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Posts Tagged ‘Truth’

THANK YOU

In 13 History on 2016/10/14 at 8:56 AM

Dear Followers and Visitors,

Thank you for your faithfulness in following the blog.  No more will be added.  The first post was on 3/2/2011 and many of you have entered at different times, so you do have a cornucopia full of posts that you might have not read.

Also, you might want to check my other blogs:

http://whogivesahootaboutyou.wordpress.com

http://earlychurchfathers.wordpress.com

http://ideastocontemplate.wordpress.com   (my husband’s essays)

http://aroundtheworldandthroughthelens.wordpress.com     (our world travels)

Wishing you the best,

Barbara Reagan, retired research historian

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“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after justice….

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2016/09/16 at 12:00 AM

While the Church has a duty to call attention to the temporal problems of the world that have a moral dimension, it is not her role to solve them. Hers is to satisfy peoples thirst for the restoration of the relationship essential to man by applying the merits of Christ’s life and death through the Sacraments so as to give man the ability to love God and live in union with him. The Church is involved in guiding souls to freedom from eternal death from the claws of the devil and from the seductions of the flesh.

The lay members of the Church in particular have a responsibility to try to see that society’s laws and customs are in accord with the teachings of Christ in education, the home and the workplace.

Each woman has an obligation to make her environment more Christian and to pray for the legislators, government officials and business leaders to solve the major problems that confront society today. While justice is an essential component of resolving problems, it is charity/mercy that is the main component. Mercy/charity enrich and make justice effective.

No Christian woman who hopes to live her faith cannot in political action ever support ideologies or groups which propose false and distorted views of mankind or the dignity and nature of the person or just plain sin

All the fundamental principles of the natural law God implanted in man’s nature must be respected, supported and defended. This means standing firm against contraception, sterilization, abortion, euthanasia, divorce, same-sex unions, and for religious and academic freedoms and property rights.

What is due to a person in justice cannot be considered charity. What is due to a person is a demand of justice. Each person is another Christ and this is particularly so in the case of the weak, the defenseless and the needy. Our hearts need to have compassion for the pains of the injustices that afflict others.

One acknowledges God’s presence in another individual by treating that person with both justice and charity. Each person’s dignity and greatness is derived from God who gives the soul its spiritual reality and who gives meaning to every person’s life.

How can one judge progress in society and science? Very simply: by how the dignity of the person is acknowledged in word and deed. Man is not an economic entity or gadget. He is neither merchandize nor tool but a member of a society with God given rights for the protection of which is the main purpose of laws and governments.

An aspect of justice which is very much ignored in our times is the right to one’s good name. Gossip has become a media staple. Sins by unbridled tongues included envy, negative criticism, slander, calumny; all of which are acts of defamation, whether spoken, broadcasted by the media or printed as well as e-mailed or texted.

Justice towards others in thought and deed must proceed from our hearts if we are to live harmoniously with others. We must beware of partial truths, flawed simplifications, hasty judgments and empty words. At all times we must be open to having our opinions calibrated to truth.

Beware of excessive curiosity and of any intrusion into the private lives of others particularly now that the Internets parades before us the lives and follies of others. Also, beware of false zeal which conceals hypocrisy. When you are with others, beware of falling into making rash judgments of others, gossiping, making false deductions and accusations or revealing the flaws of others that detract and diminish others’ view of them. Be instead actively committed to denounce unjust accusations made of anyone. Reject any type of falsehood in word or cheating in actions. Do not be a gossip or spread rumors. Be scrupulous in respecting others rights to their good name, their property and their possessions. You are your brother’s keeper.

Being Objective About Being Subjective by Jack Reagan

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2015/06/19 at 12:00 AM

One of the effects of living in a society that substitutes opinion for truth is that subjective judgment becomes the norm for truth. “I believe it; therefore, it is true,” rather than,“ It is true; therefore, I believe it.” Such a person sees truth as a product of his own mind rather than something we discover in the world of reality. One who habitually thinks like this can eventually lose an awareness of the difference between thinking objectively and thinking subjectively.

