dimanche, octobre 29, 2006

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart

Pius XI :Encyclical Letter Quas primas
( December 11th 1925)

"Therefore by Our Apostolic Authority We institute the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be observed yearly throughout the whole world on the last Sunday of the month of October -- the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints. We further ordain that the dedication of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Our predecessor of saintly memory, Pope Pius X, commanded to be renewed yearly, be made annually on that day."

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine Altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely Consecrates himself today to Thy Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy Precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most Merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the Faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house lest they die off wretchedness and hunger. Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord holds aloof, and call them back to the harbor of Truth and Unity of Faith, so that soon there may be but One Flock and One Shepherd. Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them all into the Light and Kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of Mercy toward the children of that race, once Thy chosen people. Of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may It now descend upon them a laver of Redemption and of Life. Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all Nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: "Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our Salvation; to It be Glory and Honor forever."

Christus vincit ! Christus regnat ! Christus imperat !

Christ the King
There is incontestably a connection between the proclamation of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Kingship and the acknowledgment of the existence of the truth. To the question posed by Pilate – Art Thou a King? – Jesus answers: “Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.”

This is something very important that we should always keep in our minds. Our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to give testimony to the light, that is the truth. This is especially clear in the Gospel of Saint John. It appears that the world is divided into two antagonistic camps: The camp of those who, receiving the light of God, recognize the Truth; And the camp of those who refuse to consider the fact that objective truth can exist. They are the Liberals, those who believe that man has absolute freedom of thought. They claim that there is no truth which transcends the mind of man, in other words, that truth is what men have decided they want it to be. Consequently, the truth of the Liberals is one of common consent, one which would satisfy the great majority of people. Or, if you have enough power, the truth can be what you believe and impose upon others. This is the truth of the dictators and tyrants. Liberals and the dictators and tyrants of partisan totalitarianism, there is not so much difference between them after all. In both cases, there is the refusal to accept the objective Truth.

The enemies of the truth show a false humility in order to prove that they are right. They say that nobody can pretend to know the truth and consequently nobody can pretend to teach it to others. With humility, every one should recognize that they may be wrong.

Well, let us accept their postulate and let us say with them that every one can be in the error. Of course, so can they! According to their reasoning, they can be wrong, and if they are wrong by saying that nobody can pretend to know the truth, that means that it is possible to know the truth. So, the mere logic is sufficient to prove that the deniers of the truth are not in the truth.

The fact is that refusing the truth is so much easier than accepting it. Jesus says that every one that is of the truth, hears His voice. But it is so very convenient and easy to not hear Our Lord. Hearing Jesus means accepting His doctrine and His doctrine disrupts our habits and enliven our intellect. Hearing Jesus means that one has to change ones life in order to model it on Jesus. Hearing Jesus means the acceptance of the Cross. So, for many, it is better to not hear Jesus and to believe that there is no truth so that they can continue to lead a quiet and easy life. Many people are non-believer just by pure convenience. Some others by fear or cowardice. So was Pilate who recognized that Jesus was innocent but didn’t dare to save his life. His position was more important than the life of an innocent. “What is the truth?”

Now dear Brethren, take care not to estimate yourself enough satisfied because you have accepted the truth. Let me ask you if you really have accepted the entire truth with all its implications. I don’t mean the great truths we recite every Sunday in our creed. I assume that if you come here regularly you certainly know them. What I mean is have you totally accepted Our Lord Jesus Christ as your King? Do you let Him rule your life and are you utterly devoted to Him?

You come today to this Church to celebrate the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ and I can only congratulate you for this. But it is my duty to tell you that this is good, but not sufficient. Further, it may be quite hypocritical, or at least illusory, to come to honor Christ the King now at church and to forget you duties as subjects to such a King when you are in other places and in other circumstances.

Don’t you hear the impious shout of the world outside? Scelera turba clamitat: Regnare Christum nolumus as we will sing this afternoon at Vespers – a wicked crowd shouts: We don’t want Christ to reign! Don’t you understand that the world doesn’t want Our Lord Jesus Christ and that it does anything in order to expel Him out of the souls? For this, they want to expel Him first out of the society. It is a tragic error to relegate God merely to the sphere of private life. It is an error condemned by the Church, notably by Pius IX in his Syllabus and Pius XI in his Encyclical Letter Quas Primas on the Kingship of Our Lord. Who among you knows these two major documents?

The fact is, dear Brethren, that the world wants you to separate and divide your life in two. A part of your life would be for God: basically few minutes a day and one or two hours on Sunday. The rest of your life, they say, is for your family, your job and yourself. But this is wrong. You must give to God 100% of your time and of your activities. This doesn’t mean that we must pray 24 hours a day but that we must do all thing for the love and the glory of God and, as Saint Paul says, that we must restore all things in Christ – instaurare omnia in Christo.

