Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Low Mass With Archbishop Burke

Low Mass With Archbishop Burke. Check out the link. There are some great pictures! Pray for Archbishop Burke! He is a holy man with a profound gift of fortitude and charity!

Pray the Rosary Daily! Be Holy, Not Worldly!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Four Effects of Supernatural Faith III

Recently, I was compelled by my patron St. Thomas Aquinas to discuss the four effects of supernatural faith. You can view the first two parts of this tome in, Part I  Part II. To quickly bring you up to speed. The theological virtue of faith is a gift of sanctifying grace given through the sacraments and the assent of the mind and the will to those things that God has revealed for salvation. One may not reject a single dogma of the divinely instituted bride of Christ, the Catholic Church, and be imbued with the theological virtue of faith. It is an impossibility. The first three effects of maintaining the theological virtue of faith are, in order, according to the good Doctor, it unites the soul to God, eternal life is begun in the soul, and the third is that our present life is rightly ordered.

Take a moment to think about what that means. These effects are not isolated one from the other, rather, they are intimately bound up in each other. The soul that has said yes to His offer of revelation through obedience, is united to God. A soul with the theological virtue of faith recognizes that those things that God has revealed through His bride, have been revealed so that you might be united to God in love, so that, upon death, union with Him, will naturally lead to eternal union with Him. In other words, the Holy Spirit, unites you to the Holy Trinity right now, to the extent that you participate in God's revelation (Dogma, prayer, sacraments, virtuous life) and you remain in a state of sanctifying grace (in intimate friendship with God). As long as we persevere, we will be united to him upon  death (and we are going to die), which should make the final judgement a bit less anxiety ridden and should lead to eternal life with God in Christ. This is what Christ meant when He said "Peace I give you, My peace I leave you, not as the world gives."  As a result, of our awareness of these two effects, our entire life is then radically ordered to serve this truth. There ought to be, and it is clearly seen in the lives of those with the theological virtue of faith, a radical shift in the manner in which a person lives their life. No more pawing at contingent things as if they were the source of your salvation, rather, a detachment from them. WE love contingent things because they are true and good and beautiful, but, we are willing to let them go because they not ours to keep. They belong to God and we will not be taking them with us. It is, in effect a life set apart from the radical attachments to heresy and paganism that dominate the current landscape.

The Fourth Effect of Faith
In order to maintain a rightly ordered manner of living, we have to overcome temptation. The fourth effect of faith is that by faith, we are able to overcome temptation. Every temptation is a result of our lower passions and our failure to properly "know ourselves," the world, or from the devil.

Our lower passions or desires must be tempered by wisdom and virtue. Rightly, ordered faith helps us to grow in virtue. Wisdom is God. Faith in the things that God has revealed is faith in His wisdom. It is literally to trust in God's wisdom, not your own. God will reveal you to you. He wants you to know that you struggle with humility or purity, or charity. You cannot right the ship if you tear the rudder from it and cast it into the sea. God is the rudder. He is wisdom, He is the light that enlightens your intellect and  your will with truth, so that you may first and foremost apply that truth to your own life and actions. If we allow our desires or feelings to cover our actions, we have lost. If we continue to "empower" ourselves to do what makes us feel good. We essentially say yes to our bodies and the temptations presented by it and no to reason. Reason knows that sex outside of marriage is a utilitarian practice aimed at making an object of the human person. Reason knows that two men are naturally incompatible physically. The intellect must control the desires. It must analyze, first and foremost our own behavior in light of the truth and begin the process of saying no, to our sinful and unreasonable desires. It must say no to those feelings and desires that our body longs for which reason know is contradictory to truth. St. Thomas says of the temptations of the flesh:

"The flesh tempts us by attracting us to the swiftly passing pleasures of this present life. But faith shows us that , if we cling to these things inordinately, we shall lose eternal joy." 

Quoting St. Paul, he reminds us that "in all things taking the shield of faith."

