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Saturday, 18 April 2015

Notes on Cardinal George

Many years ago, before Fr. Z., posted this on his blog as a daily read, I heard this quotation from someone in Chicago I knew who was living there and involved in the Church.

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.”

By the time Cardinal George, RIP, said this, I was already writing on both of my blogs about persecution. To have a highly respected and major Churchman underscore my perceptions made me sure of my own sense of things-confirmation, in other words.

We are down to the successor dying in prison now... and things will happen very quickly.

For me, the turning point regarding Cardinal George was way back in 2002, when my son and I were watching the USCCB meeting on sexual abuse cases. This was live on tv in Canada where we were living. At that time, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, was rude to both George and Bishop Fabian Brusketwiz of Lincoln, Neb. as they were asking for a real examination of the role of homosexual priests in the sexual abuse cases. Bishop Gregory told them to shut up and sit down that the issue would not be discussed and had nothing to do with sexual abuse cases.  The two brave bishops tried several times and were dismissed rudely.

watched it happen and was shocked, but then realized, the Church at the very top was divided on the gay issue. I said to my son, then 14, that this was the state of the members of the hierarchy in 2002. He went into the seminary with his eyes open. 

The fact that Bishop Wilton was so rude to Cardinal George astounded me and proved what I had accepted earlier, that the bishops in America were not willing to discuss homosexuality among the clergy. This is still a problem and not only in America. Some shield their priests. Some, most likely, are gay.

Cardinal George and Bishop Brusketwiz's courage in standing up against the majority feeling at the USCCB meeting gives authority to his famous saying above. He had already experienced persecution and rejection among his own brother-bishops.

His famous quotation comes out of his own striving for truth and from his own suffering. Sadly, he inherited a huge problem from his predecessor, Cardinal Bernadine, and is quoted as saying that if he came down hard on gay priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago, he would lose one-third of his priests.   

Pray for Cardinal George.

A Nice Story about Cardinal George

Book Begging

Anything and everything by St. Alphonsus--well, not quite.

I have the Glories of Mary.

Would like these below:

Preparation for Death

Uniformity with God's Will also called Conformity with the Will of God

The True Spouse of Jesus

The Way of Salvation and Perfection

Dignity and Duties of The Priest (for STS)

Victories of the Martyrs

Thanks for considering getting these for me, Readers....

May I add, Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales

And, his Treatise on the Love of God...

Ta muchly for considering...

Consolation in Desolation

“The patient man is better than the valiant.” 27 God is pleased with a person who practices mortification by fasting, hair-cloths, and disciplines, on account of the courage displayed in such mortifications; but he is much more pleased with those who have the courage to bear patiently and gladly such crosses as come from His Own Divine hand. St. Francis de Sales said, "Such mortifications as come to us from the hand of God, or from men by His permission, are always more precious than those which are the offspring of our own will; for it is a general rule, that wherever there is less of our own choice, God is better pleased, and we ourselves derive greater profit." 28 St. Teresa taught the same thing: "We gain more in one day by the oppositions which come to us from God or our neighbor than by ten years of mortifications of self infliction." 

St Alphonsus wrote this.

All this time, I thought and had heard from spiritual fathers, that mortifications chosen were more worthy than those just given. but apparently some of the great saints tell us otherwise.

Suddenly, I feel blessed in all these trials which I have to face. Praise God, as I am learning patience.

St. Francis de Sales notes that these sufferings from God teach us patience and longsuffering. This is so true.

St. Teresa of Avila's comment brings consolation, as today was one of those days of oppositions from God, and even friends.

So be it.

" 29 Wherefore St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi made the generous declaration, that there could not be found in the whole world an affliction so severe, but what she would gladly bear with the thought that it came from God; and, in fact, during the five years of severe trial which the Saint underwent, it was enough to restore peace to her soul to remember that it was by the will of God that she so suffered."

Generosity of spirit is key, not being stingy in one's attitude towards God.