In the present situation, the truth is that you cannot content yourself with a comfortable and easy little spiritual life. In a time of apostasy and in a time when the truth is even no longer taught everywhere in the Church, your obligation of being Saint and soldiers of Jesus Christ is more urgent. Prayers are necessary but not enough. Quietism is a easy temptation. Because God is almighty, He will do what is necessary for us, so we just have to pray and He will do the rest, so believe the Quietists. This is wrong! As Saint Joan of Arc said, Men fight and God gives the victory! It is certain that there will be no victory if men don’t fight.

The battle is first an ideological one. The world spreads its poisonous doctrine which destroys our intelligences. You must be intellectually well molded in order to opposite all the sophisms and error of our time. We give you this opportunity here at Saint Francis de Sales with catechism class for adult and the Saint Thomas Aquinas group. The topic of this year is precisely the social doctrine of the Church. I wish we could be more than 5 or 6 in our meetings. Saint Pius X, one century ago, already deplored the lack of religious knowledge among the faithful. What would he say today?

The battle is also a moral one, but we can win this battle only if we have enough strength at the level of ideas. Morality cannot do without intelligence. It is admitted that ideas rule the world. So we act according to a certain philosophy and certain principles. If they are wrong, we act in a wrong manner.

Finally, the battle is a battle for holiness. It is a battle for the acknowledgement of the order of Divine Grace in the world. It is a battle for the acknowledgement of the supremacy of Christ the King over the societies, the States, the families. Every single members of the Church are needed for this battle, especially those who have been confirmed. One of the effect of the Sacrament of Confirmation is to make us soldiers of Christ.

The battle field is the world. It is the schools, the universities, the Congress and parliaments. It is the hospitals, the tribunals and the offices. It is the stores, the warehouses, the gymnasiums and stadiums. It is the military bases, the police stations, the train stations and the airports. Wherever you are and whatever is your job, you must fight for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Coming into the Church and praying piously is not enough if you forget God immediately after you leave it.

This afternoon after the Solemn Vespers, we will renew our Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as Pius XI ordered it when he instituted the liturgical solemnity of Christ the King. May this consecration be the mark of our total engagement for the establishment of the Kingship of Christ in the world. May Our Lady help us to be faithful to this engagement, so that Christ the King could live, reign and rule in and over the world.

May she obtain for the Church leaders who have a true concern for the Kingdom of Christ and for salvation of souls. The church doesn’t need managers and public-relations officers. At least it is not her first need. She needs pastors who teach the authentic and entire Faith and who are ready to give their lives for Christ the King. May Our lady obtain from the Heart of her Son such pastors for our souls.

Christus Vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat !

samedi, octobre 28, 2006

A mediter !

"Si quis scienter in tantum a vino abstineret ut naturam multum gravaret a culpa immunis non esset."

(Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae IIa-IIae, Q150 art 1 ad 1)

Celui qui sciemment s'abstiendrait de vin au point de nuire gravement à sa santé, ne serait pas exempt de faute!

If a man were knowingly to abstain from wine to the extent of molesting nature grievously, he would not be free from sin!

