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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

TRUE PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST


Risen Christ and the Eucharist
CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST

Protestant attacks on the Catholic Church often focus on the Eucharist. This demonstrates that opponents of the Church—mainly Evangelicals and Fundamentalists—recognize one of Catholicism’s core doctrines. What’s more, the attacks show that Fundamentalists are not always literalists. This is seen in their interpretation of the key biblical passage, chapter six of John’s Gospel, in which Christ speaks about the sacrament that will be instituted at the Last Supper. This tract examines the last half of that chapter.

John 6:30 begins a colloquy that took place in the synagogue at Capernaum. The Jews asked Jesus what sign he could perform so that they might believe in him. As a challenge, they noted that "our ancestors ate manna in the desert." Could Jesus top that? He told them the real bread from heaven comes from the Father. "Give us this bread always," they said. Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." At this point the Jews understood him to be speaking metaphorically.



Christ speaking to the people with authority
Again and Again

Jesus first repeated what he said, then summarized: "‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’" (John 6:51–52).

His listeners were stupefied because now they understood Jesus literally—and correctly. He again repeated his words, but with even greater emphasis, and introduced the statement about drinking his blood: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:53–56).



No Corrections
people listening to Jesus

Notice that Jesus made no attempt to soften what he said, no attempt to correct "misunderstandings," for there were none. Our Lord’s listeners understood him perfectly well. They no longer thought he was speaking metaphorically. If they had, if they mistook what he said, why no correction?

On other occasions when there was confusion, Christ explained just what he meant (cf. Matt. 16:5–12). Here, where any misunderstanding would be fatal, there was no effort by Jesus to correct. Instead, he repeated himself for greater emphasis.

In John 6:60 we read: "Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’" These were his disciples, people used to his remarkable ways. He warned them not to think carnally, but spiritually: "It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (John 6:63; cf. 1 Cor. 2:12–14).
John 6:68

But he knew some did not believe. (It is here, in the rejection of the Eucharist, that Judas fell away; look at John 6:64.) "After this, many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him" (John 6:66).

This is the only record we have of any of Christ’s followers forsaking him for purely doctrinal reasons. If it had all been a misunderstanding, if they erred in taking a metaphor in a literal sense, why didn’t he call them back and straighten things out? Both the Jews, who were suspicious of him, and his disciples, who had accepted everything up to this point, would have remained with him had he said he was speaking only symbolically.

But he did not correct these protesters. Twelve times he said he was the bread that came down from heaven; four times he said they would have "to eat my flesh and drink my blood." John 6 was an extended promise of what would be instituted at the Last Supper—and it was a promise that could not be more explicit. Or so it would seem to a Catholic. But what do Fundamentalists say?



Merely Figurative?

True Body & Blood of Christ
They say that in John 6 Jesus was not talking about physical food and drink, but about spiritual food and drink. They quote John 6:35: "Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.’" They claim that coming to him is bread, having faith in him is drink. Thus, eating his flesh and blood merely means believing in Christ.

True Body & Blood of Christ
But there is a problem with that interpretation. As Fr. John A. O’Brien explains, "The phrase ‘to eat the flesh and drink the blood,’ when used figuratively among the Jews, as among the Arabs of today, meant to inflict upon a person some serious injury, especially by calumny or by false accusation. To interpret the phrase figuratively then would be to make our Lord promise life everlasting to the culprit for slandering and hating him, which would reduce the whole passage to utter nonsense" (O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, 215). For an example of this use, see Micah 3:3.

Fundamentalist writers who comment on John 6 also assert that one can show Christ was speaking only metaphorically by comparing verses like John 10:9 ("I am the door") and John 15:1 ("I am the true vine"). The problem is that there is not a connection to John 6:35, "I am the bread of life." "I am the door" and "I am the vine" make sense as metaphors because Christ is like a door—we go to heaven through him—and he is also like a vine—we get our spiritual sap through him. But Christ takes John 6:35 far beyond symbolism by saying, "For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed" (John 6:55).

