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Monday, September 26, 2016
Sts. Cyprian and Justina & The North American Martyrs
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Simple (1955 Calendar): September 26

Today we celebrate the life of Saints Cyprian and Justina. At Antioch the virtue of the virgin Justina converted Cyprian, a magician, to Christianity. Cyprian later became a priest and then a bishop. Both suffered martyrdom under Diocletian in the year 304, and their bodies were brought to Rome by some Christian mariners.


Collect:  Comfort us, O Lord, with the unfailing protection of Your holy martyrs Cyprian and Justina, for You are always merciful to those who are helped by Your saints.



Also in the United States, today is the Feast of the North American Martyrs: Ss. Isacc Jogues, John de Brebeuf, and their companions.   All in all, eight French Jesuit missioners, the first canonized saints of the North American continent, labored and died among the most barbaric of the Native Americans in the most impenetrable fastnesses of the 17th-century New World.

After struggling with unbelievable privations and hardships, they were severely tortured and martyred by the Iroquois Indians between the years 1642 and 1649.

Fathers Isaac Jogues and Anthony Daniel and the two lay oblates, John Lalande and Rene Goupil, gave their lives in what is now New York State; Fathers John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Charles Garnier, and Noel Chabanel in central Canada.

Collect: O God, You blessed the first fruits of the faith in the vast expanse of North America by the missionary labors and martyrdom of blessed Isaac, John, and their companions. May the harvest for Christ grow daily more abundant in the whole world through the intercession of these saints. Through our Lord . . .
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Thursday, September 22, 2016
St. Thomas of Villanova, Father of the Poor
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Double (1955 Calendar): September 22

St. Thomas of Villanova (1488-1555), whose feastday we celebrate on September 22nd, is the great saint of the Spanish Renaissance and good friend of Emperor Charles V.  St. Thomas joined the Hermits of St. Augustine, where his heroic qualities soon marked him for responsible offices in his community and then for ecclesiastical honor as archbishop of Valencia.

He was truly a man of infinite charity in word and deed; he lived as frugally as the poor who benefited by his unstinted almsgiving. While provincial of his order in Castile, he sent the first group of Augustinians to the Americas. Establishing themselves in Mexico, they were integral in the growth of Christianity in the New World.

As related on Catholic Fire:
Thomas García (1486-1555), the son of a miller who was born in Fuentellana, Castile, Spain. He studied theology at the University of Alcalá, where he later became a professor of philosophy. In 1516, Thomas was offered the chair of philosophy at the prestigious University of Salamanca, where the Augustinians had founded a monastery in 1377.  However, he declined the chair and instead entered the Augustinian Order in that city.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1520, Thomas served as prior of the Augustinian houses in Salamanca, Burgos, and Valladolid, and was later elected provincial of Andalusia and Castile. As provincial, he sent the first Augustinian missionaries to the New World where they helped evangelize what is now modern Mexico and, from there, the Philippines.

Thomas’ many gifts, especially his scholarship, powerful, uncompromising oratory, skills as a mediator and administrator, and his sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others, brought him to the attention of Emperor Charles V, who appointed him court chaplain and then archbishop of Valencia in 1544.

Thomas flourished in Spain at a time when the European peoples of the fifteenth and sixteenth century were confronted by challenges to their world views of the natural world, ecclesiastical authority, and the moral dilemmas concerning the nature of African slaves and the indigenous peoples of the Americas. As priest and archbishop, Thomas insisted that the material resources of the Church should be shared with those in the greatest need. His life was characterized by the love of learning, peacemaking, and as a reformer of the Church.

Thomas’ intellectual legacy is reflected in his constant demand that all learning must be inspired by the desire for God. He celebrated learning as an activity that ought to make a difference in the community and in the world. He emphasized that justice and love are the guiding rules of virtue and learning. In Thomas’ writings we find a rich synthesis of the thought of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, especially his emphasis on the innate desire for God in all peoples, the image of God in the human person, the power of grace, and a theology of love.

Thomas found himself in an ecclesiastical world that was filled with turmoil and struggles for power. His scathing attacks on his fellow bishops earned him the title of reformer, but he was motivated by a genuine desire that Church leadership personify the teachings of the Beatitudes. In words that are very contemporary, Thomas challenged all within the Church to serve the least powerful, and to discover love and wisdom in the service of others.

Thomas was known as “father of the poor.” He established social programs on behalf of the poor, including boarding schools and high schools for poor young men. For girls he provided dowries enabling them to be married with dignity. For the hungry, he created a soup kitchen in the bishop’s palace, and for the homeless he provided a place to sleep. In an Advent sermon, he said: “Rejoice, then, you poor people; shout for joy, you needy ones; because even if the world holds you in contempt you are highly valued by your Lord God and the angels.” His love of the poor extended to all creation.

In August of 1555, Thomas became ill with angina pectoris. As he lay dying, Thomas insisted that all his money be distributed to the poor. At the conclusion of Holy Mass in his room, shortly after receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, his last words were "In manus tuas, Domine..." ("Into Your hands, O Lord [I commend my spirit]").

Thomas was canonized by Pope Alexander VII on November 1, 1658.
In honor of the feastday of the Father of the Poor, consider reading my prior post on the Top 10 Traditional Catholic Charities.


Collect:

 O God, You blessed the holy bishop Thomas with an extraordinary love for the poor. Be moved by his intercession to pour out the treasury of Your mercies upon all who humbly pray to You. Through our Lord . . .
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Assisi V: Reparation Needed Today
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Please join me in praying today in reparation for the heretical actions that are being committed in Assisi. 
Pope Francis will be present at the 5th interreligious meeting of Assisi.

30 years after the first interreligious meeting set up by John Paul II, in Assisi, on October 27, 1986, Pope Francis will be present for the “World Day of Prayer for Peace” that is to close the Interreligious Summit for Peace organized by the community of Sant’Egidio.

 Francis will arrive in Assisi by helicopter on Tuesday, September 20, around 11am. He will be met at the Poor Clare convent by the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Aphrem II. Also present will be a representative for the Muslims, for the Jews, as well as the supreme head of the Japanese Tendai Buddhist school. These religious leaders will gather in the Sixtus IV cloister to meet the other representatives of worldwide religions and the Catholic bishops of Umbria… In all 400 representatives are expected to participate in this 30th anniversary of the meeting, whose slogan, this year, is “Thirsting for peace. Religions and cultures in dialogue.”

Source: SSPX
This event must be condemned for four reasons:

  • Because it offends God in His first commandment.
  • Because it denies the unity of the Church and Her mission of saving souls.
  • Because it can only lead the faithful into confusion and indifferentism.
  • Because it deceives the unfortunate unfaithful and members of other religions.
 Referring to the 1986 meeting in Assisi, Archbishop Lefebvre remarked:

It is demonic. It is an insult to our Lord Jesus Christ. Who will they pray to? What god will they pray to for peace? What peace can they ask for if they are not praying to the only true God? They will not be praying to our Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews do not want him, the Muslims and Buddhists do not want Him neither. Lots of Protestants do not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. What god will they pray to? God was made flesh and came and lived amongst us to save us. We have no right to pray to anyone else. If we put Jesus Christ aside, we are not praying to the true God. It is an indescribably impious act against our Lord Jesus Christ. (Spiritual Conferences, 117B, Jan. 28)
His Excellency Archbishop Lefebvre later said, "He who now sits upon the Throne of Peter mocks publicly the first article of the Creed and the first Commandment of the Decalogue. The scandal given to Catholic souls cannot be measured. The Church is shaken to its very foundations."

I hope that the priests of the SSPX will again offer votive Masses for the Propagation of the Faith: Missa 'Deus Misereatur,' as they did in 2011 during Assisi III.

As I have posted about many times, there is no salvation outside of the Church.  There is only one name under Heaven by which men can be saved and that is the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Acts 4:12).  So, please join me in saying rosaries in reparation for this most diabolical action initiated by the modernists.  Pray that our Holy Father will not pray with the pagans and infidels but preach and seek their salvation.

Read more in my post from 2011 concerning Assisi III.
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Sunday, September 18, 2016
September Ember Fast This Week
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Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Roman Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings. If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).  Ember Days are days of fasting and partial abstinence.

Ember Days this September: 21, 23, & 24

From New Advent:

Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class.

At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering: the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week--these were formerly given only at Easter.

Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.
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Thursday, September 15, 2016
Lay Eucharistic Ministry Born of Communist Infiltration
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Guest Article By David Martin

On June 29, 1972, on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of his coronation, Pope Paul VI declared to the world, "From some fissure the smoke of satan entered into the temple of God."

The pope was referencing the diabolical forces that had infiltrated the Church through the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

Now a key objective of Vatican II was the empowerment of the laity, in keeping with its theme of "active participation of the faithful." With the Council came the new definition of priesthood as The people of God. It saw whole Church as one hierarchy or priesthood, but in different ranks, with the ordained ministerial priesthood being only one rank of this priesthood. What was proposed was the fallacy that we are all priests of one hierarchy.

