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Sunday, July 31, 2005
A Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory
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St. Gertrude the GreatA prayer is a vital necessity for the Christian life. But through prayer we also can ease the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory by praying for them.
"ETERNAL FATHER, I OFFER THEE THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF THY DIVINE SON, JESUS, IN UNION WITH THE MASSES SAID THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TODAY, FOR ALL THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."

Say this prayer for the souls in Purgatory. Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great that 1,000 souls would be released from Purgatory every time this is said! This prayer has now even been "extended to living sinners which would alleviate the indebtedness accrued to them during their lives." Note: This is private revelation. This means that you don't have to believe this to be Catholic although the Church has found this worthy of belief.
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Saturday, July 30, 2005
What are indulgences?
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Preface: For a listing of hundreds of prayers with indulgences and special blessings attached to them, be sure to refer to a copy of the Raccolta oftenClick here to order one.

Far too many people do not understand indulgences. First and foremost, an indulgence costs absolutely nothing. Pope Paul VI said: "An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints" (Indulgentiarum Doctrina 1).

An indulgence is a removal of the punishment from sin. Although you are forgiven in Confession for sins the punishment stills remains, which would have to be conducted through purification like in purgatory. If an indulgence is done that part or all of the punishment is removed.
And remember, indulgences are only possible because of God's love displayed on the Cross. Without Jesus Christ, we would have no chance to be forgiven and obtain salvation.

A universal indulgence is granted anywhere in the world while a local indulgence applies to only a specific place or area. A perpetual indulgence is one that may be gained at any time while a temporary indulgence only is available for certain times, for example, like certain indulgences for the Holy Souls in November. A plenary indulgence is the complete remission of the temporal punishment of sin.

Temporal punishments only “cancel out” a certain amount, of which only God knows. If more temporal punishment remains, more indulgences or time in purgatory (which is also biblical) is required in order to reach the perfection of Heaven.

Please also realize that many older documents like holy cards and prayer books would have a certain length of time printed on them. For example, a prayer could say it is a 300 day partial indulgence. However, realize that time does not exist in purgatory or Heaven or hell. The Church has never taught that if such a prayer was said, the person would get 300 days off of purgatory time. An indulgence is only reduced as God sees fit. In order to clarify this very complicated matter, the Church just stopped putting a length of time on partial indulgences following Vatican II in 1969. The dates corresponded only to early Church practices. Since it was so misunderstood, it was changed to allow people to understand it better.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states the following:
"An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishment due for their sins." The Church does this not just to aid Christians, "but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity" (CCC 1478). 
The Catechism of St. Pius X states the following:

124 Q. What is an Indulgence?
A. An Indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment due on account of our sins which have been already pardoned as far as their guilt is concerned — a remission accorded by the Church outside the sacrament of Penance.

125 Q. From whom has the Church received the power to grant Indulgences?
A. The Church has received the power to grant Indulgences from Jesus Christ.

126 Q. In what way does the Church by means of Indulgences remit this temporal punishment?
A. The Church by means of Indulgences remits this temporal punishment by applying to us the superabundant merits of Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Virgin and of the Saints, which constitute what is known as the Treasure of the Church.

127 Q. Who has the power to grant Indulgences?
A. The Pope alone has the power to grant Indulgences in the whole Church, and the Bishop in his own diocese, according to the faculty given him by the Pope.

128 Q. How many kinds of Indulgences are there?
A. Indulgences are of two kinds: plenary and partial.

129 Q. What is a plenary Indulgence?
A. A plenary Indulgence is that by which the whole temporal punishment due to our sins is remitted. Hence, if one were to die after having gained such an Indulgence, he would go straight to Heaven, being, as he is, perfectly exempt from the pains of Purgatory.

130 Q. What is a partial Indulgence?
A. A partial Indulgence is that by which is remitted only a part of the temporal punishment due to our sins.

131 Q. Why does the Church grant Indulgences?
A. In granting Indulgences the Church intends to aid our incapacity to expiate all the temporal punishment in this world, by enabling us to obtain by means of works of piety and Christian charity that which in the first ages Christians gained by the rigour of Canonical penances.

132 Q. What is meant by an Indulgence of forty or a hundred days or of seven years, and the like?
A. By an Indulgence of forty or a hundred days, or of seven years and the like, is meant the remission of so much of the temporal punishment as would have been paid by penances of forty or a hundred days, or seven years, anciently prescribed in the Church.

133 Q. What value should we set on Indulgences?
A. We should set the greatest value on Indulgences because by them we satisfy the justice of God and obtain possession of Heaven sooner and more easily.

134 Q. Which are the conditions necessary to gain Indulgences?
A. The conditions necessary to gain Indulgences are: (1) The state of grace (at least at the final completion of the work), and freedom from those venial faults, the punishment of which we wish to cancel; (2) The fulfilment of all the works the Church enjoins in order to gain the Indulgence; (3) The intention to gain it.

135 Q. Can Indulgences be applied also to the souls in Purgatory?
A. Yes, Indulgences can be applied also to the souls in Purgatory, when he who grants them says that they may be so applied.

136 Q. What is a Jubilee?
A. A Jubilee, which as a rule is granted every twenty-five years, is a Plenary Indulgence to which are attached many privileges and special concessions, such as that of being able to obtain absolution from certain reserved sins and from censures, and the commutation of certain vows.

The conditions for an indulgence are as follows:
  1. Person must be in the state of grace by the completion of the indulgence.
  2. The person must also want to gain the indulgence.
Conditions for plenary indulgences:
  1. The above conditions as well as the following:
  2. One is free from all attachment from sin, even venial sins
  3. One receives the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist (Within 7 days of the indulgence)
  4. One prays for the intentions of the Pope (Apostles Creed, 1 Our Father, and any other prayers)
If a person does not meet the plenary criteria but meets the criteria for a partial indulgence, the individual will obtain the partial indulgence. A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day unless the person is in danger of death.

Raccolta (Listing of Indulgences in Latin and English):



Indulgences:

  1. Also see a listing of prayers with the ones with indulgences marked
  2. There are indulgences for reading the Bible
  3. Some Rosary Indulgences
  4. The Stations of the Cross have a plenary indulgence attached (see bottom of link's page for more information on obtaining the indulgence)
  5. New Years has special Indulgences attached
  6. Holy Thursday has a special indulgence for praying "Tantum Ergo"
  7. Indulgences for All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and November
  8. Indulgences for Pentecost
  9. Indulgence for the Feast of Portiuncula (August 2nd)
  10. Indulgence for the Solemnity of Christ the King
  11. "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, who in the solemn liturgical action of Good Friday devoutly assist at the adoration of the Cross and kiss it" (Source)
  12. "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, for the recitation of En ego, o bone et dulcissime Iesu after reception of Communion on a Friday during Lent before an image of the crucified Christ"
  13. "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, who devoutly receive the Papal Blessing to the City and to the World (Urbi et Orbi), even if by radio or television"
  14. "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, who spend at least three days in spiritual exercises during a retreat"
  15. "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, who recite The Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart"
  16. "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful for visiting a church or altar on the day of its dedication"
  17. Plenary Indulgence at the Hour of Death 
  18. For teaching or studying Christian Doctrine
  19. Indulgence for reciting the Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart on the Feast of the Sacred Heart
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Thursday, July 28, 2005
Using the Correct terms for the Eucharist
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I found this good article today that describes some common mistakes that anyone can make. These errors include believing that after Consecration the bread and wine exist along with Christ; this is called Consubstantiation, which is what Lutherans believe, but is was condemned at the Thirteenth Session of the Council of Trent. We, as Catholics, believe in Transubstantiation, where the bread and wine are no longer bread and wine but the Body and Blood of Christ (CCC 1376). The only thing remaining is the accidents, which is just the appearance of bread and wine.

