Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lest We Forget

November 11 is Rememberance Day in Canada, and throughout the British Commonwealth of Nations, and in many other countries of the world.  It is a memorial day in Canada and many other nations for the memories of those who died in the line of duty to their country.  It was first proclaimed as a day of remembrance by England's King George V in 1919 to honor those who died in the First World War, and the memory of the deceased are to be called to mind at 11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month, which is also the time that the Armistice signed by the Allies and Germany earlier in the morning took effect.

Many other brave men and women have died subsequently in conflicts throughout the world, and we extend this Remembrance to include them as well.

In America, it is called Veterans Day, because Memorial Day, when members of the US armed services who died in conflicts are honored, has a longer tradition, dating back to the end of the Civil War between the states.  So, Veterans Day recognizes all who have served in the US military.

Though November 11 does not memorialize those American service men and women who died while serving their country, I have chosen to link a special video I came across that is about honoring American war dead in the Angel flight that repatriates their bodies to America.  I have also linked another video, which is how Canada has honored our military men and women killed in combat, by repatriating them to Canada, and taking their bodies on the drive along the section of our TransCanada Highway called the Highway of Heroes.

May we never forget the courage that men and women who have served our countries in the military have displayed, many of them at the cost of their own lives.

May they Rest in Peace.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Do You Ever Wonder What is Going on in this Crazy World?

What Impact Does Science Have on Us?

Contraceptives are good, right?  The current Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, who claims to be a Catholic seems to think so, so does his boss, not his BOSS the God he claims that he serves,  but his boss, the President, Barack Obama.  They both claim that all employers in America must provide contraceptives in their health care plans.

But, the Catholic Church claims that contracepting the sexual act is wrong, that it hinders the unitive act between a man and his wife, as well as preventing the possibility that a child will be born as a result of the sexual actions of a man and wife.  But, of course, the Catholic Church is lost somewhere in the Middle Ages, or maybe even earlier than that.  Even if the Church is correct, so what?

But maybe, just maybe the Catholic Church knows a thing or two that you and I do not about the inherent dangers of contracepting.

Maybe, just maybe, the Catholic Church knows that when you tamper with God's plan for creation, that the Law of Unintended Consequences comes into play, and the results are not what modern science would lead you to believe they are.

The video linked below has gone viral because it presents inconvenient truths, and maybe an inconvenient truth that might change some of your ideas.

What if contracepting was dangerous to your health?  What if it was causing havoc in the animal world, particularly with underwater creatures?  Watch the linked video below and see.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Canada Loses More of Its Innocence

CBSA Guard Shot at BC Crossing Point

Yesterday afternoon, a Canada Border agent was shot and seriously wounded by a man entering Canada, who subsequently shot and killed himself.  When I first read about it yesterday, I confess that I did not feel connected to it, tut tutted, and moved along.

At 12:30 am this morning we received a call from one of our children, telling us that the guard was a close personal friend of hers from Ontario.

That made a senseless tragedy somewhat personal, though I only know the young woman anecdotally.  But, in that she is someone highly regarded by one of our children, her assault took on more meaning for us.  MDW looked on this as a mother would, concern for the young woman's mother, as a mother for a mother, and of course, for the young woman herself.

By this morning, we were more aware of things that had transpired, and this random senseless act of violence was in some way mitigated by acts of kindness from co-workers of the mother, co-workers of the daughter, and friends of both, who have come to their aid and comfort already.

Most of us will only see the act of violence, as that is largely what the media will report and analyze to death in coming days, as they discuss the state of mind of the alleged perpetrator, how lax or tight border security is, whether the guard should have been armed, and blah blah blah.

This is the first time in history that a Canadian border guard has been shot in the line of duty.  In our travels in the southern US, we see border guards near the Mexican border, armed with machine guns,  wearing Kevlar, and ready to go to war on a moment's notice.  Innocence has been lost there, and it is now common place, and even to a large extent to us, as we see it so frequently.

But, the loss of innocence at US borders started with one random act of violence as well, and now we have joined that slippery slope.

This is a sad day for a young woman whose world has been turned upside down by an idiot with a gun, and it is a sad day for Canada, as like her, we have suffered some Innocence Lost this day.  It can never be recovered.

May God bring healing to this young woman, and to her family in the wake of this tragedy, and may God also comfort the spirits of her co-workers,  Also, may God have mercy on the soul of the man who set this all in motion.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How Are We To Respond to Challenges to the Faith?

Yesterday, I posted a response, in a sense, to an article by Tom Moran in the Star Ledger written in criticism of a Pastoral Letter from the Archbishop of Newark NJ, Archbishop Myers, entitled "When Two Become One: A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage".  It is a thoughtful, and beautiful defence of what has always been Church teaching about sacramental marriage, and is worthy of being read, prayed about, and then brought into our daily lives.

Archbishop Myers states in the letter:
Marriage is a natural and pre-political institution.  As such, it is not created by law or the state, though governments rightly recognize it in law and protect and support it for the sake of the common good.  Marriage is a human institution, to be sure, and spouses can enter into the bond of marriage only by freely choosing to do so.  Still, marriage is an institution whose defining features and structuring norms are not pure products of human choice.  We cannot define and redefine marriage to suit our personal tastes or goals.  We cannot make forms of relationship or types of conduct marital simply by attaching to them the word "marriage."  The defining features and structuring norms of marriage are written in the design of creation and revealed to us by a loving God who made marriage a powerful symbol of the mystery of his love for us.

But, the next page is where he hits hard, fair but hard, when he says:
Canon law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church both provide a straightforward definition of marriage: "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring . . ."  Thus, the essential elements of marriage include a communion of life (unity), permanence, fidelity, and an ordering toward fecundity (fruitfulness).  It should be clear from this definition that the Church recognizes as valid and binding all true marriages, not simply those between Catholic or Christians or believers in God.  It is true that Christ has elevated the marital covenant between baptized persons to the dignity of a sacrament. . .

It is my duty as your Archbishop to to remind you that Catholics who do not accept the teaching of the Church on marriage and family (especially those who act in public or private life contrary to the Church's received tradition on marriage and family)  by their own choice seriously harm their communion with Christ and His Church.  I urge those not in communion with the Church regarding her teaching on marriage and family (or any other grave matter of faith) sincerely to re-examine their consciences, asking God for the grace of the Holy Spirit which "guide [us] to all truth" (John 16:13).  If they continue to be unable to assent to or live the Church's teachings in these matters, they must in all honesty and humility refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they can do so with integrity; to continue to receive Holy Communion while so dissenting would be objectively dishonest.

I contend that not only Archbishop Myers, but all bishops in North America owe this kind of honesty to the faithful in their dioceses.

Men and women in authority, who claim the mantle of their alleged Catholic faith, have been giving the Church a rap of being inconsistent as they proclaim abortion rights, gay marriage rights, and other things under a false banner of social justice, all under the watchful eye of the public and of their bishops and pastors, who have sat quietly by.  They have been fostered by the silence to breed dissent in the Church.  This dissent is a cancer that, but by the grace of God, would destroy the Church given enough time.

When Jesus taught the essence of the Eucharist to people of his time, many walked away because this teachings was too hard for them.   Well, gay marriage and abortion rights are hard teachings as well, and our Catholic Church leaders are called to be like Jesus and give us all the teachings, including and especially the hard ones.

The Tom Moran's of this world, and we are all like Tom Moran more or less, need to be told the truth in love and kindness, but also firmly, as Archbishop Myers has done.  How we respond to truth is not the Archbishop's problem.  As he himself noted When I look back at my own life, beginning in the 1950's, I see that I was weakly catechized, and that when the trials of the teenage years came upon me, I was not prepared to stand firm in the faith I was raised in.  I was too weak and too ill prepared for the battles that waged at that time for my soul.  The world was too enticing for me to courageously stand against it.

If it were not for the Catholics in the Church, the Church would be perfect.  However, there will always be Catholics in the Church, and so we, those Catholics, must be made into the City of God, by right teaching, by the sacraments, and by personal sacrifice for the good of Holy Mother Church.  It is by the Grace of God that we are all called, but having been called, we must be helped to answer that call.

Tom Moran will return to the Church; count on it.  He has a mother praying in heaven for his soul, two actually, his human mother, and His Holy Mother Mary, and he has a third mother here on earth praying for his reversion to the faith of his youth, Holy Mother Church.  So, Jesus will not let him go ever.

