Fidelity to the Word
Our Lord and His Holy Apostles at the Last Supper


A blog dedicated to Christ Jesus our Lord and His True Presence in the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist


Graciously grant to us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful: that we, who cannot exist without Thee, may be enabled to live according to Thy will.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Novena to the Holy Spirit, Day 6 (Wednesday)

If Thou take Thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay,
All his good is turn'd to ill.


The Gift of Understanding

Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion By faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to "walk worthy of God, pleasing Him in all things, and increasing in His knowledge."


Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.


Our Father who art in heaven...

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, ...

Glory be to the Father... (7 Times)

Act of Consecration

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Day 7 of the Novena

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Novena to the Holy Spirit, Day 5 (Tuesday)

Light immortal! Light Divine!
Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill.


The Gift of Knowledge

The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth - in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretence of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. "Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesses it."


Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thine eternal rewards. Amen.

Our Father who art in heaven...

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, ...

Glory be to the Father... (7 Times)

Act of Consecration

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Day 6 of the Novena

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Novena to the Holy Spirit, Day 4 (Monday)

Thou in toil art comfort sweet
Pleasant coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.


The Gift of Fortitude

By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitation the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. "He that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved."


Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.


Our Father who art in heaven...

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, ...

Glory be to the Father... (7 Times)

Act of Consecration

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Day 5 of the Novena

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Novena to the Holy Spirit, Day 3 (Sunday)

Thou, of all consolers best,
Visiting the troubled breast
Dost refreshing peace bestow


The Gift of Piety

The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.


Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.


Our Father who art in heaven...

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, ...

Glory be to the Father... (7 Times)

Act of Consecration

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Day 4 of the Novena

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Novena to the Holy Spirit, Day 2 (Saturday)

Come, Thou Father of the poor!
Come, with treasures which endure!
Come, Thou Light of all that live!

The Gift of Fear

The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from the worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. "They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls."


Prayer

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set Thee, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend Thee, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Thy Divine Majesty in heaven, where Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God, forever and ever. Amen.


Our Father who art in heaven...

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, ...

Glory be to the Father... (7 Times)

Act of Consecration

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Day 3 of the Novena

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Novena to the Holy Spirit, Day 1 (Friday)

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light!
From Your clear celestial height,
Your pure beaming radiance give!

The Holy Spirit

Only one thing is important -- eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared -- sin. Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gift He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for "The Spirit helps our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asks for us."


Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, Who has vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and has given us forgiveness of all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us Thy sevenfold gift, the gifts of Wisdom and Understanding, the gifts of Counsel and Fortitude, the gifts of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the gift of Holy Fear. Amen.


Our Father who art in heaven...

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, ...

Glory be to the Father... (7 Times)

Act of Consecration

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Day 2 of the Novena to the Holy Spirit

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Gloria Patri

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, and now, and ever, and to the age of ages.
Amen.

The Most Holy Trinity

Gloria Patri, et Fílio, et Spíritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio et nunc et semper et in saécula sæculórum.
Amen.

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Hail Mary

Our Lady
Hail, Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now
and at the hour of our death.

Amen.




Ave María, grátia plena,
Dóminus tecum;
benedícta tu in muliéribus,
et benedíctus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta María, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatóribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostræ.

Amen.

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The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, Who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

(Luke 11:2-4)

PATER noster, qui es in coelis,
sanctificétur nomen tuum.
Advéniat regnum tuum.
Fiat volúntas tua,
sicut in coelo et in terra.
Panem nostrum quotidiánum
  da nobis hódie.
Et dimítte nobis débita nostra,
  sicut et nos dimíttimus
  debitóribus nostris.
Et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem:
sed líbera nos a malo.

Amen.

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Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ
Who, before ascending into heaven,
did promise to send the Holy Spirit
to finish Thy work
in the souls of Thy Apostles and Disciples,
deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me,
that He may perfect in my soul
the work of Thy grace and Thy love.

Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom
that I may despise the perishable things of this world
and aspire only after the things that are eternal,

the Spirit of Understanding
to enlighten my mind with the light of Thy divine truth,

the Spirit of Counsel
that I may ever choose the surest way
of pleasing God and gaining heaven,

the Spirit of Fortitude
that I may bear my cross with Thee
and that I may overcome with courage
all the obstacles that oppose my salvation,

the Spirit of Knowledge
that I may know God and know myself
and grow perfect in the science of the Saints,

the Spirit of Piety
that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable,

and the Spirit of Fear
that I may be filled with a loving reverence
towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him.

Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Thy true disciples,
and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.

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Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit

On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses,
I offer myself soul and body to Thee, Eternal Spirit of God.
I adore the brightness of Thy purity,
the unerring keenness of Thy justice,
and the might of Thy love.

Thou art the Strength and Light of my soul.
In Thee I live and move and have my being.
I desire never to grieve Thee by unfaithfulness
and I pray with all my heart
to be kept from the smallest sin against Thee.

Mercifully guard my every thought, word, deed and hope.
Grant that I may always watch for Thy light,
listen to Thy voice,
and follow Thy gracious inspirations.