"Of course, Jesus has not become bread and wine for us (cf. IV.). Instead, the bread and wine have become Jesus for us." (SOURCE)

Image Source: Photograph believed to be in the Public Domain
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The Two Pillars
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The Vision of St. John BoscoI feel compelled to write this after naming my blog "A Catholic Life" because this story is fundamental in the journey of a Christian life. Everyone will agree that there are many ways to grow in grace. "Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit that sanctifies us", which includes the Spirit working through the Sacraments (CCC 2003). We, unlike the people of the Old Testament, have the greatest grace ever in our hearts at ever Mass when we receive Holy Communion.

Salvation is not possible outside of the Catholic Church (more info). Everyone is called to holiness to be with God through the One True Faith established by Christ, and as today's Gospel illustrates, we must look after ourselves and the state of our soul first and foremost. For the day of the harvest will come, and we must ask ourselves: "If that day was tomorrow, would I be ready?"

I found an article yesterday describing a vision from St. John Bosco, who envisioned the Church as a boat that could only be saved when between two pillars: The Eucharist and Devotion to Mary. This is a vital part of the Christian Life: without the Eucharist we have no hope, and without Mary we lose a powerful intercessor and a loving Mother.

In the dream the boat of the Church was lead by its Pope through the sea with many ships nearing it to attack. Suddenly the Pope falls ill but upon rises up. Then he falls a second time and he dies. The other ships erupt in joy, but a new Pope rises up in the old one's place and steers the vessel between the two pillars -the Eucharist, which the Pillar states is the "Salvation of Souls," and the other pillar is the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which says, "The help of Christians."

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Union Between Christ and His Church
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I found this in the Catechism of the Catholic Church while looking for quotations concerning Mary. What do you think of this? I think it reaffirms the great importance of the Church first found in Matthew 16:18

The Church—mystery of man's union with God

772 It is in the Church that Christ fulfills and reveals his own mystery as the purpose of God's plan: "to unite all things in him." St. Paul calls the nuptial union of Christ and the Church "a great mystery." Because she is united to Christ as to her bridegroom, she becomes a mystery in her turn. Contemplating this mystery in her, Paul exclaims: "Christ in you, the hope of glory."

773 In the Church this communion of men with God, in the "love [that] never ends," is the purpose which governs everything in her that is a sacramental means, tied to this passing world. "[The Church's] structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members. And holiness is measured according to the ‘great mystery' in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom." Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church's mystery as "the bride without spot or wrinkle." This is why the "Marian" dimension of the Church precedes the "Petrine."

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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Weekly Discussion Topics
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I am going to take next week off from the weekly discussion topic and see how many people here would like to have this continued. I would like to see how many people like this feature. So, if you like having a weekly discussion topic just let me know by commenting below.

Thanks
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Adult Stem Cell Research
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Catholics are not opposed to stem cell research but only embryonic stem cell research. The Archdiocese of Sydney just announced they are contributing $100,000 to adult stem cell research.

Adult stem cell research is also more productive than embryonic stem cell reserach. Look at everything that adult stem cells have done. This list in from the IL Right to Life website:
  • Spinal cord injury repair (using stem cells from nasal and sinus regions)
  • Complete reversal of juvenile diabetes in mice using adult spleen cells, with Harvard now preparing for human patient trials using spleen cells
  • Crohn’s Disease put into remission (using patient’s blood stem cells)
  • Lupus put into remission (using stem cells from patient’s bloodstream)
  • Parkinson’s disease put into remission (using patient’s brain stem cells)
  • Repair heart muscle in cases of congestive heart failure (using stem cells from bone marrow)
  • Repair heart attack damage (using the patient’s own blood stem cells)
  • Restore bone marrow in cancer patients (using stem cells from umbilical cord blood)
  • Restore weak heart muscles (using immature skeletal muscle cells)
  • Put leukemia into remission (using umbilical cord blood)
  • Heal bone fractures (using bone marrow cells)
  • Restore a blind man’s sight (using an ocular surface stem-cell transplant & a cornea transplant)
  • Recovery from a stroke (using stem cells from bone marrow)
  • Treat urinary incontinence (using under arm muscle stem cells)
  • Reverse severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) (using genetically modified adult stem cells)
  • Restore blood circulation in legs (using bone marrow stem cells)
  • Treat sickle-cell anemia (using stem cells from unbilical cord blood)
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Marian Quotations
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What is your favorite Marian quotation? There are so many excellent and loving quotations by Mary. I will just direct my readers to Mary, Mother of God to read some of my articles on her.
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Holy Cards
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I wanted to share this article that talks about holy cards and what they are for those here that are not Catholic. For a source of many beautiful Holy Cards, please see Holy Cards for Your Inspiration as well as Holy Reflections. Beautiful holy cards are featured on those websites.
Here is part of an article on holy cards:
"From the beginning of the church, it has been important to Christians to maintain practices that help them remember holy men and women whose lives they feel are an inspiration and to whom they can pray for intercession. These practices have included telling stories, singing songs and looking at pictures. Holy cards, which are small cards that bear the image of a saint, angel or scene from the Bible, are part of this tradition" (Catholic Online)

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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Monday, July 25, 2005
Guest opinion: Catholic Social Justice
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A superficial understanding of the Social Justice teachings of the Church and the ideals put forward by socialism might lead to the conclusion that the two have common goals and are indeed compatible. But spending more than ten minutes of study in either discipline would convince anyone with a modicum of open mindedness that they are about as compatible and fire and ice. Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical on Socialism, QUOD APOSTOLICI MUNERIS, is so scathing in it’s condemnation of socialists and communists it makes Ronald Reagan look like an editor for Pravda. Just a glance at reum Novarum, also by Leo XIII, and there is his reference to privte property as “sacred”.

In a 1991 article on Centesimus Annus for Faith and Reason magazine, Father Ernest L. Fortin points out, “The somewhat unexpected appearance of the word ‘sacred’ in this context was not an accident. In the first draft of the text, Matteo Liberatore, S.J., one of Leo's chief collaborators, had written with amazing candor, "Private property is sacred"— Never before in an official Church document had the right of property been so forcefully asserted. The older view, summarized in Gratian's and well articulated by Thomas Aquinas, was that at the outset the earth and its resources were common to all and that their subsequent allocation to private individuals pertained to the ‘law of nations,’ considered by Thomas to be a part of the positive law— ( I-II, 95, 4; II-II, 66, 2). Long experience had shown that in general material goods are more peacefully, more efficiently, and more fruitfully managed when entrusted to individuals than when left undivided. In that sense, private property was clearly in accord with human nature and was to be encouraged whenever possible.” To the socialist, private property is anathema in favor of the uptopian “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” The repressive means and destruction of personal freedom this leads to is completely contrary to Church teaching and not in any way in pursuit of the Christian ideal of Social Justice.

Mike
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Sunday, July 24, 2005
Living the Gospel
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July 24, 2005
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Probably one of the most difficult decisions in life is deciding what career we want to choose. We hear it time and time again as a child, but have we continued to ask ourselves this later on in life? What do we really want to do with our lives? What is my life's purpose?

My priest's words on the meaning of life: To know and love God in this life and be with Him in eternity. But how?