"One day St. Gertrude asked our Lord what she could offer Him most acceptable, and He replied, "My child, thou canst do nothing more gratifying to Me than to submit patiently to all the tribulations that befall thee." Wherefore the great servant of God, Sister Victoria Angelini, affirmed that one day of crucifixion was worth a hundred years of all other spiritual exercises. And the Venerable Father John of Avila said, "One 'blessed be God' in contrarieties is worth more than a thousand thanksgivings in prosperity." Alas, how little men know of the inestimable value of afflictions endured for God! "

Well, I am finally learning...praise God. Can I add up my days of crucifixion, the worst of which  or not seeing STS, or not being able to use one gifts, or not being able worship God as He deserves because of frailty, distance, poverty?

To be emptied of all desires is truly a gift from God.

One more quotation:

 "To attain union with God, adversities are indispensable; because by them God aims at destroying all our corrupt propensities within and without. And hence all injuries, contempts, infirmities, abandonment of relatives and friends, confusions, temptations, and other mortifications, all are in the highest degree necessary for us, in order that we may carry on the fight, until by repeated victories we come to extinguish within us all vicious movements, so that they are no longer felt; and we shall never arrive at Divine union until adversities, instead of seeming bitter to us, become all sweet for God's sake." It follows, then, that a soul that sincerely desires to belong to God must be resolved as St. John of the Cross 26 writes, not to seek enjoyments in this life, but to suffer in all things; she must embrace with eagerness all voluntary mortifications, and with still greater eagerness those which are involuntary, since they are the more welcome to Almighty God."

Prayer from St. Alphonsus for this intention:

My dear and beloved Jesus, my treasure, I have deserved by my offenses never more to be allowed to love Thee; but by Thy merits, I entreat Thee, make me worthy of Thy pure love. I love Thee above all things; and I repent with my whole heart of having ever despised Thee, and driven Thee from my soul; but now I love Thee more than myself; I love Thee with all my heart, O infinite good! I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee, and I have not a wish besides that of loving Thee perfectly; nor have I a fear besides that of ever seeing myself deprived of Thy love. O my most loving Redeemer, enable me to know how great a good Thou art, and how great is the love Thou hast borne me in order to oblige me to love Thee! Ah, my God, suffer me not to live any longer unmindful of so much goodness! Enough have I offended Thee. I will never leave Thee again; I wish to employ all the remainder of my days in loving Thee, and in pleasing Thee. My Jesus, my Love, lend me Thine aid; help a sinner who wishes to love Thee and to be wholly Thine own. O Mary my hope, thy Son hears thee; pray to Him in my behalf, and obtain for me the grace of loving Him perfectly!

Word of St. Padre Pio on Humility and Temptations

"One day we will have to give strict account on how we spend our time."


'You have respect for me because you don't know me. I am the greatest sinner on this heart."
"Abjection is called humility, and humility abjection."
"God speaks to those who truly have a humble heart."
"Never be pleased with yourself."
"The tall ears of grain are vain and empty, the ones bent to the ground are humble and laden with grain."
'When you fall, humble yourself but without degrading yourself."
"Abjection means to be humble and powerless."
"Be humble, tranquil, sweet, and confident in times of darkness."
"Humility is truth. Everything good in me is of God."
"False humility brings discouragement."
"When Jesus sees you prostrated in humility, he will extend his hand and draw you to him."
"Humility is the recognition of one's abjection."
"To meet God, we must ascend and he must descend."
"Happiness can be found only in Heaven."
"Everything comes from God. I possess only infinite misery."
"Self esteem is more malicious that pride."
"Mary, the more she was filled with heavenly gifts, the more she humbled."

"If I was reborn, I would become a Capuchin again, but not a priest.
I am unworthy to represent Jesus on earth, to be Christ on the altar."


"If you win a temptation, it has the same effect as in washing dirty laundry."
"The more a soul is liked by God, the more will be proved."
"Temptations belong to devil and hell, sufferings belong to God and Paradise."
"The temptations come from the devil, the sufferings come from God."
"Despise the temptation and embrace the tribulation."
"Do not dwell on your temptations."
"The thought doesn't make the sin, but consenting to the thoughts does it."
"Only the free will is capable of good or evil."
"Temptations against faith and purity are the merchandise offered by the enemy."
"Don't voluntarily dwell on what the devil presents to you."
"When tempted, say to God: "Have mercy on your poor weakling."
"When the assault of the enemy increases, you are closer to God."
"When the enemy roars around you, it shows that he is not in you."
"The more a soul is pleasing to God, the more it must be tried."
"Temptation is like the soap. It seems to soil but in reality cleans."
"There is joy in the spiritual battles. Learn how to fight and you will be certain of victory."
"If God lets you fall is to make you humble and more careful in the future."
"The devil enters a soul only through one door: the will."
"We must prepare for temptation if we want to approach God."

