through her "fiat".  May God grant mercy to all who read this blog today and bring us all to eternal life with God.

public domain

Gospodi pomiluj

 Lord, have mercy...

 and this is the Day of Mercy.

Happy Second Baptism!

Romans 6:4Douay-Rheims 

For we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life.

To those who fulfilled the requirements for Divine Mercy Sunday blessing...

Ephesians 2:4-6Douay-Rheims

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.