Friday, March 28, 2014

" UNLESS A MAN......."


POPE BENEDICT XVI BAPTISES A CHILD IN THE SISTINE CHAPEL

"UNLESS A MAN......."

We saw in our last post that the ONLY way to gain an authentic personal relationship with Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ, is to be a member of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church He founded. To be authentic, our relationship with Jesus Christ must be founded on the basis He determined, and be nourished by the means He provided.

Indeed, God's very purpose in crashing through from Eternity into time , was to achieve the Salvation of Man through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of His Divine Son. It was this Divine Son, Jesus Christ, Whose project for continuing His Salvific work on Earth, after His Ascension, is the Catholic Church - the very Kingdom of God of which He spoke so often.

This is a fascinating concept.

No. More than that, as an act of God upon Earth - a theophany - it is an electrifying miracle. Not just another institution, the Catholic Church is wonderfully unique. God did this.

God did this, for us - she, the Catholic Church is His gift of Love to mankind.

In what character did God give Her to us? She knows herself well, thanks to the guidance of the Holy Spirit which Jesus Christ Himself sent to guide and inspire her - and she tells us she is "Mater et Magister" , Mother and Teacher. And so it is that God's faithful children gather at her knee to learn in humble and loving simplicity.

But, But, you say........ how  does one come into this happy family of God, this Catholic Church?

Jesus Christ Himself, God made Man, has words for you, as you might expect. We recall with reverent awe the occasion of the visit by Nicodemus , a member of the ruling Jewish elite, probably a member of the Sanhedrin. In Saint John's Gospel 3:1-12 we are told Nicodemus came to Jesus " by night". We assume that this powerful man, though he had the germ of Faith at least, did not want it known abroad that he had spoken to Jesus. No. This was to be a private, indeed, a secret visit.

But it was to this weak reed that Jesus revealed the absolute necessity of Baptism by water and the Holy Spirit. So important is it, that Jesus, God Himself, uses twice in a few sentences, His most earnest affirmation of His statement using His sacred formula : "Amen, Amen I say unto thee..."

Now you might think that would be sufficient to establish the fact forever and aye. But so essential, so vitally important is this, that later, following His Resurrection, at the time of the Great Commission, Jesus sent forth His Apostles, charging them to : "Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I Am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world."

And those words Jesus had prefaced with these:

"All power in heaven and on earth is given to Me."

Now God does not waste words. He has no time for small talk. He did not even respond to praise of the Temple and it's magnificence - save to foretell its destruction. But here, He goes to the trouble of underlining that ALL power in heaven and on earth is His, only to proceed to insist yet again , on the inescapable importance of Baptism! Once again we have water and the Holy Spirit.

Here we have it in the classic formula  : a visible sign, instituted by Christ , to give Grace - it is a Sacrament.

Saint Paul elaborates on the nature and operation on the Sacrament of Baptism in Ephesians 4  : 1-6, when he says :
"I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, exhorting you to walking in a manner worthy of the calling to which you were called, with all humility and meekness, with patience , bearing with one another in love, careful to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the abound of peace: one body and one Spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism........" There it is again. fundamental, essential Baptism.

There are seven Sacraments entrusted by Christ to His Church for her ministry and protection. Baptism, of its very nature, is the first administered, for it initiates the non- Catholic into the family of the Faith, making them a child of God.

They must as yet work out their Salvation "in fear and trembling" as Saint Paul tells us, and their Faith will be dead without good works as Saint James tells us, but by Baptism they are entitled to hope that, sustained by the seven Sacraments and with sincerity of heart, they might at last reach the Kingdom of Heaven, and Eternal Life with Jesus Christ, His Father and the Holy Spirit.   

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST

"COME TO ME ALL YOU WHO LABOUR AND ARE BURDENED AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST"
We hear a great deal these days from Protestant Fundamentalists about the need to establish a " personal relationship with Jesus Christ " - sounds like a great idea - sounds reasonable.

But Catholics have been there in reality for 2,000 years.

