The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

01.01.2016 - Mary - Mother of God

In the fullness of time ...

"God sent his Son, born of a woman ... to redeem those who were under the law."

So at the beginning of the history of salvation is God's will to rescue the man, but also at the beginning of the story is a woman, the Mother, Mary. The beginning of the New Year is an opportunity to prepare plans and projects, to make decisions.

However, today's ceremony directs our attention toward motherhood, because at the beginning of every life is always the Mother. Therefore, certainly not without reason, the Church did establish on January 1 the Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Saint John Paul II – Pope not without reason entrusted the new third millennium of Christianity to Mary, the Mother of the God-Man, and also the Queen of Peace.

On December 8th, 2000 he prayed at the Piazza di Spagna in Rome: "Mary Immaculate, we raise our eyes to you, and please, help us in our fight against evil and present our contemporary world to God. Keep us in your motherly care You Beautiful and Holy Virgin! Assist in the ascent of the new millennium, clad in the humility that made you chosen in the eyes of the Almighty. Let the fruit of the Jubilee Year will not be destroyed." These years of the new millennium cannot remain just a memory. Beginning of the New Year, may not be only an opportunity to enjoy our celebrations during the New Year's Eve festivities with champagne. But this is also undoubtedly an opportunity to start anew, under the care of That One, Whom God himself chose to be at the beginning, that is the Mother. Let's use Her intercession, because with Her motherly care, Her support and help at the beginning of each New Year we can really start anew not only a year but the whole of our life. We do not need to fear the Mother. She is the Mother of God, so what can we expect from Her?

Well, that is the beginning, because the first day of the New Year is dedicated to Her. I wish all of you to be accepted with your life in Her maternal care. I pray for you and I ask you to pray for her intercession on my behalf. Happy New Year - with Mary, THEOTOKOS - the Mother of God.

alternative homily

Mary, Mother of God

Is Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ? Yes. Is Mary the Mother of God?  To answer that question we first have to answer the question "Who is Jesus Christ? Our purpose today is not to prove that Jesus is God or that Jesus is man. Given the numerous references in the Bible, as Christians, we take that for granted. Jesus Christ is both God and man. Our purpose today is to look at Jesus Christ in order to answer the question how can Mary be the Mother of God?

The Bible says that Jesus Christ, He who is God by reason of His divine nature, became man by taking unto Himself human nature. That is to say, God – a divine person – took unto Himself a human body with the same structure and functions of the human body which each of us knows so well.

He took unto himself a human soul, a human mind, human feelings and emotions, no different from those with which we are endowed with at birth. And when He did this, He did not thereby cease to be God. God, whose nature is entirely spiritual, into whose make-up nothing bodily enters, whose will power is omnipotent (that is to say all powerful, Almighty), whose mind is omniscient (that is to say all knowing) and whose life had no beginning and no end.

Jesus Christ is both God and man – As God Jesus Christ is infinite, omnipotent, omniscient and eternal. At the same time, Jesus Christ – as man is also mortal (as a human being he must eventually die), Jesus is limited in His physical powers, capable of fatigue and pain, subject to growth in bodily stature and human knowledge. The same as every other man in everything but sin.

This does not mean that His Divine nature became human or that the infallible mind of God became fallible, or that the immortal nature of God became subject to death. At the incarnation the divine was in no way changed into the human. It does mean though that a Divine person really possessed human nature with all of its limitations because a human being, Mary, was His mother.

But because these two natures, Divine and Human are possessed by the same person, Jesus Christ, then Mary who is Mother of His human nature, is rightfully called the Mother of Jesus Christ, and since Jesus Christ is God, she is rightfully called -  Mary, the Mother of God.
Many, however, who speak freely of Mary as mother of Jesus, are hesitant to call her the Mother of God. They shouldn’t be. Otherwise they do not have a full understanding of the meaning of the incarnation. There is no good reason why a divine person, Jesus Christ, who is truly man, could not be conceived and born according to this human nature.

This does not mean that His mother Mary, like some goddess, would bring His divine nature into existence. It also does not mean that as the mother of a divine person, she existed before him. Christ told us that He existed before Abraham was born. As God, He is eternal; as man, He began to live a human life when Mary conceived Him. Mary did not exist before God.

Catholics get this information concerning Mary and Jesus – not from the Church teaching us as though the Bible did not exist, but rather from the Church teaching us the full significance of what the Bible says about Jesus and His mother Mary. About their relationship and what significance Mary has for us today.

Mary as the Mother of God has an important relationship to you and me in the world today. She is our Mother and as our Mother she continually intercedes for us and leads us to her Son Jesus Christ. Since the early days of the Church Christians have expressed Mary’s relationship to us by addressing her with the title “Our Mother”. This, of course, does not say that she was our mother in the natural sense of the term, but rather it is a real spiritual relationship.

Just as St. Paul in speaking to the Corinthians said “In Christ Jesus, through the Gospel, I have begotten you.” Mary could just as truthfully say to all of us “In Christ Jesus, through my consent to your redemption, I have begotten you”. She was associated in our regeneration by giving us Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ on Calvary said to Mary “Woman, behold your son” and to St. John “Behold your Mother” Jesus was proclaiming this truth.

Mary is our Mother. Christians have always considered St. John as representing in person all those who are redeemed and who look upon Mary as their “Mother”.  And so this scene at the cross is really the origin of our devotion to Mary. Holy Mary, Mother of God, conceived without sin. Yes, conceived without sin and sinless throughout her life. Full of Grace.  God’s Grace.