He continues: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me" (John 6:57). The Greek word used for "eats" (trogon) is very blunt and has the sense of "chewing" or "gnawing." This is not the language of metaphor.



Their Main Argument
Reading scripture

For Fundamentalist writers, the scriptural argument is capped by an appeal to John 6:63: "It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." They say this means that eating real flesh is a waste. But does this make sense?

Are we to understand that Christ had just commanded his disciples to eat his flesh, then said their doing so would be pointless? Is that what "the flesh is of no avail" means? "Eat my flesh, but you’ll find it’s a waste of time"—is that what he was saying? Hardly.

The fact is that Christ’s flesh avails much! If it were of no avail, then the Son of God incarnated for no reason, he died for no reason, and he rose from the dead for no reason. Christ’s flesh profits us more than anyone else’s in the world. If it profits us nothing, so that the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ are of no avail, then "your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished" (1 Cor. 15:17b–18).

In John 6:63 "flesh profits nothing" refers to mankind’s inclination to think using only what their natural human reason would tell them rather than what God would tell them. Thus in John 8:15–16 Jesus tells his opponents: "You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me." So natural human judgment, unaided by God’s grace, is unreliable; but God’s judgment is always true.

The Words I have spoken to you are Spirit & Life
And were the disciples to understand the line "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life" as nothing but a circumlocution (and a very clumsy one at that) for "symbolic"? No one can come up with such interpretations unless he first holds to the Fundamentalist position and thinks it necessary to find a rationale, no matter how forced, for evading the Catholic interpretation. In John 6:63 "flesh" does not refer to Christ’s own flesh—the context makes this clear—but to mankind’s inclination to think on a natural, human level. "The words I have spoken to you are spirit" does not mean "What I have just said is symbolic." The word "spirit" is never used that way in the Bible. The line means that what Christ has said will be understood only through faith; only by the power of the Spirit and the drawing of the Father (cf. John 6:37, 44–45, 65).



Paul Confirms This

St. Paul
Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16). So when we receive Communion, we actually participate in the body and blood of Christ, not just eat symbols of them. Paul also said, "Therefore whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. . . . For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself" (1 Cor. 11:27, 29). "To answer for the body and blood" of someone meant to be guilty of a crime as serious as homicide. How could eating mere bread and wine "unworthily" be so serious? Paul’s comment makes sense only if the bread and wine became the real body and blood of Christ.


What Did the First Christians Say?

Anti-Catholics also claim the early Church took this chapter symbolically. Is that so? Let’s see what some early Christians thought, keeping in mind that we can learn much about how Scripture should be interpreted by examining the writings of early Christians.

St. Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch, who had been a disciple of the apostle John and who wrote a letter to the Smyrnaeans about A.D. 110, said, referring to "those who hold heterodox opinions," that "they abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again" (6:2, 7:1).

St. Justin Martyr
Forty years later, Justin Martyr, wrote, "Not as common bread or common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, . . . is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" (First Apology 66:1–20).

Origen
Origen, in a homily written about A.D. 244, attested to belief in the Real Presence. "I wish to admonish you with examples from your religion. You are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries, so you know how, when you have received the Body of the Lord, you reverently exercise every care lest a particle of it fall and lest anything of the consecrated gift perish. You account yourselves guilty, and rightly do you so believe, if any of it be lost through negligence" (Homilies on Exodus 13:3).

Cyril of Jerusalem, in a catechetical lecture presented in the mid-300s, said, "Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy
of the body and blood of Christ" (Catechetical Discourses: Mystagogic 4:22:9).

Theodore of Mopsuestia
In a fifth-century homily, Theodore of Mopsuestia seemed to be speaking to today’s Evangelicals and Fundamentalists: "When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood,’ for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements], after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit, not according to their nature, but to receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord" (Catechetical Homilies 5:1).