It occurred to me most forcefully at Holy Mass this morning and at Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament following Holy Mass. Could we have a more personal relationship with Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ than to belong faithfully to the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church He founded and guaranteed to remain with until the end of time?

Could we have a more personal relationship  with Jesus Christ than to enjoy the 7 Sacraments He left in the care of that Church? And really, could we have a more utterly personal relationship with Jesus Christ than to be present at Holy Mass as Bread and Wine are miraculously transubstantiated into His Body, Blood ,Soul and Divinity at the Consecration by His Priest acting truly "in persona Christi", and then to receive and consume that same Real Divine Presence in Holy Communion? That Communion in which Jesus Christ becomes One in us and we one in Him.

Could we have a more personal relationship with Jesus Christ than to have been Baptised into His Mystical Body, that One ,Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? Than to be confirmed as He intended receiving the Holy Spirit He sent? Than to receive absolution from His Priest acting again in His stead to forgive our sins as He had commissioned His Priests?

Could we have a more personal relationship with Jesus Christ than to live through the Liturgical Year with His Church, listening to the inspired word of Sacred Scripture, to the prayers and reflections His Holy Church has brought forth in 2,000 years of accumulated holy study and reflection?And in that way marking and celebrating the events of His Life here on Earth .

At the Heart of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ is His Real Presence with us and in us, just exactly as He, in His Divine Wisdom chose  to be and then provided for.

Who are these people who so insist on a " personal relationship " with Jesus Christ? And what do they mean?

Well, firstly they are separated from the Church Christ founded, cut off from Him the "true vine" and He told us that such severed branches will wither and die  and that " without Me you can do nothing." They do not teach the truths He taught wholly and with integrity, they deny most of the Sacraments He instituted as visible signs to give Grace. Their "personal relationship" accommodates the secular spirit of the age which denies objective Truth and therefore any chance of really knowing Jesus Christ, of being one with Him. They are the false teachers of which the Holy Apostles warned from the very beginning as we see in the writings of Saints Peter and Paul.

Is this Catholic "triumphalism"? This strange term is a perversion of the Church's analysis of her existence : Militant (struggling here on Earth) and Triumphant ( rejoicing in Salvation in Heaven with Jesus Christ). Are we wrong to insist on our unique status as Christ's true followers? 

By no means - in fact if we do not, with Charity properly assert the standing of the Catholic Church , we are denying Christ and His Will. We must do what He has commanded us - "go out into the whole world...." and preach the Good News , never forgetting, hiding or apologising for the unique status  which the Church has and calling all those in error to return to the Truth.

Defending the Truth, extolling the Truth with Charity to all is our obligation. We must not compromise that Truth for the sake of  "tolerant"(of anything) niceness . There is an abundance of what is truly lovely in our Catholic Faith. Mere niceness is not worthy of it.


SPECIAL NOTE:

On Monday next 20th April, 2014 I will undergo a triple Bypass Heart Operation at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital. I  ask for your prayers for the success of the operation and a speedy recovery. Posting will be reduced in the ensuing 7 weeks. But using this post as a foundation I hope to post each week on one of the Seven Sacraments - a worthwhile task in itself and a good bit of self-discipline whilst recovering from this major surgical " attack" on my body! Thank you all in advance for your prayers, and don't forget my dear wife who will have to care for me as I get my act back together !

Sunday, January 12, 2014

THE NEW CARDINALS ANNOUNCED - WILD SPECULATION PROVED IDIOTIC

CARDINALS' RED BIRETTAS - THE "RED HAT" TRADITIONALLY REFERRED TO IS HOWEVER THE CARDINAL'S GALERO WITH BROAD BRIM , AND TASSELS
Latest News - (First noticed @ Father Adrian Sharp and then Rorate and then Father Z.)The Holy father announced the following after the Angelus to-day :

The Pope named 15 voting cardinals:
- Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State;
- Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops;
- Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
- Archbishop Beniamino Stella, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy;
- Archbishop Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano of Managua, Nicaragua;
- Archbishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix of Québec;
- Archbishop Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan, Ivory Coast;
- Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster;
- Archbishop Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro;
- Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Città della Pieve; [replaced Bagnasco as a member of the Cong. for Bishops]
- Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli of Buenos Aires;
- Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo jung of Seoul;
- Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello of Santiago de Chile;
- Archbishop Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso;
- Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, Philippines;
- Bishop Chibly Langlois of Les Cayes, Haiti.

