HELL EXISTS AND SO DOES THE DEVIL

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle,
be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray,
and do thou, O heavenly hosts,
by the power of God, thrust into hell satan
and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls.
Amen.

After the Fall, our first parents passed on the effects of Original Sin that I addressed in a September post. Our human nature was weakened by the effect of Concupiscence, a tendency towards sinning. Man’s passions are no longer ruled by right reason. Because of concupiscence we are inclined towards anything our imagination paints as pleasurable without regards for what is good for us by God’s design.

God gave us free will but that does not mean we are free to sin. Let me explain. While human freedom is a good, human freedom is not in itself an absolute. We are not free to do “evil. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.” (CCC 1733)

We become enslaved to the Ruler of this world, Satan. As Satan tempted our first parents in the garden he continues to prompt us to see evil as good and darkness as light. The devil exists and is lonely as he roams this world for company.

Ever since my post on Fatima warnings, I have been thinking about the devil and how many succumb as the Blessed Mother warned at Fatima. In my reflections I remembered the classic, “Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. In this novel, senior devil, Screwtape, mentors a beginner, Wormwood, an enthusiastic little devil but Screwtape cautions him to be subtle and not call any attention to himself.

The devil loves denial of his existence. Screwtape advises Wormwood, “Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping your “Patient” from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong and courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future”

THE DEVIL EXISTS IN SCRIPTURE
Satan’s downfall was promised in Genesis 3:15. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel” Satan is defeated through the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Through the preaching of the gospel and personal faith in Christ, we as Paul says in Ephesians are being delivered from Satan’s grasp and granted eternal life, “You were dead in your transgressions and sins But God, who is rich in mercy, and the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God… (Ephesians 2:1-10)

In the Book of Job,” The LORD asks Satan if he has noticed his servant Job “There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil”. But Satan accuses God that’s what Satan means, accuser, of protecting Job of being generous with His gifts to Job. Take them away and see what happens. God says okay as you will, God replies,“Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on him.”

Satan is neither humble nor submissive to God. He challenges God, thinking that afflicting Job will result in Job’s desertion from the ranks of those who worship God. Unwittingly, Satan serves God’s purpose. Satan’s efforts produced the opposite of what he hoped to achieve resulting only in deepening Job’s faith and brought greater blessings to Job. Job’s final condition is far better than his first. In the end, Satan learns nothing and only continues in his fruitless rebellion.

Our Lord Jesus Christ made frequent references to the activity and influence of Satan throughout His ministry, Jesus, himself, underwent the temptations and wiles of the devil in the desert after His Baptism in the Jordon. The Evil one accuses Jesus of failing to act like God’s Son by not using his divine power to give Himself bread to eat and trust in the Father to save Him from a fall from a high precipice.(Luke 4:1-13)
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH #391-395
The power of Satan is not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature…Satan’s action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery but “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.”
CONSEQUENCES TO OUR FAITH
A lack of a belief in the Devil, sin, or hell makes it very awkward for us at the Easter Liturgy when asked by the priest in renewing our baptismal vows, Do you reject Satan and all his works…some may shake their heads and ask who is that ? we don’t believe in that anymore…Deny the Devil and Hell at your own risk!

As St. Peter the first Pope said in his first letter,“Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith.”

Denial of the devil, sin, and hell is also a denial of our Savior. Why would we need a Savior? We rob the cross from any meaning and Jesus is a fool who died on the cross for no good reason. No, there is a devil and Jesus told us so on many occasions and Jesus doesn’t lie. In the Last Judgment discourse, Jesus says, “Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25)

The vast majority of Catholics in America over 80% reject the Church teaching on the devil and hell. This is just fine with the devil! If he is rejected then it is easy to reject Jesus as well and His Father.too!

If you feel that things are spinning out of control in our world and in our Church today, you’re right. Be assured, we have not arrived at this place in history by accident. There is an intelligent evil being behind all of this work, bent on our destruction and the destruction of our Lord’s Catholic Church. There is truly an active evil person (Satan) working every day to destroy us.

This evil has gone unchecked by Faithful Catholics as well as the Church’s hierarchy for too long. Tell me, when was the last time you heard a homily on Satan? Why have most parishes dropped the prayer to St. Michael at the end of Mass as we prayed in the 50s and 60s? Are we not in danger anymore or has Satan done such a complete job of pulling the wool over our eyes!

