New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Cyril of Jerusalem - 18th March 2009

We are lucky to have commentaries of Dr. Plinio for 3 days in a row. Let us read his comments on St. Cyril of Jerusalem.

Biographical selection:

Cyril was born in Jerusalem in 315. From his youth he dedicated himself to the study of the Holy Scriptures and acquired a great knowledge of Church doctrine by reading the Fathers who came before him. When St. Maximus died, Cyril succeeded him in the See of Jerusalem in 349.

At the beginning of his episcopacy, he became famous for a dispute with Acacius, Archbishop of Caesarea, an ardent follower of Arianism who abhorred Cyril and his orthodoxy. Because of the plots of Acacius, he was exiled twice from Jerusalem. But after Julian the Apostate was raised to the throne of the Empire, a general amnesty was granted for Prelates who had been exiled; therefore, he entered the city and re-assumed his see.

From there, he witnessed the miraculous obstacles sent by God that made it impossible to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. Julian, who took the side of the Jews against the Catholics, tried to rebuild the Temple two times. The first time the recently laid foundation was destroyed by an earthquake; the second time the groundwork was destroyed by flames of fire that burst forth from the ground. During these attempts of reconstruction, St. Cyril calmly affirmed that the prophecy of Christ would remain true, and that not one stone of the Temple would be left standing upon another.

He was exiled for a third time when Emperor Valens, a follower of Arianism, decreed the expulsion of all Prelates recalled by Julian. Under Theodosius, he returned from this exile to find his flock torn by heresies and schisms. He made great efforts to achieve doctrinal unity and peace.

In 381 he took part in the Council of Constantinople and signed the condemnation of semi-Arianism. He died in 386. His great work, The Catecheses, or Catechetical Lectures, is turned toward the preparation of catechumens and neophytes.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

Parallel to Bishops who were founders of nations, like St. Patrick, whose life we have already commented on, there were also Bishops whom we can call pillars of the Church. They existed primarily in the East, and St. Cyril of Jerusalem was one of them.

When the Church left the Catacombs, many of her members were contaminated by a spirit of tepidness and spiritual decadence that propitiated the infiltration of paganism into Catholic milieus. It was a subtle penetration that stimulated them to accept diverse heresies. It was an attempt of the Devil to make them shake off the easy yoke of Our Lord placed by Constantine over the entire Empire.

In the West heresies popped up, one more harmful than the other, until the fall of the Roman Empire. In the East those heresies would continue. Such heresies, however, gave rise to numerous heroic and saintly Bishops who fought like lions against them. These heroes often ended by being defeated, but they filled the Church with splendor. They wrote works; they took positions that later would be admired and serve as a base to build the magnificent edifice of the Middle Ages.

Considering the example of St. Cyril of Jerusalem and so many other Saints, we understand what the fight for the Church should be. One must fight expending all his strength and resources. At times, he will die in the battle without fully realizing the effect of his effort, for often only the immediate defeat is apparent. But afterwards, that effort is remembered and treasured by others as a precious legacy, and it gives great fruits.

The Fathers and the Doctors of the Church – St. Cyril is one of them – played an enormous role in setting the foundations for Scholasticism and establishing the Catholic State in the Middle Ages. They were received with ingratitude by their contemporaries, but they formed the basis for the great triumph of Catholic Civilization.

From such examples, we can understand that we should fight for the cause of the Church by assuming a similar state of spirit that can appear paradoxical:

First, we must fight with the certainty that we are defeating the Revolution, which will fall under the blows we are giving it. We feel an appeal of Divine Providence calling us to do this and a promise that Our Lady wants to use us to accomplish this work.

Second, we must have such a great dedication to this fight that, even if we were to die without having defeated the Revolution and seeing the Reign of Mary, we would close our eyes in peace knowing that our effort will have an effect.

Third, even if this effort were not to have any effect in the future and would never be known to future generations, even if it would be lost in anonymity, we should be at peace because we will know that in the Book of Life, our fight was written for the Day of Judgment. It will be recognized that at the moment in History when Our Lady was prisoner there were some few who came to fight for her. In a world where truth was no longer welcome, there were some who proclaimed it. In this epoch of darkness, there were some who glorified God.

