Saturday, March 31, 2012

O Eucharistic Lord Jesus

Only a short nine hours until the first Holy Mass of my life - no big deal though ;) I'm only just so excited I can hardly wait. I feel like it's a personal invitation from His Divine Majesty, Jesus Christ Himself.

O Eucharistic Lord, Lamb of God; You convert our poor sacrifice of Cain, fruit of the earth and work of human hands; O Lord Christ, it is transubstantiated into Your Divine Sacrifice of Abel. First: our offering, bread and wine, until the conversion of the Altar; it will become for us the Bread of Life and our Spiritual Drink... O High Priest, grant us to taste of Your Divinity and humanity, under the accidents of Bread and Wine; sanctified and converted by the prayer of Your Word working through the operation of Your Spirit. Forgive this poor sinner of my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault, and allow me to sit in Your Presence as Mary, in order to sanctify the works of Martha.


God the Father, Father of Lights and Lord of Truth, Terrible in Your Countenance and Glorious in Your Appearance, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Life of the Father made manifest to our eyes and sense in every time and in every place in the flesh, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Ghost, Love of the Father and the Son, whose presence flows from the Passion of Christ - Lo, it is said, "He gave up His Spirit" - flowing unto us from the Altar of Sacrifice as from the Passion Present thereupon, have mercy on us, and testify to the Son of God and His Holy Church.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I pray that the Queen of Heaven and Earth, inseparable from you, my ever-living God and my King, would bring my petition before Your glorious Throne. This I pray specifically, my Lord and my God, that You would by Your Holy Will, secure Father Vanderloop in His offering of your Divine Eucharist, that the Liturgy of your Church would be acceptable unto Your Divine Majesty, and Sacred, and a cause of offense to no-one. Do not permit liturgical abuses I pray, for the sake of my mother, whose conscience is not informed nor mind enlightened by You, O coeternal and consubstantial Word. Work through your representative, the good Father, that when he makes you present through your Holy Word and Holy Sacrament, my mother would be converted in heart, and drawn in soul, to You, Who gives the Water of Life, Your Spirit, through Your Holy Sacrifice of the Alter; the testimony of which is one in Your Church, my Lord.

Mary, Queen of Peace, Advocate before the Throne and Mother of God, you who know the heart of a mother, present my prayers to the throne of your Son, and draw my mother to your Heart which is united inseparably to the Heart of your Son, our God. Help her to understand your role and office, and the fact that the radiance of your splendor and the glory of your beautiful purity is none other than the Son in your womb, who has transformed you into His same and renewed Image from glory to glory.

St. Joseph, unite your prayers with your chaste spouse, the Mother of God, before the Throne of the One Who you merited by His grace to be called father of while He tabernacles with us.

St. Peter, Rock of the Church in all times and all places, give us a share in the solidity of the Rock that is Christ, the Rock of which the Blood mingled with Water flows from, that may yet quench our thirst.

St. John the Evangelist, Apostle of Love, pray for us, that the Body and Blood of Christ, which are Love Incorruptible, would draw us.

St. James, you who merited by the grace of Christ to be called a Pillar of the Church along with St. John and St. Peter the Rock, pray for us, that our works would merit, through the grace of God, our reception into the Church of Christ.

Amen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Human Existence - Part One

The other day I happened to glance at the latest album out by a band known as LMFAO. The cover screamed the pleasure and pain and foolishness of American popular culture as loudly as anything around, and it really spoke to me and made me think. The movement in this world, the spirit of the age that is so especially present in the American youth culture, is this buying into the idea of a one-way existence. What I mean is this: modern, progressive people generally accept the idea of evolution, and I would say most Catholics and even Christians in general buy into it as well at least in the sense of bodily and biological evolution, while believing in the special creation of the divine principle in man, the soul. The problem in general society, the rot that is occurring, is due more to the fact that men accept the concept of evolution as the philosophy of their lives without accepting the Divine Principle than to anything else.

You see, there are really two directions you can look in life. There are two directions that you can take your human reason, two depths you can probe, two abysses that you can attempt to shine light on. One is looking metaphysically "up" toward God, toward the Divine, toward the eternal. This means clinging to the sense of the Divine that is present in the human mind and consciousness, and extrapolating that outward to the infinitely good, the infinitely true, and infinitely beautiful; being and life itself, the Reason for Life. The other way you can probe is metaphysically "down" toward our material origins, toward evolutionary relationships, toward the animal kingdom, toward the denial of the divine principle in man, toward the profaning of the sacred, toward meaninglessness, toward nothingness; in a word, toward Hell.