"The common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood are nonetheless ordered one to another; each in its own proper way shares in the one priesthood of Christ." (Lumen Gentium 10)

It is a well known and documented fact that the agents of Communism began entering our Catholic seminaries as far back as the 30s for the purpose of destroying the Church from within. Over a thousand such agents had infiltrated the seminaries prior to 1940. The testimonies of ex-communists like Bella Dodd and Manning Johnson who had testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee more than confirm that these agents of the sickle and hammer had been building their forces against the Church with the intention of breaking in and indoctrinating the faithful with anti-church principles.

Their plan was to first absorb Catholic philosophy and teaching in the seminaries so as to give them inside access to masterfully communicate and pull the Catholic hierarchy away from their traditional roots, so that they in turn would embrace revolutionary ideas and become pawns of ecclesial subversion. The Leninist "clenched fist" ideal would now be applied in a spiritual way where the "empowerment of the laity" would be a means of overthrowing the Church's monarchical structure, so that a new sense of democracy and religious liberty would take precedence over the established rule of religion issuing from the Seat of Peter.

Hence we have the modern-day role of lay Eucharistic ministers that are supposedly empowered to perform the priestly function of giving Communion. Eucharistic ministers indeed have been empowered, but their empowerment is from the dark forces. What we’re seeing today is Marxism in full swing. The insidious efforts of communists to infiltrate the Church are now manifest through this and other like practices, e.g. women lectors, lay liturgists.

It was a well orchestrated plan to undermine the priesthood so that spiritual revolution would later ensue under the pretext of a "renewal."

Bella Dodd said in the early 50s: "In the 1930s we put eleven-hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within." Twelve years before Vatican II, she said, "Right now they are in the highest places in the Church." She predicted that the changes they would implement would be so drastic that "you will not recognize the Catholic Church."

Dodd explained that of all the world's religions, the Catholic Church was the only one feared by communists. Her work as a communist was to give the Church a complex about its heritage by labeling "the Church of the past as being oppressive, authoritarian, full of prejudices, arrogant in claiming to be the sole possessor of truth, and responsible for the divisions of religious bodies throughout the centuries."

The focal point of attack would be the Holy Eucharist, as we read in the memoirs of communist agent AA 1025, whose briefcase was discovered after being killed in an auto accident in the mid-sixties. "To weaken more the notion of 'Real presence' of Christ, all decorum will have to be set aside. No more costly embroidered vestments, no more music called sacred, especially no more Gregorian Chant, but a music in jazz style, no more sign of the Cross, no more genuflections, but only dignified stern attitudes. Moreover, the faithful will have to break themselves from the habit of kneeling, and this will be absolutely forbidden when receiving Communion.... Very soon, the Host will be laid in the hand in order that all notion of the Sacred be erased."

Again AA 1025 says, "In the Mass, the words 'Real Presence' and 'Transubstantiation' must be deleted. We shall speak of ‘Meal’ and ‘Eucharist’ instead. We shall destroy the Offertory and play down the Consecration and, at the same time, we shall stress the part played by the people. In the Mass, as it is today, the priest turns his back to the people and fills a sacrificial function which is intolerable. He appears to offer his Mass to the great Crucifix hanging over the ornate altar. We shall pull down the Crucifix, substitute a table for the altar, and turn it around so that the priest may assume a presidential function. The priest will speak to the people much more than before. In this manner the Mass will gradually cease to be regarded as an act of adoration to God, and will become a gathering and an act of human brotherhood."

The foregoing coincides with leaked plans of the Masonic P2 Lodge in Italy that were issued just before Vatican II. Consider this excerpt from their 34 guidelines that were made effective March 1962.

"Get women and laity to give Communion, say that this is the Age of the Laity. Start giving Communion in the hand like the Protestants, instead of on the tongue, say that Christ did it this way. Collect some for Satan Masses."

Can we understand now why the Church today has been virtually overthrown by the post-conciliar revolution? Vatican II opened its doors and invited these agents of Satan to sit in on the Council and participate in the drafting of its documents. Or hadn't it occurred to us why the 1964 Vatican II Instruction Inter Oecumenici commanded that the traditional prayer to St. Michael at the end of Mass be "suppressed?" (Article 48) Obviously the old devil didn't want the faithful praying against him.

The same document states: "The main altar should preferably be freestanding, to permit walking around it and celebration facing the people." (Article 91) This coincides with the memoirs of the above mentioned agent who said, "We shall stress the part played by the people" and who complained that "the priest turns his back to the people and fills a sacrificial function which is intolerable."

There is no arguing that the faithful are called to have "active participation" in Christ, but this participation will consist in silent meditation on the Passion and contemplation on the Sacred Mysteries, not in assuming priestly functions or engaging in liturgical busy-body activity. We are called to sanctify our souls and to work out our salvation "with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12), which means we must respect Christ's monarchical authority and not attempt to assume functions which we are not authorized to perform.

If the Catholic hierarchy would simply follow rules and regulations and keep with the Church’s 2000-year tradition of having only consecrated priests administer Communion, their household wouldn’t be in such a shambles today. If heresy and apostasy now abound, it's because the hierarchy has lost confidence in the rule of tradition, fulfilling St. Paul's prophecy: "There shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but... will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." (2 Timothy 4:3)

If priests would dump their modernist inventions and let down their nets the traditional way, they would again bring up a marvelous catch for Christ, but if they continue on their present path of change and "renewal," they will continue laboring all night in the dark as they have since the Council.

If the church today is largely ignorant of the physical and supernatural presence of Christ in his sanctuary, it is because of these socialist lay-empowerment movements through which the Eucharist has been profaned. The Eucharist is the very heart of the Mystical Body around which the entire Church must revolve, therefore the members of Christ are dead members if they will not adore His True Body in the manner commanded by Christ, namely, by receiving on the tongue and from a priest only.

It was not without reason that St. Basil declared Communion in the hand to be "a great fault." St. Thomas Aquinas taught: "Because out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for touching this Sacrament." (Summa Theologica)

The Council of Trent reaffirmed the Church's continuous teaching forbidding lay people from administering Communion. "It must be taught, then, that to priests alone has been given power to consecrate and administer to the faithful, the Holy Eucharist. That this has been the unvarying practice of the Church... as having proceeded from Apostolic tradition, is to be religiously retained." - The Catechism of the Council of Trent

St. Paul warns that "whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and of the Blood of the Lord... For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 11: 27,29)

Hence it would be better never to receive Communion than to go up everyday in cafeteria fashion and receive from people who are not empowered to administer the Body of Christ. Though it has become a widely accepted "common-law" practice today, the use of Eucharistic ministers at Mass is illicit in that it radically breaks with the Church's 2000-year tradition.

The argument that Pope John Paul II sanctioned the use of Eucharistic ministers holds no water, since he was very much against this practice. The following is from his Redemptionis Sacramentum, issued March 25, 2004.

"If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers [priests] for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it. The practice of those Priests is reprobated who, even though present at the celebration, abstain from distributing Communion and hand this function over to laypersons." (Article 157)

How is it that most Catholic parishes today are embroiled in this lay ministry program in spite of this and other like prohibitions? It's because the tumor of communism continues to spread its cancerous errors throughout the Church. The ugly hand of communism has truly reached in to desecrate the Holy Eucharist.

Let us pray that the pope will finally consecrate Russia to the Blessed Virgin, so that the red tumor can be eradicated and health can be restored to Christ's Mystical Body
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Saturday, September 10, 2016
Round 12: Collectible Catholic Books for Sale
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In yet another update to my posts on the topic, I also have these titles for sale.  Prices include shipping.  Please email me at acatholiclife[at]gmail[dot]com for more information or to order.

The price is $20 each and includes shipping.

"Blessed and Poor: The Spiritual Oddyssey of the Cure of Ars," by Daniel Pezeril, 1961, 254 pp.

"Pascal and Theology," by Jan Miel, 190 pp., 1969, Johns Hopkins Press (on Jansenism)

"God and the Soul," by Rev.Henry Mohr, 298 pp., 1949 (sermons for the year)

"The Life of St. Pius V," by a Dominican Father, 351 pp., 1897

"The Duties of a Christian," by Montgros-Whelan, 278 pp., 1927, Herder publ.

"The Word of God," Msgr. Francis Borgongini-Duca, 212 pp., 1921-1940 (meditations on the Sunday gospel)

"Liturgy Bible Catechism," Henry Borgmann, CSsR, 201 pp., 1930

"Cross Upon Cross," Rev. Francis Thornton, 256, 1955 (life of Pius IX)

"The Life of Christ," Walter Elliott, CSP, 518 pp., 1901-1939 ed.
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Friday, September 9, 2016
Feast of St. Peter Claver and St. Gorgonius
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September 9th is the Feast of St. Peter Claver.  Cartagena, in Columbia, was the central slave mart of Spanish America. The slaves were transported on filthy ships like animals - the hapless Africans were forgotten men. A young Spanish Jesuit named Fr. Peter Claver appeared providentially in Cartagena in 1610, and until his death in 1654, he cared with the tenderness of Christ for the wracked bodies and tortured souls of the slaves.