Therefore, our fight - which is motivated by these three certainties - is always a work that gives fruit. And if it is an incessant, indomitable fight in which we use every legitimate means, it will be an invincible one.

Let us pray to the great St. Cyril of Jerusalem to obtain for us the spirit of Faith he showed and left as an example so that we might destroy the Revolution in our days.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick - 17th March 2009

Today is the feast of St Patrick of Ireland. Today is the day a lot of people will get drunk on gree beer. I don't think St Patrick would approve at all. Let us read what Dr. Plino has to say about the patron saint of Ireland.

Biographical selection:

Patrick was the Apostle of a people, the light of Ireland, the father of this nation whose martyrdom will endure for ages. In him the gift of the apostolate shone. Christ put this gift in His Church and it will remain in her to the end times.

Some apostles were given the mission of working with a small part of the Gentiles and planting a seed among a certain group of people. It germinates to a greater or lesser degree according to the maliciousness or docility of men. But other apostles have the mission of making rapid conquests and submitting entire nations to the Gospel. Patrick belongs to this latter type of apostles. We should honor him as one of the most outstanding monuments of Divine Mercy toward men. His work was admirably solid.

In the 5th century, Great Britain was unaware that the Messiah had come. All the northern nations slept in the darkness of faithlessness. Before the successive awaking of many of those peoples, Ireland received the news of salvation. The word of God brought by the Apostle Patrick grew on that emerald Island, more fertile in fruits of grace than of nature. Its saints were abundant and spread throughout Europe.

The Irish missionaries spread the evangelization they received from their Founding Saint to other countries. When the hour of the great apostasy of the 16th century sounded, Germany, England, Scotland and the Scandinavian nations fell to Protestantism. But Ireland remained faithful. No persecution, subtle or atrocious as it might be, was able to take it from the Catholic Faith as taught by St. Patrick.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

These beautiful words of Dom Guéranger bring before our eyes one of those figures of evangelizers of entire peoples. Dom Guéranger makes a distinction that is very true and shows us what we often call a man of the right hand of God.

There are certain men chosen by God to make limited, small apostolates. For this work they are efficient and powerful. God gives them the graces for those efforts, but their works do not spread further. In Europe there are many Saints who are famous in their Dioceses, in the places they professed their vows or made various foundations. They sowed the seeds of Christendom in those specific places, where they are venerated. They are chosen as Patron Saints of a region, and local pilgrimages are made to their tombs. They constitute part of the rich multitude of facets that regional life brings to the ensemble of the Church and society.

There are other men, however, who play roles in the life of the Church on an international scale. Such apostles can be called men of the right hand of God in a more marked way. Obstacles are insignificant before them. They realize things no one would imagine possible to do. In this way they rapidly accelerate the march of History and the progress of the Church. We can say that St. Patrick was one of those men.

What is said about St. Patrick could also be said regarding Ireland. We normally stress the influence of Cluny in the Middle Ages. It is a correct point. But it is also important to stress the role played by the Irish people. Ireland was a true starting point for the irradiation of the Catholic Faith into nations that gave much glory to God, although centuries later they would become Protestant.

As the Catholic Faith established itself in Ireland, monasteries were founded throughout the country. By means of these monasteries, the Irish participated in the missionary action of the Carolingian Empire. In this sense they played a role in evangelizing England, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and the nations of the Northern Sea. In that time Ireland played a role similar to that which the Iberian Peninsula would play in the 16th century, when Spain and Portugal were the point of evangelization of Latin America, as well as parts of Africa and Asia. Analogously, after a period of irradiation, the glory of Ireland - like the glory of Spain and Portugal - faded.

The Revolution and the Secret Forces employed every effort to make Spain and Portugal apostatize from the Catholic Faith. The world glory of those countries faded, and in many points they denied the Catholic position, although some of the old fidelity still remains. Ireland, however, never apostatized. It received this prize because it was the apostolic nation of the North. Ireland remains firm, very firm for the glory of God.

