Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Holy Innocents, pray for us


A sermon of St Quodvultdeus [Matins]

Even before they learn to speak, they proclaim Christ
A tiny child is born, who is a great king. Wise men are led to him from afar. They come to adore one who lies in a manger and yet reigns in heaven and on earth. When they tell of one who is born a king, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and for ever in the life to come. Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage, and to destroy one child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children. You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers or fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children. You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong your own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself. Yet your throne is threatened by the source of grace, so small, yet so great, who is lying in the manger. He is using you, all unaware of it, to work out his own purposes freeing souls from captivity to the devil. He has taken up the sons of the enemy into the ranks of God’s adopted children. The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. See the kind of kingdom that is his, coming as he did in order to be this kind of king. See how the deliverer is already working deliverance, the saviour already working salvation. But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it. How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Saint John the Beloved

Thanks, Saint John for taking care of our mom, remaining with her at the foot of the cross, teaching us all about the True Presence, and about how we need to be one as You and the Father are One. Pray for us!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Saint Stephen, ora pro nobis



A sermon of St Fulgentius of Ruspe, (from Matins):

The armour of love
Yesterday we celebrated the birth in time of our eternal King. Today we celebrate the triumphant suffering of his soldier.Yesterday our king, clothed in his robe of flesh, left his place in the virgin’s womb and graciously visited the world. Today his soldier leaves the tabernacle of his body and goes triumphantly to heaven. Our king, despite his exalted majesty, came in humility for our sake; yet he did not come empty-handed. He brought his soldiers a great gift that not only enriched them but also made them unconquerable in battle, for it was the gift of love, which was to bring men to share in his divinity. He gave of his bounty, yet without any loss to himself. In a marvellous way he changed into wealth the poverty of his faithful followers while remaining in full possession of his own inexhaustible riches. And so the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven; shown first in the king, it later shone forth in his soldier. Love was Stephen’s weapon by which he gained every battle, and so won the crown signified by his name. His love of God kept him from yielding to the ferocious mob; his love for his neighbour made him pray for those who were stoning him. Love inspired him to reprove those who erred, to make them amend; love led him to pray for those who stoned him, to save them from punishment. Strengthened by the power of his love, he overcame the raging cruelty of Saul and won his persecutor on earth as his companion in heaven. In his holy and tireless love he longed to gain by prayer those whom he could not convert by admonition. Now at last, Paul rejoices with Stephen, with Stephen he delights in the glory of Christ, with Stephen he exalts, with Stephen he reigns. Stephen went first, slain by the stones thrown by Paul, but Paul followed after, helped by the prayer of Stephen. This, surely, is the true life, my brothers, a life in which Paul feels no shame because of Stephen’s death, and Stephen delights in Paul’s companionship, for love fills them both with joy. It was Stephen’s love that prevailed over the cruelty of the mob, and it was Paul’s love that covered the multitude of his sins; it was love that won for both of them the kingdom of heaven. Love, indeed, is the source of all good things; it is an impregnable defence,- and the way that leads to heaven. He who walks in love can neither go astray nor be afraid: love guides him, protects him, and brings him to his journey’s end. My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven. Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it, and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christ is come!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas


Viva il Papae!

Another Affirmation

I am home for Christmas, praise God. Without pouring out my heart or naming names for the sake of privacy, God has just been giving many affirmations about this project.

One of the major themes of TOB, is that personal experience [properly understood] is a reflection of objective reality. For example, I come from a divorced family. My experience with divorce reflects the objective reality that divorce is wrong.

So, there is a lot of hurt, blame, and open festering fueding going on in my family, as is in most families [some better than others, of course]. Well, I was blessed to spend 11 hours with one of my family members today who I have never had a great relationship with. Not that it was every bad, we have never been as close as we should have. Anyway, by spending time, listening, understanding and offering advise based on personal experience and guided by objective principles, this person was able to make a lot of progress in spiritual development.

There is obviously a lot more to the story, but the important part is getting people to think in the TOB mind-frame is very, very effective. I could have easily talked about the objective dictums and pretty much get where I always do- not far [at least in my human estimations]. However, because I was able to bring up personal experience and relate that to and draw analogies to those moral norms, the person was able to understand and accept those "tough teachings" a lot more readily. Praise God, indeed!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Real visions of Mary?

