Friday, July 26, 2013

SAINT ANNE; Mother of the Blessed Virgin ~ Feast: July 26

Of St. Anne we have no certain knowledge. She is not mentioned in the New Testament, and we must depend on apocryphal literature, chiefly the Protoevangelium of James, which dates back only to the second century.

We are told that Anne, wife of  Joachim, was advanced in years and that her prayers for a child had not been answered. Once as she prayed beneath a laurel tree near her home in Galilee, an angel appeared and said to her, "Anne, the Lord hath heard thy prayer and thou shalt conceive and bring forth, and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world." Anne replied, "As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life " And thus Anne became the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The devotion of St. Anne was known in the East in the fifth century, but it was not diffused in the West until the thirteenth. A shrine at Douai, in northern France, was one of the early centers of the devotion. In 1382 her feast was extended to the whole Western Church, and she became very popular, especially in France. Her two most famous shrines are at St. Anne d'Auray in Brittany and at St. Anne-de Beaupre in the province of Quebec.
She is patroness of housewives, women in labor, cabinet-makers, and miners. Her emblem is a door. St. Anne has been frequently represented in art, and the lovely face depicted by Leonardo da Vinci comes first to mind in this connection. The name Anne derives from the Hebrew Hannah, meaning "grace."

St Anne Prayer (To Obtain Some Special Favor)
Glorious St. Ann, filled with compassion for those who invoke you and with love for those who suffer, heavily laden with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the present affair which I recommend to you under your special protection.

St. Ann, please, recommend to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and lay it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue.
St. Ann cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted. (Here ask for favor you wish to obtain.)

Above all, obtain for me the grace of one day beholding my God face to face, and with You and Mary and all the saints, praising and blessing Him through all eternity. Amen.
Good St. Ann, mother of her who is our life, our sweetness and our hope, pray to her for us and obtain our request. (Three times).

The Miraculous Discovery of St. Ann’s Relics
 
According to a most ancient and uninterrupted tradition, the body of St. Ann was carried to Gaul [a province of the Roman empire which included what are now the countries of France and upper Italy] by the same vessel which carried Lazarus and his sisters there. During the first century of the Christian era, these friends of Our Lord were banished from Palestine because of their faith. From their hands St. Ann’s precious remains were taken for safekeeping to the city of Apta Julia, which in our own times is the city of Apt, France.

In those stormy days of persecution, it was necessary to hide the relics of the Martyrs and Saints.  Consequently, the body of St. Ann was buried in an underground church or crypt. The martyrology of Apt, one of the most ancient in existence, mentions this fact.

The first bishop of Apta Julia, St. Auspicius, who died before 118, took further precautions to guard this holy treasure from desecration and had the body buried still deeper in the subterranean chapel. All approach to it was carefully concealed till persecutions and invasions should have ceased. For centuries, the country was repeatedly overrun by hordes of barbarians, and it was only natural that during these agitated years the precise spot where St. Auspicius had carefully hidden his treasure became lost in obscurity.

After Charlemagne’s decisive victory over the Saracens at the close of the eighth century, peace and security returned to Gaul. It was then that the people began to restore and rebuild the holy places destroyed or desecrated by the invaders. Priests and bishops of Apta Julia began to seek for the exact spot in the deep crypt where St. Auspicius had hidden and walled up the sarcophagus of St. Ann.

Charlemagne’s first care on his arrival at Apt was to have the cathedral re-consecrated. This took place during the Easter solemnities, in the presence of an enormous crowd of nobles, clergy and people. But there was one cause of sadness amid all the rejoicing, namely, that every effort to find the remains of St. Ann had proved fruitless. A miracle, however, was to lead to the discovery of her resting place, as is related by Charlemagne in a letter to Pope Adrian I.

Among the young nobles who accompanied their parents on this occasion was John, a lad of fourteen, the son of Baron Casanova, deaf, dumb and blind from birth. People near the boy in the sanctuary remarked that during the services he was carried away by some overpowering emotion.

