I am speechless and profoundly moved.
h/t Kathryn Lopez
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Vatican City, 24 April 2012 (VIS) - The Catholic news agency Fides has reported that 22,104 people were baptized in China on Easter Sunday. The statistics were collected by the Study Centre of Faith in the Chinese province of He Bei. The newly-baptized Catholics, 75 per cent of whom are adults, belong to 101 dioceses. In He Bei itself 4,410 people were baptized on Easter Day, 615 more than last year, while in Hong Kong, which has more than 360,000 faithful, there were 3,500 baptisms.
In evaluating these figures, it should be borne in mind that some dioceses do not celebrate all their baptisms at Easter. For example, in Shang Hai there were 379 Easter baptisms but the total figure could exceed 1,500 by the end of the year. According to Sister Li Guo Shuang of the Study Center, "there are still some dioceses or communities which, due to communication difficulties, have not yet reported data to us. So we must emphasize that the figures are not complete, they may still increase."
Monday, April 23, 2012
From the Acts Of The Apostasy blog (The Larry D describes his AoftheA blog as, "Orthodox commentary on heterodox hooligans: Humorous. Serious. Satirical. Faithful."), here's a funny fantasy news bulletin poking fun at the LCWR (please click on the image below):
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
A video from our Christian friends of The Fellowship Bible Church, Little Rock, Arkansas.
You'll agree that the video's title is right on the mark.
Apply Benedict XVI's Words To The HHS Mandate: Church Must Not Fear Persecutions But Trust In The Presence Of God
The Acts of the Apostles tell us how Peter and John were released from prison following their arrest for preaching the Gospel. They returned to their companions who, listening to their account of what had happened, did not reflect on how to react or defend themselves, or on what measures to adopt; rather, "in that moment of trial they all raised their voices together to God," Who replied by sending the Holy Spirit.
"This was the unanimous and united prayer of the whole community, which was facing persecution because of Jesus," the Pope explained. It involved the community "because the experiences of the two Apostles did not concern only them, but the entire Church. In suffering persecution for Jesus' sake, the community not only did not give way to fear and division, but was profoundly united in prayer."
When believers suffer for the faith, "unity is consolidated rather than undermined, because it is supported by unshakeable prayer. The Church must not fear the persecutions she is forced to suffer in her history, but must trust always, as Jesus did in Gethsemane, in the presence, help and strength of God, invoked in prayer."
Before trying to understand what had happened the first community sought to interpret events through the faith, using the Word of God. In the Acts of the Apostles Saint Luke notes how the community of Jerusalem began by invoking God's greatness and immensity. Then, using the Psalms, those early Christians recalled how God had acted in history alongside His people, "showing Himself to be a God Who is concerned for human beings, Who does not abandon them," Benedict XVI said. Subsequently the events were read "in the light of Christ, Who is the key to understanding all things, even persecution. The opposition to Jesus, His passion and death were reread ... as the accomplishment of the plan of God the Father for the salvation of the world. ... In prayer, meditating on Sacred Scripture in the light of the mystery of Christ helps us to interpret current reality as part of the history of salvation which God enacts in the world."
Thus the plea the first Christian community of Jerusalem made to God in prayer was not "to be defended, to be spared from trials or to enjoy success, but only to be able to proclaim ... the Word of God frankly, freely and courageously." The community also asked that "their proclamation be accompanied by the hand of God so that healing, signs and wonders could be accomplished. In other words, they wanted to become a force for the transformation of reality, changing the hearts, minds and lives of men and bringing the radical novelty of the Gospel."
"We too," the Holy Father concluded his catechesis, "must bring the events of our daily lives into our prayer, in order to seek their most profound significance. And we too, like the first Christian community, allowing ourselves to be illuminated by the Word of God and meditating on Sacred Scripture, may learn to see that God is present in our lives, even at moments of difficulty, and that everything ... is part of a plan of love in which the final victory over evil, sin and death is truly is that of goodness, grace, life and God."