If you wonder why this freedom of sin at the outset of her life is so important and why Christians have always acclaimed her to have been immaculate and unstained, the reason is that she was sinless in order to be fit to become the mother of the Redeemer. Sinless, she was then worthy to be associated with the Son of God in a most intimate relationship. In Mary there was no shame of sin to reflect on her child. The flesh which the Holy One took from her as His mother was the flesh of one who had never been – in any sense – a sinner.

The absence of sin in Mary meant holiness – a holiness in which she steadily grew. When the time came for the angel of God to visit her, he would salute her as “full of Grace” and “blessed among women.” Never had a messenger from God addressed a human being in such language. There had to be a good reason. There are two important points which must be kept in mind in finding that reason. The first is that – God does nothing by chance or on the spur of the moment. The Eternal God simply does not act that way.

What God does in the world He has planned from the beginning of time.
God did not just happen to send an angel to a small Judean town looking for a nice Jewish girl whom He then selected to be the Mother of the Messiah  - after taking a quick omniscient look over all the others and then making a quick decision – there she is – she’s the one. No, the Virgin Mary, was in His mind from the very beginning. When she came into existence it was to be as the Mother of God. God only needed her approval. It was the first and only time that a son got to choose his own mother.

The second point is that when God gives anyone a task to do, He also gives them the ability and wherewithal to do it right. In other words, God, by His grace, makes us fit to fulfill all that He calls us to do. We need only give our “yes” to God. God, then, who chose Mary to be Mother of Jesus the Messiah, gave Her the grace, the blessedness and the holiness that made her worthy of that great dignity. She was fit to be the Mother of God and to receive God Himself into her bosom. All that was needed was her assent. Mary said “Be it done unto me according to thy word” and the incarnation was achieved.

Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ. She is not the Mother of the Trinity but she is the Mother of Jesus. She is the Mother of God. As the Mother of God and as our Mother she continues to intercede for us in Heaven. She continues to lead us to her Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

May God, through the intercession of His Blessed Mother Mary, bless you abundantly in this new year.
Deacon Bernie Ouellette

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Advent - Year C

Christmas is almost at the gate.

In our homes virtually everything is ready. We have prepared what is needed for celebrating this feast in a lovely and beautiful way.

We are also most probably ready.

In four days there is Christmas Eve.  We will be celebrating the most beautiful and appealing feast of the new life. God will become a member of our human family. This historical fact which took place in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, is even now, two millennia later, a special and extraordinary sign. A sign of God's love and unalterable decision to invite everybody to join Him in heaven.

Since our childhood days, we remember only the good and warm things which happened in our lives.

Beautiful Christmas trees, colorful and bright decorations, snow, crèche, visiting members of our family, relatives, specially prepared food, presents and carols … all this is somehow connected with Christmas.

But, we know that all these elements are secondary and nonessential, as long as we do believe that God coming to us in this Divine Baby is the most import_ant reason for the season. And let us be frank, it is difficult.

We aren't becoming sentimental and emotional in celebrating Christmas, but rather cold and dry in keeping Christ in Christmas.

It is difficult because we, the citizens of the twenty first century, have to prepare a place in our daily life for somebody whom essentially we don’t know. We are not able to touch him, to talk with him, to see him. Moreover, God is choosing us to be the witnesses to His Son. He would like to touch others, and be heard by others through us, through the intermediary of our lives. It is because He chose us as His disciples, as His witnesses. Is it possible?

Obviously, if we pass this time of Christmas at the table or in front of the TV screen it will be impossible to be the witnesses to the newborn Christ. We will be celebrating a jolly feast, but we will not get anything deeper from Christmas.

Let us rather see the celebration of the nativity of Christ as a mystery of the new life, a birth of a new member of our family, as a birthday of our Best Friend. Let us find a little bit more time for our families, for God, for prayer, for adoration, just for being human. Let us learn how to see Him in our daily life, how to see His presence in those who are in need, in the normal, even the smallest events of our daily life.

We can give to ourselves the best present, the best gift. We can receive Christ into our life, into our families, into our homes and schools, and into our hearts.

And this is the Birth of God, the Birth of Christ in me.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Second Sunday of Advent – Year C

Let us just imagine a following situation. You got a possibility of organizing a huge marketing operation. You have unlimited financial means and possibilities, but you have to organize the promotion or marketing of faith or religion. You can go wherever you wish, to the schools, molls, public places, halls, shops and theaters just wherever you wish to say only one fundamental truth: "who was and constantly is Jesus Christ? The main object of the marketing is Jesus Christ.

But, an immediate question arises: Is it not too risky? It seems to be not a very good idea, not at all.

Firstly because, you will have none of the very attractive promotions and new products to offer, rather the old stuff, repeated for last 2 thousand years. Packaging is also rather not very attractive, since it is mainly composed by 10 commandments and some old fashioned moral teaching which seems to be not very popular.

Secondly it seems to be a difficult task to get your attention. Many will rather say: "I have too much to do and too much to care for, so I don’t have time for this kind of operation". Others will be rather too shy or intimidated to publicly speak about their faith. Even if we can find a group of volunteers who will be able to go and to perform this kind of marketing company, the effects could be somewhat mediocre, because who would like to listen to, who will be interested at all in this, Gospel message? The presence of the disciple of Christ preaching His Good News on the streets and in the public places will be intimidating or even offending and finally this idea will be classified as a fiasco and too idealistic to be performed in our laicised world.

