Category Archives: Defending the Faith

Resurrection…

The great Feastday of Easter or Pascha is so great that it is a day that lasts for a whole week. It is an echo of Heaven, the day that lasts forever.

I’ve been feasting by checking out videos posted by friends and listening to music on YouTube…  however,  I tend to get carried away, spending time that could be used more productively (moderation is key) so I thought I would write a substantial post about the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For all Christians, the Resurrection is the foundation for our faith.  Ours is not a faith that puts faith in faith, rather, we put our faith in the historically attested Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Without the Resurrection, our faith is in vain. St. Paul says that if the resurrection did not occur, we are the most pitiable of all creatures. I recently heard the one about a so-called Christian teacher or leader: “I believe that Jesus rose from the dead—even if they found his bones, i’d still believe!” That guy’s faith would be reduced to a stupid waste of time if such a discovery were to be made! The fact is, such a discovery will never be made because Christ *has* been physically raised from the dead! People saw, heard, and touched him.

It is recorded that those who beheld the Risen Christ did not expect to see him alive! On Easter Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene wept before an empty tomb thinking that the body had been moved! That evening, two disciples on the road to Emmaus were so depressed that they couldn’t even recognize Jesus when he met up with them! Evidently, these first witnesses were so overwhelmed by grief by the crucifixion that they forgot that his words prophesying that he would rise. When they did actually recognize him, they could hardly contain their joy and ran to share the good news with their brethren.

Love in the Heart of the Church

Today is the feastday of St. Therese.

St. Therese desired to do so many things for Christ. As she put it in one of her writings addressed to Jesus:

To be Your Spouse, to be a Carmelite, and by my union with You to be the Mother of souls, should not this suffice me? And yet it is not so. No doubt, these three privileges sum up my true vocation: Carmelite, Spouse, Mother, and yet I feel within me other vocations. I feel the vocation of the WARRIOR, THE PRIEST, THE APOSTLE, THE DOCTOR, THE MARTYR. Finally, I feel the need and the desire of carrying out the most heroic deeds for You, O Jesus. I feel within my soul the courage of the Crusader, the Papal Guard, and I would want to die on the field of battle in defence of the Church.”

These ”other vocations” existing alongside her “true vocation” are desires, desires to serve Christ by all the great means with which he can be served. When she says that she feels the location of the priest, it is not in the skewed way that the advocates of “women’s ordination” demand for themselves. Her desires are not what God objectively wills for her, rather, they are expressions of the magnanimity and generosity of her soul. Simply put, she wanted to be all for Jesus.

It was in reading the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians that St. Therese realized that her vocation was to be love in the heart of her Mother the Church. St. Paul speaks of the mystical body of Christ as having many members (1Cor. 12). If there are many members of the mystical body of Christ, including hands and feet, there must also be a heart (1Cor. 13). The Little Flower described this revelation of hers:

“When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognised myself in none of the members which St. Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favourably within the whole body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I saw and realised that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting.

“Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.”

In doing everything with love for God, and putting up with difficulties great and small, and keeping silent when she wanted to defend herself, St. Therese shows us what holiness is all about—love. Love is the driving force that changes the world.

And she knew that without the grace of the Master who “loved us to the end,” she could do nothing.

Don’t Mess with Our Lady’s Image

In this morning I found out that it’s the feast day of Our Lady of Czestochowa thanks to the following reflection from the apostleship of prayer:

Sadly they’re still trying to desecrate our Lady’s image in Poland. Recently on the feast of the assumption of the Blessed Virgin, there was a concert held by Madonna —the other kind. The gesture was not lost on the faithful Catholics of Poland who love the real Madonna and visit her famous shrine of. In addition to the date chosen, promotional materials were mocking in tone. This is no surprise because, after all, the pop singer has pulled offense stunts in the past. There was protest but nothing substantial enough for the concert to be cancelled. Anyway it’s on her, so, people of goodwill start– or continue– praying for the poor soul. When everything is said and done with, God will not be mocked nor will His mother.

Our Lady of Czestochowa, one that only Queen of Poland, pray for us!

Madonna on tour faces protests in Poland

Catechism Quotes: Assumption

Some quotes about the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

966 “Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.” The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.

2853 Victory over the “prince of this world” was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is “cast out.” “He pursued the woman” but had no hold on her: the new Eve, “full of grace” of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring.” Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: “Come, Lord Jesus,” since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One.

