Category Archives: Catholic

The Beatitudes

1 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
3 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
4 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
5 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
6 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
7 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
8 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:3-12


“Received” or Not, the Beatitudes Point Us to Holiness


Father Jeffrey Kirby, Sunday, June 8, 2018

Beauty is the perfection of order and symmetry, and as such is a primary source of holiness. This basic truth can be seen by any Christian believer or any person of good will. And yet, such a claim is regarded as peculiar in contemporary Western societies because of something Saint Paul unmasked, namely, the “great exchange” of divine glory for the fallen things of this world. (cf. Romans 1:18-24)

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

In its current Western form, this great exchange abandons religion for self-help practices, the objective realities of life for subjective preferences, faith-and-reason for an absolutized reason without conditions, male/female complementarity for sexual disorder. And – sadly – the compromises of the great exchange continue into a rapid downward spiral of confusion and misery.

In such societies, people are fragmented, institutions of belonging are redefined, and essential sources of identity are clouded. This leads to widespread social ills, from an epidemic in pornography, widespread opioid abuse, to an increase in suicide rates.

But weren’t we made for something greater that makes beauty and holiness possible in our souls and in society?

It was to answer such questions that Jesus Christ entered human history. By his life and teachings, culminating in his Paschal Mystery, the Lord points us to a more excellent way. He presents this way of life in what the Christian tradition has come to call “the Beatitudes.” The Lord gives the Beatitudes as an interior autobiography of his own heart. He offers them as a remedy to our ills, and as a path toward internal harmony and social tranquility.

The eight Beatitudes reflect the symmetry of beauty and are, therefore, a sure path to peace and holiness. Rather than a random collection of platitudes, the Beatitudes hold an inner logic and offer us a path to harmony.

It is no surprise that only the first and eighth Beatitude refer to the “kingdom.” The two are seen to form bookends. The first Beatitude calls for a “poverty of spirit,” which is a radical existential declaration of a true need for God. This is the beginning of wisdom, tranquility, and happiness. The eighth Beatitude, by contrast, is a commission to accept persecution for the sake of righteousness.

In between, however, lies the hard work for holiness. As the first Beatitude leads us to an assertion of our need for God, so the second one calls us to a sorrow and repentance for our sins and the evil of the world. This grieving compels us to the meekness of the third Beatitude. The meekness here is not passivity, but an authentic desire to know our place in the world, to discern our vocation, given by God, and to live accordingly.

The movement of the first three Beatitudes – from our need for God, our sorrow over evil, and our drive to know our place – reaches a culmination in the fourth Beatitude, which urges on us hunger and thirst for righteousness. Knowing ourselves better, we now want to be excellent, virtuous, and holy. This hunger and thirst doubles down and re-directs our attention.

The focus shifts, therefore, in the fifth Beatitude. We now look to our neighbor and are moved to mercy. From this state of compassion, we are guided into the “purity of heart” of the sixth Beatitude. Such a summons to purity helps us to see God’s Providence, to see what others cannot, namely, healing in brokenness, goodness in the midst of evil, and the power of light over darkness.

This enables us to be the “peacemakers” of the seventh Beatitude and to desire a tranquility of order in our own lives and in the world around, which makes us strong enough and ready to accept and live the commission of the eighth Beatitude.

This simple walk through the Beatitudes reveals to us the beauty of holiness, but also its challenges.

In our culture, there are Jesuitical attempts to discredit moral truth about marriage, family, and sexuality. By classifying certain moral truths, such as sodomy or contraception, as not having been “received” by the People of God (since a majority of believers may not consent to them), such teachings are argued to have not, therefore, really been given by the Holy Spirit.

But we could say the same about the very Beatitudes given to us by Jesus. Many have tried to live up to them, but then quit because they appeared to be too hard or not rewarding enough. Some only pay the Beatitudes lip service, others try to redefine them, while still others completely reject them.

It might even be argued that a majority of believers do not assent to the full life of the Beatitudes. And yet, could we claim that they have not been “received” and therefore are not from God? And even if they’re not “received,” can they be let go?