With rapt and upturned face he seemed to be listening to voices from above. Presently, he moved toward the high altar, struck with his staff the steps leading up to it and made signs that they should dig there. His persistence caused considerable disturbance amid the solemn rites, but neither the clergy nor the royal guards could quiet or restrain the youth.

Charlemagne was deeply impressed. After Mass, he commanded that the excavation desired by the boy should be made. The altar steps were removed and a door, closed up with huge stones, was revealed. This was the door of the ancient crypt in which St. Auspicius had been accustomed to celebrate the holy Mysteries and to feed his flock with the Bread of Life. Its size and adornments reminded one of the Roman catacombs.

No sooner had this door been opened and the flight of steps leading down from it disclosed than the blind boy rushed forward, as if his eyes had been suddenly opened, and led the way into this underground church. Charlemagne now held the boy’s hand and gave orders to keep back the excited multitude. John made signs that they should search farther, and he struck the wall of the crypt, indicating that what they sought lay beyond. When the wall was broken down, another and lower crypt was discovered at the end of a long and narrow corridor.

As they came in view of this crypt, a bright light flashed upon the Emperor and his assistants. They beheld, in front of a walled recess, a burning lamp, which flooded the place with unearthly splendor. No sooner, however, had the Emperor and his cortege entered this place, than the lamp went out. But, more wonderful still, at that very moment the blind boy could see, speak and hear.

“The body of Saint Ann,mother of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, is in yonder recess,” were his first words. The awe-stricken Emperor and his followers, at first dumb with amazement, gave vent to their emotion in words of praise and thanksgiving. The walled recess was thrown open, a sweet fragrance like that of oriental balm filled the air, and a casket of cypress wood was discovered containing the body of St. Ann wrapped round and round with folds of precious cloth. On the casket was the inscription: “Here lies the body of Blessed Ann, mother of the Virgin Mary.”

Charlemagne, with all those present, venerated the sacred deposit thus brought to light. Afterward he had an exact narrative of the discovery drawn up by one of his notaries and a copy sent to the Pope with the royal letter. This letter and the Pope’s answer are still extant.

The miraculous discovery at once made the Cathedral of Apt the center of attraction for Christian pilgrims from every part of Gaul. In the wars which followed the reign of Charlemagne down to our own times, the clergy and people of Apt have watched with never failing love over the sacred treasure which is the glory of their city.
Travelers visiting the venerable Cathedral of St. Auspicius will find piles of ex votos, the indisputable testimonies during eleven centuries of the wonders wrought there by Christ at
the intercession of His sainted Grandmother. The chief cities of Gaul hastened to solicit from the church of Apta Julia portions of the hallowed body thus miraculously discovered. Fragments detached from the head found their way to various places through the favor of sovereigns or powerful prelates, but the greatest portion of St. Ann’s sacred body still reposes in Apt. Vienna, Austria, possesses the right hand of St. Ann, which is devoutly venerated in the beautiful church which bears her name.
An arm of the Saint was solicited and obtained by the Popes and placed under the care of the Benedictine monks in the magnificent monastery church of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls in Rome.

In May, 1960, the Benedictines gave the forearm to the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupr√© in Canada [pictured above]. In the Cathedral of Bologna, Italy, a large portion of the Saint’s head is venerated.

Through these precious relics, which have proved efficacious in every kind of distress, miracles have been wrought up to the present day.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Prepare For Combat ....

....... By Learning The Devil’s Tactics & Strategies 

Ephesians 6:12
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood; but against principalities, powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

St. Michael the Archangel
St. Michael the Archangel
One of the key elements in any contest is to understand the tactics of your opponent and to recognize the subtleties of the strategy or moves they may employ. In the spiritual battle of life we need to develop some sophistication in recognizing, naming, and understanding the subtleties of common tactics of the Devil. A 2011 book by Fr. Louis Cameli, The Devil You Don’t Know is of great assistance in this matter. Having read it recently, I think it would be of value to reflect on four broad categories of the Devil’s tactics that Fr. Cameli analyzes.
While the four categories are Fr. Cameli’s, the reflections here are largely my own, but surely rooted in Fr. Cameli’s excellent work, so recently read by me. I recommend the work highly to you where these categories are aptly and fully described more than my brief reflection here can do.

