Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

These words of Jesus Christ when He was dying on the cross, "Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani" or "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" have been taken as the occasion of many blasphemies against God.  Some have argued that Jesus said this because he was nothing more than a corruptible creature, forsaken by God and a failure; Not only is this argument blasphemous and heretical, but it is demonstrably false.

It was a custom for people at the time of Christ's crucifixion to reference songs by quoting their first lines; this phrase spoken by Christ is the opening line of the twenty-first Psalm, which written centuries before the Word of God assumed a human nature, was a clear foreshadowing of His suffering and death for the remission of sins, the conversion of the Gentiles and the life of the world to come.

It was no coincidence that Jesus Christ made this reference to the Psalm, as He and His Apostles did to many other Old Testament books, and then before dying stated "It is finished".  What did Jesus want the witnesses of His death to know was finished?  Read the Psalm and find out:


PSALM 21

"Unto the end, for the morning protection, a psalm for David.  O God my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me (Matthew 27:46) Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.  O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear: and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me. But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel.  In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped, and thou hast delivered them.

"They cried to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.  But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.  All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.  He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighteth in him (St. Matthew 26:43).  For thou art he that hast drawn me out of the womb: my hope from the breasts of my mother. 

"I was cast upon thee from the womb. From my mother's womb thou art my God,  Depart not from me. For tribulation is very near: for there is none to help me.  Many calves have surrounded me: fat bulls have besieged me.  They have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring.  I am poured out like water; and all my bones are scattered. My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels.

"My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaved to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death.  For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me. They have dug my hands and feet.  They have numbered all my bones.  And they have looked and stared upon me (St. John 19:36-37).  They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots (St. Matthew 27:35). But thou, O Lord, remove not thy help to a distance from me; look towards my defence.

"Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword: my only one from the hand of the dog. Save me from the lion's mouth; and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns. I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the Church will I praise thee.  Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him.  Let all the seed of Israel fear him: because he hath not slighted nor despised the supplication of the poor man. Neither hath he turned away his face from me: and when I cried to him he heard me.

"With thee is my praise in a great Church: I will pay my vows in the sight of them that fear him.  The poor shall eat and shall be filled: and they shall praise the Lord that seek him: their hearts shall live for ever and ever.  All the ends of the earth shall remember, and shall be converted to the Lord: And all the kindreds of the Gentiles shall adore in his sight. For the kingdom is the Lord's; and he shall have dominion over the nations.  All the fat ones of the earth have eaten and have adored: all they that go down to the earth shall fall before him.

"And to him my soul shall live: and my seed shall serve him. There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come: and the heavens shall shew forth his justice to a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made."


Hence Jesus Christ, by saying "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me," was not actually declaring that God had forsaken Him, but rather firmly and finally establishing His unique claim to be the one and only Messias and Redeemer, who the prophets of old had always known would be both God and man.

Micheas 7:7: "But I will look towards the Lord, I will wait for God my Saviour: my God will hear me."

Daniel 9:26: "Christ shall be slain"



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Devil Mocks the World through Popular Music

The song Hotel California is one of the most popular rock songs of all time.  And yet there is a certain influence whose presence is only barely perceptible to us, if at all, unless we know what questions to ask while listening to it.

The lyrics of the song seem somewhat innocuous at the start:

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night

Until we begin to hear propositions that make no sense.

There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
’this could be heaven or this could be hell’

And there it is.  Unless a person was spiritually blind, how could he not make the distinction between the eternal pleasures of the paradise of God and His saints and the eternal torments of the prison of the devil and the wicked?  Yet I believe this is directly related to the fraud of the last century, wherein the true religion of Jesus Christ was deliberately overthrown, at least as far as the Church hierarchy goes.  Now we have an institution, about which many people may indeed think to themselves: "This could be heaven or this could be hell".

Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year, you can find it here

Her mind is tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

The above lyrics, while they are somewhat cryptic, are not the real cause of concern.  The definite hint about the designs of the devil, and the taunting he is giving in this song, come from the following verse:

So I called up the captain,
’please bring me my wine’
He said, ’we haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine’

It is indeed most interesting that there is a reference to the wine and to the (S)pirit being absent from the year 1969 and on.  Why is this?  It is interesting to note that it was about this time that the Novus Ordo Missae was promulgated by the counterfeit ‘Catholic Church’, in which the words of consecration for the sacrament of the Eucharist were changed.  It is believed by many that most, if not all church services from that point on have been devoid of a valid sacrament.  Granting this, then the ‘church’ hasn’t had that Spirit since 1969.

Apocalypse 14:8: “And another angel followed, saying: That great Babylon is fallen, is fallen; which made all nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

Read this article to see more of the prophecies in the Apocalypse concerning the counterfeit Church: Biblical Prophecy: Apocalypse and the Great Apostasy



And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise, bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said ’we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
The stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

This seems to be a reference to the Devil or one of his agents, and an implication that he cannot be defeated.  This, of course, is false.

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
’relax,’ said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
But you can never leave!

Again, the implication that once a person has checked in to the Hotel California (begun to live a life of sin/apostasy?) he cannot actually leave.  But as long as the soul is connected to the body, a person has time to perform repentance and obtain forgiveness for any sin, no matter how heinous.

Here is solid evidence of supernatural meddling, the backwards message in Hotel California.  The message you are about to hear is not a technological creation, but is none other than the lyrics in reverse; it is the actual words that Don Henley of the Eagles sang, heard backwards.  The only two possibilities here are that 1) Henley was at least above average in knowledge concerning liturgical theology, was a linguistic genius and felt like making a subliminal comment about religion, or 2) Henley had opened himself up to be used by the devil, who then mocked those he was deceiving through Henley’s lyrics, which were most likely received by demonic inspiration.  Obviously I believe option 2.

Here is the excerpt (played backwards, it says "Yeah Satan, oh he organized his own religion.  Yeah, when he knows he shouldn't."):



He is laughing at all those who are duped into being a part of this sect, one of his many false religions.  Who knows what other ways the devil influences us through music, TV, movies, etc.?



What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Language Directory







Sunday, November 14, 2010

St. Irenaeus on the End of the World

Against Heresies, Book 5, Chapter 28


1. Inasmuch, then, as in this world (αἰῶνι) some persons betake themselves to the light, and by faith unite themselves with God, but others shun the light, and separate themselves from God, the Word of God comes preparing a fit habitation for both. For those indeed who are in the light, that they may derive enjoyment from it, and from the good things contained in it; but for those in darkness, that they may partake in its calamities. And on this account He says, that those upon the right hand are called into the kingdom of heaven, but that those on the left He will send into eternal fire for they have deprived themselves of all good.

2. And for this reason the apostle says: "Because they received not the love of God, that they might be saved, therefore God shall also send them the operation of error, that they may believe a lie, that they all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but consented to unrighteousness." 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 For when he (Antichrist) has come, and of his own accord concentrates in his own person the apostasy, and accomplishes whatever he shall do according to his own will and choice, sitting also in the temple of God, so that his dupes may adore him as the Christ; wherefore also shall he deservedly "be cast into the lake of fire:" Revelation 19:20 [this will happen according to divine appointment], God by His prescience foreseeing all this, and at the proper time sending such a man, "that they may believe a lie, that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but consented to unrighteousness;" whose coming John has thus described in the Apocalypse: "And the beast which I had seen was like a leopard, and his feet as of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion; and the dragon conferred his own power upon him, and his throne, and great might. And one of his heads was as it were slain unto death; and his deadly wound was healed, and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon because he gave power to the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like this beast, and who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemy and power was given to him during forty and two months. And he opened his mouth for blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. And power was given him over every tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation. And all who dwell upon the earth worshipped him, [every one] whose name was not written in the book of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any one have ears, let him hear. If any one shall lead into captivity, he shall go into captivity. If any shall slay with the sword, he must be slain with the sword. Here is the endurance and the faith of the saints." Revelation 13:2, etc. After this he likewise describes his armour-bearer, whom he also terms a false prophet: "He spoke as a dragon, and exercised all the power of the first beast in his sight, and caused the earth, and those that dwell therein, to adore the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he shall perform great wonders, so that he can even cause fire to descend from heaven upon the earth in the sight of men, and he shall lead the inhabitants of the earth astray." Revelation 13:11, etc. Let no one imagine that he performs these wonders by divine power, but by the working of magic. And we must not be surprised if, since the demons and apostate spirits are at his service, he through their means performs wonders, by which he leads the inhabitants of the earth astray. John says further: "And he shall order an image of the beast to be made, and he shall give breath to the image, so that the image shall speak; and he shall cause those to be slain who will not adore it." He says also: "And he will cause a mark [to be put] in the forehead and in the right hand, that no one may be able to buy or sell, unless he who has the mark of the name of the beast or the number of his name; and the number is six hundred and sixty-six," Revelation 13:14, etc. that is, six times a hundred, six times ten, and six units. [He gives this] as a summing up of the whole of that apostasy which has taken place during six thousand years.