During his long apostolate he baptized some three hundred thousand Negro children of God. The Church has designated him the special patron of all Catholic missioners working among the Negroes.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the Church worked tireless for the elimination of racially based slavery and condemned it repeatedly.

September 9th, besides the Feast of St. Peter Claver, is the feastday of St. Gorgonius.  During the early years of the fourth century, St. Gorgonius, with the help of his ally St. Dorotheus, both Christian freedmen in the palace of Diocletian at Nicomedia, managed to convert almost the whole imperial household.

When they saw another servant, Peter, tortured for having borne witness to Jesus, they protested to the Emperor. Emperor Diocletian promptly condemned them to severe tortures and then to death by strangulation.

St Gorgonius and St. Dorotheus died as martyrs for the Faith and won the crown of glory prepared for them before the world began.

St. Gorgonius, St. Dorotheus and St. Adrian, Martyrs by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876 

The Roman Martyrology commemorates St. Gorgonius and St. Dorotheus, today. St. Adrian was mentioned yesterday. St. Gorgonius, though chamberlain of the heathen Emperor, Dioclesian, was secretly a Christian, and with the assistance of Dorotheus, who occupied a similar position, he gradually converted all the chamberlains of the court to the Christian religion.

One day, when both had witnessed the cruel torturing of a Christian, condemned by the emperor, their hearts were filled with the desire to suffer martyrdom for their faith, and addressing Dioclesian they said: "Why do you torture only him? We profess the same religion, and we wish to suffer for Christ's sake as he suffers." The Emperor was highly incensed at these words, and both were immediately barbarously scourged, after which, salt and vinegar were poured upon their wounds. When this had been done, they were chained upon a gridiron, placed over a fire, and having been thus roasted for some time, they were at length hung. Thus died these two holy martyrs, animated to endurance by witnessing the martyrdom of others.

St. Adrian was converted in a similar manner. He was about twenty-eight years old, descended from the first Roman nobility, and was one of the most distinguished of the imperial courtiers under Maximian Galerius. He was often a witness of the sufferings of the Christians when they were tortured in the presence of the emperor. Considering the constancy and joy with which they suffered the most cruel pains, he came to the conclusion that such strength must be more than human, and that there must be a God who imparted it, and further, that this God must be the only true one. Having arrived thus far, he would no longer hide the change that had taken place in him, and he confessed publicly that he was a Christian, and desired to live and die as such. No sooner had the Emperor Maximian been acquainted with this, than he commanded him to be cast into a dungeon, where twenty-three others were already confined. Natalia, the wife of Adrian, who, for a long time, had been a Christian, was greatly rejoiced when she heard of his conversion. She hastened to the dungeon, threw herself upon his neck, kissed the chains that fettered him, and praised him that at last he had recognized the truth of Christianity. Having encouraged him to remain firm in the approaching combat, she had to leave him as she was not permitted to stay any longer.

A few days later, Adrian was informed that the emperor had sentenced him to die. Not in the least terrified at this message, he bribed the jailer to allow him to go to his wife and communicate to her this joyful news, promising to return in a few hours. When on his way, he met an acquaintance, who hastened before him to prepare Natalia for the coming of her husband. She was terrified when she heard of his coming, thinking that he must have become faithless to Christ. Running hastily to the door of the house, she closed it against him, saying that she neither could nor would recognize as her spouse, one who had become an apostate. Adrian called to her to listen, as he had not renounced the true faith, but had only returned to bring her the joyful news that he had been sentenced to die. Quickly opening the door to him, Natalia, falling at his feet, begged his pardon, and after some conversation, she returned with him to the prison, where she renewed her exhortations that he would remain firm, and she prayed to God to give him strength in his approaching martyrdom.

The day on which Adrian was brought before the Emperor, Natalia, going to him, said: "The time has now arrived, my beloved spouse, to manifest your noble resolutions. Think of the Almighty. Your sufferings will end, but the reward which you will receive in heaven has no end. If you have been brave in combating for your Emperor, who could give you only an earthly recompense, how much braver ought you to be when fighting for Christ, who will give you an eternal crown." Adrian, filled with Christian heroism, went to the Emperor, and as he fearlessly confessed Christ, the tyrant ordered him first to be scourged with rods, then beaten with clubs, and after this, to be torn with small iron hooks. Having suffered all this, he was led back to the dungeon, where Natalia and some other matrons waited for him. Embracing him most tenderly, she congratulated him on having so courageously withstood the first assault. She wiped the blood that flowed from his wounds, and endeavored in every possible way to give him some comfort.

The tyrant, hearing of it, forbade them henceforth to admit women into the prison. Natalia, going home, cut off her hair, put on male attire, and thus returned unknown to Adrian. Soon after came the imperial command to cut off the hands and feet of all the imprisoned Christians and to burn their bodies. The invincible confessors of Christ praised God and prepared themselves for the cruel martyrdom. Natalia requested the executioners to begin with her husband, that the sight of the sufferings of the others might not give him fear. Encouraging him to bear his pain with fortitude, she accompanied him to the place of execution, and there manifested a heroism such as perhaps the world had never before beheld. She herself laid the feet of her husband upon the block, and constantly animating him, she held them there until the executioner had cut them off. She then did the same with his hands. Adrian remained fearless to his last breath. Natalia reverentially kissed his feet and hands, but was not allowed to take them home with her. The fate of Adrian was shared by all those who had been imprisoned with him, and when they had all gloriously ended their combat, the executioners threw their bodies and limbs upon a pile of wood to burn them.

But a terrible storm arose, every one fled, and the rain extinguished the fire, which gave the faithful an opportunity to carry the bodies and limbs, as yet untouched by the flames, into the nearest Christian dwelling. They also bought for a large sum, the garments which the martyrs had worn and which the executioners had divided among themselves. Placing these and the sacred relics in a vessel, they brought them from Nicomedia, where these holy martyrs had suffered, to Constantinople. One arm of her husband was kept as a priceless treasure by Natalia, that incomparable Christian heroine. Some days later, Adrian appeared to her, and directed her to leave for Constantinople in order to escape the danger of becoming the wife of a heathen, as the Emperor desired. Natalia obeyed, went to Constantinople, and served God with great fervor, until Adrian again appeared to her in her sleep and said: "Come, thou zealous servant of Christ and of the Martyrs! take possession of the glory prepared for thee in Heaven!" She awoke, related her dream, again closed her eyes, as though she would sleep, and calmly and peacefully expired.




PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS.


I. Gorgonius and Dorotheus converted all the chamberlains of the Emperor to the true faith, and evinced a most admirable zeal for the salvation of souls. There may be also in our time, men in a subordinate condition, who have done the same in regard to their companions. By kind persuasions, by explaining the Catholic faith, by inviting them to listen to sermons, they have made them acquainted with the truth, and thus converted them. Those who have occasion for such pious work ought not to neglect it, as by it they prove their love to God and their neighbor, to the great benefit of their own souls. There are many other ways in which domestics, soldiers, and others, may give evidence of this love. You, perhaps, work with another servant, or have a friend or acquaintance, who is negligent or slothful in his prayers, in going to church, in partaking of the Holy Sacraments, in reading devout books, or in the exercise of other good works. You know another who is addicted to gambling, cursing, blasphemy, slander, or drinking.

He utters the most lascivious speeches and laughs at them; he sings the most abominable songs; reads heretical, superstitious, unchaste, or otherwise bad books. He is faithless to those whom he serves, and purloins all he can lay hold of; he frequents bad or dangerous company, and goes to places of sinful amusement. Oh! how you can prove your zeal; how strong a love can you show to God and to your neighbor, if you animate those who are tepid to greater fervor in prayer, to visiting the church, to partaking of the Holy Sacraments, to reading devout books, and other exercises of virtue, and in preventing those who are wicked from doing works of iniquity! In many cases, this is your duty, and by omitting it, you become guilty of the sins of others. It is not always possible for you to make an impression with your words; but you can do much by your example, and you can pray for those whom you can neither persuade nor dissuade. These means, given you by the Almighty, you must not neglect to make use of, if you truly love God and your neighbor.