Our temptation to worldly things is similar. Either, we are attached to it in prosperity or filled with the fear of adversity. The first, is seen in the popularity of the prosperity gospel. The message is those with faith will "flourish" or "prosper." What if I do not have a mansion and a six figure salary? Am I without faith? What about the friends of the paralytic? The gospel seems to echo a contrary sentiment to that of Mr. Olsteen and his proteges. It was the rich man who rejected Christ's offer to peace and joy in eternal life through union with His body. It was Christ who said "It is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to attain heaven." This is the perversion of heretics for profit. Mr. Olsteen's message sounds good to those with itching ears. To those who love this world. It is however, not a separate message from the latter. Those who prefer the heretical message of Mr. Olsteen, clearly fear the cross. They hate suffering and can see no use for it. They reject the notion that it is meritorious. Essentially, rejecting the merit of Christ's own suffering. You cannot claim to be "in Christ" and reject the things that he did. I will take the resurrection but not the crucifixion. The resurrection does not come without the crucifixion.

This is where many of our contemporaries come to despise us. We recognize that there is a fundamental statement made on the cross. True Christianity though the fulfillment of God's revelation and the means to the restoration of harmony in the world and among men will find itself at odds with the world. There will always be conflict and confrontation. For if Christianity is true, then it is impossible for you or I or anyone, who believes this truth to simply "keep it positive." Faith compels us to confront error and to seek to right it wherever we may find it. St. Thomas reminds us that:

"Faith overcomes this in that we believe in a life to come better than this one, and hence we despise the riches of this world and we are not terrified in the face of adversity." 

In other words, the cross, which was the ultimate adversity is not something that we fear or abhor. Rather, it is the consistent choice of the truly Christian life, to embrace and even draw near to it. "He who wishes to come after me, must lay down his life and pick up his cross and follow me."

The devil may or may not work in the previously mentioned temptations. Some of those temptations are simply are own weakness. The Devil's aid is not necessary. We may be willing to attach ourselves to those worldly things or unwilling to examine our conscience and grow in virtue on our own. We do not always need the aid of the devil. However, the devil revels in our disobedience. He longs for us to reject and disobey God. He hopes that we will refuse to submit our will to the will of God the Father. "Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith." The devil knows that Christ is Lord, he simply does not want you or anyone else to know or believe it. The devil knows that the Catholic mass is source of salvation and the means of the most profound union with God that we can achieve in this life. He simply does not want you or anyone else to believe it. The devil knows that Jesus Christ is fully present in the Eucharist in fact it was the source of great division among the disciples in the gospel of John. What is the passage at which they all turn away from Christ? John 6: 66. Why? Because, he tells them that His flesh is the object of our faith and our and our consumption of Him is the fullest participation in that faith. Why do atheists attempt to secure the Eucharist for their black masses? Because, they know that Christ is present and they want to do what was done to him on calvary. If they do not believe it, they go to a great deal of trouble to simply set fire to a piece of bread. They believe, much like the devil believes, they simply have impenetrable hardness of heart.

If we live according to the flesh. The world itself will devour us. There is much in the world that is true and good and beautiful. But, as I am reminded daily during the last gospel, St. John the Baptist, perhaps one of the greatest evangelists of all time, was not the light, he "came to give testimony to the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light." Neither are you or I. We are contingent beings, dependent on the "true light that enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world." Any light that radiates from your soul, is not yours, it is a result of your union in faith to Christ, who is the true light. Our vocation above all things is holiness. Holiness is a light shining in the darkness.  We cannot radiate holiness, if we do not give our assent to those things that God has revealed for our salvation. Assent requires us to order our life to the light of Christ and His truth. The four effects of faith are visible in only in those who have the supernatural or theological virtue of faith. These four effects are bound up in each other. If we do not give our assent to God's revelation, we will not experience the first effect, intimate union with God. If we do not have intimate union with God, eternal life is certainly not be initiated in our soul. If eternal life is not being initiated in our soul, our life is not being rightly ordered to the things of Christ for our salvation, and if our life is not ordered toward Christ, the temptations of the flesh, the world, and the devil will win the day. If the devil wins the day, Christ's light will cease to radiate from the center of your soul and your faith is dead!