mercredi, octobre 25, 2006

Lay ministers may not cleanse Communion vessels, Pope Benedict says
By Nancy Frazier O'Brien Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS)
At the direction of Pope Benedict XVI, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion will no longer be permitted to assist in the purification of the sacred vessels at Masses in the United States. In an Oct. 23 letter, Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked his fellow bishops to inform all pastors of the change, which was prompted by a letter from Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. The U.S. bishops had asked the Vatican to extend an indult -- or church permission -- in effect since 2002 allowing extraordinary ministers of holy Communion to help cleanse the Communion cups and plates when there were not enough priests or deacons to do so. Bishop Skylstad, who heads the Diocese of Spokane, Wash., said Cardinal Arinze asked Pope Benedict about the matter during a June 9 audience, "and received a response in the negative." Noting that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal "directs that the sacred vessels are to be purified by the priest, the deacon or an instituted acolyte," the cardinal said in his Oct. 12 letter that "it does not seem feasible, therefore, for the congregation to grant the requested indult from this directive in the general law of the Latin Church." Although receiving Communion under both kinds is a "more complete" sign of the sacrament's meaning, Cardinal Arinze said, "Christ is fully present under each of the species." "Communion under the species of the bread alone, as a consequence, makes it possible to receive all the fruit of eucharistic grace," he added. Another "legitimate option" when "the high number of communicants may render it inadvisable for everyone to drink from the chalice" is intinction -- the practice of dipping the consecrated host into the consecrated wine -- "with reception on the tongue always and everywhere," the cardinal's letter said. Along with the letters from Bishop Skylstad and Cardinal Arinze, bishops received a new resource prepared by the bishops' Committee on the Liturgy titled "Seven Questions on the Distribution of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds." The committee document also suggested distribution of Communion by consecrated bread alone or by intinction when the number of communicants makes the purification of vessels by priests, deacons or instituted acolytes alone "pastorally problematic." "Priests should also keep in mind potential risks associated with intinction, especially in the coming flu season," the document added. The committee said extraordinary ministers of holy Communion may continue to "consume what remains of the precious blood from their chalice of distribution with permission of the diocesan bishop." The document notes that the "extraordinary ministry" by which laypeople distribute Communion "was created exclusively for those instances where there are not enough ordinary ministers to distribute holy Communion, due to the consummate importance of assuring that the faithful have the opportunity to receive holy Communion at Mass, even when it is distributed under both species." Ordinary ministers of Communion are priests and deacons, with instituted acolytes being permitted in the Roman Missal to help the priest or deacon "to purify and arrange the sacred vessels." In the United States, instituted acolytes, who must be male, generally are seminarians preparing for priesthood.

dimanche, octobre 22, 2006

Sermon for 20th Sunday after pentecost

When Jesus returned to Galilee from Judea, His reputation as a wonder-worker had already spread throughout the area. It was in Cana that He had performed His first miracle, and people should have spread the account of that miracle by word of mouth. However Galilee remained incredulous about Jesus who gave testimony that a prophet hath no honor in his own country. The contrast is great between the residents of Samaria with whom Jesus stayed only two days and those of Galilee, His own countrymen.

The Samaritans, a people who embraced the Faith without having been witnesses of His miracles, have come to represent the Christian people, the new spiritual race of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The people of Galilee represent the Jews who have rejected Christ in spite of the great many miracles He performed among them. But His charity pressed Him to return to them. There, He was received by those who had seen the miracle of the festival day. They were his disciples, the only who had believed in Him after the miracle.

There, in Capharnaum, there was a man, a certain ruler, whose son was sick when Jesus arrived. This ruler thought that perhaps, after all, this man who could perform miracles like turning water into wine could also heal his son. The ruler had nothing to loose, except maybe his reputation and it might be worth it. He went to Jesus with the hope of seeing his son healed by this special man, but he didn’t have great Faith. Our Lord admonished him: Unless you see signs and wonders, you believe not. And the ruler came to believe, indeed, only after he saw the miracle, or at least after he heard about it, as Saint John makes note. He and his family finally accepted Faith in Jesus Christ true God and true man. But what about the rest of the people of Galilee?

Signs and wonders can help us to have Faith, but they don’t necessarily generate it in a soul. Faith is a free act of our intelligence enlightened by God. You may see some signs and wonders, but if you don’t want to believe, you will not believe. The reverse is also true, you can believe without having seen any miracles at all. I guess it is the case for most of us.

Saint Augustine points out that what happened in the gospel with the Samaritans and the Galileans is what happened with the Jews who saw and touched Jesus during his Passion but didn’t believe it. The Samaritans prefigured the Faithful who believe without having seen but who have Faith in the teaching of Jesus. We should believe in the word of Jesus and without expecting miracles. The fact is that, too often, we do the opposite. We seek for the wonders and don’t pay much attention to the words of Our Lord.

You certainly have Faith regarding the great truth revealed by God and taught by the Church, which is good and necessary. But do you really live with this Faith. Do you trust God every day of your life, knowing and acknowledging that He provides everything you need? Do you simply ask him what you need or what you want?

Faith teaches us that God is not only the principle of morality, of order and a pure object of worship as could be the case for many false religions. He is also and most importantly, Our Father, as the Son has revealed it. So, our Faith should be a childlike Faith: the faith of children who push, press, and lean upon their Father with all that that entails.

May Our Lady give us this Faith, so that we can really recognize Jesus as the Son of God who came into the world to redeem us and to teach us how to worship and love our heavenly Father. May she help us to consider ourselves as true children of God. The prayer of the holy Rosary will help us in this spiritual way.


mercredi, octobre 18, 2006

lundi, octobre 16, 2006

Renovamini spiritu mentis vestrae!

19 th Sunday
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind!