If once you accept as your operating life philosophy a sense of only the latter, if once you acknowledge only man's hypothetical material origins, you have denied the reality that has become so much a part of the human consciousness that it is impossible to be fully human without it: that reality is that there is an infinite Being higher than this muck and dust that goes on down here on this earth. It is this consciousness that gives man this haunting sense of right and wrong, of imperfection, and of dissatisfaction with our state here. It is this consciousness that gives us the realization of our discovery of reality and truth in science, that inspires us to keep moving forward to "a more perfect society," to keep striving for the authentically better in our individual lives and in our collective life as a human society. As long as there has been a humanity, it has a 90% track record of acknowledging this divine principle, of surrendering to religion and spirituality, of allowing oneself to be conquered by God and by humanity at the same time. To refuse to acknowledge the best and highest and most noble of man, and necessarily God with him, a la Nietzsche, is to give in to despair. It is is not progress, modern world! it is the thought that stops thoughts (G. K. Chesterton). It is the most unrecognized form of insanity and absurdity, for once one has cast his eyes toward the muck of his bodily origin in the animal kingdom through evolution and refused to look Up, he has effectively argued back to pure, utter nothingness. For it is nonsense to stop at the animal kingdom; if man, whose soul thinks and exists in both the physical and spiritual realm, who confesses physical reality and the divine principle enlightening him to degrees of perfection, value, morality, goodness, truth, beauty, eternal being, can only trace his origin and his purpose and meaning to the animal kingdom, then what upholds the animal kingdom? nothing. Ok, go back further. The animal kingdom evolved from lower life forms. What upholds them? What gives them meaning? nothing. You can repeat this ad infinitum, but you must face this basic fact: You can't crawl your way out of Hell; if the only base principle of all things that you will bring yourself to acknowledge is non-being, even tracing history back past this world, all the way to "prior" to the Big Bang singularity, if the very essence of this transient and fleeting existence of each thing is nothingness, you are a fool if you value anything at all. You have given up on humanity, and God in the process; you have given in to despair. Many questions exist, but this certainty remains: the logic I have just run through is incontrovertible. The 75% of philosophers who are atheists and who acknowledge some form of the despairing nothingness I have just shown a light on are the priests of this humanity who has disavowed its own soul; they lead the religion of meaninglessness, the utmost denial of their own ability to intelligently and meaningfully deny anything.

This realization of where you're looking at when you move through this brief life is a shocking one. It compels your to make choices of how you're going to think, believe, and live; the actions you're going to take. The youth of today live by such flippancy, such uncaring, unthinking, monotonous filth, sexual promiscuity, profane attitudes and language, rebellion because they are drifting with no moorings. They have bought into the spirit of the age, the philosophy that will not acknowledge God, that has forgotten that if you don't look Up you'll fall into the mud you're staring into. Every once in awhile, the crowd of my peers who stares into that mud, who surrounds itself with such things as LMFAO, who let's this acronym be their banner of a flippant and despairing life, every once in awhile they experience the mud and meaninglessness in full force; they feel it clash with what remains of their soul most painfully when lovers turn into immature boys who use and abuse them, when love turns into lies and utilitarianism, when the veil of the lies we tell ourselves gets peeled back and we feel the divinely enlightened part of ourselves react violently against our lifestyle. That mud starts to look a whole lot like Hell, like the abyss of nothingness itself, with your very real Image of God, your soul, falling into it and joining to that Hell. When you realize that the mud and muck of this evolutionary philosophy of looking down to find the essence of humanity rather than up to God and to your soul is simply an illusion leading back to nothingness, you tend to wake up. Wake up fully, and don't go back to sleep!

The funny thing is that this Christian religion of ours is so utterly at odds with the supposed reality of nothingness. It represents either the last, most desperately beautiful lunging grasp of the human consciousness on an impossible dream, the dream of Divine Reality, or it is the heralding call of God reaching through the chaos and confusion of this evil and imperfect world to those created in His Image, telling them that they are not insane, nor inexplicable; their hunger for completion, purpose, and goodness, their search for Reason, meaning, and truth; the very soul of humanity is not absurd. The Christian religion teaches us that humanity is material and has a nature that he shares with the animal kingdom, but that there are real distinctions, real degrees of perfection, real contingency, real purpose, real meaning, real truth to this fleeting existence, based on the Immovable Mover. It teaches that man is the link between the spiritual and the physical, that his existence is to be Lights in a dark world, and that his contingency and connection with the Divine is assured by the fact that the Divine became man, joining and fulfilling the infinite chasm between the two for all eternity.

