Sunday, March 09, 2014
The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we preach), for, if you confess – with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved...(Romans 10:8-9). 
Today we celebrate the First Sunday of Lent. The liturgical theme of the day centers on salvation and faith. Through Jesus, all humankind is offered salvation. We hear in today’s responsorial God’s response to our faith, “Because he clings to me, I will deliver him.” Therefore, we can entrust ourselves to God, for His love is steadfast. As Jesus was tempted, we too, have entered 40 days of testing during Lent. Worshiping and trusting the One True God will bring us through, resulting in our living again “with dignity in a new life” at Easter. (Deut. 26:4-10) (Romans 10:8-13) (Luke 4:1-13) (Ps 91:1-15)
Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD
 Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition© 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
 John Paul II, Angelus, February 22, 2004.
 Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD, The Martyrology of the Monastery of the Ascension, 2008.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Grant, O Lord,
that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service,
so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils,
we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Monday, March 03, 2014
Fr. Nicolas Schwizer
Father Kentenich, founder of the Apostolic Schoenstatt Movement, began to speak – in his last years – about the Shrine of One’s Heart. From the entire link of Schoenstatt Shrines – for him – the most important was precisely the Heart Shrine.
What does the heart as a Shrine mean for Father? It means that our heart is a Shrine of the Virgin Mary. She forms and transforms our heart, converting it more and more into a dwelling of God and a temple of the Blessed Trinity. Each one is and must be a living Shrine, inhabited by the Triune God, consecrated and surrendered unto Him. We all learned that truth in catechism class. At sometime or other, we have all read in the Bible about that mystery: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
But the question is if we truly live that mystery? We know it, and nevertheless, how little are we united and attached to that God who dwells in us. Perhaps we look for God outside of ourselves and the reality is that He is within us. We should seek Him, therefore, much more in our inner self, in the depth of our soul. And after finding God in our heart, the great task is to attach ourselves to Him.
Father Kentenich recommends to us three things to live that relationship with God:
1. To look with faith at the God of my soul: become aware of his presence and contemplate Him, look at what He speaks in me and does in me, learn to be silent, pause from time to time.
2. Speak with God who dwells in my heart: learn to speak to Him throughout the day, about my things, my concerns, my desires, pray to Him spontaneously, pray ejaculations, express my childlike love to Him.
3. Make sacrifices for the God of my heart: to manifest to Him my mature love and to become one with the suffering Christ, to offer Him my contributions to the Treasury of Grace lovingly, that is, my daily struggle to improve and to grow in sanctity.
In this regard, Father Kentenich explains: “If we modern men would discover anew the God within us, then we would always feel tranquil, serene and secure. If we discover anew the Lord in our soul and the action of the Holy Spirit, it will be of great importance for our spiritual life and also for our mental and physical health” (My Heart, Your Shrine, 60).
And there then comes the importance of the Heart Shrine. In it, we learn to attach ourselves to the persons of the supernatural world: Mary, Christ, God the Father, the Holy Spirit. In it, we receive the graces of deep rootedness, of inner transformation, of apostolic fruitfulness. And in this way we grow and mature until we become a living Shrine of the Virgin and of God.
Among these attachments, the most important is the attachment to God the Father. It is the main challenge given to us by the Heart Shrine: to grow in our attitude as children before Him. It is decisive, not only for our personal happiness. Our success as apostles also depends on our childlikeness. It is the attitude of an adult child who shares responsibilities with his Father, who forges history alongside Him. It is a child who struggles for a world worthy of the Father, where the values of truth reign, justice and love. It is a child who feels called to build the Nation of God the Father, to forge a reflection of his heavenly Kingdom amidst our world.
Questions for reflection
1. Are we, each one of us, living Shrines who radiate that love to the Lord, that undissolvable rootedness in the heart of God?
2. Do I feel I am the builder of a new world?
3. What concrete resolution can I take to connect myself with the God of my heart?
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Judging by the way the winds are blowing, people of conscience who also happen to be private will soon have to elect between active cooperation with evil or the loss of their employment or businesses, following either bureaucratic humiliation or punitive fines.
One alternative is for the uncompromising entrepreneur to find a niche in which his offer of goods and/or services pursues a primary good and not an intended evil, that is, configure his or her business to operate in terms of the moral criteria of double effect.
Double effect is a set of ethical criteria which Christians, and some others, use for evaluating the permissibility of acting when one's otherwise legitimate act (for example, relieving a terminally ill patient's pain) may also cause an effect one would normally be obliged to avoid (sedation and a slightly shortened life). Double-effect originates in Thomas Aquinas's treatment of homicidal self-defense, in his work Summa Theologiae.However, we must accept the fact that the elites, supported by misguided politicians and public officials, will rule or legislate to do away with double effect and then force us to act against our consciences will become a fact of life across our country in which case, people of faith are certain to suffer grievously and in their persons the cost of their conscious choices.
Too long have we stood passively in the sidelines allowing our First Freedom, the freedom of religion and conscience, to be trampled by the state and by bigoted agitators and propagandists who demand tolerance while giving none; who denounce hatred while themselves hating; who decry the imposition of Christian values upon while not hesitating to call upon the state to force their values upon the rest of us.
