Ad Te Levávi Ánimam Meam

To Thee have I lifted up my soul (Introit – 1st Sunday of Advent)

Archive for January, 2008

The Dreams Of Don Bosco

Posted by james0235 on January 31, 2008

St. John Bosco, also know as Don (Father) Bosco, was an Italian Roman Catholic priest. He founded the Salesians, the 2nd largest religious order in the world, with a mission to be “a friend to kids who were poor, kids abandoned, kids at risk – and, in so doing, to be a friend to Christ.” He was given the title “Father and Teacher of Youth” by Pope John Paul II on the 100th anniversary of his death.

Don Bosco had many, often prophetic, dreams in his life. The dream that is probably the most well known (as well as being my personal favorite) is below:

bosco.jpg

Imagine yourself to be with me on the seashore, or better, on an isolated rock and not to see any patch of land other than that under your feet. On the whole of that vast sheet of water you see an innumerable fleet of ships in battle array. The prows of the ships are formed into sharp, spear-like points so that wherever they are thrust they pierce and completely destroy. These ships are armed with cannons, with lots of rifles, with incendiary materials, with other firearms of all kinds, and also with books, and advance against a ship very much bigger and higher than themselves and try to dash against it with the prows or burn it or in some way to do it every possible harm.

As escorts to that majestic fully equipped ship, there are many smaller ships, which receive commands by signal from it and carry out movements to defend themselves from the opposing fleet. In the midst of the immense expanse of sea, two mighty columns of great height arise a little distance the one from the other. On the top of one, there is the statue of the Immaculate Virgin, from whose feet hangs a large placard with this inscription: Auxilium Christianorum – “Help of Christians”; on the other, which is much higher and bigger, stands a Host of great size proportionate to the column and beneath is another placard with the words: Salus Credentium – “Salvation of the Faithful” (Believers).

The supreme commander of the big ship is the Sovereign Pontiff. He, seeing the fury of the enemies and the evils among which his faithful find themselves, determines to summon around himself the captains of the smaller ships to hold a council and decide what is to be done.

All the captains come aboard and gather around the Pope. They hold a meeting, but meantime the wind and the waves gather in storm, so they are sent back to control their own ships. There comes a short lull; for a second time the Pope gathers the captains around him, while the flag-ship goes on its course. But the frightful storm returns. The Pope stands at the helm and all his energies are directed to steering the ship towards those two columns from whose summits hang many anchors and strong hooks linked to chains.

All the enemy ships move to attack it, and they try in every way to stop it and to sink it: some with books and writings or inflammable materials, of which they are full; others with firearms, with rifles and with rams. The battle rages ever more relentlessly. The enemy prows thrust violently, but their efforts and impact prove useless. They make attempts in vain and waste all their labor and ammunition; the big ship goes safely and smoothly on its way. Sometimes it happens that, struck by formidable blows, it gets large, deep gaps in its sides; but no sooner is the harm done that a gentle breeze blows from the two columns and the cracks close up and the gaps are stopped immediately.

Meanwhile, the guns of the assailants are blown up, the rifles and other arms and prows are broken; many ships are shattered and sink into the sea. Then, the frenzied enemies strive to fight hand to hand, with fists, with blows, with blasphemy and with curses.

Suddenly the Pope falls gravely wounded. Immediately, those who are with him run to help him and they lift him up. A second time the Pope is struck, he falls again and dies. A shout of victory and joy rings out amongst the enemies; from their ships an unspeakable mockery arises.

But hardly is the Pontiff dead than another takes his place. The pilots, having met together, have elected the Pope so promptly that the news of the death of the Pope coincides with the news of the election of the successor. The adversaries begin to lose courage.

The new Pope, putting the enemy to rout and overcoming every obstacle, guides the ship right up to the two columns and comes to rest between them; he makes it fast with a light chain that hangs from the bow to an anchor of the column on which stands the Host; and with another light chain which hangs from the stern, he fastens it at the opposite end to another anchor hanging from the column on which stands the Immaculate Virgin.

At this point, a great convulsion takes place. All the ships that until then had fought against the Pope’s ship are scattered; they flee away, collide and break to pieces one against another. Some sink and try to sink others. Several small ships that had fought gallantly for the Pope race to be the first to bind themselves to those two columns. Many other ships, having retreated through fear of the battle, cautiously watch from far away; the wrecks of the broken ships having been scattered in the whirlpools of the sea, they in their turn sail in good earnest to those two columns, and having reached them, they make themselves fast to the hooks hanging down from them and their they remain safe, together with the principal ship, on which is the Pope. Over the sea there reigns a great calm.

Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco

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St. Thomas Aquinas

Posted by james0235 on January 28, 2008

Today is the Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (and in the Dominican Rite) he is honored on March 7th, the date of his entry into eternal life. As I have a particular devotion to Thomas Aquinas (I took Thomas as my Confirmation name in honor of him) I will be celebrating his feast both today and on March 7th.

aquinas.jpg

God our Father,
you made Thomas Aquinas known for his holiness and learning. Help us to grow in wisdom by his teaching, and in holiness by imitating his faith. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Opening Prayer
1970 (2002) Roman Missal

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Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity

Posted by james0235 on January 25, 2008

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-6 RSVCE)

I opened the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with a prayer taken from the Good Friday General Intercessions of the Ordinary From of the Roman Rite. I think it is fitting to close the week with the version of this prayer used in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. This one is a bit less “politically correct”.

For Church Unity

LET US PRAY also for heretics and schismatics: that our Lord God would rescue them from all their errors, and recall them to their holy Mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Let us pray.
Let us kneel down.
Arise.

Almighty and everlasting God, Who savest all and wouldst that none should perish: turn Thy gaze to souls deceived and led astray by the devil; may they cast off the evil of their heresy and in true repentance of their errors return to the unity of Thy truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

Amen.

Great Intercessions, Good Friday, 1962 Roman Missal (Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite)

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Everything

Posted by james0235 on January 22, 2008

Multi-tiered movie theaters and box office ads weren’t needed to promote and draw more than 6 million views of a five-minute skit on GodTube and YouTube. It’s the second-most viewed video on GodTube, having nearly seven times more looks than its third-place competitor. (Source)


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Prayer For Priests

Posted by james0235 on January 21, 2008

Keep them; I pray Thee, dearest Lord.
Keep them, for they are Thine
The priests whose lives burn out before
Thy consecrated shrine.

Keep them, for they are in the world,
Though from the world apart.
When earthly pleasures tempt, allure –
Shelter them in Thy heart.

Keep them and comfort them in hours
Of loneliness and pain,
When all their life of sacrifice
For souls seems but in vain.

Keep them and remember, Lord,
they have no one but Thee.
Yet, they have only human hearts,
With human frailty.

Keep them as spotless as the Host,
That daily they caress;
Their every thought and word and deed,
Deign, dearest Lord, to bless.

John Joseph Cardinal Carberry (+1998 )
Archbishop of St. Louis (1968-1979)
Bishop of Columbus (1965-1968 )
Bishop of Lafayette-in-Indiana (1957-1965)



More Prayers for Priests
Prayer for Priests (Byzantine Book of Prayer)
Novena Prayer for Priests

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Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity

Posted by james0235 on January 18, 2008

I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

(John 17:20-21 RSVCE)


christianunity.jpg


This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It begins each year on January 18th which was, at the time, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. The Feast itself has since been moved to February 22nd.

The fact that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began on what was a celebration of the authority of St. Peter and of the Papacy is significant. The founders of the Week of Prayer, the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement and the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, entered full communion with the Roman Catholic Church one year later, in 1909.

For the Unity of Christians

Let us pray
for all our brother and sisters
who share our faith in Jesus Christ,
that God may gather and keep together in one Church
all those who seek the truth with sincerity.

Almighty and eternal God,
you keep together all those who you have united.
Look kindly on all who follow Jesus your Son.
We are all consecrated to you by our common baptism.
Make us one in the fullness of faith,
and keep us one in the fellowship of love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

General Intercessions, Good Friday, 1970 Roman Missal (Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite)

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Novena of Reparation for Roe vs. Wade, January 14-22

Posted by james0235 on January 14, 2008

From Priests for Life:

The Catholic bishops of the United States have designated January 22 as a special day of prayer and penance in reparation for the massive killing that has resulted from the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision (handed down January 22, 1973) which permitted abortion throughout pregnancy.

Therefore, we at Priests for Life invite you to prepare spiritually for that day by joining a Novena that starts on Monday, January 14 and concludes on the 22nd. We invite you to say the prayer below each of those days, and to let us know through this form that you have committed to say it.

 

Prayer of Reparation

God and Father of Life,
You have created every human person,
And have opened the way for each to have eternal life.

We live in the shadow of death.
Tens of millions of your children have been killed
Thanks to the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Father, have mercy on us.
Heal our land
And accept our offering of prayer and penance.
In your love for us,
Turn back the scourge of abortion.

May each of us exult in hearts full of hope
And hands full of mercy
And work together to build a culture of life.

We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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The Baptism Of The Lord

Posted by james0235 on January 13, 2008

Why was the Lord baptized? John’s baptism was “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3) so it could not actually forgive sins. And even if it could forgive sins, Jesus was the lamb of God who takes away sins (John 1:29). He had no need of forgiveness. So, why was Jesus baptized?

The Lord Himself gives us the answer to that question: “to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15).

Righteousness is doing the will of God. Jesus is fulfilling all righteousness by obedience to His role in God’s plan of salvation.