Pray the Rosary Daily! Be Holy, Not Worldly!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Organic Growth and Pope Benedict XVI

Admittedly I miss, Pope Benedict XVI. He spoke clearly about the liturgy and Organic Growth. Check out the blog for further insight and wisdom.

Pray the Rosary Daily! Be Holy, Not Worldly!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

San Diego Priest Leaving Diocese For FSSP?

San Diego Priest Leaving Diocese For FSSP?
 If this is true it is sad. It follows the previous post from Dr. Kwasnewski. There is and I have seen it first hand, a real animus toward the older form within the Church. Especially among Bishops and priests. Those who oppose it are not shy and they are in no way shape or form gentle. They are liturgical tyrants. Though the older form is valid and legitimate, they refuse to admit or accept it. Like tyrannical leaders they forcefully reject it and the faithful who prefer it. I have witnessed it first hand in several different dioceses. We are currently attending an FSSP parish here in Phoenix. It seems to me, that they have taken the reforms of the Council more seriously than any Bishops I am aware of. They take their priesthood seriously. They are serious about their vocation to spiritual fatherhood and as far as I can tell they are a model for the "new evangelization"(if that is even a real thing).

Pray the Rosary Daily! Be Holy, Not Worldly!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

New Evangelization: Running Out of Steam

How long will we watch the New Evangelization and it's spinning wheels. It seems a legitimate question to ask. One I have posed on a number of occasions. Why is it stalling out? A rejection of grown up liturgy. The attached article is something I have said on one or two occasions, myself. Dr. Kwasnewski sums it up and put a fine point on it. As I have said many times, evangelization and liturgy are do not live in isolation or opposition to each other. Rather, liturgy, proper and fitting worship of God is the end to which evangelization is ordered. When it is not, you get books like "rebuilt" and "forming intentional disciples." Neither of which seem to know exactly what their end is.

Pray the Rosary Daily! Be Holy, Not Worldly!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Four Effects of Supernatural Faith II

We have already discussed the theological virtue of faith and how it unites us in marriage to God, which is the first effect of faith. It is the adhesive holding the relationship together. God is never unfaithful. As I stated, He gives Himself as a gift. His generosity is unmatched. Every single soul will be given the grace necessary for salvation. For those souls who are not saved, it will not be because God Himself, has judged them unworthy of His love and grace. He gave it to them. They rejected it. They said no. Those souls refused to give their assent to God's revelation and His grace. Simple, THEY said no. Our submission, to God's sacramental grace and our assent to those things that God had revealed lead us into a deep interior faith, hope and charity. But, it begins with faith. Then and only then do we experience the four effects of faith more profoundly.

Eternal Life
It is no great secret that the rejection of St. Thomas and his philosophy and theology have led to a faith that is almost entirely absent or Protestant in nature in our culture. Very few actually live their lives in a state of grace or for that matter are seeking to live in a state of grace. They reject the notion that we can even know what that means or how we can  accomplish such a thing. Grace to most moderns is somehow randomly caught floating in the atmosphere. That is if you profess that you believe in Jesus Christ. It just sort of falls on us like a snow covered blanket, covering us up and making us look nice on the outside. While all the while the inside is still ugly, dark, and evil. You are, as Martin Luther says a "snow covered dunghill." There is no greater anthropological error than to reject the good nature of the human person and the need for an infusion of grace to elevate that nature to the super nature for which it was intended. Think about, a protestant who says "I am a bible believing christian." Who then proceeds to reject the words of God, who professes boldly that the nature of the human person is "in His image and likeness" and that is "very good."

