Recent Posts

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Repeat Post Two for Today

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Simplicity of Life Is Not Enough


There is a fallacy among Americans, at least, that simplifying a lifestyle is enough for happiness.

It is a start, but the search for Zen-like gardens and minimalist furnishings in a house, which has been so popular for the past twenty years or so. is a mere deception.

Simplicity of life means nothing if the goal is not holiness. If we merely want to avoid tremendous responsibilities and clutter, simplicity is a temporary not eternal solution.


In and of itself, there is nothing salvific about a simple life.

I have known two wealthy people seek out the simple life. One went to live in the mountains of upper state New York. He lived in a small ch√Ęteau at the edge of the mountains. He learned hunting and shooting and read Japanese and New Age spirituality on the simple life.


Yet, he lived without repenting of some serious sins. He was not a happy man. He was trying to simplify his life in order to find meaning. The meaning was not in the simplicity but in his facing the need to become a new man in Christ. I hope he found Christ.

One thing which can cause us to lose simplicity is too much activity. We do not have to do everything we think we must do. Busyness can be a sign of a lack of inner simplicity. Part of real simplicity is seeing what is around you, paying attention to details and then moving into the peace which only God can give in giving up those details. That is part of contemplation-letting God purify the imagination and our hearts.

The second person, a millionaire, did something similar. This very good person simplified his life and dropped membership in the country club and pulled back from what he saw as the empty pursuit of California social life at the very top echelons  He did simplify, but could not believe in Christ. He tried to deal with the reality of the Incarnation and live a moral, generous life, but he never became a Christian. Simplification did not lead him to Christ. It lead him to a new level of clarity of thinking, but not to the step of accepting Christ as his Saviour and God.

Simplicity is a beginning, but never an end in itself. This is true of so many things we choose to do, but if the goal is not oneness with Christ, we shall never find true meaning.

Part of the mystery here is that Faith is a gift. Some people strive and strive, and never take that step in admitting that Christ is True God and True Man.

The desert fathers lived extremely simple lives, but not for the sake of simplicity. They lived day to day in poverty for one reason.They were in love with God.

If we seek the means to become holy, we must fall in love with God. Then, simplicity becomes an act of worship and a sharing in the mystery of love.

Simplicity then becomes a means to concentrate on Christ, the Beloved more and more without distractions. Suffering pares away the excess.

One of the saddest days of my life was when I was in Mississippi helping out after Katrina. If one did not see the horror of that storm, the damage and disruption, one cannot understand what people experienced. The sad thing I saw was not the devastation, but a person I met who immediately built a bigger and better, more extravagant house than he had before the storm. He was very wealthy, but had learned nothing by losing all his belongings. To make the point more pathetic, he established his new house in an area of destruction in the style of a Roman villa. with Zen influences. It was as if a survivor of the Fall of the Roman Empire just moved to another area and built another pagan temple to the same gods who had not protected him-those gods who cannot see and cannot speak. The entire project seemed so futile and empty to me. Had this person learned nothing from his huge loss except to build something bigger and more outrageously elegant? Yet, he did it in a Zen style, as if to say that he had learned simplicity. A hut would have been more appropriate. Everyone else at the party was praising his project. I felt sick and saddened that he was still in the dark,  but was covering his grief with a panacea which would not cure his inner emptiness.
There were so many stones in the house, I was afraid to turn around and start an avalanche.

Only love changes us. If we can reach through the suffering and loss and find God Who waits for us in the ruin, we have learned the lesson of dying to self.  Then we find love.            

If I love someone, do I not want to be in his presence and just be there?

Simplicity allows us space to love God, not merely space.

The Eucharist is our example of extreme simplicity. So is the Babe in the manger. We can approach the God Who gave up all in order to be like us. Therefore, we can give up all to be like Him.

Repeat Post from 2012

Two people lied to a friend of mine today before Mass, and this couple is in their older middle ages. They lied easily and willingly. We knew they were lying about a situation which happened last week. Sadly, they did not know we knew the whole story, so they lied. Why?

A young man lied to me about two months ago in the parish, seriously. His lie was exposed two months later; duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy.

A young man and a young woman in a shop lied to me two weeks ago about the service on my phone. When I called customer service in Delhi, I was told the truth about the phone usage. When I tried to return the phone as it was not sold to purpose, I was told there was a no return policy. I had the phone for two weeks when I attempted to return it.

Customer service in Bombay told me one thing, phone shop in Kent another. Then, I went in another day and another young man told me that the other sales persons were wrong, but he still could not take back the phone. I have a phone which is not suited to my needs.

