Eucharistic Miracle

Monstrance

Praise the Good Lord for occasional good news.  From time to time, God provides for the heretic and the skeptic tangible demonstrations of His real and objective Presence, evidence for the truths of the ancient faith which today are often discarded by those whose duty it is to believe, profess, and defend them.  And while the absolute uniqueness and holiness of Holy Matrimony, Holy Communion, the priesthood, and the Church herself are being debated today as if they were problems to be resolved or exaggerations to be adjusted in the Gospel and the Catechism – again, praise the Good Lord for silencing our stubborn idiocy for just a moment with yet another proof of His Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.  May our mundane thoughts turn from ourselves upwards to the supremely beautiful One who is Eternal Truth Incarnate.

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ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE BISHOP OF LEGNICA

 On the Eucharistic Miracle in St. Jack Parish in Legnica

“Sisters and Brothers in Our Lord Jesus Christ!

As The Bishop of Legnica, I hereby announce to the public and inform them about an event that took place in the parish of St. Jack in Legnica, which has the signs of a Eucharistic miracle. On 25th December, 2013 during the distribution of Holy Communion, a consecrated Host fell to the floor and then was picked up and placed in a water-filled container (vasculum). Soon after, stains of a red color appeared.  The former Bishop of Legnica, Stefan Cichy, set up a commission to observe the phenomenon.  In February 2014, a tiny red fragment of the Host was separated and put on a corporal. The Commission ordered that samples be taken in order to conduct thorough tests by the relevant research institutes.

In the final announcement of the Department of Forensic Medicine, we read as follows:  In the histopathological image, the fragments of tissue have been found containing the fragmented parts of the cross striated muscle. (…) The whole (…)  is most similar to the heart muscle with alterations that often appear during the agony. The genetic researches indicate the human origin of the tissue.

In January this year I presented the whole matter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican. Today, according to the recommendations of the Holy See, I ordered the parish vicar, Andrzej Ziombro, to prepare a suitable place for a display of the Relic so that the faithful could give it proper adoration. Hereby, I also ask that visitors be provided with information and regular teaching be conducted that could help the faithful to have the proper attitude to the Eucharistic cult. I also command that a book be made to register all received benefits and other miraculous events.

I hope that this will serve to deepen the cult of the Eucharist and will have deep impact on the lives of people beholding the Relic. We see this mysterious Sign as an extraordinary act of love and goodness of God, who comes to humans in ultimate humiliation.

I cordially ask for your prayer and I bless you.

+ Zbigniew Kiernikowski

The Bishop of Legnica”

True and False Prophets

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

The modern world is dense with people who claim to be receiving messages from heaven.  These messages include biblical interpretations, previously unknown doctrines, and warnings about future events.  Many of these self-proclaimed prophets are predicting opposing things, which means that at least some them must be false.  So, what is a person to do?  How are we to discern the authentic from the fraudulent?  And should we even care?

Catholic teaching on the subject is clear.  Simply put, as a matter of salvation, Catholics are to accept all that constitutes public revelation  – namely, all that is revealed in Holy Scripture and more fully expounded in Sacred Tradition and defined by the magisterium.  In other words, we are to embrace all that is taught in the Bible and the Catechism.   This body of teachings – called the “deposit of faith” – has been given to us directly by Jesus Christ, delivered to the Apostles, and passed down through the ages.  It is the duty of the Church to guard every iota of this precious treasury of truth, and to expound and defend it throughout the ages, even as religious fads come and go and theological fashions rise and fall.

The fullness of public revelation, as found in Scripture and Tradition, is precisely what provides for our salvation; it is complete, and nothing necessary to our salvation is lacking in it.   On the other hand, no Catholic must accept that which constitutes private revelation, even those appearances which the Church has affirmed, such as Fatima, La Sallette, and Lourdes.  Even if true, these do not and cannot add doctrinal or moral teachings to the faith, as if something necessary had been lacking.  For the salvific work of Jesus Christ is perfect and all-sufficient, and its potential for forming, guiding, and sanctifying souls could never be exhausted.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches,

“Throughout the ages, there have been so-called ‘private’ revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church.  They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith.  It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history.  Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.”