St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Mother of God

Today is the feast day of St. Cyril of Alexandria. This Egyptian saint is well known as one who fought against the Nestorian heresy. Nestorius said that we should not call mother Mary the Mother of God (Theotokos) but instead we should call her Mother of Christ (Christokos). He went on to say that that Jesus Christ was two persons— God and man, and that Mary gave birth to the man. But in reality Jesus Christ is one person–fully man and fully God. Here is the catechism:

466 The Nestorian heresy regarded Christ as a human person joined to the divine person of God’s Son. Opposing this heresy, St. Cyril of Alexandria and the third ecumenical council, at Ephesus in 431, confessed “that the Word, uniting to himself in his person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man.” Christ’s humanity has no other subject than the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it and made it his own, from his conception. For this reason the Council of Ephesus proclaimed in 431 that Mary truly became the Mother of God by the human conception of the Son of God in her womb: “Mother of God, not that the nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of its existence from the holy Virgin, but that, since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of God united to himself according to the hypostasis, was born from her, the Word is said to be born according to the flesh.”

Around the time of my “reversion” I was outside praying the Hail Mary and I stopped at the words Mother of God. That came to become my favorite title of Our Lady. It explains why we honor her so much. Every one of the privileges of Our Lady is rooted in Her privilege to be the Mother of God.

This title mother of God is Christocentric because it acknowledges that Jesus is God.

Thank God for raising up great defenders of the faith like St. Cyril of Alexandria and for the Church— the pillar and bulwark of the truth!

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

November 21 is the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Every Marian feast is as special as she is.

Today we commemorate how our Lady was especially consecrated to God from an early age. At the Annunciation we learn that she had even consecrated her virginity… the Angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is to bear a son to which she replies in wonder “how shall this happen since I know not man”?  If she is already betrothed to a man–and she was–why would she ask that question at the outset? Unless said she knew that her marriage was to be a celibate one!  From this we can see that she was also planning to remain a virgin.

Our Lady always did the will of God. She was called to give herself completely to God as a virgin. She responded “yes” with love…even if it meant the sacrifice of having no children. Then God willed that she miraculously  conceive and bear a son—God himself—while she would remain a virgin! She responded “yes” with love…even if meant that people would question her virginity because a woman who is pregnant sure doesn’t look like a virgin. The Blessed Virgin always responded to the will of God with love.  At Calvary her response would be no different.

One day as Our Lord Jesus was teaching, a woman in the crowd shouted out: “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!”. And He answered, “blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Let’s ask His Blessed Mother and ours, to help us to hear the word of God and keep it until it bears fruit unto eternity.

Queenship of Mary!

Today is the Queen-ship of Our Blessed Mother. Eight years ago today was the last day of our family pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Leading up to Lourdes, I was looking at a picture of Our Lady crowned as Queen. I understood with my heart and my mind that she was Mother and Advocate…but Queen? Is that making too much of the Blessed Virgin Mary? At the time I marveled over the fact that a humble Jewish girl could now be the Queen of Heaven.

In Lourdes I realized that she was the humblest woman that ever was or ever will be and that she suffered so much. Jesus promised after all, that the first would be last and the last would be first.

Mary is Our Queen as well as Our Mother. The very first time in Sacred Scripture that we witness her royal dignity is in the Gospel of Luke:

He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

The Archangel Gabriel just announced to the Virgin Mary that she is to be Mother of the King. Later Elizabeth calls Her “Mother of my Lord!”

In the Davidic Kingdom (the Books of Kings, Chronicles) there was a position of the Queen Mother (“gebirah” or “great lady”)—that is, the mother of the king is the queen. Solomon had many wives (600?) so–which one is the Queen? He only had one mother of course, so she was the queen. The Queen Mother. This was a motherly role—not only mother to the king but mother of all the people in the Kingdom. They would ask her to present their petitions to the king. In 1 Kings 2:19 we read:

…Bathshe’ba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adoni’jah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right.

Then she said, “I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you.”

He bowed to his mother and brought out a throne for Her!

If Jesus is the Son of David—if Jesus is King… then Mary is Queen. Mary is our Queen and Mother!

Jesus Christ alone, God and man, is King in the full, proper, and absolute sense of the term. Mary also, in a restricted and only analogous way, shares in the royal dignity as the Mother of Christ who is God, as His associate in the work of Redemption, in His conflict with the enemy, and in His complete victory. From this association with Christ the King, she obtains a height of splendor unequaled in all creation (Pius XII, Encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam, no.25).

‘Non-Ramblings’ About Islam, Life Experiences, Etc.

Recently I came across a very well written and balanced perspective on Islam. I would like to share it here because many people today have a misguided or misinformed way of looking at the Muslim religion and Muslims in light of current events— either with a tolerant indifference or an overly alarmist attitude. The Catholic Church provides a balanced outlook to everything and I feel that the following, written by my friend Misereremi on PhatMass.com reflects this:

http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?showtopic=82482&st=0&p=1595833&#entry1595833