What is urgent is the evangelization of a world that not only does not know the basic aspects of Christian dogma, but in great part has lost even the memory of the cultural elements of Christianity.

                          Pope St. John Paul II


Boston Catholic Journal

I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.

                          Pope Benedict XVI

 

Suggested Reading:


The Problem
of Evil

The Problem of Evil: Exonerating God

Exonerating God


CCD

CCD: Crisis in Catholic Doctrine

Crisis in
Catholic Doctrine:

the Grave State of Religious Education in America


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Todays Martyrology


 

Welcome Home to the One, True, Holy, Catholic Church


Home ... the One, True, Holy, Catholic Church
 


 “That understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church once declared; and there must never be a recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding

Blessed Pope Pius IX, 1st Vatican Council, S.3, C.2 on Revelation, 1870 ex cathedra

 

 

Catholicism as Art: “The ‘ART’ of Accompaniment”?

 

“The ‘ART’ of Accompaniment”?

 

 

“Hello. You are my project and I am your artist. You are the “medium” of my art, much as paint is to some artists and clay to others, and I will fashion you into something of my liking. Is that okay with you? You will admire my finesse and I’ve had lots of practice. Did I tell you that I went to school for this? No kidding; I got a BA in Art with a specialty in “accompaniment.” Never heard of it? It’s new. Very fashionable in Rome. I will follow you around and teach you some things to make you appear to be Catholic and okay with God; kinda smooth out the rough edges of the “sin”-thing so that you will be comfortable with it now and do what other Catholics do who, unlike you, at the moment are not in a state of mortal sin Of course they are sinners, too, but at the moment they are not sinning. No big deal. Like Francis said, who are we to judge anyway? What is more, the pope has recently concluded that we cannot really be sure about sin in any event because of what he calls the “Internal Forum” — your conscience really. It may be telling you that something is not a sin for you, even if the 10 Commandments say it is before God and for everyone else, unless, of course, their “internal Forum” tells them it’s okay for them, too. Got it?  

 

AMORIS LÆTITIA:

In life the shades of gray predominate - Pope Francis on Amoris Laetitia
 

“In life, shades of gray predominate”, Francis told us, so nothing is clear and there is no need to beat yourself up for something that may, in fact, be “good” and “wholesome” and “positive” according to Francis— despite appearances and connotations to the contrary. Clear on that? The thing is, I’ve got to accompany you and show you that what you may think is wrong really isn’t any more, especially if it’s making you uncomfortable or feel guilty.

Of course as an ARTIST of ACCOMPANIMENT, in order to have the “stuff” of my art to work with, you will have to tell me some, well, deeply private things, possibly salacious things, but hey, that’s art. I am NOT a voyeur. I am an ARTIST! As one Dominican journal gushes,
 

“Pope Francis describes the bedside manner needed in the art of accompaniment as “steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness,” and as having a “compassionate gaze” (EG, 169). Some refer to this bedside manner, practiced within welcoming and loving communities” 1
 

With a Sigh …

Conservative Catholics do not understand this. They are into the manly work of evangelization and conversion; not accompaniment, compassionate gazes, and certainly not “‘this art of accompaniment’ which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other. They simply do not anticipate that they, like Moses, will have to veil their faces because they will radiate the lumen gloriae of the adulterous and the sacrilegious subsequent to “accompanying” them … after, of course, removing their sandals before these demigods in accordance with non-existent canons of the Art of Accompaniment that we can find in no college curriculum (see Exodus 3.5 which Francis invokes and 34.33-35 that we invoke).

The … shall we say, delicate … language of “art” leaves them — conservative and traditional Catholics — understandably uncomfortable, especially in the wake of the last 30 years of pervasive pederasty in the Church. And who, we wonder, will teach us to learn to make “compassionate gazes” and how will we be graded on our performance? Will such “gazes” be accompanied with a sigh? Is that also in Performance 101?

If they hope to gain any traction in the “modern Church they need to be slick like us, saying things no one really grasps and using ambiguous words which have no substance.

Francis and Kasper are “Artists” to be sure … Conservatives just don’t have the “stuff” to be artists. Too few theta waves. Indeed, does the Church need more “Artists” as Francis insists? :
 

The Church will have to initiate everyone—priests, religious and laity—into this ‘art of accompaniment’ which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5).” (Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, 169)
 

For every Catholic an Artist

She already has an abundance of “Ministries” (EXTRAORDINARY Eucharistic Ministers, Music Ministers, Youth Ministers, Hospitality Ministers, Community Service Ministers — Shawl-Making, Greeting, Lectors, Prayer, — virtually every activity at church anoints one a Minister). 