By coming into the world, Christ has made Creation anew. It is by far, a higher and nobler one than the previous one which was already a beautiful work. Man had destroyed the harmony of the first creation by his sin. What does that matter for God? For sure He is offended by our sins, but His mercy must now be manifested to the world. With the Incarnation, the time for the restoration of nature came. More than a simple restoration, it is, indeed, a new Creation which is orchestrated by Our Lord on the Cross. There, he made all things new.

Now, you might be tempted to say: “well it is a beautiful idea and an interesting concept, but is it really true? After all, the world doesn’t seem to be much better than before the Incarnation.”

I would answer that you are right: the world doesn’t seem to be better than before the Incarnation, but we shouldn’t pass judgment on appearances alone. They might be right, but they might also be wrong, precisely because of the wound of original sin, which has damaged the integrity of Nature. Nature has certainly kept its goodness and still has its laws which bring us a certain knowledge of it, otherwise science would be impossible, but the fact is that things are not always what they seem to be.

Rather, we don’t see them as they really are because our minds are no longer perfectly directed straight to God as it was in the beginning of creation before original sin. We have lost the light of God which gives the true knowledge of things. The Fathers of the Church, especially Saint Augustine, following biblical teaching, have associated light with knowledge and acceptance of God. On the contrary, darkness is ignorance and rejection of God. Thus, the narrative of creation tells us that just after God divided the light from the darkness, “there was evening and morning” – not morning and evening but evening and morning!

Saint Augustine has an interesting interpretation: the days of the creation are actually categories or stages of knowledge of the angels. So evening and morning, repeated six times are like a cycle of angelic knowledge. Let us listen to the commentary of Saint Thomas Aquinas :

The expression "morning" and "evening" knowledge was devised by Augustine; who interprets the six days wherein God made all things, not as ordinary days measured by the solar circuit, since the sun was only made on the fourth day, but as one day, namely, the day of angelic knowledge as directed to six classes of things. As in the ordinary day, morning is the beginning, and evening the close of day, so, their knowledge of the primordial being of things is called morning knowledge; and this is according as things exist in the Word. But their knowledge of the very being of the thing created, as it stands in its own nature, is termed evening knowledge; because the being of things flows from the Word, as from a kind of primordial principle; and this flow is terminated in the being which they have in themselves.”

I don’t mean to contradict Saint Thomas Aquinas, but the Bible says that there was evening before morning. If we apply the rules of knowledge given by Saint Augustine to men in a analogical manner, we can say that evening knowledge is our natural knowledge and morning knowledge a kind of supernatural knowledge in the light of God. We associate it with the gift of science, one of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. This science is of a different order than natural science. It shows us, as Father Sineux says, “ the palpable effects of God’s goodness and the use of them that we should have in order to respond to His will.” This gift is directly connected to the virtue of Faith which is the Divine Light in our minds.

Christ made all things new on the Cross but we need His light to see and understand it. We have to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, as Saint Paul says, and for that, we must accept the light.
I hear you saying that you have already accepted the light, since you are here, Christians among the most faithful, at the foot of the altar in order to receive the grace of God and to sanctify your souls. But don’t be so self-confident. Have you entirely accepted all the light of God? Are you sure that you don’t keep some dark recesses in your conscience? You might show some appearances of children of Light, but you are still walking in the darkness because you have not totally accepted Jesus Christ in your heart and in your mind.

Attending the Latin Mass doesn’t automatically give you the light of God. By the way, I want to take this opportunity to say few words about the recent news. Many of us are now rejoicing over the news from the Vatican regarding the liberalization of the old-rite. It will certainly be good but it will not change everything in a few days. First of all, because this freedom already exists by right even though many don’t believe it or say it doesn’t. Secondly, since there is the matter of Faith involved with the Latin Mass, don’t expect that the enemies of the Faith will accept and promote a Pontifical decision. The answer to the crisis of the Church doesn’t depend only on a judicial structure or an administrative decree even though they have their importance. The issue is: do we accept the light of God or do we refuse it? The Liturgical aspect is just the tip of the iceberg.
And for now, we still have to find the light of God and to renew our minds in the spirit of God. There is enough work until the end of our life, because the old man still remains in the deepest recesses of our very beings. To be renewed in spirit is not an easy task.

So, I encourage you to think about this: it is good to militate in favor of the Latin mass, but our first battle is within ourselves against the spirits of darkness who try to take possession of us. Since we don’t have the ability to size up the state of our soul, spiritual direction is deeply recommended by the entire spiritual tradition of the Church. In fact, it is absolutely impossible to make some progress in the spiritual life without spiritual direction. How do you think the Saints became so holy? By themselves? Certainly not. Having a good spiritual director – I mean a good priest, truly Catholic – which already excludes many – is a gift from God which helps us immensly in the renewing of our spirits. He will help you to catch the Light of God and to keep it firmly for the good of your soul.

