New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Feast of the Canadian Martyrs

Jean de Brébeuf

Jean de Brébeuf, was ordained at thirty-three. He was the first Jesuit Missionary in Huronia (1626), a master of the Indian language.

He worked throughout all the district, founded Mission outposts converted thousands to the faith. He inspired many Jesuits to volunteer for the Missions of New France.

Massive in body, strong yet gentle in character, his visions of the cross and of his future martyrdom were fulfilled when captured March 16, 1649, he was tortured for hours. He was martyred at St. Ignace, six miles from Ste. Marie at the age of fifty-six.

Brebeuf is said to have the heart of a giant. He was known as the apostle of the Hurons. The Indians called him Echon.

Gabriel Lalemant

Gabriel Lalemant, a Jesuit at nineteen, ordained at twenty-seven, a scholar and professor and a College administrator, delicate in body had a strong desire for the Mission of Huronia.

After two years in Canada he left for Huronia. After seven months in Huronia, he was able to speak the Native tongue. For one month he was assistant to Brebeuf and then his companion in Martyrdom for seventeen long hours. He died March 17, 1649 at Ste. Ignace.

He summed up his own strength, "My strength is the strength of God. In Him, I can do all things."

Antoine Daniel

Antoine Daniel, was ordained a priest at twenty-nine, was a missionary near Bias-d'or Lakes (1632), founded the first boys' College in North America (Quebec 1635), laboured in Huronia for twelve years.

In 1648 he made his retreat at Ste. Marie and returned to his mission twelve miles away. On July 4, he just finished Mass when the Mission was attacked. In Mass vestments he faced the enemy, encouraging the Christian converts to live their faith and thus giving time for some to escape.

His martyred body was thrown in the flames of the burning Church. This was at Mount St. Louis. He was forty-eight.

Charles Garnier

Charles Garnier, was a Jesuit Missionary in Huronia at age of thirty-one. For thirteen years he was pastor and missionary to the Hurons and Petuns.

Gentle, innocent, fearless, a person of faith he drew converts to the faith. Even when the Mission of Etharita was attacked and he himself wounded, he continued to baptize neo-phytes and to assist a wounded Huron. In this act he died at the age of forty-four about thirty miles from Ste. Marie.

Noël Chabanel

Noël Chabanel, a Jesuit priest at twenty-eight, a successful professor and humanist in France, had a strong desire to come to the Canadian Missions. Here he was unable to learn the native language and felt useless in the ministry.

He took a vow to remain in the missions, on the cross of seeming failure, always in the shadow of martyrdom. Even his martyrdom came secretly at the hands of an apostate on December 8, 1649 on the Nottawasaga, twenty-five miles from Ste. Marie.

Isaac Jogues

Isaac Jogues, came to Huronia in 1636, supplied at mission outposts for three years, helped to build Ste. Marie (1639), explored as far west as Sault Ste. Marie.

Captured by the Iroquois when returning to Ste. Marie from Quebec (1642), he was tortured, lost his fingers, made a slave. He escaped to France, but returned the same year to again be an emissary and missionary to the Iroquois.

He was martyred at Auriesville, N.Y. at age of thirty-nine.

René Goupil

René Goupil, had to leave the Jesuit novitiate because of ill health. He studied medicine and offered his services to the Jesuit missions in Canada. On his way to Ste. Marie, he and Isaac Jogues were captured and tortured.

Isaac Jogues received his vows into the Society of Jesus. A month later, he was martyred while making the Sign of the Cross on a child. It took place at Auriesville, N.Y. He was thirty-five.

He was the first of the eight Martyrs to receive the palm of Martyrdom.

Jean de Lalande

Jean de Lalande, at nineteen offered his services as a layman to the Jesuits in New France. He accompanied Jogues to the Mohawk Mission (1646), was captured with him and tortured. He saw Jogues martyred. On the following day (October 19, 1646), he himself was killed, a martyr, at Auriesville, N.Y.

