New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Saturday, February 6, 2010

St. Paul Miki and companions - 6th February 2010

SS Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs, SJ (Memorial)

Paul Miki, born into a rich family, was the son of a Japanese military leader. He was born at Tounucumada, Japan and educated at the Jesuit college of Anziquiama. He joined the Jesuits in 1580, and became known for his eloquent preaching.Fearing their influence, the Jesuits became an object of persecution by the authorities. Miki was jailed along with other Christians. He and his Christian companions were forced to walk about 1,000 km (600 miles) from Kyoto as a punishment for the whole community. On the way they sang the Te Deum, the Church’s hymn of praise and thanksgiving. Finally they arrived at Nagasaki, the city which had the most conversions to Christianity. Paul, still a Jesuit scholastic [Jesuit in training] and aged 35, was crucified on February 5, 1597, along with 25 other Catholics. He preached his last sermon from the cross and it is maintained that, like his Master, he forgave his executioners, stating that he himself was a Japanese. Together with him died Santiago Kisai, also a Jesuit scholastic, and Diego Kisai (or Kizayemon), a Jesuit brother, in addition to 22 priests and lay people. This took place during the persecution of Christians under the Taiko, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who ruled Japan in the name of the emperor.

Among the other Japanese who died were: Francis, a carpenter who was arrested while watching the executions and then crucified; Gabriel, the 19-year-old son of the Franciscans’ doorkeeper; Leo Kinuya, a 28-year-old carpenter from Miyako; Joachim Sakakibara, cook for the Franciscans at Osaka; Peter Sukejiro, sent by a Jesuit priest to help the prisoners and who was himself arrested; Cosmas Takeya from Owari, who had preached in Osaka; and Ventura from Miyako, who had been baptized by the Jesuits, gave up his faith on the death of his father, became a bonze, and was brought back to the Church by the Franciscans. All were canonized as the Martyrs of Japan by Pope Pius IX in 1862.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A homily on Saint Agatha by Saint Methodius of Sicily, bishop

My fellow Christians, our annual celebration of a martyr’s feast has brought us together. She achieved renown in the early Church for her noble victory; she is well known now as well, for she continues to triumph through her divine miracles, which occur daily and continue to bring glory to her name.
She is indeed a virgin, for she was born of the divine Word, God’s only Son, who also experienced death for our sake. John, a master of God’s word, speaks of this: He gave the power to become children of God to everyone who received him.
The woman who invites us to this banquet is both a wife and virgin. To use the analogy of Paul, she is the bride who has been betrothed to one husband, Christ. A true virgin, she wore the glow of pure conscience and the crimson of the Lamb’s blood for her cosmetics. Again and again she meditated on the death of her eager lover. For her, Christ’s death was recent, his blood was still moist. Her robe is the mark of her faithful witness to Christ. It bears the indelible marks of his crimson blood and the shining threads of her eloquence. She offers to all who come after her these treasures of her eloquent confession.
Agatha, the name of our saint, means “good.” She was truly good, for she lived as a child of God. She was also given as the gift of God, the source of all goodness to her bridegroom, Christ, and to us. For she grants us a share in her goodness.
What can give greater good than the Sovereign Good? Whom could anyone find more worthy of celebration with hymns of praise than Agatha?
Agatha, her goodness coincides with her name and way of life. She won a good name by her noble deeds, and by her name she points to the nobility of those deeds. Agatha, her mere name wins all men over to her company. She teaches them by her example to hasten with her to the true Good. God alone.

