Monday, June 30, 2014

Marriage: Where Do We Go From Here?

by Father John McCloskey

With D.C.'s March for Marriage drawing near, this is a good moment to take a look at how we Catholics—laypeople, priests, and bishops—can better prepare couples for this holy Sacrament, which was blessed in a special way by the first miracle of Our Lord at Cana at His Mother's request. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is quite clear that "the matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble. God himself has determined it "What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder" (no. 1614). Of course, this teaching cannot be changed. It is divine revelation expressed in the words of Jesus Himself and is the infallible teaching of the Church. So where to go from here?

The answer is simple, but challenging, both to the hierarchy and the Church faithful. However, if the first Christians could do it over the course of the decline of the Evil Empire, so can we with the help of the Holy Spirit; so can we, and even quicker with the help of prayer and sacrifice, and the generosity of married couples and their plenteous offspring.

With fertility rates in much of the so-called developed world sinking below replacement level, and showing precipitous declines even in most of the developing world, it is clear that world population is positioned to fall, perhaps by the end of this century. This decline of course tracks with the introduction of artificial contraception and the heinous crime of legalized abortion. The growing number of jurisdictions (with Quebec the most recent) that have legalized euthanasia have not yet added multitudes to the death toll. But as nations face the economic consequences of the inverted human pyramid that their contraceptive practices produce—with fewer productive workers left to provide for an elderly population that outnumbers them—we can expect national health policies more and more to encourage such killings, willing or not.

Over time, not only the meek, but the fertile and procreative, will inherit the Earth, unless the Lord in His infinite wisdom pulls the plug on his recalcitrant children and proceeds to the General Judgment. (Could you blame Him if He chose to do so?) In the meantime, what should we do as members of his Mystical Body to stop the carnage of abortion and contraception and repopulate the Earth? A few suggestions for our married couples, their families, and the priests and bishops that have both the duty and the joy of watching over the flock entrusted to them by Holy Church.

1) All Catholic education should have as its main focus from the earliest ages the Church as the Family of God, with the understanding that most of the Church's members will be called to marriage as their path to holiness. In the case of married couples, holiness is pursued through loving generosity which is a response to God's own generous love of us. In large part Catholic couples will express this generosity through openness to bringing new children into the world to give Him glory.

2) Diocesan preparation for marriage should start much earlier, perhaps as early as elementary school or high school. Truly Catholic Colleges and universities (and there are more and more of them) should continue the job of transmitting an orthodox and attractive understanding of marriage and family life according to the teachings of St. John Paul II and his revolutionary Theology of the Body, with its insights into holiness, intimacy, and openness to life.

3) The best teachers for couples preparing for marriage are naturally (though not exclusively) those who are married with children and faithful to the teachings of the Church. They are the ideal candidates to lead pre-Cana classes in dioceses and parishes and to enthusiastically convey to the next generation of Catholic spouses joyful and faithful obedience to the faith.

4) The Church should also make the effort to celebrate in the media actors, athletes, well-known celebrities, and those in political life who clearly put their marriage and family first.

5) Each diocese should offer phone hotlines or Internet sites available for married couples and those preparing for marriage to answer questions dealing with marriage and fertility and also to recommend Catholic medical doctors in the diocese or elsewhere. All men preparing for the priesthood (along with men in religious life) should also be suitably prepared to answer such questions and to know where to go to recommend faithful doctors and marriage counselors. After all, where do they think the vocations of the future will come from if not from generous and joyous Catholic couples?

Let us go and multiply without fear and with joy! It is our world to conquer for Christ and His Church, whatever the cost!

First published on June 17, 2014 on


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, June 29, 2014 with Reflection

Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles

1ST READING - Acts 12:1-11
In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also. It was the feast of Unleavened Bread. He had him taken into custody and put in prison under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. He intended to bring him before the people after Passover. Peter thus was being kept in prison, but prayer by the church was fervently being made to God on his behalf. On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison. Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, “Get up quickly.” The chains fell from his wrists. The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.” He did so. Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.” So he followed him out, not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first guard, then the second, and came to the iron gate leading out to the city, which opened for them by itself. They emerged and made their way down an alley, and suddenly the angel left him.
P S A L M - Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R: The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
1 [2] I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. 2 [3] Let my soul glory in the Lord; the lowly will hear me and be glad. (R) 3 [4] Glorify the Lord with me, let us together extol his name. 4 [5] I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. (R) 5 [6] Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame. 6 [7] When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him. (R) 7 [8] The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 [9] Taste and see how good the Lord is; blessed the man who takes refuge in him. (R)
2ND READING - 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18
I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance. 17 The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 16: 13-19
13 When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. 18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”