3. For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. And for this reason the Scripture says: "Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their adornment. And God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works." Genesis 2:2 This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; 2 Peter 3:8 and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year.

4. And therefore throughout all time, man, having been moulded at the beginning by the hands of God, that is, of the Son and of the Spirit, is made after the image and likeness of God: the chaff, indeed, which is the apostasy, being cast away; but the wheat, that is, those who bring forth fruit to God in faith, being gathered into the barn. And for this cause tribulation is necessary for those who are saved, that having been after a manner broken up, and rendered fine, and sprinkled over by the patience of the Word of God, and set on fire [for purification], they may be fitted for the royal banquet. As a certain man of ours said, when he was condemned to the wild beasts because of his testimony with respect to God: "I am the wheat of Christ, and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of God."



25th Sunday after Pentecost (Supplementary Mass no. 1)

The following is not from a Missal, but is taken from a book by Fr. Leonard Goffine.

If there are twenty-six Sundays after Pentecost (as there are this year), this Mass is said on the twenty fifth.



 


Friday, November 12, 2010

Immodesty is more than just how much flesh you show: And it will send you to hell.

From the Prophecies and Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden, Book 7, Chapter 27:

To   a   person   who   was   wide   awake   at   prayer   (St. Bridget) and   absorbed   in contemplation - and while she was in a rapture of mental elevation - Jesus Christ appeared; and he said to her this: ”Hear, O you to whom it has been given to hear and see spiritual things; and be diligently attentive; and in your mind beware in regard to those things that you now will hear and that in my behalf you will announce to the nations, lest you speak them to acquire for yourself honor or human praise. Nor indeed are you to be silent about these things from any fear of human reproach and contempt; for these things that you are now going to hear are being shown to you not only for your own sake, but also because of the prayers of my friends.

For some of my chosen friends in the Neapolitan citizenry have for many years asked me with their whole heart - in their prayers and in their labors on behalf of my enemies living in the same city - to show them some grace through which they could be withdrawn and savingly recalled from their sins and abuses. Swayed by their prayers, I give to you now these words of mine; and therefore diligently hear the things that I speak.

[...]

Moreover, know that just as all mortal sins are very serious, so too a venial sin is made mortal if a human being delights in it with the intention of persevering. Wherefore, know that two sins, which I now name to you,are being practiced and that they draw after them other sins that all seem as if venial. But because the people delight in them with the intention of persevering, they are therefore made mortal, and the people in the city of Naples commit many other abominable sins that I do not wish to name to you.

The first of the two sins is that the faces of rational human creatures are being painted with the various colors with which insensible images and statues of idols are colored so that to others, these faces may seem morebeautiful than I made them. The second sin is that the bodies of men andwomen are being deformed from their natural state by the unseemly forms of clothing that the people are using. And the people are doing this because of pride and so that in their bodies they may seem more beautiful and more lascivious than I, God, created them.