You must do all you can, and where you are in doubt how to act, ask the advice of your confessor. I only tell you this: you cannot do anything more pleasing to God or more beneficial to mankind, than to admonish the sinner to do good, and to prevent him from doing evil. You must also know that you cannot do anything more displeasing to God, or more hurtful to yourself and your neighbor, than by restraining the latter from doing good or by tempting him to sin, or by giving him an opportunity of doing evil. Hence, guard yourself from restraining your fellow servants, your friends, or others, from praying, going to church to hear sermons, or similar pious works, by laughing at them, or by deriding their piety. Still more guard yourself from tempting them to faithlessness, disobedience, unchastity, or any other sin. Become not a partaker in the iniquities that your fellow servants commit. Do not assist them, even should they persecute you, or drive you from your place on account of it. It is much better to be driven from the house innocently, by the wickedness of such people, than deservedly to be precipitated into hell by the Almighty. If you were to poison, or otherwise kill, the body of your fellow-servant, you would render yourself guilty or death before the temporal authorities and would die by the hand of the executioner. What do you suppose you deserve from God, if you deprive your neighbor of the spiritual life of his soul, yes, even of eternal life, which you do by tempting him to sin or by giving him opportunities to do wrong, or by otherwise assisting him in doing evil? Do not doubt that you deserve the unavoidable punishment of Divine Justice, hell, eternal perdition. If you fear this, follow my advice.

II. "Think of God!" with these words Natalia animated her husband to endure bravely the most barbarous martyrdom. By saying this, she meant: "God is present; He sees your suffering, He will assist, strengthen, and richly recompense you. Think of this, and you will not regard your pains, you will remain constant." Take this today as an important lesson, not only to cheer you in adversity, but also to prevent you from sin and to animate you to remain steadfast in the path of rectitude. "Think of God:" He is always with you. He sees how and what you suffer. He will assist you with His grace and richly recompense you. Hope in Him, do not despair. He knows the good you do. He leaves nothing unrewarded. Therefore be zealous in doing good. God is with you, when you are in temptation to sin. He sees, hears, and knows everything. Nothing that you do escapes Him. Hence, dare not commit sin in His presence, before His very eyes. He can precipitate you into everlasting fire, the very moment you offend Him. Do not dare to utter an offensive word, or to give place to an evil thought; for He will one day call you to account for it. Think of God! In times long since past, this was the lesson the venerable Tobias gave to his son: "All the days of thy life, have God in thy mind; and take heed that thou never consent to sin." (Tobias, iv.)
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Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows
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In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Virgin Most Sorrowful,
Pray for us.

O Mary, humble servant of Sion, we pray to you. You heard the prophetic voice of Simeon; you accepted the revelation of the sorrowful road of your Son that pierced the depths of your heart like a sword. You experienced immense pain from his rejection by the people. Mary, we pray to you. Obtain for us the gift of understanding the sacrifice of Christ, of following his example as disciples, and of welcoming his salvation.
Hail, Mary…
Holy Mary…
Virgin most Sorrowful,
Pray for us.

O Mary, young virgin of Israel, fleeing to Egypt with your Son, Jesus, and defending his life against every danger, you endured the weariness of all mothers. Obtain the gifts of hope and strength for those who, like you, are attentive and watchful over the birth and growth of future generations, for those who are guardians of the designs of God for the future of the world.
Hail, Mary…
Holy Mary…
Virgin most Sorrowful,
Pray for us.

O Mary, faithful woman, you rejoiced greatly in the presence of your Son at the Passover feast of your people, but grieved at his unexpected disappearance. Grant the gift of a constant search in faith for your Son to those who are restless because of doubt, and to us, grant the joy of being found again when we lost.
Hail, Mary…
Holy Mary…
Virgin most Sorrowful,
Pray for us.

O Mary, humble handmaid of the Lord, you were enraptured by the blessedness your Son promised to those who fulfill the will of the Father. Help us to be docile to the will of God for us, and to accept the cross in our lives with the same love with which you accepted and bore it.
Hail, Mary…
Holy Mary…
Virgin most Sorrowful,
Pray for us.

O Mary, sorrowful Mother of the Lord, you have given us a wonderful example of love and strength near the cross. Teach us to love and be generously present to all who suffer. Grant that we may receive you in our home like a mother and learn through you example a new way of accepting the inevitable sufferings of life.
Hail, Mary…
Holy Mary…
Virgin most Sorrowful,
Pray for us.
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Tuesday, September 6, 2016
What are Angels? A Summary & Exposition on Angels for Catholics
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Tuesdays have always been devoted to the Angels in the Church.  In fact, each day of the week has always had a special focus with Tuesday being the angels.  In honor of this, I wish to post this summary of St. Thomas Aquinas' illustrious teachings on the Angels:

(QUESTIONS 50 TO 64)
50. THE SUBSTANCE OF THE ANGELS

1. Creatures exist in a series of grades. They participate and represent the goodness of God in various ways. In the world about us, there are three kinds of substances: mineral, vegetal, animal. These are all bodily substances. We find also in this world the human substance which is mineral, vegetal, and animal, and yet is something more; it is not all bodily; man has a spiritual soul. To round out the order of things, there must be some purely spiritual or nonbodily substances. Thus createdsubstances are: the completely bodily substance, the substance that is a compound of body and spirit, and the completely spiritual substance. Completely spiritual substances are called angels.

2. A bodily substance is composed of two substantial elements, primal matter and substantial form. In angels there is no compounding of matter and form. Matter does not exist in angels; they are pure substantial forms. That is to say, they are pure spirits; they are spirits with no admixture of matter in them.

3. Holy Scripture (Dan. 7:10) indicates the existence of a vast multitude of angels: "Thousands of thousands ministered to Him, and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before Him." Indeed, since the intention back of creation is the perfection of the universe as sharing and representing the divine goodness, it appears that the more perfect creatures should abound in largest multitude. It is, therefore, reasonable to suppose that angels exist in a multitude far exceeding the number of material things.

4. In bodily substances we distinguish their species or essential kind, and their status as individuals of that kind. For example, we distinguish in a man, (a) what makes him a human being, and (b) what makes him this one human being. Now, that which constitutes a thing in its species or essential kind is called the principle of specification. And that which constitutes a thing as this one item or instance of its kind is called the principle of individuation. In all creatures, the principle of specification is the substantial form which makes the creature an existing thing of its essential kind. And the principle of individuation is matter or bodiliness inasmuch as it is marked by quantity. Since angels have in them no matter or bodiliness at all, for they are pure spirits, they are not individuated. This means that each angel is the only one of its kind. It means that each angel is a species or essential kind of substantial being. Hence each angel is essentially different from every other angel.

5. The angels are incorruptible substances. This means that they cannot die, decay, break up, or be substantially changed. For the root of corruptibility in a substance is matter, and in the angels there is no matter.

51. ANGELS AND BODIES

1. Angels have no bodies. An intellectual nature (that is, a substantial essence equipped for understanding and willing) does not require a body. In man, because the body is substantially united with the spiritual soul, intellectual activities (understanding and willing) presuppose the body and its senses. But an intellect in itself, or as such, requires nothing bodily for its activity. The angels are pure spirits without a body, and their intellectual operations of understanding and willing depend in no way at all upon material substance.

2. That the angels sometimes assume bodies is known from Holy Scripture. Angels appeared in bodily form to Abraham and his household; the angel Raphael came in the guise of a young man to be the companion of the younger Tobias.

3. In bodies thus assumed, angels do not actually exercise the functions of true bodily life. When an angel in human form walks and talks, he exercises angelic power and uses the bodily organs as instruments. But he does not make the body live, or make it his own body.

53. ANGELS AND LOCAL MOVEMENT

1. Since an angel can be in a place (by definitive presence), it can be first in this place and afterwards in that place. That is to say, an angel can move locally. But this local movement of an angel is not like the local movement of a body. An angel is in a place by exercising its powers there; it can cease to apply its powers there and begin to apply them elsewhere; and this, equivalently at least, is a kind of local movement.

2. By this sort of local movement an angel may, at will, be present successively in several places and thus may be said to pass through the space between the first and the last place of the series. Or an angel may cease to apply its powers in the first place and begin to apply them in the last, not passing through the space between.

3. Since there is succession, that is, before-and-after, in the application of an angel's powers, now here and now there, it must be said that an angel's local movement occurs in time, and is not instantaneous. This time, however, is not measurable in our minutes or seconds; these units of time are applicable only to bodily movement.

55. THE MEDIUM OF ANGELIC KNOWLEDGE

1. God gives the angels their knowledge of things when he brings them into existence. This knowledge is creatural knowledge, and hence is not comprehensive, as is the knowledge of God alone.

2. An angel's ideas or intelligible species are directly imparted by the Creator; hence an angel has no need to learn. God gives to angels that extent of knowledge that he chooses to give.

3. And the extent of knowledge is not the same in all the angels. There are higher and lower angels. Each receives what is fitting and necessary for its status and the service it is to render, and therefore some angels know more than others. As we shall see later, the imparting of knowledge to angels by the Creator is comparable to light that shines through a succession of panes of glass, one under the other, so that while the light pours out at once and penetrates the whole series of panes, it may be truly said that the lower panes receive their light from the upper panes. And so the lower angels (that is, the less perfectly endowed angelic natures) are illuminated or instructed by the higher angels. Nor, as we see, does this conflict with the fact that angels have their knowledge from God as soon as they come into existence.

