Category Archives: Holy Rosary

Faith and Morals: My Response to the claim of bashing Muslims and Gays

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The following is a reply to a long-time friend on the baited-subject of bashing Muslims and Gays…

Dear Ron- There is no earth-bound moral argument from the left or the right that will suffice; all faith and moral arguments are predicated on attaining the spiritual truth about man, and thus, the will of God for him: his sanctification leading up into eternal life…

On Bashing Moslems: Faith

Before any debate on the subject of Bashing Muslims resumes, you should know the actual Church (Christian) position in its spiritual relationship with the Muslim religion…

As a convert to the Church not born of flesh and blood (that is, not evangelized by men) but of God, such conversion requires obedience and adherence to revealed truth placed within the soul and discovered within the Church; this comes by the Spirit, Who established and maintains the Church in the truth about God and man throughout the ages; that is, upon the foundation of Christ Jesus Who when in the flesh as God on earth said of Himself:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” [John 14]

So it is with the Church on all things pertaining to faith and morals (our subjects) according to the same Spirit of Truth. The Spirit teaches the truth about faith and morals through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and through the Teaching Magisterium of the Church—The Pope and those Bishops united within him.

 With all that in mind Ron, this from the Catechism (the authoritative teaching) of the Catholic Church:

841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”[330]

842 The Church’s bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:  All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .[331]

843 “The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as ‘a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.’

All this is my position according to the same obedience to the Spirit of God. God is spirit and we must worship in spirit and truth.

As for the Mosque near ground zero in New York, I do not oppose it as a constitutional right and freedom, or on religious grounds, I oppose it because it betrays the victims of 911 and their lost right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; rights which both victims and their surviving families alike were denied by Muslim extremists; Extremists, yes, to be sure Ron, but Muslim nonetheless. And for what little my opinion matters, it’s the wrong place and time for a Mosque. Period.

On Bashing Gays: Morals

The immoral sexual act(s) of homosexuality is an impure act against nature and natures God. Even the non-spiritualized soul recognizes the Natural Law found within our hearts, which tells us the act is wrong. (i.e. morally sinful). Which goes a long way to explaining why most every state and people continues to vote against Gay marriage; and also why homosexual activists must use the U.S. court system or international bodies to override the people’s natural God-given gift of telling right from wrong.

From a Catholic moral standpoint, the Church teaches within the Catechism:

 Chastity and homsexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”141 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Homosexuality has indeed taken on a great number of forms throughout the centuries, and Christianity has remained steadfast in warning and declaring the spiritual dangers involved with such behavior [CLICK HERE]. Remember Ron, the object and aim of Christianity is God’s love for all men and the salvation of their souls. It is an act of charity to inform the uninformed or sinful soul that their temporary immoral behavior on earth imperils their eternal happiness in Heaven…

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Are we there?

100 years ago today a saint was born… Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta on how to love God.

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Going to confession on the Feast of the Assumption of my spiritual mother into heaven

Today is the Feast of the Assumption of the Mother of God into heaven, body and soul and I’m going to confession at Our Lady Star of the Sea, in Brookings. My soul must really need a thorough washing as it just this moment began raining outside as I write this… A gentle reminder of an already predisposed need.  

On this post yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI declared this about today’s feast and the reality of heaven:

Today’s feast impels us to lift our gaze to Heaven; not to a heaven consisting of abstract ideas or even an imaginary heaven created by art, but the Heaven of true reality which is God himself. God is Heaven. He is our destination, the destination and the eternal dwelling place from which we come and for which we are striving.

Sacred scripture supports the notion that God is Heaven. Every Christian is bound to proclaim Jesus Christ as God incarnate in the flesh. And so His own words on earth take on substantial meaning: “The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel.” Again, John the Baptist preaching in the desert of Judea, prior to pointing out Jesus to his own followers on the banks of the Jordan: “Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

All this has to do with what I teach my CCD students about the meaning of their lives–which is to: Come to know, love, and serve God in this life, and be with Him forever in the next.

And this is exactly the role the Mother of God plays within the spiritual lives of all people’s destined for salvation in and through Her Son.

To Jesus Through Mary is no singular Catholic Doctrinal truth. It is a spiritual reality discovered within the Holy Spirit…

Today is a good day for a visitation by Mary in the power of the spirit, it leads to our own assumption in the end: Read this prayerfully… [CLICK HERE] More below…

CNA STAFF, Aug 15, 2010 / 05:11 am (CNA).- Today, Catholics and many other Christians will celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The significant feast day recalls the spiritual and physical departure of the mother of Jesus Christ from the earth, when both her soul and her resurrected body were taken into the presence of God.

Venerable Pope Pius XII confirmed this belief about the Virgin Mary as the perennial teaching of the Church when he defined it formally as a dogma of Catholic faith in 1950, invoking papal infallibility to proclaim, “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

His Apostolic Constitution “Munificentissimus Deus” (Most Bountiful God), which defined the dogma,

contained the Pontiff’s accounts of many longstanding traditions by which the Church has celebrated the Assumption throughout its history.

The constitution also cited testimonies from the early Church fathers on the subject, and described the history of theological reflection on many Biblical passages which are seen as indicating that Mary was assumed into heaven following her death.

Although the bodily assumption of Mary is not explicitly recorded in Scripture, Catholic tradition identifies her with the “woman clothed with the sun” who is described in the 12th chapter of the Book of Revelation.

The passage calls that woman’s appearance “a great sign” which “appeared in heaven,” indicating that she is the mother of the Jewish Messiah and has “the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” Accordingly, Catholic iconography of the Western tradition often depicts the Virgin Mary’s assumption into heaven in this manner.

Eastern Christians have also traditionally held Mary’s assumption into heaven as an essential component of their faith. Pius XII cited several early Byzantine liturgical texts, as well as the eighth-century Arab Christian theologian St. John of Damascus, in his own authoritative definition of her assumption.

“It was fitting,” St. John of Damascus wrote in a sermon on the assumption, “that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death,” and “that she, who had carried the creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles.”

In Eastern Christian tradition, the same feast is celebrated on the same calendar date, although typically known as the Dormition (falling asleep) of Mary. Eastern Catholic celebration of the Dormition is preceded by a two-week period of fasting which is similar to Lent. Pius XII, in “Munificentissimus Deus,” mentioned this same fasting period as belonging to the traditional patrimony of Western Christians as well.

The feast of the Assumption is always a Holy Day of Obligation for both Roman and Eastern-rite Catholics, on which they are obliged to attend Mass or Divine Liturgy. In 2010, however, it falls on a Sunday.

Understanding The Assumption of Mary Into Heaven

“It is sometimes said that many spiritual writings today do not sufficiently reflect the whole doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit. It is the task of specialists . . . to meditate more deeply on the working of the Holy Spirit in the history of salvation, and to ensure that Christian spiritual writings give due prominence to His life-giving action. Such a study will bring out in particular the hidden relationship between the Spirit of God and the Virgin of Nazareth, and show the influence they exert on the Church. From a more profound meditation on the truths of the Faith will flow a more vital piety.”

Pope Paul VI, Marialis Cultus, 1974

There is a enlightening article entitled ‘The Holy Spirit and Mary’ by Dwight P. Campbell over on Catholic Culture [CLICK HERE]. The focus of his work is on St. Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941)… “who spent much of his life developing a Marian theology which revealed “the hidden relationship between the Spirit of God and the Virgin of Nazareth”. Below is the encyclical of Pope Pius XII, declaring as dogma the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Heaven.

Munificentissimus Deus

Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII issued November 1, 1950

1. The most bountiful God, who is almighty, the plan of whose providence rests upon wisdom and love, tempers, in the secret purpose of his own mind, the sorrows of peoples and of individual men by means of joys that he interposes in their lives from time to time, in such a way that, under different conditions and in different ways, all things may work together unto good for those who love him.[1]

2. Now, just like the present age, our pontificate is weighed down by ever so many cares, anxieties, and troubles, by reason of very severe calamities that have taken place and by reason of the fact that many have strayed away from truth and virtue. Nevertheless, we are greatly consoled to see that, while the Catholic faith is being professed publicly and vigorously, piety toward the Virgin Mother of God is flourishing and daily growing more fervent, and that almost everywhere on earth it is showing indications of a better and holier life. Thus, while the Blessed Virgin is fulfilling in the most affectionate manner her maternal duties on behalf of those redeemed by the blood of Christ, the minds and the hearts of her children are being vigorously aroused to a more assiduous consideration of her prerogatives.