And thus we examine four common tactics of the devil.

I. Deception Jesus says The devil was a murderer from the beginning he does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks according to his own nature, he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44).
The devil deceives us with many false and empty promises. Most of these relate to the lie that we will be happier and more fulfilled if we sin, or deny aspects of the truth. Whatever passing pleasures come with sin, they are in fact passing. Great and accumulated suffering eventually comes with almost all sinful activity. Yet, despite this experience, we human beings remain very gullible, we seem to love empty promises and put all sorts of false hopes of them.

The devil also deceives us by suggesting all sorts of complexities, especially in our thinking. And thus he  seeks to confuse and  conceal the fundamental truth about our action. Our minds are very wily and love to indulge complexity as a way of avoiding the truth and making excuses. So we, conniving with the devil, entertain endless complications by asking “But what if this….and What about that….??!”  Along with the devil, we project all sorts of possible difficulties, exceptions, or potential sob stories, to avoid insisting that we or others behave well and live according to the truth.

The devil also seeks to deceive us with “wordsmithing.” And thus the dismemberment and murder of a child through abortion becomes “reproductive freedom” or “Choice.” Sodomy is called “gay” (a word which used to mean “happy”). Our luminous Faith and ancient wisdom is called “darkness” and “ignorance.”  Fornication is called “cohabitation.”  And the redefinition of marriage as it is been known for some 5000 years, is labeled “marriage freedom.”  And thus, through exaggerations and outright false labeling, the devil deceives us, and we too easily connive by calling good, or “no big deal,” what God calls sinful.

The devil also deceives us through the sheer volume of information. Information is not the same is truth, and data can be assembled very craftily to make deceitful points. Further, certain facts and figures can be emphasized, in exclusion to other, balancing truths. And thus even information or data which is true in itself  becomes a form of deception. The news media, and other sources of information, sometimes exercise their greatest power in what they do not report. And this too is a way that the devil brings deceptions upon us.

We do well to carefully assess the many ways Satan seeks to deceive us. Do not believe everything you think or hear. While we ought not be cynical, we ought to be sober, and seek to verify what we see and hear and square it with God’s revealed truth.

II. Division One of Jesus’ final prayers for us was that we would be one (cf John 17:22). He prayed this, at the Last Supper just before he went out to suffer and die for us. As such, he highlights that a chief aspect of his work on the Cross is to overcome the divisions intensified by Satan. Some argue that the Greek root of the word “diabolical” (diabolein) means to cut, tear, or divide. Jesus prays and works to reunify what the devil divides.

The devil’s work of division starts within each one of us as we experience many contrary drives, some noble, creative, and edifying, others base, sinful, and destructive. So often, we struggle within and feel torn apart, much as Paul describes in Romans chapter 7:  The good that I want to do, I do not do…, and when I try to do good, evil is at hand. This is the work of the devil, to divide us within. And as St. Paul lays out in Romans 8, the chief work of the Lord is to establish within us the unity of soul and body, in accordance with the unity of His truth.

And of course the devil’s attack against our inner unity, spills out into many divisions among us externally. So many things help drive this division, and the devil surely taps into them all: anger, past hurts, resentments, fears, misunderstandings, greed, pride, and arrogance. There is also the impatience that we so easily develop regarding those we love, and the flawed notion that somehow, other more perfect and desirable people should be sought. And thus many abandon their marriages, family, churches and communities,  always in search of the elusive goal of finding better and more perfect people and situations.

Yes, the devil has a real field day tapping in to a whole plethora of sinful drives within us, but his goal is always to divide us within ourselves, and among ourselves. We do well to recognize that, whatever our struggles with others, we all share a common enemy who seeks to divide and destroy us. As St Paul writes, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12). Feuding Brothers reconcile when there is a maniac at the door. But step one is notice the maniac, and then set aside our lesser divisions.