An optometrist lied to me last week. He told me my eyes had changed to the point where I needed to change the prescription taken in the shop seven days before. He lied to cover up a mistake from his co-worker, who did not do a good job on the first eye test or the makers, who did not follow the prescription. I knew the glasses were wrong as soon as I put them on, but could not get back to the shop until morning and had picked them up at the end of the day, thinking my eyes had to adjust. The sight test or the writing down of the test was in error. Yet, the man lied.

I knew this to be a lie and in order to get the glasses changed, as they are wrong and I paid megabucks for them, with the help of a friend. I just went along with the pretense in order to get these fixed and was polite and just listened. I said nothing to agree or disagree. Arguing gets one nowhere in England. The customer is not considered as having any rights or even a brain.

How much nicer it would have been for him to say, "I am sorry, but we made a mistake on your prescription and we will take care of this immediately."

A real estate agent lied to me about his houses he was fixing up and selling.

Lying is the status quo here and perhaps in other places, like certain areas in the States. I have been lied to by young people and old, but Catholics and pagans, by lay people and clergymen.

Why and how did this happen? How is it that when I was in Ireland, many adults instructed me to lie about residency and work, saying they do this all the time-lying to get jobs or to stay in America for long stretches of time? This happened just over a year ago.

Deceit starts within a person. We cannot lie even teeny tiny white lies and expect Truth, Who is a Person to come and dwell within us.

I am amazed. I was amazed. Lies destroy marriages, communities, parishes, if people care.

One cannot trust liars, especially those who lie easily and consistently. A community or society cannot function when those who serve it lie consistently with intent to deceive. 

I know some Catholics who lie about their taxes. They tell me they do not have to claim money made in cash. I have pointed this out, but now realize this is a habit with these people.

The British Government and the American Government seem to be making a habit out of lying. Our prime minister told us no clergyman who in conscience disagrees with SSM will have to perform a marriage. There are no safeguards in the bill for such. There is vague language and I highlight the dubious phrases which open up judicial interpretation in The Hague.

Clause 2 provides for a number of protections for religious organisations:
  • No person could be compelled to opt in to any involvement in same sex marriages, or from opting out of any involvement in same sex marriages (clause 2 also defines what are opt in and opt-out activities);
  • No person could be compelled to conduct a same sex marriage; be present at, carry out, or otherwise participate in, a same sex marriage; or consent to a relevant marriage being conducted;
  • The Equality Act 2010 would be amended to prevent discrimination claims under the Act from being brought against people who refuse to do any of the activities referred to above.
Clause 3 amends section 26 of the Marriage Act 1949 to authorise civil same sex marriages and without any opting in necessary. The revised section 26 will therefore authorise:
  • religious marriages for opposite sex couples only in registered buildings;
  • civil marriages for all couples in a register office;
  • civil marriages for all couples in, for example, a hotel or other approved premises;
  • religious marriages for opposite sex couples by the Quakers or the Jewish religion;
  • marriages opposite sex couples, one of whom is house-bound or detained;
  • civil marriages for all couples, one of whom is house-bound or detained;
  • marriages for opposite sex couples in a church or chapel of the Church of England or the Church in Wales.
Clause 4 and Schedule 1 insert a new section 26A into the Marriage Act 1949 which would allow religious organisations to opt in to performing same sex marriages. The religious organisation would have to apply to the Registrar General for a building certified as a place of religious worship to be registered as authorised to solemnise same sex marriage. If the necessary conditions are met, the Registrar General would then have to register the building. The Church of England and the Church of Wales would not, however, be allowed to opt in under this provision, although the Church in Wales would be able to conduct same sex marriages under clause 8.
Clause 5 inserts a new section 26B to the Marriage Act 1949 which would allow for religious same sex marriages to take place without any opt in necessary in certain circumstances:
  • Marriages in accordance with the religious practices of Quakers, as long as the recording clerk of the Society of Friends in London has consented to marriages of same sex couples;
  • Marriages in Jewish religious ceremony, as long as the relevant governing authority has consented to marriages of same sex couples (the relevant governing authority would be the person or persons designated as such by the secretary of the synagogue); and
  • Marriages for all religions, except the Church of England and Church in Wales, where one or both of the same sex couples is house-bound or detained, and the relevant governing authority has given consent to same sex marriages.
Clause 6 amends Part 5 of the Marriage Act 1949 to permit same sex marriages in naval, military and air force chapels. Under Part 5, a marriage may take place in such a chapel which has been licensed for the solemnisation of marriages according to the rites of the Church of England or the Church in Wales, or registered for the solemnisation of other marriages. Clause 6 also amends Part 5 allow for the registration of military chapels for the solemnisation of marriages of same sex couples, with an exception for the Church of England and the Church in Wales.
Clause 7 amends section 1 of the Marriage (Registrar General’s Licence) Act 1970 so that the Registrar General can only authorise a religious marriage of a same sex couple if the relevant governing authority has consented to marriages of same sex couples. Section 1 does not apply to the Church of England or the Church in Wales.
Clause 8 sets out the procedure by which the Church in Wales could opt in to performing same sex marriages. The Lord Chancellor would have to be satisfied that the Governing Body of the Church in Wales had resolved that the law should be changed to allow for the marriage of same sex couples according to the rites of the Church in Wales. He would then be able to make an order permitting the Church in Wales to perform same sex marriages.
Clause 9 would permit couples in a civil partnership to convert them into marriages.