And now a superabundance of “Artists”?

After all, according to Francis, each of us will have to be “initiated”, not into a Sacrament, but into an Art. We will practice art, and therefore be practitioners.

Every Catholic an “Artist” and a Practitioner of the Art? (yet a new, but universal Ministry)

Is this our new vocation? If we are all Practitioners chasing the lost, who are the remaining sheep? Are they not Practitioners, too?

Did you just think “circular”? Did you just visualize a dog chasing its own tail?

The Church needs more sanctity — not artists. More priests and fewer ministers. More Catholics and fewer Practitioners.

Ecce enim regnum Dei intra vos est! (Saint Luke 17.21)

___________________

 1 http://www.dominicanajournal.org/the-art-of-accompaniment/

 

Editor
Boston Catholic Journal
24 March 2017

 

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Contra Franciscus — Against Francis

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no Gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a Gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If any man is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be under God’s curse!Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galations 1.6-10)

 

 

We must mightily strive to forever preserve intact and to protect the Sacred Deposit of Faith, and the indefectibly Authentic Teachings and Magisterium entrusted by Almighty God to the Holy Catholic Church

which no man — or group of men — can change, alter, cancel, abrogate, diminish or attenuate!

 

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness: who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. — Isaiah 5.20

 


 

 

 Holy Season of Lent
 

Lent in the Year of Grace 2017
 

 

Bitterness and Blessedness

 

 
 

In all these things Job did not sin

 

The Holy Season of Lent — a time, perhaps the last time — for repentance and to do penance; a time of bitterness and a time of blessedness, and so often their mingling is inseparable from the sanctity that lies deeply within. Who has prepared the chalice, and what lies within? God Himself!

Often it is so difficult to grasp! The two, the bitterness and the blessedness, seem of themselves not only unable to coexist — but so often each comes to us at the cost of the other. How are we to reconcile the brooding cultivation of evil experienced, suffered (and, yes, even inflicted!) and endured, with a yield of the fruit of blessedness? These are deep and stirring waters; depths unmeasured and immeasurable by man. Even pellucid and untainted, the depth blinds the mind in a sacred darkness the mind cannot illuminate nor the intellect penetrate. These are primeval waters stirred by the finger of God. Ultimately they are the waters of Baptism and regeneration! Waters of life! Even living waters!

Job, the holy servant of God, knew both: the bitterness and the blessedness, and as we enter into this sacred Season we would do well to learn of him and from him. The suffering of Job is proverbial. It will be interesting for us to learn not just what he suffered — but from whom. It is well that before we enter the cruciform transept of Lent, we start before we open those blessed doors. And we will start with Job to understand Who has prepared the chalice and learn what lies within.

 

CURSE GOD AND DIE

Calamity and rejection. This is the response to the scandal of Jobs suffering ... from his own wife! — and it will be the response of the world to you:  Curse God and die, you fool!”

This Lent we will understand why this response to suffering and calamity is disastrous. In fact, through understanding Lent we will see why Lent is the antidote to this poison — and perhaps learn who tried to place that first drop into the chalice. Let us consider Job:
 

Job lost everything

Everything: children, house, health, good name, property ... you name it, and Job lost it. Covered with boils from “the sole of his foot to the crown of his head”, he sat upon the ashes he sprinkled over his head and scraped himself of festering boils with a potsherd. Three friends came, barely recognizing Job, and sat a week with him in silence. They then proceeded to “console” Job ... by convicting him of his sins ... sins he never committed.

Finally, Job himself uttered what we all have uttered at one time or another in our lives: “Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?” In other words, would that his nakedness had never been clothed in honor and glory — for then he would not know the pain of losing what he never had.

But God had “...  made a fence for him, and his house, and all his substance round about, blessed the works of his hands, and his possession hath increased on the earth.”  (Job 1.10)

God prospered Job.

The evil one, knowing this, tore down the hedge, devastated Job's house, and tempted Job to despair ... to give up on God.

And yet ... incredibly, “in all these things Job sinned not.” Job was blameless before God.
 

We know Job.

We have been Job ... in one form or another at some point, perhaps at many points, in our lives.

We have been devastated, deprived of what we esteemed good, lost our health, our jobs, our dignity, security ... and, for great sorrow, even our families. 

How do we console ourselves? Most often, as Job’s friends had consoled him, we tell ourselves that our misfortune is, in some incomprehensible sense, just ... that we are suffering the rigors of an exacting and ineluctable justice that we had somehow eluded for sins or crimes we no longer remember ... from which we had inexplicably managed to escape, and which have finally caught up with us and demanded tribute.