May Our blessed Mother help us to accept this Divine Light so that we can be entirely and deeply renewed in the Spirit of God.

mercredi, octobre 11, 2006

Arise and walk!

Sermon for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost

The Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins! The statement is clear, plain and firm. You either believe in it or you don’t. In other words, you either believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came into the world in order to redeem us, or you don’t. It is a matter of Faith.

For the rationalists, Faith is not reasonable. For many others, it is just uncertain. Therefore, Jesus comes to sustain our Faith by His miracles. “Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee: or to say, Arise, and walk?” Then He tells us the purpose of miracles: “that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.” Only God has this power, so asserting that He has such a power is a proclamation of His divinity. Some believe Him, others don’t. The Faith in the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ establishes a separation among men between those who believe in Him and those who don’t believe in Him. Christ truly is the stumbling block. As Saint Peter says, to those who believe, He is honor, but to the non-believers, He his the head of the corner and a rock of scandal. These will be confounded for not having accepted Jesus in and through Faith since they had the occasion to do it.

The fact is that there is a huge confusion between Faith and supernatural phenomenon. By supernatural, I don’t mean here the Divine order of grace, which is the Catholic meaning of this word, but rather a generic form of the word referring to anything extraordinary or any paranormal manifestation. Many people don’t consider a miracle to be a Divine act whose purpose is to animate our Faith, but rather as an interesting event that merits in itself all our attention. For them, the most important aspect of the miracle is the effect and not the cause, which denotes a lack of intelligence or, at least, a certain will to not know. The problem is that this attitude is also widespread among many Catholics who, without any good discernment, rush to the see the sights of the apparitions – or so-called apparition – because they estimate it to be very important. Sometimes, they make many sacrifices and efforts in order to go there or to meet a so-called visionary. By the way, a true visionary is usually very discreet and prefers to hide himself rather than to give a press conference to explain what God or Our Lady wants. But the same people who rush to the places of apparitions don’t make nearly as much efforts to confess regularly – at least once a month – and to attend Mass during the week. They prioritize the sensational aspect of their pilgrimage but neglect the daily care of their souls. They think that it would be very profitable for them to meet Jesus in such a great occasion, but they forget that they have a greater occasion every day in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. They just forgot that Faith is more important than any miracle because miracles are for Faith and the goal is more important than the means.

The Apostle Thomas, probably before he became Saint Thomas, had succumbed to this temptation. He wanted to see, as the world does. The world wants signs; it wants to see. It is always a quest for sensational and the media are fond of it. Thomas had the spirit of the world and didn’t believe. He wanted visible proof of Christ’s resurrection. Our Lord asked Him for an act of Faith: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.

Dear Brethren, let us be men or women of Faith. It is hard, but it is the only way to go to God. We can reach Him in truth only by an act of Faith, which is a true supernatural act in the precise meaning of the word ‘supernatural’.

May Our Lady help us to sustain our Faith, so that we can really be blessed, in the expectation of Beatific Vision!

Amen !

lundi, octobre 09, 2006

Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart!

Sermon of the Solemn Mass
celebrated at
Holy Spirit Church
for the
Alliance ot the Two Hearts
(Friday October 6th)
Dear Brethren,

Here is the great Revelation of the Heart of Jesus: "I am meek and humble of heart." Meekness and humility are the two great characteristics of Our Lord and they appear to be the foundation of His magisterial authority. “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.

Christ doesn’t say: learn from me because I am intelligent and omniscient, but “because I am meek and humble of heart.” We usually don’t expect to see such virtues in a teacher. We don’t often hear a University professor begin his class by saying: “Now, listen to me! I am going to teach you because I am meek and humble of heart.” I would be skeptical and quite suspicious of him if he did.

But Our Lord is not just any teacher or any professor. And He doesn’t give just any old teaching as other teachers do. He tells us in John VII,16: “My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me.” The truth is, that Jesus Christ is the Word of His Father who reveals Him. His doctrine is all about the knowledge of the Father and He teaches us the way we must go in order to get to the Father.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, true God and true Man. It is what we call, the Mystery of the Incarnation. Jesus is one Divine Person and has two natures. Now, we, his disciples, have to confess this truth and announce it to all the Nations, so that they may know God, convert their hearts to Him and love Him. The stakes are high, to say the least: this is for the glory of God and the salvation of souls!

