New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Saturday, December 19, 2009

BL. Pope Urban V - 19th December 2009

Blessed Urban V, whose family name was William de Grimoard, was born in Mende, on a mountain of the Cevenne hills. He rapidly mastered the various disciplines of literature and the sciences. It was religious life which then appeared to him as the ideal which could best respond to the propensities of his mind and the needs of his heart. He went to knock at the door of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Victor near Marseille, and there, in the peaceful shadows of the cloister, he advanced day by day in all the virtues. He was remarked in particular for his tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

Religious profession had augmented his ardor for learning, and his Superiors soon judged the humble monk capable of teaching. In effect, his illustrious voice brought honor to the professorial chairs confided to him in Montpellier, Paris, Avignon and Toulouse. A few years later, after serving for a short time as Abbot of Saint Germain d’Auxerre, he was sent to Italy by Pope Clement VI as his legate. This, unbeknown to himself, was to be a step toward the highest existing dignity. He was elected Pope in October of 1362 and took the name of Urban V, because all the popes who had borne that name had ennobled it by the sanctity of their lives.

It is he who added to the papal tiara a third crown, not out of pride, but to symbolize the triple royalty of the pope over the faithful, the bishops, and the Roman States. When he mounted the throne of Saint Peter at that time in Avignon, he envisioned three great projects — the return of the Papacy from Avignon to Rome, the reformation of morals, and the propagation of the Catholic faith in distant lands. His return to Rome, which had not seen a Pope for sixty years, was a triumph. Nonetheless, the morals of Rome had undergone a sad decline.

Urban lived as a Saint during the days of his great works, fasting like a monk and directing all glory to God. At his death, he asked that the people be allowed to circulate around his bed: “The people must see,” he said, “how Popes die.”

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ven Delia Tetreault - 18th December 2009

For the life of this Venerable Canadian Nun, please refer to the following link

Thursday, December 17, 2009

St. Lazarus - 17th December 2009

Reputed first Bishop of Marseilles, died in the second half of the first century.

According to a tradition, or rather a series of traditions combined at different epochs, the members of the family at Bethany, the friends of Christ, together with some holy women and others of His disciples, were put out to sea by the Jews hostile to Christianity in a vessel without sails, oars, or helm, and after a miraculous voyage landed in Provence at a place called today the Saintes-Maries. It is related that they separated there to go and preach the Gospel in different parts of the southeast of Gaul. Lazarus, of whom alone we have to treat here, went to Marseilles, and, having converted a number of its inhabitants to Christianity, became their first pastor. During the first persecution under Nero he hid himself in a crypt, over which the celebrated Abbey of St.-Victor was constructed in the fifth century. In this same crypt he was interred, when he shed his blood for the faith. During the new persecution of Domitian he was cast into prison and beheaded in a spot which is believed to be identical with a cave beneath the prison Saint-Lazare. His body was later translated to Autun, and buried in the cathedral of that town. But the inhabitants of Marseilles claim to be in possession of his head which they still venerate.

Like the other legends concerning the saints of the Palestinian group, this tradition, which was believed for several centuries and which still finds some advocates, has no solid foundation. It is in a writing, contained in an eleventh century manuscript, with some other documents relating to St. Magdalen of Vézelay, that we first read of Lazarus in connection with the voyage that brought Magdalen to Gaul. Before the middle of the eleventh century there does not seem to be the slightest trace of the tradition according to which the Palestinian saints came to Provence. At the beginning of the twelfth century, perhaps through a confusion of names, it was believed at Autun that the tomb of St. Lazarus was to be found in the cathedral dedicated to St. Nazarius. A search was made and remains were discovered, which were solemnly translated and were considered to be those of him whom Christ raised from the dead, but it was not thought necessary to inquire why they should be found in France.

The question, however, deserved to be examined with care, seeing that, according to a tradition of the Greek Church, the body of St. Lazarus had been brought to Constantinople, just as all the other saints of the Palestinian group were said to have died in the Orient, and to have been buried, translated, and honoured there. It is only in the thirteenth century that the belief that Lazarus had come to Gaul with his two sisters and had been Bishop of Marseilles spread in Provence. It is true that a letter is cited (its origin is uncertain), written in 1040 by Pope Benedict IX on the occasion of the consecration of the new church of St.-Victor in which Lazarus is mentioned. But in this text the pope speaks only of relics of St. Lazarus, merely calling him the saint who was raised again to life. He does not speak of him as having lived in Provence, or as having been Bishop of Marseilles.