My mother never gave up on me.  She prayed me back to the faith, while she was still alive, and I am sure she prays for me now from heaven.  But, even if she had not prayed for me, God would not have given me up, not without a very serious fight.

We must pray, and trust that God hears our prayers, and answers our prayers, for the reversion of all those in our families who have left the faith, and for conversion for all those outside faith in Christ Jesus.  Not only must we pray, but we must live the faith which we pray, loving those who we encounter daily

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Church Made Me Do It

I am a Victim Here

Over at Where the Rubber Hits the Road, Father Tim Moyle has a habit of posting links to various articles that touch on matters of faith, particularly the Catholic faith.  We have conversed by email over the last couple of years periodically, and one time I asked him to comment on the articles that he posts, since I would value his thoughts, and believed that others would as well. 

However, that has not been his style, and as time has passed, I have come to appreciate his approach.  By providing the links only, usually without his personal opinion, I have to think harder about the article linked than I would if I could just have a priest's viewpoint.  It is not that he does not have a priest's viewpoint, but there is a synergy and continuity to the articles he links.  Also, he monitors the comments that the articles generate and participates as he feels the need.

Consequently, his method has made me become a more studious Catholic Christian, by providing me things on which to ruminate.

This morning he provided a link to a blog posting over at by Tom Moran a writer at the Star Ledger, and a lapsed Catholic, who while canonizing his much loved mother, has claimed that he is a spiritual refugee, and wonder of wonders it is the fault of the Catholic Church.

He wrote about the Catholic Church that he was raised up in, and how through no fault or responsibility of his own he fled a million miles from it, and finds himself spiritually homeless.  A million miles from New Jersey would put him somewhere out in space, which is probably a good place for his brand of Catholic theology.

He states that:
One in three American adults was raised in a Catholic family, but fewer than one in four identify as Catholic today. No other church has shed so many followers, according to surveys by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

So if I am a refugee, I am walking on a road that is crowded with others who feel the same way.
But, really he wants to share with us his angst that Archbishop Myers of his local diocese issued a pastoral letter called "When Two Become One: A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage", which can be read at the Archdiocese of Newark site here, or in executive summary at the same site here.

If Mr. Moran (I wonder if his last name is not misspelled) has read Catholic teaching, or perhaps scanned the sections of the Catechism that the Archbishop refers to in his teaching, he would know readily that Archbishop Myers is not telling the people what he wants them to do, as Mr. Moran put it, but what the Church believes today, and has always believed.  That the good Archbishop chose now to present his teaching is timely, though Mr. Moran sees it as politically motivated.

The American people have an opportunity in a little over a month from now to vote their consciences in their national election, and shame on them if they do not.  Whether they should vote Democrat or Republican in this election is a matter for them individually to decide.  That one party, the Democrat party has party policies that are in direct conflict with the Church as it relates to marriage, and also to the sanctity of life, does not preclude individual Catholics from voting for a Democrat politician locally who has beliefs that he is prepared to push forward that are consistent with Catholic teaching.  But, if Catholic Church teaching matters to Catholics, and it should, then serious thought has to be given to how one votes.

Mr. Moran cited his sainted mother who after his father passed away, married a divorced man a decade later, and with the complicity of her parish priest continued to receive Holy Communion.  Archbishop Myers advised Mr. Moran that the priest and his mother were wrong, which shocked Mr. Moran.  That his mother had taken birth control pills, because pregnancies gave her serious migraines apparently should have furthered her cause for sainthood.

The late Mrs. Moran was born a sinner, lived as a sinner, and died as a sinner.  There, I bet she was received into the loving arms of Her Saviour, because she is not different than any one of us on the planet, except in one way.   Unlike most of us, she sought to do God's will in her life.  Most of us skip that part.  But, we are all sinners, and like her, sometimes we sin because in seeking to do our best we are wrongly advised, as happened to her in the matters of our sexuality. 

We are complicit in our illicit sexuality, and Archbishop Myers is trying to correct that to some extent.  We, the faithful, need our pastoral leaders to tell us the truth that the Church teaches.  We need them to be unequivocal with us about what is and is not right.  We need them to not wave like the flag does in the breeze, but to stand strong against the tide of the world, and lead us to freedom.

No, Mr. Moran, the Catholic Church will not ever have women priests.  Also,  gay marriages will never be accepted in the Catholic Church for the reasons that Archbishop Myers has clearly stated, and did not make up on his own.

Archbishop Myers has a solemn duty to teach authentically what the Church believes to be true, and risks his own personal salvation if he does not.  He knows that, and is not playing with us about it.

As Lifesite News reported shortly after the pastoral letter was released, the Archbishop goes so far as to state that those in opposition to Church teaching should not present themselves for Holy Communion.  That is a hard teaching, and as many walked away from Jesus when he preached about the Eucharist, and that we were to eat His Body and His Blood if we were to have life within us, many are likely to walk away from the Newark Archdiocese. 

Since Mr. Moran has a pulpit of his own to spread dissent beyond his own family, he has manipulated the pastoral letter to protect his job, and to sell newspapers.  As the failure of many to follow Church teaching on sexuality in the past, because it was not presented well, and often not at all, is in no small part the responsibility of the bishops of the day, spreading lies and falsehoods, as Mr. Moran is doing will be on his head when he leaves this mortal coil.

Let us pray for the reversion of Mr. Moran to the truth of the Catholic Church, and may we rejoice with the angels when the prayers of his own mother in heaven, and our Holy Mother in heaven for his soul are answered in their fullness.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Faith Is Caught, Not Taught

Wake up Catholic Priests and do the job to which Christ called you when you were ordained.

Evangelical Christians have long espoused something that most Catholics never understood, and so avoided. 

When I was a child in the 50s, I attended Mass regularly, was an altar server, and generally hung around the Church and our Catholic school and church community.  Then Vatican II occurred, and many priests, religious and lay people in the Church took the move to the vernacular form of the Mass to break down the walls of much of what was considered sacred, which is in truth, contrary to the teaching documents from Vatican II.

Where Pope John XXIII was inspired to usher in to the Church a new age of the Holy Spirit, many took the opportunity to follow the devil and bring in a New Age style of movement, diminishing the mysteries and humanising everything else.

The sexual revolution came along about the same time, and all Hell broke loose, both literally and figuratively.  There again, the Pope did the right thing, and Pope Paul VI released the most important document on faith and sexual morality never read by most Catholics, with the Encyclical Humanae Vitae.  But, here in Canada, and throughout much of the free world, bishops and priests let the already dwindling faithful down.  In Canada, we had a watered down interpretation of Humanae Vitae called the Winnipeg Statement, which at a time when we needed clarity on sexual morals including contraception, gave us pablum instead of meat.

I know very few married people who claim to be Catholics, nominally or practicing, who did not contracept at some time during their marriages, and most did so before their marriages, where sexual immorality took its root.

So, Catholics have left the Catholic Church in droves.  Many found homes in other Christian denominations, a sad truth.  Sadder still is that more left church all together, and profess to not miss it one little bit.

How can this be, if the words of Jesus Christ himself to us about the Eucharist are true, as He stated to those with Him at the time: "Unless you eat (the Greek word used actually means to gnaw on) the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall not have life within you"?  These words caused many to leave Him at the time, saying this teaching was too hard.  And too hard it has proven even for those who confess to follow Him today, as only the Catholic and Orthodox Churches hold it literally to be true.

If these words of Jesus are true, and if Jesus gave the power of his first priests to pass on this sacred gift of Himself in the form of bread and wine that he instituted at the Last Supper, then why have we left, and wandered off wherever?  These are after all, "the words of eternal life."

We, the People of God have a responsibility to develop our faith, but it is very difficult when we are not properly instructed in that faith.  If, in fact, faith is caught, not taught, then the teaching is what prepares the fertile soil for the seeds of faith to grow and multiply.

Our pastors have failed miserably to keep us home, and to bring us home, and have allowed the sheep to be scattered, and they will be held to account for doing so.  But, for those of us who remain, it is incumbent on us to lift our pastors up in prayer, that they might become the leaders in faith that we need to strengthen us and to grow the faith back up.   For failing to support them, we will be held to account.

Our pastors have proven to be all too human, to have fears of congregations shrinking, and so have tried to mollify us, rather than to educate us in the truth.