Today, the Church celebrates two of Her well-known Apostles, Peter and Paul. Both had their own ways of proclaiming the Gospel: Paul to the Gentiles and Peter to the Jews. But now in heaven they are united in interceding for us to carry on the Gospel that they once proclaimed. One can visit the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls and be welcomed by the imposing statue of the Apostle to the Gentiles. One can visit the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican City and be mesmerized by its awesome structure leading us to the heavens. Paul is symbolized holding the Gospel, Peter the keys.

       Today’s Gospel reminds us of the mission entrusted to Peter through his faith in Jesus. Peter, influenced by the Holy Spirit, recognizes Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He holds the keys to open or shut the door to the Kingdom. A key is very important to access a room or some place. Peter has been entrusted this authority to bind and loose on earth the matters that determine our faith. Paul has left us a legacy of wealth in his writings to the early faith communities. He teaches us to live the Gospel.

       We notice that the question posed by Jesus to Peter is the same one that He asks of us. Peter is inspired by the Holy Spirit. What is our response? Blessed John Paul II once said that Christ is the answer. But what is the question? You will notice that Christ is the answer to any questions that we will ask. He is the Redeemer, Savior, Healer, Lord, the Son of the Living God. I believe that the answer we give to the question, “Who am I?” will change according to our need in any given circumstance. At times, He will be Healer, at other times our Reconciliation; at times, He will be Friend, and other times He will be Savior. At all times, the Holy Spirit will inspire us to give an expression of our faith to Him who is the Christ. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
REFLECTION QUESTION: Who is Jesus for you at this time of your life?
God of my faith, I acknowledge You and believe that You are the One who saves me. You forgive me and walk with me in my journey of faith. Amen.

Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, pray for us.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

From St. Francis de Sales — Never before in English

From St. Francis de Sales

Never Before
Published in English!

This short, practical guide will develop
in you the soul-nourishing habits that lead to sanctity.

As he did for saints and sinners in his own time, St. Francis de Sales will stiffen your resolve and help you gain small victories over unruly passions, and restore in you a trusting confidence in Jesus Christ.

Soon you'll find yourself delivered from the chains of self-love as your soul opens to divine goodness and your heart is shaped into a fitting place for Christ to dwell and reign eternally.

If you find it difficult to live amid the clamor of the world with your eyes fixed on Christ alone, let St. Francis de Sales teach you how to live as a true rose among thorns as you learn . . .
  • What to do when you stop finding consolation during prayer
  • How to place yourself in the presence of God
  • How busy people should pray
  • Do you fear vice more than you love virtue?  A guide to discernment
  • How to be patient with your family
  • The dangers of too many devotions
  • How to know when your feelings are from God or the devil
  • What to do about repeated spiritual dryness
  • The three things you must do to be at peace
  • How to avoid thoughts that give us anxious and restless minds.

Absorb the wisdom in these holy pages, and you'll soon make true progress on your spiritual journey and navigate with confidence the treacherous waters of our secular world.


Roses Among Thorns
by St. Francis de Sales
128 pages — List price: $11.95

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From the young St. Francis de Sales's heroic efforts to bring Calvinists back to the Faith comes this succinct, eloquent defense of the age-old practice of making the Sign of the Cross, which sixteenth-century Calvinists denounced as a Popish invention and many Protestants scorn even today.

Embodying the zeal of youth and the wisdom of age, this gentle jewel of Catholic apologetics traces the origins of the Sign of the Cross back to the Fathers of the Church, to the Apostles before them, and finally to our Lord Himself.