And indeed they do this so that those who thus see them may be more quickly provoked and inflamed toward carnal desire. Therefore, know for very certain that as often as they daub their faces with antimony and other extraneous coloring, some of the infusion of the Holy Spirit is diminished in them and the devil draws nearer to them. In fact, as often as they adorn themselves in disorderly and indecent clothing and so deform their bodies, the   adornment   of   their   souls   is   diminished   and   the   devil's   power   is increased.

O my enemies, who do such things and with effrontery commit other sins contrary to my will, why have you neglected my passion; and why do you not attend in your hearts to how I stood naked at the pillar, bound and cruelly scourged with hard whips, and to how I stood naked on the cross and cried out, full of wounds and clothed in blood? And when you paint and anoint your faces, why do you not look at my face and see how it was full of blood? You are not even attentive to my eyes and how they grew dark and were covered with blood and tears, and how my eyelids turned blue.

Why too do you, not look at my mouth or gaze at my ears and my beard and see how they were aggrieved and were stained with blood? You do not look at the rest of my limbs, monstrously wounded by various punishments, and see how I hung black and blue on the cross and dead for your sake. And there, derided and rejected, I was despised by all in order that,   by   recalling   these   things   and   attentively   remembering   them,   you might love me, your God, and thus escape the devil's snares, in which you have been horribly bound.

However, in your eyes and hearts, all these things have been forgotten and neglected. And so you behave like prostitutes, who love the pleasure and delight of the flesh, but not its offspring. For when they feel a living infant in their womb, at once they procure an abortion by means of herbs and other things so that without losing their fleshly pleasure and further wicked delight, they may thus be always absorbed in their lust and their foul carnal intercourse. This is how you behave. For I, God, your Creator and Redeemer, visit all with my grace, knocking, namely, at your hearts, because I love all.

But when you feel, in your hearts, any knock of an inpouring - namely of my Spirit - or any compunction; or when, through hearing my words, you conceive any good intention, at once you procure spiritually, as it were, an abortion, namely, by excusing your sins and by delighting in them and even by damnably willing to persevere in them. For that reason, you do the devil's will, enclosing him in your hearts and expelling me in this contemptible way. Therefore, you are without me, and I am not with you. And you are not in me but in the devil, for it is his will and his suggestions that you obey.



Sunday, November 7, 2010

24th Sunday after Pentecost (Supplementary Mass no. 2)

The following is not from a Missal, but is taken from a book by Fr. Leonard Goffine.

If there are twenty-six Sundays after Pentecost (as there are this year), this Mass is said on the twenty fourth.










Thursday, November 4, 2010

Get Good at Fasting

Judith 14:11: "Know ye that the Lord will hear your prayers, if you continue with perseverance in fastings and prayers in the sight of the Lord."

And Jesus says of certain devils:

Matthew 17:20: "But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting."
Please also read:
Penance and Mortification
Gluttony, And Why it is One of the Seven Deadly Sins

Since, as Catholics, we know that we must fast for forty days (actually thirty-six since we do not fast on the Sundays) in Lent, and since we know that it is an incredibly solemn matter which cannot be lightly put aside without the loss of salvation, it behooves us, then, to get good at fasting, rather than waiting until the appointed time and hope that we can make it.  After all, with practice we improve, and perfect practice makes perfect and perfectly practicing the works of perfection make us perfect at being perfect.  And lest you think I'm only joking around, did God himself not say: "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect"?

God is much more pleased with us when we use the goods of the world "as though we used them not", and hence if we should devote ourselves to the practice of waiting longer between meals, we begin a good habit that takes us a long way, by the grace of God.

"I'm starting to get hungry.  It's been five hours since my last meal.  I'm used to eating at least something small every five hours, but today I will wait an hour longer - for the sake of Jesus Christ, who ate nothing at all from the time he was apprehended to the time he expired nearly a full day later.  Surely the labour He endured that day was by far greater than the work I must busy myself with."