Unanimous Testimony

Early Christian worship
Whatever else might be said, the early Church took John 6 literally. In fact, there is no record from the early centuries that implies Christians doubted the constant Catholic interpretation. There exists no document in which the literal interpretation is opposed and only the metaphorical accepted.

Why do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals reject the plain, literal interpretation of John 6? For them, Catholic sacraments are out because they imply a spiritual reality—grace—being conveyed by means of matter. This seems to them to be a violation of the divine plan. For many Protestants, matter is not to be used, but overcome or avoided.

One suspects, had they been asked by the Creator their opinion of how to bring about mankind’s salvation, Fundamentalists would have advised him to adopt a different approach. How much cleaner things would be if spirit never dirtied itself with matter! But God approves of matter—he approves of it because he created it—and he approves of it so much that he comes to us under the appearances of bread and wine, just as he does in the physical form of the Incarnate Christ.



NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004
IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004
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Friday, 22 August 2014

Spiritual Warfare - What is expected of us?

 


I ran across the article from a link with the National Catholic Register.  It spoke volumes to me and thought I needed to pass it on.  You will find this and many enlightening articles at www.onepeterfive.com


Spiritual Warfare: 
Why We Are Losing

by Father Richard Heilman


In recent decades, we have seen Satan engage the world as never before. In all of human history we have never witnessed evil promoted so effectively, while virtue, character, and morals are roundly mocked and rejected. Meanwhile, it could be said that the Mystical Body — the Church — has never been so unprepared for and unengaged in the challenging mission of spiritual warfare. It is obvious that Satan’s forces are well trained and well organized, while ours clearly are not. At the very beginnings of our great nation, Sir Edmund Burke warned, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Recognizing the widespread spiritual lethargy of our times - the emergent detachment from the Divine Life - Pope John Paul II’s master plan for the new millennium was one that asked us to set aside our disconnected busyness, and to start fresh by contemplating the face of Christ.   It is clear that the Holy Father was encouraging us to place our emphasis on reconnecting to the Divine Life of God, which is classically referred to as the unum necessarium, the one thing necessary.

"Mary has chosen the better part..."

The one thing necessary constitutes the essential foundation for the interior life and stems from the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42), where we first see that, amazingly, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was sitting right in their living room. Even so, Martha remains busy with the good and noble protocol of hospitality, while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, her eyes locked on His Holy Face, peering into His soul, hanging on His every word. Mary is actually in adoration, soaking in everything our Lord wants to give her. I like to say that she is “Mary-nating” — soaking in the gusher of God’s graces. Mary had come to understand what St. Augustine once said: “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” Remarkable!

Mary is Listening to Christ, Martha is too busy
When Martha objects to Mary’s lack of activity, Jesus tells Martha that she remains anxious and upset about many things while Mary has chosen the better portion, the one thing necessary. Mary was the one who was making the guest truly feel welcomed, while Martha remained detached, going through the motions of the demands of protocol. God is light and love and truth Who brings order and meaning and serenity to our lives. While we remain disconnected from our Source, we remain easily agitated, frustrated, and feeble in our disordered and chaotic existence as we continue to walk in darkness.

The disconnection is seen, first and foremost, in the Martha-like indifference to the presence of the Divine in so many of our present-day liturgies, compared with a more Mary-like contemplative way of worshiping. Contemplative awe and veneration have always been the distinctive way Catholics worshiped, until recent decades. In awe and wonder, we would worship Him and soak in the supernatural graces necessary to stand firm against the tactics of the devil (Eph. 6:11) and to grow in the way of sanctity.


The consequence of the modern initiative to push for a very busy and more insouciant way of worshiping that is performance-oriented and man-centered has led to an epidemic of detachment from the Divine, facilitating the modern prevalence of spiritual sloth (indifference toward the Divine Life). Like Martha, God is “right there in our midst,” but we act as though He is not — or if He is, what’s the big deal? We have become the spiritually impotent.