Shame on them!  And, shame on us for not supporting them prayerfully day in and day out to provide them with the spiritual cover to allow them to be steadfast in preaching the Gospel with no excuses, and no apologies.

Our Evangelical Protestant brothers and sisters know that Christianity is about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  What is more personal than to eat the Body and drink the Blood of Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

This morning in the Lauds, the first Liturgy of the Hours for the day, there was an excerpt from a sermon on Pastors by Saint Augustine that is on point.  Every Catholic priest in the world should have read these words and taken them to heart in their early morning prayers.
From a sermon On Pastors by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Sermon 46, 14-15: CCL 41, 541-542)

Welcome or unwelcome, insist upon the message

The straying sheep you have not recalled; the lost sheep you have not sought. In one way or another, we go on living between the hands of robbers and the teeth of raging wolves, and in light of these present dangers we ask your prayers. The sheep moreover are insolent. The shepherd seeks out the straying sheep, but because they have wandered away and are lost they say that they are not ours. “Why do you want us? Why do you seek us?” they ask, as if their straying and being lost were not the very reason for our wanting them and seeking them out. “If I am straying,” he says, “if I am lost, why do you want me?” You are straying, that is why I wish to recall you. You have been lost, I wish to find you. “But I wish to stray,” he says: “I wish to be lost.”

So you wish to stray and be lost? How much better that I do not also wish this. Certainly, I dare say, I am unwelcome. But I listen to the Apostle who says: Preach the word; insist upon it, welcome and unwelcome. Welcome to whom? Unwelcome to whom? By all means welcome to those who desire it; unwelcome to those who do not. However unwelcome, I dare to say: “You wish to stray, you wish to be lost; but I do not want this.” For the one whom I fear does not wish this. And should I wish it, consider his words of reproach: The straying sheep you have not recalled; the lost sheep you have not sought. Shall I fear you rather than him? Remember, we must all present ourselves before the judgement seat of Christ.

I shall recall the straying; I shall seek the lost. Whether they wish it or not, I shall do it. And should the brambles of the forests tear at me when I seek them, I shall force myself through all straits; I shall put down all hedges. So far as the God whom I fear grants me the strength, I shall search everywhere. I shall recall the straying; I shall seek after those on the verge of being lost. If you do not want me to suffer, do not stray, do not become lost. It is enough that I lament your straying and loss. No, I fear that in neglecting you, I shall also kill what is strong. Consider the passage that follows: And what was strong you have destroyed. Should I neglect the straying and lost, the strong one will also take delight in straying and in being lost.
Dear Priests:

Do not let us stray any longer.  Invite us into personal relationship with Jesus Christ, as exemplified so wonderfully in the Eucharist, but also in every moment of our daily lives.  Tell us the hard truths about sexual morality.  Tell us about sin and its deleterious effect on our daily lives and on that relationship with Jesus.  Preach the word of God with truth and clarity.  Help us to catch the faith by preparing the soil of our hearts to receive, nurture and grow that seed.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What's Love Got to Do With It? For an Atheist - Everything

That learned 20th century philosopher and songstress Tina Turner asked the question "What's Love Got to Do With It?"  OK, she didn't write the song.  The real philosopher in this instance is songwriter Terry Britten, who among many gems written for various artists, also penned her hit "We don't Need Another Hero" from the cult movie "Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome".

Of course, I call her, or him by attribution, a philosopher in jest.  The heavy duty philosophy of the particular song of the title of this piece includes the following about love:
It's physical
Only logical
You must try to ignore
That it means more than that
So, what had this to do with anything?

Well, recently, I have been engaged in a dialogue of sorts with a commenter (Rationalist1) over at Father Tim Moyle's blog "Where the Rubber Hits the Road."  WTRHTR is a clever attempt by Father Tim to engage people in conversation about the important issues of our day, which for him and for me relates to the Person of Jesus Christ, and His Divinity and humanity, and what it all means for us personally. 

Where some bloggers provide material that only expresses one perspective, Father Tim provides a more open forum, at least I think so, that lets atheists, at least one witch, Catholic and other Christians, and agnostics from various quarters engage in what is usually meaningful dialogue.  There is much disagreement, but I find much of the dialogue to be challenging.

Recently, I have come back from a hiatus to engage a bit in the dialogue, and have encountered a commenter named "Rationalist1", who is intelligent, educated, and sits on the opposite side of the Christianity fence from Father Tim and myself.

I have only one real criticism of the person called Rationalist1.  I know who Father Tim Moyle is.  It is no secret.  In communications with him, I have come to know a bit more than is on WTRHTR, but he is very open about who he is.  I believe that I have been open about who I am as well.

It is, however, difficult to engage in fruitful dialogue with a man, at least I think Rationalist1 is a man over the age of 30, which I DEDUCE from his comments, who hides behind a moniker.  When I tell you that my name is Michael Brandon, it says little more about me than that my father was a Brandon, and my parents liked the name Michael for me as their first born son.  But, it is the name attached to the individual that is me.

Should I tell you that my name is Rationalist1, which is already taken, it tells you little, but leaves impressions that may be intentionally conveyed, or that come from the reader's own experiences of life.

That seems a circuitous route to get to my purpose here which is to discuss some of the comments from Rationalist1 that I have had from him (again I assume the commenter to be a him) recently.

So, here's how we get to this moment in time.  In response to my posting the other day "Atheist Jumps in to Deep without a Life Preserver"  Rationalist1 provide 4 meaningful comments, the first 2 of which I want to examine here.

I made a statement in the piece that he took me correctly to task over:

I had said:
"The problem with atheists and most non-believers is their inability to have any faith in anything that thay cannot see, taste, smell, feel, and/or touch."
He correctly upped the game with the following:
I can do none of those things with an electron, yet I accept their existence. Why?

Because I've measured the charge of an electron, used its charge to then calculate it's weight in a magnetic field, used its spin to design techniques for MRI machines and I have been know to stare at their scintillation on a phosphor screen as they show me images (CRT television).

I cannot see, hear, smell, taste or feel electrons yet I accept their existence. Because I have evidence of their existence.
It is quite true to say that mankind has scientifically proven that air exists, and many things we cannot normally see, touch, taste etc. and so for scientific purposes they are real.

But, the next statement that he set out to refute I still stand on, and will explain:  I said:
"That, of course, requires rationalists to be bereft of love for self or for others, because love cannot be deduced or reasoned. They could then be filled with self loathing, but that would not be rational, since it too is sensory. That leaves them as dead men or women walking, which, of course, can only progress to dead men or women lying in a cold grave."
Rationalist1 responded by saying to this:
How do I know my wife loves me, yet Angelina Jolie doesn't? Is there anyway by the words or actions of these two people that I might that one of them loves me or are that evidence somehow precluded from being considered.
Although Rationalist1 used Angelia Jolie as his foil, and I have replaced her with Tina Turner for this discussion, his answer is faulty.

Tina Turner voiced the atheist view of love written by Terry Britten that "It's physical, Only logical".  So, Rationalist1 deduces from words that his wife speaks and her actions, and which he has never heard or seen from Angelia Jolie (nor Tina Turner) that his wife loves him.

So, love, which has no atomic weight, is not measurable by X Ray, MRI, PET, MRA, ultrasound or any other scanning method known to man is real for him; yet God who Christians believe is Love, because the written word of God says so, and of which those who have committed to follow Him and believe Him and in Him have personal evidence, does not exist.  That seems curious to me, coming from a scientist.

Love is the essence of any debate about the existence of God.

But, back to friend Rationalist1.  Many years ago, I read an enlightening book by Anthony De Mello, an Indian Jesuit priest and Psychologist, called "Awareness".  It was an eye opener, and in it, he told the following story:
There was a woman in a therapy group I was conducting once. She was a religious sister. She said to me, "I don't feel supported by my superior". So I said, "What do you mean by that"? And she said, "Well, my superior, the provincial superior, never shows up at the novitiate where I am in charge, never. She never says a word of appreciation". I said to her, "All right let's do a little role playing. Pretend I know your provincial superior. In fact, pretend I know exactly what she thinks about you.

So I say to you (acting the part of the provincial superior), 'You know, Mary, the reason I don't come to that place you're in is because it is the one place in the province that is trouble-free, no problems. I know you're in charge, so all is well.' How do you feel now"? She said, "I feel great". Then I said to her, "All right, would you mind leaving the room for a minute or two? This is part of the exercise". So she did. While she was away, I said to the others in the therapy group, "I am still the provincial superior, O.K.?