3. Actually God, who from all eternity regards Mary with a most favorable and unique affection, has “when the fullness of time came”[2] put the plan of his providence into effect in such a way that all the privileges and prerogatives he had granted to her in his sovereign generosity were to shine forth in her in a kind of perfect harmony. And, although the Church has always recognized this supreme generosity and the perfect harmony of graces and has daily studied them more and more throughout the course of the centuries, still it is in our own age that the privilege of the bodily Assumption into heaven of Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, has certainly shone forth more clearly.

4. That privilege has shone forth in new radiance since our predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the loving Mother of God’s Immaculate Conception. These two privileges are most closely bound to one another. Christ overcame sin and death by his own death, and one who through Baptism has been born again in a supernatural way has conquered sin and death through the same Christ. Yet, according to the general rule, God does not will to grant to the just the full effect of the victory over death until the end of time has come. And so it is that the bodies of even the just are corrupted after death, and only on the last day will they be joined, each to its own glorious soul.

5. Now God has willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary should be exempted from this general rule. She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.

6. Thus, when it was solemnly proclaimed that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, was from the very beginning free from the taint of original sin, the minds of the faithful were filled with a stronger hope that the day might soon come when the dogma of the Virgin Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven would also be defined by the Church’s supreme teaching authority.

7. Actually it was seen that not only individual Catholics, but also those who could speak for nations or ecclesiastical provinces, and even a considerable number of the Fathers of the Vatican Council, urgently petitioned the Apostolic See to this effect.

8. During the course of time such postulations and petitions did not decrease but rather grew continually in number and in urgency. In this cause there were pious crusades of prayer. Many outstanding theologians eagerly and zealously carried out investigations on this subject either privately or in public ecclesiastical institutions and in other schools where the sacred disciplines are taught. Marian Congresses, both national and international in scope, have been held in many parts of the Catholic world. These studies and investigations have brought out into even clearer light the fact that the dogma of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption into heaven is contained in the deposit of Christian faith entrusted to the Church. They have resulted in many more petitions, begging and urging the Apostolic See that this truth be solemnly defined.

9. In this pious striving, the faithful have been associated in a wonderful way with their own holy bishops, who have sent petitions of this kind, truly remarkable in number, to this See of the Blessed Peter. Consequently, when we were elevated to the throne of the supreme pontificate, petitions of this sort had already been addressed by the thousands from every part of the world and from every class of people, from our beloved sons the Cardinals of the Sacred College, from our venerable brethren, archbishops and bishops, from dioceses and from parishes.

10. Consequently, while we sent up earnest prayers to God that he might grant to our mind the light of the Holy Spirit, to enable us to make a decision on this most serious subject, we issued special orders in which we commanded that, by corporate effort, more advanced inquiries into this matter should be begun and that, in the meantime, all the petitions about the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven which had been sent to this Apostolic See from the time of Pius IX, our predecessor of happy memory, down to our own days should be gathered together and carefully evaluated.[3]

11. And, since we were dealing with a matter of such great moment and of such importance, we considered it opportune to ask all our venerable brethren in the episcopate directly and authoritatively that each of them should make known to us his mind in a formal statement. Hence, on May 1, 1946, we gave them our letter “Deiparae Virginis Mariae,” a letter in which these words are contained: “Do you, venerable brethren, in your outstanding wisdom and prudence, judge that the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin can be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith? Do you, with your clergy and people, desire it?”

12. But those whom “the Holy Spirit has placed as bishops to rule the Church of God”[4] gave an almost unanimous affirmative response to both these questions. This “outstanding agreement of the Catholic prelates and the faithful,”[5] affirming that the bodily Assumption of God’s Mother into heaven can be defined as a dogma of faith, since it shows us the concordant teaching of the Church’s ordinary doctrinal authority and the concordant faith of the Christian people which the same doctrinal authority sustains and directs, thus by itself and in an entirely certain and infallible way, manifests this privilege as a truth revealed by God and contained in that divine deposit which Christ has delivered to his Spouse to be guarded faithfully and to be taught infallibly.[6] Certainly this teaching authority of the Church, not by any merely human effort but under the protection of the Spirit of Truth,[7] and therefore absolutely without error, carries out the commission entrusted to it, that of preserving the revealed truths pure and entire throughout every age, in such a way that it presents them undefiled, adding nothing to them and taking nothing away from them. For, as the Vatican Council teaches, “the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter in such a way that, by his revelation, they might manifest new doctrine, but so that, by his assistance, they might guard as sacred and might faithfully propose the revelation delivered through the apostles, or the deposit of faith.”[8] Thus, from the universal agreement of the Church’s ordinary teaching authority we have a certain and firm proof, demonstrating that the Blessed Virgin Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven- which surely no faculty of the human mind could know by its own natural powers, as far as the heavenly glorification of the virginal body of the loving Mother of God is concerned-is a truth that has been revealed by God and consequently something that must be firmly and faithfully believed by all children of the Church. For, as the Vatican Council asserts, “all those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written Word of God or in Tradition, and which are proposed by the Church, either in solemn judgment or in its ordinary and universal teaching office, as divinely revealed truths which must be believed.”[9]

13. Various testimonies, indications and signs of this common belief of the Church are evident from remote times down through the course of the centuries; and this same belief becomes more clearly manifest from day to day.

14. Christ’s faithful, through the teaching and the leadership of their pastors, have learned from the sacred books that the Virgin Mary, throughout the course of her earthly pilgrimage, led a life troubled by cares, hardships, and sorrows, and that, moreover, what the holy old man Simeon had foretold actually came to pass, that is, that a terribly sharp sword pierced her heart as she stood under the cross of her divine Son, our Redeemer. In the same way, it was not difficult for them to admit that the great Mother of God, like her only begotten Son, had actually passed from this life. But this in no way prevented them from believing and from professing openly that her sacred body had never been subject to the corruption of the tomb, and that the august tabernacle of the Divine Word had never been reduced to dust and ashes. Actually, enlightened by divine grace and moved by affection for her, God’s Mother and our own dearest Mother, they have contemplated in an ever clearer light the wonderful harmony and order of those privileges which the most provident God has lavished upon this loving associate of our Redeemer, privileges which reach such an exalted plane that, except for her, nothing created by God other than the human nature of Jesus Christ has ever reached this level.

15. The innumerable temples which have been dedicated to the Virgin Mary assumed into heaven clearly attest this faith. So do those sacred images, exposed therein for the veneration of the faithful, which bring this unique triumph of the Blessed Virgin before the eyes of all men. Moreover, cities, dioceses, and individual regions have been placed under the special patronage and guardianship of the Virgin Mother of God assumed into heaven. In the same way, religious institutes, with the approval of the Church, have been founded and have taken their name from this privilege. Nor can we pass over in silence the fact that in the Rosary of Mary, the recitation of which this Apostolic See so urgently recommends, there is one mystery proposed for pious meditation which, as all know, deals with the Blessed Virgin’s Assumption into heaven.

16. This belief of the sacred pastors and of Christ’s faithful is universally manifested still more splendidly by the fact that, since ancient times, there have been both in the East and in the West solemn liturgical offices commemorating this privilege. The holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church have never failed to draw enlightenment from this fact since, as everyone knows, the sacred liturgy, “because it is the profession, subject to the supreme teaching authority within the Church, of heavenly truths, can supply proofs and testimonies of no small value for deciding a particular point of Christian doctrine.”[10]

17. In the liturgical books which deal with the feast either of the dormition or of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin there are expressions that agree in testifying that, when the Virgin Mother of God passed from this earthly exile to heaven, what happened to her sacred body was, by the decree of divine Providence, in keeping with the dignity of the Mother of the Word Incarnate, and with the other privileges she had been accorded. Thus, to cite an illustrious example, this is set forth in that sacramentary which Adrian I, our predecessor of immortal memory, sent to the Emperor Charlemagne. These words are found in this volume: “Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself.”[11]

18. What is here indicated in that sobriety characteristic of the Roman liturgy is presented more clearly and completely in other ancient liturgical books. To take one as an example, the Gallican sacramentary designates this privilege of Mary’s as “an ineffable mystery all the more worthy of praise as the Virgin’s Assumption is something unique among men.” And, in the Byzantine liturgy, not only is the Virgin Mary’s bodily Assumption connected time and time again with the dignity of the Mother of God, but also with the other privileges, and in particular with the virginal motherhood granted her by a singular decree of God’s Providence. “God, the King of the universe, has granted you favors that surpass nature. As he kept you a virgin in childbirth, thus he has kept your body incorrupt in the tomb and has glorified it by his divine act of transferring it from the tomb.”[12]