This is why Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger) stated that any real effort at renewal in the Church must begin with a new liturgical movement:
Pope Benedict XVI


“I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy, which at times has even come to be conceived of etsi Deus non daretur (as though God were not there): in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not He speaks to us and hears us.”




Grow in Holiness

In this ubiquitous spiritual warfare, we are being overpowered as we allow ourselves to become detached from our True Power Source, the only way to combat the supernatural powers of evil and grow in holiness. “With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:26) Spiritually speaking, the devil is doing all that he can to catch us isolated and unarmed on the battlefield — no spiritual armor, no spiritual weapons, and no comrades in the heavenly realm to fight alongside of us. 


In other words, 
the reason evil is promoted 
so effectively today is because 
we’re ignoring God’s offer of 
supernatural strength and power. 
We are, in essence, bringing a knife 
to a gunfight, and we are getting slaughtered!






The time is now to prepare an elite fighting force, surrendering to God and then allowing His grace to invade every aspect of our lives. “Grace,” wrote Thomas à Kempis, “is the mistress of truth, the light of the heart, the comforter of affliction, the banisher of sorrow, the expeller of fears, the matrix of devotion, the producer of tears. What am I without it but a piece of dry wood and an unprofitable stock, fit for nothing but to be cast away.”

Here are the three essential approaches for receiving the abundance of God’s grace, the unum necessarium:


Sacrament of Confession
1) Go to Confession (frequently)

St. Augustine tells us: “The whole power of the Sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with Him in an intimate friendship. This very moment I may, if I desire, become the friend of God.” Go to Confession at least once a month, and immediately after any grave sin. Never receive Holy Communion with serious sin on your soul.


2) Go to Mass (frequently): 

St. Peter Julian Eymard tells us to “hear Mass daily; it will prosper the whole day. All your duties will be performed the better for it, and your soul will be stronger to bear its daily cross. The Mass is the most holy act of religion; you can do nothing that can give greater glory to God or be more profitable for your soul than to hear Mass both frequently and devoutly. It is the favorite devotion of the saints.” Do your best to find a parish that is working to offer due reverence to God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, especially if you have the responsibility of the salvation of family members.


3) Consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary: 

Once St. Maximilian Kolbe learned about St. Louis de Montfort’s consecration to Mary, called the “surest, easiest, shortest, and the most perfect means” to becoming a saint, he called it a “secret weapon for the world,” a “shortcut to holiness.” Mary crushes the head of the serpent. Always keep Mary at your six (your back)!


The Gospels stories show how Jesus touched people in ways that made them question the direction of their lives. Some turned away because His challenge seemed to be too hard. But many others were so moved by His mission and ministry that they were compelled to search for a more perfect way of living and being.


Where do YOU stand? 
Are you ready to put it all on the line? 
This means nothing less than to do 
what God is calling you, 
from the depths of your being, to do — 
to rouse yourself to action on behalf of the kingdom. 

Are you ready to say “YES” to the call 
to become His champion?



Queenship of Mary


Queen of the World and of Peace

From a homily by Saint Amadeus of Lausanne, bishop

Observe how fitting it was that even before her assumption the name of Mary shone forth wondrously throughout the world. Her fame spread everywhere even before she was raised above the heavens in her magnificence. Because of the honor due her Son, it was indeed fitting for the Virgin Mother to have first ruled upon earth and then be raised up to heaven in glory. It was fitting that her fame be spread in this world below, so that she might enter the heights of heaven in overwhelming blessedness. Just as she was borne from virtue to virtue by the Spirit of the Lord, she was transported from earthly renown to heavenly brightness.

So it was that she began to taste the fruits of her future reign while still in the flesh. At one moment she withdrew to God in ecstasy; at the next she would bend down to her neighbors with indescribable love. In heaven angels served her, while here on earth she was venerated by the service of men. Gabriel and the angels waited upon her in heaven. The virgin John, rejoicing that the Virgin Mother was entrusted to him at the cross, cared for her with the other apostles here below. The angels rejoiced to see their queen; the apostles rejoiced to see their lady, and both obeyed her with loving devotion.