58. THE MODE OR MANNER OF ANGELIC KNOWING

1. An intellect is in potentiality in so far as it can know; it is in actuality in so far as it knows. An angelic intellect, in its natural knowing, has its full knowledge and there is nothing for it to learn. Yet it is not always considering everything that it knows. In regard to supernatural knowledge, the angelic intellect is always in actuality as to what it beholds in the divine Word; it may be in potentiality with reference to special divine revelations that may be made to it.

2. Angelic knowledge, arising from the vision of the divine Word (the beatific vision) is all possessed at once. In the realm of its natural knowledge, however, an angel may think of many things at once if these things are comprised under the same concept or species, but things comprised under various concepts or species cannot be all thought of at once by any creatural intellect.

3. Human intellectual knowledge is developed step by step; man advances from what he knows to what, at the start, is unknown. The process of human learning is exampled in the manner in which we prove a theorem in geometry. This way of thinking things out, step by step, is called discursive thinking or reasoning. Now, if, in the light of some master truth, we could see all that is implied in our thoughts, we should not need to work out knowledge by discursive thought. We should not, for example, need to work out the theorem in geometry, for we should instantly take in the whole demonstration and understand it thoroughly without effort. An angel actually has this type of knowledge. An angel does not require discursive thinking. In whatever area of its natural knowledge the angelic intellect is employed, it sees the whole picture; it beholds the thing thought about together with its implications and consequences, and therefore has no need to move from point to point to round out knowledge.

4. The human intellect forms ideas or concepts, and then compares these and pronounces judgment on their agreement or disagreement. Two ideas in the human mind are, when brought into comparison for judgment, in the relation of subject and predicate. When the predicate idea is found in agreement with the subject idea, the mind affirms the predicate of the subject, thus, "A stone is a substance." The mind or intellect thus composes or compounds the two ideas into an affirmative judgment. And when the predicate and subject do not agree, the mind divides them by a negative judgment, thus, "A stone is not a spiritual substance." Thus the human intellect works out its knowledge "by composing and dividing"; and from its judgments (made by composing and dividing) it works out other judgments by reasoning or discursive thinking. Now, the angelic intellect, as we have seen, has no need of this knowing process (of composing, dividing, reasoning), for its knowledge is not built up by abstraction from the peacemeal findings of senses. The angelic mind is like a clear mirror that takes in the full meaning of what it turns upon. Yet an angel understands our way of thinking and knows how we go about the business of composing, dividing, and reasoning.

5. In the natural knowledge of an angel there can be no falsehood or error. An angel knows truly all that it knows, and all that can be said of the object of its knowledge. And it goes without saying that in its supernatural knowledge an angel knows all that God wills it to know, without error or falsehood. But the fallen angels (or demons) are totally divorced from divine wisdom, and hence, in things supernatural, there can be error or falsehood in their knowing.

6. Inasmuch as angels know creatures in the Word of God, the beatific vision, they have what St. Augustine calls "morning knowledge." And inasmuch as they know creatures in the creatures' own being and nature, they have "evening knowledge."

7. It seems that St. Augustine makes a real distinction between morning and evening knowledge in the angels, for he says (Gen. ad lit. IV 24): "There is very great difference between knowing a thing as it is in the Word of God and as it is in its own nature."

59. THE WILL OF ANGELS

1. Where there is understanding of good, there is an understanding tendency to attain it. In other words, where there is intellect, there is will. There is intellect in angels; therefore there is will also.

2. In a creature, intellect and will are not identified. The angel's intellect is not the same faculty as the angel's will. These are two faculties, not one.

3. And will means free will. Will is an intellectual appetency; it is the faculty of tending to, or choosing, what is proposed by the intellect as good. Man, who is less perfect in the realm of intelligent creatures than angels, has free will; certainly, the, an angel possesses it. An angel exercises free will more perfectly than man does.

4. Man's will is subject to outside influence arising from the appetites of sense. The will is an appetency for good as such, good in its common aspects. But man's senses fix upon some particular good and tend towards it. These human sense-tendencies, when they are simple and uncomplicated tendencies, are called concupiscible appetites. And when these tendencies involve an awareness of difficulty in attaining the object (that is, the satisfying thing, the good, that they seek), they are called irascible appetites. Thus the sentient tendency or appetite called desire is a concupiscible appetite;whereas the sentient tendency of courage or daring, which tends to an object obtainable only by facing obstacle, threat, or danger, is an irascible appetite. These sentient appetites work into the intellective order in man and exercise an influence on the will and its choice. Now, since the angels have no sentient element, they are not subject to concupiscible and irascible appetites. Angels choose with a will uninfluenced by such nonspiritual tendencies.

60. LOVE IN THE ANGELS

1. Love is a natural inclination of a will towards its object. It is the fundamental operation of will. Where there is will, there is love. Hence there is love in the angels.

2. Love in an angel is not only a natural tendency, it is a knowing tendency of the intellectual order, and involves not only inclination but choice.

3. Every being loves itself in as much as it seeks its own good. Free creatures love themselves in this manner, and tend to, or desire, what will be a benefit to them. And in so far as free creatures exercise choice in striving for a beneficial object, they are said to love themselves by choice. Angels love themselves both by natural tendency and by choice.

4. Natural love of one creature for another is based upon some point of unity or sameness in lover and beloved. Since angels are all of the same spiritual nature, they naturally love one another. [Note: The angels are generically one; they are of the same genus or general essential class; we have already seen that they are specifically distinct, that each angel is the only one of its specific essential kind.]

5. By natural love, angels love God more than they love themselves. All creatures belong absolutely to God; they naturally tend to God as their ultimate end or goal. Freely loving creatures must recognize God as their end or goal and tend to him before all else. Hence love of God comes naturally (in free creatures) before love of self, and is the greater love. If this were not so, natural love would be a contradiction, for it would not be perfected by attaining its true object, but would be fruitless and self-destroying.

THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN

"Then he withdrew from them, about a stone's throw away, and knelt down and prayed.  'Father,' he said, 'if you are willing, take this cup away from me.  Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine.'  Then an angel appeared to him, coming from heaven to give him strength."

Luke 22: 41-43

61. THE CREATION OF THE ANGELS

1. Angels are creatures. They exist, not by necessity, but by having existence given to them. That is, they have existence by participation. Now, what has existence by participation receives this existence from that which has existence by its own essence. Only God exists by his own essence. Therefore, angels have their existence from God; they are created.

2. God alone exists from eternity. He creates things by producing them from nothing. Creatures exist after they were nonexistent. Hence angels do not exist from eternity.

3. It seems most likely that angels and the bodily world were created at the same time, not angels first (as a kind of independent world of spirits) and the bodily world afterwards. Angels are part of the universe, and no part is perfect if it be entirely severed from the whole, the totality, to which it belongs.

4. The angels were created in heaven. And it is fitting that creatures of the most perfect nature should be created in the most noble place.

62. GRACE AND GLORY OF THE ANGELS

1. Although the angels were created in heaven, and with natural happiness or beatitude, they were not created in glory, that is, in the possession of the beatific vision.

2. To possess God in the beatific vision the angels require grace.

3. And, while the angels were created in the state of sanctifying grace, this was not the grace which confirms the angels in glory. Had the angels been created with the confirming grace, none of them could have fallen, and some did fall.

4. Angels were created in grace, and by using this grace in their first act of charity (which is the friendship and love of God) they merited the beatific vision and heavenly beatitude.

5. Instantly upon meriting the beatitude of heaven, the angels possessed it. The angelic nature, being purely spiritual, is not suited for steps and degrees of progress to perfection, as is the case with man.

6. The higher angels, those of more perfect nature and keener intelligence, have greater gifts of grace than other angels; for their more perfect powers turn them more mightily and effectively to God than is the case with angels of lesser capacity.

7. The heavenly beatitude enjoyed by the angels does not destroy their nature or their natural operations; hence the natural knowledge and love of angels remain in them after they are beatified.

8. Beatified angels cannot sin. Their nature finds perfect fulfillment in the vision of God; it is disposed towards God exclusively. There is in beatified angels no possible tendency away from God, and therefore no possible sin.

9. Angels who possess God in beatific vision cannot be increased or advanced in beatitude. A capacity that is perfectly filled up cannot be made more full.

63. SIN OF THE FALLEN ANGELS

1. A rational creature (that is, a creature with intellect and will) can sin. If it be unable to sin, this is a gift of grace, not a condition of nature. While angels were yet unbeatified they could sin. And some of them did sin.

2. The sinning angels (or demons) are guilty of all sins in so far as they lead man to commit every kind of sin. But in the bad angels themselves there could be no tendency to fleshly sins, but only to such sins as can be committed by a purely spiritual being, and these sins are two only: pride and envy.