III. Diversion To be diverted is to be turned away from what is our primary goal or task. And for all of us, the most critical focus is God and the good things waiting for us in heaven. Our path is toward heaven, along the path of faith and obedience to the truth, love of God and love of neighbor.  And thus the devil does all that he can to divert, that is, turn us away from our one true goal.

Perhaps he will do this by way of making us to be absorbed in the passing things of the world. So many claim that they are so busy that they have no time to pray, or get the church, or seek other forms of spiritual nourishment. They become absorbed in worldly things which pass, and ignore lasting reality which looms.

Anxieties and fears also cause us many distractions. And by these, the devil causes us to fixate on fears about passing things, and thereby not to have a proper fear of the judgment which awaits us. Jesus says Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt 10:28). In other words, we should have a holy reverence and fear directed towards the Lord, and in this way, many of our other fears will be seen in better perspective, or will go away altogether. But in this matter of fear, the devil says just the opposite: we should fear 10,000 things that might afflict us on this passing earth, and not think at all of the one most significant thing that awaits us, our judgment.

At the heart of all diversion is that the devil wants us to focus on lesser things to avoid focusing on greater things, such as a moral decisions, and the overall direction of our life.

Once again, we must learn to focus on what matters most, and decisively refuse to be diverted to lesser things.
IV. Discouragement As human beings, and certainly as Christians, we ought to have high aspirations. This is good. But as in all good things, Satan often seeks to poison that which is good. For having high aspirations, it is also true that we sometimes lack the humility that recognizes that we must make a journey to that which is good, and best. Too easily then, Satan temps us to impatience with our self or others. And,  in our aspirations, expected in unreasonably quick time, there comes a lack of charity toward our self or others. Some grow discouraged with themselves or others and give up on the pursuit of holiness. Others give up on the church because of the imperfections found there.

The devil also discourages us, because aspirations are generally open-ended. The fact is, there is always room for improvement, and we can always do more. But here the devil enters, for, when we can always do more, it is also possible to think we’ve never done enough. And thus the devil discourages us, sowing thoughts of unreasonable demands within us as to what we can or should do they day by day.
The devil also discourages us through simple things like fatigue, the personal failings that we all experience, setbacks, and other obstacles that are common to our human condition, and common to living in a fallen world with limited resources.

In all these ways to devil seeks to discourage us, to make us want, at some level, to give up. Only a properly developed sense of humility can  help to save us from these discouraging works of Satan. For the fact is, humility, which is reverence for the truth about ourselves, teaches us that we grow and develop slowly and in stages, and that we do in fact have setbacks, and live in a world that is hard, and far from perfect. Recognizing these things, and being humble, helps us to lean more on the Lord, and trust in his providential help, which grows in us incrementally.

 Originally posted at:  http://blog.adw.org/

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Benedict XVI joins Pope Francis in consecrating Vatican to St Michael Archangel

To the joy of Vatican City State workers, Friday morning Pope Francis was joined by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in the gardens for a ceremony during which the Holy Father blessed a statue of St Michael Archangel, at the same time consecrating the Vatican to the Archangel’s protection.

Following a brief ceremony, Pope Francis addressed those present noting how St. Michael defends the People of God from its enemy par excellence, the devil. He said even if the devil attempts to disfigure the face of the Archangel and thus the face of humanity, St Michael wins, because God acts in him and is stronger: "In the Vatican Gardens there are several works of art. But this, which has now been added, takes on particular importance, in its location as well as the meaning it expresses. In fact it is not just celebratory work but an invitation to reflection and prayer, that fits well into the Year of Faith. Michael - which means "Who is like God" - is the champion of the primacy of God, of His transcendence and power. Michael struggles to restore divine justice and defends the People of God from his enemies, above all by the enemy par excellence, the devil. And St. Michael wins because in him, there is He God who acts. 