Along with St. Francis's other lucid explanations of our Catholic Faith and his undaunted love even for those who hated him, this modest book helped restore to their native Catholic faith tens of thousands of heretics who not long before were intent on killing him.As they did for the Calvinists in St. Francis’s day, so in our day these pages will bring you a better understanding and a renewed love the Sign of the Cross, that brief and lively exterior prayer by which, from time immemorial, God has been invoked by serious Christians before all of their endeavors.
Among the other things you’ll learn here:
  • Why now is always the right time to make the Sign of the Cross
  • Why God chooses to attach power to the Sign of the Cross
  • Why it is made on the forehead
  • How to convince skeptics to value and pray with it
  • Two uses of the Sign of the Cross: do you know both of them?
  • How the Sign of the Cross is the antidote to the Mark of the Devil
  • Errors in the claims of those who oppose this practice
  • The theological significance of the motions, vertical and horizontal
  • Two reasons it has particular power against the Enemy
  • Why you should make the Sign of the Cross publicly and often
Outside the Creed itself, there are few topics to which the Fathers testify as universally and unanimously as the pious practice of making, frequently and well, the Sign of the Cross. With the help of these holy pages, the saints’ love for it will enkindle yours. Soon you’ll be saying with St. Jerome, “With every work, with all of my comings and goings, may my hand make the Sign of the Cross!”
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to Receive Christ With Love

John A. Kane 

In Holy Communion, we touch and taste our Lord and our God. A very significant sentence of St. Augustine, in which he records Christ’s words to him, defines the chief effect of eating the Bread of Angels: “Thou shalt not change me into thine own substance, as thou changest the food of thy flesh, but thou shalt be changed into mine.” There is not, and there never can be, a closer union. The reality of Christ’s Presence is a fact founded on His infallible word and almighty power. But bewildering is our perplexity when we try to ascertain the mode of His eucharistic indwelling. The nearer He approaches to us, the more incomprehensible He becomes; the greater our effort to understand, the more profound our obscurity. When our minds strive to progress beyond the limits marked by faith, they are baffled and confounded. The divine brilliance of light surrounding our guest impairs the soul’s vision.

As their Creator, God abides in creatures. Man cannot be independent of God. For the creature to attain both his natural and supernatural ends, the Creator must dwell in him. Even irrational creatures fall under this essential law of cre­ation. God is everywhere: by His being or essence, because He is the cause of all being, all existence; and by His knowledge, because “all things are naked and open to His eyes”; by His power, because all things are subject to Him. “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.”

But the Incarnation inaugurates an entirely new mode of the Divine Presence. Through this mystery, man becomes one body with Christ in the embrace of a common nature. Holy Scripture beautifully unfolds the eternal import of this prodigy of divine love: “God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him may not per­ish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him.” “This is eternal life: that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”

In this wholly new manner of the Divine Presence, how low Christ descends to exalt the creature! St. Paul’s words to the Philippians on this subject are sublime in their simplicity: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the Cross.”

As an earthly king, realizing that he is God’s representative, and having at heart therefore the dearest interests of all — but especially of the poorest of subjects — as such a one conceals his royal raiment beneath attire as shabby as theirs, in order to be more accessible as he distributes his gifts to them, so the King of kings wraps in fallen nature the eternal glory of His di­vinity, to raise man in new bonds of love to a higher life, to give him the gift greater than which God Himself cannot give.

So, too, the words of Christ: “If anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him” put the soul into a relationship with God far closer than that by which the Cre­ator is everywhere in His creation. God dwells in man in a spe­cial way, it is true, because man, being rational, is the only creature who can know and love the Creator. But the Divine Presence connoted by the Incarnation differs essentially from its consequences. In this instance, Christ is the almsgiver of Heaven’s largess, revealing Himself under conditions entirely new, and in a manner that, until the fullness of time had come, could not be realized.

By this mystery, man’s sin was forgiven, the supernatural life of his soul restored, and his nature justified and elevated to the most loving companionship with God. The creature was endowed with the capacity for growth into the likeness of his Savior so that, by the acquisition of His virtues, the mind that is in Christ should also be the mind that is in him.

But even beyond the restoration of man’s nature to its pri­mal supernatural righteousness, and his ability to reproduce the virtues of Christ in his soul, there is, through the Incarna­tion, the living consciousness of the union between God and man, and the joy accruing to the creature from the personal love of Christ, dwelling in such close intimacy with him. This is the crowning glory of this preeminent mystery — just as the harmonious blending of colors, producing the most delicate tints and finest shades, completes over and above the rough outlines, the masterpiece of the artist.