Monday, April 16, 2012
This picture is actually taken from the luncheon celebration for Father Reynolds' 25th jubilee of his priestly ordination. Our Catholic Jedi "headmaster" is quite talented and actually made the cardboard cutout of the Pope himself. Understandably, it was a big hit at the festivities.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
From the lips of the Risen Christ, comes a great message of Divine Mercy. After rising from the dead, He entrusts His message to the Apostles. He goes to them in the Upper Room. He says to them: "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.... Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Before speaking these words, Our Risen Lord Jesus showed His Hands and His Side. He pointed to the wounds of His Passion and Crucifixion, especially the wound in His Heart.
From the wound in His Heart flows a great wave of mercy poured out on all humanity, for all time!
In fact, it was between the First and Second World Wars that Christ — who appeared to her in a series of visions — entrusted to Saint Faustina a special message to be announced to the world.
Those who remember those years between the First and Second World Wars, our elders, were witnesses of the horrible sufferings millions of people endured.
These people, our elders, know well how necessary was the message entrusted to Sister Faustina – a message of mercy.
Our Risen Jesus told Saint Faustina: "Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy."
Through the work of Saint Faustina, this message has become linked forever to the 20th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third.
It is not a new message but it can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely. The Lord offers us this message as a ray of light to the men and women of our time.
From the Risen Christ’s pierced Heart, Saint Faustina – in a series of visions – saw two rays of light shining and illuminating the world: "The two rays", Our Lord Jesus Himself explained to her one day, "represent blood and water."
Blood and water! We immediately think of the testimony given by the Saint John, who, when a solider on Calvary pierced Christ's side with his spear, saw blood and water flowing from it. Moreover, the Red Ray of Blood recalls the sacrifice of the Cross and the gift of the Eucharist, the White Ray of Water represents not only Baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit given to us by God. (cf. The Gospel Of Saint John 3: 5; 4: 14; 7: 37-39).
Divine Mercy reaches human beings through the heart of Christ crucified. He told Sister Faustina: "My daughter, tell the world that I am love and mercy personified."
The Crucified and Risen Christ pours out his mercy on humanity through the sending of the Holy Spirit who, in the Trinity, is likened to the Divine Love Who unites the Father and the Son. And love's "second name" is mercy.
Mercy is able to take upon itself any burden, any need.
Mercy has an immense capacity for forgiveness!
As the Apostles once did 2000 years ago, you and I today must welcome into the upper room of our own history, the Risen Christ, who shows the wounds of His Crucifixion and repeats: Peace be with you!
Humanity must let itself be touched and pervaded by the Holy Spirit given to us by the Risen Christ.
It is the Holy Spirit who heals the wounds of the heart. It is the Holy Spirit who pulls down the barriers that separate us from God and divide us from one another. It is the Holy Spirit who restores the joy of the Father's love and restores the joy of fraternal unity.
It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called "Divine Mercy Sunday".
Christ has taught us that man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called to practice mercy towards others: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (The Gospel Of Saint Matthew 5: 7). Divine Mercy gives form to human relations and community life; it constitutes the basis for the sharing of goods. This leads to the spiritual and corporal "works of mercy".
Today, fixing our gaze on the face of the Risen Christ, let us make Saint Faustina’s prayer our own prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope: JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU
Vatican City, Wednesday, 11 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to the transformation which Jesus' Resurrection brought about in His disciples, also reflecting on the meaning that Easter has for Christians today. Faith in the Risen One, he said, "transforms our lives; it frees them from fear, gives them firm hope, and infuses them with something that provides existence with full meaning: the love of God."
Benedict XVI explained how on the evening of the day of the Resurrection the disciples were at home behind locked doors, full of fear and doubt at the recollection of the passion of their Lord. "This situation of anguish changed radically when Jesus arrived. He entered through the closed doors, was among them and brought them peace", peace which "for the community became source of joy, certainty of victory, trusting reliance on God."
