Saturday, December 29, 2018

Parents are called to be artists - Holy Family 2018 homily

The Catholic Church has long been connected with art and beauty
A way to point to the higher things beyond our every day reality also help us to see that we are always surrounded by such things that point us to those higher truths 

Saint John Paul II – “a letter to artists”
“None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of what God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colours and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you.
There has always been a fruitful dialogue between the Church and artists which has gone on unbroken through two thousand years of history.
In fact, this dialogue is not dictated merely by historical accident or practical need, but is rooted in the very essence of both religious experience and artistic creativity. The human craftsman mirrors the image of God as Creator.”

So we promote and have promoted beauty in the Church for 2,000 years – promoted art and artists

I say all this to say that as Catholics, as important as the vocation of an artist is, the people who have the greatest ability to mold, shape, craft and create something of infinite worth are families – and primarily parents
            In 2 Sentences at the beginning of the Book of Genesis, God sets everything in place, and God also lays out all the most fundamental things that are under attack today
      God created mankind in his image; male and female he created them.
And in case it isn’t clear, God reiterates in the next chapter: That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body

The greatest work, infinitely more than the mona lisa or Beethoven’s 5th, is a human person, and the parents, and thus the larger family as well, is offered the role of helping shape and form that human child into a saint – to teach, to nurture, to train
Artists, when inspired and motivated to create something, will forego sleep, money, food, etc. because they have a vision of what they are creating.  Parents are called to operate under the same inspiration – to see their vocation to be artists, co-creators, given a role to play in the shaping and formation of a human person

God doesn’t just dictate this from on high – it is through the family that Jesus Christ is trained and shaped and raised.  Most of his life is unknown, time with his family, time working, time being taught and trained and loved and formed by parents.  God models this and opts for this

The world seeks to rip apart everything in Genesis.

People are not made in the image and likeness of God
God did not create them male and female
People should not be fruitful and multiply
Marriage is not a man and a woman leaving their father and mother and becoming one body

The Catholic Church, and this parish, are a place that radically is for families – we stand behind parents who are making the RADICAL and COURAGEOUS choice to accept God’s call to be artists of people – co creators of that which has infinite beauty – a human person

We thank all families for their yes to cooperate with the plan of God, a plan that He first lived himself in coming into the world through the formation of parents and family

Friday, December 21, 2018

20 Quotes that Struck Me on My Retreat

1)      Paul VI: “There is a great disturbance in this moment in the world of the Church and thus it is the Faith that is in question.  What is happening today reminds me of the obscure phrase of Jesus in the Gospel of St. Luke, “When the Son of Man returns, will he still find Faith on Earth?”  Books are being published in which the Faith is denied in important points, yet the bishops remain silent, as if they do not find anything strange in those books.”

2)      “Cadrinal Ciappi, theologian from the pontifical household from 1955 to 1989, in a letter reveals that “in the third secret of Fatima, it is predicted, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”  – Antonio Socci, “The Fourth Secret of Fatima

3)      [on the unreleased part of the third secret of Fatima, a caller calls in to speak with Father Malachi Martin. Father Martin was able to read the entirety of the third secret of Fatima.  The caller says that they know that the secret] speaks of a Pope who “would be under the control of Satan.  Pope John [XXIII] was reeling, thinking that it could have been him.”  Father Martin responds: “Yes, it seems that this person would have had a means of reading or would have been given the contents of the secret.”  - Antonio Socci, “The Fourth Secret of Fatima

4)      “One remains horrified in the face of a council [Vatican II] that pronounces itself on everything, but does not proffer a single word on the ideology of a regime [Communism] that since 1917 had realized (and was still realizing in those years) on a planetary scale the most immense and bloody work of eradication, extermination, and persecution of the Church in its bi-millennial history. Pius XII was attacked furiously for years because, according to his critics, he did not formulate clear and public condemnations of Nazism during the war (which is, however, untrue).  But John XXIII has received only applause for having contracted this “silence” with the Kremlin.”  - Antonio Socci, “The Fourth Secret of Fatima

5)      “All of the priests who maintain the possibility of a dialogue with the deniers of God and with the Luciferian powers of the world are mad, they have lost the Faith, they no longer believe in the Gospel!  They thus betray the Word of God, because Christ came to bring to Earth a perpetual alliance only with men of goodwill, but not ally Himself with men thirsty for power and dominion over their brothers.  The flock is dispersed when the pastors ally themselves with enemies of the Truth of Christ.”  - Saint Padre Pio, 1963

6)      “Union of the soul with God is not accomplished so much in the sweetness of prayer, as in embracing perfectly the holy Will of God.”   - Father Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen, “Divine Intimacy

7)      “Even when obstacles are put in the way of good results from his apostolate, we must still be patient and pray much.  Neither must his patience diminish when his capabilities seem to be out of all proportion with the work he has to do.”  - Fr. Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange O.P., “The Priest in Union With Christ

8)      “God never confers a power on anyone without, at the same time, giving them the necessary means for the worthy exercise of that power.”  - Fr. Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange O.P., “The Priest in Union With Christ

9)      “While the Reformation and the Enlightenment begin as allies (The Christian and the secular versions of rejecting the Natural Law and Catholicism), their intellectual grandchildren grew into bitter 21st century rivals in America.  In fact, you know these grandchildren as the “religious right” and the “secular left”.  – Timothy Gordon, “Catholic Republic