There is not a word of protection from The Hague.

Lying creates mistrust. Lying indicates something is wrong with the soul. Lying may be connected to serious self-deceit.  Here is the CCC.


ARTICLE 8
THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT


You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.253It was said to the men of old, "You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn."254
2464 The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant.
I. LIVING IN THE TRUTH
2465 The Old Testament attests that God is the source of all truth. His Word is truth. His Law is truth. His "faithfulness endures to all generations."255 Since God is "true," the members of his people are called to live in the truth.256
2466 In Jesus Christ, the whole of God's truth has been made manifest. "Full of grace and truth," he came as the "light of the world," he is the Truth.257 "Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness."258 The disciple of Jesus continues in his word so as to know "the truth [that] will make you free" and that sanctifies.259 To follow Jesus is to live in "the Spirit of truth," whom the Father sends in his name and who leads "into all the truth."260 To his disciples Jesus teaches the unconditional love of truth: "Let what you say be simply 'Yes or No.'"261
2467 Man tends by nature toward the truth. He is obliged to honor and bear witness to it: "It is in accordance with their dignity that all men, because they are persons . . . are both impelled by their nature and bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth once they come to know it and direct their whole lives in accordance with the demands of truth."262
2468 Truth as uprightness in human action and speech is called truthfulness, sincerity, or candor. Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and in guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy.
2469 "Men could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful to one another."263 The virtue of truth gives another his just due. Truthfulness keeps to the just mean between what ought to be expressed and what ought to be kept secret: it entails honesty and discretion. In justice, "as a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth."264
2470 The disciple of Christ consents to "live in the truth," that is, in the simplicity of a life in conformity with the Lord's example, abiding in his truth. "If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth."265

and there is more in the CCC. Take time to read the section.

2482 "A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving."281 The Lord denounces lying as the work of the devil: "You are of your father the devil, . . . there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."282


Where Do You Find Community?

Many Catholic young people have asked me "Where can I find a Catholic lay community?"

I have one answer. At the foot of the Cross...

Those who love Christ and are willing to suffer for Him in their daily lives form your community.

Those who accept His Lordship and accept their own crosses, including those willing taken for love, make up your community.

If you want community, look for the humble.

If you want community, look for the pious.

If you want community, look for those who love Truth.

Find those who are working on their sins, going to frequent confession, repenting, changing.

If you are not in an area where you can find these sorts of people, MOVE.

I am serious about that.

Find those who love Christ and are standing at the foot of His Cross.

Apologies

I cannot upload or download photos or pictures at this time. For some reason, the satellite Net service is not allowing this. I hope that those of you who have good Net service thank God daily. This is a smallish but persistent cross for me. I cannot talk to my friends on Skype, either, which is a great loss to me.

And, when I think of people in this area looking at porn, stupidity, and playing games while I cannot help you visualize Our Lady or Jesus, I know this is spiritual warfare.

More and more people seem to be falling into darkness. Pray daily for your families.

Perfection Series Five: Part Four; Mary

On the Feast of the Solemnity of the Mother of God in 2012, the Pope Emeritus shared this insight on the Birth of Christ, which reveals the great perfection of Mary, the Theotokos. For the purpose of this mini-series on perfection and Mary, one can see the fact that Mary at the Birth of Christ was completely focused on Christ, in and with the "superabundant measure of the gift of grace" which was given to her in her Immaculate Conception.

Contemplation was her life on earth, the complete oneness of mind, heart, soul, memory, understanding and will with and in Christ.