All these marvels coalesce in the Holy Eucharist. This sac­rament was instituted to confer on us, not merely particular graces, but all the gifts of the life of the incarnate God as well. Never has God revealed Himself with such energizing fullness. Such a revelation does not, however, contravene the bestowal of a definite grace in answer to a special request. Christ can mani­fest Himself to us in the manner best suited to our spiritual de­velopment because He is the infinite archetype of all the forms of holiness; the source of sanctity in all the varied expo­sitions of its comprehensive unity.

Reflection on these stirring truths will impel us to receive Him with a love that will satisfy His yearning to be one with us. He must be one with us in order that, sharing His eucharistic life, and profiting by its treasures, our weak, changeable nature may be transformed and our faculties supernaturalized, and we may be fashioned into His likeness.

What Christ by His sacramental presence does in us, we should do in the world around us. As He transfigures us with His grace, we, too, must elevate and ennoble all who come within the sphere of our influence. We fall short of the divine purpose in the institution of the Holy Eucharist if we fail to dispense the beneficent effects of the Life of all life. Conscious of the marvelous expansion of its power, we will do everything we can to requite the love of Christ for us by always being His representatives in the world’s wilderness of sin.

This thought, that we must be other Christs, should inspire our words and actions. Briefly, we must glorify Christ by emp­tying ourselves for others, as He glorifies the Father by empty­ing Himself for us. What a mission of purest love would be ours if we daily endeavored to kindle in the souls of our brethren the fire of love which our Savior came to cast on earth, and longed so ardently to see kindled!

How else can we make possible the eucharistic life of our Lord and Master in our own souls? Christ came to restore to His Father the souls of sinners. Only by continuing this work, only by love of our neighbor, will we be saved, for our sacrifices, and the helpfulness of our charity for others, will decide our eternal destiny.

“‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you covered me; sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.’ Then shall the just answer Him, saying: ‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry and fed Thee; thirsty and gave Thee drink? And when did we see Thee a stranger and took Thee in? Or naked and covered Thee? Or when did we see Thee sick or in prison and came to Thee?’ And the King answering, shall say to them: ‘Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.’ ” The doom of the faithless will be ours if the eucharistic life ends only in selfish possession. 

Our expression of responsive love and gratitude after each Holy Communion should be to glorify the sacramental Savior by the revelation in all our dealings with others of the effect of our union with Him.


Editor’s note: This article is excerpted from Fr. Kane’s Transforming Your Life through the Eucharist, which is available from Sophia Institute Press.

By John A. Kane

Born in Philadelphia, John Kane attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pennsylvania, and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1912. Fr. Kane was the first pastor in his archdiocese to introduce all-night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He initiated a weekly adult religion class in his parish. He died in 1962.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ten Ways To Grow in Prayer

Fr. Ed Broom 

Prayer is the key to salvation. St. Augustine says that he who prays well lives well; he who lives well dies well; and to he who dies well all is well. St. Alphonsus reiterates the same principle: “He who prays much will be saved; he who does not pray will be damned; he who prays little places in jeopardy his eternal salvation. The same saint asserted that there are neither strong people nor weak people in the world, but those who know how to pray and those who do not. In other words prayer is our strength in all times and places.

We would like to offer ten words of encouragement to help us on the highway towards heaven through the effort to grow in our prayer life!

1. Conviction or Determination. There is no successful person in this world in any enterprise who was not animated by a firm determination to achieve his goal. Super athletes, accomplished musicians, expert teachers and writers never arrived at perfection by mere wishful thinking but by a firm, tenacious determination to arrive at their goal—come hell or high water. For that reason, the Doctor of prayer, Saint Teresa of Avila, stated: “We must have a determined determination to never give up prayer.” If we really believed in the depths of our hearts the priceless treasures that flow from prayer, we would make it our aim in life to grow constantly in prayer.

2. Holy Spirit As Teacher. St. Paul says that we do not really know how to pray as we ought but that it is the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us teaching us to say “Abba” Father. The Holy Spirit is the Interior Master or Teacher. With Mary the Apostles spent nine days and nights praying and fasting and they were imbued with the power from on high—the Holy Spirit. Before starting any formal prayer period why not invoke the Person of the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness. During the course of your prayer period why not beg the presence of the Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind and ignite your heart. He is closer to you than you are aware. If your are in the state of grace He resides in your heart.

3. Time, Place, Good Will, and Silence. As in any art we learn by practicing. This applies to prayer. To learn how to pray we must have a set time, a good place, good will on our part and silence. The saying rings true in sports as well as in prayer: “Practice makes perfect.”