19. The fact that the Apostolic See, which has inherited the function entrusted to the Prince of the Apostles, the function of confirming the brethren in the faith,[13] has by its own authority, made the celebration of this feast ever more solemn, has certainly and effectively moved the attentive minds of the faithful to appreciate always more completely the magnitude of the mystery it commemorates. So it was that the Feast of the Assumption was elevated from the rank which it had occupied from the beginning among the other Marian feasts to be classed among the more solemn celebrations of the entire liturgical cycle. And, when our predecessor St. Sergius I prescribed what is known as the litany, or the stational procession, to be held on four Marian feasts, he specified together the Feasts of the Nativity, the Annunciation, the Purification, and the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.[14] Again, St. Leo IV saw to it that the feast, which was already being celebrated under the title of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother of God, should be observed in even a more solemn way when he ordered a vigil to be held on the day before it and prescribed prayers to be recited after it until the octave day. When this had been done, he decided to take part himself in the celebration, in the midst of a great multitude of the faithful.[15] Moreover, the fact that a holy fast had been ordered from ancient times for the day prior to the feast is made very evident by what our predecessor St. Nicholas I testifies in treating of the principal fasts which “the Holy Roman Church has observed for a long time, and still observes.”[16]

20. However, since the liturgy of the Church does not engender the Catholic faith, but rather springs from it, in such a way that the practices of the sacred worship proceed from the faith as the fruit comes from the tree, it follows that the holy Fathers and the great Doctors, in the homilies and sermons they gave the people on this feast day, did not draw their teaching from the feast itself as from a primary source, but rather they spoke of this doctrine as something already known and accepted by Christ’s faithful. They presented it more clearly. They offered more profound explanations of its meaning and nature, bringing out into sharper light the fact that this feast shows, not only that the dead body of the Blessed Virgin Mary remained incorrupt, but that she gained a triumph out of death, her heavenly glorification after the example of her only begotten Son, Jesus Christ-truths that the liturgical books had frequently touched upon concisely and briefly.

21. Thus St. John Damascene, an outstanding herald of this traditional truth, spoke out with powerful eloquence when he compared the bodily Assumption of the loving Mother of God with her other prerogatives and privileges. “It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God.”[17]

22. These words of St. John Damascene agree perfectly with what others have taught on this same subject. Statements no less clear and accurate are to be found in sermons delivered by Fathers of an earlier time or of the same period, particularly on the occasion of this feast. And so, to cite some other examples, St. Germanus of Constantinople considered the fact that the body of Mary, the virgin Mother of God, was incorrupt and had been taken up into heaven to be in keeping, not only with her divine motherhood, but also with the special holiness of her virginal body. “You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life.”[18] And another very ancient writer asserts: “As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him.”[19]

23. When this liturgical feast was being celebrated ever more widely and with ever increasing devotion and piety, the bishops of the Church and its preachers in continually greater numbers considered it their duty openly and clearly to explain the mystery that the feast commemorates, and to explain how it is intimately connected with the other revealed truths.

24. Among the scholastic theologians there have not been lacking those who, wishing to inquire more profoundly into divinely revealed truths and desirous of showing the harmony that exists between what is termed the theological demonstration and the Catholic faith, have always considered it worthy of note that this privilege of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption is in wonderful accord with those divine truths given us in Holy Scripture.

25. When they go on to explain this point, they adduce various proofs to throw light on this privilege of Mary. As the first element of these demonstrations, they insist upon the fact that, out of filial love for his mother, Jesus Christ has willed that she be assumed into heaven. They base the strength of their proofs on the incomparable dignity of her divine motherhood and of all those prerogatives which follow from it. These include her exalted holiness, entirely surpassing the sanctity of all men and of the angels, the intimate union of Mary with her Son, and the affection of preeminent love which the Son has for his most worthy Mother.

26. Often there are theologians and preachers who, following in the footsteps of the holy Fathers,[20] have been rather free in their use of events and expressions taken from Sacred Scripture to explain their belief in the Assumption. Thus, to mention only a few of the texts rather frequently cited in this fashion, some have employed the words of the psalmist: “Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark, which you have sanctified”[21]; and have looked upon the Ark of the Covenant, built of incorruptible wood and placed in the Lord’s temple, as a type of the most pure body of the Virgin Mary, preserved and exempt from all the corruption of the tomb and raised up to such glory in heaven. Treating of this subject, they also describe her as the Queen entering triumphantly into the royal halls of heaven and sitting at the right hand of the divine Redeemer.[22] Likewise they mention the Spouse of the Canticles “that goes up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh and frankincense” to be crowned.[23] These are proposed as depicting that heavenly Queen and heavenly Spouse who has been lifted up to the courts of heaven with the divine Bridegroom.

27. Moreover, the scholastic Doctors have recognized the Assumption of the Virgin Mother of God as something signified, not only in various figures of the Old Testament, but also in that woman clothed with the sun whom John the Apostle contemplated on the Island of Patmos.[24] Similarly they have given special attention to these words of the New Testament: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women,”[25] since they saw, in the mystery of the Assumption, the fulfillment of that most perfect grace granted to the Blessed Virgin and the special blessing that countered the curse of Eve.

28. Thus, during the earliest period of scholastic theology, that most pious man, Amadeus, Bishop of Lausarme, held that the Virgin Mary’s flesh had remained incorrupt-for it is wrong to believe that her body has seen corruption-because it was really united again to her soul and, together with it, crowned with great glory in the heavenly courts. “For she was full of grace and blessed among women. She alone merited to conceive the true God of true God, whom as a virgin, she brought forth, to whom as a virgin she gave milk, fondling him in her lap, and in all things she waited upon him with loving care.”[26]

29. Among the holy writers who at that time employed statements and various images and analogies of Sacred Scripture to Illustrate and to confirm the doctrine of the Assumption, which was piously believed, the Evangelical Doctor, St. Anthony of Padua, holds a special place. On the feast day of the Assumption, while explaining the prophet’s words: “I will glorify the place of my feet,”[27] he stated it as certain that the divine Redeemer had bedecked with supreme glory his most beloved Mother from whom he had received human flesh. He asserts that “you have here a clear statement that the Blessed Virgin has been assumed in her body, where was the place of the Lord’s feet. Hence it is that the holy Psalmist writes: ‘Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark which you have sanctified.”‘ And he asserts that, just as Jesus Christ has risen from the death over which he triumphed and has ascended to the right hand of the Father, so likewise the ark of his sanctification “has risen up, since on this day the Virgin Mother has been taken up to her heavenly dwelling.”[28]

30. When, during the Middle Ages, scholastic theology was especially flourishing, St. Albert the Great who, to establish this teaching, had gathered together many proofs from Sacred Scripture, from the statements of older writers, and finally from the liturgy and from what is known as theological reasoning, concluded in this way: “From these proofs and authorities and from many others, it is manifest that the most blessed Mother of God has been assumed above the choirs of angels. And this we believe in every way to be true.”[29] And, in a sermon which he delivered on the sacred day of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s annunciation, explained the words “Hail, full of grace”-words used by the angel who addressed her-the Universal Doctor, comparing the Blessed Virgin with Eve, stated clearly and incisively that she was exempted from the fourfold curse that had been laid upon Eve.[30]

31. Following the footsteps of his distinguished teacher, the Angelic Doctor, despite the fact that he never dealt directly with this question, nevertheless, whenever he touched upon it, always held together with the Catholic Church, that Mary’s body had been assumed into heaven along with her soul.[31]

32. Along with many others, the Seraphic Doctor held the same views. He considered it as entirely certain that, as God had preserved the most holy Virgin Mary from the violation of her virginal purity and integrity in conceiving and in childbirth, he would never have permitted her body to have been resolved into dust and ashes.[32] Explaining these words of Sacred Scripture: “Who is this that comes up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning upon her beloved?”[33] and applying them in a kind of accommodated sense to the Blessed Virgin, he reasons thus: “From this we can see that she is there bodily…her blessedness would not have been complete unless she were there as a person. The soul is not a person, but the soul, joined to the body, is a person. It is manifest that she is there in soul and in body. Otherwise she would not possess her complete beatitude.[34]