To be continued...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Little Bit of Background

A bit of background on me-

At a young age, from the time I was born until the time I was a teenager, I was raised in a Baptist/Evangelical environment involving various communities of professing Christians. Later in life and for the past year or two, I have been Lutheran, which served as my introduction to an orthodox, ancient, and dogmatic Christianity, as watered down as they are; this, however, is a story for another day. Many of these people in the Baptist and Evangelical communities, unfortunately, were not Christians because they had not even been Baptized, being sadly ignorant of its necessity for regeneration in Christ. Being raised in that environment gave me some terrible disadvantages, but it gave me some advantages as well.

Some of the disadvantages are that I absorbed a lot of the usual fears and prejudices against Catholicism that is typical of Baptists and Evangelicals, and these mental ticks have been reeeeaaaaallllllyyyyyyyy hard to overcome, seeing as I absorbed them at such a young age. In the last nine months of serious intellectual and spiritual conversion to the Catholic Faith, it hasn't been until recently that I've truly become comfortable with the exalted role of the Theotokos and a few other aspects of orthodox Catholicism. Another negative is that naturally I was never Baptized, not as an infant, or even later in life. While that is a negative from the standpoint of still being in a sort of limbo regarding even being a Christian, I must say I have been humbled and awed by the Grace of God manifested in the fact that I can now have all of my foolish sins of youth washed away, both the eternal and temporal judgments and consequences of them. It's enough to make you fall on your face in awe at the Grace of Christ.

The point of all of this is simply to say, in a certain sense, you could say I'm starting my Christian life right now, and that it will be consummated only when I'm Baptized into the Catholic Faith. However, as is common with converts coming from Protestantism of the brand that doesn't hold Baptism as important, a man can be in my position of just starting out his Christian life as a Catholic, and yet have had a least basic Christian formation his entire life! That is the advantage that I spoke of in the last paragraph.

As full of errors as it was, I received a great deal of basic catechesis in my upbringing. In case you don't know Baptists or Evangelicals, they are almost always obsessed (in an admirable way) with Sacred Scripture. Devotion to the Scriptures is preeminent among them; it is the heart and soul of their striving to live something like the life of a Christian. There is also among them, at least among the more committed of them, a fanatical devotion to/adoration of the Lord Jesus Christ that is to be commended. These two virtues I learned from a young age from these men and women. I was enrolled in a Bible memorization program called AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed- cf. 2nd Timothy 2:15) from the time I was three years old, and learned quickly basic Christian concepts and most importantly, I learned about Jesus and came to love Him sincerely and deeply. He responded and has never stopped leading me and being with me, even through times of sin and wretchedness, culminating in that Day when I finally eat of His Body and drink from the stream of Blood and Water which flowed from His side.

In my lifetime I have read most of nearly every book of the Old and New Testaments at one time or another;  Three or four years ago, I read through most of the New Testament book by book. I have a strong devotion to St. John the Evangelist, and his Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse are among my favorite books of the New Testament. Due to my reading of the Old and New Testaments, I have developed (Deo Gratias) a keen sense of typology, which has led me to mystical contemplation, and manifests itself in my meditations on Sacred Scripture and my poetry, some of which I post on this blog for the world to see, some of which I keep to myself.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Eucharistic Adoration and Conversion

It was not more than a couple of weeks ago that I went to Adoration for the first time. In case some of you who read don't know, I am a convert in heart to the Catholic Faith, who has renounced his former heresies and is looking to be Baptized into the mystical Body of Christ this year sometime, or else on Easter Sunday of 2013. One thing about my journey to the Catholic Faith that I have become very aware of is that there is a difference between mental conversion and assent to the True Faith proclaimed throughout the ages, and integrating physically into Catholic culture and tradition as it is lived out day by day in the lives of thousands of faithful.

Looking back, that time spent in Adoration of Our Eucharistic Lord for the first time was exhilarating, but at the same time necessarily full of trepidation at the radically different culture that I was being bathed in. Don't get me wrong, it was blissful, and Christ was there which made it all worth it. But boy, is it ever an interesting experience to be a convert to the Faith.