The most ancient Provençal text alluding to the episcopacy of St. Lazarus is a passage in the "Otia imperialia" of Gervase of Tillbury (1212). Thus the belief in his Provençal apostolate is of very late date, and its supporters must produce more ancient and reliable documentary evidence. In the crypt of St.-Victor at Marseilles an epitaph of the of the fifth century has been discovered, which informs us that a bishop named Lazarus was buried there. In the opinion of the most competent archæologists, however, this personage is Lazarus, Bishop of Aix, who was consecrated at Marseilles about 407, and who, having had to abandon his see in 411, passed some time in Palestine, whence he returned to end his days in Marseilles. It is more than likely that it is the name of this bishop and his return from Palestine, that gave rise to the legend of the coming of the Biblical Lazarus to Provence, and his apostolate in the city of Marseilles.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Advent Poem - St. John of the Cross

If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the road
pregnant with the holy, and say,
"I need shelter for the night,
please take me inside your heart, my time is so close."
Then, under the roof of your soul,
you will witness the sublime intimacy,
the divine, the Christ, taking birth forever,
as she grasps your hand for help,
for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.
Yes there, under the dome of your being
does creation come into existence eternally,
through your womb, dear pilgrim - the sacred womb of your soul,
as God grasps our arms for help:
for each of us is his beloved servant, never far.
If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the street
pregnant with Light and sing...

St. Adelaide - 16th December 2009

Born in 931, St. Adelaide was the daughter of Rudolph of Burgundy. Still a child she was betrothed for political reasons to Lothair of Provence, heir of King Hugh of Italy. Hugh married Adelaide's widowed mother. At the age of sixteen she married Lothair, now Icing of Italy, and a daughter, Emma, was born of the marriage. It was an unhappy union but a short one, for in 950 Lothair died. His successor, Berengar, imprisoned her when Adelaide refused to marry his son. After four months' confinement she escaped in August 951, and when that same year the German Emperor Otto appeared in Italy and proposed marriage, she accepted. Four children were born to them, the future Otto II and three daughters, two of whom became nuns. A revolt led by Ludolf, Otto's son by his first marriage, was crushed. It would appear to have been Adelaide's influence which encouraged, if it did not inspire, Otto's policy of close collaboration with the church. During a sojourn of six years in Italy Otto and Adelaide received the imperial crown from John XII.
When her husband was succeeded in 973 by their son Otto II, Adelaide for some years exercised a powerful influence. Later, however, her daughter-in-law, the Byzantine princess Theophano, turned her husband against his mother, and she was driven from court. Finally a reconciliation was effected, and in 983 Otto appointed her his viceroy in Italy.

He died the same year, and the new emperor, Otto III, still a minor, was entrusted to the joint regency of his mother and grandmother. Theophano was able once again to oust Adelaide from power and the court. Her death in 991 restored the regency to Adelaide. She was assisted by St. Willigis, bishop of Mainz. In 995 Otto came of age, and Adelaide was free to devote herself exclusively to pious works, notably the foundation or restoration of religious houses. She had long entertained close relations with Cluny, then the center of the movement for ecclesiastical reform and in particular with its abbots St. Majolus and St. Odilo. On her way to Burgundy to support her nephew Rudolph III against rebellion, she died at a monastery she had founded at Seltz. She had constantly devoted herself to the service of the church and peace, and to the empire as guardian of both; she also interested herself in the conversion of the Slavs. She was thus a principal agent—almost an embodiment—of the work of the Catholic church during the dark ages in the construction of the religion-culture of western Europe. Her feast is kept in many German dioceses.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Update on Communion situation in Toronto in realtion to swin Flu

I just received this document via email from the Archbishops' office. We can now receive Holy Communion on our tongues again. I am so happy that this is happening before Christmas.

December 15, 2009

Ongoing Communication regarding the H1N1 Flu Virus

To all clergy and employees of the Archdiocese of Toronto,

I would like to provide a further update regarding our H1N1 planning. In my communication of November 2, I outlined a series of temporary measures that were implemented after consultation with local health experts, church officials, and others with extensive experience in pandemic planning.