However, the fact of the matter is that — at least in the case of Job — Job's misfortunes were not just. There was no proportion between what he suffered and what he had done — indeed, Job had done nothing but good!

Job's misfortunes were not God’s payback. And neither are ours.

Even were justice demanded of us for our sins – and unlike Job, our own sins are many – we can never make adequate restitution, never pay reparation, for we are too poor. We had squandered that patrimony of grace which had been given our First Parents in justice, and we forfeited it just as they did — even after Baptism washed us of that Original Sin, that primal effrontery through which our patrimony became our poverty! Only what is without sin can cancel sin. And that justice has already been rendered — through Jesus Christ on the Cross. 

Yes, God is just. But it was not Job — and it is not us — it is God Himself who paid the price of justice in the shattered humanity of Christ. 
 

Rendering Justice to God

God did not — and He does not — exact the restitution of justice from us. We do not possess the tribute, the wherewithal — and we are fools, or deceived, if we believe that we can render justice to God. Only God can render justice to God. Why? Because the plenitude of justice that is God and that is due God is infinite because God Himself is infinite. His justice — like His love, goodness, and mercy — is the perpetual act of His being: it is, as it were, the very fabric of His Being: a Being-good, a Being-loving, a Being-merciful ... and a Being-just.

Love, mercy, goodness, justice are not merely parts” of God’s Being — rather, His being is a Being-good, a Being-loving, a Being-merciful ... and a Being-just. These infinite and eternal acts (the acts of being: a-being-loving, a-being-good, a-being-just) do not simply coincide with His Being as something extraneous to it — they constitute His Being! To sin against justice, then, is to sin against the infinite justice of God Who alone is a Being-just ... and note merely a just" being. How, then, can finite man make infinite restitution?  We cannot. Only Christ, being God, could — on the Cross. That is why Jesus is called, “the Just One.” *
 

So what of Job? What of us?

We came into this world with nothing. We will leave it with nothing. We think that we have worked for, earned, all the good things we enjoy, and reckon the day they may be taken from us injustice. Injustice was never done us, for we never merited, deserved, any of these things. What, then, of all our hard work and sweat?

Ask yourself from the depths of the truthfulness of your being:  have you worked harder, more diligently, more desperately, more deservingly, than the poverty stricken farmer in sub-Sahara Africa? Why is he not adorned as you? Why is his plate empty? Because you are more just and these things are your  more justly yours (your due in justice?) — but somehow not his?

If you possess power, wealth, esteem, glory, in this world, do not congratulate yourself on your diligence, your 
uncanny" insight, your good luck and success. Given the blandishment of the evil one — the father of lies — which we find in the temptation of Christ, it is, I suggest, far more appropriate to tremble.

Behold Job. And also behold Christ — Christ Who was also tempted by that same evil one who, in his empty promise, is frightfully revealing
:
 

“And the devil led Him into a high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time; and he said to Him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them.”  (Saint Luke 4.5-6)

 

Ask yourself soberly: whence your prosperity, your power, your wealth? From whom, and to what end? And at the cost of whose dignity and through the poverty of how many did you acquire it? Prosperity, many Protestants hold, is a sign of God's favor, a token of His predilection: if you are just and Godly", God will prosper you. 

Misfortune and suffering, then, are — much in line with the reasoning of Job’s consolers — afflictions from God. They are the penalty — meted out by God — for injustice and ungodliness. Material prosperity, on the other hand, together with wealth and power — these are God's blessings for the just. It is, in a word, their reward ... their due in all justice.

But it was not Saint Paul’s ...  nor the reward due in “justice to the other Apostles:
 

“Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode; And we labor, working with our own hands: we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it. We are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now” (1 Cor. 4.10-13)

 

The Diabolically Brilliant ... Illusion

This was the insidious trap set for Job by the devil through his consolers ... and by our own self-recrimination in the face of misfortune. We are confronted with misfortune. Who is to blame? With incredible subtlety, the devils suggests that  Either we are guilty — or God is! If we are not guilty for this misfortune, then God is. If God is not, then we are. But neither is the case!

In other words, Job brought it unknowingly upon himself — and God (not the devil, mind you ...) was perfectly willing to be complicit in this injustice —by punishing Job for what he did not do! What is more, He punished Job by unjustly taking away what was his. It was a masterpiece of illusion! Diabolically brilliant! Job was tempted by the devil to despair in having unjustly lost all that was not his in justice to begin with!

In a supreme irony, Christ was tempted by the same devil to idolatry through an empty promise to give Him what was already His to begin with.