In the Old Covenant is was necessary for the High Priest to wash himself with water:

For ablutions you shall make a bronze laver with a bronze base. Place it between the meeting tent and the altar, and put water in it. Aaron and his sons shall use it in washing their hands and feet. When they are about to enter the meeting tent, they must wash with water, lest they die. Likewise when they approach the altar in their ministry, to offer an oblation to the LORD, they must wash their hands and feet, lest they die. (Exodus 30:18-21)

And likewise in the Old Covenant it was necessary that the High Priest be anointed:

With this sacred anointing oil you shall anoint the meeting tent and the ark of the commandments, the table and all its appurtenances, the lampstand and its appurtenances, the altar of incense and the altar of holocausts with all its appurtenances, and the laver with its base. When you have consecrated them, they shall be most sacred; whatever touches them shall be sacred. Aaron and his sons you shall also anoint and consecrate as my priests. (Exodus 30:26-30)

I believe that these passages from Exodus concerning the High Priest of the Old Covenant help to explain why Jesus was baptized in order to fulfill all righteousness.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him. After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)

Jesus, the eternal High Priest (Hebrews 6:20) of the New Covenant (Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25), is washed with water and anointed with the Holy Spirit at His Baptism thus becoming the Messiah – the Christ – The Anointed One. In doing so he fulfills all righteousness by doing the Holy will of His Father.

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The Feast Of The Holy Family

Posted by james0235 on January 13, 2008

holyfamily.jpg

 

In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite today is the Feast of the Holy Family. This Feast was celebrated 2 weeks ago in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite where the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is what is celebrated today.

Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. the Church is nothing other than “the family of God.” (CCC 1655)

The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. (CCC 2205)

The picture comes from Zach of The Road To Reform.

 

Father, help us to live as the Holy Family, united in respect and love. Teach us the sanctity of human love, show us the value of family life, and help us to live in peace. We are united with Jesus, Mary and Joseph because in Your great love for us you sent Your son to live in this world and to share our human experience. Help us to love each other as You love us, and to be more aware of those families in the world who struggle with poverty, war and disease. Bring us all to the joy and peace of Your eternal home. Amen.

Taken from the Dec. 23, 2007 Bulletin of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Columbus, Ohio.

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The Catholic Church And The Death Penalty

Posted by james0235 on January 11, 2008

It has become almost popular lately for some people, usually faithful Catholics, to declare that the Catholic Church is “against the death penalty”. These people treat the death penalty almost as if it were intrinsically evil. And this is just not the case.

It is perfectly acceptable for a Catholic to be a supporter of the death penalty just as it is perfectly acceptable for a Catholic to be against it. However, even if one is against the death penalty it is not permissible to say that the death penalty itself is evil. The way that it is applied by a given government or in a given case may be evil. But, the death penalty itself is not intrinsically evil.

“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

(Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 2004 A.D., letter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, #3 )

The Church has a long history of approving of the death penalty. Most people probably don’t realize that it was legal (but never invoked) in the Vatican City State until it was abolished in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. And, here are just a few quotes from Popes and Saints on the matter:

“The same divine law which forbids the killing of a human being allows certain exceptions, as when God authorizes killing by a general law or when He gives an explicit commission to an individual for a limited time. Since the agent of authority is but a sword in the hand, and is not responsible for the killing, it is in no way contrary to the commandment, Thou shalt not kill” to wage war at God’s bidding, or for the representatives of the State’s authority to put criminals to death, according to law or the rule of rational justice.”

(St. Augustine, City of God, Book 1, Chapter 21)


“The fate of the wicked being open to conversion so long as they live does not preclude their being open also to the just punishment of death. Indeed the danger threatening the community from their life is greater and more certain than the good expected by their conversion. Besides, in the hour of death, they have every facility for turning to God by repentance. And if they are so obstinate that even in the hour of death their heart will not go back upon its wickedness, a fairly probable reckoning may be made that they never would have returned to a better mind.”

(St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles , Book III, 147)


“They deserve not only to be severed from the Church by excommunication, but also severed from the world through death

(St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica , Pt. II-II, Q. 11, Art. 3).


“Concerning secular power we declare that without mortal sin it is possible to exercise a judgment of blood as long as one proceeds to bring punishment not in hatred but in judgment, not incautiously but advisedly”

(Pope Innocent III, 1210 A.D.)


“Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The just use of this power, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this Commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the Commandment is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence. Hence these words of David: In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land, that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.”

(Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part III , ordered by the Fathers of the Council of Trent under the authority of Pope Pius IV and published in 1566 by St Charles Boromeo under the authority of Pope St. Pius V)


“It is lawful to kill when fighting in a just war; when carrying out by order of the Supreme Authority a sentence of death in punishment of a crime; and, finally, in cases of necessary and lawful defense of one’s own life against an unjust aggressor.”

(Catechism of Pope St. Pius X , 1905 A.D.)


“When it is a question of the execution of a man condemned to death it is then reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned of the benefit of life, in expiation of his fault, when already, by his fault, he has dispossessed himself of the right to live.”

(Pope Pius XII, Papal Address to the First International Congress on the Histopathology of the Nervous System, #33 , Sept 14, 1952)

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