Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Most Profound Reflection On Antonin Scalia, Anywhere.

16 February 2016

Neither Tarnished Nor Afraid

by David L Alexander at his blog, “ManwithBlackHat”
16 February 2016 A.D.

scalia david“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor — by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

“He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him.

“The story is this man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.”

Raymond Thornton Chandler (1888-1959)

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For the rest of this extremely thoughtful essay please click Here


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Tuesday After First Sunday of Lent

16 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday After First Sunday of Lent


Christ underwent every kind of suffering

Why have the Gentiles raged; and the people devised vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord and against his Christ (Ps. ii. i, 2).

“Every kind of suffering.” The things men suffer may be understood in two ways. By “kind” we may mean a particular, individual suffering, and in this sense there was no reason why Christ should suffer every kind of suffering, for many kinds of suffering are contrary the one to the other, as for example, to be burnt and to be drowned. We are of course speaking of Our Lord as suffering from causes outside himself, for to suffer the suffering effected by internal causes, such as bodily sickness, would not have become him. But if by “kind” we mean the class, then Our Lord did suffer by every kind of suffering, as we can show in three ways:

1. By considering the men through whom He suffered. For He suffered something at the hands of Gentiles and of Jews, of men and even of women as the story of the servant girl who accused St. Peter goes to show. He suffered, again, at the hands of rulers, of their ministers, and of the people, as was prophesied, Why have the Gentiles raged; and the people devised vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord and against his Christ (Ps. ii. i, 2).

He suffered, too, from His friends, the men He knew best, for Peter denied Him and Judas betrayed Him.

2. If we consider the things through which suffering is possible. Christ suffered in the friends who deserted Him, and in His good name through the blasphemies uttered against Him. He suffered in the respect, in the glory, due to Him through the derision and contempt bestowed upon Him. He suffered in things, for He was stripped even of His clothing; in His soul, through sadness, through weariness and through fear; in His body through wounds and the scourging.

3. If we consider what He underwent in His various parts. His head suffered through the crown of piercing thorns, His hands and feet through the nails driven through them, His face from the blows and the defiling spittle, and His whole body through the scourging.

He suffered in every sense of His body. Touch was afflicted by the scourging and the nailing, taste by the vinegar and gall, smell by the stench of corpses as He hung on the cross in that place of the dead which is called Calvary. His hearing was torn with the voices of mockers and blasphemers, and He saw the tears of His mother and of the disciple whom He loved. If we only consider the amount of suffering required, it is true that one suffering alone, the least indeed of all, would have sufficed to redeem the human race from all its sins. But if we look at the fitness of the matter, it had to be that Christ should suffer in all the kinds of sufferings.


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Monday After First Sunday of Lent

15 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas


Christ had to be tempted in the desert

He was in the desert forty days and forty nights: and was tempted by Satan. Mark i. 13.

He was in the desert forty days and forty nights: and was tempted by Satan. Mark i. 13.

1. It was by Christ’s own will that He was exposed to the temptation by the devil, as it was also by His own will that He was exposed to be slain by the limbs of the devil. Had He not so willed, the devil would never have dared to approach Him.

The devil is always more disposed to attack those who are alone, because, as is said in Sacred Scripture, If a man shall prevail against one, two shall with stand him easily (Eccles. iv. 12). That is why Christ went out into the desert, as one going out to a battle-ground, that there He might be tempted by the devil. Whereupon St. Ambrose says that Christ went into the desert for the express purpose of provoking the devil. For unless the devil had fought, Christ would never have overcome him for me.

St. Ambrose gives other reasons too. He says that Christ chose the desert as the place to be tempted for a hidden reason, namely that he might free from His exile Adam who, from Paradise, was driven into the desert; and again that He did it for a reason in which there is no mystery, namely to show us that the devil envies those who are tending towards a better life.

2. We say with St. Chrysostom that Christ exposed Himself to the temptation because the devil most of all tempts those whom he sees alone. So in the very beginning of things he tempted the woman, when he found her away from her husband. It does not however follow from this that a man ought to throw himself into any occasion of temptation that presents itself.