There is certainly a place for subjective judgments. There are elements of reality that simply do not demand objective evaluation or appraisal. If we are in a restaurant, there is no best meal, or morally good/bad meal, or  true/false meal. Barring other factors, the choice is ours. Many of our everyday choices are subjective and quite legitimate. For example, clothes choice, activity choice, exercise, TV programs, etc.

When we view persons, things or events objectively, we see them as they really are regardless of our personal attitude, feelings etc. about  them. For example, Mozart was a great musician. That is established truth whether we agree or not. On the other hand, it is quite legitimate to say, “Mozart is a great musician, but I don’t like his music” because objective truth is still recognized.

Natural laws are fixed even if we don’t like them. The law of gravity is not subject to our veto. Anyone who would dispute or deny what is objectively true can be said to be literally unrealistic, and his judgments and inferences are suspect.

Negative subjective thinking arises when we view persons, things or events through the eyes of our own biases, likes/dislikes etc. “I don’t like Mozart’s music; therefore, he can’t be a very good musician.” This attitude denies objective reality as the basis of truth.  Any further discussion of Mozart is probably useless with such a person. Moreover, people who thrive on personal opinion see themselves as their own standard and impervious to criticism because they can always say, “Well, that’s my opinion,” meaning that’s the end of the discussion.

Opinion is only as valid as the amount of factual basis that supports it.

One who issues opinions based on not much more than personal bias can never be engaged in productive thinking or discussion with those who view things more objectively. Ultra liberals and  ultra conservatives are examples of this thinking.

The problem with substituting subjective opinion for truth is that when we act on a wrong or false opinion, the results can be negative and usually are. “I believe God is so good that He will save everyone eventually.” “Christ was merely a great teacher like Socrates or Aristotle, nothing more.” “All religions lead to heaven.” “Christ did not mention homosexuality in the Gospels.” “I’m a good person. I don’t need religion.”  “God will take care of me when I die.” What is happening here is that the speaker is substituting his/her wishful thinking for truth. None of these statements conform to Biblical reality, but they are commonly voiced.

We forget that a man/woman must worship God as He sees fit, not as he/she sees fit. Those who “think” like this are, in effect, demanding, or at least assuming, that God should be receptive to his/her opinion even though He has decreed otherwise. After all, truth arises in MY mind, and God should agree with me.

However, truth/reality does not change to accommodate our false ideas and errors.

In matters of religion and faith, it can be eternally dangerous not to seek and hold to objective truth. That was Eve’s mistake; she ignored the objective truth that God had set down and relied on her personal evaluation of the serpent and his offer. Our personal opinions simply do not count if they are at variance with the truth, be it natural or divine. There is no substitute for truth, especially divine truth given to us in the Bible, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church.

Error is error even if everyone is in error and truth is truth even if no one believes it.

Complete list of all articles by Jack Reagan

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2015/04/24 at 12:00 AM

The whole series:

01 Is It Just Semantics? – Love

02 Is God God or Are You God? – Purpose & change

03 Contemporary Mischief – Same-sex “marriage”

04 Correct Answer? – Divinity of Church

05 Abortion, A Realistic Viewpoint – Abortion

06 Moslems/Muslims – Islam

07 What is Truth? – Truth

08 Being Objective About Being Subjective – The difference between the two

09 Catholic Christians? – Are Catholics really Christians?

10 What is in a Name? – True Christians

11 Baal and the Tooth Fairy – False gods

12 Rest in Pieces? – Societal decline

13 Blessed Mary, Ever Virgin – Blessed Virgin Mary

14 “Now Let’s Not Be Judgmental” – What is true judgment

15 Art of Conscience – Correct conscience

16 Is That Fr. Phillis? – Women’s ordination

17 The 800 lb. Gorilla – Secularism

18 Some Truths About False Gods – False gods

19 Is Any Religion True? – Man is religious by nature

20 The Dropouts

21 The Great Deception – Sin

22 The Unpreached Sermon: “a layman thinking like a priest” – Christmas/Easter Catholics

23 Let’s Get Real – Reality examined

24 The Siblings of Christ?

25 What Could Have Been – Christmas

26 Coming Storm – Coming persecution

27 The Mythical God – False ideas about God

28 And The Blind Shall Lead – False ideas

29 Freedom, A Paradox – Free Will

30 A Helluva Place – Hell & Damnation

31 Consequences – World without God

32 Mind Over Matter – Truth

33 Life in a Mirage – Effects of immorality

33 A Trilogy of the Unreal – Separation of Church & State; Taking “offense”; Necessity of Morality

34 Signs For Our Times – Introduction & Part I: Unity of the Church – Marks of the Catholic Church

34 Signs For Our Times – Part II: Holiness of the Church – Marks of the Catholic Church

35 Signs For Our Times – Part III: Catholicity of the Church; Part IV: Apostolicity of the Church – Marks of the Catholic Church

