Monday, 28 October 2013

Feast of Christ the King

In the Traditional Catholic Calendar, the feast of Christ the King was yesterday! This feast day is one of the most important of the Church, because it reminds us of the importance of Our Lord being the King of heaven and earth. Without the King of kings being Ruler of the world, we will never find peace. In our times, people believe that religion is something made up in the human mind and tailored to our likes and feelings. But the reality is that there is one Truth,  one religion, and one  salvation. This Truth never changes because God never changes. It neither changes with human emotion, or with modern times. The Truth is that God is is our King, and without Him we cannot have peace. And how does our beloved King rule His earthy kingdom? 
Love above all things: Our King is merciful, and desires that all His followers should be merciful. We must show all others that we are kind, meek, tender, and merciful all for the greater glory of God. We see this kindness in our world, but there is a difference with us Catholics. We love our neighbor for the love of God. He created us so that we may reflect His goodness and spread His love. Let us be zealous soldiers, being forgiving to our enemies, kind to those who persecute us, and be faithful to our loving King.
Unity in the Truth: Our King is of one Truth. There cannot be two truths or more. There cannot be the idea that I believe something, and you believe something else, but everything is fine if we tolerate one another. Our King has one Truth which is contained in the Catholic faith. A kingdom cannot work when everyone is doing their own thing. Rather we must fight for what our King desires! Yet we cannot just strive for this by having our beliefs, then shutting them up in the closet when we go into the world. The world itself must be Catholic! Our leaders, our politicians, our business men, every single person must be ruled under Christ the King. If this is not done, we will never have peace, for peace does not exist outside of Christ's kingdom. Through unity in the Faith, we can truly establish peace and happiness in our world. Let us be faithful to our beloved Church, it's Tradition that has been passed down for two thousand years, and be unified in the one true Religion of the Catholic Faith and spread the Faith fearlessly in order to bring others closer to the Truth that will set them free.
Happiness: Yet the greatest thing we will find if we give ourselves fully to Christ the King, is that He will give us that lasting happiness that we search for! This world tries to give us happiness, but it is nether fulfilling, or lasting. We were simply not made for this world, rather for the next, ruled by Our Lord. Through the Truth, we will be set free of all our concerns and worries, all our pain and anxiety, the Truth will set you free! There is one reality, you were made for happiness, and the only way to obtain this happiness is by loving, knowing, and serving Our Lord!
Let us then love Our King who loved us so much that He came down from His heavenly kingdom to die for us! Our world tries to cover up the Truth of His kingdom, rather let us promulgate the Truth and bring as many people to Him as possible! God bless you all! 
Prayer to Christ the King:  
O Jesus Christ, I acknowledge Thee as universal King. All that has been made, has been created for Thee. Exercise all Thy rights over me. I renew my baptismal vows, renouncing Satan, his pomps and his works; and I promise to live as a good Christian. In particular do I pledge myself to labor, to the best of my ability, for the triumph of the rights of God and Thy Church.
Divine Heart of Jesus, to Thee do I proffer my poor services, laboring that all hearts may acknowledge Thy Sacred Kingship, and that thus the reign of Thy peace be established throughout the whole universe. Amen.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Series on the Sacraments Part 6 - Holy Orders

For the sixth sacrament, I found an amazing sermon and quotes for you all. I also end with a small story. Enjoy and God bless!

St. John Vianney:

"The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see a priest, think of our Lord Jesus Christ."

"O, how great is the priest! ... If he realized what he is, he would die."
"If we had faith, we would see God hidden in the priest like a light behind glass, like wine mixed with water."

"Without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption here on earth...What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of His goods...Leave a parish for twenty years without a priest and they will end by worshiping the beasts there..The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you."

St. John Christosdom: 

“And all men are ready to pass judgement on the priest as if he was not a being clothed with flesh, or one who inherited a human nature…”

“For the priestly office is indeed discharged on earth,but it ranks amongst heavenly ordinances; and very naturally so:for neither man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor any other created power, but the Paraclete Himself, instituted this vocation, and persuaded men while still abiding in the flesh to represent the ministry of angels. Wherefore the consecrated priest ought to be as pure as if he were standing in the heavens themselves in the midst of those powers.” 

St. Don Bosco:

"A Catholic priest has no politics but the Gospel and fears no recriminations."

"Only a villain would treat an innocent priest as though he were a criminal."

"Don Bosco once asked a cleric, “What do you think is the easiest way to become saints?” He himself answered, saying, “To recognize the Will of God in our Superiors and to submit entirely to it.”