Do you know someone who supports abortion? Have them read this..

More from Voice of the Family

Friday, 17 April 2015

Cardinal George Died

Yes, I knew it was down for awhile...but not why until now

see above for more details..
Could this be true? Several news websites are reporting that the official Vatican website,, was hacked and taken off-line Monday night by Turkish protesters who objected to Pope Francis’ use of the term “genocide” to refer to the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by Turkish forces in 1915.
  • Theodore Shoebat reported on his website that the hacking was done as an act of revenge against Pope Francis for his exposing of the Armenian Genocide.
  • The Stack repeats the story, adding the name of the hacker group:  @THTHerakles.  Reportedly, the London-based hackers will continue to target the website until an apology is issued by Vatican City.
  • And Breitbart reports that the Vatican website was actually hit twice in the span of 24 hours, following Pope Francis’ comments on Sunday describing the killings by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire as “the first genocide of the twentieth century.”

Sad Times for Catholics in the Army

Mr. Berry said he thinks the “hostile work environment” that is forcing the most religious persons out of the military is only getting worse, and that while in the past problems were mainly in the Air Force, religious liberty issues have spread throughout all the services.
“The problem is getting worse, not better, despite our efforts,” he said. “There is a culture [of] hostility [toward] religion in the military right now.”
While problems in the past have touched all religious groups, Travis Weber, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, said he’s seen a recent uptick and pattern of Christians facing persecution for religious expression.
two page article... read more on link above

In the chaplain example last month, Navy Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Wes Modder was removed from his position counseling sailors and could be kicked out of the military for expressing his views on marriage and homosexuality in private sessions. Mr. Berry is representing Lt. Cmdr. Modder, who is still on active duty in Charleston, South Carolina, as the case is reviewed at a higher level.
Mr. Berry said this case even could set a precedent usable outside the military by establishing, as a principle, that the government can punish religious leaders based on the state’s moral disapproval of the church’s teachings, especially in matters of sex.
“If what happened to Chaplain Modder is allowed to stand, it could foretell more instances in which the government tells priests, ministers, chaplains, etc. that their views are unacceptable,” he said.
Mr. Weber said these types of punishments affect both troops and chaplains, since chaplains will feel the need to constantly be looking over their shoulder to avoid punishment, and service members will wonder if chaplains are being honest or just saying what they can say without getting in trouble.
Pray for my friend, Father William Kneemiller, who is just off to the Middle East again for a year as a chaplain. God bless him and keep him safe.

Pope Francis on Mary, Our Mother

from another blog...a post of mine

The Fourth Principle of Providence

In view of Quietism, however, this last sentence obliges us to lay down a fourth principle no less certain than the principles that have preceded. The principle is, that obviously self-abandonment does not dispense us from doing everything in our power to fulfil God's will as made known in the commandments and counsels, and in the events of life; but so long as we have the sincere desire to carry out His will thus made known from day to day, we can and indeed we must abandon ourselves for the rest to the divine will of good pleasure, no matter how mysterious it may be, and thus avoid a useless disquiet and mere agitation. [55]
This fourth principle is expressed in equivalent terms by the Council of Trent (Sess. VI, cap. 13), when it declares that we must all have firm hope in God's assistance and put our trust in Him, being careful at the same time to keep His commandments. As the well-known proverb has it: "Do what you ought, come what may."

It is interesting that St. Padre Pio reminds us that agitation comes from satan, not God and is a sign that one is giving into temptation. Garrigou-Lagrange understands the same truth.

With the stress of our daily lives, it seems impossible to not fall into agitation (getting upset at the speed of the Net-a first world problem, for example).

Yes, one desires to live in the Will of God. Desire and pray for this daily, and God will guide you.

