Category: Spirituality & Spiritual Warfare

World Day of Prayer and Fasting for Syria

Pope Francis has asked the universal Church to spend today in prayer and fasting in the hopes that the hearts of men and women will be transformed and that we will not engage in mutual destruction that comes with war and conflict.

While sometimes War is just for some, if it can be avoided all of humanity benefits.

christian-just-war-popePrayer for Peace to Mary, the Light of Hope

Immaculate Heart of Mary,
help us to conquer the menace of evil,
which so easily takes root
in the hearts of the people of today,
and whose immeasurable effects already
weigh down upon our modern world
and seem to block the paths toward the future.

From famine and war, deliver us.
 From nuclear war, from incalculable self destruction,
from every kind of war, deliver us.
 From sins against human life from its very beginning,
deliver us.
From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity
of the children of God, deliver us.
From readiness to trample on the commandments
of God, deliver us.
From the loss of awareness of good and evil,
deliver us.
From sins against the Holy Spirit,
deliver us.

Accept, O Mother of Christ,
 this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual
human beings, laden with the sufferings
of whole societies.
Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit conquer all
sin:
individual sin and the “sin of the world,”
sin in all its manifestations.

Let there be revealed once more in the history of the
world the infinite saving power of the redemption:
the power of the merciful love.
May it put a stop to evil.
May it transform consciences.
May your Immaculate Heart
 reveal for all the light of hope.

Amen.
– Pope John Paul II

 

Peace is the proper effect of charity

“PEACE implies a twofold union, as stated above (A. 1). The first is the result of one’s own appetites being directed to one object; while the other results from one’s own appetite being united with the appetite of another: and each of these unions is effected by charity–the first, in so far as man loves God with his whole heart, by referring all things to Him, so that all his desires tend to one object–the second, in so far as we love our neighbor as ourselves, the result being that we wish to fulfil our neighbor’s will as though it were ours: hence it is reckoned a sign of friendship if people “make choice of the same things” (Ethic. ix, 4), and Tully says (De Amicitia) that friends “like and dislike the same things” (Sallust, Catilin.)”

~St. Thomas Aquinas: ST, II-II, q. 29, a. 3.

Abp. Chaput’s comments on Pope Francis from Rio

 

Archbishop Chaput comments on Pope Francis
Archbishop Chaput comments on Pope Francis

 

A very interesting article caught my eye, which details a few telling comments from Archbishop Chaput regarding the first few months of Pope Francis’ pontificate.

The article, which ran in the NCR, specifically pulled the following comments from Abp. Chaput:

  • The 68-year-old Capuchin conceded that last night’s mob scene with the papal motorcade was a “frightening moment,” hinting that perhaps Francis could listen a bit more to handlers charged with his safety and saying, “There has to be some distance between the crowds and the Holy Father.”
  • Chaput acknowledged that members of the right wing of the Catholic church “generally have not been really happy” with some aspects of Francis’ early months and said the pope will have to find a way “to care for them, too.”
  • Chaput defended Francis on concerns in some circles that he’s been silent on abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia, saying, “I can’t imagine he won’t be as pro-life and pro-traditional marriage as any of the other popes.” He insisted the bishop of Rome “has to talk about those things.”

If you know anything about Chaput, it is that he is a precise speaker and thinker. There is surely more to these quotes than what you get at first glance, but in both what he says and doesn’t say, there is something to be gleamed.

My first thought is that the three things have something in common – the Pope more than likely doesn’t have a tight circle of advisors that he listens to yet, and he might be purposefully delaying such a circle. All three comments talk about his seeming unwillingness to be a “business as usual Pope.” I think this is serving him well in how he wants to lead, but like any other ideology, if you become and ideologue over someone that allows a philosophy to guide you then you run the risk of losing sight of your goals.

Pope Francis Motorcade in Rio at WYD.
Pope Francis Motorcade in Rio at WYD.

Now I am not saying that is what is happening, or even will happen, but it is a risk. The motorcade example is a perfect anecdote. The Pope insists on doing things a certain way, especially being “with the people” and while he might not have any personal concern he is the Pope. Much as we have to properly view him, he too must properly view his role. God placed him to lead the Church and while thrusting yourself into harm is sometimes necessary, it is also sometimes foolish.  Moderation, temperance, these are virtues … in all things.

As for the “right wing of the Church” comments it is interesting. Chaput acknowledges this idea, but quickly brushes past it, but not before he says that Pope Francis must accept that such a group exists and is right to be tended to.

For all of Pope Benedict’s detractors within the Church, those that said he was “too conservative” or “too this or that” he spoke to those who disagreed with him and attempted a Catechesis with them. Always teaching was Benedict’s model. Even if this wasn’t direct or explicit, he recognized their existence, and cared for them through Catechesis and love. Even in small things, like the focus of his Encyclicals or his public acts.