Sts. Cosmas and Damien - 26th September 2009

These two martyrs were twin brothers from Syria who lived in the fourth century. They were very famous students of science and both became excellent doctors. Cosmas and Damien saw in every patient as a brother or sister in Christ. For this reason, they showed great charity to all and treated their patients to the best of their ability. Yet no matter how much care a patient required, neither Cosmas nor Damien ever accepted any money for their services. For this reason, they were called by a name in Greek which means "the penniless ones."
Every chance they had, the two saints told their patients about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Because the people all loved these twin doctors, they listened to them willingly. Cosmas and Damien often brought health back to both the bodies and the souls of those who came to them for help.
When Diocletian's persecution of Christians began in their city, the saints were arrested at once. They had never tried to hide their great love for their Christian faith. They were tortured, but nothing could make them give up their belief in Christ. They had lived for him and had brought so many people to his love. So at last, they were put to death in the year 303. These holy martyrs are named in the First Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass.
In honor of St. Cosmas and St. Damien, we can perform a work of mercy today--either spiritual or material.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hypocrisy - St. Padre Pio

I am a day late posting about St. Padre Pio. None the less the following article is worth reading.

PADRE PIO, the famous Capuchin Stigmatic, in an interview with William M. Carrigan in 1945 said:

"HYPOCRISY IS THE GREATEST EVIL OF OUR TIME. It exists in all levels of our society, in high places and in low places."

Padre Pio had no claim to scholarship, but his deep wisdom concerning the spiritual welfare of man flowed through his life and works, and touched all who came into his sphere.

Hypocrisy In Our Day...

We are all familiar with hypocrisy in Politics - in Education - in the Courts - in Medicine - in Advertising - in Religion. We see it constantly in the Media. TV Newspapers - and Magazines as well as Radio and Theatre - all find it good stock in trade.

Few of them will pass up the use of half truths - prejudices - slanted reporting - calumny - detraction - mythical argument - distortion of facts - falsifications - pretense of virtue while supporting vice - glorification of violence....if they add to the saleability of their stocks in trade. These hypocritical forms are found constantly in the media. So common are they that they have been acceptable methods of selling ideas. They are the reason for so many ethics standards appearing in govemment and business.

A Kind of Brain Washing. . .

The sales pitch for almost everything that touches our lives includes hypocrisy. To convince the gullible, nearly everything from cosmetics to religion is presented as seeming different than what it really is. We see in politics, promises that are impossible to honor, in education theories that could destroy society, in medicine false arguments which prevent the next generation from arriving on the earth, in commerce most advertising on TV and in the press distorts the truth, the porno people and the amoral sales people sell their stuff with the argument that somehow `what is adult' is sinless, that what may be bad for children is not bad for adults.

In religion - how the struggle goes on for souls! Those who truly seek God are entrapped in a thousand schemes to lead them to God by this or that road, and often worldly advantages are part of the package.

Hypocrisy is rampant in the whole spectrum of moral consequences in human conduct. Humanism is taking its toll among our childnn "Seek your own value system" is drummed into them in school, on T.V. and in the media generally. When they ask "When do we know we have a value?" they are told "As long as you are comfortable with it." No one seems to remember that God gave us our value system through Moses. Padre Pio never thought there could be a better one.

In the Days of Christ...

How many of these same hypocritical forms were used in Christ's time! Did He not strike out at hypocrisy in the temple and in the hearts of men from the earliest days of His ministry!

How old and how new is the evil! Was it not hypocrisy among the Politicians and the religious leaders that brought Christ to Pilate - before the Soldiers who beat Him to exhaustion - forced Him under the heavy cross - and drove the nails into His body and made Him a common criminal to die on the cross with thieves?

Padre Pio understood hypocrisy in Christ's time. For 50 years he shared the five wounds of Christ in his body - and he experienced some of the hypocrisy of the politicians and other authorities through those long years in his own life.

Christ on The Cross...