I cling to Thee and give myself to Thee
and ask Thee, by Thy compassion,
to watch over me in my weakness.
Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus
and looking at His Five Wounds,
trusting in His Precious Blood,
adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart,
I implore Thee, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity,
to keep me in Thy grace that I may never sin against Thee.

Give me grace, O Holy Spirit,
Spirit of the Father and the Son,
to say to Thee always and everywhere,
"Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth." Amen.

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The Real Thing ?

Things are not always what they seem to be. These amazing pictures sketched in the pavement by British chalk artist Julian Beever show that appearances can be deceiving.


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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Ascension Thursday

Christ Jesus Our Lord Ascending in Glory

A Hymn for Ascension Day
by Saint Ephrem the Syrian

On this day the new bread of the spirit
has gone up to heaven.
The mysteries were revealed in Your Body
which has gone up as an offering.
Blessed be Your Bread, O Lord!

The Lamb has come to us from the house of David;
the priest, from the stock of Abraham,
has become for our sakes the Lamb of God,
the new minister of sacrifice.

His Body is the victim, His Blood is our drink.
Blessed be the new sacrifice!

He has descended from heaven like the light;
is born of Mary as a divine shoot;
as a fruit He has fallen from the cross;
and is offered up to heaven as the first fruits.
Blessed be His will!

You are the offering of heaven and of earth,
immolated and at the same time adored.
You came to be a victim,
You ascended as a singular offering,
You ascended, Lord,
bearing with You the offering of Your sacrifice.

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St. Madeline Sophie Barat (May 25)

Saint SophieMay 25th is the feast day of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat.

She said:

"As iron is fashioned by fire and on the anvil, so in the fire of suffering and under the weight of trials, our souls receive that form which our Lord desires them to have." (found here)

"If we love God and are faithful to Him, we shall be at peace, and this peace will endure." (found here)

"The more we have denied ourselves during the day, the nearer are we each evening to the Heart of our Lord."

"One soul saved is worth more than our lives." (found here)

"God does not ask of us the perfection of tomorrow, nor even of tonight, but only of the present moment." (found here and here)

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Poor Saint Sophie. Her spiritual descendents say God does not judge. Our Lord says He does.

Poor Saint Sophie. The vision of her spiritual descendents is "To be perceived as religious educators who" do various fine things (expressed in a vocabulary disconnected from "the Catholic tradition"). Their vision is not to do good things but to be seen as people who do good things. Perception over reality! Thin gruel for the intellectual & spiritual nourishment of their students.

Poor Saint Sophie. Her order is now the (at one time) modern sort that hides its vocations by dressing as laity.

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St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, pray for us!

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?
Yoda

A venerated sage with vast power and knowledge, you gently guide forces around you while serving as a champion of the light.

Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not - for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminescent beings are we, not this crude matter! You must feel the Force around you, everywhere.

Yoda is a is a character in the Star Wars universe. More Yoda information is available at the Star Wars Databank.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

A comedy 3,000 years in the making...

Poster for 10 Things I Hate about You
Poster for The Ten Commandments[Warning: most of these links require a high-speed connection]

Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, "reimagined" as a teen comedy.

Speaking of humorously misrepresented movies, how about this romantic comedy, sold as a "slasher flick"? Or this slasher flick, repackaged as a romantic comedy?

The value of slasher simulated murder as entertainment eludes me, but I do think these trailers making fun of the genre are funny and clever. Remarkable, how people can manipulate the way something is viewed with careful editing and music selection .

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

From the bit bucket

Good thing I checked my trash folder. Just today, I received this notification that I am now a wealthy man. All I have to do is send some personal details such as my bank account number, so that the Central Bank of Nigeria can make the large deposit it is waiting to give me, and I'll be set.

---

CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA PLC
CBN HEADQUATER- ZARIA STR,
GARKI-ABUJA, NIGERIA
[OFFICE OF THE PAY MASTER GENERAL]
CONTRACT #: MAV/NNPC/FGN/MIN/009,
Swift Code: BPH KPL PK,
A/C#: 329606=101244=169=678
CENTRAL BANK NIGERIA
Our Ref: CBN/IRD/CBX/021/04
Dr Wright Tompson
Telephone: +234-8029269417
Email:(info_wright_paymaster@yahoo.com)

RE--PAYMENT SCHEADULE IMMEDIATE CONTRACT PAYMENT.CONTRACT #:MAV/NNPC/FGN/MIN/009 /

NEXT OFKIN FUND.

ATTENTION: Sir,

Dear Honorable contractors/next of kin inheritance,
From the records of outstanding contractors and next of kin inheritance due for payment with the Federal Government of Nigeria your name and company was discovered as next on the list of the outstanding contractors and next of kin inheritance who have not received their payments in respect of the contract or next of kin inheritance which you executed here in Nigeria. I wish to inform you that your payment is being processed and will be released to you as soon as you respond to this letter. Also note that from my record in my file your outstanding contract payment and next of kin inheritance which is these amounts that stated here US$10.5M) ten million five hundred thousand dollas.
Please re-confirm to me if this is in line with what you have in your record.
and also re-confirm to me the followings.