37 Semantics of Easter – Easter & Christmas Catholics

38 Another Easter? – Easter Sunday

39 The Bible – A Perspective

40 Abstractions? – Liberal/Conservative

41 The Wanderers – God

42 With All Due Respect – Morality

43 Good Intentions – Moral illusions

44 Ideas and Consequences -Illusions

45 Searching For What Is Not Lost – Lapsed

46 Taking Chances – Mercy

47 Dabbling With Dogma

48 What Did You Expect?

45 Deceptive Labels

50 Forgotten, But Not Gone

 

 

 

How Is Truth Like a Rambutan?

In 16 Deacon Ruben Tamayo on 2014/12/12 at 12:12 AM

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While preparing to preach on the Mass readings for November 20th a few weeks back, my first encounter with a rambutan in Bangkok many years ago came to mind.

Many of you may be wondering (or already Googling) what a rambutan is. A rambutan is a fairly common fruit in many parts of Asia which is pretty off-putting on the outside if you don’t know what it is – they looked pretty “hairy and scary” to me when I found a bowl full of them in my hotel room. Fortunately, one of the locals explained that it was an edible fruit and showed me how to crack open the intimidating exterior to get to the succulent and delicious pearly white fruit within.

So what does the Rabutan have to do with the Mass readings from November 20th? At one level, the joyful psalm (the delicious fruit) is surrounded by a disquieting first reading where John weeps because no one has been found worthy to “open the scroll and break its seals” and the Gospel in which Jesus also weeps about the impending destruction of Jerusalem. Both the first reading and Gospel reminded me of the exterior of the rambutan.

At a deeper level, we find that John is longing for the truth that is contained within the scroll that only the lamb, Jesus, can open for us. Jesus on the other hand is weeping because He is the “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) and His people bring ruin upon themselves by rejecting Him and His Word, which is the truth which will set them free.

So why did those who heard Jesus reject the truth? Well, here is where the rambutan comes in. The truth is often disquieting at first because it forces us to confront our faults, weaknesses, and sinful habits; it challenges us to allow God to make us into a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) by letting go of whatever separates us from Him. Letting go of our sinful attachments can be “hairy and scary” like the outside of the rambutan but doing so allows us to savor the sweetness of the truth and the love of our Lord which give us a taste of Heaven!

Reflection based on the Thursday readings, 33rd week of Ordinary Time, Cycle 2: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112014.cfm

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Realities

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/10/24 at 12:00 AM

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – A 19 October 2014

  • One of the saints who will adorn our new mural is St. Edith Stein, also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Edith Stein was a Jewish convert to Catholicism who became a Carmelite nun and was eventually martyred in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942.
  • But unlike her fellow Jews, St. Edith Stein went very willingly and knowingly to her death.
  • Edith’s keen intellect, coupled with a deep and intense personal prayer life, led her to the

    understanding of what was to befall the Jewish people long before anyone else in Germany

    had a clue as to just how evil the Nazis were.

  • And so in imitation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Edith Stein offered up her life to

    our Lord as a personal holocaust for the sake of the Jewish people, for averting the Second

    World War, and for the sanctification of her Carmelite family.

  • In doing this, Edith prayed that God would receive her life as an act of atonement for the

    terrible atrocities being committed against God’s chosen people, with the hope of converting

    atheists and the Nazis. This is why Edith Stein is a saint.

  • Edith Stein did not wish to be a Christian in name only. She wanted to be totally conformed

    to our Lord by bearing the cross she saw being laid upon the Jewish people. Edith wanted to

    share fully in our Lord’s suffering and death in a supreme act of love.