The first to be swept up by this blessing was Mary the virgin, the spouse of Joseph, chosen by God from the first moment of her existence to be the mother of his incarnate Son. She is the “blessed among women” (Lk 1:42) – in the words of Saint Elizabeth’s greeting. Her whole life was spent in the light of the Lord, within the radius of his name and of the face of God incarnate in Jesus, the “blessed fruit of her womb”. This is how Luke’s Gospel presents her to us: fully intent upon guarding and meditating in her heart upon everything concerning her son Jesus (cf. Lk 2:19, 51). The mystery of her divine motherhood that we celebrate today contains in superabundant measure the gift of grace that all human motherhood bears within it, so much so that the fruitfulness of the womb has always been associated with God’s blessing. The Mother of God is the first of the blessed, and it is she who bears the blessing; she is the woman who received Jesus into herself and brought him forth for the whole human family. In the words of the liturgy: “without losing the glory of virginity, [she] brought forth into the world the eternal light, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Preface I of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
Mary is the mother and model of the Church, who receives the divine Word in faith and offers herself to God as the “good soil” in which he can continue to accomplish his mystery of salvation. The Church also participates in the mystery of divine motherhood, through preaching, which sows the seed of the Gospel throughout the world, and through the sacraments, which communicate grace and divine life to men. The Church exercises her motherhood especially in the sacrament of Baptism, when she generates God’s children from water and the Holy Spirit, who cries out in each of them: “Abba, Father!” (Gal 4:6). Like Mary, the Church is the mediator of God’s blessing for the world: she receives it in receiving Jesus and she transmits it in bearing Jesus. He is the mercy and the peace that the world, of itself, cannot give, and which it needs always, at least as much as bread. 

Mary leads us to Christ and to the Father. To her was revealed the Indwelling of the Trinity to the highest degree of any human. In the Holy Spirit, through baptism, we join with her in our journey to perfection. She points the way, continually.

Without Mary, there is no Incarnation, no Redemption, no Passion and Death of Christ, and no Resurrection. We would be still locked in sin.

Indeed, she is the Co-Redemptrix. 

to be continued....

Perfection Series V: Part Three; Mary

Our Lady Mary alone of all the disciples of Christ was not attached to the humanity of Christ. This may seem an impossibility for a mother, but as the Mother of God, as the most humble person ever created, Mary was without egoism or pride. She had detachment, that perfect objectivity of the purest of all the saints.

Her human, motherly love was a unique love of such a high state, the highest state of spiritual love, that she could love freely and completely.

This is why the Catholic Church should declare her Mediatrix of All Grace and Co-Redemptrix.

Through her comes all graces from Christ Her Son. She is a completely free and pure recipient of grace and "full of grace". As Mother, she desires to share grace with us, according to God's Providence.

"Hail Mary, full of grace", Gabriel stated and we state daily. Her perfect love for Her Divine Son means that she dispenses His Life, His Love in complete purity.

Her relationship to the Trinity is the most pure, most complete that any human being can experience. And, she wants to teach each one of us what it means to love freely, without attachment.

Of course, we are limited according to God's designs for our lives. Each one of us is called to be as perfect as we can be, but that perfection is unique and much lower than that of Our Lady.

She is our Star, guiding us on the way through the darkness of the purification of the spirit.

Cling to her and ask her for help, as she is our perfect friend along the way who will lead us to Christ.

to be continued....

Perfection Series V: Our Lady: Part Two

The first aspect of this series, which I began in the last post, has to do with the death of the ego and the purification of the spirit.

Now, some of you may be wondering how Mary, who is perfect, can teach those of us who are imperfect about perfection.

This question indicates that we do not understand that Our Lady truly suffered with Christ in the Passion. What has participating in the Passion have to do with the death of the ego?

Mary's will was so united to that of Christ that she willed the manner in which God chose to redeem mankind. She did not cling to anything, any false emotion, or false hope that God would intervene and stop the Passion.

She, in fact, encouraged Christ to walk the Via Dolorosa. The Wedding Feast of Cana was the turning point, not only inaugurating Christ's mission, but beginning the walk to Calvary. This is what Christ meant by referring to Mary as "Woman". From the moment of the miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana, Mary becomes the universal Mother of us all.

She is also called Mother at the foot of the Cross. The Woman is the universal symbol of all who suffer. She is the one, who although pure, endures the suffering of Christ, Her Son, with Him. She shows us complete humility.

But, she is not alone at the foot of the Cross. Christ gives her to John and John to her. The message for us is that we really need strong, solid, Catholic friends, real brothers and sisters in Christ, to help us endure purification.

Mary's great humility is our guide. She is far above us, but she shows us the way. I have come to the conclusion that one needs to ask Our Lady for help in the purification of the spirit. She alone among all humans (besides Christ, of course) experiences perfect humility and the absence of self-love and egotism.

Here is Garrigou-Lagrange again on this level of purification, wherein we need to ask Mary for help.