(1) Your full name.
(2) Phone, fax and mobile .
(3) Company name, position
(4) Profession, age and marital status.
(5)Your full bank information

As soon as this information is received, your payment will be made to you
Please note that all payments is strictly to made by transfer delivered or deplomartical way of delivering. Get back to me through my alternative Email (info_wright_paymaster@yahoo.com).

Regards,
Dr Wright Tompson
Central Bank of Nigeria PLC (CBN)
[OFFICE OF THE PAY MASTER GENERAL}

---

Also retrieved from the same folder: a personal invitation from Donald Trump.

Subject: Personal invitation from Donald Trump, RSVP

AD-VE-RT-I-SE-ME-NT

Dear MICHAEL,

What if I could tell you that I could make your day better? It is possible for you to do something extraordinary right now that can alter the course of your life - take advantage of this rare personal invitation from Donald Trump.

**************************************************
HTTP://uni.bawista.com/?ZMTU2ODM=Z-ZMTUwMDU2ODEsMzMxMzgz...
**************************************************
The Donald obviously found out that I am now a fellow rich guy, hence the personal invitation, rather than the impersonal bulk email that the hoi polloi have settle for. Yep, we are pretty much best buds now, the Donald and I.

Avarice isn't still considered a sin, is it?

---

I just checked -- it still is.

The "personal invitation" email appeals not only to avarice, but also to pride in the form of vanity. I wonder how many appeals to the other deadly sins I would have found, if I had carefully sifted through the rest of the contents of the bulk email folder, before flushing it.

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Skeptical about St. Paul

Wolverinethad at the Daily Kos believes some of the letters of St. Paul might be faked. After all, some of the characters in the Da Vinci Code come right out and say that the Church changes things for its own benefit.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bishop Sartain

The Most Reverend James Peter Sartain, D.D., S.T.LPhoto from the website of St. Scholastica Monastery

Our diocese has a new pastor of souls. Bishop Joseph Imesch will turn 75 next month, the retirement age for bishops. The Vatican announced today that the Most Reverend James Peter Sartain (pronounced SAR-tan), currently bishop of Little Rock, will replace him.

From what I see online, Bishop Sartain appears to be God-centered, zealous for vocations, not overly-bureaucratic, and friendly to the excellent Couple to Couple League. God grant that he is as he appears.

Bishop Sartain wrote an article about faith in Christ, quoted here, that gives me hope. He wrote:

Several of our priests, when poking fun at themselves for making a self-evident point, quote the fictional preacher who is fond of saying, ‘Jesus said, and I tend to agree … .’

It’s a great line. As if a preacher could ever make himself the judge of Jesus’ teaching!

The line makes me laugh, but it also makes me think. I wonder if at times even we Christians approach the teaching of Jesus as something with which we may agree or disagree, as if it is simply one of many philosophies of life among which we may pick and choose as suits our sensibilities.

A modern tendency to give equal weight to all ideas and opinions has a subtle but devastating effect on the Christian life because it seduces us into thinking that there is no such thing as absolute truth. If we think there is no such thing as absolute truth, we will never truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of the world. In line with modern habits, we might judge Christian teaching to be acceptable, reasonable or even appealing—but that’s a far cry from actually being a Christian.

The mission of God’s Son was not to teach a philosophy but to reveal the Truth so we might be saved. He himself is the Truth, the Absolute Truth. He is God’s complete revelation of himself.
Please pray for our new bishop and for retiring Bishop Joseph Imesch.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

The True Vine

Today's Gospel: John 15:1-8

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.

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And concerning the Eucharist, hold Eucharist thus: First concerning the Cup, "We give thanks to Thee, our Father, for the Holy Vine of David Thy child, which, thou didst make known to us through Jesus Thy Child; to Thee be glory for ever."

Didache, chapter 9

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The Master accordingly, when asked, "Which is the greatest of the commandments? "says, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul, and with all thy strength; "37 that no commandment is greater than this (He says), and with exceeding good reason; for it gives command respecting the First and the Greatest, God Himself, our Father, by whom all things were brought into being, and exist, and to whom what is saved returns again. By Him, then, being loved beforehand, and having received existence, it is impious for us to regard ought else older or more excellent; rendering only this small tribute of gratitude for the greatest benefits; and being unable to imagine anything else whatever by way of recompense to God, who needs nothing and is perfect; and gaining immortality by the very exercise of loving the Father to the extent of one's might and power. For the more one loves God, the more he enters within God.

The second in order, and not any less than this, He says, is, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,"38 consequently God above thyself. And on His interlocutor inquiring, "Who is my neighbour? "39 He did not, in the same way with the Jews, specify the blood-relation, or the fellow-citizen, or the proselyte, or him that had been similarly circumcised, or the man who uses one and the same law. But He introduces one on his way down from the upland region from Jerusalem to Jericho, and represents him stabbed by robbers, cast half-dead on the way, passed by the priest, looked sideways at by the Levite, but pitied by the vilified and excommunicated Samaritan; who did not, like those, pass casually, but came provided with such things as the man in danger required, such as oil, bandages, a beast of burden, money for the inn-keeper, part given now, and part promised. "Which," said He, "of them was neighbour to him that suffered these things? "and on his answering, "He that showed mercy to him," (replied),40 Go thou also, therefore, and do likewise, since love buds into well-doing.