Mary out there is the worst novice director I have ever had in the whole history of the province. I n fact, the reason I don't go to the novitiate is because I can't bear to see what she is up to. It's simply awful. But if I tell her the truth, it's only going to make those novices suffer all the more. We are getting somebody to take her place in a year or two; we are training someone. In the meantime I thought I would say those nice things to her to keep her going. What do you think of that"?

They answered, "Well, it was really the only thing you could do under the circumstances". Then I brought Mary back into the group and asked her if she still felt great. "Oh yes", she said. Poor Mary! She thought she was being supported when she wasn't. The point is that most of what we feel and think we conjure up for ourselves in our heads, . . .
Rationalist1 relies on how he feels about his wife, and how he feels about what he hears his wife say to him or about him, and what she does for him in their relationship to KNOW that she loves him, and because Angela Jolie does not do things to or for him, nor speak to him or about him that she does not love him.

Recently, I sat somewhere for a few minutes with the wife of a friend, and was shocked at things she said in this brief conversation.  She and her husband have been married for more than 30 years, are always together, and seem to enjoy each other's company.  She professed an unresolvable emptiness in their relationship that I am darn sure he has not the slightest idea about.  He would say as Rationalist1 does that he knows his wife loves him by her actions and her words.  What he has not got clue 1 of are the words of her heart, since he has put up walls to keep her from feelings safe to express her deepest feelings.

I believe that I love my wife, imperfectly, and I believe that she loves me, imperfectly.  But, I am certain that God loves me unconditionally.  So, love has everything to do with IT, no matter what IT is.

Rationalist1 had said in response to my posting "Science Disproving the Existence of God?" the following:
I was an ardent practicing Catholic for the first 30 years of my life. I finally realized that I was fooling myself. I actually know more Catholic theology than most Catholics. I have tried and found nothing there and then I realized I dodn't need there to be a God.
To quote William Shakespeare from the "to be or not to be" soliloquy in Hamlet: "Ay, there's the rub."

You see, Rationalist1 came to the correct conclusion that he was fooling himself as an ardent practicing Catholic.  Good on him that he knows more Catholic theology than most Catholics.  Most Catholics don't know very much theology, Catholic or otherwise.  Shame on our priests and bishops for that is on their heads.

But, the practice of Catholicism has become for many about being ardent, and about theology, and that is not at all about the love of God, which is what Love has to do with it.

Earthly love is a shaded mirror of the love that God has for all of us.  It is not a true reflection, but is the best we are capable of here on earth, particularly if we are not in relationship with God.  God is not about theology and practice, though both are useful. 

God is about love, and about personal relationship, Him and me, Him and you, Him and us all.

So, a Rationalist1 or any scientist can claim that he loves his wife, and she him, but he cannot prove it even legally "beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt".

So, for atheists, the delusions of religion are based on false premises, and the solid foundation of their own lives on the bedrock of science is merely an illusion.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Atheist Jumps in to Deep Without a Life Preserver

Science Disproving God?

Yesterday I wrote an article based on a piece by Natalie Watchover of, called "Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God?"  One atheist "Rational1" had a comment to make about it, though actually only tangentially.

He said:
Very few atheists attempt to prove God does not exist (Victor Stenger is a notable exception) and are instead content to say there is not evidence for the existence of God.

As to the miracles, I can remain skeptical of those miraculous claims that your religion purports for the same reason that your are skeptical of the numerous and incredibly well attested modern miracles of Sai Baba ( )

The problem with atheists and most non-believers is their inability to have any faith in anything that thay cannot see, taste, smell, feel, and/or touch.  Somehow air is exempt from their disbelief, even though the senses cannot detect it, but God is a concept/reality that just does not cut it for them.

They tend to becloud discussion lest there be any challenges to their world view.  After all, their world view is a naturalist/rationalist comprehension, and that is all there is.  Rational1 did that in the comment above, which had nothing to do with the post I had written, other than to signal that Rational1 was "running helter skelter with his fingers in his ears" pretending that life is just as he sees it.

Since the commenter calls himself Rational1, let us try to see what a Rational1 might be.  I take the liberty of speaking for him, since he did the same with me in his comment, where he claimed I was skeptical about something of which I have never had knowledge, other than in the last few hours, by his link in his comment.

It is reasonably safe to assume that someone who calls himself Rational1 is a Rationalist.  Well, a Rationalist is one who holds views "appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification."  Essentially, truth is to be deduced or established intellectually, and there is no room for the senses.  Of course, truth has to be subjective, since if we are both rationalist and come to different conclusions, we must both be right.

That, of course, requires rationalists to be bereft of love for self or for others, because love cannot be deduced or reasoned.  They could then be filled with self loathing, but that would not be rational, since it too is sensory.  That leaves them as dead men or women walking, which, of course, can only progress to dead men or women lying in a cold grave.

So, you say, you know many rationalists and they love their spouse and their children, and they hate deluded conservatives and Christians and people of faith or whoever else they might target.  The fact that they can feel love disproves rationalism, but that must be ignored, maybe as an anomaly, or something, kind of like Rational1 discrediting the miracles I spoke of yesterday, because, after all they come from those deluded religionists.

It is a slippery slope our friends the rationalists descend on, as they must suspend belief in things that are obvious to their eyes, if they choose to open them up.

Rational1 implied that there is "not evidence for God", though in truth there is more evidence for God than there is for him.

The purveyors of the very incomplete science of knowing how the world was created always run into one stumbling block in particular.  How do you get something from nothing?  To have a big bang, something has to cause it, or there has to be some matter present, and where did it come from?  By stopping before reaching the end of the process, and declaring a new goal line, the rationalist is able to claim a position on the existence or non existence of God.  However, anyone who has tried to solve a significant math problem, and quit just before the last step in the solution knows their answer is incorrect.  It is one thing to be ignorant of how to complete the last step.  It is another matter altogether to pretend that the last step is unnecessary, and declare victory without it.

I tried for many years to ignore the existence of God.  However, I was open to the possibility that there was a God, and never called myself an atheist during those years.  I did claim to be agnostic, which is really an uncommitted atheist.

Because I had a mother who prayed for me without ceasing for many years, God made himself known to me with some measure of regularity.  I tried to ignore Him, but what He said to me was too compelling to brush off, and eventually I started, ever so slowly to respond.

I feel sadness for folks like Rational1 who have locked themselves out of possibilities that they cannot fathom since they are dependent on what they candeduce for themselves.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Science Disproving the Existence of God?

How Curious?

Disproving the existence of God is a fun pastime for those who are determined that a loving God could not possibly have created our universe and if He did, he surely would not have let it run amok as it has.

One of the most popular news headlines today on Yahoo News is an article entitled "Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God?"  You can read it at the link, but you can also step away from it, as there is nothing really new here.  Disbelieving in God requires that one ignore history, and any parts of science that do not coincide with the world view that it takes to disbelieve in a Creator.

It is all pretty silly, as this anonymous but thought provoking story below explains:
A man went to a barber shop to have his hair and his beard cut as always.

He started to have a good conversation with the barber who attended him. They talked about so many things and various subjects. Suddenly, they touched the subject of God.

The barber said: "Look man, I don't believe that God exists as you say."

"Why do you say that?" asked the client. "Well, it's so easy, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God does not exist. OK, tell me. If God existed, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be no suffering nor pain. I can't think of loving a God who permits all of these things."

The client stopped for a moment thinking, but he didn't want to respond so as to cause an argument. The barber finished his job and the client went out of the shop.

Just after he left the barber shop he saw a man in the street with long hair and a beard (it seems that it had been a long time since he had his hair cut and he looked untidy).

Then the client again entered the barber shop and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist."

"How can you say they don't exist?" asked the barber. "I am a barber and here I am."

"No!" the client exclaimed. "They don't exist because if they did there would be no people with long hair and beards like that man who walks in the street."

"Ah, barbers do exist. What happens is that people do not come to me." "Exactly!"- affirmed the client. "That's the point. God does exist! What happens is people don't go to Him and do not look for Him. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."
Believing that there is a God requires the suspension of our internal belief systems.  The problem with the Big Bang theory, and why it will never be more than a theory, is that it does not explain how the something that was there to bang big got there.  Scientists can explain a lot, but they cannot explain that away, so they ignore it.  That is not science.  That is stupidity.