We get used to the situation that God is tightly closed in the tabernacle and the most comfortable way of expressing our faith is on Sunday in the church and not in our daily life.

And in today's Gospel John the Baptist in a very simple but straightforward (direct) way is calling

"Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,"

Prepare the way of the Lord, but what for? Do these words have any sense and meaning 20 centuries later? What does it mean "Make straight the paths of your life"?

Is Jesus not present in my life? Don’t I come for the Mass every Sunday (o, maybe almost every Sunday)? Do I not convert twice a year during Advent and Lent penitential services, confessing sincerely my sins? Do I need more? What for do I have to convert or to change my life? If I seriously admit that I need a conversion is it not to admit that I am living a messy and disordered life.

What for do I have to convert or to change my life if I think it is good, comfortable and fitting me perfectly?

The answer for this question is only one: I have to convert from my style of live and accept the way of Christ because I cannot and will not save myself, because He is the Saviour and the Redeemer and without Him I am unable to reach Heaven. I have to "make the crocked way of my life make straight", because otherwise they will lead me nowhere. I have to fill our every valley of my greediness and to level every mountain of my pride, because otherwise my selfishness and my pride will devour and destroy me. I have to convert because only Christ is able to liberate me from the slavery of sins. Without Him I can do nothing.

Monday, November 30, 2015

First Sunday of Advent - Year C

What is the meaning of Advent?

Can we say that today for many, Advent is limited only to the colorful streets, lampions and preparation of Christmas decorations, sumptuous displays in the shops and promotions in supermarkets and molls? For many contemporary, Advent means rather hours spend in hunting the Christmas gifts and presents. Will I be far away from the truth if I dare to say that although the season of Christmas is the season of light (what we can see on our streets and in our supermarkets) indeed internally for many among us it's the time of darkness or spiritual darkness, religious emptiness?

What is the deepest sense of all this?

Do you remember the Advent last year? Did it not look like this year in more or less the same way? Despite of the fact that since last Advent we became certainly wiser and more skilled, more involved in a different aspects of our daily life, can we say that also in our relationship with God we are better, deeper, more sincere and more honest? Or should we rather say that we did not progress, that for many years now we are living rather a kind of stagnation? And after Christmas with our faith will share the lot of the Christmas decorations, it will go to the storage room till next year?

At the beginning of this Advent we have to find a serious answer for a question: "what am I waiting for?" Because if this Advent will be for me once again (or once more) the time only for gifts and presents and external colorful lampions it is true that I will be afraid and frustrated when Jesus is talking about the inevitability of His final coming, I will be frustrated and scared, I will be afraid. And if I am afraid I will run away from Him, I will despise Him, I will run into the superficiality of colorful decorations. They are beautiful and cheering but if this is only the meaning of Advent and Christmas … let us be frank it is empty and superficial.

We have to know that the one of the most dangerous words for our spiritual life is the word "tomorrow". This word tries to convince me that I still have a time, plenty of time for confession, for prayer, for liberating my busy life for God. But in reality with "tomorrow" mentality I will never be able to say to God COME LORD JESUS. This is why today at the beginning of Advent we are receiving from God one more chance, one more opportunity to deepen our personal relationship with Emmanuel, with GOD WHO IS WITH US. It is the time when I suppose to prepare not only my house, to ornate and decorate not only the front doors of my apartment, to cleanse not only my flat but first at all to prepare my heart to accept God whenever He comes.

It will certainly cost me more than only external preparations but it will be certainly more successful and more rewarding if I have the courage to do it.

Advent is the time of preparation but first and foremost the internal preparation to meet God in so many different ways. He is coming in the manger; he is coming in His Word, Body and Blood during the Mass, He is coming also in my neighbour, in a poor, the needy, and starving. He is coming in so many ways. Am I ready to meet Him, do I wait for Him, or simply I DON’T HAVE TIME? 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Christ the King

Today's Sunday we are celebrating solemnity of Christ the King. In His constant teaching He tried to convince people that His Father prepared the place for everybody in the Kingdom of God. We did certainly have an opportunity to hear Jesus's words that His Kingdom is not from this World. (J18,36) But apparently we do not understand the meaning of the Kingdom of God. We know that in Gods Kingdom the eternity consist in worship of our Creator.. But do we really think that throughout the whole eternity will be doing nothing else then singing Hosanna and Alleluia. Our imagination (representation) of the kingdom of God is strongly influenced by the images of our contemporary, earthly empires, where the abundance, wealth and luxury are reigning together with autocracy and arrogance of the rulers.

Very often we try to understand the reality of heaven using our human limited capacities. Very often also, in trying this we finish with contradiction or false images.

Let us see for example the cross of Christ - The throne of God's love. It is immediately visible that our logic is not the logic of God, our understanding of love is not Gods understanding, our understanding of Gods Kingdom is too short, inadequate to describe to reality of God's Kingdom. This reality is certainly not the reality of luxury, splendor, arrogance but the reality of infinite of love.

Opened arms of Christ on the cross -during His crucifixion- are nothing else that the gesture of invitation. By this gesture God is inviting us to participate in His Kingdom of love. He is proposing that we accept this kingdom of love in our daily life. Let us not waste the time for useless imaginations but let us try to implement His Kingdom on earth. This is what we pray for in OUR Father - your Kingdom come your will be done.