In light of this, it’s easy to see how authentic private revelations serve in the larger picture of God’s plan of salvation.  For example, the Divine Mercy revelation to Saint Faustina only emphasizes the Gospel call to repent and believe.  It is a devotional way in which God underlines His mercy by calling to the lost with renewed appeals of forgiveness.  But it is not an easy escape from God’s justice, nor a turn to moral relativism, as if God was revealing that He is now indifferent towards our sins.  By no means.  For even in Saint Faustina’s Diary, one can sense a frightful urgency and a sober concern that the mercy and grace of God can be rejected, to the eternal loss of souls.  Hence, Saint Faustina was shown a vision of hell.

My present concern is not with those private revelations that have been recognized by the Church (which, by the way, I fully accept), but with those that have not been recognized.  These can pose a grave threat to the faith and health of souls.  They have the potential of drawing the faithful away from the Church to a sort of pseudo-magisterium of the alleged seer; they can produce a type of gnostic elitism for offering supposedly secret knowledge to a select few; they can draw people into an unhealthy curiosity about the minute details of the life of our Lord or our Lady; they can pollute peoples’ faith with doctrinal errors and corrupt them with either moral laxity or scrupulosity; they can cause undue fear about the future and a lack of trust in divine providence ; they can distract people from the ordinary duties that follow from Church and family life; and they can induce a sort of human devotion that should be rendered to God and God alone.  No one should offer an irrational and absolute submission of head and heart to another human being, such as is often encouraged by alleged prophets.

Holy Scripture offers many warnings about following alleged prophets.  Matthew 7:15 says,

“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

Unfortunately, there is no official false prophet uniform that makes such a person easily recognizable.  But perhaps the most popular look today is that of the ordinary Joe six-pack.  This disarming appearance is meant to inspire trust.  “Ralph is just an ordinary hard-working guy like you and me.  We can trust him.”  The American infatuation with the hyper-informal “ordinary guy” is a golden opportunity for false prophets and other demagogues.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 warns,

“Do not extinguish the Spirit.  Do not despise prophecy.  But test all things; hold fast to that which is good.”

This passage instructs us not to be overly skeptical about the possibility of genuine prophecy.  It does exist.   But do not to be gullible either.  Rather, test all things that claim to be prophetic.  Hold them to a standard.  Judge them by the truths of public revelation as found in Scripture and Tradition, and submit to the authority of the magisterium of the Church.  Compare that which is uncertain with that which is certain.

Perhaps the most valuable piece of practical advice on this subject is found in the Old Testament.  It offers a fool-proof test for discerning the authentic from the fraudulent.  Deuteronomy 18:21-22 says,

“If you say to yourselves, ‘How can we recognize an oracle which the Lord has spoken?’, know that even though a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if his oracle is not fulfilled or verified, it is an oracle which the Lord did not speak.  The prophet has spoken it presumptuously, and you shall have no fear of him.”

It’s very simple.  If an alleged prophet utters an alleged prophecy, we must test it by waiting to see what happens.  If the prophecy comes true, then maybe he or she is legitimate.  But if the prophecy does not come true, then we must never listen to that egomaniac again.  Never!  Their threats and warnings can safely be ignored, for God has exposed them.

Practically speaking, we should listen for a specific prediction, something concrete and date-related.  Write down that prediction word for word, and then wait and see what happens.  A notorious anti-Catholic end times “Prophet of God” that I regularly hear on the radio has pompously declared that Jesus Christ will return before he – the alleged prophet – will die.  I heard him say it myself, and I’m awaiting the outcome.  And I’ll be additionally interested to see how his subjects react to his unexpected pre-parousia death.  Not that I would, even for a moment, consider this man to be a true prophet.  But having a concrete event by which he can be judged is precisely what the passage from Deuteronomy has counseled.