33. In the fifteenth century, during a later period of scholastic theology, St. Bernardine of Siena collected and diligently evaluated all that the medieval theologians had said and taught on this question. He was not content with setting down the principal considerations which these writers of an earlier day had already expressed, but he added others of his own. The likeness between God’s Mother and her divine Son, in the way of the nobility and dignity of body and of soul-a likeness that forbids us to think of the heavenly Queen as being separated from the heavenly Kingmakes it entirely imperative that Mary “should be only where Christ is.”[35] Moreover, it is reasonable and fitting that not only the soul and body of a man, but also the soul and body of a woman should have obtained heavenly glory. Finally, since the Church has never looked for the bodily relics of the Blessed Virgin nor proposed them for the veneration of the people, we have a proof on the order of a sensible experience.[36]

34. The above-mentioned teachings of the holy Fathers and of the Doctors have been in common use during more recent times. Gathering together the testimonies of the Christians of earlier days, St. Robert Bellarmine exclaimed: “And who, I ask, could believe that the ark of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the thought that this virginal flesh which had begotten God, had brought him into the world, had nourished and carried him, could have been turned into ashes or given over to be food for worms.”[37]

35. In like manner St. Francis of Sales, after asserting that it is wrong to doubt that Jesus Christ has himself observed, in the most perfect way, the divine commandment by which children are ordered to honor their parents, asks this question: “What son would not bring his mother back to life and would not bring her into paradise after her death if he could?”[38] And St. Alphonsus writes that “Jesus did not wish to have the body of Mary corrupted after death, since it would have redounded to his own dishonor to have her virginal flesh, from which he himself had assumed flesh, reduced to dust.”[39]

36. Once the mystery which is commemorated in this feast had been placed in its proper light, there were not lacking teachers who, instead of dealing with the theological reasonings that show why it is fitting and right to believe the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven, chose to focus their mind and attention on the faith of the Church itself, which is the Mystical Body of Christ without stain or wrinkle[40] and is called by the Apostle “the pillar and ground of truth.”[41] Relying on this common faith, they considered the teaching opposed to the doctrine of our Lady’s Assumption as temerarious, if not heretical. Thus, like not a few others, St. Peter Canisius, after he had declared that the very word “assumption” signifies the glorification, not only of the soul but also of the body, and that the Church has venerated and has solemnly celebrated this mystery of Mary’s Assumption for many centuries, adds these words of warning: “This teaching has already been accepted for some centuries, it has been held as certain in the minds of the pious people, and it has been taught to the entire Church in such a way that those who deny that Mary’s body has been assumed into heaven are not to be listened to patiently but are everywhere to be denounced as over-contentious or rash men, and as imbued with a spirit that is heretical rather than Catholic.”[42]

37. At the same time the great Suarez was professing in the field of mariology the norm that “keeping in mind the standards of propriety, and when there is no contradiction or repugnance on the part of Scripture, the mysteries of grace which God has wrought in the Virgin must be measured, not by the ordinary laws, but by the divine omnipotence.”[43] Supported by the common faith of the entire Church on the subject of the mystery of the Assumption, he could conclude that this mystery was to be believed with the same firmness of assent as that given to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Thus he already held that such truths could be defined.

38. All these proofs and considerations of the holy Fathers and the theologians are based upon the Sacred Writings as their ultimate foundation. These set the loving Mother of God as it were before our very eyes as most intimately joined to her divine Son and as always sharing his lot. Consequently it seems impossible to think of her, the one who conceived Christ, brought him forth, nursed him with her milk, held him in her arms, and clasped him to her breast, as being apart from him in body, even though not in soul, after this earthly life. Since our Redeemer is the Son of Mary, he could not do otherwise, as the perfect observer of God’s law, than to honor, not only his eternal Father, but also his most beloved Mother. And, since it was within his power to grant her this great honor, to preserve her from the corruption of the tomb, we must believe that he really acted in this way.

39. We must remember especially that, since the second century, the Virgin Mary has been designated by the holy Fathers as the new Eve, who, although subject to the new Adam, is most intimately associated with him in that struggle against the infernal foe which, as foretold in the protoevangelium,[44] would finally result in that most complete victory over the sin and death which are always mentioned together in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles.[45] Consequently, just as the glorious resurrection of Christ was an essential part and the final sign of this victory, so that struggle which was common to the Blessed Virgin and her divine Son should be brought to a close by the glorification of her virginal body, for the same Apostle says: “When this mortal thing hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.”[46]

40. Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination,[47] immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.[48]

41. Since the universal Church, within which dwells the Spirit of Truth who infallibly directs it toward an ever more perfect knowledge of the revealed truths, has expressed its own belief many times over the course of the centuries, and since the bishops of the entire world are almost unanimously petitioning that the truth of the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven should be defined as a dogma of divine and Catholic faith-this truth which is based on the Sacred Writings, which is thoroughly rooted in the minds of the faithful, which has been approved in ecclesiastical worship from the most remote times, which is completely in harmony with the other revealed truths, and which has been expounded and explained magnificently in the work, the science, and the wisdom of the theologians-we believe that the moment appointed in the plan of divine providence for the solemn proclamation of this outstanding privilege of the Virgin Mary has already arrived.

42. We, who have placed our pontificate under the special patronage of the most holy Virgin, to whom we have had recourse so often in times of grave trouble, we who have consecrated the entire human race to her Immaculate Heart in public ceremonies, and who have time and time again experienced her powerful protection, are confident that this solemn proclamation and definition of the Assumption will contribute in no small way to the advantage of human society, since it redounds to the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, to which the Blessed Mother of God is bound by such singular bonds. It is to be hoped that all the faithful will be stirred up to a stronger piety toward their heavenly Mother, and that the souls of all those who glory in the Christian name may be moved by the desire of sharing in the unity of Jesus Christ’s Mystical Body and of increasing their love for her who shows her motherly heart to all the members of this august body. And so we may hope that those who meditate upon the glorious example Mary offers us may be more and more convinced of the value of a human life entirely devoted to carrying out the heavenly Father’s will and to bringing good to others. Thus, while the illusory teachings of materialism and the corruption of morals that follows from these teachings threaten to extinguish the light of virtue and to ruin the lives of men by exciting discord among them, in this magnificent way all may see clearly to what a lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined. Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective.

43. We rejoice greatly that this solemn event falls, according to the design of God’s providence, during this Holy Year, so that we are able, while the great Jubilee is being observed, to adorn the brow of God’s Virgin Mother with this brilliant gem, and to leave a monument more enduring than bronze of our own most fervent love for the Mother of God.

44. For which reason, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

45. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

46. In order that this, our definition of the bodily Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven may be brought to the attention of the universal Church, we desire that this, our Apostolic Letter, should stand for perpetual remembrance, commanding that written copies of it, or even printed copies, signed by the hand of any public notary and bearing the seal of a person constituted in ecclesiastical dignity, should be accorded by all men the same reception they would give to this present letter, were it tendered or shown.

47. It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

48. Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, in the year of the great Jubilee, 1950, on the first day of the month of November, on the Feast of All Saints, in the twelfth year of our pontificate.

I, PIUS, Bishop of the Catholic Church, have signed, so defining.

——————————————————————————–

ENDNOTES

1. Rom 8:28.

2. Gal 4:4.

3. Cf. Hentrich-Von Moos, Petitiones de Assumptione Corporea B. Virginis Mariae in Caelum Definienda ad S. Sedem Delatae, 2 volumes (Vatican Polyglot Press, 1942).

4. Acts 20:28.

5. The Bull Ineffabilis Deus, in the Acta Pii IX, pars 1, Vol. 1, p. 615.

6. The Vatican Council, Constitution Dei filius, c. 4.

7. Jn 14:26.

8. Vatican Council, Constitution Pastor Aeternus, c. 4.

9. Ibid., Dei Filius, c. 3.

10. The encyclical Mediator Dei (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, XXXIX, 541).

11. Sacramentarium Gregorianum.

12. Menaei Totius Anni.

13. Lk 22:32.

14. Liber Pontificalis.

15. Ibid.

16. Responsa Nicolai Papae I ad Consulta Bulgarorum.

17. St. John Damascene, Encomium in Dormitionem Dei Genetricis Semperque Virginis Mariae, Hom. II, n. 14; cf. also ibid, n. 3.

18. St. Germanus of Constantinople, In Sanctae Dei Genetricis Dormitionem, Sermo I.

19. The Encomium in Dormitionem Sanctissimae Dominae Nostrate Deiparae Semperque Virginis Mariae, attributed to St. Modestus of Jerusalem, n. 14.