This sculpture reminds us then that evil is overcome, the accuser is unmasked, his head crushed, because salvation was accomplished once and for all in the blood of Christ. Though the devil always tries to disfigure the face of the Archangel and that of humanity, God is stronger, it is His victory and His salvation that is offered to all men. We are not alone on the journey or in the trials of life, we are accompanied and supported by the Angels of God, who offer, so to speak, their wings to help us overcome so many dangers, in order to fly high compared to those realities that can weigh down our lives or drag us down. In consecrating Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel, I ask him to defend us from the evil one and banish him. "

"We also consecrate Vatican City State in St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus, the guardian of the Holy Family. May his presence make us stronger and more courageous in making space for God in our lives to always defeat evil with good. We ask Him to protect, take care of us, so that a life of grace grows stronger in each of us every day. " 


Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/07/05/benedict_xvi_joins_pope_francis_in_consecrating_vatican_to_st_michael/en1-707709

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Want Religious Liberty? ....

 ..... Live Your Faith!!!Defend Marriage

From the standpoint of Catholicism there is no more important right than religious liberty. It is the first of our freedoms.

As Catholics, we cherish religious liberty because we have been made by God and for God—our hearts are restless, as Saint Augustine wrote, until they rest in Him. God gave us freedom so that we might pursue him ardently. We have a right to religious liberty because we first have the duty to know, love, and serve Him. We have the solemn responsibility to order our intellects, our wills, our actions and indeed our very person toward God who is Love and Truth. Religious liberty allows us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and any curtailment of religious liberty is not only a radical affront to our rights, but more importantly, to our ability to be faithful Catholics in pursuit of eternal life.
Within the context of considering the redemption of man, Blessed John Paul II wrote in his first encyclical that “the curtailment of the religious freedom of individuals and communities is…a painful experience…an attack on man’s very dignity…a radical injustice with regard to what is particularly deep within man, what is authentically human” (17).

Sadly, these attacks seem to grow exponentially. The most immediate cause of consternation is the HHS mandate: the requirement that individuals and institutions opposed to contraception and abortion-inducing drugs cooperate in providing them to others. On June 28 the mandate’s final language was published. As Archbishop Lori notes in a jointly signed letter, “HHS continues to deny many Americans the freedom to manifest their beliefs through practice and observance in their daily lives.”
But as great a threat as this is to religious liberty, there is no current and impending threat that is graver than what is happening in the realm of homosexuality and the redefinition of marriage.

The Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage is described as “hateful” and “draconian,” and Catholics who proclaim it are increasingly ostracized as “bigots” and “haters.” This sort of description does not come only from overly-ambitious advocates of redefining marriage, but from Justice Kennedy’s words in the majority opinion overturning a key statute of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Kennedy indicated the traditional understanding of marriage is invalid because it “demeans the couple,” “humiliates tens of thousands of children,” and “for no legitimate purpose [has] the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect.”

Catholic teaching, rooted in God’s law, the words of Jesus, natural law, and common sense serves “no legitimate purpose” than to unjustly demean, humiliate, disparage, and injure. Here, in an opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States, we have the actuation of John Paul’s words from 1979: “believers are, as though by principle, barely tolerated or are treated as second-class citizens” (17). Joseph Ratzinger echoed this very concern specifically when he warned in his book, Crisis of Cultures that “[v]ery soon, it will no longer be possible to affirm that homosexuality (as the Catholic Church teaches) constitutes an objective disordering in the structure of human existence.” We have good reason to fear further efforts to deprive Catholics of the rights we possess by virtue of our citizenship or even our humanity.
If we want to protect religious liberty we must first live our faith. When religion goes untried, religious liberty is merely a token. What purpose does it serve, and why should the State protect religious liberty, if religion is ignored in the personal lives of citizens? Archbishop Chaput recently noted that religious liberty “has political force only to the degree that ordinary people believe and practice their faith—and refuse to tolerate anyone or anything interfering with faith.”

To be frank: If you want religious liberty, then act like it. And remember John Paul’s rejoinder that “[n]o privilege is asked for, but only respect for an elementary right. Actuation of this right is one of the fundamental tests of man’s authentic progress in any regime, in any society, system or milieu.” A society that is hostile to religious liberty creates a cultural milieu in which religion is increasingly difficult to embrace and live. Conversely, when people of faith fail to know, live and defend their faith a militant secularism is enabled and empowered so that religion is easily confined to a private affair or worship alone. Catholics must love their faith and have the courage to pursue God and His truth with their whole heart, mind, and soul. Only then will religious liberty have meaning and merit protection.
 by Arland K. Nichols

Monday, July 8, 2013

It’s time to fight for your Church and your country!

