Monday, November 12, 2012

Death, Suffering, and Knowing Who You Have Believed

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is Heaven in Person; His Resurrection is the guarantee that the sufferings of this life are not in vain, if they are joined to His sufferings. The entire purpose of this life is to be joined to and grow in the Divine Life of Jesus Christ; when you are caught up in Him, His Resurrection is your Heaven, nothing more and nothing less than to be in the communion of love that is His Body, with Him and with everyone else in that Body eternally. This is Heaven; it's as sure as His Resurrection. As St. Paul said:
"That I may KNOW Him, and the power of His Resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed unto His death, if by any means I might attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Heaven is as certain as Christ Himself, and we have hundreds of thousands of martyrs including St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Steven, St. Andrew, and all the righteous dead, that we would either have to conclude that their witness is a lie and their deaths were in vain, or that their testimony is true and that He is alive and risen. Let us trust the Church and all her members when they proclaim in the Spirit that Christ is alive and that there is not a single dead man that will not rise again.

"Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.

Let no one lament his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.

Let no one mourn his transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free.

He that was taken by death has annihilated it! He descended into hades and took hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed, “Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions.” It was embittered, for it was abolished! It was embittered, for it was mocked! It was embittered, for it was purged! It was embittered, for it was despoiled! It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!

It took a body and, face to face, met God! It took earth and encountered heaven! It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!

“O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?”

Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!

Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!

Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!

Christ is risen, and life reigns!

Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!

For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the First-fruits of them that slept. To him be glory and might unto ages of ages. Amen."- St. John Chrysostom

Nobody can understand death apart from Christ, who has transfigured it and made it life-giving through His Resurrection. Every time you look at a Crucifix, think of the fact that even the worst pain and suffering in this life has been caught up into the Resurrection, and by Christ joining Himself to us and us responding in the Eucharist and dwelling in His Spirit, He will cause this life full of troubles, sorrows, and pain to be transfigured and life-giving through our own resurrection to eternal life. We can only be joined to His Resurrection in the Church, so let us cling to our Mother and participate in the Sacramental life in the joy and power of the Holy Spirit, for Christ is risen, and has become the firstfruits of those who slept.

"For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He [Jesus Christ our Lord] is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day."- 2nd Timothy 1:12

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Meditation on St. John 12:23-26

And Jesus answered them thus, The time has come now for the Son of Man to achieve his glory. Believe me when I tell you this; a grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die, or else it remains nothing more than a grain of wheat; but if it dies, then it yields rich fruit. He who loves his life will lose it; he who is an enemy to his own life in this world will keep it, so as to live eternally. If anyone is to be my servant, he must follow my way; so shall my servant too be where I am. If anyone serves me, my Father will do him honour.

Our Savior compares His Person in His death and resurrection to a seed being planted in the ground. Let us consider the many parallels in the divine words of the Man who is the Divine Word!

When you consider the seed, as it is planted in the ground, what is its form? It contains a rough outer skin that does not betray the beauty of the life contained within it. A perfectly formed plant already is living, pulsating its life within the seed, hidden from sight by the rough outer coat. A treasure housed in clay; the waters of life contained within a pot.

Consider now Jesus! He is God the Son made man. Divinity is hidden by humanity, and Loftiness, veiled in flesh. Lo! He comes forth from His Mother as man among men, and to our eyes there was nothing magnificent or high in Him on the surface, nor any beauty that we should desire Him. We see the skin and complexion and earthen clay of Adam, yet beneath is contained the Treasure of a Divine Spouse; His Body pulsates with His Divine Power that it contains, the Spirit flowing fourth from Him! The Waters of Life run as an infinite, torrential River from His Body, as a Treasure spilling fourth! He who was Sacrifice from the womb approaches the climax and culmination of His Being, the unfathomable Cross. He who the cosmos cannot contain is nailed to a Tree; the Hands which formed man are stretched out to embrace a world torn by biting them; the Feet which sanctify the world by planting their soles upon its soil are pierced to reveal Divine Blood flowing fourth to divinize all Creation in man.

He who is the Living One gives up His Life deliberately, in conscious choice. No man takes it from Him; He gives it up of His own will and volition, that He may take it up again. See! a Mystery unfolds. His Soul journeys from His Body and separates from it in true death, yet His Divinity unites Body and Soul into one, never departing from either. What is buried in the ground for three days is a Body, looking dead to all the world, that is pulsating with Eternal Life infinite and Divine beneath the surface. As a plant in a seed is contained when the seed is planted, so too our Savior's Divinity is united to His Body as it is planted in the ground, and with His Divine Nature, so too the Holy Spirit, teeming with all fertility and power, all Life and Strength, waits in perfect fullness in the Body of the Lord, Treasure in Clay, waiting to burst forth!