We certainly know that there are many commands in the Gospels and many instructions by Christ for us to reach Heaven, but these can be summed up in one word: love. We must love Our Lord with all of our heart, mind, and soul and love our neighbors as ourselves. That is the way to Heaven: through Jesus Christ. We must follow His teachings if we love Him with all of our heart, mind, and soul. After all, Our Lord, who is perfect and immortal, left his palace of glory and came to earth to die for us while we were still sinners. The Cross was our destiny for our offenses; we deserve nothing else because "through one man sin entered the world and through sin death" but Christ came down from Heaven and took away our deaths by dying for us. He died for us, and what do we do? We sin.

Yet, God is perfect and loving. He is both the perfect mercy and justice, and He loves us. Today's gospel highlights to treasure of knowing the Lord, and that is what we must do; we must know and love Our Lord.

My priest today gave us three steps to knowing and loving the Lord, which Pope John Paul ll talked about one day. What are practical areas we can focus on everyday?

1. Purity
2. Sincerity
3. Integrity

If we can do those things we will see the Lord as our treasure and value all peoples of His creation no matter what. All of us, myself included, can live holier lives to Jesus Christ. When was the last time you went by the tabernacle and said "Lord I loved you". When was the last time you prayed to the Lord so fervently you cried. When was the last time you held a crucific in your hands and looked at Our Lord's wounds and said "You take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us."

I once remember a poem with one girl saying, "Lord, how much do you love me?" He said, "I love you this much," and then He opened up His arms and died.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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Saturday, July 23, 2005
Quotations by Pope Benedict XVI
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Well, the poll is almost over for this week and the topic will certainly be on Pope Benedict XVI. I wanted to start by writing down some quotations by him that I view as important.

First:

"'Rock' [music]. . . is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe."

"An adult faith does not follow the waves of fashion and the latest novelty."

"We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires."

I believe those three comments show something very important about Our Holy Father; he is very concerned with the Church and is determined to keep us together by Sacred Tradition and Holy Scripture. I believe that secularism is growing too acceptable in the world, and I think the Pope also is concerned that too many are leaving the Church behind - the Church that Christ started out of love for us.

Second:

"Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves."

I think this shows his humility and determination to serve Christ although he calls for our prayers. I think more people should also pray for him that he may help lead the Church. For more quotations see EWTN & All Great Quotes. If you wish to continue reading on updates concerning the Holy Father, read the mainpage of my blog and check out Pope Benedict XVI, a page on my blog.
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Friday, July 22, 2005
Learning to Forgive
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Forgiveness may be one of the hardest aspects of the Christian/Catholic life. Not only must we go to Confession to be forgiven our sins, but we must also forgive those that harm us. As Christ said, "Love thy enemies", but this radical gospel calling is still possible although to answer Christ's calling He must be the visible center of our faith and life.

Forgiveness is something that came from the Cross, where Christ died the death for sins and in doing so redeemed everyone of us. However, we must still repent for our sins, confess them, and forgive others. The road to Heaven is far from easy. Jesus made Heaven possible; He didn't open the door for the unrepentant. At this time, I must also reiterate the value of indulgences.

"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned," but "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him" (Romans 5:12, John 3:17). Remember, "His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 118:4).

6 steps into forgiveness:

1) We can spend a few minutes every day looking at a cross and considering that Jesus gave up his very life to win forgiveness for us.

2) We can pray constantly to be filled with his perspective of love. Looking at others with eyes of mercy goes a long way toward undercutting the tendency to revenge.

3) We can pray and intercede for those who have wronged, offended, abused, or hurt us. Doing this frees us to love as God loves. God's grace has power not only to change us but also those who have done us injury as well.

4) We can try to perform at least one act of kindness toward someone who has hurt us or who rubs us the wrong way.

5) We can ask the Holy Spirit to cultivate within us an attitude of forgiveness.

6) We can get more serious about following the promptings of the Holy Spirit — especially those that touch on relationships we find difficult. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you find the way to peace, restoration, and reconciliation.

(Source: Catholic Exchange)


Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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Thursday, July 21, 2005
Book Report: Memory and Identity
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I recently read "Memory and Identity," but I was only able, though, to read the first three parts (about 70 pages) since I have another book I have to read. For the pages I did read, I seperated my reports below, and if you are really interested in the book I can post a url with other summaries of it.

Part One: Good and Evil
Part Two: Freedom
Part Three: Native Land

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"Memory and Identity" Part III
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This is my summary/opinions for Part Three of "Memory and Identity" by Pope John Paul ll. After this part I had to quit reading the book, though, because I have another book I have to read very, very soon for someone else. Here is my final report for "Memory and Identity".

Part 3:

When we speak of our native land it is more than just a territory; it includes the country’s values and culture. For Pope John Paul ll, we saw how vitally important this was to him, and with Pope Benedict XVI in “Memoirs”, I saw such a fervent love for his own homeland and fellow countrymen. However, in Germany, as Pope Benedict XVI expressed, not all values were good, and this realization of what is good and not is only through God. If we don’t have God then we become our own gods and decided what is good and what is not while no definite opinion remains.

On page 62, Pope John Paul ll wrote “Christ’s teachings contain the most profound elements of a theological vision of both native land and culture.” He went on to write much about these examples, but I also thought of something while reading this: we all are attached to our native land and its values, but we must only remain attached to the values which God would condone; the values mentioned must be in God’s will, which can be summed up as love itself.

Culture is also changing where we develop new lands such as a Christian land, which began from Christ himself. We also believe in Christ’s second coming where we hopefully will reach Heaven where our new homeland, our refuge, exists. Pope John Paul ll loved his homeland of Poland, but he also loved its values as those values God would condone. But, we don’t need to leave our current country and go to Poland; we only need to be with God, and Christ is present first and foremost in the Blessed Sacrament. Christ gave us the Catholic Church, where “catholic” means “universal” showing that Christ is with us through His Church to the end of the ages (Matthew 16:18).

Overall, I found the book very refreshing although at times repetitive. I give it a 6.0/10, and would encourage it.
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"Memory and Identity" Part II
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Part Two summary/opinions of "Memory and Identity" by Pope John Paul II:

In the chapter “Lessons of Recent History”:

Through faith and love good conquers evil, and this occurred in the Communist lands. One thing I am reminded of is the pullout of the Germans from Austria in a rosary miracle. This again reaffirms that God is mercy and love and can turn all evil into good, which is the underlying theme of the book.

The Paschal Mystery proves that good all triumphs, and just as St. John the Baptist called before Christ, I see St. Faustina calling out before World War II for us to go to Christ through the Divine Mercy Chaplet (55).

Mercy and love go hand in hand. All those that request mercy and show love will be given it. God is the perfect mercy and perfect justice, his “His mercy endures forever”, and I would say before His justice is always His mercy.

Freedom can only be reacted through truth, and it is this realization in the perfect truth of Jesus Christ that God frees us from sin and suffering. I think we should mention the atonement of sins at this point.

On page 40, it states, “Freedom is for love: its realization can even reach heroic proportions.” I believe true freedom is found only in God because if we are free from sin then we truly are free. Many people today enjoy the beatific vision (sainthood), and this includes those that have given their lives for the faith, martyrs. These martyrs, though, still possessed a strong freedom. The world today believes freedom is in doing what you want, but I view freedom as one world: Sainthood, where we are truly free from Sin, Satan, and death. Some will say we are not free if bound in servitude to the Gospel, but in Heaven all bondage ends and we enjoy the freedom of Christ on the Cross. Christ was held firmly to the Cross by our sins, but all the freedom Christ had He gave for us so that we might have eternal life.