Remember, who precisely was it who had said that wealth, material prosperity, and power was his to give? And who was it that took it away from Job – that was his to give and his to take? 

Misfortunes are not from God. Nor are they the penalty of your sins, for you would then have nothing (given your countless sins and the justice that would be exacted for each.)

Misfortunes, suffering, want, pain, destitution, illness, are not lofty, if cruel, tributes to justice! They are evils! Evils out of which God ever brings good ... as He did with Job who,
 in all these things ... sinned not.”

Misfortune is not of your own making — still less is it from God. Saint Paul understood this. You must also:
 

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore take unto you the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect.   (Ephesians 6.12)

Let us see misfortune for what it is — and not for what the “father of lies” would entice us to believe. Evil is from the evil one, endlessly contending with  the ever redemptive love of God lifting us up from the squalor of misery through the arduous path to holiness, calling us from that relentless malice that would pull us down to despair.

_________________

Acts 7.52

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Editor
Boston Catholic Journal

 


 

 

The Third Rail and the Kingdom of Heaven

HARD SAYINGS

 

There are many “hard sayings” in Holy Scripture.

In other words, there are many parables and other verses that are uncomfortable to listen to … they are likely to make us fidget in our seats because we know that they well may apply to us.

You will recognize them at once:
 

·        They do not assure us of our salvation

·        They do not canonize us before we are dead

 

“Third Rail verses” in Holy Scripture are verses to be avoided at all costs: they are fatal to the one touching upon them much as the third rail in an American subway system exceeds 1000 volts and will electrocute you instantly.  Such verses, of course, precede Third-Rail Homilies — to be avoided for the same reasons..

Third-Rail Homilies

A “third-rail” homily would begin with, let us say, Saint Paul’s address to the Philippians: “With fear and trembling work out your salvation” 1 — to mention nothing of the numerous admonitions from our Blessed Lord that do not merely “suggest”, but clearly warn us in no uncertain terms of eschatological realities that we may find both appalling and unacceptable — while being undeniably true.

They, too, are in the category of the “third rail”: touch upon them and you are dead. Speak of them and you may receive a call from your bishop to “tone down the rhetoric” and subsequently restore the cash flow.

Three of the Four Last Things

Death, Judgment, and Hell ( … but not Heaven). Few wish to hear of the first three. Your pastor knows this. To preach about or to dwell upon such verses is likely to cause “discomfort” — perhaps even “outrage” — and consequently diminish the congregation. They will go elsewhere, and find another parish and another priest who will assure them of their salvation (despite what Christ says), their invincible goodness, and their being “The lights of the world” and “The salt of the earth”. Such parishes and priests abound.
 

“Not Open”

Any hint that Heaven may be closed to some, if not many, is mocked as “pre-Vatican II nonsense” — in spite of Christ’s telling us so:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many (Saint Matthew 7.13).

Likewise, the notion that:

“The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Saint Matthew 7.14)

These are but two of many, many, third-rail verses found in all four Gospels and many of the Epistles (Letters). “But surely”, we console ourselves, “a good, merciful, and forgiving God would not allow such things to happen!”


To which we reply: Why, then, did He say them?

We do not seek God, but a heaven with a god to our liking and made in our image. This is another way of saying “We ourselves will be our own gods — for we are more merciful, more loving, more forgiving, more just, than the God we find in Sacred Scripture. We will not bend our knee before that God, but our own god. Ourselves! We will find or make priests and churches that “affirm us”, comfort us, and tells us that our illusions are realities or that reality is just an illusion.

This is further to say that we will continue to maintain the illusions and fabrications that comfort us, but cannot possibly save us — rather than defer to “hard sayings” which are enunciated to the end of saving us and bringing us to genuine happiness (Heaven).

Other factors enter into this obstinate refusal to accept the “hard sayings”, and we point to them with the deepest sorrow: these “hard sayings” do not simply involve us — they involve those we have loved — who have died.

Some of them, perhaps most of them did not accept these “hard sayings” either. Some of them led extraordinarily sinful lives, heedless of God and man. Some were little more than evil. Many simply did not believe, or would not relinquish what they perceived to be their freedom to do as they wish, or simply scorned religion altogether. But we loved them — and love always invests us in the being of another. Hence our pain.

All or None

Nevertheless a choice was placed before them, as it is placed before us now: to accept the “hard sayings” as earnestly as we accept the more comforting ones. We cannot choose which teachings of Christ we will accept any more than we can choose what we wish to be real or true. We must accept all of them or none of them. God does not tamper with our freedom, nor interfere with our choices. We are free to accept or reject, but in either case our choice is total. We cannot accept or reject the part without accepting or rejecting the whole, for the parts are integral constituents of the whole.