Words for the Church Militant

"Life is a continual struggle against oneself."
"Life is a struggle, which we cannot avoid.  We must triumph."

"Keep going forward. If you stop, the wind will blow you back."

"It is necessary to be strong, in order to become great: that is our duty."

St. Padre Pio

There is no "down time" in spiritual warfare, either within us or without.

On Living in Mortal Sin

Recently, on another blog, a question of a marriage between an unbaptize and baptized person arose. And, in another conversation, someone asked about living in the same house with a person in mortal sin.

Why would anyone choose to live in the same house or apartment with people or a person in mortal sin, or marry someone in mortal or Original Sin?

Joining one's body and soul in marriage makes a spiritual as well as a physical union. Living in the same house with someone in mortal sin, on purpose choosing to do this, (instead of realizing that people sin and need to go to confession), places oneself in spiritual warfare daily. These thoughts prompted me to realize that most Catholics may not understand the seriousness of spiritual warfare regarding those outside of sanctifying grace.

A parent who is paying for an adult child to be at home can and should insist that while that child is dependent, he or she must abide by religious rules in the house, such as going to confession, Mass, and Holy Communion. One cannot tolerate serious sin daily. When I lived in a lay community, all the people were in sanctifying grace, as these people had to turn away from sin before entering, something which occurred naturally. No one in sin would want to live the rigorous communal life we did.

To pretend there is no a difference in a house where people are practicing Catholics, praying and in sanctifying grace, and a house where this is not the case, simply defies reason. A priest cannot cleanse a house of an infestation as long as the people living there engage in a lifestyle of sin. He can do it once, but the demons will return, worse than before, as the people are living in sin.

Living in mortal sin, obviously, cannot be judged as the same as falling into mortal sin. Living in mortal sin, such as in an irregular marriage, or actively homosexual relationship, or involved in embezzlement or graft or practicing contraception or living in lies and manipulations which are abusive on a regular basis, opens the door for demonic influences beyond one's imagination.

I can walk into a house, as God a long time ago gave me discernment, as He does to all Catholics as part of the gift of knowledge in Confirmation, and tell whether someone is into witchcraft, illicit sex, or whether someone who has lived in a place has been a Mason or whatever. Infestations of demons have become more and more common in houses where mortal sin and even sins which are intrinsic evils have become more common. If an abortion has been done in a house, I can tell. Why would someone want to live in a place full of demons of abortion, murder, illicit sex and so on?

Why would people choose to live with a person or persons who are subjecting one to spiritual oppressions? Why would anyone not choose to live in a house of peace and grace? Why would someone choose companions whom one cannot trust as they have left the road of wisdom and grace?

Many saints write of the necessity for good, holy companions. In Preparation for Death, St. Alphonsus writes in chapters two and four on the evil of bad companions and the blessing of good ones. One must choose close friends who are holy, or at least, in sanctifying grace and working on holiness.

When I was in graduate school at Notre Dame in the early '80s, a friend of mine and I were discussing the really serious problems of one of her roommates who was promiscuous. Finally, as other young women did not want to put up with this, and spoke with her about the line of men she had invited in, the girl moved out. The house became peaceful and a place for study, whereas before there existed chaos, depression, and anxiety. The poor young woman had been encouraged to have sex with men by her own parents as a teen, and could not break the habit. As a non-practicing Catholic, she was not turning to grace for the help needed to break away from sin. She would not listen to those of us who tried to help her out of her desperate lifestyle. But, one cannot allow such lifestyles to take over a Catholic environment of prayer and peace, if someone is not willing to change. The other women had determined the household rules and she would not abide by these.

I myself asked the sister in charge of the women's dorms and townhouses to live with nuns while I was a grad student at ND, as I got tired of fornication and the resulting spiritual warfare. Thankfully, my request was granted.

There are, of course, other serious sins, such as maliciousness, which can infect a house. A woman I know had to divorce her husband many, many years ago as he insisted on dubious and criminal business deals. He was soaked in avarice, and left the Church. He refused to repent and the chaos in the house affected the children. She was fortunate to be able to move away with the children safely. However, the children were affected and several have fallen away. Such are the sins on the consciences of parents.