As it turns out, that was my first time stepping inside a Catholic Church since I was five, when I stepped inside a tiny, antique, small Catholic Church out in the middle of nowhere for my (devoutly Catholic and sainted) great-grandmother's funeral. When I stepped into Adoration, there was a liturgical celebration of the Rosary going on in the Chapel by a large Catholic family, and it was like stepping onto Mars after having lived for many months now with Catholic Faith and passion burning in my soul and intellect but having to brace myself against the Protestant culture all around me in my home. To suddenly let go, and lower my guard, was a relief yet shocking at the same time. I can recall at one time, in early fall 2011, when I had just made the discovery of the Blessed Virgin Mary's Queenship of Heaven and Earth based on the structure of the Davidic Kingdom in the Old Testament (which I passionately accepted immediately with the patriotic zeal of a man who has found the Country he has been longing for his entire life), when I wore a scapular for one of the first times while going to a Lutheran 'divine service' with my parents because I was so passionate for our Blessed Mother and I could not for the life of me understand any professing "citizen of the (Hebraic) Kingdom of Heaven" accept Christ the ultimate fulfillment of the Davidic King, and yet reject His Davidic Queen Mother (not to mention His Davidic Steward, Peter and his successors).

That's the sort of heavy defensive attitude I had to adopt to become Catholic in mindset for going on a year now, so to suddenly walk into Adoration and hear the Joyful Mysteries being proclaimed out loud, well, pleasantly shocking and something that I need to get used to, just like hundreds of other details (like when to bow, when to genuflect, when to sign yourself with holy water, and on and on- it's truly living on another planet. It's like walking your whole life and suddenly finding out you've never really walked, and having to learn anew).

I finally was able to go to Adoration again yesterday for just the second time. Not much has changed, everything is still like life on Mars for me, but the beautiful thing about this visit (besides the infinite Beauty present on the Altar in all of His glorious humility) was the quiet. There's just something about Catholic Churches, even modern ones with modern designs, that fosters holy silence. There were no liturgical Rosaries being prayed this time, no one was talking. The room was so quiet that I could hear every breath given from Heaven, and every gift of a new heartbeat from the Father of Lights. I could hear with acute sound every rustle of the Rosary beads as I prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, staring fixedly into the Heart of Jesus, present on the Altar; as the Word Himself spoke words to my soul deeper than my ears could hear, or my understanding could fathom, as in my peripheral vision I could see the beautiful flicker of the Altar candles.

There is simply nothing like the beauty of Christ in His Eucharistic presence, and the holy and sacred quietude surrounding Him, with reverencing men silent before His Divine Majesty.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reality Check: The Rebellion from Sacred Tradition

"The use of the Latin language, customary in a considerable portion of the Church, is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity, as well as an effective antidote for any corruption of doctrinal truth. It is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive table form; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of Sacred Images and Statues in the Churches... [and] lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See.

That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church's open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear."- Venerable Pope Pius XII, in his Encyclical Mediator Dei, just shortly before the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

It's truly manifest that every single one of these errors listed has been fulfilled to the last stroke of a pen in the Catholic Church over the last fifty years. Just some food for thought.

Meditation on Mother Mary

One of the things that I think most powerful about Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin is her profound humility, and the weakness that God showed within her womb. Imagine! God, as a Holy Infant only a few weeks and months old, less, even; as Pope Pius XII said: Immediately following her generous fiat, the Heart of Jesus, ever to be Adored, beat with love Divine and human. The mystery is that God has chosen the weakness of this world to shame the strong, and the glory is that Mary is transformed into the same Image as Christ our God from glory to glory, in the mystery of the Body and Spirit they share. In the mysterious silence and weakness of those first few weeks and months of her Divine Maternity, is embodied the Infinite Strength of God in absolute and perfect weakness and obscurity (just like the Lord Jesus in the Tabernacles and on the Altars of ever Catholic Church), the ultimate Communion with God in both Body and Spirit (a union we all aspire to in the Eucharist), and the perfect marriage of God to humanity. Mystery of mysteries. It's beyond awe-inspiring. It is transforming, its power is revolutionary, to the overthrowing of the devil and all evil and the creation of love and sensitivity and quietude within the heart of man, who is ever intent on keeping himself too busy, and bent on being sacrilegious, stuck in apathy, and mired in perpetual hardness of heart.