Occasions of temptation are of two kinds. One kind arises from man’s own action, when, for example, man himself goes near to sin, not avoiding the occasion of sin. That such occasions are to be avoided we know, and Holy Scripture reminds us of it. Stay not in any part of the country round about Sodom (Gen. xix. 17). The second kind of occasion arises from the devil’s constant envy of those who are tending to better things, as St. Ambrose says, and this occasion of temptation is not one we must avoid. So, according to St. John Chrysostom, not only Christ was led into the desert by the Holy Ghost, but all the children of God who possess the Holy Ghost are led in like manner. For God’s children are never content to sit down with idle hands, but the Holy Ghost ever urges them to undertake for God some great work. And this, as far as the devil is concerned, is to go into the desert, for in the desert there is none of that wickedness which is the devil’s delight. Every good work is as it were a desert to the eye of the world and of our flesh, for good works are contrary to the desire of the world and of our flesh.

To give the devil such an opportunity of temptation as this is not dangerous, for it is much more the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, who is the promoter of every perfect work, that prompts us than the working of the devil who hates them all.


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – First Week: Sunday

14 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas


First Sunday of Lent:It was fitting that Christ should be tempted

Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted
by the devil. Matt. iv. i.

Christ willed to be tempted:

1. That He might assist us against our own temptations. St. Gregory says, ” That our Redeemer, who had come on earth to be killed, should will to be tempted was not unworthy of Him. It was indeed but just that he should overcome our temptations by His own, in the same way that He had come to overcome our death by His death.”

2. To warn us that no man, however holy he be, should think himself safe and free from temptation. Whence again His choosing to be tempted after His baptism, about which St. Hilary says, “The devil’s wiles are especially directed to trap us at times when we have recently been made holy, because the devil desires no victory so much as a victory over the world of grace.” Whence too, the scripture warns us, Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation (Ecclus. ii. i).

3. To give us an example how we should over come the temptations of the devil, St. Augustine says, “Christ gave Himself to the devil to be tempted, that in the matter of our overcoming those same temptations He might be of service not only by His help but by His example too.”

4. To fill and saturate our minds with confidence in His mercy. For we have not a high-priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities, but one tempted in all things, like as we are, without sin (Heb. iv. 15).


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Day Four

13 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas


4th Day of Lent: Saturday: The Grain of Wheat

Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone.–John xii. 24.

We use the grain of wheat in two ways, for bread and for seed. Here the word is to be taken in the second sense, grain of wheat meaning seed and not the matter out of which we make bread. For in this sense it never increases so as to bear fruit. When it is said that the grain must die, this does not mean that it loses its value as seed, but that it is changed into another kind of thing. So St. Paul (i Cor. xv. 36) says, That which then thou sowest is not quickened, except it die first.

The Word of God is a seed in the soul of man, in so far as it is a thing introduced into man’s soul, by words spoken and heard, in order to produce the fruit of good works, The seed is the Word of God (Luke viii. II). So also the Word of God garbed in flesh is a seed placed in the world, a seed from which great crops should grow, whence it is compared in St. Matthew’s Gospel (xiii. 31, 32) to a grain of mustard seed.

Our Lord therefore says to us, “I came as seed, something meant to bear fruit and therefore I say to you, Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone” which is as much as to say, “Unless I die the fruit of the conversion of the Gentiles will not follow.” He compares Himself to a grain of wheat, because He came to nourish and to sustain the minds of men, and to nourish and sustain are precisely what wheaten bread does for men. In the Psalms it is written, That bread may strengthen man’s heart (Ps. ciii. 15), and in St. John, The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world(John vi. 52).

2. But if it die it bringeth forth much fruit (John xii. 25). What is here explained is the usefulness of the Passion. It is as though the gospel said, Unless the grain fall into the earth through the humiliations of the Passion, no useful result will follow, for the grain itself remaineth alone. But if it shall die, done to death and slain by the Jews, it bringeth forth much fruit, for example:

(i) The remission of sin. This is the whole fruit, that the sin thereby should be taken away (Isaias xxvii. 9). And this is the fruit of the Passion of Christ as is declared by St. Peter, Christ died once for our sins, the just for the unjust that he might offer us to God (i Pet. iii. 18).