Since the passage in Deuteronomy is presumably familiar to every false prophet, we should beware of their learned shrewdness.   They’ve figured out that a certain vagueness can help them out of even the most embarrassing false prophecies.  Hence, they may introduce various conditions that can change.  For example, in wrongly predicting the Second Coming of Christ, some have appealed to the old oops-we-made-a-miscalculation  excuse.  Remember  Harold Camping?  This allows them to continue making future predictions while retaining their followers, even though they’ve erred in a very important matter.  Another clever technique is to make a prediction, but then qualify it by adding, “This prophecy is almost certain to come true, unless so-and-so happens.”  This allows the individual to appear correct, almost regardless of what happens.  Yet another method is to claim, “The end will come in your lifetime.”  Brilliant.  The only way you can expose this last trickster is by dying.

False prophecy is an immense industry.  It is the religious field of egomaniacs who obviously lack the fear of God and the love of others as well.  It can destroy the lives of countless persons, both here and hereafter.  It also gives religion in general a bad name and provides critics with ample material for their mockery.

My own practice is to remain thoroughly skeptical of any self-proclaimed prophet, and to apply the test of Deuteronomy with the strictest standard.  I intend to guard my faith, my soul, and my salvation with the most acute solicitude and vigilance.  For false prophets, preachers, and wonder-workers are everywhere preying on the faithful today, and with minimal resistance in this age of religious ignorance, superstition, unbelief, and leaderlessness.

Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons

During this voting season, it’s important to be informed on the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexual “unions” and “marriages”.  There’s no need or excuse to follow an uninformed conscience.  Here is an excerpt from the relevant Church document.

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IV. POSITIONS OF CATHOLIC POLITICIANS
WITH REGARD TO LEGISLATION IN FAVOUR
OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS

10. If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided.  This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.

CONCLUSION

11. The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, in the Audience of March 28, 2003, approved the present Considerations, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered their publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 3, 2003, Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and his Companions, Martyrs.

Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Prefect

Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila
Secretary

The Symbols of the Season

It is that time of year when the puritans among us feel the need to raise their prophetic voices in protest against the great evils of our times: Christmas trees, wreathes, and even creches. I know the routine well from the days when I myself was a flaming heretic outside of the Catholic Church and “abstained’ from Christmas for about eight years.  As the allegations go, evergreens were used in ancient pagan religious rites, and are, therefore, forever and inextricably associated with them.  To place a Christmas tree in church or home is to worship a false deity, and possibly even the devil.

There may be some truth to the fact that evergreens were used in some capacity in pagan religions. When it was my interest, I examined this claim and found that there was little certainty about it.  Theories abounded as to exactly how the evergreen was used, and by what religions, so that one was free to choose the most sensational theory, the one that would best serve the puritanical charge.

The denunciation of Christmas trees and wreathes is founded on the presumption that something once used for evil ends cannot ever be used for good ends. If the pagans once used it, then Christians cannot.  We must be totally unlike them in every way; otherwise, we are not worshipping God “in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24).  But of course, ancient pagans used books that they called inspired scriptures, didn’t they?  And they sang hymns and heard sermons as well, didn’t they?  So this notion of denouncing everything that pagans ever used is quite ridiculous and even impossible to follow.  But it’s far worse than that.  For several reasons, the puritans among us had better hope that they don’t ever get what they’re asking for, because, for reasons easy to understand and not requiring any historical investigations, a number of unseemly groups desire the very same end – the elimination of Christmas trees, wreathes, and creches.

First, the Christian symbolism. The evergreen, because it remains green throughout the year, is a symbol of eternal life.  Of course, this is not entirely accurate, since evergreen needles and leaves die and fall off yearly.  But they are replaced by other needles or leaves.  Notice the reddish color of pine trees in the autumn; the needles die and fall to the ground, making the ground reddish as well, but there are other healthy needles to maintain the trees’ green color.  But the point is, the evergreen is ever green, and so it does work as a symbol of eternal life.

An evergreen tree decorated with lights also has Christian symbolic meaning. The lights represent Christ, the Light of the world, entering our pagan darkness of sin and error through His Incarnation.  This is why it’s especially appropriate to postpone the turning on of Christmas lights until Christmas Eve has arrived.

The star at the top of the tree represents the star of Bethlehem, by which the Magi were guided to the place of our Lord’s birth.  An angel placed at the top of the tree, or several angels hung from its limbs, represent those heaven-sent preternatural beings who sang before the shepherds,

“Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will”(Lk. 2:14)!