After His greeting, Jesus showed His wounds to the disciples, "signs of what had befallen and would never be cancelled. His glorious humanity remained 'wounded.' The gesture had the aim of confirming the new reality of the Resurrection. The Christ Who returned among His followers was a real person, the same Jesus Who three days earlier had been nailed to the cross. Thus, in the shining light of Easter, in the meeting with the Risen One, the disciples came to understand the salvific meaning of His passion and death. Then sadness and fear became overwhelming joy."
Jesus greeted them again: "Peace be with you." Yet this, the Pope explained, was not just a greeting, "it was a gift, the gift the Risen One made to His friends. At the same time it was a commission: the peace which Christ had bought with His blood was for them, but it was also for everyone else, and the disciples would have to carry it throughout the world." Jesus "had completed His mission in the world, now it was up to them to to sow faith in people's hearts."
However, the Lord knew that His followers were still afraid. "For this reason He breathed upon them and regenerated them in His Spirit. This gesture was the sign of the new creation. With the gift of the Holy Spirit which came from the Risen Christ, a new world began."
"Today too the Risen One enters our homes and hearts, although sometimes the doors are closed," the Pope said, "He enters bringing joy and peace, life and hope, gifts we need for our human and spiritual rebirth." Only He can put an end to division, enmity, rancour, envy, mistrust and indifference. Only He can give meaning to the lives of those who are weary, sad and without hope.
This was the experience of the two disciples who were walking to Emmaus, full of foreboding at the recent death of their Master. Jesus came up to them and accompanied them without being recognized, explaining the meaning of Sacred Scripture to help them understand His salvific mission. Later they asked Jesus to stay with them and recognized him as He blessed and broke the bread. "This episode," said the Holy Father, "shows us two privileged 'places' in which we can meet the Risen One Who transforms our lives: ... the Word and the Eucharist."
The disciples of Emmaus returned to Jerusalem to join the others. "Their enthusiasm for the faith was reborn, their love for the community and their need to communicate the good news. The Master rose and with Him all life resurges. Bearing witness to this event became an irrepressible need for them."
For Christians, Easter must be a time for the joyful and enthusiastic rediscovery of the sources of the faith. "This means following the same path as that along which Jesus directed the two disciples of Emmaus, through the rediscovery of the Word of God and the Eucharist. The culmination of this journey, then as now, is Eucharistic communion. In communion Jesus nourishes us with His Body and His Blood, becoming present in our lives, making us new and animating us with the power of the Holy Spirit."
In conclusion the Holy Father invited Christians to remain faithful to the Risen One Who "living and true, is always present among us, Who walks with us to guide our lives," and Who "has the power to give life, to make us reborn as children of God, capable of believing and loving."
Monday, April 9, 2012
|Duccio di Buoninsegna - Appearance to Mary Magdalene (Noli me tangere) 1308-11|
The great truth of the Resurrection had not as yet become part of her faith to dispel her sadness. And so, with her vision still darkened by gloom, she failed to recognize Her Master, Jesus, standing right in front of her. She needed to hear only a word from Him, and her mind was flooded with the light of faith. She realized that she was in the presence of the Risen Lord.
What happened to Mary Magdalene should be happening to each of us. The meaning of our lives is to search for and to find the Risen Lord Jesus, because He is the source of all life and happiness.
At times, we make the mistake of looking for happiness among sinful pleasures -- which can only bring death. Perhaps we make the mistake of thinking that life can come from temporary values, such as financial success or social status.
Jesus, the Risen Lord, alone is the source of lasting life and eternal happiness.
In a privileged way, you and I find Our Risen Lord Jesus in the Sacrament of The Holy Eucharist.
We hear His words, "This is My Body ... this is My Blood." Those words are intended to flood our minds with the light of faith, so that we can believe that -- by means of the Holy Eucharist -- we are in the presence of the Risen Lord.
The Holy Eucharist is the very heart of our Faith. The Eucharist is the Sacrament which gives us the Real Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, the Son of God.
Our Risen Lord Jesus present in the Eucharist does much more than merely stand before us. He invites us, urges us, to take Him into our beings so that He can give us the gift of everlasting life and eternal happiness.
Resurrexit Sicut Dixit, Alleluia!