3. Lucifer who became Satan, leader of the fallen angels, wished to be as God. This prideful desire was not a wish to be equal to God, for Satan knew by his natural knowledge that equality of creature with creator is utterly impossible. Besides, no creature actually desires to destroy itself, even to become something greater. On this point man sometimes deceives himself by a trick of imagination; he imagines himself to be another and greater being, and yet it is himself that is somehow this other being. But an angel has no sense-faculty of imagination to abuse in this fashion. The angelic intellect, with its clear knowledge, makes such self-deception impossible. Lucifer knew that to be equal with God, he would have to be God, and he knew perfectly that this could not be. What he wanted was to be as God; he wished to be like God in a way not suited to his nature, such as to create things by his own power, or to achieve final beatitude without God's help, or to have command over others in a way proper to God alone.

4. Every nature, that is every essence as operating, tends to some good. An intellectual nature tends to good in general, good under its common aspects, good as such. The fallen angels therefore are not naturally evil.

5. The devil did not sin in the very instant of his creation. When a perfect cause makes a nature, the first operation of that nature must be in line with the perfection of its cause. Hence the devil was not created in wickedness. He, like all the angels, was created in the state of sanctifying grace.

6. But the devil, with his companions, sinned immediately after creation. He rejected the grace in which he was created, and which he was meant to use, as the good angels used it, to merit beatitude. If, however, the angels were not created in grace (as some hold) but had grace available as soon as they were created, then it may be that some interval occurred between the creation and the sin of Lucifer and his companions.

7. Lucifer, chief of the sinning angels, was probably the highest of all the angels. But there are some who think that Lucifer was highest only among the rebel angels.

8. The sin of the highest angel was a bad example which attracted the other rebel angels, and, to this extent, was the cause of their sin.

9. The faithful angels are a greater multitude than the fallen angels. For sin is contrary to the natural order. Now, what is opposed to the natural order occurs less frequently, or in fewer instances, than what accords with the natural order.

64. STATE OF THE FALLEN ANGELS

1. The fallen angels did not lose their natural knowledge by their sin; nor did they lose their angelic intellect.

2. The fallen angels are obstinate in evil, unrepentant, inflexibly determined in their sin. This follows from their nature as pure spirits, for the choice of a pure spirit is necessarily final and unchanging.

3. Yet we must say that there is sorrow in the fallen angels, though not the sorrow of repentance. They have sorrow in the affliction of knowing that they cannot attain beatitude; that there are curbs upon their wicked will; that men, despite their efforts, may get to heaven.

4. The fallen angels are engaged in battling against man's salvation and in torturing lost souls in hell. The fallen angels that beset man on earth, carry with them their own dark and punishing atmosphere, and wherever they are they endure the pains of hell. [Note: For further discussion of angels, see Qq. 106-114.]

THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT

106. HOW ONE CREATURE MOVES ANOTHER

1. One angel can enlighten another, the superior angel manifesting truths which it grasps perfectly to inferior angels whose grasp is less perfect. It agrees with the nature of intellectual creatures to move or effect others of their kind in this fashion of one teaching and others being taught.

2. Thus, by affording enlightenment, one angel may move another angel's intellect. But one angel cannot change another's will. Only God can effect such a change.

3. An inferior angel cannot enlighten a superior angel any more than a candle can bring illumination to the sun. Among human beings, who learn by degrees, because their knowing is bound up with material things, it can happen that one who knows much may be enlightened by one who knows little. This cannot be so among pure spirits who do not achieve knowledge ploddingly and piecemeal as human beings do.

4. The higher an angel is, the more it participates the divine goodness; consequently, the more it tends to impart its gifts to lesser angels. The superior angel tends to give all that it knows to inferior angels, but these cannot perfectly receive all that is given. Hence the superior angels remain superior even though they impart all their knowledge. Somewhat similarly, the human teacher who does all he can to impart his own complete knowledge to his young pupils, remains superior in knowledge even after he has taught the lesson; for the pupils take in by a lesser capacity than that of the giver.

107. THE SPEECH OF ANGELS

1.Angels manifest knowledge to one another, and to this extent they "speak" to one another. But the speech of angels is not a matter of sounds or of uttered words. The speech of angels is a direct communication of knowledge from spirit to spirit.

2. An inferior angel can speak to a superior angel, even though, as we have seen, it cannot enlighten the superior angel; a candle cannot enlighten the sun, but it can burn visibly in the sunlight. An angel speaks by directing its thought in such ways that it is made known to another angel, superior or inferior. Such directing is done according to the free will of the angel speaking.

3. Certainly the angels "speak" to God by consulting his divine will and by contemplating with admiration his infinite excellence.

4. Neither time nor place has any influence on angelic speech or its effect. Local distance cannot impede the communication of angels.

5. Angelic speech is the ordering of angelic mind to angelic mind by the will of the angel speaking. Now, it belongs to the perfection of intellectual communication that it can be private; even a human being can speak to another person alone. Therefore, the angels who are superior to human beings, must be capable of communicating thoughts, angel to angel, without making their communication known to all the other angels. The scope of angelic communication depends on the will of the angel speaking; this will determines the communication for one other angel, or for several, or for all.

108. THE HIERARCHIES AND ORDERS OF ANGELS

1. A hierarchy is a sacred principality. And a principality means ruler and subjects. If we speak of the hierarchy of God and creatures, there is only one hierarchy. But if we consider only creatures who are dowered with God's gifts, there are many hierarchies. There is, for example, a human hierarchy; there is an angelic hierarchy. Indeed, among the angels themselves, there are three hierarchies according to three grades of angelic knowledge. But in God himself, that it, in the Blessed Trinity, there is no hierarchy. For there is no greater or lesser among the three Persons in God. All three persons are one and the same God. The trinity is an order of distinct Persons, but it is not a hierarchical order.

2. The nature of a hierarchy requires a classifying of orders within it; these may be loosely described as upper, middle, and lower orders. In human social and political groups we have such a classification: the nobility or aristocracy; the middle classes; the common people. Among angels there are three orders in each hierarchy (upper, middle, and lower orders), and, since there are three angelic hierarchies, there are, in all, nine orders of angels.

3. As we have noticed, our human knowledge of angels is not direct and perfect; we cannot know angels as they are in themselves. In our imperfect way, we assign many angels to each order, even while we realize that, since each angel is a complete species, it has its own specific office, and, to that extent, its own order. We cannot discern what these specific offices and orders are. If star differ from star in glory, much more does angel differ from angel. Our classification of angelic orders is, therefore, a kind of general classification.

4. Among human beings, who are all of one species and nature, a hierarchy, in the true sense of sacred principality, is a hierarchy of holiness, that is, of God's grace. But, as we have just recalled, angels are distinguished from one another, not only by the gifts of grace, but by their very nature; for each angel is the only being of its specific kind. Each angel is essentially different from every other angel, whereas each human being is essentially the same as every other human being. Moreover, the gifts of grace are given to angels to the full of their natural capacity to receive them; this is not the case with human beings.

5. There are three angelic hierarchies. Each hierarchy has three orders. All the heavenly spirits of all hierarchies and orders are called angels. Thus the term angel is common and generic. The same name, usually with a capital letter, is the proper and collective name for the lowest order of the lowest hierarchy of heavenly spirits. We must therefore distinguish angel, which means any heavenly spirit from highest to lowest, from Angel which means a member of the lowest order of all.

6. The following hierarchies and orders exist among the angels: (a) The highest hierarchy includes the orders of (in descending order of rank) Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones. (b) The middle hierarchy includes (in descending order of rank) the orders of Dominations, Virtues, Powers. (c) The lowest hierarchy includes (in descending order of rank) Principalities, Archangels, Angels. This classification is commonly, but not unanimously, accepted by learned doctors.

7. After the end of this bodily world, the angelic orders will continue to exist, but their offices will not be altogether the same as they now are, for they will then no longer need to help human beings to save their souls.

8. By the gifts of grace, human beings can merit glory in a degree that makes them equal to the angels in each of the orders. Therefore, human beings who get to heaven are taken into the angelic orders. But these human beings remain human beings; they are not turned into angels.


109. ORDERS AMONG THE FALLEN ANGELS

1. The angels that rebelled and became demons did not lose their nature or their connatural gifts. They cast away, by their sin, the grace in which they were created. They did not cast away the beatific vision, for they never had it. Now, if we think of angelic orders as orders of angels in glory, then, of course, there are no orders of bad angels. But if we consider angelic orders as order of angelic nature simply, there are orders among the demons.

2. Certainly, there is a precedence among bad angels; there is a subjection of some to others.

3. Demons of superior nature do not enlighten inferior demons; enlightenment here could only mean the manifestation of truth with reference to God, and the fallen angels have perversely and permanently turned away from God. But demons can speak to one another, that is, they can make known their thoughts to one another, that is, they can make known their thoughts to one another, for this ability belongs to the angelic nature which the demons retain.