Simply, there is no freedom without truth, and this truth is only found in the perfect truth of Jesus Christ. This realization of truth leads us to the virtues of the faith and in turn we show love and mercy. This love is characteristic of what freedom is according to Aristotle: “…is a property of the will which is realized through faith.” If we have realized the real truth then we must be in God’s grace and serving Him; each of the two greatest Commandments include one word “love”.
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"Memory and Identity" by Pope John Paul ll
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I'm currently reading this book and will be posting thoughts by Our Holy Father along with my opinions for the next few days. Here is my summary/opinion of part one:

Before anything else, I must state an important conclusion I realized through this book. When we speak of good, we must understand God equals the supreme good; all things God has done and creates is good and perfect serving a definite purpose, and if we are to rate any action in relation to good or lack there of good (evil), we must have a definite value of the perfect good, which is God. I can therefore conclude that sin, an offense against God, is evil because it is against God’s perfect will. I also can conclude that this action of sin is evil, defined as a complete lack of good (the Supreme good being God), so evil must also be the lack of God. Therefore any sin, no matter how small, infinitely offends Our Good God.

Though, evil and good are opposite, all things were both created perfect until they where stained with original sin due to the sin of Adam. Both those that are good and those that are evil, though, still serve a purpose and live together as in the parable of wheat and weeds; “God is mercy” as St. Faustina said, so there never exists a loss of hope to be forgiven for our sins, which Christ bore on the Cross.

Other fundamental concepts I studied included St. Augustine’s view of original sin: “self-love to the point of contempt for God”, which is fought through “love for God to the point of contempt of sin” (6, 7). The Holy Spirit is a powerful armor against hell, which shows us evil and how to fight it; through the outpouring of grace, we are able to live in life through the Holy Spirit’s involvement. As is written on page 7, if we turn away the Spirit of God, we can not be forgiven for this offense because it is showing that we don’t want pardon of our offenses (Matthew 12:31). The Father of lies, satan, was also created good but became evil through pride, and in the Garden of Eden, he set us forth to suffer like him and be cast away. Yet, he failed in his attempt as God has redeemed us; satan views himself to be equal to God, which is the definition of pride. Only through denial of self can we seek God that is why I believe pride to be the greatest of all sins because it prevents our redemption.

On page 8, Pope John Paul ll brings up the philosophical thought of Descrates, which is “I think, therefore I am”. This shows resemblance to how some view science, where it must prove God. But, science is merely the study of God’s creation not the study of God. As the next several pages show, if man uses this thought, he then views himself to be a deity (Genesis 3:5), but then who can decide what is right and wrong? In truth, only God’s opinion is absolute, so if people view themselves equal to God or if they view God as less than the perfect, supreme Creator then we have the rising of evil empires and ideas which include also include abortion.

To finish part one, on page 15, Pope John Paul ll talked about the evil being necessary for mankind. As I thought about this I concluded, without the cross there would be no hope of eternal salvation. Everything God creates is good; “I created both good and destruction. I am the Lord”. If God can take the greatest evil in human history – the condemnation of God to death and turn it into the greatest joy, then that is a miracle beyond words. The Cross continues to live on today as it is through the Cross that eternal life is reached, and we must all live the life Christ calls us to by loving everyone even our enemies so that we fight evil through good (Romans 12:21).

Furthermore, Pope John Paul ll stated that Redemption is the divine limit imposed on evil because it is through evil that the Cross shines. We are only saved through grace, the grace on the Cross, so through evil there is always a Cross. This brings to mind the fact Redemption is a task that must be worked on as we must pick up our daily crosses. All saints have had to bear his or her cross through life, but evil is powerless over the Resurrection.

Pope John Paul ll continued by saying there are 3 stages to follow Christ:

1. Observance of the Commandments
2. Development of virtues
3. Experience a love for God with growing intensity.

These are called the purgative way, the illuminative way, and the unitive way.
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PRO-LIFE SURVEY
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I found this pro-life survey that is very imporant. They want everyone that is pro-life to fill this out and pass it along to their family and friends. After I filled out the page it took me to a donation page, but you do not have to give a donation. When you arrive at that page you can just close the window, and your survey will have already been sent.

http://www.ycvf.org/babyinthewomb/survey.php
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A Catholic Supreme Court Justice
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I have just read that if Justice John Roberts is confirmed to the United States' Supreme Court, he will be the fourth Catholic on the court at the present time. His position on abortion is a little unsure, but his wife is a member of Feminists for Life. I think that he would serve our country well, but I certainly would like to hear his answers to abortion; I certainly hope he would vote against Roe vs. Wade, which legalized the murder of an unborn child.

I'm currently reading "Memory and Identity" by Pope John Paul ll, and in that book he talked about ideologies of evil including WWII struggles, the Cold War, and abortion. The book is fairly good, and I will be posting summaries and notes from it on my site for the next few days.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Matthew 12:46-50
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July 20, 2005
Wednesday in the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Optional Memorial of St. Apollinaris, bishop and martyr

The Gospel:

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you." But he said in reply to the one who told him, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Matthew 12:46-50

"Call no man Father"

As I read this it brought to mind the various titles in Catholic religious orders. I know that many non-Christians object to the use of "Father" by using Matthew 23:8-10, but this verse is just showing no one can take the place of God the Father. Few people claiming this is against the Bible look to the next line claiming "call no man teacher". Again, both of these claims point to the general theme where Jesus is telling us not to call anyone like the Pharisees were our fathers and teachers.

The title of father are just showing us these people are serving the Lord in a special way to help others get to Heaven. This is a spiritual fatherhood. If we took that verse in Matthew 23:8-10 literally we couldn't even call our biological fathers by the title "father". Here are some examples of "Father" used in the New Testament showing that the Catholic Church is not wrong:

"In the New Testament, things are even clearer. Jesus himself refers to Abraham as "father" in his parable about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, and again in John 8:56. This practice is echoed by Stephen in Acts 7:2, where he is speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 7:55). Not only does he refer to "Father Abraham", but he also addresses the members of the Sanhedrin as "brethren and fathers".

And a direct example of the theology of the spiritual fatherhood of priests is Paul's comment in 1 Cor 4:14-15: "I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel". " Source: Call no man Father

Is the use of "Father" in the New Testament proving the Catholic Church's position. Yes: Jesus, St. Paul, and St. James all referred to Abraham as "father". St. John on two occassions refers to Church leaders in his letters as "fathers", and St. Paul refers to himself as "father" in 1 Corinthians: " I write not these things to confound you; but I admonish you as my dearest children. For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you" (Douay Rheims).

Jesus was telling us not to give another the authority that God is entitled. Notice he said to call no one "teacher" also in the line after "Call no man Father". I have just shown two examples of the use of Father proving that the title of "Father" is used to refer to a spiritual father. This usage is far from sinful.

Sermon by Saint Augustine
(Sermo 25, 7-8:PL 46, 937-938)


Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ declared: Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and sister and my mother. I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Saviour was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her – did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’s will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.

Now listen and see if the words of Scripture do not agree with what I have said. The Lord was passing by and crowds were following him. His miracles gave proof of divine power. and a woman cried out: Happy is the womb that bore you, blessed is that womb! But the Lord, not wishing people to seek happiness in a purely physical relationship, replied: More blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Mary heard God’s word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God’s truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb. The truth and the body were both Christ: he was kept in Mary’s mind insofar as he is truth, he was carried in her womb insofar as he is man; but what is kept in the mind is of a higher order than what is carried in the womb.

The Virgin Mary is both holy and blessed, and yet the Church is greater than she. Mary is a part of the Church, a member of the Church, a holy, an eminent – the most eminent – member, but still only a member of the entire body. The body undoubtedly is greater than she, one of its members. This body has the Lord for its head, and head and body together make up the whole Christ. In other words, our head is divine – our head is God.