Sunday, April 8, 2012
One of my favorite Catholic writers is Caryll Houselander, a British woman who wrote many small articles and features on the Catholic Faith during the 1940s and early 1950s.
Here is her meditation on the Risen Christ and why He did not manifest His glorified Body to all the world, but only to a handful of people.
From The Risen Christ,
From The Risen Christ,
by Caryll Houselander
(Sheed And Ward, 1959)
Before the crucifixion [Jesus Christ] had always kept his divinity secret until he had first won men and brought them close to him. He would not prostrate them with fear, they must not be afraid to live intimately with him and learn from this what God's love is.
But now, since that little handful who did love him had been scattered and broken by the bewilderment and terror of the crucifixion, since everything for which they had in spite of recent failure given their lives seemed in ruins, would it not have been consistent with his mercy to have shown his glory, to have shaken his enemies, and to have restored the courage and joy of his apostles in a single glorious moment?
There is no doubt that it was his will that his love should sweep round the world like fire, and now there seemed to be nothing to stop it. Before, his message could only go as far as his voice could carry it, his mission as far as he could go on foot, and even among those whom he could reach tramping the roads and preaching in the streets, the temple and the countryside, many hearts were shut to him and would not open to the joy he brought for them. He wept over them openly; his tears could not move them, his love was frustrated.
Yet, now in his glorified body, he remained in the same little district, he hid his splendor, he kept the wounds of his Passion, he walked and talked and ate with men. He seemed as intent on persuading them to realize that he was human as he had been before on proving that he was divine, and instead of appearing in dazzling light all over the world, he sent other people to carry the news of his Resurrection, people who were still afraid, who still had the stains of their tears on their faces, who were still broken by the grief and horror of Calvary.
He came out of the tomb and walked in the garden and on the road to Jerusalem, as if he was eager to lay hold of the substantial earth with the same blameless feet that had so lately been lifted from it and fastened down by the cold, heavy iron to the cross.
He had loved the earth before, had loved its mysteries of seed and harvest; and he loved it still. The love he had come to give was love like the seed in the earth. Love that must go down again and again into the darkness, be buried again and again in the heart of man, to live again and again in the resurrections of innumerable springs. Christ who had died and risen from the dead would not approach those whom he loved from outside; he would not only be the voice in their ears, he would be the silence in their souls.
He would be the life that quickens in darkness and flowers in countless millions of forms of beauty. He would overcome fear and sin and sorrow and death in the heart of everyone who would love him until the end of time.
He, in his sacred humanity, could suffer no more; he could not be wounded or die any more; his life had become peace, joy, the absolute power of consummated love; and now by a supreme expression of that love, which completely passes our understanding and our realization, he gives us that life of joy.
He gives that joy and peace to be at the very heart of our suffering, to make suffering and joy, for us as it was for him, not two things incompatible with each other, but just one thing, love -- and he gives us his own power of consummated love to use for one another, to comfort and heal and restore one another; even, in a mysterious sense that those who have really known sin and sorrow and love will understand, to raise one another from the dead. "Believe me when I tell you this; the man who has learned to believe in me will be able to do what I do; nay, he will be able to do greater things yet" (John 15:12).
The ultimate miracle of Divine Love is this, that the life of the Risen Lord is given to us to give to one another. It is given to us through our own human loves. It is no violation of our simple human nature.
It is not something which must be cultivated through a lofty spirituality that only few could attain; it does not demand a way of life that is abnormal, or even unusual; it is not a specialized vocation. It is to be lived at home, at work, in any place, any circumstances. It is to be lived through our natural human relationships, through the people we know, the neighbors we see. It is given to us, if we will take it, literally into our own hands to give. It is the love of human lovers, of man and wife, of parent and child, of friend and friend.
It is through his Risen Life in us that Christ sends his love to the ends of the earth. That is why instead of startling the world into trembling adoration by manifesting his glory, he sent the woman who had been a sinner to carry the ineffable secret, and sent the two disciples who had been bewildered by their blind inability to reconcile Scripture and Calvary, and sent the friend who had denied him, to give his love to the world, and to give it as simply as a whispered secret or a loaf of bread.