This season we again commemorate the suffering of Jesus on the cross. This season tens of thousands of Padre Pio's devotees throughout the world have greater undestanding of the meaning, of the suffering of Christ on Calvary because Padre Pio conveyed that understanding to them through his own sharing of Christ's wounds and his extraordinary example as an altar christus, an annointed Priest.

Holy Week on The Gargano...

Padre Pio always placed special emphasis on Holy Week. Thousands of his spiritual children found their way up the mountain of the Gargano - which formed the spur of the boot of Italy - to participate with him in reviewing the events of Christ's last days on earth.

No spiritual experience quite equalled Holy Week with Padre Pio. His Masses convinced the most incredulous of the truth and meaning, of the Last Supper. For many he became the answer to the crises of faith. Conversions were commonplace at this time. Many vowed to change their way of life - some found vocations to the religious life. Credibility is what they found in Padre Pio - credibility in belief that Christ is really what He said He is.

CURE for Hypocrisy

TRUTH In the confessional he demanded "full disclosure" of his spiritual children.
CREDIBILITY is the first fruit of truth.
TRUST becomes the offspring of credibility, he wanted his children to trust the word of Christ.
JUSTICE Trust leads directly to the exercise of justice. Respect for persons and property follows naturally.
LOVE enters freely where there is truth, credibility, trust and justice.
PEACE can be enjoyed where justice and love fill the heart and mind.

Monday, September 21, 2009

St. Matthew the Evangelist - 21 September 2009

The Apostle St. Matthew evangelized Ethiopia, where he disclosed as agents of the Devil the various magicians who misled the King and the people. He resurrected the son of the King, and the admiring people wanted to adore him as a god. But St. Matthew did not permit it and used the gold and silver they brought in his homage to build a great church. He resided there under the protection of the sovereign for 33 years. The king’s daughter, St. Ephigenia [Feast day also September 21], consecrated herself to God and founded a convent where she was the superior of more than 200 virgins.

The King died, and his successor, Hirtacus, wanted to marry St. Ephigenia since he considered her the only woman worthy of him. The new King asked St. Matthew to convince the Princess to marry and promised him half of his kingdom if he should succeed. The Apostle told him to come to church on Sunday, and that there he would find a response to his request. The King hastened to comply, thinking that the Apostle would persuade Ephigenia to marry him. With the virgins and whole populace present, St. Matthew preached at great length on the excellence of the sacrament of marriage.

Hirtacus was pleased believing that the sermon would make Ephigenia consent to marriage with him. However, at a certain moment, St. Matthew said:

"Since marriage is good as long as the union is kept inviolate, all of you here present know that if a servant dared to usurp the king’s spouse, he would deserve not only the king’s anger, but death as a penalty."

Then he turned to the king and addressed him:

“So it is with you, O King! You know that Ephigenia has become the spouse of the Eternal King and is consecrated with the sacred veil. How can you take the spouse of One who is more powerful than you and make her your wife?”

Filled with rage and hatred, the King left the church. When the Mass was concluded, he sent a swordsman with the order to kill St. Matthew. Finding St. Matthew standing before the altar with his hands raised to Heaven in prayer, he stabbed the Apostle in the back, killing him and making him a martyr.

Learning of this, the indignant people ran to the royal palace to take revenge for that crime, but the priests restrained them and advised them to follow the funeral of the Saint instead. Hirtacus then had a huge fire ignited around the convent of St. Ephigenia to kill her and the virgins. But St. Matthew appeared to them and turned the fire away from the convent and towards the royal palace, which was completely consumed along with all in it. Only the King and his son managed to escape.

The Prince immediately ran to the tomb of St. Matthew confessing his father’s crimes and asking forgiveness. The King was stricken with a loathsome leprosy and took his life with his own sword. The people chose as king the brother of Ephigenia. He reigned for 70 years spreading the cult of Christ and building churches throughout Ethiopia. (From the Golden Legend)

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

First, we should notice that Ethiopia had a special character of those countries of ancient Africa. It was one of the first to become Catholic and develop a strong personality. Later, unfortunately, it became Monophysist. Until some time ago, Ethiopia was an Empire. The Golden Legend tells us how the King and the people of Ethiopia had been led astray by magicians from the worship of the true God that one can have by faithfulness to Natural Law. Those magicians had a pact with the Devil. St. Matthew destroyed their power showing the King and the people that they were agents of the Devil.