Much more to the point, the terms are not of our own making — they have been divinely instituted. Salvation is not a referendum any more than Heaven is a democracy. The means of attaining it have been clearly defined by Christ — as well as the means of losing it. The choice is yours alone.

 

Lest they also come into this place of torments”

To return to the discussion of those we love and who have died, here we encounter the most painful legacy imaginable: our realization that the road they chose was the one that was “broad and easy … To imagine them in torment everlasting is beyond our ability to comprehend without verging on despair.

“How wicked of you”, you tell me, “to compound the grief of those in bereavement! Have they not suffered enough by the loss of one loved?”

No. It is not wicked. It is painful beyond words.  It is sorrowful beyond description. None of us may presume salvation, for to do so is to presume upon God’s mercy, itself a mortal sin! Indeed, I identify more with the departed than the surviving. I have no assurance of salvation for I refuse to presume on God’s mercy and may yet myself be accounted among the lost — even as Saint Paul himself feared. (1 Corinthians 9.26) Should I fear less?

There are indeed those who go to Hell — and likely many (or Christ is a liar). We must allow this realization to motivate us with all the more urgency to bring those still with us to Christ, lest they, too, choose “the road that is broad and easy” and add to our sorrow greater sorrow still.

This was the whole point of the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man: the rich man in Hell implores Abraham send him [Lazarus] to my father’s house, for I have five brethren, that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torments.” (Saint Luke 16. 27-28) 
 

Can we do less?

We call our children out of a burning house — suffer burns and torment to save them — but when they verge on a lake of fire that is the second death 1 from which there is no return ... we say nothing.

We do not call them back. We do not rush in horror to bring them back!  Our love for them slumbers before the frowning face of society ... that no longer has any room for our God  ... or His children.
 

Pay attention to the third rail! Ignore it to your peril.

This applies equally to priest and pew alike.

And when you chose your “comfort zone”, you would do well to consider its duration.

 

Editor
Boston Catholic Journal

_____________________________

  1.  Apocalypse 21.8

 

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Salus Animarum
 

the Salvation of Souls

 

Hell
 

Whatever became of this most Fundamental Imperative …
indeed, the very reason for the establishment and existence of the Church?

 

It is unlikely that the vast, indeed, the overwhelming majority of today’s Catholics have not so much as heard of this phrase as old as the Church itself; certainty, not in English — and with greater certainty still, not from the pulpit. The very concept of “the salvation of the soul” appears to be non grata in homiletics for quite nearly 50 years (corresponding, unsurprisingly, to the implementation of Vatican II) — despite the fact that the imperative itself is clearly and unambiguously codified as the supremus lex (the supreme law) in Canon Law (1752):
 

Salus animarum supemus lex esto — the salvation of souls …

must be the supreme law in the Church.”
 

It is nothing less than the sole reason for the Incarnation … the Suffering, Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection … of Christ: the salvation of souls!

Christ as Savior; Christ as Redeemer, cannot be understood apart from this most fundamental and utterly simple concept: He came to save souls — not to heal bodies (although He did), not to rectify injustices, not to rehabilitate politics, not to instruct us on economics, and certainly not save the environment.

He came with only two purposes that are really one:

  • To do the will of the Father

  • And the will of the Father is this: to save souls for all eternity in Heaven (and in so doing, to deliver them from Hell).

It is really that simple; in fact, so simple that it eludes us in our pretensions to sophistication, and our preferences for sophistry.

For 2000 years the mission of the Church (and its raison d’etre , the very reason for its being) could be summed up in two words instantiating that same beautiful simplicity: Salus animarum — the Salvation of souls”.  Through Christ in the Sacraments this is its sole mission.
 

No other Mandate

The Church has no other mandate from Christ. Even healing the sick, raising the dead, delivering men from demonic possession, and all that He taught in the Sermon on the Mount were means only to the principle end: the salvation of the soul. Christ Himself emphatically asks:

“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (St. Matthew 16.26).

The purpose of all that He said and did was always eschatological, that is to say, pertaining to the Four Last Things:

  • Death

  • Judgment

  • Heaven

  • Hell
     

Everything else pales in significance. Two come once only, and two are at once everlasting.

To pretend that we really do not fully understand what Christ was talking about, and which He proclaimed in the clearest terms, is just that: pretension. We know very well what Christ said and did — but to our own devious and often deviant ends, we assume an air of erudite perplexity concerning them:

“Despite what He appears to say; indeed actually says — this is what He really means …” What follows seldom has anything to do with what He means. And we recognize it.