  • On August 2, 1942, she and her sister, Rosa, were taken by Nazis from the Carmel in Echt,

    Holland, and a week later they were gassed to death in the Birkenau section of Auschwitz.

  • Eyewitnesses who saw Edith during her last week of life all attest that she remained faithful,

    courageous, and impeccably charitable to all up to her last moments.

  • In a very dark and confusing time, St. Edith Stein shone like a bright ray of light. Quite

    selflessly, she offered her life for the sake of others. And as such, St. Edith Stein is a

    remarkable example of Christian heroism and charity in the face of astounding evil.

  • In some ways I wonder if we might be entering into another one of those very dark and

    confusing periods in human history when evil seems to have the upper hand in the world.

  • As we consider the terrible threat posed by ISIS, the fear of a worldwide outbreak of Ebola,

    and the ever-increasing moral confusion surrounding marriage and human sexuality that has

    ambushed our state, our country, and our culture, there is much to worry about.

  • I know, as well, that many of you have been following the confusing media reports coming

    from the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on issues related to

    marriage and evangelization that concluded yesterday.

  • There’s been much media speculation coming from the Synod that perhaps the Church is

    going to permit Catholics who are divorced and remarried without an annulment, as well as

    same-sex couples and those who cohabitate before marriage, to receive Holy Communion.

  • But let me state clearly and emphatically that, despite what you may have heard from the

    media this week, there has been no change in Church teaching on these issues.

  • Our doctrine is based upon the revelation of Jesus Christ, expressed in both Sacred Scripture

    and Tradition. While the Church may come to new and deeper insights about a particular

    teaching, the essence of a doctrinal teaching cannot change because truth does not change.

  • While the Church can change certain disciplines, we must also remember that Church

    disciplines are rooted in our doctrine. Therefore, a practice or discipline of the Church cannot be at odds with the Church’s doctrine. And any effort by a Church leader to knowingly distort, weaken, or change the Church’s doctrine is evil.

  • At the same time we must realize that there are a growing number of people in the Church who live in morally compromised arrangements. In other words, they are engaging in conjugal acts with someone who is not or cannot be their spouse in a sacramental marriage.
  • Setting aside appearances of judgmentalism and condemnation, the Church’s challenge is to really look at the way we engage with these folks so that we can call them to conversion and better help them conform their lives to Christ and His commandments.
  • The fact is that people will have a better chance of knowing God and finding salvation if they have a relationship with His Church, even if they cannot fully participate in the sacramental life of the Church.
  • So our challenge is to welcome these people into the Church without condoning their sin or compromising our teachings. Following the example of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery, we must be forthcoming with mercy while also exhorting people to sin no more.
  • The Church is a hospital for the spiritually sick. But to enter into this hospital, we must desire healing! It’s by being obedient and docile to the Church’s teachings that we find healing for our spiritual ills.
  • Sadly, not all who are invited to the Church will come. While open to all, those who enter the Church must be willing to convert and be docile to Her teachings, rather than arrogantly believing that they know better than Her and trying to force Her to change Her teachings.
  • Those who steadfastly refuse to acknowledge and adhere to the truth, and who try to force the Church to conform to this world with its mixed up morality, have no place in the Church.
  • If you are living in an irregular relationship right now by cohabitating before marriage, by being involved in a same-sex relationship, or by being divorced and remarried without an annulment, I want to say publicly that I’m glad that you’re here.
  • God loves you, the Church loves you, and I love you. Moreover, I am willing to do whatever is necessary to help you get to a place where you can fully take part in the sacramental life of the Church and live a Christian life with full integrity. But there must be some humility.
  • If you do not understand why the Church teaches as She does, come speak with me. My door is open to you – and so is my heart.
  • And I ask everyone else in this parish to be of like mind. While we cannot and must not respect sin, we can and must respect all people, and we must lovingly help others to hear the Gospel and live it in its fullness.
  • At her canonization Mass in 1998, St. John Paul II repeated Edith Stein’s famous quote: “Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth!”, to which he added: “One without the other becomes a destructive lie.”
  • As we do our best to proclaim the truth to our fallen world, let us be sure to do it with love.
  • As we consider the darkness in our world today, we must be – like Edith Stein – heroic rays

    of light that shine forth with the truth, goodness, and beauty of our Catholic faith.