We can imagine the scene of the Publican Jew, Matthew, arriving in that country by sea, or perhaps by the Nile, and beginning to preach. We can envision how the magicians felt a great power in St. Matthew that came from God, and feared him. The selection is brief on this point, but we can suppose that they probably performed many tricks with miraculous hues to convince the people that they had a divine power. St. Matthew arrived and shortly afterward resurrected the son of the King. With this, he confounded the magicians before the King and the people. Seeing this noble, powerful, supernatural, and amiable man perform such a miracle, the Ethiopian multitude was filled with admiration and became enthused with him.

One of the great natural qualities of the black race is their capacity to admire. Grace elevates and develops this quality. The capacity to admire is such a beautiful thing that, from a certain point of view, I believe it is more beautiful than the capacity to be admired. In Heaven for all eternity we will admire, we will adore Our Lord. Then, we can imagine those Ethiopians exercising this gift, enthused with St. Matthew, and asking him to baptize them.

Second, the conversion of the daughter of the King is very beautiful, as well. A nation that lived for centuries in Paganism and impurity was converted by the words of St. Matthew, and 200 ebony young ladies went with the daughter of the King to a convent to be spouses of Our Lord Jesus Christ. They resided near Ethiopia’s first church built under the direction of St. Matthew himself. The convent that received those 200 ebony virgins was also near the royal palace. Probably, in a special ceremony, St. Matthew gave them a symbol of their consecration, the veil, to begin their religious life. We can imagine the influence this episode had on the people, and the joy of God and His Angels in Heaven seeing these Catholic institutions born in Ethiopia. It is a wonderful thing!

Third, it is interesting to note the agility of St. Matthew. When the Apostle began to preach, the King thought he would obtain the hand of St. Ephigenia in marriage. But then St. Matthew turned the sermon around, and solemnly condemned the sovereign.

Another curious point, the priests advised the people not to destroy the royal palace, but directed them to St. Matthew’s funeral. But apparently the Saint did not agree with this advice, because he deviated the fire from the convent to burn the royal palace, chastising its inhabitants and doing more or less what the people would have done if the priests hadn’t stopped them.

Fourth, the final sentence of the selection affirms that the new King reigned for 70 years spreading the Catholic Faith and building churches. This transmits an idea of a long, peaceful, and elevated kingdom. It is the peace of Christ in a kingdom of Christ. When the Catholic Faith is established, it is the seed of every good. When it is not established, the seed of every evil is sown.

Some say that the Golden Legend would not be true because the stories it tells are too marvelous. My first inclination is to think the opposite: if it is marvelous, it would be true.

Let us ask St. Matthew to give us the intrepid faith he had that made him able to convert a whole kingdom single-handed and to establish the seed of Christendom in Ethiopia. Like him we should be Apostles of the End Times bringing entire countries to Our Lord and Our Lady.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Our Lady of La Salette - 20 September 2009

On September 19, 1846, Our Lady appeared to two small shepherds, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat. The beautiful lady, as the children called her, appeared in an attitude of profound sadness asking prayers and penance to help her prevent the arm of her Son from falling over humankind for its sins. Our Lady also revealed to the shepherd children a secret. Since this apparition took place on the mountain called La Salette in the Diocese of Grenoble, France, a new invocation of Our Lady soon spread throughout the world – Our Lady of La Salette.

There have been three major apparitions of Our Lady in the last 150 years: La Salette, Lourdes and Fatima. In all of them the Church accepted the authenticity of the apparitions and endorsed them by making special feasts to commemorate them. In each of those three apparitions Our Lady left a secret.