Peering into the Heart of Mary, I see Jesus perfectly, God and man. I see in Mary the living temple of the living God. Delving deep into the Heart of Mary, I see Someone Else; I see her Beauty, I see Jesus our God living in the humanity of Mary, and embodying that humanity in His Person and Ministry and Death and Resurrection; Exploring the Infinite Abyss of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I see Mary living in Him, in the Infinite Heart of God, in the unfathomable Love of the Inseparable and Unfathomable Trinity. 'The Two, God and Mary, have become one Body, one Spirit,' bearing us, the Church, in the depth of their shared being and unity, as their Body, and sharing their Spirit with us.

May Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, bless us all both in this life and the next. May he restore His Church which He purchased with the Blood of Christ His Son, and purify her to her former glory. May He receive our dead. Amen.

Clear Proclamation

Looking to the future, and thinking of the past fifty years after the Second Vatican Council, I am contemplating what is becoming one of my most fervent prayers to Christ, and that is that the next Sovereign Pontiff of the Church of Christ would arise in orthodoxy and strength and Sacred Tradition, and would, as one of his first acts as Supreme Pastor of the Church, publish a syllabus of errors on the various erroneous and divisive opinions of those who have split the Church since Vatican II into factions.

The fact of the matter is that the Office of the Petrine Ministry is primarily about unity- and if there's one thing to be said about Holy Mother Church today, it is that there is no doctrinal unity nor fierce loyalty to the Church. This is precisely because there has been an unbelievable void of dogmatic leadership on the part of the Roman Pontiff in the last fifty years. The Pope is endowed with the charisms of his authority and with solemn infallibility *PRECISELY* for such a time as this- so that he may, in time of doctrinal crisis and disunity, unite the Holy Catholic Church into one dogmatically. For the life of me I cannot fathom why Pope Benedict XVI never published a dogmatic encyclical detailing the exact and proper interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, which would put an end to the rot in the Church by either forcing schism or loyalty; by forcing the members of the Church to choose once and for all between the hermeneutic of continuity, or modernism. He has the ability at any time to enshrine this doctrine of continuity into the Church's Tradition, and defend her Sacred Tradition itself and make the Second Vatican Council to stand authoritatively interpreted on the side of Tradition. I guarantee you, if ever a Roman Pontiff did such a thing, the SSPX would come running to come into full visible unity once again. That's what they desire and long for.

I truly believe that if the Church is ever going to be able to right the ship and come back into full and absolute unity and authority, the only way would be through such a dogmatic interpretation by the Holy Father, or else through an orthodox and dogmatically traditional "Vatican III" council that would infallibly define the proper and Catholic line to walk between Vatican II ideas and Sacred Tradition.

In other words, we need a modern Council of Trent to deal with the New Reformation; the one that sprang from erroneous and sometimes heretical interpretations of the Sacred Documents of the Second Vatican Council.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beautiful Quote

"Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate."- St. Thomas Aquinas

I hope to live up to this quote.. this is another creed of my blog.

Suffering and Sacramentalism

I've been thinking a lot about suffering lately. I think that it's difficult for humanity to see the good in suffering precisely because it does not understand the nature of material things and their relation to the metaphysical, namely God. The name of this blog is discovering the beauty of truth, and one of the most beautiful things that I've discovered about the Catholic Faith is the concept of the Sacrament. In the most absolute sense, the seven Sacraments of the Church are most properly termed Sacraments, and they are the physical means by which the Holy Spirit, through the words and actions of the Priest, brings Christ to us, into us, and thereby transforms us into His eternal Reality. The Sacraments supernaturally help us to leave behind the sinful world, which is ethereal and fades in your hands when you try to grasp it too tightly, and brings you to the place where this physical cosmos is sanctified in the universe that is Christ Himself.

This supremely Catholic concept of sacramentalism, however, applies beyond the sanctified and preeminently holy seven Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, the Holy Eucharist, Penance, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Extreme Unction, and goes to the heart of the essence of being Catholic, of looking at the world with Catholic eyes. The thing about the Sacraments is that, though all are holy and sacred, six of these Mysteries remain what they are, that is, normal physical material of this world that is sanctified and used by the Holy Spirit, in cooperation with the supernatural and metaphysical power of the Holy Spirit, to sanctify the Church of God. That is to say, in Baptism, the water is still water, though physically sacred and blessed by the Priest; the water and the Spirit of God brooding over the waters (Genesis 1:1-4) cooperate to wholly sanctify the man body and soul, transforming him into a new creation and enlightening Him with the Eternal Word. In Confirmation, the holy oil, though blessed by the Bishop and applied by the Bishop, is still oil, though sacred. The Holy Spirit is present over the oil, and through the oil totally fills and completes the Christian, and the Spirit works in cooperation with the physical reality. This is the same for all of the Mysteries, save one; that is, the Holy Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist is the only Mystery of the Church wherein the actual physical reality of bread and wine, which are sanctified and made sacred and holy by the Holy Spirit, is literally annihilated through the operation of the Holy Spirit working by the Word which spoke the universe into existence. So therefore, the other Sacraments are intrinsically subordinate to the Holy Eucharist, and are sanctified by the Eucharist, and the Eucharist is preeminent among the Mysteries.