Of course not. The Beatitudes are here to stay, as is all moral truth. And any such argument is an abuse of the sensus fidelium, which does not mean “what’s everybody doing,” but is the actual living out of the Church’s declared faith by the People of God. That way of viewing things does not reflect the demands of discipleship born from truth and beauty, but rather manifests a rationalization of the tenets of revealed religion. The argument is an intellectual appeasement of this world and a shameful display of the “great exchange” denounced by Saint Paul.

And so, whether “received” or not, the Beatitudes, and the entire body of moral truth, offer the human family another way, a more excellent way, of love. It’s a way that is difficult and marked by toil and struggles. It’s rejected by many. But it’s one that leads to true peace. And the hearts that receive it – and labor to live it – find holiness and the joy of life in God. And they’re the ones whose righteousness ends up converting and changing the world.

Credo – I Believe

I believe that our Blessed Lady has a special intention for the Credo. Under her influence I always treat it as more than a kind of public profession. It is primarily a prayer because Faith is a theological virtue. “I belief Lord. Help me in my unbelief.” I think it would be better for it to be sung on the special occasions of re-dedication. The English Credo is the Mother’s Milk of sung prayers; babies can sing it. (Latin would be wonderful, but be all things to all people.) Accordingly, I have moved English to the top.
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Panis Angelicus

Eucharist_Fatima_Angel_ChildrenThe Angel appeared to the children at the Loca do Cabeço, in the fall of 1906. He was “holding a chalice in his hands, with a host above it from which some drops of blood were falling into the Sacred vessel.” The Angel left the chalice and host suspended in the air, and prostrated himself upon the ground with the children and prayed the following prayer with them three times:

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer you the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners. Amen.

The Angel then rose, and taking the host he gave it to Lucy, and to Jacinta and Francisco he gave the contents of the chalice, saying as he did so: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Repair their crimes and console your God.” Then he prostrated himself once more with the children and repeated the prayer to the Most Holy Trinity three times, then disappeared.

My sweet Lord, look with mercy upon your people and especially upon the mystical body of your Church. Greater glory is given to your name for pardoning a multitude of your creatures than if I alone were pardoned for my great sins against your majesty. It would be no consolation for me to enjoy your life if your holy people stood in death. For I see that sin darkens the life of your bride the Church – my sin and the sins of others.

It is a special grace I ask for, this pardon for the creatures you have made in your image and likeness. When you created man, you were moved by love to make him in your own image. Surely only love could so dignify your creatures. But I know very well that man lost the dignity you gave him; he deserved to lose it, since he had committed sin.

Moved by love and wishing to reconcile the human race to yourself, you gave us your only-begotten Son. He became our mediator and our justice by taking on all our injustice and sin out of obedience to your will, eternal Father, just as you willed that he take on our human nature. What an immeasurably profound love! Your Son went down from the heights of his divinity to the depths of our humanity. Can anyone’s heart remain closed and hardened after this?

We image your divinity, but you image our humanity in that union of the two which you have worked in a man. You have veiled the Godhead in a cloud, in the clay of our humanity. Only your love could so dignify the flesh of Adam. And so by reason of this immeasurable love I beg, with all the strength of my soul, that you freely extend your mercy to all your lowly creatures.

1st Thing Unbelievers Can Agree On With Believers – There is a God-Free Zone

Unbelievers call it reality. Believers call it hell.

Trent Horn of the Catholic Answers group is very respectful to people of all persuasions, so much does he respect them that he credits them with fine intelligence by sometimes challenging their presumptions…always respectfully and with affirmation.

But that leaves me out, because Trent only talks to unbelievers and pro-choicers. They always have a jolly time. The Catholic Answers radio callers (3-5 weekdays Pacific Time) nearly always leave with an affirmed feeling of having been heard and listened to, and sometimes also with a new thought or two. It seems it’s only real, dedicated spoil-sports who leave on a bummer.

You pretty much already know what unbelievers think about the God-free reality zone, which to them is everywhere and all times, all 11 dimensions of the multiverse. What they may not know, though, is what believers believe about it—that God so loves everyone, that if they decide they don’t want his friendship forever, he makes a special reserved place where they don’t suffer eternally with his presence.