In both the commandments, then, He introduces love; but in order distinguishes it. And in the one He assigns to God the first part of love, and allots the second to our neighbour. Who else can it be but the Saviour Himself? or who more than He has pitied us, who by the rulers of darkness were all but put to death with many wounds, fears, lusts, passions, pains, deceits, pleasures? Of these wounds the only physician is Jesus, who cuts out the passions thoroughly by the root,-not as the law does the bare effects, the fruits of evil plants, but applies His axe to the roots of wickedness. He it is that poured wine on our wounded souls (the blood of David's vine), that brought the oil which flows from the compassions of the Father,41 and bestowed it copiously. He it is that produced the ligatures of health and of salvation that cannot be undone,-Love, Faith, Hope. He it is that subjected angels, and principalities, and powers, for a great reward to serve us. For they also shall be delivered from the vanity of the world through the revelation of the glory of the sons of God. We are therefore to love Him equally with God. And he loves Christ Jesus who does His will and keeps His commandments. "For not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father."42 And "Why call ye Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? "43 "And blessed are ye who see and hear what neither righteous men nor prophets" (have seen or heard),44 if ye do what I say.

He then is first who loves Christ; and second, he who loves and cares for those who have believed on Him. For whatever is done to a disciple, the Lord accepts as done to Himself, and reckons the whole as His. "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me to eat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me to drink: and I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: I was naked and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came to Me. Then shall the righteous answer, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee hungry, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? And when saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, and visited Thee? or in prison, and came to Thee? And the King answering, shall say to them, Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."

Again, on the opposite side, to those who have not performed these things, "Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have not done it unto one of the least of these, ye have not done it to Me."45 And in another place, "He that receiveth you; receiveth Me; and he that receiveth not you, rejecteth Me."46

Such He names children, and sons, and little children, and friends, and little ones here, in reference to their future greatness above. "Despise not," He says, "one of these little ones; for their angels always behold the face of My Father in heaven."47 And in another place, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom of heaven."48 Similarly also He says that "the least in the kingdom of heaven" that is His own disciple "is greater than John, the greatest among those bern of women."49 And again, "He that receiveth a righteous man or a prophet in the name of a righteous man or a prophet, shall receive their reward; and he that giveth to a disciple in the name of a disciple a cup of cold water to drink, shall not lose his reward."50 Wherefore this is the only reward that is not lost. And again, "Make to you friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations; "51 showing that by nature all property which a man possesses in his own power is not his own. And from this unrighteousness it is permitted to work a righteous and saving thing, to refresh some one of those who have an everlasting habitation with the Father.

See then, first, that He has not commanded you to be solicited or to wait to be importuned, but yourself to seek those who are to be benefited and are worthy disciples of the Saviour. Excellent, accordingly, also is the apostle's saying, "For the Lord loveth a cheerful giver; "52 who delights in giving, and spares not, sowing so that he may also thus reap, without murmuring, and disputing, and regret, and communicating, which is pure53 beneficence. But better than this is the saying spoken by the Lord in another place, "Give to every one that asketh thee."54 For truly such is God's delight in giving. And this saying is above all divinity,55 -not to wait to be asked, but to inquire oneself who deserves to receive kindness.

from Who is the Rich Man that Shall Be Saved? by Clement of Alexandria.

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Christ Jesus, source of our unity, have mercy on us.
Christ Jesus, Whose Precious Blood washes away our sins, have mercy on us.
Christ Jesus, life and hope of the world, have mercy on us.

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By his wounds we are healed
I saw this drawing on two separate anti-Catholic websites. They may have published it to mock the miracle of transubstantiation, but the drawing itself is a fair allegory of the mystery. For our Lord was crushed for our sins, and the grace of His sacrifice flows throughout the world, particularly through the seven sacraments of His Church.

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But he was pierced for our transgressions.
He was crushed for our iniquities.
The punishment that brought our peace was on him;
and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Echoes of Luther heard in the Cave

He got rid of the Mass of the Catechumens and changed it to Liturgy of The Word. Sound familiar?

He got rid of the Mass of the Faithful and changed it to Liturgy of The Eucharist. Sound familiar?

He stopped the "priest" from facing God in The Tabernacle ... [and] had them face the congregation instead. Sound familiar?

[He] got rid of unchanging Liturgical Latin and replaced it with the present day, ever changing, vernacular tongue. Sound familiar?

[He] ripped out the Communion Rail and forbade Communion kneeling and on the tongue. He replaced it with Communion standing, in the hand and under both Species. Sound familiar?

[He] added to the formula of the Consecration of the bread the words "quad pro obis tradetur" ("which will be given up for you"), and deleted both "mysterium Fidei ("the mystery of faith") and "pro multis" ("for the many") and replaced it with "for all". Sound familiar?

Great post in the Lair of the Catholic Cavemen about the protestant nature of the "post-conciliar" revisions to the Mass.

+++

I left two comments (no I am not obsessive about this issue, I am tenacious).

[First comment]:

Dave said...
the Divine Liturgies of the Byzantine Rites have "which is broken for you for the remission of sins"

They have more than that.