We must stand up for the Doctrine the Church has wonderfully taught for over 2,000 years and practice it wholeheartedly. Knowledge of the Faith is absolutely crucial for any spiritual growth; we can’t witness what we don’t know. We need to get back on our knees and beg God to deliver us from the sinful evil of this current generation, and protect the Church Jesus founded, from infiltration of the world, the flesh, and the devil!
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WHY ROMAN CATHOLIC

I was asked recently why I have the adjective Roman (Latin Rite) before Catholic in my website stillromancatholicafteralltheseyears.com and in my blog. There are several rites in communion with Rome such as Maronites, that never separated and others that did but have reunited with Rome such as Byzantine, Copts, and Chaldeans. .
WHY I AM A PRACTICING ROMAN CATHOLIC
I was Baptized and raised by parents in the Roman Catholic Church and although I questioned many things and drifted here and there, I always came back because I never found any Truth out there that would better serve me in becoming the best man I could be. As a boy I learned my Latin to serve as an altar boy. Of course now the Mass is said in the vernacular.

Sure, like any free thinking American I questioned the Commandments and other Church Teaching but that was because I had the notion these were restrictions and I resisted like any “red blooded American”. As I matured in my faith development I realized the commandments were not prohibitions at all but the best self help book on the market for living well and happy.

God was not asking me to give up anything that was good for me. Let’s just take a few examples, How about worshipping God our Creator. What’s nuts about that. If I throw that out it isn’t long before I think I am in charge and I am not. Here’s another one, do not kill or do violence in actions or words. Who am I to harm someone. I don’t want anyone to harm me!

And lastly, do not commit adultery. Well, how is that working our for the sexually active outside of marriage crowd, Divorce, fractured families, sexually transmitted disease, etc. Sin has consequences. To deny that is to deny reality.!

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your GodDeuteronomy 11:26″

Jesus founded His Church on St. Peter, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”Matthew 16:18-19 As Jesus’ vicar/prime minister, St. Peter established the Mother Church in Rome in 42 A.D. All other Christian denominations over the centuries have their roots in the Church Jesus founded.

If God has revealed Himself to man and He has, man must be able to know with assurance where that revelation lies. In other words, man needs to know without error what the books of the Bible are. There must be an authority which will make that decision.

The canon of the Bible was established by the Roman Catholic Church definitively at the Council of Trent in 1556. A canon distinguishes what is revealed and divine from what is not revealed and human. There was no canon in the early Church because there was no Bible.

There were many Ecumenical Councils that worked on developing the Canon of God’s revealed word. The Council of Laodicea, c. 360, which produced a list of books similar to today’s canon was one of the Church’s earliest decisions on a canon. So you see any additions and omissions by other denomination were all made in the Canon established by the Roman Catholic Church. Catholics do read the Bible and hold the Bible in high esteem.

Is the Bible enough? Well it depends whether you want to ignore Scripture references such as these:  In His Last Supper discourse Jesus told the apostles,” I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.” John 16:12-13.

“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me” John 15:26 The Holy Spirit came on Pentecost Sunday and a Church was born. After the descent of the Holy Spirit the disciples were filled with courage and faith. They went out into the streets and proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ fearlessly in Truth and the Holy Spirit.

I love my Church warts and all. It isn’t perfect. Though divinely instituted, it is humanly constituted. I thank God for the Magisterium of the Church. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide His Church into all truth. “The Holy Spirit teaches the Church “all things,” bringing to mind everything that Christ first taught His apostles” ( John 14:26). “He who receives you receives me” (Mt. 10:40). Chosen by Christ, they exercise the Church’s Magisterium or teaching office. Christ sends His apostles and their successors as the Father sent Him “with “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Mt. 28:18). I place my trust in the Holy Spirit not man.

God’s plan includes sacraments dispensed by His Church. Sacraments are an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. Baptism restores us to a share in God’s life. Confirmation strengthens our faith and assist us in being faithful witnesses. Sacrament of Reconciliation heals our soul when we have sinned against God and neighbor. The Eucharist shares Divine Life in intimate way on earth, the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ who is really and substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine.

Matrimony: the sacramental binding covenant between a baptized man and woman in which they agree to eternal fidelity to each other and commit to being God’s partners in the creation of new life. Holy Orders continues Jesus’ Apostolic Mission today. This sacrament confers on a man the power of consecrating the offering of the Body and Blood of Christ and of remitting and retaining sins.” Anointing of the sick: the sacrament in which the sick are anointed with holy oil and given the spiritual aid and strength to return to spiritual and bodily health, including, if needed, the remission of sins For more on Catholic Sacraments see Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The seven sacraments touch all the stages of Christian life. The sacraments give birth, contribute to spiritual growth, and promote health (spiritual and physical) and they prepare the Christian at the end of his life’s journey to cross over from physical life to eternal life.
WHY ROMAN CATHOLIC IS IN TITLE OF MY WEBSITE
I want readers to know my blog is orthodox and in full communion with the Church of St. Peter. There are so many denominations out there that have catholic in their names that it is confusing. There are even groups out there that call themselves Catholics for Choice. This is not a Catholic organization but a pro abortion advocacy group.