  • Moreover, in this time of desperate confusion in our world and in our Church, let us place our hopes and trust in God Himself. Let us not forget that He is omnipotent and, as Isaiah

    says, He grasps us by the hand.

  • Trusting in Him, let us hold fast to the constant and unchanging teachings of His Church,

    confident that our obedience to those teachings will bring us to salvation.

  • Lastly, may we be willing to live lives of true charity by offering sacrifices and penances to

    God on behalf of those who attack and persecute this Church we love so much.

• May each of us cultivate within our hearts a true desire to suffer and lay down our lives for the Church so that all men may be saved. St. Edith Stein, pray for us.

 

© Reverend Timothy Reid, 10/19/2014

“Mary is close beside you”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/10/03 at 12:00 AM
 
You are not alone. Suffer that tribulation joyfully. It’s true, poor child, that you don’t feel your Mother’s hand in yours. But… have you never seen the mothers of this earth, with arms outstretched, following their little ones when, without anyone’s help, they venture to take their first shaky steps? You are not alone: Mary is close beside you. (The Way, 900)

It makes me very happy to see that this devotion is always alive, awakening in Christians a supernatural desire to act as “members of God’s household.”

Seeing how so many Christians express their affection for the Virgin Mary, surely you also feel more a part of the Church, closer to those brothers and sisters of yours. It is like a family reunion. Grown‑up children, whom life has separated, come back to their mother for some family anniversary. And even if they have not always got on well together, today things are different; they feel united, sharing the same affection.

Mary continually builds the Church and keeps it together. It is difficult to have devotion to our Lady and not feel closer to the other members of the mystical body and more united to its visible head, the pope. That’s why I like to repeat: All with Peter to Jesus through Mary!(Christ is passing by, 139.)

St. Lawrence

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/09/12 at 12:00 AM

Just outside the city walls of Rome, not terribly far from St. John Lateran, is the Basilica of St. Lawrence, which is one of oldest and most architecturally significant churches in Rome.

It is there that good St. Lawrence, along with the martyrs St. Stephen and St. Justin are buried together in one large sarcophagus. As you all know, we have a beautiful statue of St. Lawrence here in our church.

You’ll notice that our statue of St. Lawrence depicts him holding a gridiron, which was the instrument of his martyrdom. In what had to be one of the most horrifying martyrdoms of all time, good St. Lawrence was roasted to death.

It is reputed that while he was being roasted alive, St. Lawrence jokingly said to his torturers: “you can turn me over; I’m done on this side.” It is for this reason that St. Lawrence is the patron saint of both cooks and comedians.

Incidentally, the gridiron upon which St. Lawrence was roasted has been preserved and can be seen in another church bearing his name right in the heart of Rome.

While I have a love for all of the saints, I must confess that I do have a particular love and respect for the Church’s martyrs, for they are the saints who conformed themselves to Christ not only by their lives, but also by their deaths.

Certainly Holy Mother Church, too, extols the martyrs in a very esteemed way, for in the lives and deaths of the martyrs we, the Faithful, can find encouragement to endure whatever sufferings may come into our lives.

In our 1st reading the prophet Isaiah captures the spirit of the martyrs with his bold statements of his willingness to suffer for God’s sake. But I think what’s most important in Isaiah’s words is not his willingness to suffer but rather his confident trust in God’s power to save.

Isaiah says: “The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. He is near who holds my right hand. . . . See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong?”

This overwhelming faith in God and His goodness and mercy is really the stuff that martyrs are made of more so than their capacity for heroic suffering.

While the stories of the martyrs’ sufferings impress us, we must always remember that they were able to suffer as they did because of their unshakeable faith in God.

In our Gospel we hear one of the very first professions of faith in Jesus, and it is made by St. Peter. Jesus and His disciples are traveling together to Caesarea Philippi, and as they do Jesus asks them: “Who do people say that I am?”
And after they give the usual answers: John the Baptist or Elijah or one of the prophets, Jesus asks another question to test their faith: “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter passes the test by replying: “You are the Christ.”
St. Peter’s confession of faith is important, for it reminds us of Who Jesus Is. It reminds us that Jesus isn’t just a nice guy or even simply a miracle worker. He is our Savior and Redeemer. He is God! And as His followers, we are called to have faith in that fact.