Friday, October 16, 2015

No, Christianity Should Not ‘Welcome’ or ‘Include’ Your Sinful Lifestyle

"Frankly, the church has not failed if it makes open homosexuals or anyone else feel uncomfortable in their sin. That is a success. That is the church doing what it’s supposed to do.  But it has failed if it makes the faithful and the sincere feel unwelcome. This is the real problem, the real crisis.

It’s difficult to have grown-up conversations these days, because people like yourself see every mention of moral truth as either a personal attack or a statement of superiority. This is the real damage you cause in the Faith. It’s not that you’re sinful — we all are, to be sure — it’s that you want to be coddled. You want to shut down professions of Truth that are inconvenient or uncomfortable. You want to modify Christian teachings not because you tried them and found them wrong, but because, to paraphrase Chesterton, you found them difficult and don’t want to try them."

More here

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

28 Sunday in Ordinary Time – B

Mk 10:17-30
The teaching against our selfish culture

It's interesting:

The question asked by young men: "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus does not answer: "Be free. Follow your conscience. If you feel good do whatever you wish" – like some of our contemporary liberalistic theologians.

Jesus' answer is precise and sharp:
"You know the commandments:
you shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honour your father and your mother."

We prefer to have the watered, nice and polite answers. But Jesus answers directly and sharply: Keep commandments! God gave us the commandments as an objective and reliable point of reference. We shall not dissolve them in the subjective and relativistic ideologies and politically correct theories. Like to the young men, He tells me also: "If you would like to inherit eternal life there is only one way; KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS!!!!"

So, do I realize that unless I keep the God's commandments I will NOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD?

I certainly know the commandments and I don't need to smooth and flatten them, make them easy and more human. There are the objective and the most reliable means of entering the eternal life.

But this is not the end of Christ's challenging teaching in today's Gospel.

Many or most of us, sitting in the pews are not killers, adulterers, thieves, chronic liars, sinister schemers of fraud, or parent abusers. Rather, we are observing the commandments with faithfulness. Perhaps there are many people in our congregation who might be able to say to Jesus with the young man from the Gospel – “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth”. Nevertheless, like the young, rich man, Jesus can most likely address each one of us with the words – "You are lacking one thing  sell what you have, and give to the poor".

And this is the climax of His teaching. This is the most difficult point of His Gospel, because we –in the individualistic society- we are convinced that it is my right to posses, to defend and to multiply my possessions. The whole world around me is telling me that I am the most important, the most precious person and my needs, my requirements and desires are on top and should be satisfied by all means. If there are not satisfied, I am disappointed; I am upset and even frustrated.

And Jesus in His teaching is going against this mentality. He says openly: "Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come and follow me."

Very sturdy and very difficult teaching ...
My rights to posses against the teaching of Christ  …

The teaching, which is not at all smooth and nice. The teaching which openly states: "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"

Why is it difficult for rich men to enter the Kingdom of God? Is it the richness a kind of curse? Is richness a sin? Or maybe it is rather because the richness makes me blind and so I cannot see anymore nor God neither my neighbour?

"How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"

It is hard not because the richness as such is a sin but because being rich very often I become blind and selfish, self-centered …

It's my choice to listen to - or not.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Great Ark

The Great Ark

"Thus, at last, the “father of lies” spewed a torrent of lies “out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with the current.” 

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Vortex—Cardinal Burke’s Warning | The Vortex

danerous attitude of false mercy ...

There is too great a reluctance to declare openly and boldly the truth in all its fullness and glory. To meet the protagonists of the culture without telling them the truth would be a severe lack of charity.

The current climate tends too close to sentimentalism — a false compassion masked as something good and caring. This attitude is very harmful because it introduces a severe lack of respect for the objective truth of the situation. You cannot simply give the impression to someone in sin that their sin is okay because your love is all that matters — absolutely incorrect, false and very potentially damning.

Cardinal Raymond Burke

The Vortex—Cardinal Burke’s Warning | The Vortex

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

"… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For when we do not know how to pray as we ought, the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for human words." (Romans 8:26)

Holy Spirit, I recognize my total inabilities, weakness and deep sinfulness. From the depths of that nothingness and misery, I beg you: Come with Your grace to help me in my weaknesses.
Because I cannot express in my words:
- my Love to You, my Lord,
- my prayer for those whom I love,
- my sorrows for sins committed and harm I caused,
Therefore, I ask you, Holy Spirit, come to my aid, because
- Your majesty and holiness intimidates me,
- my helplessness overwhelms me,
- the wickedness of my sins scares me the.
You who penetrate the depths of God, express my prayer with sighs I cannot express in my human words. Mine is misery and nothingness, Yours is power and love. Mine is pride and arrogance, Yours is power and Peace. Give me your gifts: of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and fortitude, of knowledge, piety and fear of God.

Cleanse me of all evil. Teach me humility, patience and forgiveness. I beg these gifts, Holy Spirit, Who, with God the Father and the Son of God, lives and reigns Forever and ever. Amen.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Divine Mercy ...

Conversion and repentance are the necessary conditions of Divine Mercy.

Talking about God's Mercy, about God's love and compassion, we forget that God is HOLY and He cannot accept anything which is not holy. Jesus says: "Be holy as your Father in Heaven is holy."