This relationship between the Eucharist and the other Mysteries reflects, I believe, the relationship that the Sacraments have to the Church, and the relationship that the Church has to the rest of the cosmos. It also reflects the relationship every human being alive has to Reality Himself, Christ the Incarnate Word, and to nature His creation. The Mysteries as a group are preeminently holy and sacred in the Church of God, and are as a group the conveyer of God to Christians and are the Church's Sacraments. However, the Church itself is a Sacrament of God's presence to the world; a sacred means of grace to the world and a preservation of the same. You could even see mankind itself as a kind of contingent means of grace whereby God tends the natural order by us, the animals and plants, and in loving goodness uses us to convey his authority, power, and order in all of creation as we order it, subdue it, and often, love it and give it worth that it would not ordinarily have.

This all relates to suffering in this manner: when any man looks at material creation, and the suffering inflicted upon him by it in both body and soul, he must understand the nature of physical reality. Physical reality has a very much insubordinate and fleeting existence compared with God's eternal nature, which is TO BE, Being itself, the very Reason for His own existence. Even our own immaterial souls, though immortal and the image of God's own eternity (Wisdom 2:21-25), still are not eternally the reason for their own existence, in the manner God's is; we are wholly inferior in our existence to Being itself. In this way, when God allows suffering and emptiness to come into our lives, I believe that one of the lessons He is trying to convey to us is that all physical or temporal things, even other people, are valuable in and of themselves only if they are treated as Sacraments in which God is present. In other words, everything in your life, from your food and drink to your dearest friends, to your spouse, even your Priest, must be honored and reverenced and treated as a Sacrament of God's presence, and a means by which God sheds His love on you, and you love God.

You see, when you are surrounded by all that is good, when you have wonderful, large families and many friends, when food is plentiful and comfort everywhere, when life is so ordered that everything is good, it is nearly impossible for anyone save the Saints to not, in some fiber of their being, start to treat the temporal realities around them as good in and of themselves. This occurs more and more strongly the higher and more beautiful and more good the object of our affection is, such as intimacy with your spouse, or being surrounded by good Catholic friends. I see this strong bent in man's nature to honor the temporal objects around him more and more as the supreme goods in His life as nothing other than the bent of idolatry that St. John the Apostle earnestly warns us, his beloved children, against (1st John 5:21), by subconsciously replacing God with the temporal.

However, when your life is torn apart, when suffering abounds, when food is scarce and life is uncomfortable, nay, even painful and terrible, when friends are nowhere to be found, when family is nonexistent, when you have nothing to rely on, and no one to turn to; when you do not have the luxury of people to surround you and fulfill your emotional needs, when people abandon you or treat you terribly, when physical suffering and illness rock your body and soul, when those that you hold most dear die... all of these things only reveal the emptiness that is in ALL temporal things, if they are not to you Sacraments of God's presence, if you do not seek God through them and in communion with them without stopping in the things themselves. The emptiness and isolation and loneliness that you feel within these sufferings is not unusual or out of the ordinary; it is precisely the real character of all temporal things without God's Grace given to them, and the omnipotent strength of the Word, Christ, to sustain them. Even people themselves, in the Image of God, are nothing but the vacancy and nothingness of Hell if they, and you, do not cooperate to show the unseen God to your brother through yourself (1st John 4:11-13) so that in all things we may be shown, along with the cosmos, to be contingent upon and dependent upon God the Sustainer, and so that we may never fall into idolatry even regarding those people closest to us.