While I agree with Chaput, and acknowledge divisions in the Church (both benign and malignant) I don’t think that the fissures are so deep that it is “two Churches.” I think the point is that many in the Church, like the Saints, find their spiritual life filled through different measures and paths. A new Pope is not like a new elected official. We don’t ignore the last “guy” when “our guy” comes in. There must be a HERMENEUTIC OF CONTINUITY not just in the teachings of the CHURCH but within the communal life of the Church. That is the entire point of the Eucharist.

So my prayer for the Pope, the Church, and really all of this is that we continue what Pope John Paul started and what Pope Benedict magnified – an intense love and longing for the Eucharist. Let our hearts and our minds rest on the TRUE PRESENCE. Let Him fill us and our needs.

He must increase… we must decrease.

New Encyclical Published: Lumen Fidei – written by both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict [Download]

Lumen Fidei
Lumen Fidei

The new encyclical: Lumen Fidei has been published.

Both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict are known to be contributors to this Papal Encyclical.

You can download the .PDF here or read it online.

NB: There seems to be some controversy about the Vatican not allowing people to convert the file format into Kindle/Nook/etc… Will try to keep up on this story.

Pope Francis, the Devil, the Media, and Exorcism

Pope Francis allegedly performed and exorcism
Pope Francis allegedly performed and exorcism

By now, many of you have probably heard about the Pope Francis Exorcism that was caught on tape. The media is in such a frenzy over this that everyone from the Sun.uk.co to local Michigan news sites have ran the story.

I am surprised that more Catholic blogs haven’t covered it, but my thoughts on the subject center less around did he or didn’t he perform an exorcism and more about why the media is so focused on this.

Here is the account from the Sun:

The Pontiff then grips the top of the subject’s head firmly and is seen  pushing him down into his wheelchair.

As this is happening Francis recites an intense prayer, and the boy’s mouth  drops wide open and he exhales sharply.

Francis’s usual smile then returns and he continues with the traditional and  more gentle Sunday greetings for sick or disabled visitors to St Peter’s.

Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4936655/pope-francis-caught-on-video-performing-strange-ritual-on-fan.html#ixzz2U1M0kQvb

He is a bishop, he can do exorcisms. Was this an exorcism? I don’t know, but what the media is saying, without saying it directly, is: “The Pope, this Pope1 actually believes in things like the devil and demons. So the media is starting to panic and freak out a bit.

As I have detailed in the past, the world the devil does not want us to believe in him, not in a real sense. He wants to fly just under the radar, maybe be blamed in a non-literal way for “evil” but mostly that we chalk up the “bad things” people do to a force that is somewhat outside of him. In many situations though, he gets a full on win when we blame “bad things” on the fact that there are just “purely evil/bad people” in the world.

It helps him operate. It gives him free reign over the world, and all its souls. Those in the media pushing secularism, tolerance, and relativism can’t have a devil running around. Why? Well, mostly because it would be proof of God, but second it would put a hitch into the entire idea of relativism. You can’t have a wishy-washy undefinable idea of good and evil, when you have the master of evil and lies spreading true evil.

The devil is real folks. He is the master of lies, the deceiver of truths, and the genius behind the fall of man. The sooner that we accept that he is real, the sooner that we can begin to defend against him. We can’t do it alone, so to battle intellectually over his powers and how it is exactly that he attacks is a fools errand. It is better to accept the reality of the matter, move on, and seek God’s help as well as all the angels’ and saints’ as well.

We are at war. The devil is our enemy. God is our Savior.

God Bless Pope Francis for showing this to us. It would be great if it was an exorcism, only so that it would continue to draw catechesis to the matter.

 

  1. The one the media/secular world is still crossing its fingers over hoping he is “Liberal” []

Pope Francis: ‘True prayer takes us out of ourselves’…

pf prayerThe Pope talked about prayer at Saturday Mass, and it was a message that really strikes home for me.

True prayer brings us out of ourselves: it opens us to the Father and to the neediest of our brothers and sisters. This was a central part of Pope Francis’ message to the faithful gathered for Mass on Saturday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence at the Vatican, with agents of the Vatican Gendarmerie and a group of Argentine journalists with their families in attendance.

The Pope’s homily focused on the day’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus says, “[I]f you ask the Father any thing in my name, he will give it you.” Discussing Jesus’ words, Pope Francis said, “There’s something new here, something that changes: it is a novelty in prayer. The Father will give us everything, but always in the name of Jesus.” The Lord ascends to the Father, enters “the heavenly Sanctuary,” opens doors and leaves them open because “He Himself is the door,” and “intercedes for us,” as priest, even, “until the end of the world”:

He prays for us before the Father. I always liked that. Jesus, in His resurrection, had a beautiful body: the cuts of the scourging and the crown of thorns are gone, all of them. His bruises from the beatings are healed and gone. But He wanted always to keep His wounds [in His hands, His feet and His side], for those wounds are precisely His prayer of intercession to the Father. [It is as if Jesus were saying,] ‘But … look,’ … this person is asking you this thing in My name, look.’ This is the novelty that Jesus announces to us. He tells us this new thing: to trust in His passion, to trust in His victory over death, to trust in His wounds. He is the priest and this is the sacrifice: his wounds – and this gives us confidence, gives us courage to pray.”