(ii) The conversion of the Gentiles to God. I have appointed you that you shall go forth and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain (John xv. 16). This fruit the Passion of Christ bore, if I be lifted tip from the earth, I will draw all things to myself (John xii. 32).

(iii) The fruit of Glory. The fruit of good labours is glorious (Wis. iii. 15). And this fruit also the Passion of Christ brought forth; We have therefore a confidence in the entering into the Holies by the blood of Christ: a new and living way which He hath dedicated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh (Hebr. x. 19).


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Day 3

12 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

3rd Day of Lent: Friday: The Crown of Thorns

Go forth, ye daughters of Sion, and see king Solomon in the diadem, wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the joy of his heart.–Cant. iii. n.

This is the voice of the Church inviting the souls of the faithful to behold the marvellous beauty of her spouse. For the daughters of Sion, who are they but the daughters of Jerusalem, holy souls, the citizens of that city which is above, who with the angels enjoy the peace that knows no end, and, in consequence, look upon the glory of the Lord?

1. Go forth, shake off the disturbing commerce of this world so that, with minds set free, you may be able to contemplate him whom you love. And see king Solomon, the true peacemaker, that is to say, Christ Our Lord.

In the diadem wherewith his mother crowned him, as though the Church said, “Look on Christ garbed with flesh for us, the flesh He took from the flesh of His mother.” For it is His flesh that is here called a diadem, the flesh which Christ assumed for us, the flesh in which He died and destroyed the reign of death, the flesh in which, rising once again, He brought to us the hope of resurrection.

This is the diadem of which St. Paul speaks, We see Jesus for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour (Heb. ii. 9). His mother is spoken of as crowning Him because Mary the Virgin it was who from her own flesh gave Him flesh.

In the day of His espousals, that is, in the hour of His Incarnation, when He took to Himself the Church not having spot or wrinkle (Eph. v. 27), the hour again when God was joined with man. And in the day of the joy of his heart. For the joy and the gaiety of Christ is for the human race salvation and redemption. And coming home, He calls together His friends and neighbours saying to them, Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost (Luke xv. 6).

2. We can however refer the whole of this text simply and literally to the Passion of Christ. For Solomon, foreseeing through the centuries the Passion of Christ, was uttering a warning for the daughters of Sion, that is, for the Jewish people.

Go forth and see king Solomon, that is, Christ, in His diadem, that is to say, the crown of thorns with which His mother the Synagogue has crowned Him; in the day of His espousals, the day when He joined to Himself the Church; and in the day of the joy of His heart, the day in which He rejoiced that by His Passion He was delivering the world from the power of the devil. Go forth, therefore, and leave behind the darkness of unbelief, and see, understand with your minds that He who suffers as man is really God.

Go forth, beyond the gates of your city, that you may see Him, on Mount Calvary, crucified.


If You’re Catholic, Doritos Are Nacho Chip… via @ESWesthoff

11 February 2016

Elizabeth Westhoff at Virtual Vestibule, Archdiocese of St Louis
February 10, 2016

For the last several years, Frito-Lay, the company that owns Doritos, has sponsored the Crash the Super Bowl contest. Consumers are invited to create their own Doritos ads and at least one fan-made commercial is guaranteed to air during the Super Bowl. Over the years Doritos offered bonus prizes ranging from $400,000 to $1,000,000 making the Crash the Super Bowl contest the largest online video contest in the world.

During this year’s Super Bowl, a Crash the Super Bowl Doritos commercial aired that riled up both the pro-life and the pro-abortion factions.

doritos-superbowl-commercial-2016-social-300x160If you haven’t seen it, a mother is lying on an exam table looking at the ultrasound image of her baby while the baby’s father is standing alongside crunching on the contents of a bag of Doritos.

The next thing we see is the father waving a chip in front of the ultrasound image of the baby who, in turn, darts after the chip, eventually rocketing out of the womb in an attempt to grab the snack.

Click HERE for the rest…

lizzieElizabeth Westhoff is known for her dedication to the faith along with her incredible humor and wit. As Director of Marketing and Mission Awareness for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Elizabeth’s role is constantly evolving, using the tools of an ever changing world to share the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys staying up to date on Catholic social teachings, news and pop culture.