We forget that the necessary condition of God's forgiveness and mercy is repentance and conversion and not the whimsy, capricious tolerance of sin and perversity... All the words like: "God is accepting us where we are and as we are" are only a delusion and -simply saying- a lie. Read please all places where Christ is forgiving the sin, and you will see that in all these places He is requiring conversion and repentance. So it is not true that He is accepting us "where we are". He cannot accept us if we are in the situation of sin and moral disorder. His very reason of Incarnation, the only one reason and the only one purpose is to liberate us from the sin! He is not leading the 99 sheep to the one who is lost, He is bringing the one who is lost to the 99, who didn't get lost.

"Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." (Luk 13:1-5)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Holy Trinity Sunday

Marriage is the most convincing explanation of the Mystery of the Trinity.

I read a confession of a man, who get married:

I understood a little bit from the Mystery of the Holy Trinity when I get married. I love my wife, my wife loves me, and the personification of this mutual love is our child. I understood that God is like that, God is a Mutual Creative Love. I understood that He created us as a unity of creative lave, I understood that love is always directed toward two other persons, that love is always creative. I understood the homosexuals unions a empty of love because they cannot and they will never be creative, I understood the God can not be alone that He has to be a community of persons, and he created us as a community of persons.

The story is told of a priest sitting in an airport waiting for his flight. A fellow killing time struck up a conversation. Said he, "Father, I believe only what I can understand. So, I can't buy your Trinity. Perhaps you can explain it to me." The priest reluctantly put down The New York Times. "Do you see the sun out there?" "Yup." "OK, it's 80 million miles away from us right now. The rays coming through the window," said the priest, "are coming from the sun. The delightful heat we are enjoying on our bodies right now come from a combination of the sun and its rays. Do you understand that?" The fellow answered, "Sure, padre." "The Trinity," the priest went on, "is like that. God the Father is that blazing sun. The Son is the rays He sends down to us. Then both combine to send us the Holy Spirit who is the heat. If you understand the workings of the sun, its rays, and heat, why do you have difficulty believing the Trinity?" The man said something about catching a flight and was off.

The priest, a physics professor, picked up the Times with a broad smile. He doubted whether his recent guest understood the workings of the sun. He knew no one would ever comprehend the mystery of the Trinity this side of the grave. After all, why  does God have to tell us everything? In his experience, He tells us only on a need to know basis.

His favourite line from the Book of Job popped into his mind. "Can anyone penetrate the deep designs of God?" (11:7) As a scientist and a Catholic, he knew the answer to that question. Try to understand the Trinity and you become like a person staring, as someone said, into the noonday sun to better understand it.

Finally he put down the Times and recalled fondly his late Dogma professor in the seminary. When he came to the section on the Trinity in the textbook, he turned the pages quickly. The Dogma prof said, "Professor Thomas Aquinas, late of the University of Paris and the Albert Einstein of his day, didn't understand the Trinity. So, it is most unlikely that you blockheads will either. Just remember St Paul mentions the Trinity 30 times in his letters. Take it on faith and you'll muddle through somehow." He trusted that the professor and Thomas both now understood the Trinity perfectly.

He himself never had difficulty buying into a God who is passionately in love with us, a Son who was willing to die for us, and a Holy Spirit whose job it is to help us become saints like Thomas of Aquin and Paris.

He recalled the husband, who said when he became a father, he better understood the Trinity. When he and his wife had their son, they had evidence of their love for each other. There was the lover, the beloved, and the love, each distinct and yet one.

Belief in the Trinity demands acknowledging God’s infinite superiority in all areas including our rationality.  Adam and Eve refused to do that.  They pushed God aside, turned away from life and gave us death.  The Arians, including the modern day arians of the academia, do not have the humility to admit that man’s knowledge of the Divine is limited by the finite capability of the human mind. They do not have the humility to enter into mystery, the mystery of God.  I like to consider it this way: an eight year old cannot understand calculus.  He or she is incapable of that form of understanding.  But calculus still exists.  Most of our top high school students could not come to the theory of relativity, but it is a valid theory.  Because some knowledge is beyond us does not mean that it doesn’t exist.  What does exist is the pride and arrogance we all have to refuse to go beyond the limits of our minds and accept God’s mysteries. The trouble is that we humans are proud.  We would like to determine who God is, what He should be like, etc.  We try to fit him into our mental constructs.  In doing so, we are refusing to enter into mystery. 

Dom Julian, a Benedictine monk, wrote, “All that matters is that God is God, and I, I am only I.”

Jesus didn’t explicitly teach us about the Trinity. The theology of the Trinity comes out of the reflection of the early Church on the teaching of Jesus. They thought over what he said and under the influence of the Holy Spirit they began to understand the dynamics of the Trinity.

Jesus referred on many occasions to his Father and the closeness of his relationship with him. Moreover he taught us to speak to the Father in a very familiar and direct way.

Jesus also promises to send us his Spirit and refers even in this particular passage that he will be with us always, until the end of time. We understand that it is precisely through the Holy Spirit that Jesus is present to us.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

collapse ...