Now, beloved, give me your whole attention, for you also are members of Christ; you also are the body of Christ. Consider how you yourselves can be among those of whom the Lord said: Here are my mother and my brothers. Do you wonder how you can be the mother of Christ? He himself said: Whoever hears and fulfils the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and my sister and my mother. As for our being the brothers and sisters of Christ, we can understand this because although there is only one inheritance and Christ is the only Son, his mercy would not allow him to remain alone. It was his wish that we too should be heirs of the Father, and co-heirs with himself.

Now having said that all of you are brothers of Christ, shall I not dare to call you his mother? Much less would I dare to deny his own words. Tell me how Mary became the mother of Christ, if it was not by giving birth to the members of Christ? You, to whom I am speaking, are the members of Christ. Of whom were you born? “Of Mother Church”, I hear the reply of your hearts. You became sons of this mother at your baptism, you came to birth then as members of Christ. Now you in your turn must draw to the font of baptism as many as you possibly can. You became sons when you were born there yourselves, and now by bringing others to birth in the same way, you have it in your power to become the mothers of Christ.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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New Supreme Court Nominee: John Roberts
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Last night, President George W. Bush nominated John Roberts, a conservative justice. At one point in the past, Justice Roberts said Roe vs. Wade should be overturned, but he has once called it "the settled law of the land". I am not rejecting or supporting him yet until questions are asked of him, and I will write more later as I feel his position on abortion and other issues becomes more clear.

Image Source: In the Public Domain (Wikipedia)
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Birth Control Update
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Our discussion topic two weeks ago was on contraception, but I found this article and wanted to point it out. According to this study, at least 23 women so far have died from using the birth control patch with thousands of others suffering horrible complications.

Source: LifeSite
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Harry Potter
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Just last Saturday the latest Harry Potter installment: "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" arrived on store shelves and literally began flying off. Sunday on the news, I heard that 250,000 are being sold every hour!

Well, recently a letter from Pope Benedict has emerged that cautions people not to read Harry Potter because it "distort Christianity in the soul". I, however, am reading the book and am almost done, but I would like to reiterate Our Holy Father's concerns. This is a book that requires a mature audience that understands fact from fiction. I don't believe this book should be banned, but I strongly encourage parents to remind their children these books are fiction and not something to be embraced as a ideology.

I've even heard that there has been a rise in people to the Wiccan beliefs due to Harry Potter, and I strongly encourage everyone before reading it to read it for fun and not begin believing it is fact. I know this seems like a strength that many of us would never do, but I've heard many arguments; and if people begin to read Harry Potter and believe it, then Christianity has truly been "distorted". I think it's a good book, but with seeing people dressed up in costumes and actually believing wizards and witches are real, a problem has emerged.

Anyone here reading the book?
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Saturday, July 16, 2005
Definition of Prayer
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Prayer is defined as "the raising of one's mind and heart to God or requesting of goods from God" (CCC 2559) and this is fundamental in living the Catholic or Christian life (CCC 2745). I know that many people go into the world to do the work of the Gospel and they will always fail if they don't pray. In life we have distanced ourselves from God's love by sin, but through praying (whether at the Mass or at home or other places) we journey closer to God. Living life is much life living in a desert, but prayer is the vital rain that brings us nourishment. Just as last Sunday's Gospel reading mentioned the importance of the Sower and the Seed, we understand the seed can't grow without life and water just as we can't grow in love of God without prayer.

"Man does not live on bread alone but every Word from the mouth of God". In life, prayer is essential to freeing ourselves from sin and growing in holiness (CCC 2744), so I wanted to encourage more prayers at this blog. I also wrote a post on the conditions for prayer.

If you are looking for prayers, novenas, litanies, etc look to my page: Prayer.

Look to the Holy Bible (Douay Rheims):
1 Thessalonians 5:17 - "Pray without ceasing"
Ephesians 6:18 - "By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints"

"Whatever thou doest, offer it up to God and pray it may be for His honor and glory." -- St. Teresa of Avila.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
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Friday, July 15, 2005
A Reminder in the Gospel: Lord of the Sabbath
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July 15, 2005
Friday in the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of St. Bonaventure
Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,"See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath." He said to the them, "Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent? I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath." (Matthew 12:1-8)

My opinion on the reading:

I think this passage is quite memorable and brings some thoughts to mind that I feel should be expressed. First, I think this passage is instrumental in showing God's glory and power with the last line: "For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath," which shows the unending reign of our Lord. But it also brings to mind the fact that many people do view Christ as the Lord of the Sabbath for 1 hour and leave him behind in the pews and on the altar to go home and live another week without God. We need God in every aspect of our life, and we can only find God through prayer; that is the other way to know God. Prayer must be the cornerstone to daily living (Phil. 4:13) where we praise God and thank Him before we ever utter a petition.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2173 The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day. He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath." With compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing. The sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God. "The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."
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Thursday, July 14, 2005
Birth Control Raises Risk of Heart Attack
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I read a news article today that there is a 200% increase of a heart attack when one uses birth control. Since last week we talked on contraception as the discussion topic, I thought this should be brought up. The news article is Lifesite News.

"A new study has shown that women are at 200% greater risk of heart attack and stroke with the ‘low-dose” pill, especially for those women with pre-existing medical conditions. A group of researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and the UniversitĂ© de Sherbrooke have examined the cases of contraceptive-related complications in women between 1980 and 2002." (Source: Life Site News)
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Homosexual Marriage in Uganda
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I heard about this piece of news today and wanted to post it. Following the legalization of homosexual marriage in Spain, I learned that Uganda has actually criminalized same sex marriage.


The amendment specifies that "marriage is lawful only if entered into between a man and a woman." It also states that "it is unlawful for same-sex couples to marry." One-hundred eleven members of parliament voted in favor of the amendment while 17 opposed it and 3 abstained.

The penalties for violating the amendment have not yet been set, but will be determined at a later date when the penal code is revised to accommodate the change in the Constitution.

Source: Catholic World News
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The Mass
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"If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy." (St. John Vianney)

"The celebration of Holy Mass is as valuable as the death of Jesus on the cross" (St. Thomas Aquinas)

"Man should tremble, the world should vibrate, all Heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the alter in the hands of the priest" (St. Francis of Assisi)

The Mass is the form of worship given to us by Christ at the Last Supper. During the Mass we pray not only through our soul but our body, which is why we bow, kneel, and stand at certain points. At every single Mass the greatest miracle on earth occurs when bread and wine become Christ at the consecration by the power of God. The bread and wine become the Eucharist. The Mass may be confusing to some, but I'd like to explain.



The Mass as a Sacrifice:

First and foremost, the Mass is a Sacrifice and second it is a Sacred Meal. In the Old Testament, people would frequently offer sacrifices to God include animals in atonement for their sins as was prescribed by the law of Moses. This was done by the priests of the Old Testament. However, as children of the New Testament, we offer to God the only true Sacrifice - Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Lamb of God because He was the sacrifice that paid the price for all of our sins; it is written "Through one man sin entered the world and through sin death." Christ came and died for all of our sin and rose victoriously over death in order to restore us to new life. Because of Jesus' death and Resurrection, all of us may have the chance to enter Heaven. We remember this at every Mass. Jesus, though, spoke about His Body and Blood many times before His death as in John chapter 6, but the people there didn't understand Him.

Look to John 6:40-69 for this dialog. Through that dialog thousands and thousands left Jesus because they believed He was speaking literally about receiving His Body and Blood, and Jesus was speaking that way. If He was speaking symbolically He could have said, "No wait. I'm speaking of a symbol," but He didn't because the Eucharist (Christ's Body and Blood) is truly, literally true.