I think of St. Padre Pio refusing to hear the confession of one woman who walked into a room where there were many people waiting to go to him for the sacrament. As the woman, dressed very well, rather middle class, came in, the saint rushed in and said, and I paraphrase, "I shall not hear your confession until you really repent. Your son is in hell because of you."

As a parent, I remember these words. I do not want to be held accountable for any reason for the sins of my son. But, many parents will be held accountable, for laxity, or obvious sin, or sins against the children, such as incest which can lead a person to be an abuser themselves, (although, no one is doomed to sin, of course), and so on.

Living in sin creates a place for demons to reside, and demons like to attach themselves to places, as well as to people. 

To pretend mortal sin does not open one up to more evil is to ignore Church teaching and common sense.

Perhaps a review of mortal sin is needed here. From the CCC:

1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

One of the common statements on this blog is that there is not middle ground in the spiritual life-one is either for God or against Him. One's house either becomes a sanctuary or a war-zone of spiritual warfare.

These situations I am describing are not the same as a man or woman converting or reverting after a marriage outside the Church which must be regularized. If it can be, then the Catholic has a commitment to the spouse to bring that person into grace.

If the spouse refuses to regularize the marriage, one must make a choice with guidance from a holy priest. The Catholic spouse in a regular, legal and sacramental marriage can lead the other one to God, of course, The main reason for marriage is to lead each other to heaven.

I know many spouses who have converted their husbands or wives, praise God. But, I know many more where the unbelieving spouse has not converted. It will be through the merits and love of the practicing Catholic if that person is saved. One can turn to St. Paul for understanding on this point.

1 Corinthians 7 

Directions concerning Marriage

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is well for a man not to touch a woman.” But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. This I say by way of concession, not of command. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind.
To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.
10 To the married I give this command—not I but the Lord—that the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say—I and not the Lord—that if any believer[a] has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.13 And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you.[b] 16 Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife.

more on this purgatorial souls sometimes have to work out purgatory in the places where they sinned. BTW, a certain Father Rosica does not like the label, "living in sin"...well, Christ told sinners to sin no more...which is a call not to live in sin. 

Very Important Post on Who Can Make a Spiritual Communion

Read this please...most important post of the day!

 Therefore a person who is divorced and “remarried” is not able to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, or able to make a spiritual communion, until they repent of their sin.

More here...

For those who are in sanctifying grace, here is the prayer...

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.  I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.  Never permit me to be separated from You.


Cashless Society?

Other commentators have been speaking about this in the past month.

A Reminder of Providence

Mendicant is a polite word for beggar. Today, the Church celebrates the life and death of a beggar and homeless man, St. Benedict Labre. He is one of my personal patrons.

I would rather be in Rome, however, God places us where He wants us to be.

I identify with this man who could not make the physical grade to be a monk. I wish I could visit all the wonderful pilgrimage places he did in his very short life.

As the patron of the homeless, St. Benedict Labre, like other fools for Christ, wandered through Europe praying and helping others. Sadly, today, God's fools are not admire anymore and even, in some states here, made into criminals.

St. Benedict Labre may be seen as a "man of Providence".

As we head into chaos and persecution in the Church, it behooves us to recall the definitions of Providence. Garrigou-Lagrange in his book by this name, already reviewed on this blog quite a while ago, reminds us of three points regarding Providence.

My comments in blue...

Why we should abandon ourselves to divine providence

The answer of every Christian will be that the reason lies in the wisdom and goodness of Providence. This is very true; nevertheless, if we are to have a proper understanding of the subject, if we are to avoid the error of the Quietists in renouncing more or less the virtue of hope and the struggle necessary for salvation, if we are to avoid also the other extreme of disquiet, precipitation, and a feverish, fruitless agitation, it is expedient for us to lay down four principles already somewhat accessible to natural reason and clearly set forth in revelation as found in Scripture. These principles underlying the true doctrine of self-abandonment, also bring out the motive inspiring it.

 See my posts on Quietism...but remember that these people just give up and neither hope nor work for their salvation "in fear and trembling". 

One can also become fixated on a particular sin or vice an forget that go is in charge of giving us the grace to combat sin.