The symbolism found in Christmas trees and wreathes is not arbitrary or meaningless.  If there’s any doubt about this, just observe how adamantly many public schools and state and federal buildings now forbid them.  Apparently, they are quite symbolic of the Christian religion and silently proclaim the truth that the Word became flesh.  And that is my first point.  Godless secular America is racing to eliminate from the public square and public forum all traces of the Christian religion, including these very religious symbols of the Advent and Christmas seasons.  This is the result of two forces that make for strange symbiotic bedfellows: militant atheism, and now militant Islam as well.  Both are rapidly rising as the primary opponents of the Gospel.  By denouncing the external symbols of Advent and Christmas, Bible Christians are actually taking part in the same wicked agenda as that of the fiercest foes of Christianity.  And if the atheists and Muslims have their way and thoroughly forbid all traditional symbols of Christmas, will these puritanical Christians finally be content?  God forbid that this unholy alliance should ever succeed.

In addition, the notion that, by simply placing and decorating an evergreen in one’s home, one is necessarily performing an act of pagan worship – this is just absurd. Do our puritanical brethren actually believe that the Catholic on his or her way to Ray’s vegetable stand to buy a Christmas tree is thinking within themselves, “Now here I go to offer Baal an act of homage”?  Sorry, but the Catholic has no such thought, no such intention, but is thinking only of the wholesome use of the Christmas tree in the domestic celebration of Christmas – of Christ Mass.  Besides, we Catholics are often told by such persons what we already believe – that prayer must be offered from the heart, rather than merely as a mindless external act.  It’s absolutely true.  All the more in this case, then, since all that matters is what a person intends in their heart as they arrange their Christmas tree.  And if they have no pagan intentions, then they offer no pagan worship.

Now, who made the evergreem? Who made the universe?  Was it Thor or Zeus?  Was it some other false god?  But false gods do not exist, and demons do not have the power to create.  It was the one true living God Who made the universe, and therefore, the evergreen as well.  To claim that the connection between the evergreen and paganism can never be broken is to give paganism and its false deities too much credit.  It is to consider evil stronger and more enduring than good, as if good could not break its hold.

Jesus Christ has utterly defeated the devil and his angels. He has redeemed the human race, and the fullness of His salvific work extends even to the physical universe.  An evergreen is His evergreen, and it can therefore be used to symbolize the life and light He brings to us.  In fact, it should be used; it should be rededicated to the one true God in the yearly commemoration of the universe-changing Incarnation of His divine Son.

In the eighth chapter of First Corinthians, Saint Paul confronted a similar problem: the issue of Christians buying and eating food that had been sacrificed to idols. If Saint Paul had shared the scrupulous consciences of many modern Christians, he would have simply concluded, “Christians who eat food sacrificed to idols are taking part in pagan worship”.  On the contrary, Saint Paul reasoned that idols and false gods are nothing.

“Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that ‘an idol has no real existence,’ and that ‘there is no God but one.’”

This was not to belittle the actual dangers of false religion and occult activity, but it served the case at hand – and it serves our case as well. Saint Paul concluded that there was nothing wrong with Christians eating such foods.  As long as one gave thanks to the true God for all such things, all was clean.  There was only one exception: Christians who had weak faith.  If a brother lacked a mature conscience and sufficient religious knowledge, then, for his sake, one might not eat food offered to idols, lest the weaker brother be scandalized by it.  Saint Paul concluded,

“Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.”

I would apply the same reasoning to the case of those Christians who object to Christmas trees and wreathes.   It really is their problem, their confused faith, that is at issue.  The pagan worship that evergreens may once have been associated with is now utterly broken by Christ, and specifically, in the case of Christmas.  To insist that this is not the case is to imply that evil is stronger than good, that false religions are stronger than the true religion, and that a false non-existent god is stronger than the one true living God worshipped at Christmas.  And those puritans among us who persist with their condemnations of the symbols of the season – alongside the atheists and Islamists – should be kindly reminded that,

“God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31).

This Is What Real Catholic Men Look Like

What do real Catholic men look like?