Of course, scientists choose to ignore miracles that have occurred here on the earth, many of which have been well documented and accepted by the Catholic Church as real.

Take for example the miracle of Saint Januarius, whose Feast Day it is today, September 19.  Saint Januarius was a martyr for the faith, and since 1389, a particular miracle has occurred every year on his Feast Day, and there is no earthly explanation for it.  Read about it here at Dr/ Taylor Marshall's blog, Canterbury Tales.

You might also read of the documented miracle from the early 1600's of St. Joseph of Cupertino, who is said to have levitated often during his lifetime.

And though you do not have to believe me, I have had at least one miraculous healing happen in my own life, that I have touched on from time to time and wrote some details of here.

Even more astounding and outstanding are miracles of the Eucharist that have occurred down through the ages.  One example is The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Italy.

However, none of the many miracles that have occurred down through the ages, and occur daily somewhere in the world will ever be written up by the Main Stream Media, like this bogus article that I referenced in the beginning of this piece.

If you want to prove to your own satisfaction that God does not exist, you can keep your head in the sand, quote some scientific studies that are probably reasonably accurate as far as they go, and smugly go on with your life, if you choose to so do.  If you want to prove to your own satisfaction that God does exist, then you have to do some real work, because you won't find it in the paper, or on most TV channels, or in the movies.   It is amazing to me that the spiritual mysteries of a loving God are considered too frivolous to match up against the banal, but titillating movie fare we have available, and all of the garbage found on our televisions.  Yet, we sit in front of a movie or the tube and turn our brains off while being entertained.

I challenge any reader who does not believe that God exists to do some serious research into claims by Christians of miraculous events that cannot be explained away by science, and to ask God to open your eyes to the Wisdom of His Existence, and His Plan for your life.

In fact, I dare you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Memo From God

Godvine has many inspiring videos and stories of inspiration to a life of faith.  I have no idea on the site where of even if they keep the stories, though the videos are evident at the link.  But, I receive them daily with a list of the most recent videos, and usually something in the email touches my heart.

I hope that the Memo to you/me from God below touches you.  We try so hard to figure it out - whatever it is. We want to solve our problems to bolster our self esteem, but even when we do appear to solve our problems there are the conjunction of various circumstances that cause this to happen.  Of course, we would like to believe that we are in charge and that they are just coincidences.  But, as a Catholic priest friend of mine told me a number of years ago, they are not coincidences, they are GOD INCIDENCES.

The hardest thing to do in life is to Let go and Let God, or more formally to abandon ourselves to Divine Providence.  Yet, nothing can bring greater satisfaction than to recognize the One who loves us and who cares about everything, every situation in our lives, and only wants to love us and see us through them.

Here is a memo from God to us.

Reference: LIFE

I am God.

Today I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help.

If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. All situations will be resolved... but in My time, not yours.

Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now

If you find yourself stuck in traffic; Don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.

Should you have a bad day at work; Think of the man who has been out of work for years.

Should you despair over a relationship gone bad; Think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.

Should you grieve the passing of another weekend; Think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children.

Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance; Think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.

Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror; Think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.

Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful. There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.

Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities; Remember, things could be worse. You could be one of them!

Should you decide to send this to a friend, thank you. You may have touched a life in ways you will never know!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Please Come Home

A Call From "True Life in God"

Between 1986 and 2003, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ  used the hand of Vassula Rhyden to write a call of love to all His people here on earth.  It, in no way supplants the Holy Bible, nor the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church.  But, it does supplement the Truth that we have written in our hearts, though supplement is an inadequate word to describe this work.
I have found this book to be invaluable as I seek to draw closer to the God of Love, and to conform my life to what He desires it to be.

I have long been troubled by the words of Jesus calling us all to be one, as He and the Father are one, particularly when I gaze upon the world of Christianity, and its division upon division upon division.  It is clear to me that this separation of believers in Jesus Christ from each other is caused by man's disobedience, mine no less than that of any other man on the earth, or who has walked on the earth.  Today, while reading from True Life in God (page 504 of the 1550 pages in the PDF version of the book available for free here), I read the following:
I call each one of My shepherds by their name, but very few hear My Voice ... I stifle, I suffocate to see them filled with dead words; hear Me, I have, daughter, called you to serve the cause of right, I have taken you by the hand and formed you to witness, I have shown you the Truth and I have unveiled your eyes to see whom I had chosen to sit in Peter’s Chair, and to whom I once said: “you are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it; I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven;” (Mt. 16:18-19)     
I had given this man this Authority, and today you are trying to overthrow him and steal his shepherd’s staff so that you rule with the sceptre of Falsehood and Vice; Peter? Peter-of-My-Lambs, My beloved shepherd, I know how your heart lacerates and bleeds in rivers for this ungrateful and unfaithful generation; I know how they have turned your eyes into a spring of tears; I know how many of your brothers have turned their backs to you; these are, My beloved, those shepherds who know nothing, feel nothing, they all go their own way, each after his own interest, serving Folly instead of Wisdom, Lust instead of Poverty, Disobedience instead of Obedience;  
I gaze from My Cross on all who inhabit the world, and I am telling you who people many nations, that soon the Hour is with you, the time is almost up, and the days will not last long before you pass your nights weeping, you unfaithful shepherds, shepherds who sin against Me by faithlessness, you who cry Peace! when there is no Peace; return to Peter, all you who have strayed away in a different direction; serve Me; why serve Unholiness? be Mine, not the Rebel’s, why are you so willing to serve the Rebel? even foreigners, even these have listened to My Voice and have understood My Words; My Principles are Holy and I tell you most solemnly that Holy They shall remain forever and ever     
daughter, read My Word  
(The Lord indicated to me where. Again in Mt. 5:18-19.)  
read and write: “I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved; therefore the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven;"
How can we think that we, mere mortals, had the authority to "Reform" God's Holy Church?  When Jesus said that He formed His Church under His Peter, who are we to Re-form it, and if so, in who's image were we reforming it?

There is no doubt that there was corruption in the Catholic Church in the time of the Reformation.  There is corruption in every hearts and mind of every person on the earth, including every person who has claimed Christ as Lord and Saviour.  It is a function of the human condition.

But, when Christ's words are so very clear, who are we to try and turn them to justify our own sin?

It is time for all Christians to unite.  Our enemy is not each other, but the principalities and rulers of this dark and evil age.  The energy that we expend haggling over man made doctrine is destructive, at a time when we must be on the alert for the real evil in this world.

1.2 billion babies have been aborted in the last 32 years, many of them the babies of women and men proclaiming themselves to be Christians.  Many more babies have been created only to die before implantation because of the use of oral contraceptives.

We live our lives for ourselves, not for Christ, and how is that serving us?  Look around you.  It does not serve us well.

We must all turn our hearts towards Jesus, seek forgiveness for our sins, swear our allegiance to Him, and Him alone, and then turn and see Him in our brothers and sisters.  Every person on this earth is a son or daughter of God.  Every one is our brother and sister.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hard Truths

From GodVine

The following was in my daily digest from GodVine today, and it speaks volumes.  For those who claim to be Christian, it reminds us that we not perfect, but we are forgiven.  For those who do not claim Christ, there is hope as well, the same hope from the same Lord and Saviour, who wants to be Lord and Saviour to each and every one of us, no matter how sinful we are, no matter how broken we are.  We are His.  He died for us, and He wants us to love Him as He has loved us.

One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise.

Ah the beauty of God's creation is beyond description.

As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work.

As I sat there, I felt the Lord's presence with me.

He asked me, "Do you love me?"

I answered, "Of course, God! You are my Lord and Savior!"

Then He asked, "If you were physically handicapped, would you still love me?"

I was perplexed. I looked down upon my arms, legs and the rest of my body and wondered how many things I wouldn't be able to do, the things that I took for granted. And I answered, "It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You."

Then the Lord said, "If you were blind, would you still love my creation?"

How could I love something without being able to see it? Then I thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them still loved God and His creation.
So I answered, "Its hard to think of it, but I would still love you."

The Lord then asked me, "If you were deaf, would you still listen to my word?"

How could I listen to anything being deaf? Then I understood. Listening to God's Word is not merely using our ears, but our hearts. I answered, "It would be tough, but I would still listen to Your word."

The Lord then asked, "If you were mute, would you still praise My Name?"