 Satan fall like lighting from the skyJesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lighting from the sky.”  Most modern progressive Catholic thinkers would say, that Jesus was using some very colorful language to make His point about evil and its existence but – He did not mean this literally.
Satan falling from the sky like lighting.
So the question remains, does personal evil really exist?
I mean the modern Catholic, who is uneducated in their faith, would say; that isn’t the devil just some story or tool invented by the Church to control people?  You know to make us afraid so we will follow blindly whatever the Church says – so the popes, bishops and priests could control us?
Can’t all those stories in the Bible about Jesus casting out demons be explained away by modern psychology and its understanding of psychological disorders – or religious fanatical behavior?  Aren’t Hell and the devil just childhood stories told around the campfire, to entertain us with a little bit of fear?  Or maybe just the reoccurring plot – of too many horror movies?
Didn’t the Second Vatican Council with its new modern liberal mindset bring us out of a backward medieval belief system to make us modern progressive thinkers capable of realizing that hell and Satan are just the products of ignorance, superstition, or an over active imagination?

Well, lets think about this for a moment.  Here is what Gaudium et Spes, one of the Second Vatican Council documents has said; “The whole of man’s history has been the story of our combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield, man has struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity” (Gaudium et Spes, 37).
Some Catholics maybe surprised in this day and age, that the existence of evil, the devil as well as hell, are all truths of our Catholic Faith. All one has to do is pick up a copy of the Catechism and look it up and you will find that the Church officially teaches – from paragraph #1033 through paragraph #1037 – that evil does exist, that there is a person, a fallen Angel to be exact, who wants nothing more than to destroy humanity and if that is not possible then at least to get as many people away from God, away from salvation to spend eternity in hell with him.

Pope Paul IV, taught that “evil is not merely a lack of something, but an effective agent, a living spiritual being, perverted and perverting.   A terrible reality – mysterious and frightening – who goes about acting in a way contrary to the teaching of the Bible and the Church.”
Of course there is the New Testament, which alone refers to the devil and his wickedness nearly 300 times as a warning to us of his presence and activity in our world.
This leads us to the Gospels, where Jesus talks more about the devil and evil then anything else except His divinity.  We also heard in today’s Gospel, that the disciples were overjoyed because – demons were subject to them through the Holy Name of Jesus.  This power of the name of Jesus was given not only to the disciples but to the whole Church to fight against and overcome any and every evil in this world.   This power is the authority of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, built on the authority of Jesus Christ Himself, which causes the gates of hell to tremble.

What we learn from the New Testament, is that the main purpose of Jesus’ ministry was to destroy the works of the devil and to bring about the Kingdom of God, which will destroy the Kingdom of Satan. Christ came to cast out, bind up and deliver humanity from its slavery to sin and death as well as from the chief works of the devil – called vices.  According to the Old Testament, the devil gets his foot hold in this world and in our lives through things like fortune-tellers, soothsayers, charms, diviners, and spells as well as when we consult with ghosts and spirits or seek oracles and revelations from the dead.  In our day and age, He still uses these things including horoscopes, the new age movement, Gnosticism, moral relativism, or even more explicitly through Satanism and the worship of the devil.

Everyday we see his evil played out right in front of our eyes and then we ignore what we see and the underlying cause.  We fail to recognize that there is a very real enemy, who likes to remain hidden, while he plots our destruction and doom.  This evil is increased with the destruction of Fatherhood, marriage and traditional family life. In the increase in war, murder, and suicide.  The devastation of our youth through drugs and sexual addiction.  The massive diffusion by the media of corrupting errors and sinful practices.  And most especially in our day, with the ruinations of our religious freedoms and those individuals who bravely speak up for them.