The purpose of the Incarnation is this: Jesus Christ came into the world to redeem it. The Incarnation is for the Redemption of souls, which is another truth taught by Jesus and confessed by the Holy Catholic Church in Her Creed. Saint Maxim the Confessor echoes this truth of Faith in one of his letters:

The preachers of the truth, who are officiants of the Divine Grace, have been teaching us from the beginning until today, that God wants our salvation. They tell us that He loves and desires nothing else than to see men turn to Him through a true conversion.
The Divine Word of God the Father wanted to show that this desire is more divine than any other. He is Himself the first and incomparable testimony of infinite goodness. By a humiliation in our favor, He condescended to share our life through the Incarnation. By His acts, His sufferings, His words, adapted to our condition, He has reconciled us with God the Father when we were the enemies at war against Him. When we were exiled from the blessed life, He brought us back to it.
In fact, he didn’t content Himself with healing our diseases by His miracles and taking on Him our sufferings and weakness. He didn’t only pay our debt by accepting death, He who is without sins, and He didn’t only free us from our numerous faults, but He also instructs us so that we can have goodness like His, and He invites us to a perfect mutual love

The work of Redemption is certainly the greatest work of God who displays in it such a great Love. Indeed, Creation cost Him nothing, but what about Redemption? Look at Jesus on the cross, naked, insulted, pierced, scourged, offering all His blood to His Father for all those who are His persecutors. The fact is, that we are one of them every time we commit a sin, even one of those that we unjustly call “little sins” under the fallacious pretext that they are not mortal. But Jesus Christ died for all sins, so, even for our venial sins.
And it is precisely because we are sinners that He came into the world to save us. What a paradox and what a lesson! It is the lesson of the greatest Master who teaches from an unusual chair: the Cross! As His disciples, we have no choice but to accept His Cross. It is absolutely impossible to accept Jesus-Christ without His Cross. As Saint Paul, we should “know anything but Jesus-Christ, and Him crucified.” We are saved by Jesus and through His Cross. It is precisely on the Cross that the Apostle Saint John saw the Heart of his beloved Master. From this Heart, a spring of water spurts out with the Precious Blood of our Redeemer. This is the water of Divine grace which cleans and purifies us. But we still have to go to this fountain in order to collect it. Jesus Christ offers the water of purification and the blood of salvation to everybody but only those who receive and accept them are purified and saved.

Believing that all are saved because Christ died for all is a terrible error which could only bring about the end of the Catholic Church if it were possible. The purpose of the Church, founded by Jesus and sanctified by His Blood is the salvation of souls which brings glory to God. In fact, the mission of the Church is nothing else but to pursue and complete the temporal mission of Jesus on earth. Thus, the beautiful definition of the Church given by Bossuet receives its all meaning: the Church is Jesus-Christ diffused and communicated.

Just before returning to His Father, Jesus gave a mission to His disciples: “Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.”

You see, the Church is missionary and it cannot be otherwise. Her mission has never changed even though many of Her shepherds teach a new gospel today. Men cannot change the teaching and the mission of Jesus-Christ, and if they do it, they are wolves introduced into the sheepfold but not his disciples.

Dear Brethren, listen to Jesus: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart!” We have only one Master. This is the Master we have to serve, to follow and to love. He is the way and the truth and the life. He teaches us the truth through His Church whose word resounds all over the world, especially through the voice of the Holy Father, Her visible Head. He gives us the life – His life – through the Sacraments. He shows us the way by His life on earth which was the embodiment of meekness and humility.

Dear Brethren, it is now the time to follow Him and to accept Him in our life. This night is a wonderful occasion to meet Him, to clean our souls and to renew our charity. You will have the possibility to confess your sins after this Mass and to remain in silence with Our Lord during the Adoration of the Holy Sacrament. Jesus is waiting for you. Don’t deceive Him.
May Our Lady encourage us to love and serve Her Son. May she help us to obtain a heart like Jesus, a heart full of meekness and humility.

mercredi, octobre 04, 2006

Social Justice

Just some notes from yesterday meeting
Saint Thomas Aquinas group !
Social Justice


Man = social animal. True but not enough precise. We say, with Aristotle: man = political animal, because certain species of animals live in society.

Greek: Polis = organized society.
: Politeiai = constitution ; the citizens as a whole.

Definition of politics: “the art and science of government.” The most usual definition, but we can find many others which are reflected more or less the mind of their authors.
In its wide sense, politics refer to the structures and functioning ( methodical, theoretical and practical ) of a community or a society.

Certainly man can live without any political organization, but his life is of inferior quality: Aristotle points out that Barbarians don’t live in cities.
Societies have all a goal according to their activities. State, which is a perfect society, has a higher goal: the common good.
Aristotle: even though man can live without political organization, politics are a part of human nature. But in order to go from the state of social animal to political animal, certain conditions must be fulfilled. The political science ( or art ) extends our nature and makes a human community a civilization.