Saint Stanislaus formerly a Catholic Parish in Archdiocese of St. Louis is no longer in communion with the church of Rome and call themselves a Kostka Polish Catholic Parish. Another local church that goes by name Catholic but is not in Communion with Rome is Sts. Clare and Francis of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion,

Finally, there are “cafeteria catholics” who pick and chooses what Catholic teaching they want to believe. Catholics are not free to choose which teachings on faith and morals to obey.

While God can save whoever He wills the best aids, I believe, are within the Roman Catholic Church for happiness and excellence of living. There are no restrictions harmful to mankind in Roman Catholic Church teaching.
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CATHOLIC MORALITY EFFECTS OF ORIGINAL SIN

PROLOGUE
All of my readers I assume want to go to heaven one day. That road is paved with many pot holes. NOT, the least of them is our own human condition. We the Church militant are called that because it is not an easy path. Take the narrow path; the broad path leads to destruction.

Some are already in heaven and we call that branch of the Mystical Body of Christ the Church Triumphant. Others, Church Suffering, are being purified in Purgatory so they can see God face to face.

But let’s get back to us still here on earth. What are some of the obstacles in the way of our destination. In a future blog I will talk about Satan. Yes, the devil. He does exist and is our strongest adversary. He even tempted Jesus in the dessert. Today’s blog will deal with Original Sin and our weakened human nature.

First we need to understand the human condition we are dealing with. Later, in this blog I will address ways we might bolster this human nature.

Some, may deny Original Sin but at their own peril. Concupiscence is an effect of original sin and a tendency towards sinning. Man’s passions are no longer ruled by right reason. It is a lack of our original integrity when everything was in harmony with God’s will and intent for human nature. Because of concupiscence we are inclined towards anything our imagination paints as pleasurable without regards for what is good for us by God’s design.

God gave us free will but that does not mean we are free to sin. Let me explain. While human freedom is a good, human freedom is not in itself an absolute. We are not free to do “evil. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.” (CCC 1733)

So we need to be on our toes to do good and avoid evil and not become slaves to sin. With that in mind it is good to recognize the human nature we inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve. We need to be alert and aware of our weaknesses and inclinations to sin.

The most important loss due to the Fall is the loss of sanctifying grace. Adam and Eve not only transmitted to the whole human race the death of the body, which is the punishment of sin, but even sin itself, which is the death of the soul, Our Baptism removed Original Sin and restored us in relationship to God but did NOT do away with the collateral effects of Original Sin.

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

Before original sin, man was in a state of “original justice” and blessed with preternatural gifts of infused knowledge, integrity, and immortality of the body. The original state of human nature of our first parents, Adam and Eve, was in possession of Sanctifying Grace and preternatural gifts.

Had Adam and Eve not sinned they would have passed this state of “original justice” down to their descendants. Before the Fall, man and woman freely participated in this state of integrity by receiving each other in mutual communion according to the eternal and permanent act of God’s will. Marital Bliss!

The preternatural gifts received by Adam and Eve include infused knowledge, absence of concupiscence, and immortality of the body. Adam and Eve received these free gifts not just for themselves but to be passed on to the whole and entire human race. After Adam and Eve committed “original sin,” they lost “original justice” and the preternatural gifts for the entire human race.

Their loss affected the kind of human nature they could pass on to their descendants. They could only pass on a human nature in a fallen state, one deprived of original holiness and integrity. Adam and Eve’s descendants are subject to ignorance and endure suffering and death.

The control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body and its desires is now shattered. The descendents now struggle with disordered desires and passions (concupiscence.) While concupiscence is not in itself a sin, it is a tendency or strong attraction to sin. Original justice has now turned into the state of Original Sin.

What to do to reign in this human condition we inherited from our first parents! Along with Scripture there are many great spiritual books by gifted authors that will help us keep on the right path.

My advice is this: Make a commitment to follow Jesus in good times and bad times, Say often the prayer, Jesus I Trust in You and mean it.

Do a regular examination of conscience thank God for the successes and asking His mercy for our failures. Take advantage regularly, at least once a month, the Sacrament of Reconciliation even if you repeat the same sins over and over again at least you will be discovering areas that need work and improvement. Some day your sins may change and you will have new areas to address.

Try a daily rosary, morning and evening prayers and Masses on other days than Sunday. Attitude is what it is all about and commitment to Jesus that you renew all the time. Each day is opportunity for Conversion a turning back to Jesus. Remember Jesus will never ask more from you than you can give. Now, you may not want to give but that is not Jesus’ problem, it’s ours. If you are too comfortable in this secular world, ask yourself how come.

PRAY PRAY PRAY!

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WHOSE LIVES MATTER???

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

This week we saw another protest on the news regarding a white policeman shooting a black suspect, in St. Louis this time. As I watched mostly a peaceful protest, I noticed signs again stating in bold manner that BLACK LIVES MATTER!

This got me to thinking what does this mean. Literally, it seems to mean that black lives matter. But why state the obvious! All human life matters. It is a gift from God no matter the packaging. Do people of color have to assert this redundancy in placards because there are still some who don’t get it?!