"I'm starting to get thirsty.  My mouth is pretty dry, but I know that the souls in Purgatory do not so much as get a small refreshment except they receive a kind thought or prayer from another, since for them it is the 'night in which no man can work'. They cannot so much as raise a cup to their own lips, therefore in the hope that it will ease the suffering of one such soul, I will sacrifice now and wait until morning before I sip of any beverage."

"Oh that was a hard day at work.  Man I'm hungry. Maybe I'll wait until after I say the Rosary... [after Rosary] well, I could just put it off a little longer, maybe I'll answer my emails first... [after emails] Oh it's getting late!  I don't need energy to sleep, and breakfast will be good in the morning!  Please God accept this pitifully inadequate sacrifice on behalf of sinners and heretics, that Thou woudst shew them mercy and an increase of prevenient grace, unto conversion."

"Today is Saturday, and if the Christians of old fasted every Saturday in honour of the Blessed Virgin, then how much more should I do so, since it is almost entirely on the helps God has given through her that I am depending, in a world where it is illicit to hear any Mass for want of known Catholic priests..."

"Today is not a fast day, but I want to give something to Christ: but I have so much work to do and I need my sustenance.  Let me eat bread (from a good bakery NEVER a grocery store!!!!), with nothing on it.  I will eat only bread today, as many times as I need to, but nothing else..."

The above are examples of small things we can do to "take up our cross daily", and I am not trying to say that they are things I do or have done with any great success.  Perhaps I am to much of a coward to even try them, but if that is true, at least I know that surely there are people reading this blog who are more courageous than I.

It was even a common Christian practice to fast every Wednesday and Saturday.  I believe every Christian should at least desire to be strong enough to be able to make such sacrifices for the love of God.  When this is desired for the right reasons (such as those mentioned above) and not rather for vanity or pride, and we entreat God to help us fulfill them, then surely He will bestow the grace necessary to perform these and other great works of supererogation.  And surely it is by becoming Saints that we will be able to move the hardest of hearts towards the fear, reverence and love of God.

It is by working out our salvation in fear and trembling that we will be strong enough for martyrdom.  If anyone is unclear what "working out" means, then they have never seen a gymnasium before.  It is a place of practice.  We have to PRACTICE mortification and virtue if we want to get good enough to be able to perform in the world class event of a great persecution where only world class athletes will succeed, who have put in their quality time at the gym (note:  this is not a suggestion that anybody go to the immodest meat market gyms that exist nowadays, as these are certainly at the least occasions of sin, if not the very gateway to hell, but rather start "working out" their soul).

And if I have not begun to do the things above, it is, as I have implied, because I do not yet desire it enough.  And even if I have, I am still nothing and a terrible ingrate and will not lose sight of this fact, lest I become presumptuous and lose my soul.

Revelations of St. Birgitta of Sweden, Book 4, Chapter 32: "The Mother of God speaks : "You have an expression that says, 'That sort of thing could make me leave my homeland.' I tell you so now: Nobody in the world is so great a sinner - provided he says in his heart that my Son is the Creator and Redeemer of the universe and dear to him in his inmost heart - that I am not prepared to come to him immediately, like a loving mother to her son, and hug him and say: 'What would you like, my son?' Even if he had deserved the lowest punishment in hell, nevertheless, if only he has the intention of not caring for worldly honors or greed or carnal lust, such as the Church condemns, and desires nothing but his own sustenance, then he and I will right away get along quite well together."


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Novena to the Holy Ghost

The novena to the Holy Ghost is the oldest novena, first made at the direction of Our Lord when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Ghost on the first Pentecost. It is the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light, strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian, and which comes only from God.

These two prayers are said at the end of the prayers and reflections for each of the nine days:


ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY GHOST
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to Thee, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Thy purity, the unerring keenness of Thy justice, and the might of Thy love. Thou art the Strength and Light of my soul. In Thee I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve Thee by unfaithfulness to grace, and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against Thee. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Thy light and listen to Thy voice and follow Thy gracious inspirations. I cling to Thee and give myself to Thee and ask Thee by Thy compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore Thee Adorable Spirit, helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Thy grace that I may never sin against Thee. Give me grace O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son, to say to Thee always and everywhere, “speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” Amen.


PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, didst promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Thy work in the souls of Thy Apostles and disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me, that He may perfect in my soul the work of Thy grace and Thy love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Thy divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining Heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with Thee, and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God, and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Thy true disciples and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.



First Day: The Holy Ghost

Holy Spirit! Lord of light!
From Thy clear celestial height,
Thy pure beaming radiance give!


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

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

Our Father
Hail Mary
7 Glory Bes
Act of Consecration to the Holy Ghost
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Second Day: The Gift of Fear

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


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

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set Thee, my Lord and God, before my face forever; help me to shun all things that can offend Thee, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Thy Divine Majesty in heaven, where Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

Our Father
Hail Mary
7 Glory Bes
Act of Consecration to the Holy Ghost
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Third Day: The Gift of Piety

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


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

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

Our Father
Hail Mary
7 Glory Bes
Act of Consecration to the Holy Ghost
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Fourth Day: The Gift of Fortitude

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


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

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

Our Father
Hail Mary
7 Glory Bes
Act of Consecration to the Holy Ghost
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Fifth Day: The Gift of Knowledge

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


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

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

Our Father
Hail Mary
7 Glory Bes
Act of Consecration to the Holy Ghost
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Sixth Day: The Gift of Understanding

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


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

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

Our Father
Hail Mary
7 Glory Bes
Act of Consecration to the Holy Ghost
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Seventh Day: The Gift of Counsel

Heal our wounds - our strength renew;
On our dryness pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away!


Reflection: The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must be done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. "Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth."

Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long. Amen.

Our Father
Hail Mary
7 Glory Bes
Act of Consecration to the Holy Ghost
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Eighth Day: The Gift of Wisdom

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray!


Reflection: Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written "all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands." It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Savior: "Take up thy cross and follow Me, for My yoke is sweet, and My burden light."

Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all passing joys and satisfactions of the earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

Our Father
Hail Mary
7 Glory Bes
Act of Consecration to the Holy Ghost
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Ninth Day: The Fruits of the Holy Ghost

Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold gifts, descend:
Give them comfort when they die;
Give them life with Thee on high;
Give them joy which never ends. Amen.


Reflection: The gifts of the Holy Ghost perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Ghost, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Ghost. These fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration, may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father
Hail Mary
7 Glory Bes
Act of Consecration to the Holy Ghost
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost



Monday, November 1, 2010

Raising Children (St. John Chrysostom, Homily 9 on First Timothy)

1 Timothy 2:11-15

"Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in [through the] child-bearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."

Great modesty and great propriety does the blessed Paul require of women, and that not only with respect to their dress and appearance: he proceeds even to regulate their speech. And what says he? "Let the woman learn in silence"; that is, let her not speak at all in the church; which rule he has also given in his Epistle to the Corinthians, where he says, "It is a shame for women to speak in the church" 1 Corinthians 14:35; and the reason is, that the law has made them subject to men. And again elsewhere, "And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home." 1 Corinthians 14:35 Then indeed the women, from such teaching, kept silence; but now there is apt to be great noise among them, much clamor and talking, and nowhere so much as in this place. They may all be seen here talking more than in the market, or at the bath. For, as if they came hither for recreation, they are all engaged in conversing upon unprofitable subjects. Thus all is confusion, and they seem not to understand, that unless they are quiet, they cannot learn anything that is useful. For when our discourse strains against the talking, and no one minds what is said, what good can it do to them? To such a degree should women be silent, that they are not allowed to speak not only about worldly matters, but not even about spiritual things, in the church. This is order, this is modesty, this will adorn her more than any garments. Thus clothed, she will be able to offer her prayers in the manner most becoming.