A difficulty
Politics are a science, which supposes a certain determinism in its objects and some constants. But Politics involve a certain freedom. Man has the power to organize society whom he belongs to. He has a certain freedom in this matter. What can be the rules and the laws of a science that admits freedom?
In other words, is there a political reality we can objectively study? Are there stable laws of human order?

We will have to speak about truth and freedom ( next meetings ).

Social justice:

New expression from Catholic origin introduced by Pius XI in Pontifical Documents especially with the Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo anno.
Saint Thomas used the word ‘general justice’. In the XVIII-XIX, ‘legal justice’ was more used. Some Catholics theologians began to use the expression ‘social justice’ in the second half of XIX. It is now usual in the Pontifical Documents since Pius XI.

Definition of Justice: “justice is a habit whereby a man renders to each one his due by a constant and perpetual will.” ( IIa-IIae Q58 art1)

It is a social virtue because it has reference to others while virtues are usually self-regarding. The object of all the commandments of the Decalogue are acts of the virtue of justice as Saint Thomas explains: “Seemingly justice is the sole virtue whereby we are directed to another. Now we are directed to another by all the precepts of the Decalogue, as is evident if one consider each of them. Therefore all the precepts of the Decalogue pertain to justice.” (IIa-IIae Q122 art1)

General justice: it directs the acts of every other virtues to the common good.
Particular justice: it directs man in matters relating to particular goods of others.

We speak also about legal justice ( = general justice ): virtue of a good legislator who makes good laws and also of the good citizen who obeys these laws. By ‘legal’ we don’t speak about only positive laws but also natural law.

Particular justice is divided in:
--> commutative justice: from a person to another person. It requires an arithmetic equivalence in exchanges between persons. (If I buy an item of $100 to someone, I owe him $100)

--> distributive justice: from each single person to the whole community. It requires proportionality in the distribution of the common good.

Now, there is a difficulty. Pius XI gives the definition of social justice. It is the same definition that Saint Thomas gives for general justice. “Now it is of the very essence of social justice to demand for each individual all that is necessary for the common good.” (Divini redemptoris 51)
But it seems that the Pope distinguishes social justice from commutative justice when he writes: “In reality, besides commutative justice, there is also social justice with its own set obligations.”
So is social justice similar to distributive justice?

Some authors consider these two justice to be the same and only one. We don’t think so.

“In reality, besides commutative justice, there is also social justice with its own set obligations, from which neither employers nor workingmen can escape. Now it is of the very essence of social justice to demand for each individual all that is necessary for the common good. But just as in the living organism it is impossible to provide for the good of the whole unless each single part and each individual member is given what it needs for the exercise of its proper functions, so it is impossible to care for the social organism and the good of society as a unit unless each single part and each individual member - that is to say, each individual man in the dignity of his human personality - is supplied with all that is necessary for the exercise of his social functions.­ à it is precisely distributive justice!
So there is no social justice possible if there is no distributive justice first. They are distinct.

If social justice be satisfied, the result will be an intense activity in economic life as a whole, pursued in tranquility and order. This activity will be proof of the health of the social body, just as the health of the human body is recognized in the undisturbed regularity and perfect efficiency of the whole organism.”

Importance of distributive justice
When we speak about justice, we usually think about commutative justice and we usually forgot distributive justice. Yet, it is important as Pius XI says. We have to consider not only our personal goods but also – and maybe first – the common good.

Definition of common good: it is both the good of the community and the community of the good.
It is not a good which would be the good of the community considered as a person. First a community is not a person, even though we use the expression morale person : analogy !
à Pius XII : social community has no unity which subsists in itself. Its unity is a unity of finality or action, but not metaphysical.
Then if we consider common good as the good of the community as a person à by this fact it is a singular good which would be the good of the State. It might be the case with a tyrant, who, by the way, usually doesn’t care about the common good. When a State appropriate the common good for itself, it is Totalitarianism. In this case, social justice is destroyed.
( Case: What about the despoiling of the goods of the Church in France in 1905? Was it a kind of Totalitarianism? )

Leo XIII: Civil society exists for the common good ( Rerum novarum ) It is the supreme goal which gives its origin to human society ( Au milieu des solicitudes )
Justice is a virtue
Not ideology à it means, acts !! It is first a virtue to practice rather than a right to assert. We often demand justice for ourselves but we also fail to practice justice toward others or toward the community. It is also true for social justice.

lundi, octobre 02, 2006

Saint Thomas Aquinas group

Next meeting
Tuesday October 3rd
at 8 pm
Saint Francis de Sales Church
587 Landers Drive
Mableton GA 30126

Subject: Social Justice!

dimanche, octobre 01, 2006

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

You all have probably heard about the excellent work of Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort entitled ‘The Secret of the Rosary’. In fact the exact and entire title is: The Admirable Secret of the Rosary for Conversion and Salvation. The Saint tells us, with this title, the purpose of the Rosary: Our conversion and finally our salvation.