Is it because there have been so many incidents of black suspects killed by white police officers or is it something more? Are white policemen always wrong who use deadly force with a black suspect? Of course not, but is deadly force the only option?

If I was black and I am not, there certainly would be many reasons for me to be suspicious whether my life was worth less than other lives. There is certainly a history of racism in our country. Our Country’s economy was built on the slave trade. Our Constitution has no article forbidding slavery.

In the most recent Presidential election there were many inferences that America would be great again if it retained its pale white color. Recently, racism raised its ugly head in a very bold manner in Charlottesville that increased racial tensions even more in our communities.

Racism is always wrong. Judging and dismissing anyone because they are a different race from us is always wrong. But I also find it ironic that Clergy who claim to be Christian often preach and support and sometimes even incite their congregations to break the law. I am not speaking here of peaceful sit-ins but threats and intimidation like “there will be blood in the streets” if this or that verdict doesn’t come down as we want.

Also, hate mongers who call themselves Christians in the pew at Church services on Saturday/Sunday and the  preach hate the rest of the week, are NOT Christian! A Christian by definition is a follower of Christ. In Matthew 25, Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me!”

What does least of my brethren mean? It means something different for everyone. The least of our brethren is whoever we consider not worthy of our love and compassion. We are called to love as God loves. Step back next time you are tempted to resentment, hate, vengeance at your adversary and imagine that God loves that adversary the same as He loves you. God has only one way of loving.

 

God loves the prisoner on death row, the baby in the womb, the gay hair stylist, the poor, the ignorant, those of every race and creed even the terrorist who was not born a terrorist. Here, I have to emphasize that this does not mean we have to approve of any and all behavior. In fact, as I have said in past blogs, we not only have the right but the duty to call out behavior that is just plain wrong according to God’s laws despite what man made laws say, i.e. abortion.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us…. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him…If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God* whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” I John 4:11-21

THEY WILL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIANS BY OUR LOVE,
BY OUR LOVE!

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DISCIPLES OF CHRIST (CHRISTIANS) MUST EVANGELIZE

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARY!

FEAST OF NATIVITY OF MARY MOTHER OF GOD SEPTEMBER 8

JESUS TEACHES HIS DISCIPLES

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”(Colossians 2:6-7)

All baptized Christians are called to do the work of God, not just priests and religious, All Christians are commissioned through our baptism to be other Christs in the world. All of us were chosen by God for his mission.

Baptism goes well beyond cleansing of original sin.  Jesus did not have original sin or any other sin.  His Baptism was a rite before beginning His public life.  His baptism was His initiation. He emerged from the water, commissioned by the Father to do his work. Similarly – In our own waters of baptism, we have been initiated, called and commissioned.

CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHING

The baptized have become “living stones” to be “built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.” By Baptism they share in the priesthood of Christ…They are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that [they] may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [them] out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  Baptism gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers.

(CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 1268)

As a Catholic Blogger, it is very lonely out here.  Naturally, I am not going to get the hits or searches that a retail business or celebrity blog.  How then do I spread the Good News of Jesus Christ?  I need your help to spread that Good News, to accept the universal role of discipleship and evangelizers.

God has given us all abilities to use in ministry, all different sorts of gifts for all sorts of missions. Our gifts are given for the community and we are called to use them in response to the needs of the community.

The faith we have received is a gift that came to us, in many cases, from our mothers and grandmothers. They were the living memory of Jesus Christ within our homes. It was in the silence of family life that most of us learned to pray, to love and to live the faith.” (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.2016)

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

First, we must get our own house in order. Jesus in Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It is first about holiness.  We ourselves must undergo a life of daily conversion so that we will be filled more and more with Christ’s love.  Conversion is a conscious decision to repent, to deal explicitly with personal and communal sin. The sad fact is that many of the baptized are essentially unconverted..

How is our own Conversion coming along? St. Jerome said “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”  Are we involved in Scripture study individually or with groups?  How about daily prayer, how much time do we set aside?  What about the Sacraments especially the Eucharist and Sacrament of Reconciliation?  When was the last Retreat we attended?  What Spiritual books are on our night stand?  Have we opened any recently?

To be a disciple of Jesus means a daily renewal of our relationship with Jesus. If any man would come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)

Why don’t most people get it that we don’t give up anything when we turn our lives over to Jesus?  What are we afraid of?  Why don’t people want to learn more about Jesus??? Jesus is all about love.  What are we afraid of? We will never be asked more than we can handle.  Any cross we have to bear with Jesus is designed for us because Jesus knows it is the path to love!

The world points to fame and fortune.  Jesus points to love and eternal life.  What are some crosses we may be asked to bear?  Sometimes health, maybe even cancer, getting along with family members, providing for our family needs, being patient with that crabby employee, welcoming children into our families, visiting the sick, taking care of elderly parents and so forth.