Collapse of f Western Catholicism is not caused exclusively by the transformation of secular civilization, that is, the growth of wealth, prosperity and pride amongst its people but, unfortunately, also by weak and non-specific pastoral care and guidance. Far too many priests took the easy way out; they all but abandoned the confessionals, abused the liturgy, and became lost in sterile discussions, social gatherings, and unproductive meetings over coffee. In seeking refuge in politically correct actions, nothing remained clear, especially to the laity.
The current situation may, indeed, be the moment just before the "last extinguishes the light." The situation is frightful and dramatic...
Moreover, despite the fact that many people are aware of this situation and many also perceive the risks involved, it seems that most of them pretend not to see, do not want to see or are blind to the consequences! There are also a lot of those who, because of a desire to conform and a fear of losing their positions and privileges remain indifferent and inert, keeping mute and taking no action.
Those who do see the problems and try only to bring them forward and into the light so as to have an honest exchange and dialogue about  them, are viewed as fatalists, fanatics, pessimists, and negativistic.
Similarly, when Jesus spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, nobody wanted to listen to Him. Was He, too, a fatalist, a fanatic and a pessimist, focusing on the negative and “doom and gloom”?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Vortex—Ireland: Then and Now | The Vortex

The collapse of the Faith in Ireland didn't happen overnight.

The interview presented is from 2001

more to see here ...

The Vortex—Ireland: Then and Now | The Vortex

The Aftermath

Irish supporters wrote us after the referendum, telling us the bishops were in shock, that they had no idea their flock were so far gone, and they are now left looking on the crumbling ruins of the Faith they've been called to teach and defend. They speculate the vote was not so much a vote  the Church, a deliberate slap in the face of an institution the Irish have come to resent and even hate.

more ...
The Aftermath

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2, 1-11; Psalm 104; 1 Cor 12, 3-7. 12-13; John 20, 19-23

The story is told of Napoleon Bonaparte boasting to a Vatican cardinal that he would destroy the Church. The cardinal insouciantly replied to the perplexed emperor, "Good luck, Your Majesty. We, priests have been attempting to do just that for centuries."

In effect, the bishop was doffing his scarlet biretta in salute to the Holy Spirit. That Spirit dwells comfortably and sometimes, I suspect, very uncomfortably within the Church. Try what anyone might; the Church will not go away precisely because the Third Person of the Holy Trinity is on the job around the clock. Napoleon thought the prelate was pulling his imperial leg. He took on the Church. He was rudely dethroned. The Church survived. The former emperor wound up beating off mosquitoes as a full-time occupation on the damp island of Saint Helena somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.

Without the Holy Spirit, the Church would be, at best, a third rate operation or, perhaps better, a non-operation. But with the Spirit, the Church is today able to survive its many difficulties.

With the Holy Spirit the Church survived the centuries of persecution, the attempts of Napoleon and French Revolution, the efforts of the Mexican and Spain’s revolutions, the communistic domination in Russia and East European countries. With the Holy Spirit at work the church survived the diabolic attempts during the Second World War, and is still surviving the most atrocious persecutions in Communistic China. The Holy Spirit is at work in the Lord’s Church, but He is also, or at least should be, at work in us.

A brilliant man, a man of education, with Doctorate Degrees and honors from most major universities, took a sabbatical.  He decided to devote as much time as it would take, one year, two years or more, and learn all he could about Jesus.  He studied ancient Greek and ancient Hebrew and Aramaic so he could read the earliest texts about Jesus.  He studied Ignatius, Justin, Augustine, Aquinas, and all the famous theologians of past centuries, always focusing on learning about Jesus.  He read the works of modern theologians.  He took courses in various foreign languages so he could understand theologians in their original language. 

After studying and studying he wrote his own book about Jesus.  It was an instant- success, not just in the academic circles, but in every Christian and even non-Christian Church.  The man, the esteemed professor, was called upon to give talks about Jesus to all sorts of different groups, from seminarians to atheists. His lectures always ended with a question and answer period.  Usually, there was no one in the audience who could ask a question that the brilliant man had not been asked before or for which he did not have an answer at the tip of his tongue.

No one, until an elderly man raised his hand after one lecture.  The old man asked: “How is it that someone who has studied as much as you, has learned so little?”

What?  What type of an arrogant simpleton would dare question the great scholar, the great professor?  After the commotion settled down, the scholar responded, “I am sure that I have much more to learn about Jesus, but why do you feel that I have learned so little?” He had the old man.  At least until the man said, “You have Jesus in your head, but you do not have him in your heart.”

Knowledge of Christ comes from the head, but knowing Christ comes from the heart.  His Spirit must be within us. We have to give Him permission to work in us, to operate in our hearts. Otherwise we will not know our Lord and Redeemer.

And this is the great gift of Pentecost, the solemnity we celebrate today. The Spirit of the Lord has been given to us so that we don’t just know about the Lord, but that we know the Lord.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Ascension of the Lord

Today we celebrate Christ's ascension. Let this be clear  - there was something very new and wonderful when Jesus returned to His heavenly Father. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity left heaven to take on a human body born of the Virgin Mary and was named Jesus. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity remained in heaven as a member of the Holy Trinity but He also began to live on earth as Jesus, true God and true man. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He, as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, came with His glorified body, the body that hung on the cross, was buried and rose from the dead. He came with His five wounds that would forever serve as trophies of His victory over sin and death. This feast then celebrates Christ's final departure from earth and also His exalted position seated at God's right hand. In the Apostles Creed we pray, "He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father."