In all of them, Our Lady manifested herself as profoundly sad because of the state of mankind, and predicted an enormous chastisement that would come at a chosen moment. Therefore, in the last 150 years Our Lady has adopted a position very similar to that of the counter-revolutionaries.

You are constantly in contact with members of the High and Low Clergy as well as with Catholic laypeople who are very happy, who think that everything is going very well. If you tell these people that a chastisement is being prepared for mankind, they respond that it is absurd. They affirm that today Religion is in an extraordinary progress.

Next to such people we look gloomy and sad. We play the role of the pessimistic hypochondriacs who do not fit into the joyful, carefree atmosphere of our days, which always disseminates an optimistic and positive opinion about everything.

Our role is a hard one, because it is always hard to foresee and announce chastisements for a mankind turned toward enjoying life. It is not surprising that very few people are willing to believe and follow our political and religious perspectives regarding events, which demonstrates the ever greater victory of the Revolution. They do not want to hear about the great chastisement that God is preparing. Since Our Lady herself brought three major messages that were not accepted, it is not surprising that our apostolate also is not well received.

This is characteristic of all epochs that take the wrong path. When people hear someone saying that they are going astray, they do not listen. For this reason, the great chastisements come. If the people would listen, they would convert, and the chastisement would be averted. It is precisely because they do not open their souls to the message that the catastrophe becomes inevitable. The fact that they do not believe in Our Lady’s messages is the proof that those messages will be fulfilled.

Someone could object: One hundred and fifty years have already past and nothing has happened. How have these messages been fulfilled?

I sustain that in ovo (in the egg; in its seed) the great chastisements have begun. Our Lady appeared in La Salette in 1846; in 1870 the Franco-Prussian war started as a result of the rivalry between France and Germany. This rivalry would reach an apogee in 1914 and be the most profound cause for World War I, as well as for World War II. The quarrels of WWII have still not been resolved completely and the perspective of a World War III lies on the horizon. A possible WWIII with its nuclear apocalypse can very well be the start of the great chastisement predicted in La Salette and Fatima.

The great chastisements of God defy the patience of those few who are faithful. The most characteristic example was the Deluge where everybody laughed at Noah who was building his ark in expectation of a great chastisement. It took him 100 years to complete his work, and then the Flood came. At times Noah might have been tempted to think that he was wrong and that the people laughing at him were right. But he did not relent. He remained faithful to the message he received from God and continue to prepare for the chastisement. The fact that it took a long time to come did not mean that it would not come; rather, it meant that it would be an enormous chastisement.

Our Lord predicted that the Temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed. When He died, an earthquake shook its floors and the veil of the Temple was rent in the middle. Some walls were damaged but the Temple remained standing. Decades passed and the prophecy was not fulfilled. Several times the faithful of Jerusalem thought that the signs were ripe for the chastisement and fled to the mountains, as Our Lord had advised them to do. However, nothing happened and they returned to their normal lives, perhaps a little discouraged. Then, 40 years after Our Lord’s death, and apparently by chance, a soldier from the army of Titus threw a torch into one of the side windows of the Temple; the fire spread quickly, swallowed all the buildings, and then, in truth, not one stone remained over the other just as He had predicted. Afterward the Temple was never rebuilt.

We should be convinced that we were chosen to be among the few who listen to the voice of Our Lady and wait for the chastisement she predicted. These cherished ones must give proof of their love. They must give proof of their fidelity before the word of God is accomplished. This is the situation we are in. I don’t know how many years we must await the promises of La Salette and Fatima to be fulfilled. At times we think: “Now it has to come, because it is impossible for the situation to be any worse.” Then, it doesn’t come. The stormy sky releases just some few drops of rain and dissipates. Again the sky becomes stormy… People laugh at us. We should remember Noah. When the rain finally fell, it was the Deluge.

To confide against all appearances, and believe after all the delays is the demand of God in selecting those with whom He will make His alliance. This is the great teaching of La Salette. This is the spirit we should ask to receive on the feast day of Our Lady of La Salette: to have a blind confidence in her promise, and to be certain that its fulfillment will come.