There is one Physician of flesh and spirit... God in man, true Life in death, Son of Mary and Son of God, first suffering and then beyond suffering, Jesus Christ our Lord.- St. Ignatius of Antioch

As the plant bursts forth from the seed coat by the heat and power of the sun, bringing with it the nature of the seed coat but glorified in true and final form, the Lord's Soul ascends from the dead realms and in a glorious burst of the power of the Spirit, unites to His Body and divinizes it! O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory? O evil one, where is your power? Divinity has been finally joined to human nature, and transcendence to the earthly, in all fullness. As our Savior ascends to Heaven and sits at the right hand of His Father, bring us His Body with Him, let us give our all to Him in prayer and worship! O Sacred Vine and Tree of Life, Jesus Christ my Spouse, True Vine growing from death, your Divinity dwelt in your humanity even in death; though you were dead in the flesh, you were alive in the Spirit. Dwell in me in power and cause me to die to sin, and never leave me for all eternity. I love you, Jesus, love me in return and O my God and Savior, save me always and allow me what my heart thirsts for the most: only to be intimately one with you, my Divine and true Spouse. Dwell with me, and I will follow your ways. Teach me, and I will walk in your path. Know me, and I will follow you. Call me, and I will come running to find for my soul rest in your yoke. Love me, and never will I thirst again for anything, in this life, or the next.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Evil One Trembles!

This is what the Church Militant should always look like. The Latins have a lot to learn from the Byzantines in this age of the Catholic Church with our watered down Liturgy and liturgical prayer. Where are the Benedictions, the Te Deums, the Processions? We as Roman Catholics have a treasure trove of Patrimony in our holy Church, why are we not using them to the fullest? We must be inspired by the unceasing and venerable witness of our holy Eastern brethren of the loyalty one ought to have to their patrimonial and liturgical heritage.

This is Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

You Have to See This to Believe It...

Talk about disgusting... This is the rational end of the sexual revolution and playing God with human nature through things like contraception, abortion, IVF, stem-cell research, etc. If we can tweak one small aspect of human nature in reproduction, why not change all of it? After all, there's no such thing as natural, and there's no such thing as a right or wrong change according to her, so go ahead and put the development of human life completely in the hands of human beings. Divorce it from gender and make gender obsolete.

The amazing thing to me is that people like this don't truly respect the body or respect nature, they respect the human will. They seem secular and as if they lack religion, but they have their own system of beliefs, where they view it as the duty of the human being to control our own evolution and existence through technology with our will. This is an all-encompassing worldview that needs to be challenged, fast, with the philosophy of sanity that is Catholicism: Respect for gender, respect for nature, respect for the human person together with his or her body, and respect for reproduction. To do any less is to be unhappy with our nature as human beings, and I'll take human nature over artificial copies of nature any day.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Basic Teaching of the Holy Catholic Church regarding the Mother of God

"There is but one Mediator as we know from the words of the apostle, "for there is one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all". The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no wise obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows His power. For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ. 

...she is our mother in the order of grace.

This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, and lasts until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and cultics, until they are led into the happiness of their true home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix. This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator.

For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer. Just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by the ministers and by the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is really communicated in different ways to His creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.

The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary. It knows it through unfailing experience of it and commends it to the hearts of the faithful, so that encouraged by this maternal help they may the more intimately adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer. 

This most Holy Synod... exhorts theologians and preachers of the divine Word to abstain zealously both from all gross exaggerations as well as from petty narrow-mindedness in considering the singular dignity of the Mother of God. Following the study of Sacred Scripture, the Holy Fathers, the Doctors and Liturgy of the Church, and under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium, let them rightly illustrate the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which always look to Christ, the source of all truth, sanctity and piety. Let them assiduously keep away from whatever, either by word or deed, could lead separated brethren or any other into error regarding the true doctrine of the Church. Let the faithful remember moreover that true devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to know the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial love toward our mother and to the imitation of her virtues."- Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council, paragraphs 60-62, 67.

This particular message is important because it defines and sets the boundaries for what is authentic Marian Devotion and what is not. Every Catholic ought to be familiar with this passage of the Second Vatican Council in order to completely conform their Marian Devotion to the Church's Mind and Intentions, and nourish it, according to its proper role of magnifying Jesus Christ, whose role is qualitatively different from the Mary, the Mother of God.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Very Relevant Prayer Intention

I just has to pass this on. This is the Holy Father's prayer Intention for the month of August, and it factors grandly into the New Evangelization, which is a big part of this blog:

His mission intention is: "That young people, called to follow Christ, may be willing to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel to the ends of the earth".

What a wonderful intention! God bless Pope Benedict XVI, the Pope of Christian Unity