@CatholicLisa and Her “Come to Jesus Moment” (in a good way hah!)

11 February 2016

Ash Wednesday: The Anniversary of my Conversion to Christ
by Lisa Graas at her blog, LisaGraas.com

holy mass lisaToday is Ash Wednesday, a very special day for all Catholics but even more special for me personally because it is the anniversary of my conversion to Christ. It was on this day in 1991 that I came to know that Jesus Christ truly is God, the Son of God the Father, conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit. It was this day, in short, that everything suddenly made sense to me.

For some people, the Bible is just a collection of stories that may or may not be true. That is what it meant to me for the first two decades of my life. Though my parents were devout Christians who believed in Sola Scriptura, I was not so sure. I wanted to believe, but contrary to what some people think, wanting to believe is not nearly enough. True belief comes only with conviction, and this conviction was sorely lacking in me in my early years. I wanted to believe…but I didn’t. I remained unconvinced.

Because I wanted to believe, I read my Bible a great deal. My parents had assured me that if I read it enough, belief would come. I trusted them and gave it everything that I had, but there was one thing that was a stumbling block to me. That was in the sixth chapter of John.

Please CLICK HERE to finish her story…

WE LOVE YOU LISA!!!


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Day Two – Fasting

11 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

2nd Day of Lent: First Thursday

It was fitting that Christ should be Crucified with the Thieves

Christ was crucified between the thieves because such was the will of the Jews, and also because this was part of God’s design. But the reasons why this was appointed were not the same in each of these cases.

1. As far as the Jews were concerned Our Lord was crucified with the thieves on either side to encourage the suspicion that he too was a criminal. But it fell out otherwise. The thieves themselves have left not a trace in the remembrance of man, while His cross is everywhere held in honour. Kings laying aside their crowns have broidered the cross on their royal robes. They have placed it on their crowns; on their arms. It has its place on the very altars. Everywhere, throughout the world, we behold the splendour of the cross.

In God’s plan Christ was crucified with the thieves in order that, as for our sakes he became accursed of the cross, so, for our salvation, He is crucified like an evil thing among evil things.

2. The Pope, St. Leo the Great, says that the thieves were crucified, one on either side of Him, so that in the very appearance of the scene of His suffering there might be set forth that distinction which should be made in the judgment of each one of us. St. Augustine has the same thought. “The cross itself,” he says, ” was a tribunal. In the centre was the judge. To the one side a man who believed and was set free, to the other side a scoffer and he was condemned.” Already there was made clear the final fate of the living and the dead, the one class placed at His right, the other on His left.

3. According to St. Hilary the two thieves, placed to right and to left, typify that the whole of mankind is called to the mystery of Our Lord’s Passion. And since division of things according to right and left is made with reference to believers and those who will not believe, one of the two, placed on the right, is saved by justifying faith.

4. As St. Bede says, the thieves who were crucified with Our Lord, represent those who for the faith and to confess Christ undergo the agony of martyrdom or the severe discipline of a more perfect life. Those who do this for the sake of eternal glory are typified by the thief on the right hand. Those whose motive is the admiration of whoever beholds them imitate the spirit and the act of the thief on the left-hand side.

As Christ owed no debt in payment for which a man must die, but submitted to death of His own will, in order to overcome death, so also He had not done anything on account of which He deserved to be put with the thieves. But of His own will He chose to be reckoned among the wicked, that by His power He might destroy wickedness itself. Which is why St. John Chrysostom says that to convert the thief on the cross and to turn him to Paradise was as great a miracle as the earthquake.

Thursday: Fasting

1. We fast for three reasons.

(i) To check the desires of the flesh. So St. Paul says in fastings, in chastity (2 Cor. vi. 5), meaning that fasting is a safeguard for chastity. As St. Jerome says, ” Without Ceres, and Bacchus, Venus would freeze,” as much as to say that lust loses its heat through spareness of food and drink.

(ii) That the mind may more freely raise itself to contemplation of the heights. We read in the book of Daniel that it was after a fast of three weeks that he received the revelation from God (Dan. x. 2-4).