20. Cf. St. John Damascene, op. cit., Hom. II, n. 11; and also the Encomium attributed to St. Modestus.

21. Ps 131:8.

22. Ps 44:10-14ff.

23. Song 3:6; cf. also 4:8; 6:9.

24. Rv 12:1ff.

25. Lk 1:28.

26. Amadeus of Lausanne, De Beatae Virginis Obitu, Assumptione in Caelum Exaltatione ad Filii Dexteram.

27. Is 61:13.

28. St. Anthony of Padua, Sermones Dominicales et in Solemnitatibus, In Assumptione S. Mariae Virginis Sermo.

29. St. Albert the Great, Mariale, q. 132.

30. St. Albert the Great, Sermones de Sanctis, Sermo XV in Annuntiatione B. Mariae; cf. also Mariale, q. 132.

31. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Illa; q. 27, a. 1; q. 83, a. 5, ad 8; Expositio Salutationis Angelicae; In Symb. Apostolorum Expositio, a. S; In IV Sent., d. 12, q. 1, a. 3, sol. 3; d. 43, q. 1, a. 3, sol. 1, 2.

32. St. Bonaventure, De Nativitate B. Mariae Virginis, Sermo V.

33. Song 8:5.

34. St. Bonaventure, De Assumptione B. Mariae Virginis, Sermo 1.

35. St. Bernardine of Siena, In Assumptione B. Mariae Virginis, Sermo 11.

36. Ibid.

37. St. Robert Bellarmine, Conciones Habitae Lovanii, n. 40, De Assumption B. Mariae Virginis.

38. Oeuvres de St. Francois De Sales, sermon for the Feast of the Assumption.

39. St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary, Part 2, d. 1.

40. Eph 5:27.

41. I Tm 3:15.

42. St. Peter Canisius, De Maria Virgine.

43. Suarez, In Tertiam Partem D. Thomae, q. 27, a. 2, disp. 3, sec. 5, n. 31.

44. Gn 3:15.

45. Rm 5-6; I Cor. 15:21-26, 54-57.

46. I Cor 15:54.

47. The Bull Ineffabilis Deus, loc. cit., p. 599.

48. I Tm 1:17.

The Virgin Mary came from heaven to remind us of Gospel truths

From “Ireland’s Biggest FREE Newspaper” ALIVE!

Again and again on his recent trip to Portugal Pope Benedict tried to waken up Catholics to God’s call to them to proclaim Christian hope in today’s secularist world. And to not be afraid of criticism or ridicule.

“The faith,” he said, “needs to come alive in each one of us. A vast effort at every level is required if every Christian is to be transformed into a witness capable of giving an account to all of the hope that inspires him.”

Benedict remarked that “the Virgin Mary came from heaven to remind us of Gospel truths that are the source of hope for a humanity so lacking in love and without hope for salvation.”

And he described Fatima as being “like a window of hope that God opens when man closes the door to him.”

Speaking to artists Benedict explained that the Church’s “key mission in today’s culture is to keep alive the search for truth, and thus for God; to bring people to look beyond penultimate realities and to seek those that are ultimate.”

It is sometimes assumed that Benedict accepts the idea of a smaller Church with a strong identity. “But he made it clear in Portugal that ‘pruning back’ is not his strategic goal,” said one reporter.

Rather, the Holy Father encouraged young people to bear witness to all their contemporaries to the joy that Christ’s strong, gentle presence evokes.

“Tell them that it is beautiful to be a friend of Jesus and that it is well worth following him,” he said.

“Show, with your enthusiasm, that, among all the different ways of life which the world offers us, the only way in which we find the true meaning of life and hence true and lasting joy, is by following Jesus.”

The Pope noted that the Church “has some quarrelsome and even rebellious sons and daughters,” but it is in the saints that she recognises “her most characteristic features, it is in them that she tastes her deepest joy.”

Benedict was in Portugal for the 10th anniversary of the beatification of the two youngest visionaries, Francesco Marto (aged 10 when he died in 1919) and his sister Jacinta (aged 9 when she died in 1920).

He was concerned that individuals and agencies could go on thinking they were Catholic when, in fact they had lost the faith and their very identity.

Catholic agencies need to make sure they protect their Catholic identity and keep “a proper synthesis of spiritual life and apostolic activity,” said the Pope.

“Pressure from today’s culture, which constantly holds up a lifestyle based on the law of the stronger, on easy and attractive gain, ends up influencing our ways of thinking, our projects and the goals of our service,” he cautioned.

It also “risks emptying them of the motivation of faith and Christian hope which had originally inspired them,” he told a gathering of Catholic helpers and volunteers.

Benedict has spoken a number of times about the danger of groups losing their Catholic identity, as happened with several groups in Ireland.

The Holy Father is expected to announce shortly that he is creating a special ‘Council for New Evangelisation’ aimed at promoting a stronger missionary outreach in once Christian countries.

Hat Tip/ALIVE!

END OF POST

Want to actually ‘fight Marxism’ with your CCHD monies this year? — Help Rebuild the Church in Ukraine

 Editor Note: Both the Soviet Union and Germany tried to annihilate the national identity of Poland during and following WWII, and the same can be said of the lingering Soviet system found within the Ukraine today. 

The Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the Church in Ukraine by supporting various projects, especially the only Catholic university in the former Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Catholic University. For more information, visit http://www.ucef.org     

 Read the story below, then donate. Freedom is threatened and still Our Lady wills that Atheistic Communism be defeated and worship of her son and only true God be restored…  

 Ukraine: Soviet system lingers on

In Ukraine, the stench of the Soviet era lingers on. Life in Ukraine offers a dismal but fascinating panorama of how difficult it is to shake off the blight of Communism.  

By Matthew A. Rarey  

Bolshevism evolved into religion, some kind of materialistic pagan religion, which worships Lenin and his like as demigods, while considering lies, deceit, violence, the oppression of the poor, the demoralizing of children, humiliation of women, destruction of the family… and the reduction of all the nation to extreme poverty as the principles of its rule—although all these principles are false.—Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics (1936)
A great and holy man made this grim and blunt pronouncement three years before Stalin drenched all Ukraine in red, his veracity confirmed in violence. To understand Ukraine today, we must briefly revisit its pre-Communist history.  

Writing these cautionary words in his eighth decade, Metropolitan Sheptytsky (d. 1944) was the long-serving spiritual leader of the largest Eastern Rite within the Catholic Church, the dominant Rite in Ukraine, and rightly so: Ukraine is the crossroads of Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and the Ukrainian Greek Catholics are Eastern in spirituality but Western in faith, the Kievan Church having re-entered into communion with Rome in the sixteenth century, a first big step toward closing the chasm created by the Orthodox schism in the 11th century.  

Sheptytsky was a prophet in his own right as well, clearly perceiving the threat from the armed ideology that would soon persecute his entire country, the eastern two-thirds already having suffered Communist rule since being incorporated into the Soviet Union shortly after the Russian Revolution in 1917. The western third, where Sheptytsky lived, then lay within the political boundaries of Poland—the part that would be ceded to Stalin in 1939 as part of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Treaty.  

History would prove Sheptytsky right. Grim and blunt was the apt way to describe Communism, a grim and blunt ideology that would bludgeon an historically Christian people for the better part of the last century, leaving millions of Ukrainians dead in body (Stalin’s forced-famine in the 1930s, deportations to the Gulag, swifter forms of execution) and untold more dead or wounded in spirit. Today the “walking dead” have a less than salutary effect on civil life.  

On the plus side, post-Soviet Ukraine is a free and independent country for the first time in centuries. (Being a largely flat-landed country, strategically located and historically flanked by great powers, has not been propitious for Ukrainian statehood.) This freedom is a source of hope. The so-called Orange Revolution in 2004, when a presidential election widely perceived as rigged for the pro-Russian candidate was overturned by a peaceful popular uprising, seemed to tap into that hope. Today, however, that hope no longer inspires such infectious popular enthusiasm. But why? Because Ukraine bears the bruises of Bolshevism, some of which signify grave internal damage—damage so severe that, save for a rebaptism of the human spirit in the Christian faith that united the Ukrainians as a people in the tenth century, it may lead to the Ukrainians doing to themselves what Stalin was not able to accomplish: the debilitation, if not the death of Ukraine.  