We find in Christ Crucified the definitive revelation of God’s infinite love for us!.  The human heart is created for this love, cannot help but be “drawn,” to this love. Therefore, God’s method for drawing others into life with him is by revealing his love.

If we are to be effective evangelists, we must do as God himself has done and reveal that love to everyone we meet.  As baptized Christians, we are witnesses to that love.  Witnesses testify not only with words but their lives. It is not enough to discover Christ for ourselves, we must bring Him to others.

The proclamation of the Gospel is not optional for Christians. We, on earth, are now God’s instruments, His voice, His deeds.  Imitation and proclamation of Jesus Christ is not an option.  Our mission is the salvation of souls.  It is unthinkable that a person accepts the Word for himself and keeps that light to himself, without bearing witness to others.

CLOSING PRAYER

With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we pray that we may accurately and lovingly pass on the faith given by Christ so that others may know Jesus in their hearts, worship Jesus in Liturgy, and follow Jesus’ moral teachings in their daily lives.

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CORPORAL WORK OF MERCY VISIT THE SICK

To visit the sick can mean many different things; visiting shut ins, those in hospitals and nursing homes are the most obvious. But it can also include taking the time and effort to contact those living alone without much family who feel isolated and alone, deprived of the basic need for “friendship.”  One thinks especially of the elderly in our communities who, whether at home or in long-term care facilities, live in geographical isolation from their loved ones.”

Our mere presence, as someone who cares and is willing to listen to their stories will mean so much..  Everyone has a story to tell, you know.  Willing to be a friend and a listening ear, can mean much more to them than we can imagine. Also, focusing on others is the best way to shed our own preoccupation with our needs!

Visiting and healing the sick were central to Jesus’ ministry. One of his first miracles was the healing of Peter’s mother in law.  Jesus in His compassion healed the lame, the blind, the dumb and those with mental and spiritual infirmities. Visiting the sick is an opportunity for us to do the work of Jesus… for us to be instruments of that healing grace that touches mind, body, and soul. It also gives us the chance to reflect on our own humanity and mortality.

If you should feel a little awkward or squeamish about visiting the sick you might consider taking a friend with you that may help in engaging in conversation.  Maybe you all can pray together.  “Wherever two or more are gathered together in my name, I am in your midst.”  (Matthew 18:20)  You will be giving far more than your time. You will be giving the sick a sense of worth, knowing they are not forgotten, by you and Jesus, as well!

In visiting the sick, we uphold the dignity of the human person. Consider the feelings of those who spend so much time in hospitals and nursing homes without the comfort of those they love. How many of our elderly are permanently confined to a stark building with little love or attention paid to them?  There are so many in our nursing homes and so little staff to address their needs beyond getting them up in the morning, providing meals, and putting them to bed at night.  That is a lot of unattended hours to sit isolated.

Some people are terrified of hospitals. Others simply fear pain and the prospect of their own diminishment. I don’t know about you but I don’t like to think about aging and all the losses that go with it.  Jesus himself was afraid of death in the Agony in the Garden.  If the Lord can be afraid, then it is OK for us, too. Trust in Jesus!

Coming to peace with our own human finiteness and vulnerability, is an important journey that we must all undertake. But it is a task we cannot do alone. We need support.  Many sick people experience the loneliness of abandonment from relatives and others who do not want to be reminded of their own mortality. Christ calls us to ‘visit the sick’ and care for them as an essential part of our Christian mission of love and compassion.

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THE EUCHARIST THE REAL PRESENCE

For 700 years or so, the Church has celebrated with great joy the Feast of Corpus Christi, the great gift of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, given to us at the Last Supper. “Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” Luke 22:19

Just as we need to nourish our physical bodies in order to have strength; to work; and to live well, so too we need to eat in the House of the Lord to have spiritual strength; the ability to learn and understand the ways of the Lord, and work for the building up of the Kingdom; to live well now and for eternity.  Nourished by this heavenly food we carry on the work of Christ and His Church.

FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI JUNE 18, 2017

In the First Reading, Moses reminds the people of Israel that it is God who ensured they did not die of hunger and thirst in the desert, by providing them with manna and water. They are not to forget their faithful Lord who has always guided them.

The Psalm praises the Lord for sending wheat to feed his people, and his Word to feed their spirit.

In his Letter to the Corinthians (Second Reading), St Paul confirms the intimate link between the body and blood of Christ and the blessing-cup and bread of the Eucharist. This one bread shared by all has a unifying effect.

In the Gospel, we find Jesus instructing the crowds after the feeding of the 5000. He seeks to explain the difference between the food needed to keep our body in good health and the bread ‘come down from heaven’, which is his body. It will feed them spiritually. They will draw life from his body and blood, just as he draws life from his Father.