 Our own interpretation merely accords with what we wish He had said, for this would provide us with excuses for our sins or alternatives for His extremely unsettling pronouncements. We go from the reality of:  If only He had said …” to the fiction: “This is what He really means … because I am much more comfortable with this interpretation — which, rather coincidentally, allows me to continue in sin.”  In short, it is nothing more than wishful thinking, because they cannot both be true.

However contradictory to what Jesus and His Apostles really said and taught, we choose to believe another narrative, however factitious; a simulacrum that borrows the vocabulary of the real but with connotations utterly incongruous with it. It is disingenuous, a sham. There is a pathos of similitude but the depiction is counterfeit. We have not entered the mythical: we have fabricated it. Shamelessly. It pleases us … and this is the first clue that it is deceptive. We have both an aversion and an affinity for the truth. It is the patrimony of our broken heritage from the beginning. We ineluctably desire the true, but when it indicts us we demur from it; unable to accommodate both we resort to dissimilation, to a semblance of the real that is, despite our collusion with pretensions, a defection from it. Hence our penchant for comfortable and spurious “interpretations”.

For all our carefully fabricated allusions to what Christ really said and meant, we know the truth — because He is the Truth Who does not deceive nor can be deceived. We are not pleased with all He said, especially concerning things that frighten us because they describe us  … and convict us — and we know it! 

Despite this, we insist that so many vitally important things that Jesus clearly uttered are nevertheless not true —  because they are not “inclusive” and do not accord with our delicate post-modern sensitivities that any real deity would surely ascribe to. That some, perhaps many, are left in “outer darkness", excluded from Heaven because of  their depravity and perversion, their penchant for sin and their obstinate predilection for evil, is unacceptable to our presently enlightened humanity. The list of our objections would be too long to enumerate and ultimately too tedious. Let us be satisfied with a few:


The Short List:

  • Not everyone goes to Heaven (St. Matthew 7:14)

  • People — indeed, many people — go to Hell (St. Matthew 7:14)

  • Hell is a real place of punishment, torment, and eternal suffering beyond our comprehension. It is the abode of the devil and demons. It is eternal and eternally devoid of any hope. (St. Matthew 5.29-10; Luke 16:19-31, 13.42; 25.41; St. Mark 9:42-44 etc.)

  • No one “goes to the Father” — enters Heaven — except though Christ (St. John 14:6)

  • If you deny Him before men on earth, He will deny you before His Father in Heaven (Matthew 10:33)

  • Not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven (St. Matthew 7:21)

  • Not any and every religion will bring you to Heaven (St. John 6.26-70)

  • Being a “nice person” does not suffice to bring you to Heaven or exempt you from Hell (St. Matthew 5.20; St. Mark 16.15-16)

Such pernicious nonsense has no place in our mythologized concept of God. We will have Heaven … “dammit" ... but on our terms — despite what Jesus Christ says … much to our consternation, and quite likely to our damnation. We prefer other interpretations;  more comfortable and convenient exegeses ... and sadly they abound.

For my part, fool that I am, I will take Christ at His word. In fact, I stake my life on it.

 

Editor
Boston Catholic Journal

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THE SACRED RULE

for Properly Celebrating the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass


The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: A Primer for Clueless Catholics

DO NOT DO at Mass  what you would never have done were you standing at the foot of the Cross with Christ visibly before you.

DO at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass what you would have done were you standing before Christ hanging on the Cross in front of you — for at Holy Mass you are at the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross — really and truly.

Had you closed your eyes for a moment while standing immediately before Christ upon the Cross, 
you would be where you are this day at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

DO, then, what you would have done ... and DO NOT DO what you would never have done.


THIS
is the proper disposition of the soul at every single Mass.


 



 

Complete Roman Martyrology in English

The Complete Martyrology in

 English

for Daily Reflection

Semen est sanguis Christianorum— The blood of Christians is the seed [of the Church], Tertullian, Apologeticum, 50

 

ROMAN MARTYROLOGY

Wednesday March 29th In the Year of Grace 2017

Season of Lent


This Day, the Twenty-Ninth Day of March


In Persia, the holy martyrs Jonas and Barachisius, under Sapor, king of Persia. Jonas, being pressed in a vice till his bones were broken, was cut in twain; Barachisius was suffocated by burning pitch poured into his throat.

At Heliopolis, near Mount Lebanon, under Julian the Apostate, St. Cyril, deacon and martyr, whose body was opened and his liver plucked out by the Gentiles, who devoured it like wild beasts.

At Nicomedia, the martyrdom of the holy martyrs Pastor, Victorinus and their companions.