This passive purification will certainly not be without suffering, and, as St. John of the Cross teaches, it will even be a mystical death, the death to self, the disintegration of self-love, which until then has resisted grace, at times with great obstinacy. Here pride must receive the deathblow that it may give place to genuine humility, a virtue which has been compared to the deepest root of a tree, a root which buries itself so much the more deeply in the soil as the loftiest branch, the symbol of charity, rises higher toward the sky.
This center of the soul, the refuge of personal judgment and self­love that is often very subtle, must be illumined by the divine light and filled by God, rendered completely healthy, and vivified. On the feast of the Purification, at Mass and in the procession each person carries a lighted candle, the symbol of the light of life that each should bear in the innermost depths of his soul. This light of life was given to man on the first day of creation; extinguished by sin, it was rekindled by the grace of conversion and by the hope of the promised Redeemer. This light grew in the souls of the patriarchs and the prophets until the coming of Christ, "a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of . . . Israel," as the aged Simeon said in his beautiful canticle, Nunc dimittis, on the occasion of the presentation of Jesus in the Temple.
This same light of life, which grew in humanity until the advent of the Messias, should also grow in each of our souls from baptism until our entrance into heaven. It should gradually illumine and vivify the very center of our intellect and our heart that this depth may be not an obscure depth of egoism, personal judgment, and resistance to grace, but a depth of light and goodness where the Holy Ghost, the source of living water springing up into eternal life, may reign increasingly.
From what we have just said it is evident that the passive purification of the spirit, made necessary by the defects of proficients, is the decisive struggle between two spirits: the spirit of pride, which may grow even to blasphemy, to hatred of God, and despair, and that of humility and charity, which is eternal life begun in us. These two conflicting spirits may be symbolized by two trees, one of which illustrates the teaching of St. Gregory the Great and St. Thomas on the roots and results of the seven capital sins, while the other explains their doctrine on humility and charity, and the connection of these virtues with the other virtues and the seven gifts.

Mary is our guide because she willed suffering. She did not have to suffer with Christ, but God asked her to do so, supporting Christ along the way of sorrow. Because she experienced death in Christ, we can ask her to help us.

to be continued....

On The Passion of Christ, Friendship and Perfection. Yet Another Series: V

I thought I was finished with the Perfection Series, but apparently not...The Holy Spirit, through circumstances and my favorite author on the subject, have nudged me share some further thoughts on the purification of the spirit. My model in this series is Our Lady. She alone of all created humans is perfect, and can show us the way through the purification of the spirit.

The reason why the annihilation of the predominant fault is so important is that this fault, or these faults, directly effect the soul's ability to be rid of self-love.
 
I think that the only ways to overcome the predominant fault is to concentrate, to meditate on the Passion of Christ and to surround one's self with excellent Catholic friends who are also pursuing holiness.

What I have been witnessing lately is the great weight some people carry when they are completely isolated in their journey towards God.

Here is Garrigou-Lagrange quoting Tauler on both of these subjects.

Tauler declares: "There is only one way to triumph over these obstacles: God would have to take complete possession of the interior of the soul and occupy it, which happens only to His true friends. He sent us His only Son in order that the holy life of the God-Man, His great and perfect virtue, examples, teachings, and multiple sufferings might lift us above ourselves, make us leave ourselves completely (draw us from this depth of egoism), and that we might let our own pallid light disappear in the true and essential light." (20)
"This light [of the Word made flesh] shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:5). None but the poor in spirit and those who are completely stripped of self, of self-love, and of their individual wills, receive this light. There are many who have been materially poor for forty years and who have never received the slightest [interior] ray of it. Through their senses and reason, they know thoroughly what is said of this light, but, in its essence, they have never tasted it; it is foreign to them and remains far from them." (21)
Again Tauler says: "It is thus that, whereas simple common folk followed our Lord, the Pharisees, the princes of the priests and the scribes, every class that had the appearance of sanctity, harshly opposed Him and ended by putting Him to death." (22) God is the grandeur of humble souls, and His very lofty ways remain hidden to our pride.
We see, consequently, to what extremities we may be led by this depth of egoism and pride which blinds us and hinders us from recognizing our sins. Therefore it is important that the light of life of living faith and of the gifts of the Holy Ghost should penetrate the depths of our intellect and, as it were, the root of our will.
That we may receive this light and these gifts, it is not sufficient to know the letter of the Gospel and adhere to it; we must assimilate its spirit profoundly. Otherwise, appearing as Christians and using the language of Christians, we would preserve in the depths of our being something which is not Christian and which resists the light of life. There would be in the depths of our intellect and will as it were a citadel which would serve as a refuge for self-love, which is unwilling to surrender and to allow the reign of God to be profoundly and eternally established in us. Thereby certain souls, that think themselves quite advanced but that do not recognize their defects, are in greater peril than the common run of men who admit that they are sinners and who preserve the fear of God.
Consequently we should meditate on Tauler's conclusion: "Therefore, well-beloved children, employ all your activity, both of soul and body, to obtain that this true light may shine in you in such a way that you may taste it. In this way you will be able to return to your origin, where the true light shines. Desire, ask, with nature and without nature,(23) that this grace may be granted to you. Employ all your energy to this end, pray to the friends of God that they may help you in this work; attach yourself to those who are attached to God in order that they may lead you to God with them. May this grace be granted to all of us, and may the all loving God help us! Amen." (24)

People, we simply do not have time to waste on trivialities and procrastination. The surrender of self-love and self-will demand that we cooperate with graces given.