4. Penance. It might be that our prayer has become insipid, boring, lifeless, anemic and stagnant for many reasons. One possible reason might be a life of sensuality, indulgence, gluttony, and simply living more according to the flesh then the spirit. As St. Paul reminds us, the flesh and the spirit are in mutual opposition. Jesus spent forty days and nights praying and fasting. The Apostles spent nine days and nights praying and fasting. One cannot arrive at any serious mystical life led by the spirit if he has not passed through the ascetical life of self-denial, mortification and penance. A bird needs two wings to fly; so does the follower of Christ. To soar high in the mystical life the two wings are prayer and penance. If you have no training in the penitential life consult a good spiritual director and start with small acts of penance to build up will-power so as to do the more heroic acts of penance! If you have never run before, start with a block and build up to the mile.

5. Spiritual Direction. Athletes need coaches; students need teachers; teachers need mentors to learn the art. Equally important, prayer-warriors must have some form of guidance and this is called spiritual direction. St. Ignatius of Loyola insisted on the spiritual life as being a journey of accompaniment. St. Teresa of Avila had several saints directing her on her long and painful journey leading to perfection—St. John of the Cross, St Peter of Alcantara, and St. Francis Borgia. There are many obstacles in the spiritual journey, especially when one pursues a deeper life of prayer; for that reason having a trained spiritual director who knows the traps of the devil, the pitfalls always present, and the dangers that are always present can help us to grow steadily in holiness through a deeper and more authentic prayer life.

6. Prayer and Action. St. Teresa of Avila points out that authentic growth in prayer is proven by growth in holiness and that means by the practice of virtue. Jesus said that we know the tree by the fruits. Likewise an authentic life of prayer blossoms forth in the practice of virtues: faith, hope, charity, purity, kindness, service, humility and a constant love for neighbor and the salvation of his immortal soul. Our Lady is model at all times but especially in the intimate connection between contemplation in action. In the Annunciation we admire Mary absorbed in prayer; then in the following mystery (in the Visitation) she follows the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to serve her cousin in a mission of love. In truth we can call Mary a true “Contemplative in action”. Like Mary we are called to be “Contemplatives in action.

7. Study-Read about Prayer. St. Teresa of Avila would not allow women into the convent of the Carmelites who could not read. Why? The simple reason was that she knew how much one could learn on many topics, but especially on prayer through solid spiritual reading. Find good literature on prayer and read! How many helpful ideas come through a good spiritual reading. One suggestion: read Part Four of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is a spiritual masterpiece on prayer.

8. Retreats. A most propitious manner to really go deeper in prayer is to set aside some time for a prolonged period of prayer; this we call a spiritual retreat. One of the most efficacious styles of retreats are Ignatian retreats. It might last a whole month, or eight days, or even a weekend retreat can prove extremely valuable. Seeing the Apostles overwhelmed with work Jesus exhorted them: “Come apart for a while and rest…” This rest that Jesus mentioned has classically been interpreted as a call to the spiritual retreat! Look at your calendar for the year and set aside some time. More extended periods of time for prayer allow for greater depth in prayer!

9. Confession and Prayer. Sometimes prayer proves exceedingly difficult due to a dirty conscience. Jesus said: “Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God.”(Mt. 5:8) After a good confession, in which the Precious Blood of Jesus washes our souls and consciences clean, the interior eye of the soul can see and contemplate the face of God with greater clarity.

10. Our Lady and Prayer. As we have mentioned the importance of the Holy Spirit to be with us as our Interior Master, so also we should constantly beg Mary to pray for us and to pray with us every time we dedicate time and effort to prayer. She will never fail us. As Jesus turned water into wine at Cana through Mary’s intercession, so she can help to turn our insipid and flavorless prayer into the sweet wine of devotion. Mary will never fail you! Call upon her.

By Fr. Ed Broom

Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary. He blogs regularly at Fr. Broom's Blog.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Catholic Church

It is not uncommon to hear Protestants accusing Catholics of worshipping statues because they have images of Christ and the saints in their Churches and in their homes. They quote the Holy Bible, "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them...” [Exodus 20:4-5] They accuse Catholics of being idolaters because they violate God’s commandment. How easy it is to charge falsely when you do not understand the actions of a person or a group!