Of course coming to this faithful belief that Jesus is Lord puts some demands on us. Namely, if Jesus is Lord, then His teachings must be true and are, therefore, not to be dismissed. That’s why I spoke about the importance of obedience a couple of weeks ago.

Indeed, the truest measure of a man is how well he conforms his life to this truth about Jesus. Truly, the greatest men and women the world has ever known have been those who have conformed themselves most closely to God’s holy truth.
The saints whose lovely images adorn our church are but a sampling of these greatest of men and women!

These saints remind us that being Catholic requires more than just conforming our minds to the truths enshrined within our Catholic teaching. They remind us that it’s not enough simply to believe. We must live our faith as well!
In our second reading St. James reminds us that our faith is not a private matter, but rather that it’s meant to be lived in a public way. People should know that we are Christians by the way we conduct ourselves in the world.

In particular, St. James highlights for us the virtue of charity in living our faith. Truly, the greatest hallmark we should possess as Christians is a generous love that reaches out to all people, especially to those in need.
James speaks of the importance of providing for the needs of others less fortunate than oneself, and to be sure, charity of this type is not optional for Christians, but essential.

But just as essential as serving the poor is the requirement that we be charitable to those with whom we live, work, and associate on a regular basis.

As we consider this past week’s violence in the Muslim world, for example, it’s easy to see that there’s an overabundance of hate and lack of respect for the inherent human dignity of others in our world today. And these things threaten man’s survival.

As I pray and reflect on the state of our world today, I am absolutely convinced that the only way to change our world is for those of us who are believers to practice a radical charity, the same type of charity Christ showed us on the cross. And it begins with those we know.

Are there people in your life whom you routinely ignore because you don’t like them? Are you curt or rude to others, or do you make judgments about others? Do you gossip or commit the sins of detraction or calumny? These are all good questions to ask oneself.

Jesus says to us today that: “Whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” While most Christians do not die a martyr’s death, we are all called to die to self.

This means that our faith in God must be so strong that we will be willing to suffer for the sake of God and His Church. This means that we must value the honor of God and the truth of our Catholic teachings more than we value our own comfort and reputation.

But dying to oneself and living a life of radical charity means that we must love others even when we don’t like them. It means that we must put their needs above our desires, that we be willing to overlook their faults and failings when necessary, and that we do all we can to lead them to salvation.

My brothers and sisters, the world has more than enough hate, lack of respect for others, and faithlessness. Let us not add to these sins. But rather, let us prove that we are truly people of great faith by living lives of radical charity.

By our Lady’s intercession and the intercession of St. Lawrence and all the martyrs, may we become martyrs of charity by dying to ourselves and by placing all of our trust in our Lord’s power to save!

16 September 2012

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

 

Rebels and rebellions

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/07/11 at 12:00 AM

The prophet Ezekiel recounts for us today how the Lord sent him to the Israelites. The Lord says that the Israelites are “rebels who have rebelled” against Him; people who are “hard of face and obstinate of heart.” Certainly biblical history bears this out.