 There was once a story of a man who was very devoted to his Guardian Angel. He would open the door for him every time they would enter a room. This man decided to become a priest, and after that, the angel would open the door for him. Through Holy Orders, the priest becomes higher than the angels. Respect them, love them, and let them guide you to heaven!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Why We Should Be Saints

 Recently I came back from a pilgrimage to the Canadian Martyr's Shrine, and was inspired to share with you all my thoughts on the kindness of God and why we should be saints: 

As a painting reflects the painter, as the music reflects the heart of a musician, so does the creations of God reflect His goodness. When we look at saints and very holy men around us, we can see within them, not themselves, but God working through them. These people tend to be kind, gentle, and tender towards everyone they pass. This is because when a Catholic gives himself to God, God replaces his nothingness with sheer goodness, and within goodness, virtue and gentle love. Through holy men we can see only a vague image of how good God is! Even in the 21st century, when men gravely sin and abandon God, He gently waits for us to turn to Him once more and gently draws us to His heart. Just read what he told Sister Josepha Menendez, “I would like these [those living with sin] to understand that it is not the fact of being in sin that ought to keep them from Me. They must never think that there is no remedy for them, nor that they have forfeited forever the love that once was theirs.... No, poor souls, the God who has shed all His Blood for you has no such feelings for you!” 

Though we may search for pleasure in this life, it is impossible to fill our hearts because our hearts weren't made for that. We are meant to be saints! Our world just wants you to be a "good person." God certainly doesn't just want you to be mediocre, He wants you to be the best saint you can possibly be! We cannot live lives of pleasure and self-love and get to heaven, rather we must leave this barren world for the next. We can't just live the way of the world, filled with materialism and false happiness. There is one supreme source of happiness, and if we give up ourselves totally to God, we are capable of great things and perfect happiness!

 And if we're capable of great things, why settle for just being a good Catholic? Strive to be a great saint! Think of it this way, imagine Our Lord calls you up at the Last Judgment to stand in the midst of all, who would you like to be? Do you want to be known as a mediocre Catholic who just did his duty and just made it into heaven after going to Purgatory for a while, or a great saint who strived to be "perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect?" God made us to reflect His goodness, let's reflect Him to the best of our ability! If He took the time to make us and even die for us, let's pay Him back by serving and loving Him as much as we possibly can! Fulfill your duty of state, forgive your enemies, make acts of reparation and mortification, and BECOME A GREAT SAINT!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Series on the Sacraments Part 5 - Marriage

 Marriage being the fifth sacrament in this series is the most essential sacrament in our society. Marriage and the family life is essential because it is the foundation of not only the present, but the future. As I said in a past article :    In having a structured, ordered family, you make strong people for the next generation. Add Catholicism to this, and you have strong souls that will keep their Faith until the day they die. If order is in the family, the children can grow, the parents can grow in love, and the benefits are endless. With many of these strong united families, you have the foundation of the population, and the foundation of the Faith. But let us get another point of view from Pius Xi in Casti Connubii: 

"How great is the dignity of chaste wedlock, Venerable Brethren, may be judged best from this that Christ Our Lord, Son of the Eternal Father, having assumed the nature of fallen man, not only, with His loving desire of compassing the redemption of our race, ordained it in an especial manner as the principle and foundation of domestic society and therefore of all human intercourse, but also raised it to the rank of a truly and great sacrament of the New Law, restored it to the original purity of its divine institution, and accordingly entrusted all its discipline and care to His spouse the Church."

"2. In order, however, that amongst men of every nation and every age the desired fruits may be obtained from this renewal of matrimony, it is necessary, first of all, that men's minds be illuminated with the true doctrine of Christ regarding it; and secondly, that Christian spouses, the weakness of their wills strengthened by the internal grace of God, shape all their ways of thinking and of acting in conformity with that pure law of Christ so as to obtain true peace and happiness for themselves and for their families."

"3. Yet not only do We, looking with paternal eye on the universal world from this Apostolic See as from a watch-tower, but you, also, Venerable Brethren, see, and seeing deeply grieve with Us that a great number of men, forgetful of that divine work of redemption, either entirely ignore or shamelessly deny the great sanctity of Christian wedlock, or relying on the false principles of a new and utterly perverse morality, too often trample it under foot. And since these most pernicious errors and depraved morals have begun to spread even amongst the faithful and are gradually gaining ground, in Our office as Christ's Vicar upon earth and Supreme Shepherd and Teacher We consider it Our duty to raise Our voice to keep the flock committed to Our care from poisoned pastures and, as far as in Us lies, to preserve it from harm."