How could I praise without a voice? Then it occurred to me: God wants us to sing from our very heart and soul. It never matters what we sound like. And praising God is not always with a song, but when we are persecuted, we give God praise with our words of thanks. So I answered, "Though I could not physically sing, I would still praise Your Name.

And the Lord asked, "Do you really love Me?"

With courage and a strong conviction, I answered boldly, "Yes Lord! I love You because You are the one and true God!"

I thought I had answered well, but...

God asked, "THEN WHY DO YOU SIN?"

I answered, "Because I am only human. I am not perfect."


No answers. Only tears.

The Lord continued: "Why only sing at fellowships and retreats? Why seek Me only in times of worship? Why ask things so selfishly? Why ask things so unfaithfully?"

The tears continued to roll down my cheeks.

"Why are you ashamed of Me? Why are you not spreading the good news? Why in times of persecution, you cry to others when I offer My shoulder to cry on? Why make excuses when I give you opportunities to serve in My Name?"

I tried to answer, but there was no answer to give.

"You are blessed with life. I made you not to throw this gift away. I have blessed you with talents to serve Me, but you continue to turn away. I have revealed My Word to you, but you do not gain in knowledge. I have spoken to you but your ears were closed. I have shown My blessings to you, but your eyes were turned away. I have sent you servants, but you sat idly by as they were pushed away. I have heard your prayers and I have answered them all."


I could not answer. How could I? I was embarrassed beyond belief. I had no excuse. What could I say to this? When I my heart had cried out and the tears had flowed, I said, " Please forgive me Lord. I am unworthy to be Your child."

The Lord answered, "That is My Grace, My child."

I asked, "Then why do you continue to forgive me? Why do You love me so?"

The Lord answered, "Because you are My creation. You are my child. I will never abandon you."

"When you cry, I will have compassion and cry with you.
When you shout with joy, I will laugh with you.
When you are down, I will encourage you.
When you fall, I will raise you up.
When you are tired, I will carry you.
I will be with you till the end of days, and I will love you forever."

Never had I cried so hard before. How could I have been so cold? How could I have hurt God as I had done? I asked God, "How much do You love me?"

The Lord stretched out His arms, and I saw His nail-pierced hands. I bowed down at the feet of Christ, my Savior. And for the first time, I truly prayed.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our Beloved Catholic Priests

Recently, I had some binary interaction with two Catholic priests, Father Terry, and Father John Abberton, over their comments to the first and second articles that I have recently posted on "True Life In God", the messages of Jesus, and Mary to Vassula Ryden, and to all of us.

Father Terry, Editor at  pointed out the 1995 report of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faiths which was critical of Vassula for a number of reasons that were articulated at the time.  However, as usual there is far more to the story than just that notification.  There was and continues to be considerable dialogue between the CDF and Mrs. Ryden, and much of that correspondence can be viewed here.  Having read much of the book, as a continuing journey of personal faith, and the 1995 report of the CDF, it appears to me that they have very little intersection.  I am not sure what the CDF was writing about, but apparently nobody there has read the book - Just my opinion.
Then, of course there is the little matter in the "True Life in God" manuscripts of the nihil obstat and imprimatur.

There are also such things as the testimony of  retired Bishop Joao Evangelista Terra, S.J. from Brazil, who for ten years was Auxiliary Bishop of Brasilia until he retired in 2004.  Here is a brief interview with him about True Life in God.  From his many years of working with then Cardinal Ratzinger, her had this to say, which is in the interview:

I worked for about ten years with Cardinal Ratzinger in Rome, at the Pontifical Commission. And then at times I had the opportunity as consultant, to be involved on Vassula's work and that Notification was not from the Cardinal. And when I spoke with the Cardinal and asked him about Vassula's work he replied to me in German: "Continue to practice always with great confidence, remain in peace and be prudent. Relax, everything is ok."
Regardless, there is something important that comes from reading True Life in God, several things actually.  If one reads True Life in God with an open heart, a challenge for most of us earthlings, and if one reads as Jesus requests the reader to do, by replacing the name Vassula with the reader's own, then some amazing things start to happen.  Here is just one of them.
My prayer partners and I began praying in earnest for the sacerdotals (priests) among us.  By their commitment to undertake to present, with and for us, the source and summit of the Catholic faith, the Eucharist, they become the sworn enemies of Satan, the evil deceiver.  That makes them subject to serious attack, and Satan knows their individual weaknesses better than they do.  Though they are men committed to serving God, they are men, and as such are sinners, like you and me. 
When they fall, as a not insignificant number did, into areas of sexual sin with minors, their sin is magnified by the media, and takes on a life of its own. There is a serious bias in the media against the Catholic Church, though media members would not admit it, of course.  Our mere mortal methods of pointing out the truth about the pervasiveness of the scandal across all men in all walks of life, and in higher proportions than in the Catholic Church fall on deaf ears.

BUT, our prayers do not.  Our Saviour's cup of wrath against this perverse generation is ready to overflow, but the cup of His mercy is larger still, and it is filled with the prayers and sacrifices of His children. 

One of the prayers that Jesus calls us to pray in True Life in God is the Novena of Confidence to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as follows:
O Lord, Jesus Christ, to Your Most Sacred Heart I confide this intention. (Here mention your request). 
Only look upon me, then do what Your Heart inspires, Let Your Sacred Heart decide, I count on it, I trust in it, I throw myself on Its Mercy.Lord Jesus You will not fail me. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in Thy love for me. Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom Come.O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have asked for many favours, but I earnestly implore this one.Take it, place it in Thy Sacred Heart. When the Eternal Father sees it covered with Thy Precious Blood, He will not refuse it. It will be no longer my prayer but Thine, O Jesus. O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee. Let me never be confounded. Amen.
My morning prayer partners and I have made the continual growth in holiness of all Catholic priests, and reverence for the Holy Eucharist an ongoing intention. 

As the times get tougher for our priests, and they will, as the world spins away from faith in God even further, they are in need of our prayer support. 
I urge anyone who reads this to adopt all priests they know, or know of in their prayers, and lift them up to the Father, through Jesus Christ His Son, in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Catholic Priest Humor and the Clerical Collar

The other day I came across a cute joke about a Catholic priest (at least I hope no priest I know will be offended).
A priest was invited to attend a house party. Naturally, he was properly dressed and wearing his Priest's Collar. A little boy kept staring at him the entire evening. Finally, the priest asked the little boy what he was staring at. The little boy pointed to the priest's neck. 
When the priest finally realized what the boy was pointing at, He asked the boy, "Do you know why I am wearing that?"  
The boy nodded his head yes, and replied, "It kills fleas and ticks for up to three months".
Though the little attempt at humor above is cute, it is, of course not true.  The Clerical Collar is in fact an important article of clothing for male clergy.  In the Catholic Church, the Clerical Collar is worn by bishops, priests, deacons, both permanent and transitional, and by some seminarians.

The Clerical Collar is at once a statement of faith in a vocation, and a reminder to the wearer of one's own vocation. 

Roman Catholic Vocations blog has a copy of an article from another blog, since discontinued, that speaks to the Clerical Collar quite well here.

The Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, prepared by the Congregation for the Clergy and approved by Pope John Paul II on January 31, 1994 has this to say, which is quoted from the above referenced article:
In a secularized and tendentiously materialistic society, where even the external signs of sacred and supernatural realities tend to be disappearing, the necessity is particularly felt that the priest-man of God, dispenser of His mysteries-should be recognizable in the sight of the community, even through the clothing he wears, as an unmistakable sign of his dedication and of his identity as a recipient of a public ministry. The priest should be recognizable above all through his behavior, but also through his dressing in a way that renders immediately perceptible to all the faithful, even to all men, his identity and his belonging to God and to the Church.
If I wear a business suit, as I did in my past life, I am conveying a message, either knowingly or inadvertently.  When I managed a staff of 50 information technology consultants years ago, I instructed them that although the world was getting more casual, and our clients had dress down Fridays, which eventually became dress down days that end in "y", we were to dress appropriately, at least as well as our clients.  Staff were prohibited from wearing blue jeans, t-shirts and other overtly casual clothing.  We were being paid to operate professionally, and so how we looked was an impression we were giving to each other and to clients' staff.