10)   “What God has told me, take for truth I do.  Truth Himself speaks truly, or there’s nothing true.”  - St. Thomas Aquinas, Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1381

11)   “There is always a danger in human nature of watching self, and in prayer is a worse plague than anywhere else.  Watching self at prayer is not prayer and being too concerned about where we are is a good way to hinder development.  When a person is really fervent in his love for God and totally intent on pleasing Him, he cannot stop to bother about his own progress as though it were some kind of game to acquire points…when we know we have given ourselves wholly to Him and our desire is to cooperate with Him, we do not desire to know where we are but what He wants.”  - “A Guide to the Stages of Prayer According to St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila

12)   “The miracles of the Church seem to me to rest not so much upon forces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.”  - Willa Cather, “Death Comes for the Archbishop

13)   “Ah well, that is a missionary’s life: to plant where another shall reap.”  - Willa Cather, “Death Comes for the Archbishop

14)   “He did as the angel had commanded him, and he took Mary into his home.”  - Matthew 1:24

15)   “What is this Eucharistic vocation in the opinion of St. Peter Eymard?  It is a special attraction of grace, gentle but compelling – as if Christ were saying to the soul: “Come to my sanctuary.”  Provided no resistance is offered, this attraction gradually becomes supreme.  The faithful soul responding to this invitation finds peace, as though it had discovered at long last its natural home and spiritual food: “I have found my resting place.”  - Fr. Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange O.P., “The Priest in Union With Christ"

16)   “The angel awaits an answer.  Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, o loving Virgin, in their exile from paradise.  Abraham begs it, David begs it.  All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death.  This is what the whole Earth waits for, prostrate at your feet.  It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned…”Behold the handmaid of the Lord”, she says, “be it done to me according to your Word.” – St. Bernard, “A Homily in Praise of the Virgin Mother

17)   “Priests who remain faithful to Mary are fired by her with extraordinary zeal.  This is particularly true of those priests who consecrate themselves to Mary in the way suggested by St. Louis De Montfort.”  - Fr. Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange O.P., “The Priest in Union With Christ

18)   “The fool, who has no understanding of our dignity and our hopes, accuses the Creator of injustice, pointing out signs of imperfection in the designs of Divine Wisdom.  He is like a savage who one day goes into one of our building yards.  There he sees stones scattered about, materials lying on top of one another, workmen carving metals and cutting away marble; and the spectacle preserved by this activity, he sees only a picture of confusion and ruin.  He does not know that the apparent disorder will, one day, engender an order of admirable perfection.”  - Fr. Charles Arminjon, “The End of the Present World

19)   “Man is alive as long as he waits, as long as hope is alive in his heart…our moral and spiritual stature can be measured by what we wait for, by what we hope for.”  - Pope Benedict XVI, “Angelus Address to Begin Advent, 2010

20)   “Our heart is an altar.  The victim placed on this altar is our evil inclinations…the sacred fire, which must burn night and day on the altar of our heart, is the love of Jesus Christ.”  - Father Charles Arminjon, “The End of the Present World

Monday, December 3, 2018

Comparison of the Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching with the USCCB List

I've been blessed to be a part of a study group of Catholic Social Teaching, which has been a passion of mine since being asked to teach it to high school seniors for 2 years right after I was ordained.

The Church has compiled almost 200 years of Catholic teaching on societies into what is known as the "Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching."  It is a lengthy but very important compilation, and many people throw the phrase "according to Catholic Social Teaching" around but don't appear to have any but the faintest of understanding about what the Church actually teaches. 

"Catholic Social Teaching" is a phrase that a person can use and be fairly sure no one will correct you.  It has even become popular over the past several decades among Catholic politicians seeking to justify every policy under the sun.

What I've put together below is something I consider to be a FASCINATING chart of the major chapters of the Compendium of Catholic Social teaching as compared to the points that the US Bishops highlight as the "7 key points of Catholic Social Teaching"

The reasons I share this is that in reading through the Compendium several times now at this point, I don't see anything that merits singling out any item on the left as being "more important" than any other, with the exception of "The Dignity of the Human Person".  The Church does say all over the place that "The Dignity of the Human Person" is the fundamental principle.  But I'm not sure what would allow SOME of the ones on the left to make the cut and not others.

It is interesting to look at what major points of Catholic Social Teaching on the left did NOT make the cut.

1) The Common Good
2) Universal Destination of All Goods
3) Subsidiarity
4) Fundamental Values of Truth, Freedom and Justice
5) The role of business and economy at the service of humanity
6) The Political Community
7) The International Community
8) Peace, war and just war

A few notes:

1) I would also say I personally prefer "marriage" and "family" getting their own topic versus being combined into one, and I think their phrasing by the Compendium is more dramatically appropriate for our time

2) Some of them, as found as chapters in the Compendium, would need to be reworded before describing them as a key point of Catholic Social Teaching.  You wouldn't just say "A key principle to Catholic Social Teaching" is "The political community".  I wouldn't say, as some might suggest, "well, we left it out because it wasn't phrased well."  My response would be - "rephrase them"

3) I do not want to theorize about why the 8 points listed above did not make the cut, but I think it is a good conversation for people to have - "on what criteria were these 8 excluded, and on what criteria were the 6 (besides dignity of the human person, which clearly belongs) chosen?"

Marian Consecration Podcast: Day 29