According to this web-page, There are three forms of the Eucharist presently in the Orthodox Church:

1. The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, which is the most frequently celebrated.
2. The Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great, celebrated 10 times per year.
3. The Divine Liturgy of St James, brother of the Lord, celebrated on the Feast of St James (Oct 23).

The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, has:
He took the cup, saying:
Drink of it all of you; this is my Blood of the new Covenant which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

The Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great has:
He gave it to His holy disciples and apostles saying: Drink of this all of you. This is my blood of the new Covenant, shed for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins.

The Divine Liturgy of St. James has:
he shared it among his holy and blessed Disciples and Apostles, saying:
Drink from this all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out and distributed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

+++

The changes to the Mass overall, especially the changes to the formula of consecration of the Precious Blood, and the disregard for the traditional pious practices of the Church, moved the Mass closer to a Lutheran service and farther from the Orthodox Divine Liturgies.

Dave also said the Eastern Churches "have no problem using the vernacular". I may be mistaken, but I believe many of the Eastern Churches do have their own traditional liturgical languages and moved with great care into using more of the vernacular, not making a lot of other changes at the same time.

+++

[Second comment]:

Great post, but, with respect, "pro multis" is better translated as "for many" rather than "for the many". Latin doesn't have a definite article, so either translation is reasonable, but if you go back to Matthew 26:28, from which the words of consecration were taken, the Greek in which the Gospel was written has "περί πολλων", that is, "for many" rather than "for the many". (Greek does have definite articles).

This matters because elsewhere in the Bible, particularly in St. Paul's Letter to the Romans, the phrase "the many" carries the connotation of people in general. Some people exaggerate this to mean "the many" is equivalent to "all men", rather than that the phrase merely can suggest "all men" in some contexts.

If we accept that "for many" is equivalent to "for the many", and that "for the many" is equivalent to "for all", then it becomes easier to accept that Jesus said at the Last Supper that he would shed his blood "for all", and the mistranslation you rightfully deplore gains support. None of the three phrases are equivalent, and it is a mistake to treat any two of them as interchangeable.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Two prayers for bishops

Prayer for Bishops

St. Thomas of Canterbury, pray for our bishops,
St. Augustine, pray for our bishops,
St. Martin of Tours, pray for our bishops,
St. Charles Borromeo, pray for our bishops.

O Blessed Mother,
spread your mantle over these, the servants of your Son,
anointed and appointed to be our shepherds here on earth.
They are under such attack from the evil one,
and being human, they often slip and fall.
Pray for them, Blessed Mother,
that they will learn true contriteness of heart,
humility of soul,
and be filled with the burning desire to shepherd the flocks of Christians in their charge.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
have mercy on us,
especially on those you have appointed to guide us,
and may your voice reach into their hearts
and kindle in them the fire of divine love,
this day, and always.

Amen.


Prayer for Bishops and Priests

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Divine and Eternal High Priest, let the life-giving waters of Thy love flow into the hearts of Thy Bishops and Priests and transform them into living images of Thee. By Thy grace make them true apostles of Thy Sacred Heart.

Save souls through Thy Bishops and Priests; accompany them through life. Give them the special grace of drawing sinners to Thy Sacred Heart, Refuge of sinners, that they may find forgiveness and salvation.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I pray for the fulfillment of this promise which Thou didst make to Saint Margaret Mary: “I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.” May Thy Kingdom come to the hearts of men through the activity of truly saintly Bishops and Priests.

Do Thou, O Mary, Mother of the High Priest, protect all Bishops and Priests from dangers to their holy vocations. May Thy Immaculate Heart be their refuge and consolation during temptations, trials and loneliness, that we may soon see “all things restored in Christ.”

We know that to combat the spiritual terror assailing Holy Mother Church in our time, the Incarnate Wisdom sent the Immaculate Heart of Mary to Fatima to help us, counsel us, enlighten us, and protect all the faithful of Jesus Christ, so that we could save our own soul and the souls of those that God puts on our path.

We acknowledge that the Blessed Virgin also gave a most important request to the Pope and the Bishops to solemnly and publicly, on the same day, consecrate specifically Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We pray that they all will receive the necessary grace to do this duty soon, so that we can attain worldwide peace and the salvation of billions of souls now. Amen.

Jesus, Savior of the world,
sanctify Thy priests and sacred ministers.
Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for them and for us;
Obtain for us many and holy Bishops and Priests.

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Good Bishop Finn

It's enough to make me say: "Road Trip!"

Road Trip!

A road trip to visit a traditional parish in full communion with Rome, protected rather than threatened by its good bishop.

The National Catholic Reporter has an article critical of the reforms Bishop Robert Finn is implementing in Kansas City, Missouri. Bishop Finn appears determined to lead his flock towards holiness and eternal life with our Father in heaven. God bless him!

The immediate reaction of the blogosphere is encouraging. I did find two posts critical of the bishop, in The World Monitor and Catholic Sensibility. But I found many more supportive of Bishop Finn: Against All Heresies, Kansas City Catholic (with another post here), Curmudgeon's Cave (also here and here), The Cafeteria is Closed (also here), JimmyAkin.org, Argent by the Tiber (and here), St. Joseph’s Vanguard, Ten Reasons, Committed to an Institute, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, Perpetual Thursday, Jumping Without A Chute, Pro Ecclesia, The Cornell Society for a Good Time, The Catholic Golfer, Man with Black Hat, Catholic Matriarch, Catholic Pillow Fight, Amy Welborn, The Dragon and the Phoenix, Built on a Rock, White Around the Collar, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, "An enemy hath done this" and not least of all The Inn at the End of the World, where I read about the story in the first place.