In recent days, we have seen the number of cases of H1N1 decrease significantly. While we are relieved that the virus appears to have peaked, we must remain vigilant in maintaining good hygiene practices, especially during the winter months and traditional flu season. Over the last several weeks, all Ontarians have been provided the opportunity to receive vaccination against the H1N1 virus, in addition to the traditional flu shot offered at this time of year.

I would encourage parishes to continue the following pro-active measures:

· Provide hand cleaning stations near church entrances.

· Ask all those distributing communion to wash their hands before mass. You may wish to provide an alcohol-based sanitizer so that all ministers may sanitize their hands before and after distributing communion.

· Kindly remind your parishioners that if they are feeling sick or ill, it is best for them to stay home.

In terms of our liturgical practices, effective Wednesday, December 16, I am removing the temporary restrictions that I imposed in the communication of November 2.

Although it was not mentioned in that communication, I encourage parishes to provide the faithful with Holy Water in the fonts at the entrances to the church.

As in the past and to ensure consistency in our churches, please communicate these changes to your parishioners. This update will also be available on our website and through our H1N1 page:

To our family of faith, I extend my gratitude for your patience over the last number of weeks. As we await the birth of the Christ child, we are ever mindful of our call to serve the most vulnerable among us just as Christ cares for each member of his family.

Sincerely in Christ,

Thomas Collins

Archbishop of Toronto

Venerable Bishop Vital Grandin - 15th December 2009

Venerable Bishop Vital Grandin, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Bishop of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, born in St. Pierre-la-Cour, France on February 8, 1829, died at St. Albert, Alberta, June 3, 1902.
As a pioneering Oblate missionary of the Canadian West, he became the first bishop of the then vast and newly created diocese of St. Albert in 1871. Wholly dedicated to bringing Roman Catholicism to the people of the plains, he worked despite great hardship to develop the missions. Through difficulties and dangers he travelled incessantly over the vast prairie regions in an endeavour to save souls. He endured his crosses with true courage and with a genuine love for his fellow man.
His cause for sainthood was introduced at Rome in 1937. His motto was "Infirma mundi elegit Deus" - God chooses the weak of this world - his coat of arms was a bent reed and a cross.
On December 15, 1966, Pope Paul VI promulgated the official decree of the heroic virtues of Bishop Grandin, OMI, and he was declared "Venerable."
"I owe my vocation to God and after Him, to my mother. I am convinced that a call to a religious or ecclesiastical vocation comes directly from God, who uses prudent Christian parents as instruments by which He makes His will known." Bishop Vital Grandin

Monday, December 14, 2009

Recognising the mystery hidden within Christ Jesus

Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them.
We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.
For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ: In him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labours, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training.
All these are lesser things, disposing the soul for the lofty sanctuary of the knowledge of the mysteries of Christ: this is the highest wisdom attainable in this life.
Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross.
Saint Paul therefore urges the Ephesians not to grow weary in the midst of tribulations, but to be steadfast and rooted and grounded in love, so that they may know with all the saints the breadth, the length, the height and the depth – to know what is beyond knowledge, the love of Christ, so as to be filled with all the fullness of God.
The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it.

Sacred Heart Santacruz

Sacred Heart Parish Santacruz was the Church where I was baptized, received my first holy communion, confirmation and sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

Stained glass at our parish

Below is a picture of our church decorated for Christmas

St. John of the Cross - 14th December 2009

Today is the feast of St. John of the Cross, let us read what Dr. Plinio has to teach us.

St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) was a confessor and doctor of the Church. He was co-reformer of the Carmelite Order with St. Teresa of Avila. He was a great mystic and left many famous maxims about the spiritual life. Some of them are the following:

* I did not know Thee, my Lord, because I still desired to know and relish trifling things. My spirit became dry because it forgot to rest in Thee.

* If you wish to attain holy recollection, you will do so not by approving but by denying.

* The devil fears a soul united to God as he does God Himself.

* The purest suffering produces the purest understanding.

* Through small things, one reaches the great. The evil that at the beginning appears insignificant, later becomes enormous and without remedy.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

Let me comment one sentence at a time.

I did not know Thee, my Lord, because I still desired to know and relish trifling things. My spirit became dry because it forgot to rest in Thee.
The love for trifles is one of the most deeply-rooted things that exist in the human soul. When one of us goes to a public square or a restaurant or when we take a bus where people are chatting, if we observe well, we will see that most of the time they are talking about trifling things. Also, when they are quiet they are usually thinking about trifling matters.