In that Creed we acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son Of God and that He came to earth being born of the Virgin Mary.  He is both Divine and Human. We acknowledge that He is our Lord and Saviour. What we must keep in mind, however, is that Jesus is active in this position. The very fact that He appeared to the apostles over the span of forty days shows this.

While on earth Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit AFTER He had ascended to His Father. This He did after the Ascension. He promised to prepare a place for the apostles so that where He was they would eventually be.  He "always lives to make intercession" for "those who draw near to God through Him." He is the one mediator between God and man. Finally Jesus also promised to be with His Church to the end of time . We believe everything that the Scriptures tell us about Him and everything that the Scriptures tell us that He said and did. This is what makes us Catholic Christians and we proudly proclaim the same – meaning every word that we say. It is important therefore that we know what we are saying and we understand what we are saying in the Creed because to be a Chris­tian is to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord and Saviour, but to be a Catholic Christian is also to acknowledge that the Catholic Church is the one true Church that Jesus established.

Now my purpose here is not to play the Catholic Church against all other Christian denominations but rather to present to you the argument that to deny the authority of the one Church that Jesus Christ established is to deny the authority of the one who established her – the one who is head of His body  the church. And not only deny Jesus’ authority but ultimately His divinity also.

If we deny that the Church has full authority to teach the truth and that all she teaches is the truth – or if we dissent from the teaching of the truth or from the Church’s authority – then ultimately what we are denying is the Divinity of Christ Himself.  For as St. Paul says in today’s reading Christ is the Head of His body the Church and He promises to remain with her and protect her until the end of the age. As Catholics we fully accept and understand the fact that Jesus is Divine and that if He is the Son of God as we so proudly proclaim Him to be then we must also acknowledge that He has divine power - to safeguard His One True Church He clearly intended to establish and be with until the end of time.

 But safeguard the Church from what and for what?

From the New Testament we learn that Jesus gave special and highly significant emphasis to the word "truth."  He tells Pilate that He has come to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37), and He tells His disciples that they will know the truth and the truth will set them free (John 8:32).

 On the night of His betrayal He tells His disciples that He will send them the Spirit of Truth who will teach them "all things " remind them of all Jesus has told them (John 14:26) and guide them "into all the truth" (John 16:13). Note that little word "all," repeated three times. Then, in His prayer to His Father, Jesus asks that His disciples be sanctified (made holy) and consecrated (set apart) in the truth. Not in goodness or virtue or love, but in the truth.

The truth matters so much to Jesus that He calls Himself - the Truth. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. In His meeting with the Samaritan woman, He says that His Father seeks "true worshippers" who will worship Him "in spirit and in truth". Not only that, but He calls the devil not the Father of Sin or of Wickedness, but the Father of Lies. To drive the point home Jesus says that Satan "has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him" (John 8:44).

So if the truth is as important as Jesus says it is, and the enemy is not some amateur liar but the very Father of lies, then the battle-lines are clearly drawn and the only question remaining is: does Jesus have what it takes to protect His Church from this enemy?

Scripture gives us two images of the Church that are especially pertinent here. Whether we see the Church as the Bride of Christ and Jesus as the Bridegroom (Eph. 5:25, Rev. 21: 2) (Matt. 9:15) or as the sheepfold and Jesus as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), His role as protector is paramount. His defense of His Bride, His defense of His flock is not abstract or theoretical; it is intensely personal, because the Father of Lies is a real and deadly enemy, whose chief weapon is falsehood.

Jesus takes this threat to His Church personally.

And in His prayer to the Father on the night of His betray­al, right after asking that His disciples be "kept from the evil one"- that is, protected from the Father of Lies - He gives the means by which this protection will be instituted: they are to be sanctified in the truth. So Jesus tells us who the enemy is, and what He as Bridegroom will do to safeguard his Bride: He will send the Holy Spirit of Truth, the one who sanctifies us in the truth. Nowhere does Jesus promise us a Church without sinners or dissenters - on the contrary, as He teaches us in the parable of the wheat and tares – The farmer lets the weeds grow up with the wheat because uprooting the weeds might damage some of the wheat.

The farmer waits until harvest time. Then He will separate the wheat from the weeds, the obedient from the disobedient, and gather the wheat into His barn and then He will cast the weeds into the fire. Jesus promises us a Church which will be without lies, a church guided by the Spirit of Truth. St. Paul must have understood our Lord well, since He refers to the Church as the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). Where could he have gotten such a notion except from the one who promised to send the Holy Spirit of Truth?

If we accept the divinity of Christ then we accept His divine capacity to personally defend, protect and preserve His Church from the enemy. If He cannot do that, then He may be a shepherd, but certainly not a divine one; a bridegroom, but only human. If He cannot keep His flock safe from falsehood, then that means the Father of Lies wins and Jesus, whoever He is, is not the Lord.  But we believe and we proudly profess together that  because Christ is the Divine Bridegroom and the Divine Shep­herd, the Catholic Church is exactly what she claims to be and who Sacred Scripture tells us that she is: Christ's beloved Bride, His cherished flock, protected by the Spirit of Truth and therefore infallible in matters of faith and mor­als. If the Church is not infallible, Jesus is not God, and the Holy Spirit is not the Spirit of Truth.

Jesus, as Lord, is also the Lord of History.