He also appointed three non-voting cardinals who are over 80:
-Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla, former secretary to John XXIII,
-Emeritus Archbishop Fernando Sebastián Aguilar of Pamplona
-Archbishop Kelvin Edward Felix of Castries, Saint Lucia.


It is interesting to note that not one is from the United States.

It is also interesting to note that all the Media speculation about Lay Cardinals and even female Cardinals , is shown to be the mischievous rubbish  we knew it was.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

" INCIDENTAL IMPERFECTION" Bl. JOHN HENRY CARDINAL NEWMAN

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman    

"I shall console myself with the reflection,
that life is not long enough to do more than your best,
whatever that might be;
that they who are ever taking aim,
make no hits;
that they who never venture,
never gain;
that to be ever safe,
is to be feeble;
and that to do substantial good,
is the compensation for much incidental imperfection."
 
I posted that quote here on 10th February, 2011. And, like most people I find it appealing. Maybe it specially appeals because it can tend to comfort and justify somewhat , the way we have acted - always in our minds for the best reasons. There are benefits in the present Internet era in the constant presentation to our minds of things we have always known , but now are brought together in such a way as to give us cause to reflect more deeply.
 
Such a text I came across recently the devout Irish Priest Father Martin Graham had long kept it at the head of the Facebook Page he administers. It goes like this :
 
 "Martin Graham
IMPORTANT MESSAGE

The greatest commandment of the Gospel is that of charity.

When replying to a post please remember the admonishment of Saint Peter - In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1...See More"
 
 
It is also an interesting reflection on the Internet phenomenon that when I went to copy that for this Post it was no longer there - but happily I had a copy of it used for a more important purpose.
 
Now it is a pretty robust world on the Internet and in fact, a pretty robust world generally, so that I think sometimes we all fall into the trap of overlooking in practice, and to varying extents, the obligations of Charity . 
 
The problem is compounded by the many things we now know on a day by day basis that often touch upon and offend our deepest felt loyalties and sympathies. It is a problem I have faced. And, on reflection, I find that I might have been affected by those " incidental imperfections".
 
The problem of course is how to address the wrongs we see, some objective and undeniable, others the perception we have of events and actions and statement. I think the most that can be done, is to proceed perhaps more prudently, certainly always with restraint and respect, as Father's quote enjoins.
 
It is not a bad way to begin the New Year - some significant stocktaking - as we begin again to take up the challenge to do what we individually can - no matter how insignificant we are- to do God's Will - in His way and for His greater glory . We must remember Jesus' words:
 
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13 : 35
 
and again:

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."Matthew 11:29

We might also paraphrase the Orphan boy answering the great Father Flanagan of Boy's Town in America : " It ain't easy, but he's my brother" We are all brothers in Christ and I for one will be striving harder to have that consistently affect all I write. I will be happy to have any "incidental imperfection" drawn to my attention as it is noticed.
 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

GETTING IT RIGHT

POPE FRANCIS
This article appeared in the American  Website "National Review Online" and has been widely publicised by CHURCH MILITANT TV


The Little Flowers of Pope Francis
The personally convicting message of Evangelii Gaudium
By Bishop James D. Conley
 
 
                                 BISHOP JAMES CONLEY OF LINCOLN,NEBRASKA
 
 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

" JESUS WAS A WHITE MAN" - WHAT NONSENSE!

IMAGE OF THE SACRED HEART -
THE TYPE OF RELIGIOUS ART I HAVE COME TO LOATHE




I am sure you are familiar with the question "What is wrong with this picture?"