  • Although they were God’s chosen people, and despite the many miracles and wonders our Lord wrought in their midst, there were many times when the Israelites rebelled against our Lord and His ways – and always to their detriment.
  • Yet does not our country today resemble the Israelites of old? Is not our country today filled with many people like those our Lord describes to Ezekiel: people who have obstinately rebelled against the laws of God and the natural order?
  • As a nation we have been blessed beyond any other the world has ever known. And yet are we not turning away from our Lord and His laws by some of the laws that we have created?
  • So many things that are manifestly contrary to God’s law, most notably the destruction of innocent life through abortion, are not only legal but regarded as sacred rights in our country today. Thus, as a nation, we now find ourselves amidst terrible culture wars.
  • The arguments that we are having on so many issues – like abortion, contraception, same-sex unions, euthanasia, and even whether or not God & religion have a place in public discourse – will only become fiercer if the citizens of this country do not seek the truth of these issues.
  • And there is a truth to these issues; there is a right and wrong answer to these moral issues.
  • If we do not seek the truth, the fighting will continue because laws not based on truth will almost always lead to strife and division, for the truth is not something that can be destroyed.
  • While we may be able to hide it, distort it, or suppress it, Truth always has a way of eventually making itself known. This is because Truth is not a thing or simply an idea or concept. Truth is a Person: none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • In looking through the course of history and the way evil has punctuated it, we can see that man has often positioned himself as an enemy of Truth. In order to fulfill his own political agenda, man often tries to distort, bend, or even destroy Truth.
  • But evil men can only distort, bend, or try to destroy the Truth if people who are committed to Truth do not stand up and fight.
  • And so that we might know the Truth, God gave us the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit. Founded by Jesus Christ, Who is the way, the TRUTH, and the life, to the Church has been entrusted the full revelation of Jesus Christ.
  • By the power of the Holy Spirit that truth has been passed down faithfully for 2000 years through Scripture and Tradition. The Catholic Church safeguards Christ’s truth, which we call the Deposit of Faith, and it has been enshrined in the constant teachings of the Church.
  • As Catholics we know that the Truth is a given. It’s not something that changes or evolves over time. It is what it is. Truth is eternal, and our Lord has written it upon our hearts.
  • We set ourselves up as the children of God to the degree that we conform our lives to the Truth, and we fashion ourselves as God’s enemies to the degree that we depart from it.
  • But it is not enough for us to know the truth in order for us to change our country so that it better reflects God’s laws. As I mentioned last week at the end of Mass, if we want to make our country a godly nation once again, we must be holy.
  • Because of our inherent tendencies toward selfishness and rebellion, holiness is difficult to attain. The remedy for our sinfulness that obstructs our ability to be holy is the cross.
  • When I say the cross is the remedy for our sins, I mean not only the salvation won for us by Jesus’ death on the cross, but also the crosses that come into our lives – the sufferings that we endure as part of life.
  • Every form of suffering that God allows to enter into our lives is meant to be an instrument in the hands of the Divine Physician to excise our sinfulness and help us grow in holiness.
  • It’s for this reason that our Lord rarely removes our crosses miraculously. So many times when suffering enters our lives, we beg our Lord to take it away, do we not?
  • Yet most of the time our Lord allows us to suffer our crosses – at least for a while – so that we might grow in holiness by carrying them.
  • In those moments of pain, we must remember the words of our Lord to St. Paul today: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
  • But our Lord does not expect us to carry our crosses and endure our sufferings all alone.
  • To help us in our times of suffering, our Lord has given us His Mother Mary! As a loving mother Mary understands our weaknesses, and when we entrust ourselves to her loving care, she helps to correct our faults and failings through the power of her spouse, the Holy Spirit.
  • Our Lady also obtains for us the grace we need to carry our crosses with courage and dignity, and to profit by them. In short, if we give ourselves to her, Mary works to make us holy.
  • Indeed, St. Louis de Montfort stated that consecrating oneself to Jesus through Mary is “the surest, easiest, shortest, and the most perfect means to becoming a saint.”
  • It is for this reason that last week at the end of Mass I invited all of you to consider consecrating yourselves to Jesus through Mary this coming August 15th: the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the anniversary of our parish founding.
  • As the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mary’s role in the divine economy now “is to give spiritual birth to Christians, to feed and nurture them with grace, and to help them grow to full stature in Christ” (33 Days to Morning Glory, p. 25).
  • By consecrating oneself to Jesus through Mary, one is giving our Lady full permission to take on her motherly role of forming us into ever more perfect likenesses of her Son, Jesus.
  • Just as she gave birth to the Christ Child over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, by her intercession and motherly love, Mary helps us to grow into the likeness of her Son, in whose image we were created. Consecrating ourselves to Jesus through Mary is the way that we fully entrust ourselves to her maternal care.
  • Because of the importance and solemnity of such a consecration, it is important toprepare. And we will do so by setting aside 33 days, beginning this Friday, July 13th,to do some readings and meditate upon them.
  • As I mentioned last week, these readings will come from Fr. Michael Gaitley’s book:33 Days to Morning Glory, which you can purchase from the Poor Clares or from an on-line retailer. We’ve also dedicated a special section on our parish website to the consecration.
  • For those of you who would like to make this consecration, I invite you to purchase Fr. Gaitley’s book, and then on Friday, begin with the reading for Day 1, and then simply follow the outline set forth in his book.
  • Then, after all of the Masses on August 15th, those who have prepared will make the consecration together.
  • If we want to change our country, we must be holy. If we want to be holy, we need Mary.
  • As a parish, let us enter into these 33 days with heartfelt prayer for one another as we strive to abandon ourselves to Mary’s loving task of making us holy.
  • While this retreat will be intimately personal, let us set out together, united in faith, to beg the help of our common Mother.
  • O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