"4. We have decided therefore to speak to you, Venerable Brethren, and through you to the whole Church of Christ and indeed to the whole human race, on the nature and dignity of Christian marriage, on the advantages and benefits which accrue from it to the family and to human society itself, on the errors contrary to this most important point of the Gospel teaching, on the vices opposed to conjugal union, and lastly on the principal remedies to be applied. In so doing We follow the footsteps of Our predecessor, Leo XIII, of happy memory, whose Encyclical Arcanum,[1] published fifty years ago, We hereby confirm and make Our own, and while We wish to expound more fully certain points called for by the circumstances of our times, nevertheless We declare that, far from being obsolete, it retains its full force at the present day."

Let us then treasure this beautiful sacrament and pray that God may deliver us from the horrible sins which attack marriage so violently. 
If you'd like to read the rest of Casti Connubbi, please click here

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Miracle of the Sun

An Eyewitness Account by Dr. José Maria de Almeida Garrett, professor at the Faculty of Sciences of Coimbra, Portugal

     "It must have been 1:30 p.m when there arose, at the exact spot where the children were, a column of smoke, thin, fine and bluish, which extended up to perhaps two meters above their heads, and evaporated at that height. This phenomenon, perfectly visible to the naked eye, lasted for a few seconds. Not having noted how long it had lasted, I cannot say whether it was more or less than a minute. The smoke dissipated abruptly, and after some time, it came back to occur a second time, then a third time

"The sky, which had been overcast all day, suddenly cleared; the rain stopped and it looked as if the sun were about to fill with light the countryside that the wintery morning had made so gloomy. I was looking at the spot of the apparitions in a serene, if cold, expectation of something happening and with diminishing curiosity because a long time had passed without anything to excite my attention. The sun, a few moments before, had broken through the thick layer of clouds which hid it and now shone clearly and intensely."Suddenly I heard the uproar of thousands of voices, and I saw the whole multitude spread out in that vast space at my feet...turn their backs to that spot where, until then, all their expectations had been focused, and look at the sun on the other side. I turned around, too, toward the point commanding their gaze and I could see the sun, like a very clear disc, with its sharp edge, which gleamed without hurting the sight. It could not be confused with the sun seen through a fog (there was no fog at that moment), for it was neither veiled nor dim. At Fatima, it kept its light and heat, and stood out clearly in the sky, with a sharp edge, like a large gaming table. The most astonishing thing was to be able to stare at the solar disc for a long time, brilliant with light and heat, without hurting the eyes or damaging the retina. [During this time], the sun's disc did not remain immobile, it had a giddy motion, [but] not like the twinkling of a star in all its brilliance for it spun round upon itself in a mad whirl.
"During the solar phenomenon, which I have just described, there were also changes of color in the atmosphere. Looking at the sun, I noticed that everything was becoming darkened. I looked first at the nearest objects and then extended my glance further afield as far as the horizon. I saw everything had assumed an amethyst color. Objects around me, the sky and the atmosphere, were of the same color. Everything both near and far had changed, taking on the color of old yellow damask. People looked as if they were suffering from jaundice and I recall a sensation of amusement at seeing them look so ugly and unattractive. My own hand was the same color.
"Then, suddenly, one heard a clamor, a cry of anguish breaking from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, seemed all at once to loosen itself from the firmament and, blood red, advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was truly terrible.
"All the phenomena which I have described were observed by me in a calm and serene state of mind without any emotional disturbance. It is for others to interpret and explain them. Finally, I must declare that never, before or after October 13 [1917], have I observed similar atmospheric or solar phenomena."
Professor Almeida Garrett's full account may be found in Novos Documentos de Fatima (Loyala editions, San Paulo, 1984)

Monday, 7 October 2013

Discouragement and Anxiety

In the spiritual life there is always going to be falls and weaknesses. This is of course natural, but the way we react to it can affect our spiritual life for good or for worse. For example, we try our best to be perfect, avoiding all sins, trying to be pious. We are pleased with ourselves until we fall back into a certain sin. When this happens, we become extremely discouraged and depressed because of how horrible we were. But is this the correct reaction? Not at all.

Humbling Ourselves - The best thing to remember is that we are human, and will always be human. We are burdened with the effects of original sin and are completely incapable of doing anything good on our own without God. Therefore when we fall we should calmly acknowledge that we have fallen, realize that we are sinners and weak without God's grace, place our sin in the Holy Wound of Our Lord, and resolve to do better. Our Lord once told Sister Josepha Menendez that when a soul does this, he gains more merit in humbling himself rather than not sinning at all. When we become discouraged, its root is pride. We ask ourselves, "How could I possibly fall? I who am so holy?" Therefore this method is very good for humility, spares us from beating up on ourselves, and is very pleasing in the eyes of Our Lord.