In Africa, under the Arian king Genseric, during the persecution of the Vandals, the holy confessors Armogastes, count, Mascula, Archimimus, and Saturus, master of the king's household. Having endured many severe torments, as well as reproaches, for the confession of the truth, they reached the end of their glorious combats.

At Asti, St. Secundus, martyr.

In the monastery of Luxeuil, the decease of the abbot St. Eustasius, a disciple of St. Columbau, who had under his guidance nearly six hundred monks. Eminent in sanctity, he was also renowned for miracles.

And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
 

Omnes sancti Mártyres, oráte pro nobis. ("All ye Holy Martyrs, pray for us", from the Litaniae Sanctorum, the Litany of the Saints)

Response: Thanks be to God.

 



Roman Martyrology by Month

January February March April May June
July August September October November December

 

 

Why the Martyrs Matter
 


Each day
we bring you a calendar, a list really, of the holy Martyrs who had suffered and died for Christ, for His Bride the Church, and for our holy Catholic Faith; men and women for whom — and well they knew — their Profession of Faith would cost them their lives.

They could have repudiated all three (Christ, Church, and Catholic Faith) and kept their lives for a short time longer (even the lapsi only postponed their death — and at so great a cost!).1

What would motivate men, women, even children and entire families to willingly undergo the most evil and painfully devised tortures; to suffer death rather than denial?

Why did they not renounce their Catholic Faith when the first flame licked at their feet, after the first eye was plucked out, or after they were “baptized” in mockery by boiling water or molten lead poured over their heads? Why did they not flee to offer incense to the pagan gods since such a ritual concession would be merely perfunctory, having been done, after all, under duress, exacted by the compulsion of the state? What is a little burned incense and a few words uttered without conviction, compared to your own life and the lives of those you love? Surely God knows that you are merely placating the state with empty gestures …

Did they love their wives, husbands, children — their mothers, fathers and friends less than we do? Did they value their own lives less? Were they less sensitive to pain than we are? In a word, what did they possess that we do not?

Nothing. They possessed what we ourselves are given in the Sacrament of Confirmation — but cleaved to it in far greater measure than we do: Faith and faithfulness; fortitude and valor, uncompromising belief in the invincible reality of God, of life eternal in Him for the faithful, of damnation everlasting apart from Him for the unfaithful; of the ephemerality of this passing world and all within it, and lives lived in total accord with that adamant belief.

We are the Martyrs to come. What made them so will make us so. What they suffered we will suffer. What they died for, we will die for. If only we will! For most us, life will be a bloodless martyrdom, a suffering for Christ, for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the Church in a thousand ways outside the arena. The road to Heaven is lined on both sides with Crosses, and upon the Crosses people, people who suffered unknown to the world, but known to God. Catholics living in partibus infidelium, under the scourge of Islam. Loveless marriages. Injustices on all sides. Poverty. Illness. Old age. Dependency. They are the cruciform! Those whose lives became Crosses because they would not flee God, the Church, the call to, the demand for, holiness in the most ordinary things of life made extraordinary through the grace of God. The Martyrology we celebrate each day is just a vignette, a small, immeasurably small, sampling of the martyrdom that has been the lives of countless men and women whom Christ and the Angels know, but whom the world does not know.

“Exemplum enim dedi vobis”, Christ said to His Apostles 2  “I have given you an example.” And His Martyrs give one to us — and that is why the Martyrs matter.


Joseph Mary del Campos
Editor, Boston Catholic Journal


Note: We suggest that you explore our newly edited and revised
De SS. Martyrum Cruciatibus — The Torments and Tortures of the Christian Martyrs for an in-depth historical account of the sufferings of the Martyrs.


 


INTRODUCTION TO THE ROMAN MARTYROLOGY
 

by J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore


THE ROMAN MARTYROLOGY is an official and accredited record, on the pages of which are set forth in simple and brief, but impressive words, the glorious deeds of the Soldiers of Christ in all ages of the Church; of the illustrious Heroes and Heroines of the Cross, whom her solemn verdict has beatified or canonized. In making up this long roll of honor, the Church has been actuated by that instinctive wisdom with which the Spirit of God, who abides in her and teaches her all truth, has endowed her, and which permeates through and guides all her actions. She is the Spouse of Christ, without spot or wrinkle or blemish, wholly glorious and undefiled, whom He loved, for whom He died, and to whom He promised the Spirit of Truth, to comfort her in her dreary pilgrimage through this valley of tears, and to abide with her forever. She is one with Him in Spirit and in love, she is subject to Him in all things; she loves what He loves, she teaches and practices what He commands.