You can read the entire article and comments here.

I want to write about the amazing Homily I heard yesterday, but I want to have enough time to really write about it.

It is important to remember to pray… and ask the Holy Spirit to come down and be our power from above.

REPORT: Pope Benedict Ill, Suffering From Something ‘very severe’

Pope Emeritus Benedict meets with Pope Francis.
Pope Emeritus Benedict meets with Pope Francis.

It is all over the blogosphere, and it isn’t easy to write about, but it appears that Pope Benedict is “suffering from something very severe.”

Damien Thompson of The Telegraph reports, and everyone is quoting, that video of Benedict greeting Pope Francis was hard to watch, but the reports from Fr. Ray Blake are even more troubling:

The health of Benedict XVI has dramatically diminished in the last two weeks, Paloma Gómez Borrero wrote Tuesday night in the Spanish paper El Mundo. According to her, Benedict suffers from something – quote – “very severe”. She adds: “We won’t have him with us for very much longer”.

 

Fr. Ray Blake has the video on his website.

This could be the long good-bye with Pope Benedict, and even if it gives us some consolation as to why he stepped down from the Papacy, it still doesn’t mend the hurt in our hearts.

Let us all keep him in prayer, specifically what he asked of us:

“Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”

 

A Pope of Compassion, Love, Humility, and Bravery

I write this post with some trepidation. Over the past few weeks I have argued that we should not drive a wedge amongst Catholics, nor be too quick to compare Pope Francis to… anyone really. Therefore I offer this caveat: this post is not a comparison but more to simply state for the record.

pope-benedict-blessing-sick-boy
Pope Benedict blessing a sick child

Over at Clay & Spittle there is a beautiful post about the Compassion, Love, Humility and Bravery of Pope Francis, as well as Pope Benedict. You really must go see it…

What we must not forget is that the media is reporting about Francis what they choose to report. This is the same media that has lambasted the Catholic Church, that has attacked the Faith, and has not given an inch. We should be wary of those sheep that have the teeth of wolves. They would like nothing more than to turn Catholic against Catholic, for remember the world will hate us because of Him.

 

 

 

 

Taylor Marshall’s Take on the Election of Pope Francis & ‘Traditionalists’

Taylor Marshall has a very direct and heart-felt post about the vitriol that some “trads” have shown since the election of Pope Francis.

Marshall had put all his “chips” in saying that Cardinal Burke would be the next Holy Father. The following is the heart of his post, although you should go and read the whole thing:

I’m “all in” when it comes the Latin Mass, but I am also “all in” when it comes to the Pope. I didn’t leave the Anglican priesthood to pretend to be my own Pope once again only this time in the Catholic Church.
I am enthusiastic about Pope Francis? To be honest, I don’t know very much about His Holiness. Yes, I’ll admit it: I’m not as excited as I would have been if Cardinal Burke or Cardinal Ranjith had walked out on that balcony yesterday. Those who read this blog daily know that my heart and my reputation was set on Burke. Oh well. I’m not God. I was way off the mark. Still, the Holy Father Francis has my filial devotion and obedience.
Let’s give His Holiness some time. Let’s pray for him. If you’re really worried, don’t log on to a blog combox. Fast on bread and water, pray the Rosary more, go to confession more regularly, give alms to the poor, etc.

Pope Francis ‘Fathead’: Is Too Much ‘Support’ a Bad Thing?

Right now, in the court of the Catholic blogosphere, the legacy and entirety of Pope Francis’ Papacy is being fought by supporters and concerned Catholics.

Yes, you read that rght. On what amounts to ‘Day 3’ people on both ends of the spectrum are digging in their heals and using rather extreme language. I have seen everything from insinuations of people joining the SSPX on one end of the extreme, to a Twitter #hashtag campaign to get ‘#LoveHimAlready’ trending.

Personally, I think to judge Pope Francis negatively to an extreme degree right now is not only foolish, most likely unfair based on the limited info we have, but also contrary to our understanding and belief of the Catholic faith. I am working on a post about this, but I think it is fair to go on record with this sentiment.

Now… on the other end, things are getting just as out of hand, if not more so. A lot of ‘support’ for our new Pope is rolling in, and there seems to be a few over-zealous supporters. It might be a combination of trying to balance out the detractors and the unique humility and love that Pope Francis seems to exude.