This fact is very beautiful and should raise our hearts to God in thanksgiving. But it is also true that Ireland was infiltrated by Socialism and other forms of the Revolution. Irish Catholicism became in large measure liberal and progressivist. As a result the Irish immigration to the United States was largely made up of leftists and liberal Catholics. That is to say, that magnificent Catholic Ireland became rotten in great part through the maneuvers of the Revolution even though it remained inside the Church.

Let us pray to St. Patrick to obtain from Our Lady an end to this situation so that everything will not be corrupted. If things continue the way they are going, this is what will happen in a short time. It is why it is necessary that God intervene soon.

Monday, March 16, 2009

St. Clement Mary Hofbauer - 16th March 2009

Let us read what Dr. Plino has to comment about the life of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer

Biographical selection:

Apostle of Vienna, born in Tasswitz, Austria on December 26, 1751, died on March 15, 1821.

After his course in theology, Clement entered the University of Vienna for seminary training. It was not long before he realized that some of his teachers were not rejecting the Rationalism of the 18th century. They were looking for a strange reconciliation between Catholic doctrine and Enlightenment thinking.

From the time he was very young, Clement had been gifted with a secure Catholic sense that permitted him to distinguish with certainty what was true Catholic doctrine. He was anguished, therefore, to hear these falsified doctrines.

One day after class, he went to the teacher to present objections to the adaptation to Enlightenment thinking that the professor had made in his lecture. The teacher tried to explain to him that it would be very difficult in the climate of the epoch to follow the traditional doctrine of the Church, since only the language of reason was accepted, either from the pulpit or the university chairs. He concluded: “We have to swim with the tide if we don’t want to be left behind.”

The simple son of a laborer responded: “To swim with the tide in this case is cowardice, since we have to fight and swim against the tide of this ocean. Whosoever wants to shine the light upon the road for this century must ignite his torch in the light of Revelation.”

The professor replied: “Hofbauer, you will preach to empty pews. Our epoch no longer supports that kind of talk.”

Clement made this reply: “If what you say is true, then we are already in the end times announced by St. Paul, who said that times would come that would no longer tolerate sound doctrine. What would St. Paul say about your thinking, professor?”

On another occasion a professor stated in class that the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin was just a pious legend, and that it should no longer be spoken of in public. Clement stood up indignantly and said: “Professor, this doctrine is not Catholic!” And he left the room.

“Perhaps one day a little more light will enter the mind of this peasant!” the professor shouted to his retreating back. But he was obliged to end the class then, since the room had emptied. All the students had followed Hofbauer.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

It is interesting to note and identify here the methods of the Revolution. The 18th century seems very remote to us. It was the time of litters, hoop skirts and tricorne hats. The 19th century also seems far away to us today. Perhaps some of you would not distinguish the century of Ramses II from the century of Queen Victoria. Almost everything from the past seems immersed in the same cloudy historical background.

Well, in that time that seems so ancient to us, men already imagined themselves to be very modern. They already defended the idea that one has to cede a little in face of the Revolution in order not to give up everything. This motto was already being adopted: “Cede to not lose.” The same modernist current that we see today was already using the same methods and assuming the same type of cowardice.

Notice, for example, the threat the professor made to St. Clement Marie Hofbauer: “When you leave here, you will preach to empty pews.” It is the same thing they say to us: The doctrine you defend is no longer able to attract men today.

But in reality what happened was that St. Clement spoke out, and the whole class followed him. Therefore, the situation was not so lost as they presented it. It is a fact that the Enlightenment exerted great influence on the leadership and some among the grassroots. But there were still persons who were disposed to follow one who would courageously act and take up the complete Catholic position. Yesterday – as well as today – the right thing to do is to speak the whole truth.