St. John of the Cross said: I didn’t know Thee, My Lord, because I wanted to relish trifles. What he means is that one who likes to taste trifles cannot taste the things of God. What is the reason for this? It is because the two are contrary things and no one is able to love opposite things at the same time. God is infinite, transcendent, and magnificent. A trifle is a very insignificant thing. The person who loves insignificant things cannot love the grandeur of God. So, we should ask Our Lady to free us from our attachments to trifles and prepare us to have true love for God.

The second part of the sentence – My spirit became dry because it forgot to rest in Thee – confirms the first. What kind of souls rest in God? They are persons who like to think about the situation of the Catholic Church, Catholic doctrine, the history of the Church and the supreme interests of God. These person can say that they rest in God. Such men are sheep who graze and feed themselves on divine grass.
If you wish to attain holy recollection, you will do so not by approving but by denying.
This is a magnificent sentence! It is based on a very anti-liberal principle. Optimistic and liberal souls who only want to see the positive side of everything do not have holy recollection, according to St. John of the Cross. On the contrary, those souls who vigilantly see the evil around them, discern it, and then deny it – these are the ones who attain true recollection. Therefore, the discernment of evil is the door that opens the way for holy recollection.

The devil fears a soul united to God as he does God Himself.

It is beautiful! One sees in every day life the hatred of the Devil for the true Catholic, the true counter-revolutionary. It is a hatred that comes from fear. He trembles before good Catholic as he trembles before God Himself, because he sees God in that person.

The purest suffering produces the purest understanding.

It is a twofold affirmation. First, it says that each one of us should suffer purely, which is to accept our cross to the end, to honestly and gladly suffer what is asked of us without tricks and frauds.

Second, it states that whoever does this receives a greater capacity to understand the things of God, that is, to reach the highest and noblest part of reality. This understanding is not only the understanding of the intelligence but also of the sensibility of the soul. Therefore, accepting suffering makes the entire soul – the will, intelligence, and sensibility – more perfect and closer to God.

Through small things, one reaches the great. The evil that at the beginning appears insignificant, later becomes enormous and without remedy.

This is an eminently counter-revolutionary principle, eminently anti-liberal. One of the characteristics of the liberal mind is to imagine that everything will end well. Therefore, based on this principle, we should live life without concerns, optimistically. There would be no reason to intervene in affairs, because normally they go in the right direction and rarely finish badly. This liberal facet is also naturalistic. It does not take into account the supernatural and the preternatural, original sin and the chastisement God gave us for that sin. At depth, the man is optimistic because he does not believe in the consequences of original sin.

For this reason, the liberal becomes astonished when something goes wrong. How could it happen? he asks. How could it be that this or that person did such a bad thing?

The man who is anti-liberal thinks the opposite. He knows that without the help of supernatural grace, man has a strong tendency to evil, and that if he does not take special care, the evil will take root and grow in his soul. He realizes that if he makes a concession to some small vice, it can shortly reach the extreme of evil. Therefore, a bad glance, a bad thought, a first revolt, an initial laziness may lead to extreme consequences.

Let me exemplify this with laziness. Someone takes a lapse position in face of an important matter regarding the Catholic cause that is being reported to him. Because he is lazy, he does not want to make an effort to think and react on the high plane the topic demands. He does this many times, and he acquires the habit of not responding to serious matters in the Catholic cause.

After a while, this habit of omission is transformed into indifference toward the great Catholic panoramas. He loses the appetite for the good, which is, according to St. Thomas, related to the death of the love of God. That is to say, something that began as a small concession, in a short time ended in the death of the love of God. For this reason, St. John of the Cross warns us to be vigilant and snuff out evil in its first spark; otherwise we will be facing a wide-ranging fire.

This principle also applies to History. Louis XVI did not take effective action to stop the beginning sparks of the French Revolution, and it ending by cutting off his head. Pope Leo X did not stop Protestantism in the beginning and it went on to sever one-third of Europe from the Church. We could make a sad and long list of catastrophes that should have been stopped in the beginning but were not, and became irreversible calamities.