The first of these principles is that everything which comes to pass has been foreseen by God from all eternity, and has been willed or at least permitted by Him.
Nothing comes to pass either in the material or in the spiritual world, but God has foreseen it from all eternity; because with Him there ii no passing from ignorance to knowledge as with us, and He has nothing to learn from events as they occur. Not only has God foreseen everything that is happening now or will happen in the future, but whatever reality and goodness there is in these things He has willed; and whatever evil or moral disorder is in them, He has merely permitted. Holy Scripture is explicit on this point, and, as the councils have declared, no room is left for doubt in the matter.

Most people understand this first principle, that God has known from all eternity all that happens. 

He wills good and permits evil, as all humans have free will, and for His Glory.

The second principle is that nothing can be willed or permitted by God that does not contribute to the end He purposed in creating, which is the manifestation of His goodness and infinite perfections, and the glory of the God-man Jesus Christ, His only Son. As St. Paul says (I Cor. 2: 23), "All are yours. And you are Christ's. And Christ is God's."

This glory and the revelation of God's goodness and all His attributes, are the goal of the will of God, either perfect or permissive.

In addition to these two principles, there is a third, which St. Paul states thus (Rom. 8:28) : "We know that to them that love God all things work together unto good: to such as, according to His purpose, are called to be saints" and persevere in His love. God sees to it that everything contributes to their spiritual welfare, not only the grace He bestows on them, not only those natural qualities He endows them with, but sickness too, and contradictions and reverses; as St. Augustine tells us, even their very sins, which God only permits in order to lead them on to a truer humility and thereby to a purer love. It was thus He permitted the threefold denial of St. Peter, to make the great Apostle more humble, more mistrustful of self, and by this very means become stronger and trust more in the divine mercy.

A reader noted that the posts on hell were particularly good on the day I had the flu. Being ill reminds me of my mortality and causes me to consider my end. Hence, the posts on hell. Also, when one is not feeling well, one is more aware of the passing of time, than when one is busy. Time sits heavy on the sick, and leads, or should lead, to reflection. God allows illness to help each one of us move in some way towards perfection.

One's personal salvation may be seen as tied up, intricately, with whatever happens in one's life, for good or for evil. The evil a person chooses, the good God directs.

These first three principles may therefore be summed up in this way: Nothing comes to pass but God has foreseen it, willed it or at least permitted it. He wills nothing, permits nothing, unless for the manifestation of His goodness and infinite perfections, for the glory of His Son, and the welfare of those that love Him. In view of these three principles, it is evident that our trust in Providence cannot be too childlike, too steadfast. Indeed, we may go further and say that this trust in Providence should be blind as is our faith, the object of which is those mysteries that are non-evident and unseen (fides est de non visis) for we are certain beforehand that Providence is directing all things infallibly to a good purpose, and we are more convinced of the rectitude of His designs than we are of the best of our own intentions. Therefore, in abandoning ourselves to God, all we have to fear is that our submission will not be wholehearted enough. [54]

When I complained to STS that I had to move again and was tired of this lifestyle, he noted that God was giving me lots of practice in trusting Divine Providence. As a person who has been too much in control, in the past, of my own life, to give all to God has been a challenge. Being pushed to rely on God for everything means that I am developing this childlike trust, and that His intentions are superior to mine, of course. This does not mean that one stops acting, of course not. In fact, a priest told me recently that I must make my needs known. Because sharing these creates negative responses in people most of the time, I pull back and hesitate. But, I must be obedient to the state in which God has designed to put me-that of a beggar, like St. Benedict Labre, whose feast is today.

One cannot trust in Divine Providence too much. And in times of stress, chaos, and persecution, when human aid disappears, trust in Divine Providence alone becomes essential for the Catholic.

Trusting in Divine Providence absolutely means "blind trust". One knows nothing of the whats, whens, wheres, hows, whys....

But, God has a design and a plan, which will come to completion in His time, not ours.

to be continued...the next post on this theme will be on the fourth principle concerning Providence.

Baptismal Graces

The graces given to us at baptism give Catholics tremendous power to deal with spiritual problems.

As the CCC notes, baptism is the gateway to the other sacraments and gives enlightenment to the soul, as well as freeing the soul from Original Sin.