For fifty years now, we have heard preached from our Catholic pulpits a so-called “gospel” that is nauseatingly full of effeminacy.  It teaches only that which is easy and pleasant, to the neglect of that which is demanding and difficult.  It exhorts us to be sweet and gentle, but seldom to be courageous and strong.  It proclaims effete emotions, rather than manly convictions.  We are told we must be full of joy, joy, joy, but never that we should cultivate gravity and a serious comprehension of the evils that are rising all around us.  And the outcome of this effeminate giddy pseudo-gospel has been the near destruction of a Church that is now overwhelmed with uncatechized lukewarm Catholics who openly reject Catholic teaching  and even actively oppose it in their personal and professional lives.  And such persons, we are told, must always be given Holy Communion, for to deny them our Lord would be to “politicize” the Holy Eucharist!

For fifty years now, sermons have been nearly void of difficult doctrines and lofty morals, such as Christ and the Apostles daily taught.  We do not hear about sin, hell, purgatory, or the day of judgment, for these are upsetting.  We are not taught about evil, Satan, the demons, and their endless schemes to draw our souls into eternal perdition, for this would be fear-mongering.  We are not warned about pornography, contraception, homosexual acts, or adultery, for this would be controversial.  We are not instructed that to receive Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin is to commit a grave sin of sacrilege, for this would be alarmist.  And we are not exhorted to proclaim and defend the faith to Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and atheists, for this would be triumphalistic.

Indeed, to even love Catholic teaching in all its depth and breadth is to risk being denounced as a Pharisee, and to express a heartfelt devotion towards our Eucharistic Lord that overflows into blessings, bows, and genuflections is to risk being criticized as “pious” and “holier than thou” by our own priests!

Nor do many pastors truly shepherd the flock.  Instead, they more often flatter and tickle the flock.  Homilies draw from congregations “ooohs” and “aaahs” at the sentimental stories, laughter at the jokes, approving nods at the platitudes, and thumbs-ups at the mention of this or that sports team.

On the contrary, dedicated shepherds with a zeal for souls would feed the flock with the divine nourishment of revealed eternal truth; they would both expound and defend it.  They would also warn the flock of the prevalent sins and errors of our age, of those erroneous beliefs, superstitions, and unnatural vices that have become widely acceptable, and yet, that threaten the salvation of souls.  Now that would make for relevant preaching!

Instead, one homily sounds like any other: love, love, and more love ad nauseam, without any distinction made between the world’s lawless love and the entirely unique Christian charity – that magnificent theological virtue bestowed by the Holy Spirit that infinitely exceeds in goodness a trillion tons of the world’s tolerance, diversity, open-mindedness, and non-judgmentalism.

After decades of this deformation, the end result is effeminacy – an emasculated character, limp with laxity and passivity, that will neither die to self nor live for God.  And as for the noble “soldier of Christ” image, the strong and virtuous man of action who will sacrifice himself in the good fight for faith while wearing the spiritual armor of God – such an image is far too offensive for the sensitive modern male who is deeply in touch with his feelings, offends easily, weeps often, and has been effectively castrated by a gay culture and a cowardly Catholicism.

A man entering a Catholic church today might as well leave his testosterone in the vestibule; he won’t be needing it for Mass.

So, what do real Catholic men look like – both lay and clergy?  What do they do in such evil times as these?  Simply, they lock arms and stand for God, regardless of the harm that it might bring them.   They do for the Bride of Christ what every good man would do for his own beloved bride: defend her.

The letter below is taken from the site, One Peter 5.  I found it profoundly inspiring and to offer a shocking contrast with the usual spiritual indifference of the modern Church in which everything – including raw evil itself – is treated with the last supposed virtue: absolute tolerance.  Let us all keep these Catholic men and their cause in our prayers, especially on Christmas Eve; it will soon enough be our cause as well.  For Satanism is on the rise and is gradually being accepted as a mainline religion.  And with what will the Church meet it – more limp-wristed tolerance?  May God have mercy on us all for accepting His preternatural enemy.

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“The Satanist that held the black mass in Oklahoma City last year is at it again. Adam Daniels is planning this Christmas Eve to desecrate a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Entitled “Virgin Birth is a Lie” this Satanist is planning on putting on a show outside St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral in Oklahoma City from 4:30 to 6:15 pm Christmas Eve.