Dwelling in the loftiest citadel of virtue, like a sea of divine grace or an unfathomable source of love that has everywhere overflowed its banks, she poured forth her bountiful waters on trusting and thirsting souls. Able to preserve both flesh and spirit from death she bestowed health-giving salve on bodies and souls. Has anyone ever come away from her troubled or saddened or ignorant of the heavenly mysteries? Who has not returned to everyday life gladdened and joyful because his request had been granted by the Mother of God?

She is a bride, so gentle and affectionate, and the mother of the only true bridegroom. In her abundant goodness she has channeled the spring of reason’s garden, the well of living and life-giving waters that pour forth in a rushing stream from divine Lebanon and flow down from Mount Zion until they surround the shores of every far-flung nation. With divine assistance she has redirected these waters and made them into streams of peace and pools of grace. Therefore, when the Virgin of virgins was led forth by God and her Son, the King of kings, amid the company of exulting angels and rejoicing archangels, with the heavens ringing with praise, the prophecy of the psalmist was fulfilled, in which he said to the Lord: At your right hand stands the queen, clothed in gold of Ophir.



A great sign appeared 
in the heavens: 
a woman clothed 
with the sun, 
with the moon under her feet,
and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.


From the Liturgy of the Hours, August 22nd Memorial for the Queenship of Mary



I love you Holy Mother, pray for us.


Saint Amadeus (1110-1159) was born of the royal family of Franconia, in France in 1110. He was the son of Blessed Amadeus of Clermont, France and was educated at the monasteries at Bonnevaux and Cluny. Amadeus entered the monastery at Clairvaux in 1124, becoming a Cistercian under the spiritual direction of St. Bernard. Fifteen years later he was appointed abbot of Ilautecombe abbey in Savoy in 1139. Five years later he was made bishop of Lausanne in 1144. There he worked for renewal and reform in a troubled region racked with violence and disturbances. In one of his letters he tells how his vestments once ran red with the blood of a man murdered while the bishop tried unsuccessfully to protect him. Amid these difficulties and administrative duties, Amadeus wrote and preached eight homilies in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, reflecting the devotion learned in the Cistercian monastery under St. Bernard. These homilies evidence a distinctive piety expressed with all the eloquence of a trained orator. The above is one of those homilies.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

SAINTS SPEAK OUT ABOUT ISLAM

What do the Saints say about Islam??


With everything that is happening in the Middle East with the killing of Christians by the Muslimists, I thought this subject was one to look into.  


The "political correctness" thoughts of today make it nearly impossible to say anything about what our faith believes.  If we do we are attacked on all sides as prejudiced, hate mongers.  

I wondered what it the Church's stand on Islam? From the mouth of the saints we find the true answers....  

I found an article on the National Catholic Register. Mr. Andrew Bieszad has a great article called "What did the Saints Say about Islam? It is a blog which you can find at 
http://www.onepeterfive.com/what-did-the-saints-say-about-islam/  

I've just added the quotes of the saints he listed here... Please Read the entire article of Mr. Beiezad, it's worth the read and gives us some understanding as to the Church's stand on the subject.  

Anyway, thought this was important to share... please pass this on to everyone you know.


PRAY that this error will be destroyed.  That the Lord will save us from this cancer known as Islam.

+ + + + + + + + +


 
St. John Damascene (d. 749), Syrian Arab Catholic monk and scholar

“There is also the superstition of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner of the Antichrist…. From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, devised his own heresy. Then, having insinuated himself into the good graces of the people by a show of seeming piety, he gave out that a certain book had been sent down to him from heaven. He had set down some ridiculous compositions in this book of his and he gave it to them as an object of veneration.”
-- St. John Damascene (d. 749), Syrian Arab Catholic monk and scholar. Quoted from his book On Heresies under the section On the Heresy of the Ishmaelites (in The Fathers of the Church. Vol. 37. Translated by the Catholic University of America. CUA Press. 1958. Pages 153-160.)