Sobering social trends  

I spent two months in Ukraine in early 2008, volunteering at the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) at the invitation of the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation (UCEF), a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the Catholic Church in Ukraine. (Upon my return, I was hired by the UCEF to help spread the good word about the Good News being promoted in Ukraine: a mission, in fact, inspiring people and reaping tangible benefits far beyond the borders of that pivotally important country bridging East and West.) I came impelled by the desire to learn and report about a unique and powerful apostolate on the Church’s Eastern Front that I had heard about while working in Washington, DC. I was intrigued by UCU, the only Catholic university in the former Soviet Union, fighting for the faith in a culture corrupted by Communism and tempted by Western secularism. This small but dynamic university is helping train a new generation of lay and religious leaders re-evangelizing Ukraine in all aspects of daily life.  

After returning from an enlightening tour-of-duty in a land that has known much darkness, and where the long, sinister night of the 20th century continues to cast shadows deep and wide, I wrote several pieces for religious and secular publications about the how UCU and the Church in Ukraine are rebuilding religious and civil society, particularly by addressing the causes of the demographic crisis and the assault of Western-style secularism: like all of Ukraine’s major problems and challenges, causes neither economic nor political in nature, but moral and religious. Most of those articles may be found on the UCEF’s website: http://www.ucef.org.  

Using demographic data about Ukraine released not only by the national government but sources such as the UN, these articles were informed by a personal perspective of Ukrainian life in the western third of the country, principally its main city, Lviv, where UCU is located.  

What do the data reveal about Ukraine? The more sobering trends include:  

One of the lowest birthrates in the world, 1.2 per woman, that threatens to country’s population of 47 million by the year 2050—a demographic crisis President Victor Yushchenko last year declared a “critical threat to national security”;  

the highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Europe: as of mid-2008, almost 130,000 registered cases of HIV infection and 13,000 deaths due to AIDS, actual numbers likely being far higher due to public ignorance of the causes of the disease;  

40,000 alcohol-related deaths per year, and, according to the World Health Organization, some 700,000 Ukrainians annually treated in hospitals for alcohol dependency. The situation may grow worse as Ukraine struggles through the global financial crisis that is hitting its post-Soviet economy especially hard: the national currency having lost half its value against the US dollar last year as the lifeblood of the economy, heavy industrial output, drains as world demand plummets;  

a divorce-to-marriage ratio as high as 3:4 in eastern parts of the country, although that drops as low as 3:10 in western parts;  

as many as 33 million abortions performed since legalization in 1955, averaging six per woman: according to the Ukrainian legal code, “only a physical personal [having] the right to life,” a “physical person” being one who “exists only after birth”; and abortion being a common means of birth control in a country where condoms have not caught on as in Western Europe;  

corruption pervading all levels of society, from politics to law enforcement to business—so common, expected, and generally accepted that statistics about corruption do not exist.  

If only the personal perspective I gained on the ground had informed the articles I wrote shortly after returning, however, they would have painted a rosier picture of Ukraine. Certainly there was evidence of nationwide problems: eg, a drunken woman savagely beaten (by her husband?) in a busy public market in Lviv while shoppers, including a policeman, went along their business; the scantily clad young women for whom looking like anorexic prostitutes must have some pay-off, but certainly not in terms of self-respect; everyday stories of police and politicians who would rather take bribes than enforce the law; the young married women taking in an English class I helped teach who said they would rather have more and better material goods than more children, or any children at all.  

Why is the western Ukraine different?  

Western Ukraine, however, is better off than the rest of the country, largely due to fortunate historical circumstances that prevented its mores from enduring attacks as long and vicious as in the east.  

Churches packed on Sundays and holy days are the joyous outward expression of private belief persecuted and forced underground during Soviet rule. Public displays of Christian belief abound, such as statues of the Virgin Mary, Christmas manger scenes, and huge crucifixes venerated by young and old alike. And the good work being done by religious associations—particularly the resurgent Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which was banned during most of Soviet rule—is evident in myriad social ministries, from orphanages to alcohol-addiction programs to classes introducing engaged couples to the concept of marriage as a sacrament rather than a legal arrangement, commercial in nature and dissolved at whim. And although one may charge this writer with bias, the Ukrainian Catholic University is helping lead a re-evangelization of Ukraine—mainly in the familiar west, but with forays into the east as well—through its various institutes addressing social problems in very practical ways, but mainly through the work of its graduates: courageous young people who are helping Ukraine overcome a century of totalitarianism by serving virtuously in church, government, and business.
What explains the different milieu of the western half of the country? In short, western Ukraine enjoyed a 25-year respite from Communism, and Communism at its most wicked. It was incorporated into Poland after the First World War, and it did not fall decisively to the Soviets until 1944. Eastern Ukraine was not so fortunate. Absorbed into the Soviet Union in the years just after Red October, it endured the birth pangs of Bolshevism, from the Soviets’ brutal enforcement of militant atheism to the great famine orchestrated by Stalin in the 1930s, which killed upward of seven million Ukrainians and demoralized millions more, thus serving Stalin’s intention of making a proud people supine to Soviet rule. For in the first decades of Bolshevism, the Soviet scythe slashed with amateurish enthusiasm. As Communism matured, it became more of a business than a labor of perverted passion. By the time it came to western Ukraine, it had entered the business stage, evidencing more the banality than the bloodiness of evil.  

Today, eastern Ukraine is stricken to a greater degree with the nationwide diseases cited above: breakdown of the family, demographic collapse, fatalistic nihilism, and, in lieu of religious faith, a materialism all the more vile for its tawdriness.  

Pervasive immorality and corruption  

But what do Ukrainians have to say? Through supporters of the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation who maintain close ties with Ukraine—many of them being either members of the generation of Ukrainians who fled abroad to escape the Red Army in 1944 or their children—I recently was put in contact with several Ukrainians from different parts of this country roughly the size of Texas. Their accounts of the troubles confronting their country—and the roots of those causes, all somehow branching from the tap root of Communism—were depressingly similar. For the space of this article, two will have to suffice; and suffice well, since all were minor variations on the same theme.  

“The worst evil in Ukraine is immorality. Moral decay is not something you can deal with just by investing some money into some kind of program,” said Natalka Lominska, an instructor at the National University of Ostroh Academy, a secular university in the western city of Volynia. “Let’s take trust. In your culture, when two people meet, they tend to trust each other… But not in Ukraine. People trust almost nobody: state institutions, government officials, even neighbors and doctors! Not only are you expected to bribe the doctor [for supposedly free services] but you can’t be sure tests will be done properly or you’ll be diagnosed properly. And if all goes well, chances are high that the drugs from the pharmacist will be fakes.”  

(To give at least some doctors their due, I met a decent one in Lviv who said his salary was so paltry that he would gladly accept even a peasant’s chicken in return for services. As it was, he had to moonlight as a computer programmer to make ends meet.)  

Lominska, who obtained a graduate degree in the US, is a widow raising a 13-year-old son. She is particularly concerned with the pervasiveness of corruption, a hangover from Communist days when everyone was equal, only some more so than others through their connections.  

“Corruption is so widespread that young people think they can buy everything, even love, trust, friendship, and health. When I ask my students about it, the answers are shocking. When I answer that one can buy medicine, but not health; that one can buy sex, but not love, and so forth, they seem to be very skeptical. Consequently, money becomes the most important thing for a lot of people. Stealing is a widespread method of obtaining it… There have been grandchildren who have killed their grandparents for a few hundred hryvnia [there are roughly seven hryvnia to one US dollar]. It’s terrifying, but it’s true.”  

The prospects for Ukraine? Said Lominska, after noting other problems such as alcoholism, AIDS, and the increasing rate of hard drug use that, in turn, fuels the rate of HIV infection leading to AIDS: “I’m not a pessimist, but I’m scared.”  

This predicament was expounded upon by Oksana Sorokowski, a native of the capital city of Kyiv who emigrated to the US in 1993 and now works for the National Institutes for Health, a federal government agency. But she keeps in close contact with friends and relatives in Ukraine and visits every couple of years.  

Ukraine evidences the same problems resulting from Communism as other post-Soviet countries, she noted, especially corruption: an outward manifestation of spiritual ruin wreaked by displacing Christianity with a “new system of ethics built on hypocrisy.” Almost two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the stench of Orwell’s Animal Farm clings close to the ground.  

What differentiates Ukraine is that the Soviets deliberately sought to destroy the Ukrainian national identity, resulting in a wounded nation confused about its own identity—the eastern part having been heavily crucified, and Russian rather than Ukrainian being the language commonly spoken in Kyiv even today.  