So this is the clarion call. We will be heading down to do whatever I can to stop/block/thwart this. Who will come to defend Our Lady? Who will stand up against blasphemy? Will we be lukewarm and be vomited out of Our Blessed Lord’s mouth, or will we be men? Would you let something like this happen to your mother? I for one will not stand by idly and let this happen to Our Mother. Are we the Church Militant or the Church Cowering and Sniveling? Are we Christeros or are we those who deny the faith for our own ease. So stand and be counted men. Are we men enough to defend our faith or shall we let this disgusting pig publicly blaspheme and commit desecration and sacrilege like a bunch of scared puppies?

So here I ask, who is with me? Who will stand in defense of truth, purity, and good? Who will stand with me in defense of Christ and the Immaculate Conception? Who will be a soldier of Christ with me? The time for talk is over, the time for action is now. Will you join me, men of Christ, or will we offer our pinch of incense to Caesar? What say you?

The plan is to show up 4:00PM, and for Catholic men, in defense of Our Blessed Lady, to occupy the area where this public blasphemy will take place and stand arm-in-arm, praying the Rosary in reparation for this event. We will defend our Mother and His bride, Holy Mother Church. This will be a non-violent event, but we will not back down, much like our Catholic brethren who so bravely defended their Cathedral last year in Argentina from topless rabid feminists bent on desecrating the Cathedral.

Additionally, we would ask all those who cannot attend to work with their priest to have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and non-stop rosaries of reparation and for those who will show up and defend Our Lady. Will we, on the eve of His birth, stand and say enough is enough or will we not? I beseech you to come and stand with us in OKC to defend the faith. God reward you for your charity.”

Please sign up for the event at our Facebook Event Page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1576014535971115/

Contact: David Homoney

Email: rosary_event@mpbptulsa.com

The Birth of Christianity

 

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Authentic Christianity is inextricably pro-life.  This pro-life ethic is not merely a conviction, precept, or tradition.  At the very heart of the Christian religion is the birth of a Baby.  I’m reminded of this truth every late Advent as I set up our outdoor crèche.

Old Testament prophecy repeatedly spoke of a mother and her Infant.  Every Jew anticipated the appearance of the one and the delivery of the Other.  When this Babe was finally born, pagans from the East travelled to an unfamiliar land to offer worship and gifts to the Child.  King Herod – that precursor of modern infanticide – sought to kill Him.  Angels sang in praise of this Infant in a manger, while shepherds left their flocks to offer their own humble homage.  The world – the entire universe – would never be the same, due to this Son born of a Virgin Mother.

At the Annunciation – which pinpointed the exact “fullness of time” in salvation history – the angel Gabriel declared to Mary from Nazareth that she would conceive the Messiah.  At the same time, she was told that her kinswoman, Elizabeth, had also conceived a child in her relative old age, and was already six months pregnant.  Immediately, Mary set off from Nazareth to visit Elizabeth in the hills of Judea to assist Elizabeth with the pregnancy.  The journey would have taken about four days.

When Mary reached the house of Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah, she greeted them perhaps from the doorway, as we might give a shout at a friend’s door to see if anyone is home.  Elizabeth heard the greeting, and when she came to Mary, she said, “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!  And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For behold, the moment that the sound of thy greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy.”

Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist, who was six months old at the time.  And yet, she referred to him as, “the babe in my womb.”  No, not as the “pregnancy matter” or “fetal tissue,” but as the “babe.”  For six months, this pre-born future little prophet had fully been a human being in his mother’s womb, not a mass of cells lodged in the wall of a uterus.  Elizabeth, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1:41), rightly affirmed this, calling her pre-born child, not a biological lump, but a person.

Notice how Elizabeth addressed Mary:  “And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”  It was not that Mary one day would be a mother, after the birth of her Son.  No, by virtue of the child she presently carried in her womb, Mary was already a mother.  She, too, was carrying, not a “clump of cells,” but a human being, a Person.  And how old was this Child at this point?  He was all of five days old.