It seems to me that we must start a campaign of active, nonviolent resistance to evil and principled dissent, up to an including civil disobedience, in order to arrest the attack against our first freedom. What shape or format our resistance should take? Right now I don't know, but we must formulate a response quickly, before the First Amendment is interpreted as only allowing the formation of special reservations where believers are herded into and inside which they can exercise their beliefs through assembly and ritual, yet placed safely outside the mainstream of public participation in our country, and under the watchful eye of the state and the enlightened elites.
As for me, let me say this: I will not capitulate, surrender, or otherwise submit to the wishes of the state and of the elites to leave my conscience home as the cost of participating in our public debates and contribute to the nation as a responsible citizen. I will resist every attempt by the state and by the vociferous agitators and propagandists of the new morality to conform or else.
I am my country's good servant, but God's first. I will give Caesar's what's Caesar, but Caesar should remember he is not the object of our ultimate love and concern whom we worship on our altars.
We stand on the crossroads, brothers and sisters. We must decided whom to follow, God or Caesar, our conscience or the anti-conscience.
* Update: I posted this post as a comment in @NPR article, titled: Religious Freedom Bills Rooted In Fears Of Obama Policies. They removed it. Thank you NPR for letting me know where you really stand on freedom of expression and dissenting speech.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Over at First Things, Eric Teetsel, executive director of the Manhattan Declaration, has written a wonderful post which I now reproduce for you. I think it is necessary reading as "they" are using the full powers of state coercion to bring us into line in accordance to their morality - then shriek and tell us we are doing the same to them.
Belief Rooted in Love
The new sexual revolutionaries have shifted focus from the legal sanctioning of gay marriage to the elimination of dissent. Around the country, so-called “non-discrimination statutes” undercut the rights of religious believers to live according to the demands of their faith when those demands conflict with the “new normal.” Must people of faith conform to values that contradict their beliefs?
Granted, these laws don’t affect pastors, priests and rabbis. Not yet. The LGBTQ movement is smarter than to go for that now. Instead, they are starting with people like you. Everyday people doing everyday jobs: photographers, florists, bakers. Unlikely combatants in a war they didn’t ask for. The successful attacks on these common people are cracks in a foundational principle of justice and the common good that affects the freedom of every American, regardless of religious belief. Churches will fall in line eventually, or be crushed.
If this sounds like paranoia, consider that even influential evangelical Christians like mega-church pastor Andy Stanley, Christianity Today editor Skye Jethani, and FOX News correspond Kirsten Powers suggest that Christian conviction requires the faithful to accede to unconscionable acts. “What would Jesus do? I think he’d bake the cake.” Powers summarizes audaciously.
Well, Jesus was a carpenter, so it’s unlikely anyone would have asked him to bake. But do you see him building the altar at which gay men exchange vows? What about the pews for those celebrating the sanctioning of sin? Or the lectern from which a pastor would quote Jesus’ own description of the reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined together with his wife.
Our LBGTQ neighbors are made in the image of God, and entitled to all the rights due every other human being. The Jim Crow comparison may be an effective talking point, but it has no basis in fact. Racism is a sin. It denies the humanity of human beings; the Gospel elevates their worth. As servants of the Gospel we have no choice but to fight doggedly for a culture that enables every human being to experience the abundant life God promises. Racism is a hindrance to that life, as is homosexuality. The tragic irony is that proponents of no-holds-barred sexuality are condemning others to a life of bondage. My conviction is that I ought to have no part in forging the slavers’ chains.
When I travel the country and teach on the meaning and purpose of marriage I am often asked whether it is right to attend the same-sex wedding of a beloved family member or friend. My answer is always the same: It depends. Then I begin asking questions:
Have you prayed about it? How is the Holy Spirit leading you? Do you feel you can attend the service without compromising your responsibility to be a witness to the Truth? Will attending enable you to continue a Gospel presence in the person’s life? If so, then perhaps you should go.
Or are you merely afraid of telling the truth? Of the consequences should someone know what you believe? If so, then this may be the time to respectfully decline the invitation, and explain why.
Individuals may be led one way or another according to their conscience. One may feel they can provide the service without endorsing or celebrating the event; another may feel the opposite. Religious freedom and the right of conscience preserve the rights of individuals to come to their own conclusions in such circumstances.
Of course not every act of commerce amounts to an assessment of the moral nature of homosexuality. But every so often a creator is asked to use their talents for something their conscience cannot abide. It may be a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony, or a cake in a lewd shape, or a cake celebrating abortion. In those instances, the Bible fails to provide an absolute answer. What is a Christian to do? The answer is a matter of individual conscience. Not whether Christians should or should not do something, but whether they must do something.
Life in a pluralistic society requires us to recognize and respect our differences, and find ways to get along in spite of them. This is a difficult, educational and deeply fulfilling task—if it is allowed. There have been times when we have, as a nation, agreed that certain ideas are undeserving of participation in the public square. The belief that marriage is solely for one man and woman ought not to be included in that list alongside racism and miscegenation, for it is a belief rooted in love. Even if you disagree, you ought to respect that fact. You might even learn of some Good News.
Read also: Jesus might cook the cake, but would he perform the nuptials? By Elizabeth Scalia
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Brethren: Peace be with you.
Last night I inducted into the Knights of Columbus. As you may know already, the Knights of Columbus was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.
The Knights offer me an opportunity to share my knowledge and exercise my leadership gifts with the local parish and the Church at large. I’m proud I have become a Knight of Columbus: if you are a Catholic Christian man who receives the sacraments frequently and endeavor to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ as He handed it down to the Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus are for you. Join us!
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
|Another Bronze Age Invention: the wheel|