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Thursday 16 April 2015

An Amazing Cat Story with Photos

My Miho looked like this. It is long gone...

Letters to the People of the Dioceses of San Francisco

and New York, Washington D.C., Germany, and elsewhere, from today's Office of Readings.

Revelation 3:1-22

The Message to Sardis

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars:
“I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are deadWake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. Yet you have still a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

The Message to Philadelphia

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of the holy one, the true one,
    who has the key of David,
    who opens and no one will shut,
        who shuts and no one opens:
“I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but are lying—I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. 11 I am coming soon; hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 If you conquer, I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God; you will never go out of it. I will write on you the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem that comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

The Message to Laodicea

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin[a] of God’s creation:
15 I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 1Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.21 To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

St. David on Perfection

From today's Sext:

Psalm 118

67 Before I was humbled I offended; therefore have I kept thy word.
68 Thou art good; and in thy goodness teach me thy justifications.
69 The iniquity of the proud hath been multiplied over me: but I will seek thy commandments with my whole heart.
70 Their heart is curdled like milk: but I have meditated on thy law.
71 It is good for me that thou hast humbled me, that I may learn thy justifications.

From A Reader

Write to the Nuncio, write to the Pope. Say fifteen decades of the rosary for this cause.

We need to be the Church Militant.

Here is the Nuncio's address.

The Most Reverend Carlo Maria Vigano
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States 
3339 Massachusetts Ave NW

Washington DC, 20008-3687   

From The Apostle John

Bullet points from today's Gospel in the NO.

  • Those who believe in Christ, have life everlasting-which is the promise of salvation and eternal life with God in heaven;
  • Those who do not believe, will not get to heaven; all people are given sufficient grace for salvation, remember.
  • Not only do those who do not believe in Christ not see eternal life in heaven, but they are punished. The wrath of God, rather than the Trinity, dwells within.
  • From Romans 1:18 on the wrath of God: 
  • Romans 1:18Douay-Rheims

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice.
  • Ungodliness is sin, which stops the truth from being seen; an injustice against God and man.
  • Hard but true words from the beloved apostle.

John 3:36 Douay-Rheims 

36 He that believeth in the Son, hath life everlasting; but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Spe Salvi Seven

The Pope Emeritus has much to say about suffering and hope. Perhaps to some, suffering and hope seem contradictory, but suffering actually leads to real hope, not false optimism or fantasy.

36. Like action, suffering is a part of our human existence. Suffering stems partly from our finitude, and partly from the mass of sin which has accumulated over the course of history, and continues to grow unabated today. 

Suffering comes from our humanity, Original Sin, and personal sins. We cannot avoid it and still be authentic human beings. Justice demands that we try and help those who are suffering either physically, or spiritually-hence the corporal and spiritual works of mercy all are called to do.

Sadly, Catholics are less likely to be really involved in either. Why this is, can only be sin, the sin of complacency.

Certainly we must do whatever we can to reduce suffering: to avoid as far as possible the suffering of the innocent; to soothe pain; to give assistance in overcoming mental suffering. These are obligations both in justice and in love, and they are included among the fundamental requirements of the Christian life and every truly human life. Great progress has been made in the battle against physical pain; yet the sufferings of the innocent and mental suffering have, if anything, increased in recent decades. Indeed, we must do all we can to overcome suffering, but to banish it from the world altogether is not in our power. This is simply because we are unable to shake off our finitude and because none of us is capable of eliminating the power of evil, of sin which, as we plainly see, is a constant source of suffering. 

The age-old question of why suffering has been answered-we all have free will. Many people choose evil, as I see daily, even in this small neighborhood.  Only God has the ability to end suffering by ending sin. But, to Him, our free wills are sacred. And, we do make daily choices for good or for evil.

Only God is able to do this: only a God who personally enters history by making himself man and suffering within history. We know that this God exists, and hence that this power to “take away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29) is present in the world. Through faith in the existence of this power, hope for the world's healing has emerged in history. It is, however, hope—not yet fulfilment; hope that gives us the courage to place ourselves on the side of good even in seemingly hopeless situations, aware that, as far as the external course of history is concerned, the power of sin will continue to be a terrible presence.

Keeping our eyes on Christ, especially on the Passion and Resurrection, give us hope. But, we hope in eternal life, not merely comfort zones on earth. We hope for salvation.

37. Let us return to our topic. We can try to limit suffering, to fight against it, but we cannot eliminate it. It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness, that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater.

To me, it is frightening how many people just drift, just follow the paths of least resistance to sin instead of embracing suffering. Life is hard, period, and for those of us who suffer willingly, graces follow.

 It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love. 

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote that a man knows how to suffer and accepts suffering. One can see the problem of too many "boys" who refuse to accept and take on suffering-not wanting to move out in courage and take responsibility for life.