It is also interesting to see how counter-revolutionary the position of St. Clement Marie Hofbauer was. He fought against the motto: “Cede to not lose.” He did not cede an inch in face of the threat that he would be preaching to empty pews. If this, in fact, would happen, his conclusion was that the end times had arrived. His professor didn’t want to think about such a thing. Like almost all the progressivists today, the liberals of that time didn’t want to consider that possibility – for them there is no end of time. On the contrary, what they want is more time to enjoy life. The same spirit that opposed St. Clement Hofbauer in the 18th and 19th centuries is combating us today.

In the similarities you find in this episode from the life of St. Clement Hofbauer and in what happens in our fight today, you can see one of the principle laws of History. That is, that there is a continuity in the same good spirit and the same bad spirit fighting one another through the centuries.

For this reason we should not consider ourselves as a small group that is separated from everyone in the past and the future, like something that suddenly appeared out of nowhere separated from everything, like a cork floating on the ocean. No, we are not alone, we are those who are united with a whole current of Catholics, those who continue and maintain a state of spirit that has existed since the beginning of History and will last until the end. We are a link in the most magnificent and majestic of chains, the chain of the slaves of Our Lady who will crush the head of the serpent.

From the example of St. Clement Marie Hofbauer, we can see that the enemies he combated are the same as the enemies we combat. Our fight did not start today. It is a fight that began long ago and will last much longer. It is part of a golden chain that started in the Old Testament and will continue until the final days of tribulation when the last Catholics will still be fighting even if they consider everything to be lost.

At that moment the Son of the Man, Our Lord Jesus Christ, will come in great pomp and majesty to conquer, to judge and to close History. And then, this chain will be complete and all of its member will join together, by the favor of Our Lady, in Heaven.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Louise de Marillac - 15 March 2009

(St Louise de Marillac in St Peter's Basilica)

Louise, born near Meux, France, lost her mother when she was still a child, her beloved father when she was but 15. Her desire to become a nun was discouraged by her confessor, and a marriage was arranged. One son was born of this union. But she soon found herself nursing her beloved husband through a long illness that finally led to his death.

Louise was fortunate to have a wise and sympathetic counselor, St. Francis de Sales, and then his friend, the Bishop of Belley, France. Both of these men were available to her only periodically. But from an interior illumination she understood that she was to undertake a great work under the guidance of another person she had not yet met. This was the holy priest M. Vincent, later to be known as St. Vincent de Paul.

At first he was reluctant to be her confessor, busy as he was with his "Confraternities of Charity." Members were aristocratic ladies of charity who were helping him nurse the poor and look after neglected children, a real need of the day. But the ladies were busy with many of their own concerns and duties. His work needed many more helpers, especially ones who were peasants themselves and therefore close to the poor and could win their hearts. He also needed someone who could teach them and organize them.

Only over a long period of time, as Vincent de Paul became more acquainted with Louise, did he come to realize that she was the answer to his prayers. She was intelligent, self-effacing and had physical strength and endurance that belied her continuing feeble health. The missions he sent her on eventually led to four simple young women joining her. Her rented home in Paris became the training center for those accepted for the service of the sick and poor. Growth was rapid and soon there was need of a so-called rule of life, which Louise herself, under the guidance of Vincent, drew up for the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (though he preferred "Daughters" of Charity).

He had always been slow and prudent in his dealings with Louise and the new group. He said that he had never had any idea of starting a new community, that it was God who did everything. "Your convent," he said, "will be the house of the sick; your cell, a hired room; your chapel, the parish church; your cloister, the streets of the city or the wards of the hospital." Their dress was to be that of the peasant women. It was not until years later that Vincent de Paul would finally permit four of the women to take annual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. It was still more years before the company would be formally approved by Rome and placed under the direction of Vincent's own congregation of priests.

Many of the young women were illiterate and it was with reluctance that the new community undertook the care of neglected children. Louise was busy helping wherever needed despite her poor health. She traveled throughout France, establishing her community members in hospitals, orphanages and other institutions. At her death on March 15, 1660, the congregation had more than 40 houses in France. Six months later St. Vincent de Paul followed her in death.

Louise de Marillac was canonized in 1934 and declared patroness of social workers in 1960.