By my count, that is 25 blogs supportive of the good bishop, some with multiple posts, and only two opposed, one mildly so.

+++

5/18/2006 update:

I have found more blogs that have commented this past week on Bishop Finn's policies. The numbers are even stronger in his favor than what I indicated previously. I did find one more blog critical of the changes the bishop has made: Reflections of the Spirit. Supporting the bishop, I found X-Catholics, To Jesus Through Mary, The Hound of Ulster, Maxima Culpa, The thoughts of a catholic mom, Ramblings of a GOP Soccer Mom, The Chronicles of Mommia, Southern Illinois Catholic, Recta Ratio, Christus Vincit, Thoughts of a Regular Guy, Fumare, L.A. Catholic, Athanasius Contra Mundum, Still Running Off at the Keyboard, The Rule, American Papist, Against the Grain, and RomanCatholicBlog.com. This last blog does include some comments from visitors hostile to Bishop Finn. I also found one blog for the neutral camp, changobeer. The blogger, Fr. Karras, is critical of the coverage provided by the NCR without offering support or criticism for Bishop Finn.

Adding these blogs to what was counted previously, the totals are three opposed to the bishop, one neutral, and 44 supportive!

+++

An (expired) article from the Kansas City Star provides background information, confirming the factual claims (as opposed to the spin) in the NCR piece.

Posted on Sat, Sep. 17, 2005

The bishop responds

After some sweeping changes, Robert Finn explains his decisions

By HELEN T. GRAY

“We have to be unafraid … and teach what the church teaches without compromise.” Bishop Robert W. Finn

The new bishop of northwest Missouri’s 144,000 Catholics, who describes himself as “a strict constructionist,” wants his flock to be the faithful followers the Vatican wants.

Several months into the job, Bishop Robert W. Finn has made changes in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph that some people feared and others hoped for.

After taking over in late May, Finn:

■ Replaced the leadership team of his predecessor, Bishop Raymond J. Boland.

■ More than halved the diocese’s funding of a longstanding center that trained Catholic laypersons to help in their parishes.

■ Stopped publishing the column of a theologian often at odds with the Vatican, a move that caused an outcry from some readers of the diocesan newspaper.

Parishioner Judy Schreiber of Excelsior Springs, who had started studying to be a lay leader, said she cried all morning as she finished her second letter to the bishop asking that he reinstate the lay education program.

But Michall Holmes of Lee’s Summit is supportive of Finn’s changes: “We traditional Catholics have kind of been held back for many years.”

“This diocese has had a history of consultation, of collaboration and cooperation between priests and laity,” said George Noonan, a layperson who for 10 years was diocesan chancellor and was dismissed by Finn. “There is concern by some that, ‘Is that going to change?’ ”

Noonan, who served the diocese 21 years, sees Finn as part of a nationwide pattern of new bishops who “will interpret more the letter of the law,” he said. “In this diocese, we were used to people interpreting more the spirit of the law.”

This change in theological philosophy reflects broader changes.

“Now Rome seems to be more concerned with appointing people who pass the (theological) litmus test,” said the Rev. Pat Rush, who has left the post of vicar general to return to a parish. “When Boland came along, Rome was appointing more pastoral bishops.”

Both Boland and Finn were appointed by the late Pope John Paul II.

Although Finn still is getting a feel for his new position, he is definite about his love for the church and his trust in its teachings.

He thinks the church should take a stand against the prevailing culture: Not only is everyone’s viewpoint seen as valuable, which Finn accepts, but “every person’s claim on truth is regarded as equally valid,” which he said is not true. The church has the duty to pass on certain lasting truths, he said.

“We have to be unafraid to announce the gospel without compromise and teach what the church teaches without compromise,” Finn said.

Finn challenges Catholics who try to get around church law and expand its meaning. He urges them to start with what the church teaches, found both in Scripture and tradition. “Then we pray about it and we study and we read and we discuss and we collaborate with other people and inevitably we begin to come to a deeper peace and serenity and sense of the truth.”

That is a better method, he said, than to question everything, thinking that “somehow you will be able to sort out what’s true and isn’t true.”

Cost versus benefits

Finn explained his changes:

His leadership team: He praised Rush, Noonan and Sister Jean Beste, the former vice chancellor, for good service to the diocese and Boland. But he wanted priests, not only as vicar general as required by church law, but also as chancellor. And he wanted the assistance of two experienced pastors because “90 percent of what takes place in the diocese happens on the parish level.”

He chose the Rev. Robert Murphy as vicar general and the Rev. Bradley Offutt as chancellor. A layman, Claude Sasso, a history professor, is the new vice chancellor. Finn also adjusted the job descriptions.

A new leadership team is better able to take a fresh look at the various diocesan agencies, Finn said. “It would be difficult to ask people who have helped to form and shape them to be willing to set them aside to see if we should make adjustments.”