 

08 July 2012

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

 

Signs for Our Times – Part IV: Apostolicity of the Church

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/04/24 at 7:00 AM

The fourth mark of the Church is Apostolicity.

The doctrine and the moral code of the Catholic Church is the same as that of the Twelve Apostles.

There is a large faction in the United States that has great respect for what is referred to as the Founding Fathers.  These were the men who had the vision and made the plans and set the principles for the United States. These are the men whom we consider to be the architects of the great political entity called the United States of America.  When problems arise, we look to their writings to seek solutions.

There is another faction that considers the Founding Fathers irrelevant to modern times because they had no concept of what the United States would be like today, and therefore, their eighteenth century ideas should not affect modern day problems.  They think that those living today should use their own skills to solve their own problems.  It is interesting to note that anything this group advocates almost always involves radical changes to American life as it once was.  In fact, the Founding Fathers would probably be dismayed at what has become of their concept of a weak federal government.

The Twelve Apostles are like the Founding Fathers of the United States.  The Apostles did not establish the Church but they were taught the basic creed and moral code directly by the Founder, Christ Himself.  Thus, if anyone really wants to know what Christ taught, there are no ones better able to tell than the Twelve Apostles.

The Bishops of the Catholic Church are the successors to the Apostles.  This is possible because every Bishop knows who consecrated him.  The line of bishops can be traced back to the first  bishops consecrated by the Twelve Apostles.

Christ, because He is divine, could have remained on earth and led the Church in person, but He chose not to. He set up the Apostles as the first bishops, teachers, and missionaries.  In a sense, the Church is still being taught by the Apostles through their successors in union with the Pope.

Since the Apostles received instructions directly from Christ, no other religious organization except the Catholic Church can claim to be apostolic.  Christ did not establish any other religion or church.  The message He wanted to convey comes in its completeness only through the Catholic Church.

The Twelve Apostles lived in a certain period of history.  Islam came much later.  Protestantism arose fifteen centuries too late.  Buddhism and Hinduism are much older than Christianity, but the truth of a religion is not determined by its antiquity, but by the circumstance of its founding.

Without Apostolic teaching as a fixed foundation, deviations in doctrine and morals will begin to creep in.  The source of authentic teaching eludes modern leaders of religious groups.  It is true that they may profess some apostolic teachings but certainly not all, and what they do teach, they are merely copying from the Catholic Church, whether they realize it or not.

Without Apostolic teaching as a guide, problems that arise are simply dealt with in terms of contemporary standards.  Protestantism now is dealing with women clergy and same-sex “marriage” and other contemporary problems, incorrectly, because they do not base themselves on Apostolic principles, and therefore, tend to “go with the flow” of contemporary culture.

Historically speaking, Christ the Lord set up a Church and it is incumbent on everyone to find Truth.  The human mind is attuned to truth.  We cannot function in a society that does not respect objective truth; it is not natural (although we are trying to do just that today with dire consequences).  To guide us, the Church offers four marks or signs, which when taken together point to the true Church of Christ.

The main advantage of membership in the true Church is not really membership, but it is the ability to have a relationship with the Living Christ who comes to us through that Church.  Many are members, but for one reason or another, do not know Christ and their membership is thereby diminished.  Christ is alive and comes to us readily and completely through the Catholic Church.  If you have read this four part series, you can determine for yourself that Christ did give you four clear signs: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.