“Except for the western part of Ukraine… most of the people, especially in the south and east, were so poor and brain washed that they didn’t even embrace their [post-Soviet] freedom,” she emailed from her home in the Washington, DC suburbs. “They were wishing to be back in a cage” as during the old regime when life resembled a “zoo: “people had no freedom, but their basic needs were taken care of… they were fed, watered, given a place to live.”  

“Brainwashing” is a term grown rusty since the Cold War contest between Free World and Communist. But Mrs. Sorokowski’s use of the term is apt today, even among younger Ukrainians who evidently imbibed the brainwashedness of their parents.  

A North American newspaper, The Ukrainian Weekly, recently featured a series in which first-year university students from western, central, and eastern Ukraine—the first cohort of university students born in post-Soviet Ukraine—were interviewed about Ukrainian history. Those from western Ukraine evidenced the least brainwashing, having had parents and grandparents who remembered pre-Soviet Ukraine. Some from the east, however, could have been mistaken for Young Pioneers, members of the Soviet scouting organization.  

They were asked about the great genocidal famine, often called Ukraine’s Holocaust, which even today is shrouded in Stalinist-era secrecy and propaganda. (In the West, this propaganda was abetted by Soviet-smitten fellow travelers such as Pulitzer-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty, who duly reported the Communist Party line on Ukraine.) One freshman, a self-identified supporter of the Communist Party of Ukraine, even claimed the Holodomor was “technically necessary, from an economic point of view.” Uncle Joe would be proud of his latter-day children who call themselves Ukrainian.  

Faded hopes

Mrs Sorokowski’s thoughts about Ukraine’s present prospects?  

During the Orange Revolution in 2004, she said, “people rediscovered trust, love, true friendship, kindness, and hope. Crime went down to an all-time low. I visited Ukraine shortly after… and the change was unbelievable. Alas, it didn’t last long. The hopes for dramatic [political and social] change faded… and now I hear again about corruption, moral decrepitude, and total lawlessness. Yes, money seems to be everything—the substitute for law, for education, for just about everything. Crimes go unpunished when you are rich. Law, medicine, banking, and real estate seem to be especially warped by corruption. And it seems to be getting worse as the crisis tightens its grip on the economy.”  

On a relatively lighter note that complemented Mrs. Sorokowski’s song of woe, Matthew Matuszak, a Ukrainian-American who is English-language editor of the Religious Information Service of Ukraine (www.risu.org.ua), told me: “It is totally inconceivable to imagine a politician in Ukraine getting thrown out of office like [Rod] Blagojevich [the former governor of Illinois, accused of trying to sell President Obama’s vacant Senate seat]. Politicians here are outside the law.”  

On a somber but still complementary note, Matuszak related an ordinary example of police corruption that makes Chicago’s legendary bad cops Officer Friendlies in comparison. Ukraine, like Russia, is facing a sad phenomenon: the ever-growing population of homeless adolescents, abandoned by parents due to such causes as alcoholism and economic hardship. The Catholic Church in Ukraine is supporting many projects to help these kids. One such project in the city of Zaporizhzhia has encountered resistance from a source unimaginable in most Western countries: the local police department. The project director has said that the police make money off the street kids vis-à-vis prostitution and drugs, so they really don’t want the problem solved.  

Ukraine’s prognosis is dire. The antidote, however, is simple but difficult to imbibe in many quarters after almost a century of totalitarianism: a rebaptism of the human spirit in Ukraine’s historic Christian faith, and a total rejection of the false gods of Marx and Mammon. Wherever the antidote is being imbibed, however, the human spirit in Ukraine is proving itself as rich and life-sustaining as the soil that makes this huge and fertile country the bread basket of Europe.  

Matthew A. Rarey is communications director at the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the Church in Ukraine by supporting various projects, especially the only Catholic university in the former Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Catholic University. For more information, visit http://www.ucef.org

Story Credit: Spero News 

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Court allows boy to return to school wearing rosary!

Raymond’s mother wants him to wear his rosary…

Via the Portland Examiner:

A federal district court in New York has granted the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) request  for 13-year-old Raymond Hosier to return to class.  You may remember, last month, Raymond was suspended indefinitely for wearing a Rosary to school.

Today, the court directed the school to allow Raymond to return to school wearing his Rosary.

Earlier today, the ACLJ filed a lawsuit against the school district for violating Raymond’s civil rights.  Along with that lawsuit, the ACLJ made the request a request for the court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) – urging the court to declare the school’s dress code policy unconstitutional and immediately permit the 7th grader to return to school wearing the Rosary.

Get the rest of the story here…

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Church Crisis in America? — Solved.

Conversion. Communion. Solidarity.

Sometime this week watch this video.

Don’t break it up. Don’t watch in parts. But instead, set aside 1 hour this week for the special intention of watching it prayerfully whole and entire.

Come back and discuss…

Background Documents: Ecclesia In AmericaEvangelii Nuntiandi   

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(Full Text) Fatima Homily: Pope Benedict XVI

From the Vatican’s website:

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

Esplanade of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima
Thursday, 13 May 2010

Dear Pilgrims,

“Their descendants shall be renowned among the nations […], they are a people whom the Lord has blessed” (Is 61:9). So the first reading of this Eucharist began, and its words are wonderfully fulfilled in this assembly devoutly gathered at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima. Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, I too have come as a pilgrim to Fatima, to this “home” from which Mary chose to speak to us in modern times. I have come to Fatima to rejoice in Mary’s presence and maternal protection. I have come to Fatima, because today the pilgrim Church, willed by her Son as the instrument of evangelization and the sacrament of salvation, converges upon this place. I have come to Fatima to pray, in union with Mary and so many pilgrims, for our human family, afflicted as it is by various ills and sufferings. Finally, I have come to Fatima with the same sentiments as those of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, and the Servant of God Lúcia, in order to entrust to Our Lady the intimate confession that “I love” Jesus, that the Church and priests “love” him and desire to keep their gaze fixed upon him as this Year for Priests comes to its end, and in order to entrust to Mary’s maternal protection priests, consecrated men and women, missionaries and all those who by their good works make the House of God a place of welcome and charitable outreach.

These are the “people whom the Lord has blessed”. The people whom the Lord has blessed are you, the beloved Diocese of Leiria-Fatima, with your pastor, Bishop Antonio Marto. I thank him for his words of greeting at the beginning of Mass, and for the gracious hospitality shown particularly by his collaborators at this Shrine. I greet the President of the Republic and the other authorities who serve this glorious Nation. I spiritually embrace all the Dioceses of Portugal, represented here by their Bishops, and I entrust to Heaven all the nations and peoples of the earth. In God I embrace all their sons and daughters, particularly the afflicted or outcast, with the desire of bringing them that great hope which burns in my own heart, and which here, in Fatima, can be palpably felt. May our great hope sink roots in the lives of each of you, dear pilgrims, and of all those who join us through the communications media.

Yes! The Lord, our great hope, is with us. In his merciful love, he offers a future to his people: a future of communion with himself. After experiencing the mercy and consolation of God who did not forsake them along their wearisome return from the Babylonian Exile, the people of God cried out: “I greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being exults in my God” (Is 61:10). The resplendent daughter of this people is the Virgin Mary of Nazareth who, clothed with grace and sweetly marvelling at God’s presence in her womb, made this joy and hope her own in the canticle of the Magnificat: “My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”. She did not view herself as a fortunate individual in the midst of a barren people, but prophecied for them the sweet joys of a wondrous maternity of God, for “his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Lk 1:47, 50).

This holy place is the proof of it. In seven years you will return here to celebrate the centenary of the first visit made by the Lady “come from heaven”, the Teacher who introduced the little seers to a deep knowledge of the Love of the Blessed Trinity and led them to savour God himself as the most beautiful reality of human existence. This experience of grace made them fall in love with God in Jesus, so much so that Jacinta could cry out: “How much I delight in telling Jesus that I love him! When I tell him this often, I feel as if I have a fire in my breast, yet it does not burn me”. And Francisco could say: “What I liked most of all was seeing Our Lord in that light which Our Mother put into our hearts. I love God so much!” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 42 and 126).

Brothers and sisters, in listening to these innocent and profound mystical confidences of the shepherd children, one might look at them with a touch of envy for what they were able to see, or with the disappointed resignation of someone who was not so fortunate, yet still demands to see. To such persons, the Pope says, as does Jesus: “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?” (Mk 12:24). The Scriptures invite us to believe: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (Jn 20:29), but God, who is more deeply present to me than I am to myself (cf. Saint Augustine, Confessions, III, 6, 11) – has the power to come to us, particularly through our inner senses, so that the soul can receive the gentle touch of a reality which is beyond the senses and which enables us to reach what is not accessible or visible to the senses. For this to happen, we must cultivate an interior watchfulness of the heart which, for most of the time, we do not possess on account of the powerful pressure exerted by outside realities and the images and concerns which fill our soul (cf. Theological Commentary on The Message of Fatima, 2000). Yes! God can come to us, and show himself to the eyes of our heart.