As the Council of Trent as affirmed, the Mass is the "true and proper sacrifice." As with any sacrifice, there are four necessary components: a sacrificial gift (res oblata), a sacrificing minister (minister legitimus), a sacrificial action (actio sacrificica), and a sacrificial end or object (finis sacrificii). First, the res obltata, or sacrificial gift, must be physical and real. In the Old Testament it consisted of animals offered up to God. Today at the Mass we offer to the Father one sacrifice - His Son. Second, only a qualified person can offer the sacrifice, and that is a priest. In the Old Testament priests were to come only from the Tribe of Levi, in particular from the House of Aaron. Similarly, priests of the Holy Catholic Church must be males. The priest not only offers the Sacrifice of Jesus truly present, but the priest acts in the person of Christ. Thus, he acts in persona Christi, so when the priest says the words of Consecration, it is not the priest speaking but rather Jesus speaking through the priest. And because Jesus was male, all priests must be males. Third, the sacrificial action of the Old Testament was the spilling of the blood of animals. In the New Testament, it is Jesus' voluntary surrender of His Blood and the offering of His life. Finally, the object of Sacrifice is to be offered solely to God for His honor and glory. Such an offering is lifted into the realms of the Divine.

Just as Melchizadek brought forth bread and wine ("bringing forth bread and wine, for he was a priest of the Most High God..."), Jesus instituted the Eucharist as a Sacrifice at the Last Supper. Thus, we again see the importance of the continuity of the Old and New Testaments. Jesus did not come to destroy the Old Covenant but instead, to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17) and establish a new and greater one with His Body as the true and lasting Sacrifice.

The tearing of the temple veil is the final sign of the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. The veil in Old Testament was of thick linen that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. In particular, it was so holy that a priest could only walk in the temple one day a year. And he would even have a rope tied around his ankle. If the priest died in the temple, he was pulled from the temple using the rope because if someone were to enter the temple, he would die. The tearing of the veil (Matthew 27:51) signified a new Sacrifice and the completion of the redemptive work of Christ. Now mankind could enter in God's presence and offer to God their sufferings, prayers, etc if they were united spiritually with the Cross.

"The Mass in fact truly makes present the sacrifice of the Cross. Under the species of bread and wine, upon which has been invoked the outpouring of the Spirit who works with absolutely unique power in the words of consecration, Christ offers Himself to the Father in the same act of sacrifice by which He offered Himself on the Cross. 'In this divine sacrifice which is accomplished in the Mass, the same Christ who offered Himself once and for all in a bloody manner on the altar of the Cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner'. To His sacrifice, Christ unites the sacrifice of the Church: 'In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of His Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value'. The truth that the whole community shares in Christ's sacrifice is especially evident in the Sunday gathering, which makes it possible to bring to the altar the week that has passed, with all its human burdens" (Pope John Paul II)

The Mass as a Sacred Meal:

Second, the Mass is a sacred Meal, where we actually receive Christ's Body and Blood. Look back to John 6:52-59, and I will specifically show the last verse:

"For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed" (John 6:59). This shows that we are entirely dependent on Christ. Without taking part in His Sacrifice and consuming it, He said, "You shall have no life within you." (John 6:53). Jesus even said "I am the Bread of Life" (John 6:48). As we live in Communion with Christ, we live as part of the larger Church, which is referred to as the Body of Christ. However, in early Christianity the Romans persecuted the Christians believing them to be cannibals and not understanding the meaning of the sacrifice. Yet, this new Sacrifice is the mixing of the Old and New, where the body and blood of an animal are replaced by the bread and wine, which mystically become Christ's Body and Blood.

That is why the Mass is unlike any other form of worship because we literally receive Jesus Christ. Only an ordained priest, through the power of God, can preside at the consecration when the bread and wine become the Body and Blood. Therefore, we should make every attempt to attend the Holy Mass.

The Parts of the Mass:

Note: This is an overview of the Traditional Latin Mass (aka Tridentine Mass). All quotations in this section, unless otherwise stated, are from the 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal (Angelus Press Publishing).

The pictures below show the Mass celebrated in the Tridentine Mass according to the Rite of 1962, also called the Tridentine Latin Mass or the Mass of Blessed John XXIII, with the priest facing East in an ad orientem posture. Traditionally priests face East, which is the direction from which Christ shall return in the Second Coming. In addition, each part of the priest's vestment is symbolic of Jesus' Passion and Suffering. Genuflecting and bowing are also important in the Mass.


The Mass starts with the priest processing in. In this way, the Mass begins with the procession symbolizing Jesus' triumphant ride into Jerusalem. "The Mass begins with the sign of the cross, the sign of Redemption." The priest says, "Introibo ad altare Dei" (I will go up to the altar of God) to which the servers respond "Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem mean" (To God who giveth joy to my youth). Next, the priest and servers pray in dialogue Psalm 42. "The celebrant longs to ascend to the altar of God, there to perform his holy office and to draw near to the Lord God, even to union with Him in the Eucharist. He confides himself to the mercy of God, source of light, salvation, and peace". As the priest and servers repeat the "Introibo...", which preceded Psalm 42, the priest then says, "Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini" (Our Help is the name of the Lord) to which the servers respond "Qui fecit caelum et terram" (Who made Heaven and Earth), directly quoting from the Psalms.

The priest alone then prays the Confiteor, admitting his own sinfulness. "The Confiteor creates an interior silence from the beginning of the Mass, as Priest and faithful turn away from their temporal concerns to face the reality of Calvary, for which their sins are responsible. It is the first expression of that humility which will accompany us through the Sacrifice of the Mass". After the priest's prayers the servers then similarly pray the Confiteor. After a brief dialogue of prayers between the priest and the servers, the priest ascends to the altar. "With the priest, we enter into the silence of Christ in His permanent sacrifice. The Mass does not divide sins into categories: we ask God to take away all of our sins and imperfections because they are an an obstacle to love of Him." As the priest ascends, he prays that he be worthy to enter the holy of holies. The priest then beseeches the Lord to forgive his sins through the merits of the saints, whose relics are in the altar.

Next the priest prays the Introit. "The Introit is part of the preparation for the sacrifice; we begin by praising God. The chants of the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, and Commuion harmonize with the variable prayers and instructions, so that the idea of the feast or the though of the day pervades the whole Mass." Next the Kyrie is prayed. The words "Kyrie, eleison (thrice repeated); Chrite, eleison (thrice repeated); Kyrie eleison (thrice repeated)" translate in English to "Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy". Each set of three is addressed to a separate person of the Blessed Trinity, and these prayers are said in dialogue between the priest and the servers. Next, the Gloria is prayed. "The Gloria is also part of our preparation, reminding us of the heavenly glory to which, after this vale of tears, we are tending." After the ending of the Gloria, the priest will address the people "Dominus vobiscum" (the Lord be with you). "The Priest's kiss of the altar, which represents Christ, immediately precedes the Dominus vobiscum. The Priest breathes in, so to speak, the love and spirit of Jesus Christ which he in turn bestows upon the people using the words of the Angel Gabriel to our Lady." Next, is the Collect. "The final part of the preparation is the prayer which the Priest makes for the people, that they may be made worthy of such great mysteries."