These are a few of the maxims St. John of the Cross left for us to meditate on. We should ask Our Lady to help us make them firm principles for the good of our souls.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Lord Jesus Christ- God's Final Word - St John of the Cross

The principal reason why the Old Law permitted us to ask questions of God, and why prophets and priests had to seek visions and revelations of God, was because at that time faith had no firm foundation and the law of the Gospel was not yet established; and thus it was necessary that men should enquire of God and that he should speak, whether by words or by visions and revelations or whether by figures and images or by many other ways of expressing His meaning. For all that he answered and revealed belonged to the mysteries of our faith and things touching it or leading to it.

But now that the faith is founded in Christ, now that in this era of grace the law of the Gospel has been made manifest, there is no reason to enquire of God in that manner nor for him to speak to us or answer us as he did then. For, in giving us, as he did, his Son, who is his one and only Word, he spoke to us once and for all, in this single Word, and he has no occasion to speak further.

And this is the meaning of that passage with which the Letter to the Hebrews begins, trying to persuade the Hebrews that they should abandon those first ways of dealing and communicating with God which are in the law of Moses, and should set their eyes on Christ alone: At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, in the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son. That is, God has said so much about so many things through his Word that nothing more is needed, since that which he revealed partially in the past through the prophets, he has now revealed completely by giving us the All, which is his Son.

Therefore if someone were now to ask questions of God or seek any vision or revelation, he would not only be acting foolishly but would be committing an offence against God – for he should set his eyes altogether upon Christ and seek nothing beyond Christ.

God might answer him after this manner, saying: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. I have spoken all things to you in my Word. Set your eyes on him alone, for in him I have spoken and revealed to thee all things, and in him you shall find more than you ask for, even more than you want.

I descended upon him with my Spirit on Mount Tabor and said This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. You have no reason to ask for new teaching or new answers from me because if I spoke to you in the past then it was to promise Christ. If people asked questions of me in the past then their questions were really a desire of Christ and a hope for his coming. For in him they were to find all good things, as has now been revealed in the teaching of the Evangelists and the Apostles.

Gaudette Sunday 13th December 2009

John is the voice, and Christ is the Word - A sermon by St. Augustine

John is the voice, but the Lord is the Word who was in the beginning. John is the voice that lasts for a time; from the beginning Christ is the Word who lives for ever.
Take away the word, the meaning, and what is the voice? Where there is no understanding, there is only a meaningless sound. The voice without the word strikes the ear but does not build up the heart.
However, let us observe what happens when we first seek to build up our hearts. When I think about what I am going to say, the word or message is already in my heart. When I want to speak to you, I look for a way to share with your heart what is already in mine.
In my search for a way to let this message reach you, so that the word already in my heart may find place also in yours, I use my voice to speak to you. The sound of my voice brings the meaning of the word to you and then passes away. The word which the sound has brought to you is now in your heart, and yet it is still also in mine.
When the word has been conveyed to you, does not the sound seem to say: The word ought to grow, and I should diminish? The sound of the voice has made itself heard in the service of the word, and has gone away, as though it were saying: My joy is complete. Let us hold on to the word; we must not lose the word conceived inwardly in our hearts.
Do you need proof that the voice passes away but the divine Word remains? Where is John’s baptism today? It served its purpose, and it went away. Now it is Christ’s baptism that we celebrate. It is in Christ that we all believe; we hope for salvation in him. This is the message the voice cried out.
Because it is hard to distinguish word from voice, even John himself was thought to be the Christ. The voice was thought to be the word. But the voice acknowledged what it was, anxious not to give offence to the word. I am not the Christ, he said, nor Elijah, nor the prophet. And the question came: Who are you, then? He replied: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord. The voice of one crying in the wilderness is the voice of one breaking the silence. Prepare the way for the Lord, he says, as though he were saying: “I speak out in order to lead him into your hearts, but he does not choose to come where I lead him unless you prepare the way for him.”
What does prepare the way mean, if not “pray well”? What does prepare the way mean, if not “be humble in your thoughts”? We should take our lesson from John the Baptist. He is thought to be the Christ; he declares he is not what they think. He does not take advantage of their mistake to further his own glory.
If he had said, “I am the Christ,” you can imagine how readily he would have been believed, since they believed he was the Christ even before he spoke. But he did not say it; he acknowledged what he was. He pointed out clearly who he was; he humbled himself.
He saw where his salvation lay. He understood that he was a lamp, and his fear was that it might be blown out by the wind of pride.