Satan’s progressive and the new modern family

Nowadays, objective evil is displayed out in the open – all of which are meant to destroy us – caused by a malicious Angel who wants nothing more than to eradicate us from the face of the earth.   Satan has gone so far as to attack humanity at its source with the sin of abortion, birth control, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning – as well as using the cumulative forces of this world’s sinfulness to redefine life and marriage as we know it and calling it – progress and the new modern family.  Nothing can escape from the rebellious forces of hedonism and secularism in their violent march throughout the world trying to force us to believe that sinfulness and evil rebellion against our Creator and His definition of morality is normal and warranted.
We have come so far that not to follow this march of evil to our own destruction is to be portrayed as crazy, abnormal or ignorant. We have come so far that good is bad and evil is really good. Good people are boring and evil people are fun. We defend the criminal and imprison the lawful. Our daily poor example to our children teaches them that magic and fairy tales are real and that God, His angels and Saints, do not exist – but somehow all humans and dogs go to heaven. No wonder our world is so confused and ignorant of what God really says and teaches.

So it goes without saying, with all certainty, that those of us who want to be truly holy and virtuous, who want to wholeheartedly embrace the Catholic Church’s authentic teaching and mission to save souls, will live a very difficult life.  One full of challenges and at times real sorrows, but at the same time, a life of immense blessings and graces, which all those who follow Christ enjoy for all eternity.
If we really want to be God’s saints and His holy people, we need not fear what is coming or what is already here, we need not fear the other sheep or those wolves among us dressed up like them – for God will not be mocked or made a fool of – in the end all will be revealed and He does not deal lightly with the devil or his unrepentant companions,  be they angelic or human.  That is why He created hell, just for them.
We are in the midst of a war – a war between good and evil – and the worst thing you can do in any combat situation is to believe that you’re not in one and that this fight has nothing to do with us. This, sadly, has been the mindset of us humans, us Christians, and us Catholics, for far too long.

Pope Leo XIII stated it boldly, “Catholics are born for combat!”  So, we the people must become we the Saints. We must once again become the Church Militant – soldiers and warriors of Jesus Christ. The devil certainly knows that his time is short and that it would be even shorter should the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church ever take the call to spiritual warfare and authentic holiness seriously.
The Liturgy of the Hours for the Martyrs states; “We are warriors now, fighting in the battlefield of faith, and God sees all we do; the Angles watch and so does Christ. What honor and glory and joy, to do battle in the presence of God, and have Christ approve our victory.”  Let us arm ourselves in full strength – with Rosary in hand; and prepare ourselves – through Eucharistic Adoration for the ultimate struggle with blameless hearts, true faith, and unyielding courage.

The venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen taught, “Christ demands fire – he demands zeal for His followers.”  In the scriptures, Christ commands us to go out and preach the gospel, to live virtuous holy lives, to convert the nations – and to cast out evil.  When we pray the “Our Father,” we ask God to deliver us from evil – this is the normal daily petition said in the Church’s greatest prayer.
Don’t we think that maybe it is time for us to make this petition part of our daily actions and not just part of our prayers?
Praying for the deliverance from evil,working for its destruction, is at the very center of our Catholic faith because when we act this way we recognize that only God can truly save us from the power of the devil, who enslaves us with sin and evil. So be at peace, be unafraid, as St. Paul tells us, “we bear the marks of Christ on our bodies” through baptism and the Holy Eucharist, as we are being“sent out into the world as lambs among wolves” where “the harvest is rich and the laborers are few”  where “the world is crucified to me and I to the world.”  So rejoice because “your names are written in Heaven” and “as a mother comforts her child – so God will comfort you.”

It is time, my brothers and sisters, to get up and fight for your Church and your country before both are gone!!

 by Fr. Daniel E. Doctor

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Feast day of St. Maria Goretti

Today is the feast day of St. Maria Goretti


She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class. 

On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She  was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help. “No, God does not wish it," she cried out. "It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger. 

She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum, her last Holy Communion. She died about 24 hours after the attack. 

Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother. 

Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.