In this context, I would like to quote a passage from a letter written by the Vietnamese martyr Paul Le-Bao-Tinh († 1857) which illustrates this transformation of suffering through the power of hope springing from faith. “I, Paul, in chains for the name of Christ, wish to relate to you the trials besetting me daily, in order that you may be inflamed with love for God and join with me in his praises, for his mercy is for ever (Ps 136 [135]). The prison here is a true image of everlasting Hell: to cruel tortures of every kind—shackles, iron chains, manacles—are added hatred, vengeance, calumnies, obscene speech, quarrels, evil acts, swearing, curses, as well as anguish and grief. But the God who once freed the three children from the fiery furnace is with me always; he has delivered me from these tribulations and made them sweet, for his mercy is for ever. In the midst of these torments, which usually terrify others, I am, by the grace of God, full of joy and gladness, because I am not alone —Christ is with me ... 

I asked a priest to pray for me a few days ago as I have to move again and do not know where. I have four weeks here. The priest wrote to me and said, "You are not alone.." No, I am not, although I have no persons helping me with permanency which is also freedom. 

Christ is with me, but the suffering Christ, the Christ Who sees my desires and needs and suffers with me, in me, around me. The Cross becomes my focus. I can only pray to rest in God, even if my rest is at the foot of the Cross.

How am I to bear with the spectacle, as each day I see emperors, mandarins, and their retinue blaspheming your holy name, O Lord, who are enthroned above the Cherubim and Seraphim? (cf. Ps 80:1 [79:2]). Behold, the pagans have trodden your Cross underfoot! Where is your glory? As I see all this, I would, in the ardent love I have for you, prefer to be torn limb from limb and to die as a witness to your love. O Lord, show your power, save me, sustain me, that in my infirmity your power may be shown and may be glorified before the nations ... 

The martyrs give us courage. If they could endure out of love, would not God help me endure out of love?

Beloved brothers, as you hear all these things may you give endless thanks in joy to God, from whom every good proceeds; bless the Lord with me, for his mercy is for ever ... I write these things to you in order that your faith and mine may be united. In the midst of this storm I cast my anchor towards the throne of God, the anchor that is the lively hope in my heart”

God never asks the impossible. Therefore, if He puts us in tremendous suffering, He wills us grace as well. This martyr shares his grace with us.

[28]. This is a letter from “Hell”. It lays bare all the horror of a concentration camp, where to the torments inflicted by tyrants upon their victims is added the outbreak of evil in the victims themselves, such that they in turn become further instruments of their persecutors' cruelty. This is indeed a letter from Hell, but it also reveals the truth of the Psalm text: “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I sink to the nether world, you are present there ... If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light' —for you darkness itself is not dark, and night shines as the day; darkness and light are the same” (Ps 139 [138]:8-12; cf. also Ps 23 [22]:4). Christ descended into “Hell” and is therefore close to those cast into it, transforming their darkness into light. Suffering and torment is still terrible and well- nigh unbearable. 

The Harrowing of Hell is a credal belief-"He descended into hell". Hell did not all of the sudden become clean and bright, joyful and glorious for Christ's descent.  No, He went down to lead those who had waited for His Redemptive Action on the Cross to free them.

So, too, we wait and hope, wait and hope.

Yet the star of hope has risen—the anchor of the heart reaches the very throne of God. Instead of evil being unleashed within man, the light shines victorious: suffering—without ceasing to be suffering—becomes, despite everything, a hymn of praise.

A grateful and generous heart finds praise amidst suffering. Sometimes this praise is merely being with Christ on Golgotha, just being, silent, watching, waiting.

38. The true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer. This holds true both for the individual and for society. A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through “com-passion” is a cruel and inhuman society. 

Our own nation lets women and men kill their Down's Syndrome children in the womb, in order to avoid suffering. Our own nation is moving towards euthanasia, in order to avoid taking care of the suffering. The poor are ignored and the homeless made illegal in order for people to avoid seeing and responding to suffering.

Many nations have become cruel. Another name for this approach is utilitarianism. If a person seems useless, kill them, says the utilitarian. Society only wants the strong, the rich, the beautiful. But, this attitude creates a false paradise. 

Yet society cannot accept its suffering members and support them in their trials unless individuals are capable of doing so themselves; moreover, the individual cannot accept another's suffering unless he personally is able to find meaning in suffering, a path of purification and growth in maturity, a journey of hope. 

Here it is..the great theme of this blog...purification and maturity only come through suffering.
Why are there so many Peter Pans and Peter Pams? Because these people run away from suffering. Women know that if a man cannot suffer when they are dating, that man is not marriage material. Waiting is love.

Why are there so many men and women who refuse to get married, make commitments, have children, endure illness in others and so on? Because they refuse to take on suffering. To choose to really love is to choose to die to self.

Indeed, to accept the “other” who suffers, means that I take up his suffering in such a way that it becomes mine also. Because it has now become a shared suffering, though, in which another person is present, this suffering is penetrated by the light of love. 

In America, suffering isolates people, because most people do not want to reach out of their comfort zones in order to share with someone else's suffering. 

This is why so many of us who suffer find ourselves alone. We become invisible.