I was recently sent this article by Dave on apparitions. Please take the time to read over it so that you don't end up starting a devotion, such as Our Lady of Garabandal (sp?), that is later rejected by the Church.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Saint Peter Canisius, pray for us!



Today we celebrate the feast of a great doctor of the Church, Saint Peter Canisius. He put great time, energy and prayer into re-converting Germany.

May he intercede for us as we strive to re-convert America.

May he also intercede for the renewal of the clergy. May our spiritual shepherds be re-awakened to the awesome attractiveness of fullness of Truth, which is exclusively guarded and transmitted by the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

May the intercession of this powerful friend in heaven, also aid the quicken the unification of all those who bear the name of Christ. May we pray for the day when we will be one, as the Holy Trinity is One.

AMEN.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"They call themselves 'camwhores.'"

In case anyone needed another reminder about why we fight, the New York Times ran a story yesterday about the hugeness of the internet child pornography racket. It's disturbing, but important.

Through His Webcam, a Boy Joins a Sordid Online World

Authorities have started, in part from this article, cracking down on porn-rings. But it's still a jarring reminder that not every perversion is laid out in the sun. St Padre Pio said, "the rosary is a weapon in our hands." Thus, we fight.

Materialism

It first hit me when I watched the news on "black Friday", which I am sure will soon be blasphemously dubbed by Wal-Mart, "good Friday", when I saw people literally being trampled as they ran with the herds in order to save money on the latest wares. Christmas materialism is not only wrong, but it a declaration of war. It is the Word made flesh versus the anti-Word. Materialism in general, where we seem to value things more than people, where we give tribute to the God made man by buying plasma TV's.



It also hit me when I was helping my parish "giving tree". This is the familiar tradition where the needs of the needy are placed on a Christmas tree in church and parishioners buy those gifts and they are then distributed. This is indeed a noble venture. However, I could not believe the sense of "entitlement" that many of these families had. More than once did I hear "is this it?!" as we gave them their present.

All of this, although I am tempted to throw in the towel, is a raging affirmation that our culture is starving for the Theology of the Body. They are starving for the answers to some of the most basic questions. Who am I? Why am I here? Why am I male/female? What is the point!? What must I do to gain eternal life? Why are people more important than things?

It is all too sad that the only answers they have been given, or at least wish to listen to, are "you are made as a product of the state to buy other products of the state...and you will be replaced (which is secular way of saying you are going to die)."

This is a double edged sword. One edge cuts because of the magnitude of the lie. However, the other edge will cut through the lie with the eternal, saving, powerful Truth of Jesus Christ.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Deep Sleep

I was re-reading the John Paul the Great's "Theology of the Body" on a plane yesterday. In the first part of the book, where the Holy Father talks about the "original man", "original innocence", "original nakedness" etc. he illuminated a very cool point. What is the significance of putting 'adam into a "deep sleep"?

JPII looked at the meaning of the Hebrew word that was employed. He mentioned how we commonly look at sleep as a sub-conscience state, or perhaps often allude to a 'Freudian fantasy'. If this were true and intended by the author, then it would mean that because 'adam was lonely, he simply dreamt up a dream girl. This was not so, says the Pope. The deep sleep is a reference, not to the sub-conscience, but to a un-conscience or a pre-conscience.

In essence, instead of going into the depth of man to find himself, God went to pre-man and brought forth the true vision of man; namely, man as male and female. Man [humanity] cannot be understood isolated. The only way to make sense of humanity is within the sexes. In order to really drive home this point, the Holy Father illumniates, the biblical author depicts the singular man as isolated and then, through the total action of God, man is recreated as a singular male and female.

This was said a lot better than what I am saying now. It was just such an awesome "epiphany" that I wanted to convey it one way or another. Of course, you can tell the implications of this. The equality of the sexes, the complementarily of the sexes, the fundamental difference of the sexes, the fact that we are called and created for "the communion of persons" ultimately with God but tangibly with one another, and in a very real sense through the conjugal act.

Because on the sixth day sex was created for male and female.... and it was very good.

Just a thought

I was just thinking about the idea that "abortion is safer than childbirth," and it hit me that people who argue that must agree that abortion kills women. I understand that they are not making the argument to prove that point, but if they are saying that childbirth kills women as they compare it to abortion, then abortion must also kill women. Just a thought.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Novena, Part II

"Well it looks like we've found the first grace of the novena. I got a homily out of it." - Rev. William Byrne, Catholic Chaplain at the University of Maryland

Great news! Fr. Byrne, a great friend and supporter of the Crusade (he offered a Mass for us on the feast of St. John of the Cross, in which his homily was very supportive of us), gave a homily on the presence of Jesus in the womb of Mary at the vigil Mass of the 4th Sunday of Advent tonight. In his homily he spoke of the need to remember that God gives us all graces, and that we should first be dependent upon him, just as Christ was dependent upon Mary for sustenance in her womb. He spoke of the humanity of the child in the womb, with very clear pro-life undertones.