Well, let us ask it about the above image of the Sacred Heart  - "What is wrong with this picture?" Let's begin at the very beginning. Our Lord Jesus Christ was NOT a white man, let alone a mamby -pamby ineffective looking sop as represented in the the picture.

He was, as we know born a Jew , a semite and so not your typical Caucasian. Nor was He a soppy character like the above image. He was obviously, from all the Gospel accounts a compelling personality, no doubt strong from the years of his working with Saint Joseph as a carpenter/builder, and  from three years going about Palestine preaching and teaching. Further we know how various people reacted to him - with respect and awe as in the case of the Roman Centurion whose words are immortalised in the Mass :"Lord I am not worthy....".Even the powerful religious Authorities of the day were ultra cautious about dealing with Him, though they hated Him and sought His death. And here we get another glimpse of His compelling personality, because among the reasons for their caution was the fact that the citizenry followed Him in large numbers.

So why do we have to tolerate these embarrassing and false images of Our Lord?

I first began to be openly irked by these images when I formed a very great respect for some young African men -Seminarians. And the more I got to know them and one in particular, I came to looking at things in my mind as they might see them. And it annoyed me that Jesus was portrayed in this way.

Mind you , these men never said a word to me along these lines and I think they would probably disagree with me.

But if Jesus is portrayed as white when He was not, then why not black,brown or yellow? It is just that silly. Of course that sort of license is taken with images of the Madonna and Child and has been for some while, I have seen Chinese Madonna and Child, Aboriginal Madonna and Child etc. I believe it is inappropriate at least. We should be aiming at an encounter with the real Person of Jesus Christ, and that is not aided by false images.

In the Movie "The Passion of the Christ" I believe the actor Jim Caviezel with his , I think partly Mexican origins, and with the aid of modern make-up artists produced,, a sufficiently "other" appearance to silence the type of criticism I am making above.


 
The whole subject became a focus of attention in recent days when a simple statement by a female presenter on FOX News gained instant notoriety on the Internet because she said something stupid and because so many people are hostile to FOX.

It appears that an African -American lady had complained that Santa claus was always "white", saying that as a black person she felt alienated by that fact. An air-headed female presenter then said she could understand that, and that Santa should be "a Penguin" so that no racial group would be offended! The female anchor of the program then promptly responded, starting off correctly but then putting her foot in her mouth!. She said words to the effect that whilst the "Penguin" idea might be great for birds, It would be offensive to all humans. She then started to argue validly, that people might not like a reality - but that is their problem, we do not ignore reality because it makes someone uncomfortable. Then disaster overtook her as she said words to the effect that, after all Santa Claus was a white man, and Jesus Himself was a white man! Perhaps she is a simple enough soul to believe that, and she may think that Santa Claus was someone real and be unaware of Saint Nicholas of Myra. And she may have sub-consciously absorbed all of those "white" Jesus images to form the view that Our Lord really was a white man.

Well, it is all very interesting, but it makes it hard to keep in one's mind a good realistic image of Our Lord and Saviour.I think the Holy Shroud of Turin provides the very best reality check.

 
                                           Holy Shroud of Turin Positive and Negative

Saturday, December 14, 2013

BRISBANE ORATORY ANOTHER DELIBERATE STEP

 To-day we bring you more good news direct from the website of the Brisbane Oratory in Formation:



 

Oratory priests appointed to Brisbane parish

Posted by on Dec 13, 2013 in Latest News
Today we can announce that a further step has been taken towards the foundation of the Brisbane Oratory in Formation. Archbishop Mark Coleridge has appointed both Fr Sharp and Fr Chandler to the same parish effective January 4th 2014. Fr Sharp will be Parish Priest of Mary Immaculate Parish, Annerley on the south side of Brisbane. Fr Chandler will be priest-in-residence as he completes his doctoral studies. This is an opportunity for a preparatory stage which will lead to the formal and public establishment of the Oratory hopefully mid-year 2015. The Brisbane Oratory in Formation is immensely grateful to His Grace for this supportive decision.
Mary Immaculate Church, Annerley
Mary Immaculate Church, Annerley