Anxiety to Sin - There are two reasons for worrying about sin. The first is that we are afraid that we won't be as holy, and as righteous as we are now. The second reason is that we are afraid to offend God - this is actually a gift of the Holy Ghost called fear of the Lord. We should be concerned about offending God, but we shouldn't be afraid to sin because we are ''so good." We are not righteous and holy, we are sinners who are weak. Therefore we should place ourselves in the hands of God, trust in His goodness, make sure to keep from sin, and stop worrying. Through humility we are set free of our pride and begin to learn of the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord said to Sister Josepha, “Come . . . enter My Heart. How easy it is for a mere nothing to lose itself in that abyss of love. That is how I will consume your littleness and nothingness. I will act through you, speak through you, and make Myself known through you. How many will find life in My words! How many will take new courage as they understand the fruit to be drawn from their efforts! A little act of generosity, of patience, of poverty . . . may become treasure that will win a great number of souls to My Heart . . .”

Trust in God - Just as a child holds his father's hand trustfully, so also must we hold the hand of our Father in heaven, and trust in His infinite goodness. God is so kind, so tender; it is impossible for Him to stop loving us! The only way He would ever leave us is if we abandon Him first. His love surpasses all human reason, so always place your trust and hopes in Him.  How loving He is, “Never shall I weary of repentant sinners, nor cease from hoping for their return, and the greater their distress, the greater My welcome.”

 So let us never forget in our times of distress that Our Lord is always there with a smile on His face, waiting for us to look up at Him and ask for His help. God bless you all!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Series on the Sacraments Part 4 - Penance

 Confession is one of the greatest proofs of God's love for us. Even though we crucified Him, denied Him, and didn't follow His laws, He still waits for us every day in the confessional box, waiting for us to repent in order to show us His mercy. He takes into great consideration the fact that we are so weak, and is always willing to bestow mercy upon us. How truly kind Our Lord is to forgive us so many times, even when we willingly fall into sin. I heard one story that will make a good comparison of this: There was a young man who had committed many many crimes, and was put on trial. His father was the judge, and he was proven guilty. The father said to the son, "Out of justice you have been sentenced to death, but because I love you so much, I will take your place and die for your crimes." So also has Our Blessed Lord taken upon Himself the sins of the world in order that we may be saved and one day enter into the Eternal Kingdom. Let's see what the saints have to say about this wonderful sacrament:

"The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works."
--St. Augustine

"Go to your confessor; open your heart to him; display to him all the recesses of your soul; take the advice that he will give you with the utmost humility and simplicity. For God, Who has an infinite love for obedience, frequently renders profitable the counsels we take from others, but especially from those who are the guides of our souls."
--St. Francis de Sales

"In failing to confess, Lord, I would only hide You from myself, not myself from You."
--Saint Augustine

"Confession is like a bridle that keeps the soul which reflects on it from committing sin, but anything left unconfessed we continue to do without fear as if in the dark."
--Saint John Climacus

"To do penance is to bewail the evil we have done, and to do no evil to bewail."
--Pope St. Gregory the Great

"In the life of the body a man is sometimes sick, and unless he takes medicine, he will die. Even so in the spiritual life a man is sick on account of sin. For that reason he needs medicine so that he may be restored to health; and this grace is bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance."
--St. Thomas Aquinas

"Three conditions are necessary for Penance: contrition, which is sorrow for sin, together with a purpose of amendment; confession of sins without any omission; and satisfaction by means of good works."
--St. Thomas Aquinas

"Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin, all hope consists in confession; in confession there is a chance for mercy."
--St. Isidore of Seville

"Our Lord Himself I saw in this venerable Sacrament  . . . I felt as if my chains fell, as those of St. Peter at the touch of the Divine messenger. My God, what new scenes for my soul!"
--St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
"A humble confession displeases Satan and, if he could, he would make you omit Holy Communion."
--Imitation of Christ

There are also five effects to this sacrament:

a. The restoration or increase of sanctifying grace;

b. The forgiveness of sins;
c. The remission of the eternal punishment, if necessary, and also of part, at least, of the temporal punishment, due to our sins;
d. The help to avoid sin in the future;
e. The restoration of the merits of our good works if they have been lost by mortal sin.

 Not only do we receive sanctifying grace back, have our sins forgiven, and receive remission of hell, but God is so kind as to give us the strength not to sin again and give us back all the merits of our good works before our sin! How truly good God is to us! Let us then frequently go to confession, stay away from all sin, grow in virtue, and become great saints! God bless!