Following this, the priest will read the Epistle, usually from the Epistles of St. Peter or St. Paul, on the Epistle side of the altar. Following this, the priest prays a variable prayer, the Gradual and Alleluia, which reflect the nature of the celebration of the day. In times of morning, the tract is prayed instead. "The Gradual signifies our progress in life; the Alleluia, spiritual joy; and the Tract, in mournful offices, expresses the sighing of the soul." Praying that he may be made worthy to proclaim the Gospel. As the priest prays, the Missal is moved by the server to the Gospel side. Following this, the Faithful stand to hear the words of the Holy Gospel proclaimed in Latin. These reading are usually repeated at the beginning of the sermon, which immediately follows the Gospel but is only required to take place on Sunday and high holy days.
Next, the Nicene Creed is prayed on certain holy days, always including Sundays. At the words, "by the power of the Holy Spirit . . . made man," all the faithful kneel, in which we humble ourselves at the memory of the Incarnation of our Lord. "After the Gospel has been read, the Creed is sung, in which the people show that they assent by faith to Christ's doctrine... It forms a link between the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful: it is at once the blossom and fruit of the preceding Scriptural readings, and the foundation stone and basis for the sacrifice which is about to begin. The Creed is for Catholics our great Act of Faith in which is contained the twelves articles of our Holy Religion."


Nextly, the Offertory begins. The priest will offer the bread and then separately, the wine just as Christ did at the Last Supper. "In the Offertory, Christ unites our desires and prayers to His own offering of Himself to the Father. As our intentions are joined to the Passion of Christ, they assume the value of the Passion in the eyes of God." Before the wine is offered to the Father, though, the priest adds a drop of water into the holy chalice. "The wine represents the divine nature, water represents our human nature, so that the mixing of the water and wine signifies the Incarnation of Christ; yet it also points to His Passion, in which water and blood poured from His pierced Heart." At a High Mass, as opposed to a Low Mass, the altar is now incensed. The priest than will wash his hands in holy water, symbolic of Pontius Pilate washing his hands of Jesus, the Innocent Victim. As he washes his hands in water, the priest prays Psalm 25. This is called the Lavabo, coming from the first word of Psalm 25:6.
After a prayer to the Holy Trinity and an appeal to the Faithful to pray that the Sacrifice be worthily accepted by God, the priest prays the Secrets. "The petitions contained in the Secret prayer refer particularly to the gifts that have been presented and the sacrifice which is about to take place."

Next the priest prays the Preface, which varies from celebration to celebration as there are several prefaces, depending upon the Season and Feast in the Church. The Preface will begin with the words "Vere dignum et justum est" (It is truly meet and just). Next is prayed the Sanctus. "The Preface called us to lift up our hearts, and the people now praise the Divinity of Christ alonside the Angels: "Holy, Holy, Holy". These words were addressed to Christ as He once rode triumphantly into Jerusalem.

Then the priest will preside at the Consecration. This Part of the Mass, the Canon is prayed silently and includes many prayers, gestures of reverence, and signs of transubstantiation (i.e. ringing of the bells).


The Eucharistic host, now truly the Body and Blood of Christ, is elevated. Both the consecrated Bread and Wine are equally the Jesus. Both of them are His true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity even though they are under two different forms.
In the Canon of the Mass, the Eucharistic Lord is offered to the Father. For the Sacrifice of the Mass is truly the same Sacrifice of the Cross. It is not a new or different sacrifice. The Canon involves numerous holy prayers, each with great symbolic importance. There are nine occasions on which the Sign of the Cross is made, each symbolic of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is far too symbolically in depth for a sufficient explanation of this holiest part of Mass to be explained here.
Next, the Our Father is prayed. "St. Gregory the Great placed this prayer after the Canon as its completion. In the ancient Church it was considered the only preparation worthy of Holy Communion."

Then the Agnus Dei is prayed as the Lord is exclaimed as the Lamb of God three times. "In the Old Law a lamb was one of the usual animals of sacrifice. Jesus Christ is the one true Lamb, who atoned for and effaced the sins of the world in His blood." The people will quietly approach the altar and receive the Lord in Holy Communion while kneeling, typically at a Commuion Rail. As only consecrated hands may touch the Eucharist, the Faithful may not touch the True Presence of our Lord. The Faithful receive only after the Priest himself receives the Eucharist under both species (bread and wine). For his reception of Holy Commuion, he prays several prayers, some of which are quotations from the Psalms.

The priest will offer the prayer called the Communion and the Post Communion, which guide our prayers of Thanksgiving for the great Sacrifice of the Mass. The priest blesses the Congregation in the name of the Holy Trinity and prays the Last Gospel, coming from John 1:1-14. The priest leaves again in procession, symbolic of the Risen Christ.

After a Low Mass, the priest also prays three Hail Marys, the Salve Regina, and the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. This is a basic overview of the Traditional Latin Mass.

Common questions:
  1. Why have a Mass for a deceased loved one?
  2. What graces do I receive at Mass?
  3. Common questions on the Eucharist and the Mass
Tridentine Mass Videos:
  1. Good Friday Liturgy - Part I
  2. Good Friday Liturgy - Part II
  3. Mass from Priory of St. Pius X in Warsaw
  4. Mass from Church of St. Nicholas in France
  5. Mass narrated by Archbishop Sheen from 1941
  6. Mass celebrated on the Feast of the Sacred Heart
  7. Mass segments from a French priest
  8. Mass celebrated by Archbishop of Dublin
  9. Mass celebrated by Franciscans
  10. Mass celebrated on Easter Sunday 2007
  11. Mass celebrated by FSSP, white vestments
  12. Mass on Ascension Thursday 2009
  13. Mass for Easter Sunday, Sequence
  14. Mass after the Sacrament of Confirmation 2008
  15. Sacred Silence of the Low Mass 
  16. Solemn Pontifical High Mass of the Extraordinary Form with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone 
Links:
  1. Exploring the Beauty of the Mass
  2. Find a Tridentine Mass (not a complete list)
  3. The Rites of the Catholic Church
  4. A guide to the Tridentine Mass (Sancta Missa)
  5. A Prayer for Before & After Mass




"The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass gives boundless honor to the Most Blessed Trinity because it represents the passion of Jesus Christ and because through the Mass we offer God the merits of Our Lord's obedience, of His sufferings and of His Precious Blood. The whole of the heavenly court also receives an accidental joy from the Mass.

Several doctors of the Church—together with St. Thomas Aquinas—tell us that, for the same reason, all the blessed in Heaven rejoice in the communion of the faithful because the Blessed Sacrament is a memorial of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, and that by means of it men share in its fruits and work out their salvation" (St. Louis de Montfort).
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Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Purpose/Mission Statement
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Mission Statement:

A Catholic Life seeks a preservation of authentic traditional Catholicism, as practiced before the Second Vatican Council.

Detailed History:

First off, I am a Roman Catholic aspiring to live in greater holiness in order to serve Our Lord, Jesus Christ. I began attending Mass in 2002 and instantly realized that the Church of Jesus Christ is the Catholic Church. After attending RCIA, I entered the Catholic Church in 2004, and right now I have further come to realize that I believe in and wish to preserve the Traditional Catholic Religion, as most beautifully expressed before the Second Vatican Council.

I created this site to be in accordance with the Holy Catholic Church and clear up misconceptions about the Church as well as to help proclaim the Gospel under the Command of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). This blog will present recent news on the Catholic faith along with prayers and information on promoting the Culture of Life. This blog will remain faithful to the Sovereign of the World, Pope Benedict XVI and all of his successors as well as those bishops in Union with Him.