God did not forbid the religious usage of statues; He forbade the worship of statues. There is a difference between the two. In one Bible passage, we read of an instance when God commanded the making of statues, “You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends. The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat.” [Exodus 25:18-20]

In 1 Chronicles 28:11-18, we read of the instance when David gave Solomon the plans to the Temple. Then in verse 19, we read, “All this, in writing at the Lord’s direction, he made clear to me - the plans of all the works.” The building of the Temple and the Altar of incense was done because God had commanded it to be done.

In Numbers 21:8-9, we read, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.’ So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.”

This serpent on a pole was symbolic, represent Jesus Christ on the Holy Cross. Equally, when Catholics look at a crucifix or a picture of Jesus on the Cross, they are reminded that the Lord Jesus is their Saviour. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one lives unless he goes through Jesus Christ. As the serpent on the pole was part of a Jewish religious ritual, the crucifix is part of the Catholic liturgy.

As the Holy Bible teaches, God the Father has no form. He is Spirit. When God spoke to Moses at Horeb, it was in the midst of the burning bush. When the time was right, God revealed Himself to the world in physical form. “He is the image of the invisible God...” [Col. 1:15] “For in him (Jesus) all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” [Col. 1:19] “For in him (Jesus) the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” [Col. 2:9]

The Holy Spirit also revealed Himself in visible form, as a Dove at the Baptism of our Lord Jesus [Mt 3:16, Mk. 1:10, Lk 3:22, Jn 1:32] and as tongues of fire on Pentecost Day [Acts 2:1-4].

Images, icons, statues, they are all reminders of God’s Three Divine Persons. Catholic do not adore or worship these images, icons and statues. They adore and worship He who is represented by these man made objects.

If a mother dies in childbirth, her picture is the only thing that the child has to communicate to him what his mother looked like. This does not mean that the child adores his mother. The picture serves as a reminder.

Equally, Jesus left this earth before all of us were born. A painting of Jesus serves the purpose of reminding us of what He looked like. It serves the purpose of reminding us to adore Jesus, to obey Him, to serve Him, to plea to Him on behalf of others, etc...

Pictures and Statues of saints remind us of their lives, their virtues and the blessings they received from God. The objects remind us that we can pray to the Saints in the sense of asking them to intercede before God on our behalf. For who is in a better position to obtain a favor from God than the Saints who are face to face with God? This certainly does not mean that we adore the Saints. Nor does it mean that we are praying to the Saints in the hope of obtaining the favors from them; the favors come from God through the intercession of the Saints.

When a Catholic bows or kneels before the picture or statue of a saint, this is no different than when a person bows or kneels in the presence of the king of a nation. It is a way of showing respect towards the saint who has been elevated before God.

The Catholic Church throughout its history, like other Christian churches, has always condemned all forms of idolatry. Catholics know that objects are not gods to be worshipped. This truth is taught to them from the moment that they can walk.

As for the making of religious objects to remind Catholics of what is Divine, Sacred, holy and invisible, such is encouraged in the Holy Bible.

Monday, June 23, 2014

What Is The Catholic Church ?

by Bishop Fulton Sheen

Catholic Church

"There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church—which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics “adore statues;” because they “put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God;” because they “say indulgence is a permission to commit sin;” because the Pope “is a Fascist;” because the Church “is the defender of Capitalism.”

If the Church taught or believed any one of these things, it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.

If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. 

Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church which is accused of being behind the times, as Our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned.

Look for the Church which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils.

Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because he called Himself the Truth. Look for the Church which amid the confusion of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other-worldly.

Since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself. ... the Catholic Church is the only Church existing today which goes back to the time of Christ. 