Now, most of us are surrounded by the sacraments. But, what if this time ends and we cannot get to the sacraments regularly?

In this series, I am going to concentrate on the Blessed Virgin Mary and perfection

to be continued....

A Reminder from Catholic Answers

Fundamentalists often make it a test of Christian orthodoxy to believe that the world was created in six 24-hour days and that no other interpretations of Genesis 1 are possible. They claim that until recently this view of Genesis was the only acceptable one—indeed, the only one there was.
The writings of the Fathers, who were much closer than we are in time and culture to the original audience of Genesis, show that this was not the case. There was wide variation of opinion on how long creation took. Some said only a few days; others argued for a much longer, indefinite period. Those who took the latter view appealed to the fact "that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Pet. 3:8; cf. Ps. 90:4), that light was created on the first day, but the sun was not created till the fourth day (Gen. 1:3, 16), and that Adam was told he would die the same "day" as he ate of the tree, yet he lived to be 930 years old (Gen. 2:17, 5:5). 
Catholics are at liberty to believe that creation took a few days or a much longer period, according to how they see the evidence, and subject to any future judgment of the Church (Pius XII’s 1950 encyclical Humani Generis 36–37). They need not be hostile to modern cosmology. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "[M]any scientific studies . . . have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life forms, and the appearance of man. These studies invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator" (CCC 283). Still, science has its limits (CCC 284, 2293–4). The following quotations from the Fathers show how widely divergent early Christian views were.

Justin Martyr

"For as Adam was told that in the day he ate of the tree he would die, we know that he did not complete a thousand years [Gen. 5:5]. We have perceived, moreover, that the expression ‘The day of the Lord is a thousand years’ [Ps. 90:4] is connected with this subject" (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 81 [A.D. 155]).

Theophilus of Antioch

"On the fourth day the luminaries came into existence. Since God has foreknowledge, he understood the nonsense of the foolish philosophers who were going to say that the things produced on earth come from the stars, so that they might set God aside. In order therefore that the truth might be demonstrated, plants and seeds came into existence before the stars. For what comes into existence later cannot cause what is prior to it" (To Autolycus 2:15 [A.D. 181]).
"All the years from the creation of the world [to Theophilus’ day] amount to a total of 5,698 years and the odd months and days. . . . [I]f even a chronological error has been committed by us, for example, of 50 or 100 or even 200 years, yet [there have] not [been] the thousands and tens of thousands, as Plato and Apollonius and other mendacious authors have hitherto written. And perhaps our knowledge of the whole number of the years is not quite accurate, because the odd months and days are not set down in the sacred books" (ibid., 3:28–29).

Irenaeus

"And there are some, again, who relegate the death of Adam to the thousandth year; for since ‘a day of the Lord is a thousand years,’ he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them, thus bearing out the sentence of his sin" (Against Heresies 5:23:2 [A.D. 189]).

Clement of Alexandria

"And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist? . . . That, then, we may be taught that the world was originated and not suppose that God made it in time, prophecy adds: ‘This is the book of the generation, also of the things in them, when they were created in the day that God made heaven and earth’ [Gen. 2:4]. For the expression ‘when they were created’ intimates an indefinite and dateless production. But the expression ‘in the day that God made them,’ that is, in and by which God made ‘all things,’ and ‘without which not even one thing was made,’ points out the activity exerted by the Son" (Miscellanies 6:16 [A.D. 208]).