My Philosophy as adapted from Concerned Roman Catholic for America, Inc.:

While I accept the authority of the Holy Father and all bishops in union with him, I will not allow the Holy Catholic Church to be torn apart and assaulted by the forces of Modernism, Syncretism, Heresy, and the gross immorality of some of its clergy in the name of the "Spirit of Vatican II". I will not allow our Catholic youth to be robbed of their faith or have their innocence destroyed in the name of "tolerance", "ecumenism", "diversity" or any other politically correct ideology of the day. I am here to promote true Catholicism as taught by those orthodox, faithful members of the clergy. I am here to be a light shining in the darkness of sin that is destroying the Internet through such means as pornography and atheism. In my endeavor to spread piety and holiness, I shall remain completely obedient to the Holy Church, the Holy Father, and my immediate superiors. Never shall I encourage dissent or heresy.

I object to individuals or groups of individuals being given access to Catholic schools, churches, conferences and Church property to promote any belief, teaching, or idea contrary to Catholic teaching as defined by two thousand years of Tradition and Church teaching. I expect every Catholic priest to follow the disciplines of the Catholic Church as he solemnly vowed to do. I expect every bishop to do all he can to safeguard the souls of our children by exercising his authority to ensure proper teaching within Catholic schools and parish religion programs. And I insist that Catholic colleges and universities either teach the True Faith or cease calling themselves Catholic. I assert that homosexual men and pedophiles are not to be admitted to the seminary and that women and married men should never become priests. I object to the use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion since it has always been taught that only the hands of the ordained minister should touch the Eucharist. I assert that it is a sin to attend Protestant services or worship services of other religions. And I desire for all priests to be taught Latin in the seminary and Gregorian Chant to return in all our churches.

I object to any priest treating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as his personal possession by adding, changing, or removing any part of the Mass on his own authority. Furthermore, I assert that the right of every Catholic priest to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass must be recognized, and I consider it a grave scandal that such a right is not recognized while at the same time countless liturgical and theological novelties are promoted by many in the hierarchy.

I encourage everyone here, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, to please participate on my blog. I'd love to hear your comments and or suggestions if they are presented in a polite manner.

Let me end by reminding everyone that opinions in the comments section do not necessary adhere to Magesterium's teachings. The information and opinions presented on this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all Catholics, my diocesan superiors, or the Vatican itself. I wanted to thank everyone that comes here regularly for his or her participation in this blogging endeavor.

Motto:

"There are not one hundred people in this world who dislike Catholicism, but there are millions who dislike what they mistakenly believe Catholicism to be." - Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Photo Source: Holy Trinity German Church in Boston
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Another Website on the Death Penalty
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Since capital punishment is the discussion topic of the week, I wanted to draw attention to an article I recently found today. I encourage others to read it, and here is part of it:

On March 21 the U.S. bishops' conference launched a campaign against capital punishment. "We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing. We cannot defend life by taking life," argued Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, when speaking at the National Press Club, according to a March 21 press release issued by the episcopal conference. The initiative, under the title of the "Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty," has its own Web site, http://www.ccedp.org/.

Source: Catholic Online

I'd also like to point out that last year five countries abolished the death penalty: Bhutan, Greece, Samoa, Senegal and Turkey.

Image Source: Photograph Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Purgatory
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Purgatory is an article of the faith, meaning all Catholics are bound to believe it. In this world we are not free from sin but in Heaven all will be free from the stains of sin. Purgatory is the process of going from this world to Heaven for those without a perfectly clean soul. As to pain and suffering in purgatory, we can only speculate; the teaching of the Church on Purgatory simply states that is a process through which a soul is made spotless. Let me reiterate, purgatory is the purification of one's soul for Heaven.

This is from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

III. The Final Purification, or Purgatory

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.
Scripture:
The term "purgatory" is not in the Bible, but instead look to these Biblical references: Mt. 5:48, Mt. 5:26, Mt. 12:32, 1 Cor. 15:29, 1 Tim. 1:16

"If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire" (1 Cor 3:15, Douay Rheims)
From Blessed Anna Katarina Emmerich:
"I was in Purgatory tonight. It was as if I were being led into an abyss, where I saw a large hall. It is touching to see the Poor Souls so quiet and sad. Yet their faces reveal that they have joy in their hearts, because of their recollection of God's loving mercy. On a glorious throne, I saw the Blessed Virgin, more beautiful than I had ever beheld Her. She said, 'I entreat you to instruct people to pray for the suffering Souls in Purgatory, for they certainly will pray much for us out of gratitude. Prayer for these holy souls is very pleasing to God because it enables them to see Him sooner...'" (From the Revelation of Blessed Anna Katarina Emmerich)
 How can we assist the souls suffering in purgatory?


We should pray fervently and frequently for the souls in Purgatory.  Start by adding the St. Gertrude Prayer to your daily prayers:
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."
Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great that 1,000 souls would be released from Purgatory every time this is said! This prayer has now even been "extended to living sinners which would alleviate the indebtedness accrued to them during their lives."

And for a list of other private works that you can do for the souls of the dead in purgatory (e.g. heroic acts of charity, fasting, etc) please click here.

Additional Prayer for the Holy Souls:
O holy souls, as one truly devoted to you, I promise never to forget you and continually to pray to the Most High for your release. I beseech you to respond to this offering which I make to you, and to obtain for me, from God, with Whom you are so powerful on behalf of the living, that I may be free from all dangers of souls and body.

I beg both for myself and for my relations and benefactors, friends and enemies, pardon for our sins, and the grace of perseverance in good, whereby we may save our souls. Obtain for us peace of heart; assist us in all our actions; succor us promptly in all our spiritual and temporal needs; console and defend us in our dangers.

Pray for our Holy Father, the Pope; for the exaltation of Holy Church; for peace between nations; for Christian rulers; and for tranquility among peoples; and grant that we may one day all rejoice together in Paradise. Amen.
Additionally, it should be widely promoted for the Faithful to ask the clergy to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the intention of freeing the souls in Purgatory.  Many souls are released from Purgatory by the graces from the Mass.  Furthermore, we should seek to gain Indulgences for the souls in Purgatory.  The easiest way to do this is by obtaining a Raccolta (see links at bottom of this post) which lists the indulgenced prayers and the conditions for obtaining the indulgence.

Furthermore, the souls in Purgatory are greatly aided when we offer our Holy Communions for them.  Make it a practice to offer your Holy Communion at least once weekly for the souls in Purgatory.

In the past I have reflected on Praying the Stations of the Cross - which also happen to have indulgences attached to them - and at this time I would also encourage you to pray the Stations for the souls in Purgatory.  Similarly, through almsgiving, penance, and fasting done with the intention of freeing souls in Purgatory, we can directly help the suffering souls in the Church Suffering.  And these souls, when freed from their purgation, shall certainly pray without ceasing for our salvation.
 
Common Questions:
Reflections


Just as we pray for others here on earth, we are encouraged by the Church to pray for souls who may be in purgatory. Why? We are all in need of grace to come into the perfection of charity. We cannot enter heaven if we have not been completely cleansed of sin and all punishment due to sin. See Catechism of the Catholic Church #1031 and 1472

Since the Mass is the "source and summit" of the Christian Life, we naturally look to that Holy Sacrifice of Christ, containing the perfect prayer, to offer for our deceased relatives and friends who may still need the help of our prayers. Priests are under a strict obligation to remember in a special way the person for whom the Mass is being offered. Often you will hear the priests say the name of the person for whom Mass is offered during the announcements or before Mass. Oftentimes the intention for the Mass is listed in the bulletin as well.

We can't really speak of "time" since the deceased person has entered eternity, but we can speak in terms of "final purification" before entrance into heaven. We believe that a Mass offered for a departed relative or friend may help hasten that final purification which he/she may still be undergoing in purgatory.



Links:
Raccolta (Listing of Indulgences in Latin and English):

For a listing of hundreds of prayers with indulgences and special blessings attached to them, be sure to refer to a copy of the Raccolta oftenClick here to order one.
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