(iii) To make satisfaction for sin. This is the reason given by the prophet Joel, Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning (Joel ii. 12). And here is what St. Augustine writes on the matter. “Fasting purifies the soul. It lifts up the mind, and it brings the body into subjection to the spirit. It makes the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of desire, puts out the flames of lust and the true light of chastity.”

2. There is commandment laid on us to fast. For fasting helps to destroy sin, and to raise the mind to thoughts of the spiritual world. Each man is then bound, by the natural law of the matter, to fast just as much as is necessary to help him in these matters. Which is to say that fasting in general is a matter of natural law. To determine, however, when we shall fast and how, according to what suits and is of use to the Catholic body, is a matter of positive law. To state the positive law is the business of the bishops, and what is thus stated by them is called ecclesiastical fasting, in contradistinction with the natural fasting previously mentioned.

3 . The times fixed for fasting by the Church are well chosen. Fasting has two objects in view:

(i) The destruction of sin, and

(ii) the lifting of the mind to higher things.

The times self-indicated for fasting are then those in which men are especially bound to free themselves from sin and to raise their minds to God in devotion. Such a time especially is that which precedes that solemnity of Easter in which baptism is administered and sin thereby destroyed, and when the burial of Our Lord is recalled, for we are buried together with Christ by baptism into death (Rom. vi. 4). Then, too, at Easter most of all, men’s minds should be lifted, through devotion to the glory of that eternity which Christ in His resurrection inaugurated.

Wherefore the Church has decreed that immediately before the solemnity of Easter we must fast, and, for a similar reason, that we must fast on the eves of the principal feasts, setting apart those days as opportune to prepare ourselves for the devout celebration of the feasts themselves.

 

 


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Ash Wednesday

10 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

First Wednesday of Lent (Ash Wednesday)

How Great was the Sorrow of Our Lord in His Passion?

Attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow. Lam. i. 12.

Our Lord as He suffered felt really, and in His senses, that pain which is caused by some harmful bodily thing. He also felt that interior pain which is caused by the fear of something harmful and which we call sadness. In both these respects the pain suffered by Our Lord was the greatest pain possible in this present life. There are four reasons why this was so.

1. The causes of the pain.

The cause of the pain in the senses was the breaking up of the body, a pain whose bitterness derived partly from the fact that the sufferings attacked every part of His body, and partly from the fact that of all species of torture death by crucifixion is undoubtedly the most bitter. The nails are driven through the most sensitive of all places, the hands and the feet, the weight of the body itself increases the pain every moment. Add to this the long drawn-out agony, for the crucified do not die immediately as do those who are beheaded.

The cause of the internal pain was:

(i) All the sins of all mankind for which, by suffering, He was making satisfaction, so that, in a sense, He took them to Him as though they were His own. The words of my sins, it says in the Psalms (Ps. xxi. 2).

(ii) The special case of the Jews and the others who had had a share in the sin of His death, and especially the case of His disciples for whom His death had been a thing to be ashamed of.

(iii) The loss of his bodily life, which, by the nature of things, is something from which human nature turns away in horror.

2. We may consider the greatness of the pain according to the capacity, bodily and spiritual, for suffering of Him who suffered. In His body He was most admirably formed, for it was formed by the miraculous operation of the Holy Ghost, and therefore its sense of touch that sense through which we experience pain was of the keenest. His soul likewise, from its interior powers, had a knowledge as from experience of all the causes of sorrow.

3. The greatness of Our Lord’s suffering can be considered in regard to this that the pain and sadness were without any alleviation. For in the case of no matter what other sufferer the sadness of mind, and even the bodily pain, is lessened through a certain kind of reasoning, by means of which there is brought about a distraction of the sorrow from the higher powers to the lower. But when Our Lord suffered this did not happen, for He allowed each of His powers to act and suffer to the fullness of its special capacity.

4. We may consider the greatness of the suffering of Christ in the Passion in relation to this fact that the Passion and the pain it brought with it were deliberately undertaken by Christ with the object of freeing man from sin. And therefore He undertook to suffer an amount of pain proportionately equal to the extent of the fruit that was to follow from the Passion.

From all these causes, if we consider them together, it will be evident that the pain suffered by Christ was the greatest pain ever suffered.


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