St. Thomas Aquinas
“On the other hand, those who founded sects committed to erroneous doctrines proceeded in a way that is opposite to this, the point is clear in the case of Muhammad. He seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity. He did not bring forth any signs produced in a supernatural way, which alone fittingly gives witness to divine inspiration; for a visible action that can be only divine reveals an invisibly inspired teacher of truth. On the contrary, Muhammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms—which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants.”
-St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274), Theologian and Doctor of the Church. Quoted from his De Rationibus Fidei Contra Saracenos, Graecos, et Armenos and translated from Fr. Damian Fehlner’s Aquinas on Reasons for the Faith: Against the Muslims, Greeks, and Armenians (Franciscans of the Immaculate. 2002.).

  

“We profess Christ to be truly God and your prophet to be a precursor of the Antichrist and other profane doctrine.”
-Sts. Habenitus, Jeremiah, Peter, Sabinian, Walabonsus, and Wistremundus (d. 851), martyrs of Cordoba, Spain. Reported in the Memoriale Sanctorum in response to Spanish Umayyad Caliph ‘Abd Ar-Rahman II’s ministers that they convert to Islam on pain of death.


“Any cult which denies the divinity of Christ, does not profess the existence of the Holy Trinity, refutes baptism, defames Christians, and derogates the priesthood, we consider to be damned.”
-Sts. Aurelius, Felix, George, Liliosa, and Natalia (d. 852), martyrs of Cordoba, Spain. Reported in the Memoriale Sanctorum in response to Spanish Umayyad Caliph ‘Abd Ar-Rahman II’s ministers that they convert to Islam on pain of death.




St. Juan de Ribera
“As we have seen, Muhammed had neither supernatural miracles nor natural motives of reason to persuade those of his sect. As he lacked in everything, he took to bestial and barbaric means, which is the force of arms. Thus he introduced and promulgated his message with robberies, murders, and bloodshedding, destroying those who did not want to receive it, and with the same means his ministers conserve this today, until God placates his anger and destroys this pestilence from the earth. […]

(Muhammad) can also be figured for the dragon in the same Apocalypse which says that the dragon swept up a third of the stars and hurled down a third to earth. Although this line is more appropriately understood concerning the Antichrist, Mohammed was his precursor – the prophet of Satan, father of the sons of haughtiness.

[…]

Even if all the things contained in his law were fables in philosophy and errors in theology, even for those who do not possess the light of reason, the very manners (Islam) teaches are from a school of vicious bestialities. (Muhammad) did not prove his new sect with any motive, having neither supernatural miracles nor natural reasons, but solely the force of arms, violence, fictions, lies, and carnal license. It remains an impious, blasphemous, vicious cult, an innovention of the devil, and the direct way into the fires of hell. It does not even merit the name of being called a religion.”
-St. Juan de Ribera (d.1611), Archbishop of Valencia, missionary to Spanish Muslims, and organizer of the Muslim expulsions of 1609 from Spain. Quoted in several locations from his 1599 Catechismo para la Instruccion de los Nuevos Convertidos de los Moros (my translation).





“The Mahometan paradise, however, is only fit for beasts; for filthy sensual pleasure is all the believer has to expect there.”
St. Alfonsus Liguori (d. 1787). Quoted from his book, The History of Heresies and their Refutation.






Hilaire Belloc
Hilaire Belloc, the great 20th century Catholic historian and poet, warned in 1929 that Islam would make a return to the world stage:
We shall almost certainly have to reckon with Islam in the near future. Perhaps, if we lose our Faith, it will rise. For after this subjugation of the Islamic culture by the nominally Christian had already been achieved, the political conquerors of that culture began to notice two disquieting features about it. The first was that its spiritual foundation proved immovable; the second that its area of occupation did not recede, but on the contrary slowly expanded.
[...]