It is the same with priests.  The Church speaks of sacraments in the old Baltimore Catechism as "an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace."  The Clerical Collar may not be a sacrament, nor was it particularly instituted by Christ, though the vocation for which it stands clearly was, but the wearing of it by a man of God provides opportunities for that man of God to partake in the dispensing of grace to any individual that he meets.

In a world that ridicules faith in anything that is not able to be touched, or at least pretends to, we need signs that faith matters.  We, the faithful need these signs to encourage us along our journey of faith, and as I said above our religious need the signs of their own vocation to remind them of that responsibility that they have undertaken.

Let us pray for all priests and deacons particularly, that they will continue to grow in holiness, and to help us along our path to holiness as well, by their prayers and the living out of their vocation.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Transfiguration

A Puzzle Is Solved

Some time ago, over at Where the Rubber Hits the Road, the blog of Father Tim Moyle, a discussion ensued with "Martin" a longtime friend of Father Tim's, who likes to be contentious, and in that regard took Matthew Chapter 16:28 as a proof that the Bible was filled with errors in fact.
Matthew Chapter 16:28 says in the NIV translation:
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Martin said in so many words that all who were with Jesus at the time had died and not one of them ever saw the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.  Almost sounds convincing, and I can tell you that the arguments that some of us put up for Martin were not convincing to him.
Although my faith was not shaken, it was a challenge that I did not have a really satisfactory answer for.
But, today is the Feast of the Transfiguration, and I was praying the Lauds from the Liturgy of the Hours as usual, but decided to look at the earlier office for the day, the Office of Readings.  There is in that liturgy a number of longer readings from scripture, and one from a well respected teacher in the history of the Church.

Today's Second Reading was from a Sermon on the Transfiguration of the Lord by Anastasius of Sinai.  The good Bishop tells us that the Transfiguration which is described in Matthew Chapter 17: 1-11 is that fulfillment of Matthew 16:28.

Here is the biblical description of the Transfiguration from Matthew in the NIV translation:
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”
11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
Bishop Anastasius describes the words of Chapter 16:28 and how the Transfiguration relates to them in his sermon, in this excerpt from it:
Upon Mount Tabor, Jesus revealed to his disciples a heavenly mystery. While living among them he had spoken of the kingdom and of his second coming in glory, but to banish from their hearts any possible doubt concerning the kingdom and to confirm their faith in what lay in the future by its prefiguration in the present, he gave them on Mount Tabor a wonderful vision of his glory, a foreshadowing of the kingdom of heaven. It was as if he said to them: “As time goes by you may be in danger of losing your faith. To save you from this I tell you now that some standing here listening to me will not taste death until they have seen the Son of Man coming in the glory of his Father. “Moreover, in order to assure us that Christ could command such power when he wished, the evangelist continues: Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter, James and John, and led them up a high mountain where they were alone. There, before their eyes, he was transfigured. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Then the disciples saw Moses and Elijah appear, and they were talking to Jesus.
These are the divine wonders we celebrate today; this is the saving revelation given us upon the mountain; this is the festival of Christ that has drawn us here. Let us listen, then, to the sacred voice of God so compellingly calling us from on high, from the summit of the mountain, so that with the Lord’s chosen disciples we may penetrate the deep meaning of these holy mysteries, so far beyond our capacity to express. Jesus goes before us to show us the way, both up the mountain and into heaven, and - I speak boldly - it is for us now to follow him with all speed, yearning for the heavenly vision that will give us a share in his radiance, renew our spiritual nature and transform us into his own likeness, making us for ever sharers in his Godhead and raising us to heights as yet undreamed of.
So, for Martin and all those who think the Bible is untrue, it may take some digging or some divine providence, or just faith that God is not a liar, not today, not yesterday, and not ever, and that He inspired the Bible, but the answers are available - eventually.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Beary Entertaining

 This is for all of us with bird feeders!
Be sure to read the warning sign at the end

 What the heck is that line made of?

Worried about squirrels getting into your bird feeder?

Only in Canada would you see a sign like this!
 Read the whole sign. Fort Steele is near Cranbrook ...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Who Will Speak for 1.262 Billion Murdered Pre-born Babies?

Jennifer Hartline at Catholic Online
I confess.  I just don't get it.  Between 1939 and 1945 over 6 million Jews were horribly murdered, along with those who supported them in what we now know as "The Holocaust."  Up until that time, it was the single worst genocide in history.  Most people walking the face of the earth deplore it, and the destruction it wrought.

Yet, here in our day and age, we are witnessing a holocaust that dwarfs "The Holocaust", and almost nobody says a thing about it.  To date, reports that there have (at this moment anyway) been over 22,637,000 abortions throughout our world.  This ignores those spontaneious abortions caused by birth control pills.

Worldwide, since 1980 the estimated number of abortions is in excess of 1.262 billion.  That's 1,262,000,000 dead babies.

Worldometers population clock shows that the world population is now in excess of 7.055 billion.   On the assumption that the 1.2 billion aborted babies since 1980 would be walking the face of the earth today, that means that 15 out of every 100 people that would be the earth's population were murdered.  And we are concerned about the murders our kids see on tv.

What is even more deplorable is the participation of Jewish elected women in this Greatest of all Holocausts.  In the US, we had Gabriella Giffords, a Congress woman from the district we live in in Arizona in the winter, a Jew, a Democrat and abortion supporter. 

But, compounding her support of child murder is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who is Jewish, a Democrat Congress woman from Florida, and abortion supporter, and also the head of the Democratic National Congress.
For my money, Ms Wasserman-Schultz has stepped into it big time, not only for her support of abortion, but for her denigration of women of character and moral fibre.  She claims they are not real women if they do not stand up for a woman's right to kill her unborn child and to take medications, which are not real medications since they do not heal an illness, though they are known to cause illness big time.

But, Jennifer Hartline, an army wife, and homeschooling mother of three from Virginia is having none of it, and has spoken her mind, and it is a fine mind. 

The lunatic left would prefer to silence all those who disagree with them.  Free speech is only for those who say the right things, or at least those things that are politically correct.

Evil abounds when good people are silent.  This is what Mrs. Hartline has to say in response to Ms. Wasserman-Shultz.

I'm the wrong kind of woman. I guess I always knew it, and now it's official. According to the decree of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, if ever I were to run for public office and be elected, it would not be a victory for women because I'm not the right kind of woman. Women like me don't count at all. For anything. In fact, women like me are a detriment to the cause and must be kept out of public influence.

“I think we have to be cautious about who is, you know, just celebrating that a woman got elected to a particular office and make sure that we have women who are running and winning who are going to champion the causes of women — who are going to make the agenda that is important to women like equal pay for equal work and making sure that when it comes to fighting for middle class families and ensuring access to birth control and making sure that health care is a priority and that it’s affordable, making sure that access to education and higher education is a priority.”
“So, electing just any woman shouldn’t be the goal. Electing a woman who is going to make the issues important to women and families is really should be the focus and I don’t know if we made as much progress on that as we should.”
“It’s just so hard for me to grasp how they [Republicans] can be as anti-woman as they are,” she said, according to the Weekly Standard. “I think that the pushback and the guttural reaction from women against the Republicans’ agenda out of the gate, the war on women that the Republicans have been waging since they took over the House, I think is not only going to restore but help us exceed the president’s margin of victory in the next election.”

(At this point, I must attempt to restrain myself because believe me, I have some choice words for Ms. Schultz.)

Cut the crap, Ms. Schultz. This isn't about fighting for middle class families or higher education. It's about abortion and contraception, period. The code embedded in your little speech is about as subtle as a flashing neon sign: the only woman you want on Capitol Hill or any hill anywhere is a pro-abortion, Pill-pushing woman. The "feminist" agenda demands perfect worship at the altar of abortion. You know it and I know it. Planned Parenthood is your clubhouse.

The "progress" you seek is quite simply the reduction of women to available vaginas and sterile uteruses that welcome knives, scissors, forceps and vacuums as instruments of "freedom" when the obligatory prevention fails.

You don't speak for me, Ms. Schultz. Your agenda is repugnant to me, and your ideas of progress for women are insulting to me. There are many, many women who feel as I do, and we are deserving of representation in Congress and state governments, and we vote. We are not a hindrance to women's success or growth or rights. We think the girl in the womb is deserving of life and liberty, too. Why don't you?