Again, authentic Christianity is inextricably pro-life.  It holds with the certainty of divine revelation that every human being, from the first instant of conception to the last second of life in this world (and beyond), possesses a supreme value and dignity, and all the rights that belong to a human person.   No mental or physical condition, no defect or disorder, no injury or illness, no stage of development or deterioration, can possibly decrease the humanity of a human person, whether young or old.  One cannot be or become more or less human, for every human being is by nature and design fully, equally, and eternally human.  Thus, nothing could be more contrary to the Christian religion than abortion and the morally perverse reasonings that are used to defend it; and no person could be more conflicted than a “pro-choice” Christian.  Such an individual is a contradiction in terms.  For to kill a baby is to identify, not with Mary and Joseph, but with Herod the madman.  And it is to come as close as one can to murdering God Himself; for every human being,  and every infant, therefore, is made in the divine image and likeness.

Is it any wonder that our atheistic blood-drenched culture should increasingly forbid on public property that supreme symbol of the sanctity of human life – the crèche?  In a morbid way, this only makes sense.  For the repudiation of the sanctity of human life requires the repudiation of Christ and Christianity.

Thousands of years of history and prophecy, and countless Jewish and Gentile hearts, looked to a hay-filled manger in a cave or stable just outside of Bethlehem.  Here, all angelic and human hopes were fulfilled when the God of the universe was born a Child to a Virgin Mother.

 

The Great Commission

“We are all called to be, each of us, these messengers whom our brothers and sisters of every ethnic group, religion and culture, await, often without knowing it. For how can our brothers and sisters believe in Christ – Saint Paul asks – if the Word is neither proclaimed nor heard?”

  • From Pope Francis’ homily at Mass, November 20, 2015, Barthélémy Boganda Stadium in Bangui, Central African Republic

It is seldom that a Catholic leader utters any longer such a truth, and it is especially encouraging to hear it uttered by the pope himself.  The New Evangelization consists, not merely in inviting non-practicing Catholics to return to Mass, but rather, in bringing the ancient faith – the Gospel – to “every ethnic group, religion, and culture” that lacks the Gospel, that even unknowingly longs for it, and that has a God-given right to learn about the teachings and salvific work of Jesus Christ.  Perhaps a better name for this urgent and ongoing enterprise is the Old Evangelization – that spreading of the Gospel directly commissioned by Our Lord at His Ascension, initiated ten days later on Pentecost Sunday, and which is intended by God to continue until the consummation of this world.

By contrast, the New Evangelization is so often undermined by other modern Church programs and an excessive sensitivity to possibly offending non-Catholics with Catholic beliefs.  I dare say that every convert to the faith has experienced a substantial degree of being offended by the truth.  It is part and parcel of conversion and of the necessary dying to one’s own sins and errors.  Hence, the Church as a whole, and the individual Catholic in particular, should not obsess over this issue.  In spreading the faith, one should never be harsh, insulting, deceptive, or manipulative.  But one must always be clear and uncompromising about the faith, and let those who will cooperate with God’s grace, and those who will resist it, make their choice.  But all people have a natural right to hear the fullness of the truth presented without deliberate omissions that might offend.

More specifically, ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue must never become so perverted as to hinder to any degree the Church’s daily fulfilling of the original Great Commission given by Christ.  Otherwise, they will be causes, not of peace and understanding between peoples, but of religious tepidity, lukewarmness, and indifference among the faithful.

All the world cries out for Christ.  Probably most of humanity is unaware of its profound need for Him, of the aching and longing that simmers in the depths of its soul.  To bring Christ to others, then, is not a matter of vanity, but of generosity.  It is not the depth of arrogance to spread and defend the faith, but the height of mercy and charity.  And it is a responsibility every Catholic accepted at their Confirmation.

Christ did not say, “Stay home and tolerate the nations.”  Rather, He said, “Go out to all the nations, and baptize and teach them all that I have commanded you.”  This is the one and the only evangelization.  Anything substantially to the contrary is a non-evangelization.

It is the duty and privilege of all able Catholics to be our Lord’s messengers, here and now, so that the Advent of Christ continues until His Second and final Coming.