THIS IS THE BREAD COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN

I am the living bread from heaven…whoever eats this bread will live forever….whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day…whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him John 6:48 (Bread of Life Discourse)

 

JESUS INSTITUTES THE HOLY EUCHARIST AT THE LAST SUPPER

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

1323 “At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'”

1324    The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.”…For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself”

THE LITURGICAL CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST

1346    The liturgy of the Eucharist unfolds according to a fundamental structure which has been preserved throughout the centuries down to our own day. It displays two great parts that form a fundamental unity: the gathering, the liturgy of the Word, with readings, homily, and general intercessions; the liturgy of the Eucharist, with the presentation of the bread and wine, the consecration thanksgiving, and communion.

1360    The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father…by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all His benefits, for all that He has accomplished through creation, redemption, and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all “thanksgiving.”

1364    When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ’s Passover, and it is made present: the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present. “As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which ‘Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed’ is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out.”

1367    The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same…the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner . . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory.”

Note on “unbloody manner” The “accidents”, those things that appeal to our senses, touch, sight, taste,etc  remain.  The “substance” of the Eucharist is changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus and remains in “real presence” as long as the “accidents” remain. This is why the Blessed Sacrament may be reserved in the tabernacle for adoration and sick calls.

1373    “Christ Jesus, who died, was raised from the dead, sits at the right hand of God, and intercedes for us,” is present in many ways to his Church: in his word, in his Church’s prayer, “where two or three are gathered in my name,” in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, in the sacraments of which He is the author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. But “He is present . . . most especially in the Eucharistic species.”

1374    In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” “This presence is called ‘real’ –

1391-92 The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life. Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism.

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ONLY GOD IS RIGHTEOUS

INTRODUCTION

Not too long ago someone asked me to help explain the meaning of “righteousness.”  So here goes.  Is righteousness achievable? I remember the quote from Jesus “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Now I knew that was impossible because I know I am not God and never will be.  I also knew Jesus would never ask me to do the impossible.  Jesus had to mean be the best/perfect person I can be according to my Creator’s design.  That is hard enough and only the grace of God can move that forward.

Another thought I had was, darn why did I have to be born a Catholic?  Many Protestant denominations have the belief “Once saved Always Saved!”  That’s pretty cool, accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and that’s it because Jesus saved me once and for all.

Now that didn’t sound right to me.  I never heard Jesus say anything like that.  All the way back in the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve were friends with God, had a good relationship, and walked together in the cool of the evening.  Adam and Eve, our first parents were saved, for a time

But along comes the devil and all hell breaks out! “Now the snake was the most cunning* of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’?”The woman answered the snake: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, or else you will die.’”But the snake said to the woman: “You certainly will not die Genesis 3 1-4

In our very first homeland, Eden, the Father of Lies told our ancestors a bold face lie.  Adam and Eve died spiritually, expulsion from God’s presence, and ultimately died physically. So has anything changed since that time.  Well, yes, Jesus was born, died, rose, and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. Did Jesus make a difference? Yes of course, He is our Redeemer.  Without Jesus, there would be no chance of being saved and sharing all eternity with the Most Holy Trinity.

But did Jesus give us a free pass no matter what we did.  I think not…Jesus’ words not mine, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small,and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it,”Matthew 7:13-14  

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

WHAT IS RIGHTEOUSNESS

Righteousness is the state of moral perfection required by God to enter heaven. It is contrasted with wickedness, the conduct of the one who, out of gross self-centeredness, neither reveres God nor respects man. The Bible describes the righteous person as just or right, holding to God and trusting in Him.

When we say that God is just, we are saying that He always does what is right. The word just and the word righteous are identical in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Sometimes the translators render the original word ‘just’ and other times ‘righteous.’ But whichever word they use, it means essentially the same thing. It has to do with God’s actions. They are always right and fair

God’s righteousness was to be seen in His every dealing with the nation Israel: Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the LORD who appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. 7 So now, take your stand, that I may plead with you before the LORD concerning all the righteous acts of the LORD which He did for you and your fathers” (2 Samuel 12:6-7).

God is not interested in a legalistic keeping of the Law, as though one might make himself righteous by so doing. God is interested in men seeking to know the heart of God and pleasing Him by doing that in which He delights and that which He does.

God always acts righteously; His every action is consistent with His character. God is always consistently “Godly.” God is not measured by the standard of righteousness; God sets the standard of righteousness.

The Bible clearly states that human beings cannot achieve righteousness through their own efforts: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” (Romans 3:20).

The law, or the Ten Commandments, shows us how far we fall short of God’s standards. The only solution to that dilemma is God’s plan of salvation. The Law and the Prophets bear witness to righteousness but one cannot achieve righteousness through the Law.  The Law rather points out how short we fall from righteousness and in need of a Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  For, all have sinned. We are justified by God’s grace “as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. Romans 3:21-26

THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST

People receive righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Christ, the sinless Son of God, took humanity’s sin upon himself and became the willing, perfect sacrifice, suffering the punishment mankind deserved. God the Father accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, through which human beings can become justified.