Then, he goes on to explain how the Rosary helps to bring about our conversion and our salvation. The first way it assists us by the prayers it is composed of. It begins with the Creed which is the holy summary of all Christian truths. Saint Louis de Montfort says: "it is a prayer that has great merit because faith is the root, foundation and beginning of all Christian virtues, of all eternal virtues and also of all prayers that are pleasing to Almighty God." The Epistle to Hebrews indeed states: "But without faith it is impossible to please God."

Just think about the three first words of the Creed: Credo in Deum! Saint Louis says again: “ I cannot resist saying that the first few words ‘I believe in God’ are marvelously effective as a means of sanctifying our souls and of putting devils to rout, because these three words contain the acts of the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity.” How many temptations we can forcefully reject just by saying these words: I believe in God!

Finally, Faith allow us to understand, as far as we are able, the mysteries of the life of Jesus and Mary we meditate on during the Rosary. So, it is good to start this beautiful prayer by an act of Faith.

After the Creed, we pray the Our Father. The excellence of this prayers is that it was taught, by Our Lord directly. It is a perfect prayer and, as Tertullian says, a summary of the New Testament.

After the Our Father we pray the Angelic Salutation: “Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen.

Its enormous value is due, first of all, to Our Lady to whom it was addressed, to the purpose of the Incarnation of the Word for which reason this prayer was brought from heaven, and also to the Archangel Gabriel who was the first ever to say it.”

Now, certain things have to be said about this prayer. They express the opinions of many Saints and wise spiritual writers. Saint Louis de Montfort relays these writings to us, from the testimony of Blessed Alain de la Roche who was granted by revelations of Our Lady. The first thing is that “ if people fail to say the Hail Mary out of carelessness, or because they are lukewarm, or because they hate it, this is a sign that they will probably and indeed shortly be condemned to eternal punishment.”

The second truth, which is a corollary of the first one, is that “those who love this divine salutation bear the very special stamp of predestination.”

And the third is that “those to whom God has given the signal grace of loving Our Lady and of serving her out of love must take very great care to continue to love and serve her until the time when she shall have had them placed in heaven by her divine Son in the degree of glory which they have earned.

Now listen to these words which were written almost three centuries ago but are still as urgent and profound today:
The heretics, all of whom are children of the devil and clearly bear the sign of God's reprobation, have a horror of the Hail Mary. They still say the Our Father but never the Hail Mary; they would rather wear a poisonous snake around their necks than wear a scapular or carry a rosary.
Among Catholics those who bear the mark of God's reprobation think but little of the rosary (whether that of five decades or fifteen). They either fail to say it or only say it very quickly and in a lukewarm manner.
Even if I did not believe that which has been revealed to Blessed Alan de la Roche, even then my own experience would be enough to convince me of this terrible but consoling truth. I do now know, nor do I see clearly, how it can be that a devotion which seems to be so small can be the infallible sign of eternal salvation and how its absence can be the sign of God's eternal displeasure; nevertheless, nothing could possibly be more true.
In our own day we see that people who hold new doctrines that have been condemned by Holy Mother Church may have quite a bit of surface piety, but they scorn the Rosary, and often dissuade their acquaintances from saying it, by destroying their love of it and their faith in it. In doing this they make elaborate excuses which are plausible in the eyes of the world. They are very careful not to condemn the Rosary and Scapular as the Calvinist do - but the way they set about attacking them is all the more deadly because it is the more cunning

Dear brethren, you can see now that it is not without reasons that Saint Louis speaks of the Rosary as a secret for conversion and salvation. Today we are celebrating Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Of course, she is not the Redeemer, who is her Son, but the fact is that Jesus wanted to associate His Mother in the work for Salvation. Recognizing her as Coredemptrix is not usurping the title of Our Lord, but simply acknowledging that God is the Author of great things. Mary is the purest and the most perfect creature who ever came from God’s hands. Honoring her is giving justice to God, her Creator and Father.

So, let us turn to her. Let us invoke Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and let us pray the Holy Rosary in her honor. This prayer can change our life and can bring us to justification and then, if we are faithful, salvation. Let us not neglect such a secret, which is simply and purely the expression of our love for our Mother.

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us!