The second effect of faith is that eternal life is begun in our soul. Sanctifying grace is the purifying gift of the sacraments. It sets the New Testament apart from the old. The loss of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the fall led to the absence of God's presence in the souls of the Jewish faithful. They had actual grace, but, they were without sanctifying grace. Sanctifying grace restores to the soul the life of the Holy Spirit. Those souls who remain in a state of grace, remain in union with God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. Upon our death, the firm hope of those who have faith is that they will be drawn into eternal life. God is eternal life. He shares that with those who believe what he has revealed. He makes His dwelling with us through the sacraments. The Lord proclaimed in the gospel of John "This is eternal life, that they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." Our knowledge of God begins here in this life, through faith. Through faith, we are drawn deeply into Christ's presence in the Eucharist and the other sacraments. Here and now is only the beginning. What is begun here through our full on one flesh reunion with God in faith, is brought to completion and perfection when we shall know God as He is. St. Paul says as much when he says "faith is the substance of things hoped for." As St. Thomas says "no one can arrive at a perfect happiness of heaven, which is the true knowledge of God, unless first he knows God through faith." Heaven begins in our soul when through faith our soul is united to God as in a marriage. When you die, and you will, if you die in a state of grace, your soul is already united to it's destination.

Right Order
Why are we all tempted to lose faith? Likely because everywhere we look we see disordered human living. Thank you Martin Luther. If we think we are snow covered dunghills and we take we believe his anthropology, then why would we strive for holiness. What a waste of time that would be. According to him it is an impossible feat. Therefore, as he says, we may as well "sin boldly." Really doesn't that sound like the theology of our culture. I use culture for lack of a better word, there is little that is cultured about culture at this moment in time. Whole different blog though. Everything has been flipped. Vice is not virtue. It is "good" to live with our significant other before marriage. It is actually "good" to live with them instead of marriage. We are now encouraged to accept that marriage actually has no essential nature. It is rather, man made, and as such can be reconfigured to suit our own feelings and desires. That is considered good and if you do not agree that two men "marrying" each other is "good". Then you are a close minded, archaic, bigot. The modern mind somehow believes that it is "good" not to make a permanent commitment to anyone. Or that you can make any type of temporary commitment and call it marriage. There is not binding nature or definition, therefore, we are free do as we wish and it all falls under the definition of marriage. This can be attributed to the epidemic loss of faith.

Faith gives new and essential direction to our life. Not just direction but the right direction. If we are to live a good life, a life of virtue, then it is necessary that we know what is necessary to live a good and virtuous life. Far to many people, including churchmen, live according to their own efforts alone. Probably accepting that the nature of the human person cannot change. Likely rejecting the notion that the human person was made for the good, he was made to live a virtuous life. True freedom depends on our desire to pursue virtue and the purification of our weaknesses. I have worked for the Church for years, I can tell you with certainty, that there are numerous priests who simply do not have a daily commitment to prayer. There are numerous priests who are active homosexuals. There are numerous priests who either do not have the courage to boldly proclaim the gospel in public either that or they simply do not believe it. That my friends is living a life of one's own effort. That my friends is living a life apart from the theological virtue of faith. That my friends is the wrong direction. Disorder of the highest degree. By our own efforts we "will never attain such knowledge, or if so, only after a long time (St. Thomas)." Faith leads to hope and orders our life to one other than this one. It instills in us the awareness of eternal life and other supernatural truths that complete and drive us on in perseverance. Our assent to these truths compel us to "live rightly and avoid evil (St. Thomas Aquinas)." As holy scripture says "The Just man liveth by faith." If you want to be a saint, if you want God to dwell within you and hold you close to Him. If you want to boldly proclaim and live the faith in public without anxiety and fear over what may happen to you or whether or not the boss my fire you, you need the theological virtue of faith. If you want the Lord to call you by name and to refer to you as one of the just, like Moses, Abraham, or David, then simply pursuing your life according to your own efforts is a fruitless endeavor. But I suspect you have already figured that out. St. Thomas says that this is evident:

"in that no one of the philosophers before the coming of Christ could, through his own powers, know God and the means necessary for salvation as well as any old woman since Christ' coming know Him through faith." 

Three Effects Down
Faith the supernatural virtue of faith brings about in us four great effects. We have explored three of them. The first is that the soul is united to God in a union like marriage. The second is a result of the union of God in marriage, eternal life is begun in the soul. The third effect is that supernatural faith gives life a proper and fitting direction.

There is one last effect. Look for it in part III. Until then:
Pray the Rosary Daily! Be Holy, Not Worldly!