"But I suffer not a woman to teach." "I do not suffer," he says. What place has this command here? The fittest. He was speaking of quietness, of propriety, of modesty, so having said that he wished them not to speak in the church, to cut off all occasion of conversation, he says, let them not teach, but occupy the station of learners. For thus they will show submission by their silence. For the sex is naturally somewhat talkative: and for this reason he restrains them on all sides. "For Adam," says he, "was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."

If it be asked, what has this to do with women of the present day? It shows that the male sex enjoyed the higher honor. Man was first formed; and elsewhere he shows their superiority. "Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man." 1 Corinthians 11:9 Why then does he say this? He wishes the man to have the preeminence in every way; both for the reason given above, he means, let him have precedence, and on account of what occurred afterwards. For the woman taught the man once, and made him guilty of disobedience, and wrought our ruin. Therefore because she made a bad use of her power over the man, or rather her equality with him, God made her subject to her husband. "Your desire shall be to your husband?" Genesis 3:16 This had not been said to her before.

But how was Adam not deceived? If he was not deceived, he did not then transgress? Attend carefully. The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me." But the man did not say, The woman deceived me, but, "she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." Now it is not the same thing to be deceived by a fellow-creature, one of the same kind, as by an inferior and subordinate animal. This is truly to be deceived. Compared therefore with the woman, he is spoken of as "not deceived." For she was beguiled by an inferior and subject, he by an equal. Again, it is not said of the man, that he "saw the tree was good for food," but of the woman, and that she "did eat, and gave it to her husband": so that he transgressed, not captivated by appetite, but merely from the persuasion of his wife. The woman taught once, and ruined all. On this account therefore he says, let her not teach. But what is it to other women, that she suffered this? It certainly concerns them; for the sex is weak and fickle, and he is speaking of the sex collectively. For he says not Eve, but "the woman," which is the common name of the whole sex, not her proper name. Was then the whole sex included in the transgression for her fault? As he said of Adam, "After the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come" Romans 5:14; so here the female sex transgressed, and not the male. Shall not women then be saved? Yes, by means of children. For it is not of Eve that he says, "If they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety." What faith? What charity? What holiness with sobriety? It is as if he had said, "You women, be not cast down, because your sex has incurred blame. God has granted you another opportunity of salvation, by the bringing up of children, so that you are saved, not only by yourselves, but by others." See how many questions are involved in this matter. "The woman," he says, "being deceived was in the transgression." What woman? Eve. Shall she then be saved by child-bearing? He does not say that, but, the race of women shall be saved. Was not it then involved in transgression? Yes, it was, still Eve transgressed, but the whole sex shall be saved, notwithstanding, "by childbearing." And why not by their own personal virtue? For has she excluded others from this salvation? And what will be the case with virgins, with the barren, with widows who have lost their husbands, before they had children? will they perish? Is there no hope for them? Yet virgins are held in the highest estimation. What then does he mean to say?

Some interpret his meaning thus. As what happened to the first woman occasioned the subjection of the whole sex, (for since Eve was formed second and made subject, he says, let the rest of the sex be in subjection,) so because she transgressed, the rest of the sex are also in transgression. But this is not fair reasoning; for at the creation all was the gift of God, but in this case, it is the consequence of the woman's sin. But this is the amount of what he says. As all men died through one, because that one sinned, so the whole female race transgressed, because the woman was in the transgression. Let her not however grieve. God has given her no small consolation, that of childbearing. And if it be said that this is of nature, so is that also of nature; for not only that which is of nature has been granted, but also the bringing up of children. "If they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety"; that is, if after childbearing, they keep them in charity and purity. By these means they will have no small reward on their account, because they have trained up wrestlers for the service of Christ. By holiness he means good life, modesty, and sobriety.

 
Chap. iii. ver. 1. "This is a faithful saying."

This relates to the present subject, not to what follows, respecting the office of a Bishop. For as it was doubted, he affirms it to be a true saying, that fathers may be benefited by the virtue of their children, and mothers also, when they have brought them up well. But what if she be herself addicted to wickedness and vice? Will she then be benefited by the bringing up of children? Is it not probable that she will bring them up to be like herself? It is not therefore of any woman, but of the virtuous woman, that it is said she shall receive a great recompense for this also.