Unfortunately this also means that he can’t protect them from the eternal consequences of their actions. This life is a trial run, practice, for what we will become forever as we are born into eternal life. Now, belief in the absolute relativity of evil and good is a completely different thing from unbelief in God. Many fine atheists and agnostics would find nothing objectionable about Egyptian or High Plains Native American belief in a crossroads at the Milky Way where hearts are weighed and those heavy with personal evil against other people sink down into a bottomless pit. Usually its some ancient spirit grandmother or a dog-god who does the weighing.

Believers are free to believe that its our own souls that will reproduce every mote and nuance of our moral lives, in a faithful 4-D touch & smellivision rendering of our personal history; on a last day that is as long as all reality; in which every sentient being, corporeal and incorporeal, humans and disembodied spirits, will fully see how just the Weigher of Hearts was, how unreservedly generous, giving us fully every help we could need and use to do right by others.

noGodZoneBelievers have a chief path to that God-free zone: their marriage beds. This should be the gymnasium trampoline in which they exercise their way up to the eternal Olympics of Love in heaven. But if they hold out their hands in STOP!!! to God, he won’t force his way in. Then they are free to enter eternal life permanently in that condition after a lifetime of saying “I DON’T give you all of myself”, including fertility, to their life partners and to the God who wants to afford them the ultimate dignity not even granted to disembodied intelligences, making them co-creators of beings who will never go out of existence.

This is the main route for people who consider themselves believers to enter the God-free zone.

 

Fr. Robert Barron: 7 Deadly Sins, 7 Lively Virtues: 2. Envy

Doesn’t It Hurt Your Eyes to Look at That?

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Pope Francis’ Prayer to Mary, Untier of Knots

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Holy Mary, full of God’s presence during the days of your life,
you accepted with full humility the Father’s will,
and the Devil was never capable to tie you around with his confusion

Once with your son you interceded for our difficulties,
and, full of kindness and patience you gave us example of how to untie the knots of our life.

And by remaining forever Our Mother,
you put in order, and make more clear the ties that link us to the Lord.

Holy Mother, Mother of God, and our Mother,
to you, who untie with motherly heart the knots of our life,
we pray to you to receive in your hands (the name of person),
and to free him/her of the knots and confusion with which our enemy attacks.

Through your grace, your intercession, and your example,
deliver us from all evil, Our Lady,
and untie the knots that prevent us from being united with God,
so that we, free from sin and error, may find Him in all things,
may have our hearts placed in Him,
and may serve Him always in our brothers and sisters. Amen

Did Jesus’ Apostles Get What They Expected?

 How Did James & John Envision Jesus’ Kingdom?

 They Asked to Sit at His Right & Left Hand; the Other Ten Were Indignant.

 What Was This Kingdom They Thought They Would Rule?

 What Eventually Became of Them All?

  •  The Apostles Believed that Jesus Would Restore the Kingdom of David, Which Was at Its Greatest Extent and Stability in the Time of his son Solomon.
  •  But Jesus’s Apostles Spread His Kingdom Worldwide, Far Beyond the Greatest Extent of Israel’s Empire.
  •  The Apostles Never Could Have Imagined Their Eventual Fates.

 The Apostles "Get Down to Business", Trying to Establish the Pecking Order

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him, with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom." 22 But Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." 23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." 24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; 28 even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." – Matthew 20:20-28
35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him, and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." 36 And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?" 37 And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." 38 But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" 39 And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared." 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:35-45

 What Did The Apostles Think They Would Be Getting, Once Jesus’s Kingdom Was Restored?

21 Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt; they brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life. … 24 For he had dominion over all the region west of the Euphrates from Tiphsah to Gaza, over all the kings west of the Euphrates; and he had peace on all sides round about him. 1 Kings 4:21;24

 These Two Maps Aren’t Perfectly Synchronized – The Larger Map is Perhaps More Accurate about the Extent of David & Solomon’s Kingdom – The Smaller Map Shows David’s Kingdom Superimposed Upon the Map of the Modern Middle-East, Though It May Make the Borders Too Wide.




Ancient Israel and the Modern Middle East

What Happend to Them All?

The Point Is, The Apostles Were All Martryred.
Their Dreams of Empire Never Materialized.