Please offer a prayer of thanksgiving for Fr. Byrne's support (he is leading the Novena after the Masses here at the UMD campus) and continue to pray that Catholics will return to the Lord this Advent.

PS. Please encourage your priest to offer a Mass for the success of the Crusade.

PPS. I'm sure the guys at Unborn Jesus would have loved to have heard Fr. Byrne's homily.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Novena ad Jesu in Utero Mariae

In honor of the upcoming Solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Crusade for the Church will be praying the Novena ad Jesu in Utero Mariae, starting today, and ending on Christmas Eve to prepare us for the Solemnity of the Nativity. The intention for this Novena will be for fallen away Catholics to come back to the faith.

The Novena can be found at:
http://www.crusadeforthechurch.org/NovenaJesusMaryWomb.pdf

To pray the novena, start with the Sign of the Cross, then read the reading for which day it is, and then say the Litany, including the intention at the end (conversion of fallen away Catholics and any other intentions. If you have any questions, please let us know. Have a great end of Advent! And remember to prepare daily for the coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

{If you don't have a PDF reader, you should be able to download one for free. Otherwise, e-mail me at patrick@crusadeforthechurch.org}

Defend the Blessed Virgin Mary

Comedy central has aired (or is going to air - it's hard to tell from the e-mail I got) a program on the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that is weeping blood in California slamming the possible miracle.

Please send a petition to Comedy Central's President.

Also, South Park has mocked the BVM in one it's recent episodes. Read this article for more info.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Support a bill in Maryland

This just in from the Archdiocese of Washington:

Push for bill S. 1317 in Maryland to promote umbilical cord blood stem cell research. This has no negative moral ramifications because "umbilical cord blood stem cells are obtained from the blood contained in the delivered placenta and umbilical cord, which are normally discarded after childbirth. Obtaining these stem cells present no inherent moral concerns."

Here is a link with more information and where you can e-mail your petition for Sens. Sarbanes and Mikulski to vote in favor of it. Keep in mind that Sen. Barbara Mikulski calls herself a Catholic but does not choose to follow many of the Church's teachings on morality. She also presents herself for Communion. Pray that she and Sarbanes open themselves up to the will of the Lord and make the correct decision in this matter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Two things

From the last post, I noticed there was a link to watching a video of daily Mass.

Also, from Pio Francis's blog, here is a good post including us.

Catholic Megachurches

This article was posted on Jimmy Akin's blog: Catholics Forming Megachurches to Offset Priest Shortage
"We didn't want to put two parishes in the same town because we just didn't have the priests to do it," said Monsignor Larry Stuebben, vicar general of the archdiocese [of San Antonio].
One of our local priests, in a homily at a heterodox parish, highlighted two reasons for the lack of vocations: contraception and the lack of Eucharistic Adoration. His own parish, which is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its perpetual adoration chapel, accounts for 11 of the 12 current seminarians from this diocese. But I'm sure it's all just a coincidence.

Prayer Network

If you would like to be a part of our prayer network, please send an e-mail to patrick@crusadeforthechurch.org

We will be starting a Novena on Friday to prepare for Christmas. More information will be posted then.

This would also include our monthly Day of Prayer and Fasting for the Crusade (Dies Cruciatus), which is on the 5th of every month. This is for a greater devotion to the Eucharist, for an end to sacrilege, and for the conversion of sinners. Please send an e-mail to be added to the list if you wish to join this very important part of the Crusade For The Church.

Sanctus Ioannes Crucis

Happy memorial of Saint John of the Cross. From today's Office of Readings, St. John said:

"Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them. We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides."

Enjoy some good suffering today and remember that the path to salvation lay in taking up your crosses and following Christ to Calvary.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Heresy Trial in the US?

I found this on Amy Welborn's blog today. It's quite interesting that there is a Catholic on trial for heresy in the US. Maybe this is a good sign of the times to come.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Such a wonderful feast

Happy feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!!!