Pope Francis - 'Fathead' for your wall?
Pope Francis – ‘Fathead’ for your wall?

But I wonder if a FatHead takes things a tad to far? In fact, it might fly directly in the face of what Francis will attempt to show us through his Papacy.  It is a nice sentiment… maybe down the road something like this could make sense, it really isn’t that different from a photo of the Pope on your wall… but again, it is Day 3.

Here is the Detroit News write up on this development:

It’s only his second day on the job, but already Pope Francis will live in infamy on the walls of Catholic followers just as celebrities and athletes have lived for years: As a Fathead.

Detroit-based Fathead LLC has released three four-by-six foot Pope Francis Fathead murals, based on photos taken upon the first sighting of Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis. The murals cost $100 each.

“We have always stood by Fathead being all about what is passionate — For Real, and allowing people to bring their favorite inspiration to life,” said Patrick McInnis, chief executive officer of Fathead, in a statement.

What do you think? Can too much ‘support’ like this be a bad thing? Is this a case of too much too soon? I personally feel that we should be a little more moderated in how we show support for the Pope. What he, and the Church, need more than anything our for our prayers and for Catholics to live authentic lives of holy faith, hope and love.

End Abortion – Pray the Rosary & Divine Mercy Chaplet

ROU5PACKlgLittle can I write to add to the very smart and holy people out there that advocate the end of abortion on demand in this country.

What I can say is that for some of us, no matter how brave, smart, educated, passionate, or on fire in the faith, we sometimes feel at a loss when it comes to abortion. Many of us feel that we have nothing to offer but our prayers. I realized long ago that I had a lot of friends in the Pro-life advocacy world and I felt ashamed that they were doing so much, and I was doing so little. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, but I felt as if I had nothing to offer. The occasional volunteering for a crisis pregnancy center, the token donations to pro-life causes, and a trip to the March for Life or some other commemoration of Roe v. Wade was my Modus Operandi.

But then someone very smart explained that our greatest weapon in this fight truly is prayer. As I reiterate and reinforce on this little blog, we don’t fight people in this world but powers and principalities. We must change hearts and minds, but even more daunting we must change the culture.

So today, this week, or really anytime – if you want to fight the evils of abortion, then pray. The Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet are two very powerful tools at our disposal. Remember not only the children lost, but the women and men who are in a position where they become pregnant and feel there is nothing left but abortion.

So let us do what we can, let us pray. The rigor and exercise of daily prayer of the Rosary or Divine Mercy not only sets ourselves towards God, but those around us. To change a culture God must do the heavy lifting, yet what we must do is interact with people in our lives setting the stage for His conversion. Praying the Rosary and Divine Mercy prepare our hearts, ourselves, for that. By praying these daily, and turning our hearts to God, we allow Him to shine through.

If we feel we can do nothing else, let us pray to end abortion.

Guns and the Problem of Misinformation

121218045837-us-guns-handgun-smith-and-wesson-story-topThe “Gun Rights Issue” is once again a top-3 hot-button issue in American politics. The massacre and tragedy in Newtown placed it back into the spotlight for obvious reason, and yet the discussion that has been occurring is so blurred with emotion, misinformation, and faulty reasoning that I honestly dont know if we have moved the ball forward or backwards.1

The issue has so many facets, that when we talk about guns in general, and the laws surrounding them, it hardly even happens where everyone is on the same page. In fact, two pundits can be on the same tv or radio program, and be talking so far past one another that the average listener gets nothing out of it but for the points (regardless of their factual accuracy) they choose to listen to and remember.  Continue reading

  1. Here I only mean to say in finding a solution to preventing and limiting further tragedies. []

The World Hates You [Repost]

Authors Note:
I wrote this post in June of 2010 on the “old version” of the blog. It has always been one of my most visited and most commented on posts. I have edited slightly for content, continuity, and clarity.

I post it here both on a request from someone, and to set up some thoughts I have had recently. It is always interesting to re-read things written in the past…:

to_chain_the_beast

Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus. It took its position on the sand of the sea. – Apocalypse 12:17

Continue reading

Lens of Faith

eyetap-wearable-computer

The Christmas season has in recent years been a time of deep introspection. Some years, this one especially, I find myself searching internally (spiritually) for direction as I head into a new liturgical and calendar year. As we await Christmas, and then the “New Year”, I find that I have begun to take stock in where I am, and who I am as a person of faith. This has steadily increased, in terms of intensity, since my “(con)re-version” to the faith.

While I have always been a fairly “spiritual” person, and have found myself on the more conservative end of the social and political spectrum, my faith hasn’t always ranked high on the priority list. Actually, better said, my faith hasn’t always directed my priorities. What I mean is this, I haven’t always viewed life through the lens of my faith, and therefore what is important to me or the importance of my decisions have often been far removed from the virtues and values of my faith life, or spiritual belief. Continue reading