Moreover, that Light deep within the shepherd children, which comes from the future of God, is the same Light which was manifested in the fullness of time and came for us all: the Son of God made man. He has the power to inflame the coldest and saddest of hearts, as we see in the case of the disciples on the way to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:32). Henceforth our hope has a real foundation, it is based on an event which belongs to history and at the same time transcends history: Jesus of Nazareth. The enthusiasm roused by his wisdom and his saving power among the people of that time was such that a woman in the midst of the crowd – as we heard in the Gospel – cried out: “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that nursed you!”. And Jesus said: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Lk 11:27-28). But who finds time to hear God’s word and to let themselves be attracted by his love? Who keeps watch, in the night of doubt and uncertainty, with a heart vigilant in prayer? Who awaits the dawn of the new day, fanning the flame of faith? Faith in God opens before us the horizon of a sure hope, one which does not disappoint; it indicates a solid foundation on which to base one’s life without fear; it demands a faith-filled surrender into the hands of the Love which sustains the world.

“Their descendants shall be known among the nations, […] they are a people whom the Lord has blessed” (Is 61:9) with an unshakable hope which bears fruit in a love which sacrifices for others, yet does not sacrifice others. Rather, as we heard in the second reading, this love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:7). An example and encouragement is to be found in the shepherd children, who offered their whole lives to God and shared them fully with others for love of God. Our Lady helped them to open their hearts to universal love. Blessed Jacinta, in particular, proved tireless in sharing with the needy and in making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. Only with this fraternal and generous love will we succeed in building the civilization of love and peace.

We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete. Here there takes on new life the plan of God which asks humanity from the beginning: “Where is your brother Abel […] Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!” (Gen 4:9). Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end… In sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and he does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which he will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 162).

At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart. At that time it was only to three children, yet the example of their lives spread and multiplied, especially as a result of the travels of the Pilgrim Virgin, in countless groups throughout the world dedicated to the cause of fraternal solidarity. May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.

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Ecclesial Movements: SOLT, The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity

‘Our Lady as Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, lives this communion of relationship with God more deeply than anyone else, and as Our Mother, she seeks to share these relationships with all of us. She desires to draw us into the very communion of love with the Most Holy Trinity that she herself lives. We have been created for this…’

Editors Note: I have a special place in my heart for the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. In fact, I offered Holy Mass for Fr. Flanagan, all the needs of SOLT, and for the New Evangelization this week as I served the altar with my son. My affection for SOLT is born from Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity–a great interior reality of beauty, truth, and peace intimately associated with our faith leading into union with God… Not long ago, I chanced upon a video teaching of Fr. Flanagan’s [found here] on evangelizing young people and their nations. I encourage anyone with even one single bone of love for church and neighbor to take the time and watch… I promise, you will not be confused about the evangelical path the Church in America is called to follow for the sake of souls and their salvation– Hopefully, and prayerfully, the video and article below will help towards that happy end…

Ecclesial Movements: SOLT, The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity 
 By Fr. Sam Medly, SOLT

Reflections from our Founder, Father James Flanagan, SOLT 

In the wake of the traumatic world events of the last century and the disintegration of relationships at all levels, it is the total love, the complete gift Jesus makes of Himself in the Mystery of His Incarnation and Redemption, which restores us to communion again with Our Father and heals the divisions that are found within ourselves and with others.  

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (CATHOLIC ONLINE) – Every Religious Community raised up by God has a special gift to give to its age and the ages to come. Jesus Christ, as the Lord of history, disposes all things in Divine Providence, through the Holy Spirit, that they may be taken up into Himself and given back to the Father at the end of time.

The Father Himself gives gifts to bring this about. The gift He gives is always the gift of His Beloved Son. Therefore the gift that every religious community has to give is always a gift of Jesus Christ. This can be seen in the history of the Church from its beginnings.

In the time of Saint Benedict, when corruption was rampant in Rome, Our heavenly Father gave to the world the gift of the prayer and work of Christ through the founding of monastic communities under St. Benedict and his sister St. Scholastica. This transformed the Church and the culture of its time, reaching into areas of art and literature and effecting great change.

In the time of St. Francis, when the Church was being choked by riches, God our Father renewed the Church with the poverty of Christ through St. Francis and St. Clare and the founding of the Franciscan order. This gift of Christ reanimated the Church and revived the life and missionary activity of its people, leavening the thought and the culture of the age. It continues to enrich the Church and the world today.

In order to stem the tide of heresies in his day, St. Dominic gifted the Church and world again with the preaching of Christ. This gift of teaching and preaching has flourished for centuries through the Dominican order.

St. Ignatius of Loyola brought the power of the name of Jesus to bear upon the developments of his time in the wake of the Protestant Reformation and the great need for evangelization and missionary activity. From this was born one of the greatest orders of the Church, the Society of Jesus, or, the Jesuits.

St. Alphonsus Liguori renewed the Church by drawing attention to the gift of the Redemption won by Christ to which the Redemptorist and Redemptoristine Orders have dedicated their works and their lives now for hundreds of years. Some of the greatest mission preachers, whose main object is to awaken people to graces of conversion, have been Redemptorist Priests.

St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, in their reform of the Carmelite order, reminded the Church of the need to place God before all else. God alone. This answered and still answers today the deepest interior yearning of the human heart.

All of these Saints and Founders, and many more, were responsible for helping to heal and renew the Church and the world of their times. They were the ones chosen by God, to bring true and salvific change into the world through their holiness and the fulfillment of the great tasks entrusted to them.

These Founders saw, in the signs of their own times, the needs that were present. They were given a vision by our heavenly Father and led by the Holy Spirit to reach to those needs, especially through the establishment of communities dedicated to the same vision, communities who continue to fulfill the work of Christ and His Church down through the ages of time.

It is in this light that one must look at the birth of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. And it is in this same light that one must look at the Founder, Fr. James Flanagan, who was prepared beforehand and raised up by God to serve the very great needs of the Church in our day with the unique gifts of Christ and Our Lady, especially in their Trinitarian life.

What is the gift Our Father gives to the Church and the world today through Our Lady’s Society? It is the mystery of Trinitarian love expressed in the self-sacrificing gift of Jesus in His Paschal Mystery: His Life, Sufferings, Death, Resurrection and Ascension.

In the wake of the traumatic world events of the last century and the disintegration of relationships at all levels, it is the total love, the complete gift Jesus makes of Himself in the Mystery of His Incarnation and Redemption, which restores us to communion again with Our Father and heals the divisions that are found within ourselves and with others. This gift heals the isolation and alienation that modern man experiences within himself and brings him to the destiny for which he was created: communion with the Most Holy Trinity and with all others, as one Family of Our Father.

Our Lady as Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, lives this communion of relationship with God more deeply than anyone else, and as Our Mother, she seeks to share these relationships with all of us. She desires to draw us into the very communion of love with the Most Holy 

Trinity that she herself lives.  We have been created for this.

The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity lives a Marian-Trinitarian spirituality of communion which is arrived at through discipleship of Jesus and Mary. Members seek to draw all others into this communion through the living out of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ in His own Trinitarian relationships, just as Our Lady did.  Day to day the members of Our Lady’s Society strive to live graced friendships and obedience of relationships; they strive to  model in concrete form Trinitarian relationships and the spirit of family through a common life and spirituality and through serving together as priests, religious, and laity,  on Family Ecclesial Teams.

For more information about SOLT visit http://societyofourlady.net 

If you are interested in a vocation to: the priesthood, contact Fr Glenn Whewell at priestvocations@societyofourlady.net  to become a religious sister contact Sr Mary Emmanuel: soltsistersvocations@gmail.com to volunteer at a SOLT mission as a lay person, inquire about lay formation, or if you want to do something more for the Church contact Fr Dale Craig: soltlaity@societyofourlady.net

———————

Fr Samuel Medley is a priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity who is the Director for the Institute of New Evangelization at Our Lady of Corpus Christi.  He can be conacted: frsamuelmedley@gmail.com  or you can listen to his homilies on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/magnificat-anima-mea-domino/id359949798.

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 5/10/2010

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)