In the words of the BVM at Guadalupe:

"Be not troubled nor afraid. Am I not here, I thy mother? Art thou not beneath my protection? Am I not thy shield? Listen, my son, least of my sons, many are my servants whom I can charge with my message; yet I wish it to be thou to make my petition, to help by thy mediation my will to be accomplished."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The fight must go on

This is why we must continue to crusade for the preborn:

New York City: The Abortion Capital of America

Good news from MD bishops

I got an e-mail with a statement from the MD bishops (Cardinals Keeler and McCarrick and Bishop Salterelli) on marriage as being between one man and one woman. The whole article is too long to post here, but if you get a chance, read through it. Here is a link where you can find it online.

Here is a short description of it:
"This Pastoral Letter from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Maryland says that a deliberate campaign by homosexual activists, left-leaning judges and the American Civil Liberties Union has been undertaken to corrode the family and its stabilizing influence in society. The bishops identify the underlying cause of the homosexual political revolution as the same one that created the acceptance of abortion and euthanasia. 'An exaggerated emphasis on individual preferences and conveniences…to the detriment of society, have elevated these personal preferences to the level of rights and entitlements.'”

With this in mind...

I recently got an e-mail that showed just why things might not look like their getting done in Boston. This shows a lot of pastoral care is necessary, and so it is with this in mind, that our mission becomes interesting:

"Welcome to Boston where during the Democratic National Convention, the Democratic Nominee's daughter, Alexandria Kerry, attended a Planned Parenthood Party at Foley Hoags, a major Boston law firm....where the Gay Parade takes over downtown Boston every summer, with police protection, featuring floats with lewd and lascivious behavior taking place right on the streets around Boston Common and the Public Gardens, all staged with Mayor Menino's assent....where the State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Marshall gave the edict that same sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts thereby overstepping the rights of citizens of Massachusetts to have their voice heard....where, like every other city in the USA, contraception is sold over the counter in CVS's in every neighborhood, thereby allowing citizens to play with sex and kill their babies after fertilization....where, like every other city in the USA, surgical abortion kills scores of babies conceived in the wombs of their mothers every day, thereby subjecting every woman who conceives a child in her womb and every man who fathers a child destined to be killed in his mother's womb to a lifetime of remorse and worse in a world which still denies the truth - human life and nothing but human life is the product of fertilization of a woman's egg and a man's sperm.
Archbishop O'Malley faces raging lay people everytime a parish closes. He inherited a generation of priests, taught at St. John Seminary, where dissent against Humanae Vitae was the means by which the moral turpitude of said generation of priests was compromised. This has changed slowly, we are told in the past few years. Please pray for our Archbishop in Boston. Please pray for our political leaders. Pray for our priests and seminarians and laity. And we offer you our prayers in return. And may the love St Francis had for Christ in the Eucharist inflame the heart of our beloved Archbishop. "

So please pray for His Grace that he might unceasingly work to better his flock and correctly instruct his priests. Pray that he will open the doors to his diocese so that we too can assist in the effort to rid Boston of all these evils next summer.

Canadian bishop "won't be muzzled"

Read story here.

CALGARY -- An outspoken Roman Catholic bishop in Alberta says federal laws banning partisan attacks from the pulpit won't muzzle him if the need to speak out arises.

Fred Henry says he is cautious about appearing partisan, but adds if any of the parties take aim at the religious community's freedom of expression, he won't stand idle.

"If somebody does make some outrageous, stupid comment I'm liable to be there, Elections Act or no Elections Act, if there's a misinterpretation of the separation of church and state."

Henry said he was threatened by Revenue Canada with losing his diocese's tax-free charitable status during the 2004 campaign when he criticized Prime Minister Paul Martin -- a Catholic -- for his failure to oppose abortion and same-sex marriage.

Three things you can do to help

Spend at least one hour in adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and offer up your Mass intentions for the Crusade.

Write a letter to your bishop asking to meet with him to discuss the new group. He should have already received a letter from us explaining a little bit about who we are. You would want to schedule a meeting to ask him to support us, giving him examples about the type of work we do and your experience with us. If you are unable to schedule a meeting, please send him an e-mail explaining why he should support us and what impact the crusade has had on your life.

Third, meet with your pastor and tell him about us. If it possible try to set up a date where you can give a short talk after Mass to tell people about us, what you have done and what we are planning to do in the future. Solicit funds and direct people to our website if they would like to support us.