So is it that we, sinners, wranglers, weaklings, provided only that we love God, are sent to give the life of the Risen Christ to the whole world, through the daily bread of our human love.
"It is not for you to know the times and the seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. Enough for you, that the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and you will receive strength from him; you are to be my witnesses in Jerusalem and throughout Judea, in Samaria, yes, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts Of The Apostles 1:7-8).
Friday, April 6, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Interview With "The Assistant Headmaster": Lisa Mladinich's All the Rage: Fashionable Occult Practices and Furious Consequences
Your "Assistant Headmaster" had the privilege and pleasure of chatting with Lisa Mladinich, publisher of the invaluable AmazingCatechists.com and Be An Amazing Catechist.
We discussed her recent post, Killing Us Softly: Seduced by the Occult, regarding the current rage among some Catholics to casually arrange a meeting with so-called Psychics, Readers or Mediums for a "reading", or a "séance", or a "revelation" concerning the future.
As well, we discussed the rationale these Catholics use for committing these sins: "It's just for fun." "It's only entertainment." "It's not real."
A few words occur to me when I hear these excuses for disobeying God's Commandments. Words like: unwise, ill-advised, spiritually dangerous and mortally sinful. What follows in this post are the other words which occurred to me during my conversation with Lisa Mladinich. (For your convenience, what follows is the complete copy of Lisa's conversation with me.)
"The Assistant Headmaster"
Reverend Father James J.M. Reynolds, STL
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Vatican City, 3 April 2012 (VIS) - Beginning in the second week of May when many countries around the world celebrate Mother's Day, the text of the "Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb", having received the approval of the Holy See, will be made available in parishes throughout the United States. The announcement was made recently in a note issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops informing the faithful that the the text - printed in both English and Spanish - has received the "recognitio" of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chairman of the episcopal conference's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has explained that the blessing was prepared to "support parents awaiting the birth of their child, to encourage parish prayers for and recognition of the precious gift of the child in the womb, and to foster respect for human life within society". The blessing may be imparted either during the liturgy or outside of Mass and the text will eventually be included in the Book of Blessings, after it has been revised.
The blessing of unborn children was promoted by Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz of Louisville. When bishop of Knoxville he had asked the Committee on Pro-Life Activities to see whether a blessing existed for a child in the womb. When none was found, the committee began preparing a text which was presented to the Divine Worship Committee in March 2008. In November of the same year the full body of bishops approved the prayer and it was sent to the Holy See for the "recognitio".
Sunday’s Solemnity of the Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord perfectly illustrated that incongruity. On that Sunday, we began by echoing the hosannas, the hoorays of the people of Jerusalem as the Lord Jesus enters the city.
But, by Friday, Good Friday, we will be confronted with our complicity in the injustice, fear, selfishness and hatred which led to the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion.
We welcomed the Christ of Victory, the Christ of Palm Sunday. But we so often turn our backs on the Christ of Good Friday -- the Christ who suffers, the Christ who is humiliated, the Christ who forgives.
On Palm Sunday, we could have thought of those palm branches as symbols of our hypocrisy, not of our fidelity to the Lord Jesus Christ. Those palm branches we carried were symbols of the discrepancy between the faith we profess on our lips and the faith we fail to live every day.
Yet, in the Mystery of Christ's Death and Resurrection, by walking with Christ through Holy Week -- with or without palm branches -- we find the canyon filled, the gap closed, the incongruity erased -- because, by His suffering for us, we are reborn in the life and love of God.
Academicians, please make every effort to go to accompany the Suffering Christ and His People in your various Parish Churches on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this Holy Week. Worship Our Lord and refresh your personal living of Our Lord Jesus' attitude of compassion and His spirit of servanthood. Then, please bring the forgiveness, life and hope of His Easter Mystery into your own home, family, and job.
God bless you! Have a powerful Holy Week!
"The Assistant Headmaster"
Father James J.M. Reynolds, STL