The Old Testament tells us that because of the sin of Adam, we, his descendants, have inherited his sinful nature. God set up a system in Old Testament times where people sacrificed animals to atone for their sins. The shedding of blood was required. When Jesus entered the world, things changed. His crucifixion and resurrection satisfied God’s justice. Christ’s shed blood covers our sins.

The Old and New Testament leave no doubt in our minds whether the Lord Jesus was righteous. The prophet Isaiah spoke of the coming Messiah as the “Righteous One” who would “justify the many” (Isaiah 53:11). Jeremiah spoke of Him as the “righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 23:5). When Jesus was baptized, it was to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Both Pilate’s wife (Matthew 27:19) and the soldier at the foot of the cross (Luke 23:47) acknowledged His righteousness at the very moment when men were condemning Him.

If righteousness and justice are the heart of the Old Testament Law, they are also at the heart of the dispute between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees. At the very outset of His earthly ministry, Jesus set out to contrast His interpretation of the Old Testament teaching on righteousness with that of the scribes and Pharisees. In reality, Jesus did not offer a “new” interpretation of righteousness or of the Law; rather He sought to reestablish the proper understanding of righteousness as taught in the Law and the Prophets.

Thus, Jesus repeatedly used the formula, “You have heard it said. . .” (“This is what the scribes and Pharisees teach.…”), “But I say to you.…” “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).

It was clear that if the scribes and Pharisees could not produce enough righteousness on their own, no one could. The standard of righteousness the Law held forth was even higher than that of the scribes and Pharisees. No one was righteous enough to get into heaven. What a shock to the self-righteous who thought they had box office seats in the kingdom.

If sin is the manifestation of our unrighteousness and we can be saved only through a righteousness not our own—the righteousness of Christ—then the ultimate sin is self-righteousness. Jesus did not reject sinners who came to Him for mercy and salvation; He rejected those who were too righteous (in their own eyes) to need grace. Jesus came to save sinners and not to save those righteous in their own eyes. No one is too lost to save; there are only those too good to save. In the Gospels, those who thought themselves most righteous were the ones condemned by our Lord as wicked and unrighteous.

We have no ability to achieve righteousness in and of ourselves. But Christians possess the righteousness of Christ, because “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). On the cross, Jesus exchanged our sin for His perfect righteousness so that we can one day stand before God and He will see not our sin, but the holy righteousness of the Lord Jesus.

THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

1992 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life:

GRACE

1997 Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an “adopted son” he can henceforth call God “Father,” in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church.

1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it.

MERIT

2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace….

2009 ….The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness. “Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due. . . . Our merits are God’s gifts.” We can have merit in God’s sight only because of God’s free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man’s collaboration. Man’s merit is due to God.

 SUMMARY

Only God is righteous.  Only the righteous enter heaven.   Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, on Calvary took on our sins in exchange for justifying us that we may be welcomed into heaven one day.  Nothing impure or imperfect enters heaven.  Praise Jesus Christ for exchanging his righteousness for our sins and iniquity!

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Heavenly Father, after earth’s exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland…In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself.

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CORPORAL WORK OF MERCY SHELTER THE HOMELESS

We think of shelter as a basic requirement of life, but many people simply don’t have a roof over their heads or a safe place to live.  For many of us, the line between our homes and being homeless is a thin one that can disappear with the death of a spouse, the loss of a job or an illness.

Do we make a conscious effort to see each homeless person as a human being worthy of dignity and  acknowledgement.  In big cities we train ourselves to look away from those who make us uncomfortable.  But eye contact and a “good morning” to someone who is homeless can make both of us feel a little more human.

How do we feel about immigrants who come to our shores for safety?  Down through history, there have always been a certain number of people who were homeless and harborless.  We as Christians need to treat the immigrants with respect and according to their human dignity, as we would want to be treated ourselves.

What about homeless shelters in our areas?  Are there ways I can assist?  What support, supplies or donations can we offer them?  For the many children in homeless shelters, do I have toys I can donate?  Most children in shelters have few possessions of their own and a book or game could be a great gift.

“The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt 8:20).  Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, was born in a borrowed manger, had no fixed address once he began his public ministry, and was buried in another man’s grave.  It is quite an irony: He, who made the universe, became a homeless person.

The plight of millions of refugees driven from their homes by war may seem far away from our nation, but homelessness is also right on our doorstep. There is a danger that, like the rich man in the parable, we no longer see the Lazarus we practically have to step over.

We encounter every day those, like the Son of Man, who have nowhere to lay their head.  Some of them suffer from serious mental illness and are beyond the help of any but those with professional training.  But a kind word, and some spare change, can brighten their day. When in doubt, it is better to err on the side of charity.