“Whoever does not embrace the Catholic Christian faith is lost, like your false prophet Muhammad.”
-St. Peter Mavimenus (d. 8th century), martyr from Gaza. Response reported in the Martyriologum Romanum when he was asked to convert to Islam by a group of Muslims.


+++++++++

Is THIS what we want?
"What is obvious from these statements is that represent a very different view of Islam than we’ve heard from the Vatican in recent years. The recent dormancy of Islam has led many in this generation to believe precisely as Pope Francis does: that it is only Muslim extremists who pose a threat, and that the religion itself is more or less praiseworthy. The experiences of most of the saints throughout Church history, however, taught them the opposite — namely, that Islam and its practices are antithetical to the Catholic faith and those who seek to live it.

In my own youth the decaying power of Islam (for it was still decaying) in the Near East was a strong menace to the peace of Europe. Those old people of whom I speak had grandparents in whose times Islam was still able to menace the West. The Turks besieged Vienna and nearly took it, less than a century before the American Declaration of Independence. Islam was then our superior, especially in military art. There is no reason why its recent inferiority in mechanical construction, whether military or civilian, should continue indefinitely. Even a slight accession of material power would make the further control of Islam by an alien culture difficult. A little more and there will cease that which our time has taken for granted, the physical domination of Islam by the disintegrated Christendom we know.


As Catholics, we need to understand this situation much better than we currently do. When it comes to the variances between what the Church and her saints used to say about Islam and what is being said now, we need to square the circle. With Islamic violence sweeping the Middle East and growing Muslim populations in many formerly-Christian nations, being able to see the reality we face with clarity truthfulness is critical to our ability to evangelize Muslims.

As Christians in Iraq and Syria are learning at their own peril, it may also be the only way we’ll learn to survive them."
Andrew Bieszad

Andrew Bieszad has an MA in Islamic Studies 
from Hartford Seminary with concentration 
in the Islamic equivalent of Dogmatic Theology.



NEW ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.... CHECK OUT THIS SITE
Jihadists recruit children to behead victims



Thursday, 7 August 2014

True Miracle Worker on the Third Century

St. Gregory Wonder Worker
St. Gregory 
"Thaumaturgus"  
which means 
"Wonder Worker"


Feastday: November 17

Patron Saint against earthquakes, desperate causes, floods, forgotten causes, impossible causes, lost causes

Birth: 213

Death: 270

Taken from Catholic online  



I, the writer of this blog, must say I did not know anything about this great saint until I read his name in the book "Uniformity with God's Will & the Practice of the Love of Jesus" in which it states, "...So even should a person have faith strong enough to remove mountains, like St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, but had not love, it would profit him nothing..."

I was curious to know more about this Wonder Worker, so of course I 'googled' his name.  The following are excerpts from what I found that I wanted to share.  Please read the full accounts on all the sites for the full impact which is St. Gregory Thaumaturgus.  He truly was a great saint!  I plan to pray to him often.


“Originally he was known as Theodore (the gift of God), not an exclusively Christian name. Moreover, his family was pagan, and he was unacquainted with the Christian religion till after the death of his father, at which time he was fourteen years old. 

He had a brother Athenodorus, and, on the advice of one of their tutors, the young men were anxious to study law at the law-school of Beirut, then one of the four of five famous schools in the Hellenic world. 

St. Origin
At this time, also, their brother-in-law was appointed assessor to the Roman Governor of Palestine; the youths had therefore an occasion to act as an escort to their sister as far as Caesarea in Palestine. On arrival in that town they learned that the celebrated scholar Origen, head of the catechetical school of Alexandria, resided there. 

Curiosity led them to hear and converse with the master, and his irresistible charm did the rest. Soon both youths forgot all about Beirut and Roman law, and gave themselves up to the great Christian teacher, who gradually won them over to Christianity. 