History is so very clear on this point, it is curious how many miss its obviousness..."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Today's Mass Reading's - Corpus Christi, Sunday, June 22, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16
2 Moses said to the people: “Remember how for forty years now the Lord, your God, has directed all your journeying in the desert, so as to test you by affliction and find out whether or not it was your intention to keep his commandments. 3 He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger, and then fed you with manna, a food unknown to you and your fathers, in order to show you that not by bread alone does one live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord. 14 “Do not forget the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery; 15 who guided you through the vast and terrible desert with its saraph serpents and scorpions, its parched and waterless ground; who brought forth water for you from the flinty rock 16 and fed you in the desert with manna, a food unknown to your fathers.”
P S A L M - Psalm 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20
R: Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
12 Glorify the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion. 13 For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you. (R) 14 He has granted peace in your borders; with the best of wheat he fills you. 15 He sends forth his command to the earth; swiftly runs his word! (R) 19 He has proclaimed his word to Jacob, his statutes and his ordinances to Israel. 20 He has not done thus for any other nation; his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia. (R)
2nd READING - 1 Corinthians 10:16-17
16 Brothers and sisters: The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live forever.
John 6:51-58
51 Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” 52 The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  53 Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Today, the Church celebrates one of its most beautiful feasts— the Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi. The feast evokes memories for me as a seminarian, taking part in the procession of the Blessed Sacrament along the city streets — a great testimony of faith in the Body and Blood of the Lord which is given for the life of the world.
       This year, we take the Gospel from St. John. This is the longest discourse in the Gospel of John about Jesus referring to Himself as the Bread of Life. Jesus reminds His followers that He is the Living Bread that has come down from heaven. During the time of Moses, God rained down bread from heaven. Jesus does not go back on His words, even when His teaching on eating the body, His flesh, seemed repugnant to the crowds. Jesus comes to us as simple bread, ground into wheat by His death and resurrection. He is life for us. He gives Himself for our nourishment and sustenance. Many will find Jesus’ teaching hard to accept and so walk away from His offer of life. See how much Jesus loves us! He is present in the Eucharist and remains in our tabernacles, awaiting our adoration and worship.
       Bread was the staple food of the Jews and was also a symbol of the Torah, the law and teachings of God for our nourishment and well-being. Jesus Himself told us that if we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we will have eternal life. Just as Jesus has life from the Father, so too His followers are to have life from Him.
       How is our faith in the Eucharist? Do we value the importance of attending Mass? Today’s feast is an opportune time to renew our faith in the Eucharist by attending daily Mass, spending more time in adoration, or reading more on the value of the Eucharist (found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church). Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
REFLECTION QUESTION: How strong is your faith in the Body and Blood of Jesus?
Lord, we thank You for this feast of Your Body and Blood, the Corpus Christi. Enable us to live in union with You through the Eucharist.
St. Thomas More, martyr, pray for us.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Two virtues you can't get to heaven without

Does your impatience
cause you to become aggravated?

Does selfishness hinder
your love for others — and for God?

Are you craving the peace
that patience and humility bring?

Pride is the most dangerous of all sins: it cuts you off from God, estranges you from others, and leaves you lost and unhappy.

We all need help conquering this sin, and this guide will help you banish pride from your soul once and for all.


In these pages, you'll learn to recognize pride's many forms (including some that masquerade as virtue), and you'll come to see just why they're such barriers to happiness and to holiness.

You'll also discover the incredible strength of humility, the only virtue that has the power to expel every vestige of pride from your soul. 

Fr. John Hardon
said, "Ullathorne's work on humility is a classic 

it's theology brought down to earth." 

Read Patience & Humility and you will begin experiencing the joys of humility today as you learn: 

  • Ten ways you can start acquiring patience today
  • God's own humility: the searing lesson for the proud
  • Easily hurt? Frequently disappointed? Learn the Lord's antidote!
  • Twelve reasons why you should be humble
  • The hidden rewards that true humility brings
  • Why your troubles might be your most valuable possessions
  • Why God's own patience is the guarantee of your salvation
  • The four ways that patience heals the soul
  • And many other truths to make your life happier and holier


Patience & Humility:
A Handbook for Christians

by Fr. William Ullathorne
$11.95 - 144 pages

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St. Francis de Sales read Spiritual Combat for 18 years!
It's no longer fashionable to speak of the Christian life as a "battle," but there is actually no better way to describe the tug-of-war for your soul that's raging right now between the forces of light and the forces of darkness.

In Spiritual Combat, Dom Lorenzo Scupoli helps you take your proper part in this spiritual battle so that you can win 
— decisively — the war for your soul.

Spiritual Combat was first published in a world externally much different from ours. But spiritual realities haven't changed, and this book has been cherished for four centuries by saints and sinners alike. Why? Because it gives sober and realistic guidance on how to overcome spiritual obstacles and achieve spiritual perfection and salvation.

Best of all, Spiritual Combat doesn't just tell you what you ought to be doing in order to live a truly Christian life 
— it shows you how.