The Center for Pastoral Life and Ministry: Finn said he had a year as coadjutor bishop to study the agencies and discovered that the center, with a budget from the diocese of $523,000, received five to six times more than most of the others.

Each year about 100 people participate in the major program that trains lay people for church leadership, the three-year New Wine program, he said. A master’s degree program also is being dropped. While training laity is important, Finn said, “I didn’t feel we could continue to put that amount of resources for a small number of people.”

Many lay people want more training but not as extensive as those programs, he said. His goal is to train more lay people for less money and to concentrate on the basics of the faith, such as those found in the catechism, Vatican II documents, encyclicals and apostolic letters of the popes and statements of the Vatican congregations. Understanding the spirit of a church teaching is not as important as the teaching itself, he said.

“There’s a greater emphasis on apologetics, whereby we really explain the beauty of our faith,” he said. “Otherwise it gets picked apart and ridiculed.”

Finn said New Wine took a skeptical approach about the faith. But he maintains, “You don’t have to be skeptical about basic truths.”

While Finn makes changes, his predecessor, Boland, is not critical, although Boland said “their style of leadership is very different.”

“From my mentors, I learned to delegate as much as possible,” Boland said. “You delegate to people’s strengths and allow them to make their own decisions.

“I believe in the old adage, ‘He who governs best is the one who governs least.’ I was involved, but in the execution of programs, I would leave to the people responsible for them.”

Boland said he thinks well-trained lay people will continue to take leadership positions throughout the church, particularly in schools, hospitals and universities.

Also, Boland said that in Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation on the laity, “He said that lay people are the church as much as clergy. Laity have a substantial role in the church … They don’t have to be second-place to the clergy.”

Noonan, one of the early directors of the Center for Pastoral Life and Ministry, said the diocese was among a handful that started organized programs for training lay people, and it became a resource for other dioceses trying to establish such programs. Some even are using the New Wine program, which is nearly 20 years old.

Rush, the former vicar general, is concerned that lay people will perceive the cuts to the center as a message that they are less valuable. The opportunity for developing lay leadership has been significantly curtailed, he said.

Denise Simeone, center director, said she was surprised when Finn told her the diocese’s portion of the total budget was cut to $250,000. Since most of the budget was for salaries, the staff is being reduced, with staggered departures, from seven administrative/teaching persons to two. Simeone plans to leave Dec. 31.

Other services to the parishes will have to be curtailed, she said. The center has helped directors of religious education, schoolteachers and principals, parish staffs and councils. It also has maintained a Web site and media center and library with resources for parishes.

Although Finn has authorized a study of adult education, “there isn’t going to be a program in the immediate future for training laity,” Simeone said.

The Rev. Richard McBrien’s column: Finn said he received many letters criticizing him for taking McBrien’s nationally syndicated commentary out of The Catholic Key. In nearly a page of letters to the editor, upset readers called it censorship; one asked if “one of the leading theologians of the country was too liberal or too informative for our new bishop?” Some said they were canceling their subscriptions.

Others, like Holmes, the parishioner from Lee’s Summit, applauded the decision, saying McBrien “tends to run a little bit too much to the anti-Catholic.”

Finn said McBrien, a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame, questions and in some cases opposes Catholic authority and such teachings as lifelong priestly celibacy. He said he frequently attacks people and groups faithful to the church.

As the local bishop, Finn is publisher of the diocesan newspaper and has the authority to determine what goes in and stays out.

“His articles and rather skeptical and cynical approach are in almost every case in opposition to my own goals for the diocese,” the bishop said. “It seems foolish to offer him a pulpit to undermine church teaching.”

In one of the unpublished columns, McBrien wrote: “As bishops of a more open and moderate approach to pastoral leadership (one that not only respects but also welcomes legitimate diversity on debatable matters) depart from the ecclesiastical scene either through retirement or death, they are in many cases replaced by men who are more rigid and authoritarian in manner.” He praised Boland but did not mention Finn by name.

‘I love meeting the people’

Finn said he wants his leadership team to function so he can spend more time with people in the parishes.

“My work is primarily with the people,” he said. “I love going to the parishes. I love going to confirmations. I love meeting the people.”

Ideally, every parish should have a pastor, he said. About a dozen don’t have resident pastors, with several headed by pastoral administrators instead of priests.

“Only a priest can hold the title of pastor and administrator,” he said. “You can have lay pastoral administrators in an emergency. The bishop can assign certain administrative duties to laity. As far as worship, teaching and governance, lay people can have a role, but parishes need a pastor.”

The shortage of priests is a pressing problem, and encouraging more men to enter the priesthood is one of Finn’s priorities. But both Finn and Boland are heartened that recent recruitment efforts have resulted in 10 new seminarians who began study this fall.

In the midst of this period of transition as Finn adapts to the diocese and parishioners adapt to him, Finn is looking forward to moving toward “wherever our Lord wants us to be.”

“I want to be zealous and active in the care of souls, and I want to have all of the faithful to be working in their own way, according to their own true vocation, fully growing in holiness, evangelizing and transforming the world around us.”

Whatever changes he makes are part of a larger goal, in which all the faithful play a part, he said.