Origen

"For who that has understanding will suppose that the first and second and third day existed without a sun and moon and stars and that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? . . . I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance and not literally" (The Fundamental Doctrines 4:1:16 [A.D. 225]).
"The text said that ‘there was evening and there was morning’; it did not say ‘the first day,’ but said ‘one day.’ It is because there was not yet time before the world existed. But time begins to exist with the following days" (Homilies on Genesis [A.D. 234]).
"And since he [the pagan Celsus] makes the statements about the ‘days of creation’ ground of accusation—as if he understood them clearly and correctly, some of which elapsed before the creation of light and heaven, the sun and moon and stars, and some of them after the creation of these we shall only make this observation, that Moses must have forgotten that he had said a little before ‘that in six days the creation of the world had been finished’ and that in consequence of this act of forgetfulness he subjoins to these words the following: ‘This is the book of the creation of man in the day when God made the heaven and the earth [Gen. 2:4]’" (Against Celsus 6:51 [A.D. 248]).
"And with regard to the creation of the light upon the first day . . . and of the [great] lights and stars upon the fourth . . . we have treated to the best of our ability in our notes upon Genesis, as well as in the foregoing pages, when we found fault with those who, taking the words in their apparent signification, said that the time of six days was occupied in the creation of the world" (ibid., 6:60).
"For he [the pagan Celsus] knows nothing of the day of the Sabbath and rest of God, which follows the completion of the world’s creation, and which lasts during the duration of the world, and in which all those will keep the festival with God who have done all their work in their six days" (ibid., 6:61).

Cyprian

"The first seven days in the divine arrangement contain seven thousand years" (Treatises 11:11 [A.D. 250]).

Victorinus

"God produced the entire mass for the adornment of his majesty in six days. On the seventh day, he consecrated it with a blessing" (On the Creation of the World [A.D. 280]).

Lactantius

"Therefore let the philosophers, who enumerate thousands of ages from the beginning of the world, know that the six-thousandth year is not yet complete. . . . Therefore, since all the works of God were completed in six days, the world must continue in its present state through six ages, that is, six thousand years. For the great day of God is limited by a circle of a thousand years, as the prophet shows, who says, ‘In thy sight, O Lord, a thousand years are as one day [Ps. 90:4]’" (Divine Institutes 7:14 [A.D. 307]).

Basil The Great

"‘And there was evening and morning, one day.’ Why did he say ‘one’ and not ‘first’? . . . He said ‘one’ because he was defining the measure of day and night . . . since twenty-four hours fill up the interval of one day" (The Six Days Work 1:1–2 [A.D. 370]).

Ambrose of Milan

"Scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent. . . . The nights in this reckoning are considered to be component parts of the days that are counted. Therefore, just as there is a single revolution of time, so there is but one day. There are many who call even a week one day, because it returns to itself, just as one day does, and one might say seven times revolves back on itself" (Hexaemeron [A.D. 393]).

Augustine

"It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation" (The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19–20 [A.D. 408]).
"With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation" (ibid., 2:9).
"Seven days by our reckoning, after the model of the days of creation, make up a week. By the passage of such weeks time rolls on, and in these weeks one day is constituted by the course of the sun from its rising to its setting; but we must bear in mind that these days indeed recall the days of creation, but without in any way being really similar to them" (ibid., 4:27).
"[A]t least we know that it [the Genesis creation day] is different from the ordinary day with which we are familiar" (ibid., 5:2).
"For in these days [of creation] the morning and evening are counted until, on the sixth day, all things which God then made were finished, and on the seventh the rest of God was mysteriously and sublimely signalized. What kind of days these were is extremely difficult or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say!" (The City of God 11:6 [A.D. 419]).
"We see that our ordinary days have no evening but by the setting [of the sun] and no morning but by the rising of the sun, but the first three days of all were passed without sun, since it is reported to have been made on the fourth day. And first of all, indeed, light was made by the word of God, and God, we read, separated it from the darkness and called the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night’; but what kind of light that was, and by what periodic movement it made evening and morning, is beyond the reach of our senses; neither can we understand how it was and yet must unhesitatingly believe it" (ibid., 11:7).
"They [pagans] are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of [man as] many thousands of years, though reckoning by the sacred writings we find that not 6,000 years have yet passed" (ibid., 12:10).
NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004
IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

Adult Responsibility

If you are an adult Catholic and have not read the Catechism or the Bible, or any encyclicals, you are negligent in your formation of conscience.

If you need help understanding the Bible or the CCC, there are many commentaries.

No excuses for ignorance in 2014.

Beyond Words

Many older, even elderly people are being shocked by the news. Some old people told me that they do not want to be around to see the fall of Western Civilization.

At least they recognized this is happening. The vast majority of people, including 40 and unders, I meet daily have no clue, nor do they want to have a clue.

As in the days of Noah, they are acting as if life will continue, as if sinning does not matter.

The sad part of this blindness is that people no longer believe that they are responsible for their own sins.

They psychoanalyze every action in order to exonerate themselves. "Well, I never had Catholic education. Well, my mom was mean and my dad absent. Well, I do not know how to be a Catholic."

Sorry, but adults are responsible for their own faith and the adult appropriation of that faith.

No one is excused unless they are mentally incompetent.