These directions include:

  • Seven reflections to help you be sorry for sinning
  • Seven ways to achieve the full benefits of prayer
  • Twelve ways to think about death — they'll help you live better today!
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Janitor Knelt on the Hard Floor and Prayed

Cfam Header Image

The janitor knelt
on the hard floor of the Christian shrine
and prayed for the Friday Fax….

                                                                                                            June 19, 2014
Dear Friends,

A man wrote to me some time ago, from a remote part of Spain.

He wanted me to know that he prays for the Friday Fax every single day. The inspiring thing about this man is that he is not a big-shot powerbroker. He does not work at the UN, the US Congress, or the European Union.

In fact, he is a caretaker.

What’s even more moving is that he is a janitor at one of the most important Christian shrines in the world. The Shrine of Torreciudad, which is dedicated to the Mother of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I do not exaggerate when I say the Friday Fax is read all over the world. I did not know about this man from a remote town in a dusty and distant part of Spain.

I don’t know how he found the Friday Fax, but he finds great sustenance in it. How would he know about the UN if not for the Friday Fax?

Did you know that that the premier pro-life news sites in the world publish the Friday Fax almost every week?

Here is what Steve Ertelt, the founder of, says about the Friday Fax:

“The Friday Fax is sorely needed as it’s a crucial pro-life watchdog of the United Nations and international efforts to publicly and, behind closed doors, push abortion on the rest of the frequently republishes these timely and accurate reports to keep our readers up-to-date on the latest battles CFAM monitors.”

His friendly competitor in bringing pro-life news to the world is John-Henry Westen who founded Here is what he says about the Friday Fax:

“Ground Zero for the Culture War in today's globalized world is the United Nations.  It is there where decisions are made, negotiations hashed out, and policies set which determine the lives and wellbeing of countless people. Therefore it is in that arena that true warriors for the Culture of Life are required.  It is there where keen awareness of the battle, faith and formation are needed to fight for truth effectively. 

The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute has plugged in to that battle, providing for the life and family movements throughout the world an essential eye into the process.  The Friday Fax gives the readers of LifeSiteNews in depth and incisive analysis of the skirmishes on the front line.  

We publish few external reports at because we are very careful to ensure accuracy and top notch reporting.  However, we are proud to run reports from the Friday Fax for our readers, and they are greatly appreciated.

Austin Ruse and his team of experienced and faith-filled experts need the support of those who value life and family the world over.  They are fighting for all of us; we need to make sure the soldiers in the Culture War have adequate provisions.  I encourage you to give them your generous support today.”

That’s not all. Here is what Alejandro Bermudez, founder and editor in chief of the Catholic News Agency says about the Friday Fax:

"Friday Fax is the grand daddy and also the youngest and strongest when it comes to reporting on crucial life and family issues from the trenches. Friday Fax information has been decisive in keeping our readers up to date and ready to act when necessary."

So much would be left in the dark if not for the Friday Fax. The enemy wants you in the dark! They hate that we are there every day, sitting in meetings that are supposed to be secret, taking notes and then telling the truth far and wide.

The janitor at Torreciudad would not know about the UN if we did not tell him. and and Catholic News Agency could not afford to set up a UN bureau to get the news, and then their thousands and thousands of readers all over the world would be left in the dark, too!

The Friday Fax is a giant spotlight that shines into the deepest darkest secrets of the UN. The Friday Fax is a giant megaphone that tells the world what really happens here.

Our enemies would rejoice if the Friday Fax stopped publishing tomorrow!

The Friday Fax needs your help.

It costs $200,000 each year to publish the Friday Fax. This includes rent, salaries, health insurance, the cost of email publishing (we publish one million emails a month and that is expensive), the cost of printing and mailing 15,000 hard copies of the Friday Fax newsletter called “Letter from the UN Front”.

Every six months we need to raise $100,000 to cover this expense. Right now we have raised $45,000. Can you help us raise the rest?

Please act now. We happily accept the widow’s mite (and even the millionaire’s mite!).

The average gift to the Friday Fax is $50. Can you send us this? Can you afford more? $100?

Please go HERE and give what you can.


Before you do, though, I ask you to unite yourself in prayer with the Janitor of Torreciudad. He is praying for us today. Will you join him in praying for the Friday Fax?

And go HERE and give as much as you are able. Please know if you are an American citizen, your gift is 100% tax deductible.

Please help us now.

Austin Ruse
Editor/Friday Fax