The Latin word con-solatio, “consolation”, expresses this beautifully. It suggests being with the other in his solitude, so that it ceases to be solitude. Furthermore, the capacity to accept suffering for the sake of goodness, truth and justice is an essential criterion of humanity, because if my own well-being and safety are ultimately more important than truth and justice, then the power of the stronger prevails, then violence and untruth reign supreme. 

Why do those who refuse to stand up for Truth hate those who do? Because deep down inside, they know they are avoiding suffering and they do not want to be reminded of this. Solitude becomes the life of too many people who suffer because there are no consolers.

Truth and justice--first. Seeking security and safety leads to great sin-deceit, lust, fear, avarice...then a nation loses its soul.

Truth and justice must stand above my comfort and physical well-being, or else my life itself becomes a lie. 

Daily I see and meet people living lies. Their entire lifestyle is one of deceit. They lie because they refuse to face justice and truth.

Deceit leads to greater sins of addiction to porn, fantasy, lust, and most obviously here in the States, avarice. If one cannot ever be uncomfortable, one will lose one's soul. 

In the end, even the “yes” to love is a source of suffering, because love always requires expropriations of my “I”, in which I allow myself to be pruned and wounded. Love simply cannot exist without this painful renunciation of myself, for otherwise it becomes pure selfishness and thereby ceases to be love.

Benedict has just summarizes the entire perfection series in one paragraph.

"Love simply cannot exist without this painful renunciation of myself, for otherwise it become pure selfishness and thereby ceases to be love."

Adultery, sodomy, graft, abortion, contraception, and all mortal sins come from pure selfishness.

To love is to be wounded, to be open to pain. If one is not, one will never experience real love. Never...and never is a long time.

to be continued...

Spe Salvi Six

Hope grows out of the realization of one's own sin and God's love for each one of us.

Hope must be based on reality-the reality of sin and redemption.

Here are words from the encyclical again, and more later. My comments in blue, as usual.

Certainly we cannot “build” the Kingdom of God by our own efforts—what we build will always be the kingdom of man with all the limitations proper to our human nature. The Kingdom of God is a gift, and precisely because of this, it is great and beautiful, and constitutes the response to our hope. And we cannot—to use the classical expression—”merit” 

Those who think they are building the Kingdom of God have not been purified of egotism. Only God builds through a person, if that person is pure in heart.  Self-knowledge, as the great saints tell us, is key.

Heaven through our works. Heaven is always more than we could merit, just as being loved is never something “merited”, but always a gift. However, even when we are fully aware that Heaven far exceeds what we can merit, it will always be true that our behaviour is not indifferent before God and therefore is not indifferent for the unfolding of history. 

The right use of creation grows out of prudence, temperance, justice and courage. 

Also, the goal of eternal life cannot be set aside or lost.

We can open ourselves and the world and allow God to enter: we can open ourselves to truth, to love, to what is good. This is what the saints did, those who, as “God's fellow workers”, contributed to the world's salvation (cf. 1 Cor 3:9; 1 Th 3:2). We can free our life and the world from the poisons and contaminations that could destroy the present and the future. We can uncover the sources of creation and keep them unsullied, and in this way we can make a right use of creation, which comes to us as a gift, according to its intrinsic requirements and ultimate purpose. This makes sense even if outwardly we achieve nothing or seem powerless in the face of overwhelming hostile forces. So on the one hand, our actions engender hope for us and for others; but at the same time, it is the great hope based upon God's promises that gives us courage and directs our action in good times and bad.

The very proud and the very self-deceived think that they can live without God. Our hope is in God alone, working through the Church, through the saints.  If our actions are good and true, these "engender" hope in ourselves and others.

to be continued...

How, Again, To Prepare for Persecution

I have several posts from the last four years floating around this blog on how to prepare and live in persecution.

However, with the days becoming darker, here are, again, a few hints.

  • Learn to trust in Divine Providence-read the posts on Providence
  • Cultivate the virtue of hope, which is needed in dark times...I shall get back to Spe Salvi later today.
  • Understand that the graces given in baptism and confirmation give one great power and strength. 
  • Stay in sanctifying grace.
  • Learn humility, which is self-knowledge, so that you can know your limitations and beg God for help.
  • Find strong Catholics to live close to and with. One cannot endure great suffering in isolation without particular graces from God.
  • Memorize Scripture, You may not be allowed Bibles or books at some time.
  • Learn to love suffering as a gift of purification and intercession for others.
  • Learn patience, which is a sub-virtue of humility. Impatience comes directly from the great sin of pride.
  • Learn how to pray anywhere and everywhere-in cars, waiting for trains, walking--Pray always
  • Teach your children to be saints.
  • Learn to listen to discerning thoughts from your guardian angel. Mine remind me to pray or do something which God wants done.
  • Beg God for everything you need and learn to go without if He withholds certain comforts.
  • Stop wasting time....wasted time leads to a lack of readiness, a lack of zeal.
  • Know that God made you for this time and, therefore, your salvation is connected to these times
  • Pray for those who are far away from God. Many people will be lost when things get really tough.
  • Cooperate with grace-do not turn down opportunities for prayer, Mass, adoration.
  • Again, do not waste time...time is very short.

Yeah Pope Francis!