That first grace, of the forgiveness of all sins and Original Sin, opens the soul to receive the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity which are "infused in the soul", sanctifying grace and the moral virtues, which develop with grace, practice and education.

Baptism informs all these virtues because the person is renewed in sanctifying grace. Grace purifies the natural virtues. Without grace, these virtues either remain stilted or disappear because of the practice of habitual vice. Sin blocks virtue. Sin is an abuse of free will.

Without baptism, the natural virtues, or the cardinal virtues, cannot be "supernatualized".
Confirmation literally "confirms" the graces of baptism.  We get an indelible mark in baptism, and, as noted in the Council of Trent an indelible mark, which enables the person to publicly live his faith.

The other graces we receive in baptism, confirmed in confirmation, involve a power over the spirits of darkness. Those who are in sanctifying grace have the ability to free themselves from most obsessions and oppressions. Even family vices can be dealt with by the person who is living out his baptismal graces.

Humility, or docility to God's Will allows a person to grow quickly in the graces of baptism. But, as the Church is not a democracy and God gives graces according to His Divine Providence, there is a difference in the accidental graces of baptism.

Here is Thomas Aquinas on the subject:

The effect of Baptism is twofold, the essential effect, and the accidental. The essential effect of Baptism is that for which Baptism was instituted, namely, the begetting of men unto spiritual life. Therefore, since all children are equally disposed to Baptism, because they are baptized not in their own faith, but in that of the Church, they all receive an equal effect in Baptism. Whereas adults, who approach Baptism in their own faith, are not equally disposed to Baptism; for some approach thereto with greater, some with less, devotion. And therefore some receive a greater, some a smaller share of the grace of newness; just as from the same fire, he receives more heat who approaches nearest to it, although the fire, as far as it is concerned, sends forth its heat equally to all.
But the accidental effect of Baptism, is that to which Baptism is not ordained, but which the Divine power produces miraculously in Baptism: thus on Romans 6:6, "that we may serve sin no longer," a gloss says: "this is not bestowed in Baptism, save by an ineffable miracle of the Creator, so that the law of sin, which is in our members, be absolutely destroyed." And such like effects are not equally received by all the baptized, even if they approach with equal devotion: but they are bestowed according to the ordering of Divine providence. (I left the links on).

Therefore, saints are not "equal".  Each person is called to holiness according to God's Plan.

St. Catherine of Siena is not the same type of saint as St. Faustina. St. Bernard of Clairvaux cannot be compared to St. Benedict Labre, whose feast day is today, and so on.

The grace of martyrdom is different than the grace of being an abbot, or bishop, or pope. These are not merely "jobs" but vocations accompanied by certain graces.

Those who are not baptized do not have these many graces. Of course, God can give His graces to whom He desires, but baptism is the normal way for a person to be saved and given the means of salvation.

Trent clarifies the role of the sacraments. A few statements...

CANON IV.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.

CANON VI.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law do not contain the grace which they signify; or, that they do not confer that grace on those who do not place an obstacle thereunto; as though they were merely outward signs of grace or justice received through faith, and certain marks of the Christian profession, whereby believers are distinguished amongst men from unbelievers; let him be anathema.

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that, in the three sacraments, Baptism, to wit, Confirmation, and Order, there is not imprinted in the soul a character, that is, a certain spiritual and indelible Sign, on account of which they cannot be repeated; let him be anathema.

CANON V.-If any one saith, that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation; let him be anathema.
CANON VI.-If any one saith, that one who has been baptized cannot, even if he would, lose grace, let him sin ever so much, unless he will not believe; let him be anathema.

CANON VII.-If any one saith, that the baptized are, by baptism itself, made debtors but to faith alone, and not to the observance of the whole law of Christ; let him be anathema.

CANON XIII.-If any one saith, that little children, for that they have not actual faith, are not, after having received baptism, to be reckoned amongst the faithful; and that, for this cause, they are to be rebaptized when they have attained to years of discretion; or, that it is better that the baptism of such be omitted, than that, while not believing by their own act, they should be baptized in the faith alone of the Church; let him be anathema.

to be continued...