Why is this? Well, Jesus promised to be with his Church until the end (Matt. 28:20) and so His divine shepherding takes place in time, as history unfolds. The Father of Lies is and will be a constant threat until the end, until Jesus returns in glory. Now how can Jesus be the Lord of History if the Church did not have the truth from the very beginning ? How can Jesus be the Lord of History if the Church did not have the truth until Luther came along 1500 years later, or Zwingli or Calvin? Or any other person in our time who dissents from the truth or those who teach God’s children to dissent from the truth.

 If the Church has not been under the constant vigilant guidance of the Holy Spirit of Truth since day one and remain in the Truth for every second, then Jesus is not the Lord of History, and if He is not the Lord of History, He is not the Lord. Although Jesus did say He came to bring not peace, but the sword of division, we know that the division He speaks of refers not to the Church, but to the separation between the Church and the world. Jesus makes clear that being sanctified in the truth is to be one, as the Father and He are one. Truth and unity go together: there will be one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16). Lies, dissent, disobedience and disunity all go together – all are a product of the Father of Lies. Dissenters are not new. They have been with the Church since the beginning. One of their deceptions is that they teach that it is ok to dissent from the teachings of the church or that we are required to dissent.

St. Paul remarked on the connec­tion between false teaching and disunity at the very beginning of the Church: "I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it, for there must be factions among you so that those who are genuine among you may be recognized" (1 Cor. 11:18-19).
What does St. Paul mean when he says the genuine ones? Who are these "genuine" ones? They are the ones in possession of the truth. And how may we recognize them? They are those who obey the teaching of the apostles, chief of whom is Peter, and their successors, the bishops, chief of whom is the pope.

Vatican II’s Document Lumen Gentium teaches us this :
“Fully incorporated into the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who – by the bonds instituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion – are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the Bishops”.

And why do these genuine ones, that is Catholics who are in full communion, freely give their obedience? Full communion means those who fully accept all that the Church teaches. They give their obedience because Jesus is God the Son and He really did what He said He would do: estab­lish his Church on Peter the Rock, and send us the Holy Spirit of Truth to lead the Church into the fullness of truth and protect and  preserve her from the Father of Lies.

Therefore just as there are always those who dissent and those who teach dissent there will also always be some who have the fullness of truth and who listen and obey their shepherd for if the sheep can't tell who is teaching the truth, the flock is lost. You can't be just a little bit pregnant. You are either pregnant or you are not. And if the Catholic Church is really the Church established by Jesus who really is Lord, it can't just possess a bit of the truth. It either has all the truth or it does not. When it comes to faith and morals the Catholic Church cannot be right on some things and wrong on others.

Truth is not divisible. It cannot True and False at the same time. Therefore if the Catholic Church is the one true church established by Jesus Christ as we proudly profess when we say the Apostle’s Creed – if the Catholic Church is the Church of Jesus Christ who is it’s head and who protects it from the Father of Lies - then it must always be in possession of the fullness of truth and always teach the truth. If Jesus is Lord, meaning really and truly divine, then everything else follows: the infallibility of the Church, the inerrancy of Scripture, the ex opere operato reality of the sacraments, the papacy, the authority of the church to teach the truth, the doctrine of purgatory, Humane Vitae, the Sanctity of Marriage between one man and one woman, the evil of pornography, the evil of homosexual acts, the evil of abortion and euthanasia, the necessity of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist, the dogmas concern­ing the Blessed Virgin Mary, "all the truth."  Not just part of it.

Since Jesus is the Lord of History, all this truth has come in time, step by step, as the Holy Spirit of Truth has led the Church into the full­ness of truth. So the Church established by Jesus cannot go "off the tracks" of the truth, not with the Holy Spirit as its guide, not ever – not for one second. It is one thing to reject the divinity of Jesus, a truth available only to those who have been given the faith by their Heavenly Father. It is another thing entirely to accept the divinity of Jesus but then at the same time to reject the authority of His one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church and the Vicar of Christ on earth – the Holy Father – Our Pope.  The person who does this needs to go back and reread the New Testament, and consider what it really means to say that Jesus is Lord, that the enemy is the Father of Lies and that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth.

Catholics believe it to mean that Jesus, at every moment throughout these last 2000 years, has always had what it takes to pro­tect his Bride, from her beginning at Pentecost until her Lord returns in glory. He has said that He will be with us until the end of time and He has done so. As Catholics we are called to be defenders of the truth. This means opposing those who are advocates of the Father of Lies. As Catholics we have been given the immense privilege of belonging to Christ’s Mystical body, of having the one true faith and through it knowing the sure means of salvation and holiness.

But as today’s Gospel  directs us, we were not given the fullness of truth to keep it to ourselves alone – each one of us has been given the great commission – we have been sent to spread the truth of our faith to all peoples. We are directed to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

My friends, Look up! There is your desired goal ascending to sit at the right hand of His Father. It is a goal which neither poverty, nor hardships, nor death itself can keep you. Follow the truth. The Holy Spirit will assist you. For the treasures that are laid up for you are worth any cost. Follow the truth for the eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, nor has it even entered into the hearts of men what God has prepared for those who love Him. Christ has ascended to lay up a treasure for you. If you are a doubter, Christ’s ascension is a final proof of His divinity. If you are among the weak, Christ ascended to send the Holy Spirit to strengthen and confirm you. If you are a sinner, Christ is your advocate pleading for your forgiveness before his Father.

As we believe so shall we teach – let us therefore teach the truth – and the truth will set us free.

Deacon Bernie