“This is a huge role that every one of us has, to know, love and serve Christ and to get to heaven,” he said. “If we’re not helping each other do that, then we’re missing it completely. We’re wasting our time.”

To reach Helen Gray, religion editor, call (816) 234-4446 , or send e-mail to hgray@kcstar.com .



No change

Bishop Robert W. Finn stands firm with the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding women’s ordination and priestly celibacy. Some teachings are so clear, he said, there is little or no room for discussion.

■ Women’s ordination: “The practice of reserving ordination to men only has been noted by the pope as integral to the very meaning of the sacrament of holy orders or priesthood. Christ chose men alone for the priesthood, and we do not have the authority to change it.”

He added that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has said that to continue public debate over women’s ordination “only increases division and confusion.”

■ Priestly celibacy: Celibacy is different, he said, because it is acknowledged as a discipline of the church — part of the operating rules — as well as an apostolic custom and not strictly speaking an essential doctrine. But Finn said, “It is unlikely that the church would or should abandon this.”

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A prayer for liturgical translators

Posted today by Fr. Zuhlsdorf.

Almighty and merciful God,
who hast poured forth the Holy Spirit abundantly
upon the Church of Thy Only-begotten Son,
vouchsafe, we beseech Thee, inspiration and constancy
to those now laboring with great zeal
in rendering the prayers of the same Holy Church
from Latin into the diverse languages of all nations,
so that we who were estranged by an ancient act of pride
may be able both to offer Thee prayers properly
and being one in heart and mind receive from Thee the means of salvation.


Oratio pro interpretibus
Omnipotens et misericors Deus,
qui super Unigeniti Filii tui Ecclesiam
Sanctum Spiritum abundanter effudisti,
tribue, quaesumus, inspirationem et constantiam
laborantibus magno cum studio
in orationes eiusdem sanctae Ecclesiae convertendo
e Latino in omnium gentium sermones,
ut nos, vetusta dissociati superbia,
et preces offere tibi valeamus decore
et unanimiter a te accipere salutifera.
Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

My fellow buddhists & I

Oops...

You fit in with:
Buddhism

Your ideals mostly resemble those of the Buddhist faith. Spirituality is the most important thing in your life. You strive to live by all of your ideals, and live a very intellectually focused life.

0% scientific.
40% faith-oriented.


+++

My buddhist friend was upset at the poor treatment she receives at work. I tried suggesting that the the suffering we endure in this world is a path to understanding. She seemed skeptical. I don't know whether it has anything to do with our conversation, but after that she borrowed some videos from her temple, and now thinks that the cruelty inflicted on her might be payback for cruelty she inflicted on others early in life. There might be something to that.

+++

In the hopes of being able to present the truths of Catholicism more intelligibly to my friend, I visited our local public library to see whether it has anything on Catholicism and Buddhism. It does have one book: Living Zen, Loving God, by Ruben Habito, described as a practicing Catholic. I do not think my friend is a Zen Buddhist, but maybe the book will have something useful.

At first glance, things did not look good. I opened the book at random to page 13, and read:
What we are really seeking deep in our hearts cannot be found by looking "outside".
On second glance, it is not much better. I opened to an account of the good Samaritan (page 82). After quoting Luke's gospel, the author writes:
We tend to read this passage as moral injunction: "Help your neighbor in need." While that may be one valid reading it would not do full justice to what is being presented to us here.

It begins with the question of the lawyer, "What must I do to attain eternal life?" Let us plumb the depths of our being and really hear this question. This is the very question we ourselves are asking in our hearts, although we may put it in different ways:
What is true living?
How may I live an authentic life?
How may I realize who I am, and live my
True Self
each moment of my life?
"Eternal life" thus is not life after we die, the extension of some form of consciousness that will go on after our biological death, but something that is available here and now.
Thus? The author has not even mentioned life after death and thinks he has already disproven it. I wonder, not for the first time, just how Catholic liberal Catholics are. Mr. Habito may be a fine Buddhist, and does ask some worthy questions, but his answers are not those of a Catholic. Compare his first quote above with this from St. Augustine:
Our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee
God may touch our hearts, but He is not confined to our hearts, and He is immeasurably greater than our hearts. I'll start this book from the beginning, and maybe find something that can help my friend, as the two of us stumble towards our final destinations.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

A prayer before connecting to the internet

(Composed by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf)

Saint Isidor of Seville

Almighty and eternal God,
who created us in Thy image
and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful,
especially in the divine person of Thy Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
grant, we beseech Thee,
that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor,
during our journeys through the internet
we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee
and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Orátio ante colligatiónem in interrete:
Omnípotens aetérne Deus,
qui secúndum imáginem Tuam nos plasmásti
et omnia bona, vera, et pulchra,
praesértim in divína persóna Unigéniti Fílii Tui
Dómini nostri Iesu Chrísti, quaérere iussísti,
praesta, quaésumus,
ut, per intercessiónem Sancti Isidóri, Epíscopi et Doctóris,
in peregrinatiónibus per interrete,
et manus oculósque ad quae Tibi sunt plácita intendámus
et omnes quos convenímus cum caritáte ac patiéntia accipiámus.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.

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