It is beyond my ability to speak or write about the blindness I see daily with regard to people living as if they do not have souls, and there is no afterlife.

Maybe, these people do not care.

God cares.

Friday, 29 August 2014

I know people considering this....

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/california-drought-residents-paint-grass-make-their-lawns-look-green-1457815

A Christian President Would Call for A Fast And Penance

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/california-drought-before-after-photos-show-falling-water-levels-lakes-reservoirs-1461928

Do Americans Understand What Is Going On?

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/why-vladimir-putin-referring-eastern-ukraine-new-russia-1463130

This does not have to be this way

http://www.businessinsider.com/uk-terror-threat-level-severe-2014-8

The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

The priest at Mass this morning had an excellent sermon.

He reminded us that we live in a world where people choose evil, like Herod did.

St. John is one of our models for holiness.

Detail from Caravaggio's great masterpiece in Malta.




This is NOT the virtue of religion

http://southernorderspage.blogspot.com/2014/08/why-is-this-feel-good-theology-so.html

Divisions



I am not sure how to describe times of persecution except to say that we shall see very soon great divisions in our countries.


Those who choose Christ and His Church will become saints, while those who do not will fall into deep darkness, brought about by their own choices.

No amount of psychological talk about healing of family trees or the release of curses, or the lack of Catholic education can exonerate us from not choosing Christ. God gives all the graces necessary for salvation.

We are all guilty concerning our decisions or lack of decisions.

Some Catholics are floating into lives of sin because they are not willing to suffer what is needed for perfection-study, prayer, conversion.

One does not have to be an intellectual or a scholar to be a saint.

I have met two more saints recently.There is no doubt in my mind that these two women are holy.

One gets up daily at 4:30, prays four rosaries and Lauds before morning Mass, reads Catholic newspapers and watches EWTN, prays for others, and lives simply. She is in her 80s.

The other prays the rosary daily, does the same reading and praying, going to Adoration once a week, and genuinely loving people. Her discernment is incredible.

Both women grew up with the Baltimore Catechism and claim that is one reason why they are not confused.

They are sisters and have been graced from little on.

They admit that they had to move away from the Democratic Party, and they did not vote for Obama because of the Dem platform supporting abortion.

After that, they grew in grace.

However, in their families are divisions; those who follow God and those who do not.

They see this and they pray.

Divisions cannot be denied or papered-over.

This is the time of division.


Direction of This Blog

I am praying about the direction of this blog. I started blogging in 2007, when my students over whom I had some authority asked me to put ideas on the Net so we could continue our conversations.

So, from the beginning of 2007 until 2009, taking a break after the beginning of that year, and starting up again in January 2012, I have been blogging,

As my regular readers know, contemporary issues were big in the first two years, with an emphasis on the growth of holiness in the second set of years.

Many other sites which are more famous than my little blog are now taking over themes, as people are waking up.

I really do not have to write about tribulation or persecution, as those issues are now painfully obvious.

I have written all I can write at this time on the way to perfection.

Lately, in my private studies, I have been reading about the overlap of mental illness and healthy spirituality. I am, as you regulars know, reading Father Chad Ripperger's monumental work.

In the past several months, what is obvious to me are these points, which have formed the background of so many posts.



1) People are becoming either better to best, or worse to worst. There is no longer any leisure for the middle ground among Catholic.

2) Many Catholics are bound up by sin and family sins, including curses and habits of sin. Those who are willing to break away and cooperate  with the code-breakers will accept the Truth. Others will not.

3) The time of mercy is coming to an end, with the time of great tribulation looming.

4) We are all called to holiness. The remnant will and are responding. I meet saints daily, including three here in this area; true saints.

5) Community is a necessity. Where it does not happen, people will be truly isolated and caught in the midst of great evils

6) Those who are waking up are choosing the "better way" of Mary of Bethany-contemplation.

7) The nations of the world are becoming prisons, interfering with the freedom of travel of many, if not most citizens, either because of war and tensions, or new rules. We are losing freedoms daily.

8) Most priests miss the signs of the times and are not leading the sheep or feeding them as the sheep need.

9) Many people's lives will be changed in the next several months, so that the normal life of Catholicism we have experienced for years in free countries will seem like a happy dream.

10) I am not sure what else I can share, except that we must free the captives of sin NOW through prayer, action, suffering, penance.

Pray for me as I find the new direction to which God is calling me on the blog and off this blog.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Review of Brain Death Posts for D., on Request

http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com/2014/01/father-ripperger-on-brain-death.html

http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com/2014/01/proves-my-point-on-brain-death.html

http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com/2014/01/several-articles-on-brain-death-in.html

http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com/2014/01/superb-comment-on-brain-death-post.html