I say this as someone who has had my share of suffering in life, mostly of the kind of the absence of abandonment of friends and family, and that of isolation. In such a vacuum, I have realized this lesson from God. I have realized what He has taught me, and hopefully, will teach you as well. Looking out in absence and nonexistence and suffering around you teaches you more strongly than ever to rely only on God, who cannot be moved, and you must carry that lesson with you even if and when life becomes more pleasant and bearable, and people surround you, and love is everywhere, and comfort becomes preeminent, and thereby grow closer to Christian perfection even while life is comfortable. This is the way to view suffering, and to act while going through it. It is no accident that Our Lord prayed most passionately and most strongly during His suffering in the garden, and when abandoned by his disciples. As a model for us, He sought His Father in His humanity most strongly and most ardently when suffering and when utterly alone.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Important Prayer Request

Hey everyone, I'd just like to ask that you all pray for my dear mother. Today, we had a profound discussion regarding Christianity and the Catholic Faith, and she expressed for the first time the desire to become Catholic, which was an incredibly shocking manifestation of the grace of God. I am quite frankly blown away, though I guess I should never be surprised by the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I am quite sure this is a major answer to prayer, and not just my prayer, but an answer to the Blessed Mother's prayers on my mother's behalf, which I requested of her so ardently and so frequently. Thank you in advance for your prayers. My mom is originally a Lutheran who is on a personal faith journey right now, and through God's help, I've been attempting to lead her to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of all ages. May God be with my mother, and with myself, and continue to lighten the way to the Church for my mother; and may Jesus Christ continue to give me the courage, wisdom, strength, knowledge, love, and words in order to effectively bear witness to the saving Truths of our Catholic Faith. "For I will give you a mouth of wisdom," the Lord Jesus said. Amen, may it be so.

God bless you all through Christ His beloved and Only-Begotten Son

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Food for Thought

"Death is a debt that all men must pay... [and so] only a fool forsakes truth for error."- St. Justin the Martyr

I've been thinking about this quote quite a bit today. Birthdays have a tendency to do that to me; that is, to put life in perspective. They are a reminder that, yes, I am growing older and I will die some day. Every thought, every action, every chance for grace is unrepeatable and won't be given again, though other new opportunities will be most likely granted. There is verse from Ecclesiasticus that goes like this: "In all thy works remember thy end, and thou shalt never sin." (Ecclesiasticus 7:40 Douay Rheims, and throughout this blog post). The Scriptures are right, as always; a profound sense of death is a powerful cure for sin, and is something that prompts sobriety of thought and action even in the young, if they seek wisdom.

"Young men, in like manner, exhort that they be sober."- Titus 2:6

"Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour."- 1 Peter 5:8

That second passage in particular applies remarkably well to death itself:

"Therefore because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he (Christ) also himself in like manner hath been partaker of the same: that, through death, he might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil: and might deliver them, who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to servitude."- Hebrews 2:14-15

You see, death itself is the empire of the devil, it is his power, it is the result of sin entering the world through his enticing. The very fact that Christians still die is proof that he, though defeated by Christ, still for a short while possesses some hold over the world, over the order of things. Therefore, as we know that it is our fate to die, as being in the world and still subject to it's unfortunate current order, let us hold the dignity of our faith ever tighter. Realize that death awaits you, embrace it, surrender to it, yield to it; offer your own future death up to Christ and bear the dying of Jesus Christ in your own life, even now while you are still alive, so that your death may be meaningful through Christ's own death, by being joined to it and by being an extension of His mortification for sin. Never forget in the midst of sobriety that we also have cause for rejoicing in the face of the devil who is the co-author of death with the human race; for Christ has defeated the power of the devil in his glorious resurrection. "The Passion is our Resurrection," as St. Ignatius of Antioch declared before his martyrdom. The ultimate goal of the Catholic's life is to get to the point where, in a consistent state of Grace, you are able to say to all of nature, all the specters of Hell, and humbly to all of Heaven, what St. Francis of Assisi said long ago: "Be praised, my Lord, through Sister bodily Death from whom no living man can escape! Woe only to those who die in mortal sin; but blessed are those who have done Your most holy will; for the second death can cause them no harm!"

If this is your prayer, if you live in sobriety, if you embody the season of Lent in your heart through penance in union with the Passion of our Lord Jesus and through faith in union with the Resurrection of our Lord from the dead, you will, along with the Blessed Mother, Daughter of Zion, scoff at the devil, and dwell within the Most Holy Trinity, and the Trinity in you, until you are assumed, like unto her Assumption, into the everlasting life of the Beatific Vision of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; where we shall see Christ as He really is. "And every one that hath this hope in him, sanctifieth himself, even as he (Christ) is holy"- St. John the Evangelist. Mary, our lovely and beautiful Mother, thus is our example:

"This is the word that the Lord hath spoken of him (of the king of the Assyrians, and, in a mystical sense, satan himself, the ruler of the hordes of Hell [albeit temporary, until that fateful day when Every Knee Will Bow to God made man, Christ Jesus our Lord]): the Virgin the Daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn: the Daughter of Jerusalem hath wagged the head after thee. Whom hast thou reproached, and whom hast thou blasphemed, and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thy eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel."- Isaiah 37:22-23

"I will put enmities between thee and the Woman, and thy seed and her Seed..."- Genesis 3:15

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Reasoning Against Destructive Errors

This is just a comment that I left in response to a person posting as "Anonymous" on someone else's blog. I wanted to share it on my own blog in order to get my message out to more people than just this one person~

Anonymous,

I, too, am glad that you have reasonable moral limits, and I do believe that people in all areas of the spectrum can agree that late term abortions and infanticide are hideous and must be fought. However.. Some things that I was thinking as I read through your post:

Your argument is a very classic one for someone in our modern age of desensitized conscience. It poses a lot of problems to society at large. Even if you don't believe in quote "a magic soul," it is in the best interest of humanity to base our actions on the presupposition that there is intangible worth in any human being at any age or stage of development, regardless of "practical" or "scientific" value, function, or likeness. Why? Because what you're essentially saying is that human value and worth is determined by some exterior action or nature that 1) must be 'observed' in order to be 'recognized' by other human beings, and 2) completely denies any intrinsic value in the human being. Now, this order of thinking may not show its bad consequences for humanity at large right away, but all you have to do is contemplate the consequences for humanity and you begin to see how problematic it is. Once you fail to recognize intrinsic worth of the human being as a person interiorly, without recourse to "scientific observation," any human person of any age can be judged to be a "potential person" simply due to disability, mental illness, or any other real or contrived outward justification of observable humanity. This is 1) where the rubber meets the road, the sacred meets the scientific, and where the God concept (ie Supreme Value) meets man, 2) is a radical departure from the most noble and necessary basic spiritual moors of all cultures and all human beings regardless of religion, and 3) represents a callousness of conscience that could be the very ruin of humanity.


Think this through for a moment. Humanity is continually moving into more and more knowledge and more and more technological capability. The Scientific revolution has, in about three or four hundred years, completely revolutionized how human beings interact with the physical world. These things like recognition of inherent humanity are absolutely vital to all human society because they set the precedent of whether mankind is going to preserve his sanity, his view of inherent spiritual dignity not based on any outside observance or approval, and his understanding of himself. I completely agree with Chris B in what he said about erring on the side of caution- to be so callous regarding inherent and intrinsic worth in humanity so as to support the destruction of fetuses because 'we know better now, we're scientific, educated, advanced, progressive people living in a progressive age, we observe that there is no physical worth about this genetic tissue and equate it to a frog embryo,' is in my opinion an inexcusable and dangerous playing of God; it's the sort of lack of conscience that will lead humanity, with all of its vast array of tools and technological abilities, into a very dark place where we will no longer recognize ourselves five hundred or a thousand years hence. It is basically saying that just because we have the ability to scientifically understand the physical plane of existence of the mystery of human conception, therefore that means we have the right and privilege to assign the inherent and intrinsic worth of that developing human being.

I don't consider it a religiously exclusive thing to see this development and attitude as bad, I think that any rational man or woman who takes the time to meditate on what this callous, conscience-free, "modern, scientific, and progressive" attitude of spurning every sacred thing until it is reduced to mere physicality, and of implicitly declaring that human value is something agreed on by other humans (a concept that I think most reasonable and moral people will abhor if they think it through) and not recognized as an intrinsic dignity that is transcendent and inherent, will come to realize that the consequences of those beliefs endanger all humanity, and our own societal and cultural development, into the future of the Earth. I think that free exercise of religion and spirituality simply cannot be used to justify this, at some point human civilization is going to have to make a stand as to whether or not it is going to accept the consequences of this radical freedom, or whether it will act in the best interests of humanity and "provide new guard for our future security" as mankind.

~Jonathan







"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... That was the True Light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not."- Gospel According to St. John, chapter one


May the Mind of God, Eternal Reason Himself, continue to guide and enlighten every man that is born into the world, so that we may work together in a common knowledge of the Truth that sets men free. This Way, this Truth, this Life, the Only-Begotten of the Father, He who so loved humanity that He assumed humanity into Himself in the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ our Lord, is the Prince of Peace and Reason Himself. May we all follow Reason and obey His precepts on our conscience, that we as humanity may come to experience His peace. To the Lord Jesus Christ be all glory in the Church in all ages, world without end. Amen.