If the world has its "Legions of Honor," why should not also the Church of the Living God, the pillar and the ground of the truth? If men who have been stained with blood, and women who have been tainted with vice, have had their memory consecrated in prose and in verse, and monuments erected to their memory, because they exhibited extraordinary talents, achieved great success, or were, to a greater or less extent, benefactors of their race in the temporal order, which passeth away, why should not the true Heroes and Heroines of Jesus, who, imitating His example, have overcome themselves, risen superior to and trampled upon the world, have aspired, in all their thoughts, words, and actions, to a heavenly crown, and have moreover labored with disinterested zeal and self-forgetting love for the good of their fellow-men, have their memories likewise consecrated and embalmed in the minds and hearts of the people of God? If time have its heroes, why should not eternity; if man, why should not God? Thy friends, O Lord, are exceedingly honored; their principality is exceedingly exalted. Whom His Father so dearly loved, the world crucified; whom the world neglects, despises, and crucifies, God, through His Church, exceedingly honors and exalts. Their praises are sung forth, with jubilation of heart, in the Church of God for ages on ages.

The wisdom of the Church of God in honoring her Saints is equaled only by the great utility of the practice thus consecrated. The Saints are not merely heroes; they are models. Christ lived in them, and Christ yet speaks through them. They were the living temples of the Holy Ghost, in whose mortal bodies dwelt all the riches of His wisdom and grace. They were in life consecrated human exemplars of divine excellence and perfection. Their example still appeals to our minds and to our hearts, more eloquently even than did their words to the men of their own generation, while they were in the tabernacle of the flesh. Though dead, they still speak. Their relics are instinct with sanctity, and through them they continue to breathe forth the sweet odor of Christ. The immortality into which they have entered still lingers in their bones, and seems to breathe in their mortal remains. As many an ardent, spirit has been induced to rush to the cannons mouth by reading the exploits of earthly heroes, so many a generous Christian soul has been fired with heavenly ardor, and been impelled to rush to the crown of martyrdom, by reading the lives and heroic achievements of the Saints and Martyrs of Christ. Example, in its silent appeal, is more potent in its influence on the human heart and conduct than are words in their most eloquent utterances.

The Church knows and feels all this, in the Spirit of God with whom she is replenished ; and hence she sets forth, with holy joy and exultant hope, her bright and ever-increasing Calendar of Sanctity of just men and women made perfect and rendered glorious, under her unearthly and sublime teachings. In reading this roll of consecrated holiness, our instinctive conclusion is, precisely that which the great soul of St. Augustine reached at the very crisis of his life, the moment of his conversion If other men like me have attained to such sanctity, why not I? Shall the poor, the afflicted, the despised of the World, bear away the palm of victory, the crown of immortality, while I lie buried in my sloth and dead in my sins, and thus lose the brilliant and glorious mansion already prepared for me in heaven? Shall all the gifts, which God has lavished upon me, be ingloriously spent and foolishly wasted, in the petty contest for this worlds evanescent honors and riches, while the poor and contemned lay up treasures in heaven, and secure the prize of immortal glory? Shall others be the friends of God, whom He delights to honor, while I alone remain His enemy, and an alien from His blessed Kingdom?

It is a consoling evidence of progress in the spiritual life in this country to find the Martyrology here published, for the first time, in English, and thereby made accessible, in its rich treasures of Sanctity, to all classes of our population. It will prove highly edifying and useful, not only to the members of our numerous religious Communities of both sexes, but also to the laity generally. Every day has here its record of Sanctity; and there is scarcely a Christian, no matter how lowly or how much occupied, who may not be able to daily peruse, with faith and with great profit, the brief page of each day’s models of Holiness. These belong to all classes and callings of life; from the throne to the hovel, from the Pontiff to the lowest cleric, from the philosopher to the peasant, from the busy walks of life to the dreary wastes of the desert.

Let all, then, procure and read daily the appropriate portions of this Martyrology. Its daily and pious perusal will console us in affliction, will animate us in despondency, will make our souls glow with the love of God in coldness, and will lift up our minds and hearts from this dull and ever-changing earth to the bright and everlasting mansions prepared for us in Heaven!

Imprimatur,  J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop Baltimore, Maryland 1916

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______________________________

1   The Lapsi were early Catholics who renounced the Faith and either sacrificed to the Roman gods by edict from the emperor, or offered incense to them to escape Imperial persecution and death, and who later returned to the Faith when persecution subsided. However, Christ warns us, “Every one therefore that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in Heaven. But he that shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father Who is in Heaven.” (St. Matthew 10.3-33)

2 St. John 13.15

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