Moral. Hear this, you fathers and mothers, that your bringing up of children shall not lose its reward.

This also he says, as he proceeds, "Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children." 1 Timothy 5:10 Among other commendations he reckons this one, for it is no light praise to devote to God those children which are given them of God. For if the basis, the foundation which they lay be good, great will be their reward; as great, if they neglect it, will be their punishment. It was on account of his children that Eli perished. For he ought to have admonished them, and indeed he did admonish them, but not as he ought; but from his unwillingness to give them pain he destroyed both himself and them. Hear this, you fathers, bring your children up with great care "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4 Youth is wild, and requires many governors, teachers, directors, attendants, and tutors; and after all these, it is a happiness if it be restrained. For as a horse not broken in, or a wild beast untamed, such is youth. But if from the beginning, from the earliest age, we fix it in good rules, much pains will not be required afterwards; for good habits formed will be to them as a law. Let us not suffer them to do anything which is agreeable, but injurious; nor let us indulge them, as forsooth but children. Especially let us train them in chastity, for there is the very bane of youth. For this many struggles, much attention will be necessary. Let us take wives for them early, so that their brides may receive their bodies pure and unpolluted, so their loves will be more ardent. He that is chaste before marriage, much more will he be chaste after it; and he that practiced fornication before, will practice it after marriage. "All bread," it is said, "is sweet to the fornicator." Sirach 23:17 Garlands are wont to be worn on the heads of bridegrooms, as a symbol of victory, betokening that they approach the marriage bed unconquered by pleasure. But if captivated by pleasure he has given himself up to harlots, why does he wear the garland, since he has been subdued?
 
Let us admonish them of these things. Let us employ sometimes advice, sometimes warnings, sometimes threatening. In children we have a great charge committed to us. Let us bestow great care upon them, and do everything that the Evil One may not rob us of them. But now our practice is the very reverse of this. We take all care indeed to have our farm in good order, and to commit it to a faithful manager, we look out for it an ass-driver, and muleteer, and bailiff, and a clever accomptant. But we do not look out for what is much more important, for a person to whom we may commit our son as the guardian of his morals, though this is a possession much more valuable than all others. It is for him indeed that we take such care of our estate. We take care of our possessions for our children, but of the children themselves we take no care at all. What an absurdity is this! Form the soul of your son aright, and all the rest will be added hereafter. If that is not good, he will derive no advantage from his wealth, and if it is formed to goodness he will suffer no harm from poverty. Would you leave him rich? Teach him to be good: for so he will be able to acquire wealth, or if not, he will not fare worse than they who possess it. But if he be wicked, though you leave him boundless wealth, you leave him no one to take care of it, and you render him worse than those who are reduced to extreme poverty. For poverty is better than riches for those children who are not well-disposed. For it retains them in some degree of virtue even against their will. Whereas money does not suffer those who would be sober to continue so, it leads them away, ruins them, and plunges them into infinite dangers.

Mothers, be specially careful to regulate your daughters well; for the management of them is easy. Be watchful over them, that they may be keepers at home. Above all, instruct them to be pious, modest, despisers of wealth, indifferent to ornament. In this way dispose of them in marriage. For if you form them in this way, you will save not only them, but the husband who is destined to marry them, and not the husband only, but the children, not the children only, but the grandchildren. For the root being made good, good branches will shoot forth, and still become better, and for all these you will receive a reward. Let us do all things therefore, as benefiting not only one soul, but many through that one. For they ought to go from their father's house to marriage, as combatants from the school of exercise, furnished with all necessary knowledge, and to be as leaven able to transform the whole lump to its own virtue. And let your sons be so modest, as to be distinguished for their steadiness and sobriety, that they may receive great praise both from God and men. Let them learn to govern their appetites, to avoid extravagance, to be good economists, affectionate, and submissive to rule. For so they will be able to secure a good reward to their parents, so all things will be done to the glory of God, and to our salvation, through Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom, etc.



The Feast of All Saints