In his panegyric on Origen, Gregory describes the method employed by that master to win the confidence and esteem of those he wished to convert; how he mingled a persuasive candour with outbursts of temper and theological argument put cleverly at once and unexpectedly. Persuasive skill rather than bare reasoning, and evident sincerity and an ardent conviction were the means Origen used to make converts. 

Gregory took up at first the study of philosophy; theology was afterwards added, but his mind remained always inclined to philosophical study, so much so indeed that in his youth he cherished strongly the hope of demonstrating that the Christian religion was the only true and good philosophy. For seven years he underwent the mental and moral discipline of Origen (231 to 238 or 239).  In 238 or 239 the two brothers returned to their native Pontus...

St. Gregory and brother meeting St. Origin
Gregory returned to Pontus with the intention of practising law. His plan, however, was again laid aside, for he was soon consecrated bishop of his native Caesarea by Phoedimus, Bishop of Amasea and Metropolitan of Pontus….  When Gregory was consecrated he was forty years old, and he ruled his diocese for thirty years. Although we know nothing definite as to his methods, we cannot doubt that he must have shown much zeal in increasing the little flock with which he began his episcopal administration. From an ancient source we learn a fact that is at once a curious coincidence, and throws light on his missionary zeal; whereas he began with only seventeen Christians, at his death there remained but seventeen pagans in the whole town of Caesarea. The many miracles which won for his the title of Thaumaturgus were doubtless performed during these years…”

Excerpts taken from New Advent  Catholic Encyclopedia  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07015a.htm


HIS MIRACLES... 

“According to Saint Basil, Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus (the Wonderworker) is comparable to Moses, the prophets and the apostles.
Indeed, his works were many. He moved a huge boulder that was in his way preventing the building of a church. He dried out a pond that was a cause of discord between two brothers. In order to stop the River Lycus from its frequent and damaging floods, Gregory planted his staff at a safe point near the river bank. He then prayed that the river would never rise past the staff. The staff took root, grew into a large tree, and the river never flooded past it again. He drove out the demons from idols and people … and a great many more miracles....

For his doctrine and holiness, and also for the number and brilliance of the extraordinary miracles that he performed, he was called the “Wonderworker.” …  At the time of his death, he asked how many infidels were left in his diocese of New Caesarea and was told there were only seventeen. Giving thanks, he said: 'This is the same number of believers in the beginning of my episcopate.'

St. Gregory the Wonder Worker
He wrote several works which, along with his miracles, illuminated the faithful of the Church of God. He also had the spirit of prophecy, and foretold the future. He died between 270 and 275…
Here is a man who seems to have been chosen to show that the great gift of miracles of the Old Testament as well as that of the early Church, are still maintained in the third century in which he lived. What is interesting about his miracles is that none of them can be “explained” by experts as miracles caused by suggestion or illusion..."

"What is the great lesson of these miracles? It is that if God heeds the request of a saint for these trifles, we also can be heeded when we ask for much more important things. 

He who can do much, can also do less. In this case, it is a more extraordinary miracle when and because it is worked over a trifle than when worked for something more important.

For the needs of our spiritual life, how many boulders need to be removed, how many ponds need to be dried, how many floods that overspill need to be remedied? How confidently we must therefore turn to Our Lady, asking her for these favors!"

Excerpt taken from an extremely wonderful writing by PLINIO CORREA DE OLIVEIRA  I highly recommend it.


Blessed Virgin Mary


Excerpts taken from the writings of PLINIO CORREA DE OLIVEIRA


“…Through his prayer, he moved a mountain that prevented the construction of a church. He dried a lake that was the cause of dissension between two brothers. He stopped the flooding of the Icus River that was devastating the fields by planting his staff along the border of the river. His staff took root, and was transformed into a great tree beyond whose limits the water would not pass.
Many times he expelled devils from the idols and the bodies of possessed persons. These are some of the many miracles he worked, which caused multitudes to enter the Catholic Faith. He also had the spirit of the Prophets, foretelling many future events….”