 4. The nearer creatures are to God the greater is their rule over other creatures. Therefore, the good angels rule and control the demons.

110. THE ACTION OF ANGELS ON BODIES

1. Superior rules inferior; hence angels rule the bodily world. St. Gregory says that in this visible world nothing occurs without the agency of invisible creatures.

2. Angels, however, have not power to produce or transform bodies at will. God alone gives first existence to things; after first creation, bodies come from bodies. But angels can stir bodily agencies to produce change in bodies.

3. Angels can directly control the local movement of bodies, for this is an accidental change in bodies, not a substantial production of bodies nor a substantial change.

4. Angels cannot, of themselves, work miracles. A miracle, by definition, is a work proper to God alone. Of course, angels can serve, even as holy men may serve, as ministers or instruments in the performing of miracles. Angels, good or bad, can do wonderful things, but only such as lie within the power of angelic nature, and a miracle surpasses the powers of all created natures.

111. THE ACTION OF ANGELS ON MEN

1. Since angels are superior to man, they can enlighten man. They can strengthen the understanding of human beings and make men aware, in some sensible manner, of the truths to be imparted. Thus angels can act upon the human intellect.

2. But angels cannot act directly upon the human will; God alone can do this.

3. Nevertheless, angels, good or bad, can exercise an indirect influence on human wills by stirring up images in the human imagination. And angels, good or bad, can, by their natural power, arouse sentient appetites and passions in the same way, that is, by producing images in the human imagination.

4. Equally, an angel can work upon the human senses, ether outwardly, as, for example, by assuming some visible form, or inwardly, by disturbing the sense-functions themselves, as, for example, making a man see what is not really there.

112. THE MISSION OR MINISTRY OF ANGELS

1. God sends angels to minister to his purposes among bodily creatures. This sending or mission is not the dispatching of angels upon a journey. To be sent means to be present in a new place in which one was not present before, or to be present where one was but in a new way. An angel is present where it exercises or applies its powers, and not elsewhere. When God has an angel apply its powers to a creature, the angel is sent to that creature. God is the sender and the first principle of the effect produced by the angel sent; God is also the ultimate goal or final cause of the work so produced. The angel is God's minister or intelligent instrument; by its being sent it renders ministry to God.

2. It seems that, of the nine orders of angels, only five orders are sent for the external ministry, and that the superior angels are never sent.

3. Angels are said to assist before the throne of God. All angels assist inasmuch as all permanently possess the beatific vision. But, in a special sense, only the superior angels assist before God's throne. These superior angels, beholding mysteries in God, communicate what they behold to the inferior angels. All good angels see God in the beatific vision, but the superior angels behold deeper and wider mysteries in God than do the lesser angels. By their deeper and wider knowledge of divine mysteries, the superior angels are said to assist.

4. Angels sent in the external ministry are those whose names indicate some kind of administrative or executive office. These are, in descending rank, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, Angels.


113. ANGEL GUARDIANS

1. It is fitting that changeable and fallible human beings should be guarded by angels, and thus steadily moved and regulated to good.

2. St. Jerome, in his commentary on Matthew 8:10, says "The dignity of human souls is great, for each has an angel appointed to guard it." God's providence extends, not only to mankind as a whole, but to individual human beings. Each human being has, by God's loving providence, his own guardian angel.

3. It seems that the office of being guardians to men belongs to the lowest order of heavenly spirits, that is, the ninth order, the order of Angels.

4. Each human being, without exception, has a guardian angel as long as he is a wayfarer, that is, during his whole earthly life. In heaven a man will have an angel companion to reign with him, but not a guardian; no guardian is needed when the guarded journey has been successfully completed. In hell, each man will have a fallen angel to punish him.

5. Each human being has his guardian angel from the moment of his birth, and not, as some have taught, only from the moment of baptism.

6. The guardian angel is a gift of divine providence. He never fails or forsakes his charge. Sometimes, in the workings of providence, a man must suffer trouble; this is not prevented by the guardian angel.

7. Guardian angels do not grieve over the ills that befall their wards. For all angels uninterruptedly enjoy the beatific vision and are forever filled with joy and happiness. Guardian angels do not will the sin which their wards commit, nor do they directly will the punishment of this sin; they do will the fulfillment of divine justice which requires that a man be allowed to have his way, to commit sin if he so choose, to endure trials and troubles, and to suffer punishment.

8. All angels are in perfect agreement with the divine will in so far as it is revealed to them. But it may happen that not all angels have the same revelations of the divine will for their several ministries, and thus, among angels, there may arise a conflict, discord, or strife. This explains what is said in Daniel 10:13 about the guardian angel of the Persians resisting "for one and twenty days" the prayer of Daniel offered by the Archangel Gabriel.

114. ASSAULTS OF BAD ANGELS ON MAN

1. To tempt means one of two things: (a) to make a test or trial; thus "God tempted Abraham" (Gen. 22:1); (b) to invite, incite, or allure someone to sin. It is in the second sense of the word that the fallen angels tempt human beings. God permits this assault of the demons upon men, and turns it into a human opportunity and benefit; God gives to men all requisite aid to repulse the assaults of demons, and to advance in grace and merit by resisting temptation.

2. To the devil (who is the fallen Lucifer, now Satan) belong exclusively the plan and campaign of the demons' assaults upon mankind.

3. In one way the devil is the cause of every human sin; he tempted Adam and thus contributed to the fall which renders men prone to sin. But, in a strict sense, diabolical influence does not enter into every sin of man. Some sins come of the weakness of human nature and from inordinateness of appetites which the sinner freely allows to prevail.

4. Angels cannot perform miracles; therefore demons cannot. But demons can do astonishing things, and can occasion real havoc.

5. When the assault of demons is repulsed, the devil is not rendered incapable of further attack. But it seems that he cannot return immediately to the assault, but only after the lapse of a definite time. God's mercy as well as the shrewdness of the tempter, seems to promise so much.

For more information, please see my prior post: How Could the Angels Fall?
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Monday, September 5, 2016
Prayer for the Success of the Eucharistic Congress
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O Jesus, who art really, truly and substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament to be the food of our souls, design to bless and bring to a successful issue all Eucharistic Congresses and gatherings, and especially [the upcoming Congress of the Diocese of Charlotte to be held September 9th & 10th].

Be Thou the inspiration of our labors, resolutions and vows; accept graciously the solemn homage we will render to Thee.  Send Your Holy Spirit to kindle the hearts of priests, deacons, religious and all the faithful, especially the children, so that devout participation in the Holy Mass and frequent and daily Holy Communion may be held in honor in all countries of the world.

And grant that the Kingship of Your Sacred Heart over human society may everwhere be acknowledged to the glory of God the Father.  Amen.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, blessed the Congress. 
Holy Mary, Mother of God, Patroness of our Diocese, pray for us.
Saint Paschal Baylon, pray for us.
Saint Patrick, pray for us.
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Is Mother Teresa Truly a Saint?
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As a result of the changes in the canonization process following Vatican II, there is no reasonable concern to believe that modern beatifications and canonizations are no longer infallible.  As a result of this doubt and because of the heterodox comments by alleged saints including John XXIII and John Paul II, Catholics must ask themselves whether the process of canonization is truly infallible or not.  And if it is not infallible due to the modern changes to this most sacred process, what are we to think of modern canonizations like that yesterday of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Mr. John Vennari's article published in the Angelus Magazine: The New Canonizations - Doubt and Confusion summarizes the issues with the new process:
Speaking of the rigorous pre-Vatican procedure for beatifications, eminent Catholic historian William Thomas Walsh, who died in 1949, wrote the following: “No secular court trying a man for his life is more thorough and scrupulous than the Congregation of Rites in seeking to establish whether or not the servant of God practiced virtues both theological and cardinal, and to a heroic degree. If that is established, the advocate of the cause must next prove that his presence in Heaven has been indicated by at least two miracles, while a cardinal who is an expert theologian does all he can to discredit the evidence—hence his popular title of advocatus diaboli, or Devil’s Advocate. If the evidence survives every attempt to destroy it after months, years and sometimes centuries of discussion, he is then beatified, that is, he is declared to be blessed.”

We will later note the new 1983 process of canonization dispenses with the Devil’s Advocate, and eliminates the stringent juridical method in favor of an academic approach. The discarding of the “thorough and scrupulous” procedure praised by Mr. Walsh cannot help but introduce doubt to the integrity of the entire new process—especially in the case of “fast-track” canonizations.

Mr. Walsh further noted the following about the traditional process: “The final stage of canonization, the last of twenty distinct steps, may take even more years or centuries. It must be proved beyond any reasonable doubt that two additional miracles have been performed through the instance of the servant of God, since the beatification. When and if this is done, the Pope issues a bull (a sealed letter) of canonization.”