Equal pay for equal work has absolutely nothing to do with propping up Planned Parenthood and forcing people to subsidize contraception for every woman in America. Guess what? I don't need your Pills or your condoms or your sterilizations. And I refuse to pay for any of that for anyone else. How ironic that while you're stomping your foot demanding "choices" for women you want to deprive me of mine by mandating that I buy someone else's birth control and pay for abortions.

Why must women's sexual choices be subsidized by everyone else? How does that promote women's independence? What happened to freedom? Didn't anyone ever tell you that freedom isn't free?

You and your boss may gladly pay homage to Baby-Killers-R-Us, Inc., but I will not. I recognize that abortion does not empower women; it enslaves them. Abortion is not freedom; it is violence. I look objectively and see that the abortion culture teaches young girls that sex is power and they are primarily "sexual beings"; it teaches them to let themselves be used and discarded by men, and to see their own child as the enemy of their lives. It makes it easy for men to use, abuse, and violate women, and get rid of the "evidence" of their abuse. It leaves women shouldering the entire burden of childbearing alone. It allows the scumbags to walk away, and it forces the good guys to stand powerless while their children are slaughtered.

Yeah, abortion has really done wonders for society. Men and women get along so much better now.

Who are you to say that women's issues and women's concerns can only be served by those who champion your boss's commitment to abortion and contraception? I have news for you: families don't flourish in an environment dominated by abortion and contraception. When human life has no value, families have no value. When the smallest and most vulnerable member of the family is extinguishable, the family crumbles.

Women do not rise to the heights of respect and achievement by literally sacrificing their own babies. Men do not come to cherish and appreciate women they can use for sex with no concern for the children they might help create. Men and women do not respect and honor each other when both are more interested in getting the pleasure they want without any obligation, self-sacrifice, or consequence. (Who's got the real anti-woman agenda here?)

Affordable, available health care for all has nothing to do with contraception, sterilization, or abortion. That unholy trinity is not the grand summa of "women's causes." Frankly, women and families will be much better served by elected women who do not view fertility as a disease or pregnancy as a problem. Women and families will be protected by elected officials and public policies that don't encourage promiscuity as a lifestyle and abortion as a solution.

The cause of women's worth and dignity will never, ever be served by the abortion industry or by drugs that treat a woman's body like a defective machine.

You and your boss have made your allegiance plain, and it's not to women or families, or to freedom. You peddle animosity and fear alongside the Pills and abortions. You will gladly violate the rights of anyone who refuses to be ruled by mandates and edicts.

Let's hear it for equal pay for equal work. Let's have affordable, available health care for everyone. Let's have an education system that actually educates, and let's make college more affordable if we can. Absolutely! Let's remember that the family is the first society, and the first government, and that children need and deserve a mother AND a father who are married to each other! Let's honor the vocation of motherhood. Let's try doing what we should, rather than what we want and what's convenient. Most of all, we must annihilate the idea that it is morally acceptable to kill the child in the womb. We need to acknowledge the humanity of our own babies from the moment of conception and protect them from targeted killing. We need to get honest and stop calling it "reproductive choice". We're killing our kids.

Show me the woman who champions those causes, Ms. Schultz. She's exactly the kind of woman we need on Capitol Hill. Give me a hundred women just like her, and then we'll have real progress.

Congress needs women like Mrs. Hartline far more than it needs women like Ms. Wasserman-Schultz.  Women are the heart of our homes, and the heart of our countries.  But, many have given up their heartedness to pursue earthly power, money and prestige.

The defeminisation of our North American society must end, or I fear that our society will fall.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Whither the Never Born

I have been aware that aborted children are freed of the bonds of this earth, and enter into the eternal presence of Christ. They live in the presence of Love for all eternity. Though we too are in God's presence here on earth, we see dimly, and often not at all.

So, how does an aborted child look upon her mother here on earth, who rejected her in a most brutal and selfish way? With love, compassion and forgiveness.

See how one artist in Europe has depicted it here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Upon This Rock I Will Build My Church - not Churches

The Body of Christ is fractured.  This cannot be, so what are we to do about it?

The Protestant Reformation proved very little, if anything.  I do not want to get into a theological discussion of it, the whys and wherefors, and the justifications.  They are fruitless.  The fact is that the Body of Christ is fractured.  Period.

The Catholic Church is the foundation that Christ made on Peter.  Pundits will claim that calling it the Catholic Church came later, and that seems to matter for some reason that eludes me, other than to justify one's own sin.  The reality is that those who followed Christ were called Catholic before they were called Christian.  Look it up.

The fracture that was and is the Reformation, has itself fractured so often on the theory of sola scriptura, that regardless of how Catholic apologists like Dave Armstrong, who has written tons on that topic and blogs over here about it and other Christian conflicts, prove it to be a false doctrine, the very continuing schism of Protestant Church after Protestant Church, with new ones popping up regularly, is itself sufficient proof that there must be more than sola scriptura for Christians to hang their hat on.

But, I read an interesting article by Ann Barnhardt this morning, over at Sancte Pater that gave me more food for thought on the sad state that is fractured Christianity today.  Her article was mainly about the schism that exists between the Society of St Pius the Tenth and the Catholic Church resulting from issues with Vatican II.

But, even more so, it was about the schisms that have occurred since the Church began over many issues, big and small, and she points to the problems within the Catholic Church itself that precipitated this particular schism, but form at least a sighnificant part of all schisms.  That comes as no surprise to me, since we know that all of us here on the earth are sinners.

But, what I appreciated most in her article was this analogy about a married couple and what schism says about the marriage:

Let's say your wife was diagnosed with cancer. Would you suddenly hate your wife? Would you argue that you didn't marry a body riddled with cancer, and therefore she was no longer the person you married, and then leave her in a smug huff?

Would you hate your wife's body, and thus hate your wife? No. You would love your wife and her body, perhaps even more than before, when you saw her under attack from the cancer. You would want to fight the cancer - chemotherapy, radiation, surgery - anything to get rid of the cancer and bring your wife back to full health and vigor.

This is exactly the situation in the Church today. The Church has cancer. Bad. Fully metastasized, all over-type cancer. It is called Marxist-homosexualism, and the cancer was first observed and diagnosed 45 years ago. Sadly, instead of clinging to the Bride of Christ and fighting the cancer, some people abandoned Her, claiming that the cancer WAS her body, instead of just an invading infection. Others left out of indifference. Others stayed and embraced the cancer as a "good thing" and "progress". A tiny, tiny contingent stayed, held Her hand, and have lovingly administered as much medicinal therapy to her as they possibly could.

What makes this analogy so fitting is the marriage component, because it fits so well into the way Christ describes our relationship to Him, and the relationship of the whole Church/Body of Christ to Him.

I have pretty first hand knowledge of this analogy.  For the past 10 years, MDW has had serious auto immune illnesses that have physically ravaged her body.  She most definitely does not look like the woman that I married.  But, honestly, the thought of leaving her because she does not fit the world concept of beauty the way she did before she was ill has never crossed my mind.  In the past decade, we have done all we can to find answers for the dis-ease that troubles her, and I cannot imagine standing by while she suffers on her own.

But, in the mean time, her faith has grown, as her personal inability to manage her own life has been impaired and she has had to lean on God for the strength that only He can give her.  Seeing her in her daily struggles, while she does her best to carry on with the things of life inspires me to grow myself.  That has drawn me deeper into my own faith in Jesus Christ.

So too, it is with these eyes that I view the Catholic Church.  I firmly believe that Jesus meant what He said to Peter about the Church He created, with Peter as its head; that it would prevail.  So I have watched painfully as reverence for the Eucharist has waned, while knowing personally that in it I receive Jesus Body and Blood.  I have watched as some priests have done dastardly things, and while people calling themselves faithful Catholics have pursued abortion as a right, among many evil things.

But, I have also watched as priests I have known over the years have grown in personal holiness, and draw those they encounter to that same holiness.  I have watched one priest, Father Gordon MacRae, of These Stone Walls blog, who has grown in personal holiness and witness to others, while spending the last 18 years in prison for crimes that were never committed.

I have watched Christians of all stripes drawn into life in the Holy Spirit, and a deeper devotion to Jesus Christ, even though we are separated from each other.

So, what are we to do to help make the Body of Christ one body?  I believe that our only option is to pray that we may be one, as Jesus and the Father are One, and to speak truth in love, not condemnation to all our brothers and sisters.  Our own personal sin is significant enough to take away any self righteousness that we might have in our positions on what is right and wrong in the Church today.

Lord, make us One.