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

This corporal work of mercy forces us to open our eyes to the misery of those who, for a variety of reasons, have no place they can call home.  We often show more empathy for stray dogs or cats than human beings.

This work of mercy also invites to ask ourselves how hospitable we are.  The Letter to the Hebrews urges us, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb 13:2).  Jesus comes to us in disguises.  Remember his last judgment discourse in Matthew 23, “Whatever you do to one of these least of my brethren, you do to me.”

Jesus, Son of God, is the fullest revelation of God.  But it is not only the New Testament that talks about hospitable and charitable behavior to our neighbor.  Jesus’ message of love everyone, treat everyone as you wish to be treated is certainly foretold in the Old Testament.

Numerous passages in the Old Testament show how visitors are to be treated: “You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt Exodus “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of EgyptLeviticus 19:33-34.  And Proverbs: “Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.” Proverbs 28:27

And “home” is not just a house.  How about the lonely, the alienated, the disaffected, the outsider? Can’t this corporal work of mercy extend to more than those with a house to call their own!

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BASIC CATHOLIC DEFINITIONS THAT EVERY CATHOLIC SHOULD KNOW

We see below how these terms relate to the Creed we profess as Catholics

I believe in God the Father Almighty….

Holy Trinity: The mystery of one God in Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Angel: A spiritual, personal and immortal creature, with intelligence and free will, who glorifies God without ceasing and who serves God as a messenger of his saving plan.

In Jesus Christ our Lord conceived by the Holy Spirit born of the Virgin Mary….

Incarnation: When the Son of God assumed human nature and became man.

Immaculate Conception: The conception of the Virgin Mary, who through the anticipated merits won by Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection, was preserved  from original sin.

Transubstantiation: When, in the consecration of the bread and wine, there occurs the change of the entire substance of the bread into the Body of Christ, and the entire substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ.

I believe in the Holy Catholic Church…

Doctrine: A revealed teaching of Christ that is irreversible.

Dogma. Doctrine taught by the Church to be believed by all the faithful as part of divine revelation. All dogmas, therefore, are formally revealed truths and promulgated as such by the Church. Moreover, their acceptance by the faithful must be proposed as necessary for salvation.

Real Presence. Council of Trent in 1551 declared that “in the sacrament of the most holy Holy Eucharist is contained truly, really, and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ” Hence Christ is present truly or actually and not only symbolically.

Magisterium. The Church’s teaching authority, vested in the bishops, as successors of the Apostles, under the Roman Pontiff, as successor of St. Peter.

Encyclical. A papal document treating of matters related to the general welfare of the Church, sent by the Pope to the bishops. Although of themselves not infallible, encyclicals may (and generally do) contain pronouncements on faith and morals that are de facto infallible because they express the ordinary teaching of the Church

Infallibility. Freedom from error in teaching the universal Church in matters of faith or morals.  The source of the infallibility is the supernatural assistance of the Holy Spirit, who protects the supreme teacher of the Church from error. The condition of the infallibility is that the Pope speaks ex cathedra, that is:  he have the intention of declaring something unchangeably true; and he speak as shepherd and teacher of all the faithful with the full weight of his apostolic authority.

The communion of saints…

Mystical Body Of Christ.  The Term “Body,” When Referring To The Church, Derives Its meaning from the analogy used by St. Paul, where he speaks of Christians: “You are the Body of Christ, (I Corinthians 12:27), The Church is called Mystical because she is a mystery, which God revealed to be true and  must be accepted on faith and without full comprehension of the mind.

I believe in the forgiveness of sins…

Sanctifying grace: Grace that heals our wounded human nature and gives us a share in the divine life of the Trinity. A habitual and supernatural gift that perfects and makes us holy.

Actual grace: Temporary supernatural intervention by God to enlighten the mind or strengthen the will to perform supernatural actions that lead to heaven.

Sin: Any intentional thought, word, deed or omission that violates God’s law.

Original sin: The sin by which the first humans disobeyed God, resulting in the loss of original holiness. Also,the fallen state of human nature that affects every person.

Concupiscence: An inclination to sin, due to original sin, which remains even after baptism.

Mortal sin: Grave infraction of the law of God that destroys divine life (sanctifying grace) in the soul of the sinner. For sin to be mortal, it must involve grave matter, full knowledge of the evil of the act, and deliberate consent of the will.

Venial sin: Sin that diminishes and wounds but does not destroy the divine life (sanctifying grace) in the soul of the sinner.

I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlating

Heaven: Complete and eternal happiness with God and all the blessed.

Purgatory: Temporary state after death whereby souls who die in a state of sanctifying grace are purified from sin and its effects and are made ready for eternal life with God.

Hell: State of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed; unending misery reserved for those who freely choose not to repent of mortal sin before death.

NOTE: Thanks to Our Sunday Visitor and Fr. John Hardon for these brief definitions

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