Continue Reading the Full Article
As a result of these changes and in virtue of their manifest errors, the canonizations are John XXIII and John Paul II raise serious concerns as to the validity of modern canonizations


By the same logic, we must truly discern whether Mother Teresa is a saint (i.e. a person who at present is in Heaven and whose live is worthy of imitation by those on earth).   Marian T. Horvat in What about the Orthodoxy of Mother Teresa? addresses the issue well:
No one questions that she rendered care and assistance to the poor of Calcutta and championed the rights of the unborn. The problem lies in the matter of faith, the first and most important of the heroic virtues necessary to be proclaimed a blessed. It would seem that there would certainly be cause for examination of some statements of Mother Teresa that imply that salvation is possible in all different creeds and beliefs. I will rephrase the problem: Can someone who affirms or implies that the Catholic Church is not the only true Church – as she did – be beatified?

....

She is lauded as a great ecumenical teacher of prayer. Those who praise her spiritual meditations read like a line-up from an Assisi Prayer Encounter: a Jewish Rabbi, a Zen teacher, a Tibetan Buddhist master, a Protestant minister, and the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, among others. The latter, Bishop Anthony Pilla, calls the meditations “kernels of truth … deep in wisdom and spiritual insight”:

Here is one of those “kernels.” Mother Teresa stated:

“Some call Him Ishwar, some call Him Allah, some simply God, but we have to acknowledge that it is He who made us for greater things: to love and be loved. What matters is that we love. We cannot love without prayer, and so whatever religion we are, we must pray together.”

This is not an isolated statement taken out of context. It is one of many such testimonials indicating Mother Teresa’s general attitude of indifference to what creed a man professed.(1) In this meditation, she shows an unorthodox notion of God, as well as a distorted notion of love. 

So, Mother Teresa presented a false supposition – that these “gods” are all the one true God Whom the Catholic Church adores. This assertion is completely wrong. It stands in opposition to simple natural reason and directly contradicts Catholic dogma.

It is hard to believe that Mother Teresa was beatified after making this kind of statement, which objectively reflects her typical thinking. It is likewise difficult to understand how Catholic authorities can praise such an assertion as a “kernel of truth.”

...

Therefore, when someone loves the true God, Who is all-good, this is a good thing. But if someone has affection toward something evil, toward something that he calls god but is really a devil, this is not a good thing. It is an evil passion, not a good love, and the person needs correction, not empathy. There are, in fact, limits set in love. St. Thomas Aquinas taught this clearly: Passions “are evil if the love is evil, and good if it is good” (3)

This teaching is missing, however, in the meditation of Mother Teresa on God.

  •  First, she assumed the false supposition that God is the same for Muslims, pagans and Catholics.

  •  Second, she simplified the notion of love, and implied that one can love both the good and the evil, that the object of one’s love is an indifferent subject. All that matters is love. This contradicts the teaching of basic Catholic Catechism that instructs us to love the true God above all things.

A nun, even a very popular one, who would state these two errors would normally not be a blessed or a saint, since to achieve this honor her teachings on matters of Faith could not contain error, even a slight error. This is crucial not only because it involves the honor and integrity of the Church, but also because a blessed must be model of salvation for the Catholic faithful.
I do pray that Mother Teresa is indeed a saint and that all of her good works for the salvation of souls and the care of the poor have cancelled out the grave error in these words that seem to support the insidious notion of religious liberty.  There is only one True God - and we are all called to bring others to the Ark of Salvation by worshiping this One God in the one, true Catholic Church. 

Let us pray that those who now honor Mother Teresa as a saint will not follow her "kernels" that lead others to error and outside of the Ark of Salvation.

Lord help us and save Thy Church in this time of grave confusion!
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Saturday, September 3, 2016
Our Lady of Consolation (Saturday after the Feast of St. Augustine)
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As part of the Traditional Missal, the Feast of Consolation occurs on the Saturday after the Feast of St. Augustine of Hippo, which falls on August 28th.  This Feastday is kept by various religious orders in the Church.

The following is taken from Our Lady's Feastdays by Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D:
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are the Comforter of the Afflicted because in your lifetime you bore every sort of affliction and you can now sympathize with me in my sufferings. You willingly became the Mother of Jesus when you answered the message of the Archangel Gabriel with the words "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word" (Luke 36, 38). This marked the beginning of your life of suffering together with Jesus. Simeon prophesied it when you offered the little Victim-Savior to the Heavenly Father for the first time in the temple: "And thy own soul a sword shall pierce" (Luke 2, 35). You confidently accepted whatever God willed. You bore your sorrows bravely because you received them from God's hands. 
Three swords brought anguish to you while Jesus was yet a young child, four swords pierced your soul in His Holy Passion. Yet no selfish thought, no bitter resentment has marred your beauty. From the knowledge of the Will of God you gathered the strength that was to uphold you at the foot of the Cross on which your Son hung, dying. Through thirty-three years of Jesus' life on earth you suffered in silence. The climax of that sorrow came when the innocent Victim for the sins of mankind was given, dead, into your arms. Your loving submission to the Divine Will could not dry your tears, but it quieted the agony of your mother-heart. 
Mary, My Mother, you associated yourself with the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus in order that you might share in His glorification. You had to become the Mother of Sorrows before you were raised above the angels as Heaven's Queen. En life's dark hours you always remembered that you were God's handmaid, and you always wanted everything to be done according to His holy Will. Your heart was visited with seven swords of sorrow before you became the Comforter of the Afflicted and the Cause of our Joy. 
2. Mary, Mother of God, I pour out to you the sorrows of my own troubled heart. In your greater sorrow may my own be lost, and in calm resignation may my anguished soul find peace and strength. Through the sorrow which you felt during your whole life, but especially when you saw Jesus led to His death and then crucified, obtain for me the grace that I may patiently bear the sufferings which God has seen fit to send me, even as you bore your sufferings. Let this be my consolation to know that I am doing God's Will. I shall be blessed if I imitate you in bearing my cross till death. Since you bore a much heavier one together with your innocent Son, should not I, a sinner deserving of eternal punishments, carry mine patiently? Let me find consolation and strength in your favorite devotion—the rosary. 
When you lived in this valley of tears, you were ever loving and merciful toward the afflicted. How much more compassionate are you now since you reign happily in Heaven? Now you realize human misery more fully and, therefore, show your mercy and compassion and help more generously. You are indeed our Mother, and a mother can never forget her children. 
Mary, My Mother, I thank you for having suffered and wept for love of me that you might become my consolation in affliction. I entrust to you all my anxieties and needs so that through the merits of your sorrows I may bear the trials and sufferings of life with the same love and resignation to God's Will with which you bore yours. I beg you to make me strong enough to bear my trials for the love of God so that I may become like you in suffering. Help me to cling tightly to Jesus and to you. May each pain and disappointment of my life become a perfect act of love of God because I offer all to God through your immaculate hands. 
To you I entrust my soul for which Jesus died and I beg you to help me to save it. Protect me from the snares of the world, the flesh and the devil. And grant that after having suffered with you and your loving Son in this life, I may be glorified with You both in His Kingdom beyond the stars. 
3. Mary, Mother of God, I thank you for being my companion in suffering. You love me with a Heart human like my own—a Heart that can understand my sorrows and problems since you experienced all that I must bear; a Heart that can sympathize with me and befriend me in my hour of need. Not all the affection you pour out upon countless other souls lessens your love for me. Even when I forget you and begin to complain in my sufferings and crosses, you try to console me. Even when I disappoint you by doing my best to shake off the cross God has placed upon my shoulders, you pray for me. When I have pain, you are ready to comfort and strengthen me. 
I am most grateful for such devoted love and sympathy. You are indeed the most wonderful Mother that has ever walked this earth. Teach me to answer such love with childlike confidence. I want to turn to you in all my pressing needs and difficulties as to a most sure refuge, imploring the help of your protection, choosing you as my advocate, whole-heartedly entrusting my cause to you who are the Consoler of the Afflicted. But that my devotion may be acceptable and my homage pleasing, let me endeavor to maintain within my soul, as much as possible the spotlessness of your purity and try to walk in your footsteps humbly and gently. 
Mary, My Mother, I unite myself with you in the spirit in which you offered yourself as a sacrifice of love during your lifetime. Through your hands I offer myself with Jesus during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Give my heart sentiments like His and your own so that, through frequent Holy Communion and prayer, I may become a worthy co-victim with Jesus, holy and pleasing to God, and so that all the actions, sufferings, tears and disappointments of my life may be thus consecrated to God as a sacrifice for His glory and the salvation of souls, especially my own. Everything that God may send me, or permit in my life, whether favorable or unfavorable, sweet or bitter—even illness, is acceptable to me, for I have resolved, after your example to conform myself to the Divine Will in all things. Jesus invites me to do so, for He said, "Take my yoke upon you...My yoke is easy and My burden light" (Matt. 11, 29).
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