St. Agatha - 5th February 2010

We have little reliable information about this martyr, who has been honoured since ancient times, and whose name is included in the canon of the Mass. Young, beautiful and rich, Agatha lived a life consecrated to God. When Decius announced the edicts against Christians, the magistrate Quinctianus tried to profit by Agatha’s sanctity; he planned to blackmail her into sex in exchange for not charging her. Handed over to a brothel, she refused to accept customers. After rejecting Quinctianus’s advances, she was beaten, imprisoned, tortured, her breasts were crushed and cut off. She told the judge, “Cruel man, have you forgotten your mother and the breast that nourished you, that you dare to mutilate me this way?” One version has it that Saint Peter healed her. She was then imprisoned again, then rolled on live coals; when she was near death, an earthquake stuck. In the destruction that followed, a friend of the magistrate was crushed, and the magistrate fled. Agatha thanked God for an end to her pain, and died.

Legend says that carrying her veil, taken from her tomb in Catania, in procession has averted eruptions of Mount Etna. Her intercession is reported to have saved Malta from Turkish invasion in 1551.

Ohh this is sooo cute

Ok i normally dont post non religious stuff, but im a big Peanuts fan and Calvin and Hobbes fan. Lookie what i found on the interwebs.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

St. Joan of Valois - 4th Feb 2010

Let us read the commentary on St. Joan of Valois by Prof Plinio Correa De Olivera

Biographical selection:

Joan of Valois (1464-1505) was the second daughter of Louis XI, King of France. She was betrothed to Louis, Duke of Orleans, and the marriage took place in 1476. On her husband’s succession to the throne, he obtained a declaration that the marriage was invalid. She later founded the Order of the Annunciation.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

Joan of Valois was a lady extraordinarily ugly and deformed. Because of her ugliness her husband despised her at a time when the spirit of frivolity had already begun to grow, giving origin to the cult to beauty of our days. Her husband, who became King of France, refused to live with her. Her father, the King Louis XI, was also ashamed to be with her, and only visited her a few times a year.

Placed in this situation of general scorn, she demonstrated a very commendable virtue, that is, she remained secure and confident. She maintained a great dignity and composure that came from an indomitable state of spirit. In effect she responded like this to her situation:

“The reason why people despise me is not a valid one. For the value of a person comes not from the beauty of the body, but from the beauty of the soul. I have value as a princess, a daughter of a king, a wife of a king and a Catholic, and there is no ugliness that can annul these values. This is part of the moral order. Men can think whatever they want, judge whatever they desire, I will behave without arrogance but in full accordance with my dignity.”

She never displayed shame over her situation or showed herself insecure in face of her ugliness. She never allowed herself self-pity or permitted anyone to look down on her. Even after her marriage was annulled, she carried her cross peacefully and calmly with her head raised high. Repudiated as spouse of the King Louis XII, she received the title of Duchess of Berry and governed over a vast amount of properties. She also founded a religious order, the Order of the Annunciation. She gave, therefore, a great meaning to her life, which was an external expression of her profound moral value. She acquired a virtue that was heroic, and in acknowledgement of this the Church raised her to the honor of the altars.

What is the lesson for us?

It means that even when people want to despise us, persecute us, or annul things that we have a right to, we should remain secure and certain of our position. For if one knows that he is acting according to Catholic doctrine, he should have a peaceful conscience. The man who acts in accordance with Catholic doctrine has nothing to fear or be ashamed of. Rather, he should be proud of it and self-assured.

Even if the Revolution arrogantly offends or scorns us, our position should be that of St. Joan of Valois. In face of lies and calumnies, we should carry ourselves the way she did. We should remind ourselves:

“The facts prove that I am acting according to Catholic doctrine. My conscience tells me that there is nothing to reproach in my action. Therefore, before the eyes of God and his Angels, I can be serene and peaceful, certain that I will never be despised by them. It does not matter if men despise me. I have the Catholic Faith and I know that I am following the truth taught by the true Church. Let others think what they will, judge what they want, I will not cede one inch of my position to please them.”

This is the teaching, the lesson of true human dignity given to us by St. Joan of Valois.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

St. Blaise - 3rd February 2010

Saint Blaise devoted the earlier years of his life to the study of philosophy, and afterwards became a physician. In the practice of his profession he saw so much of the miseries of life and the hollowness of worldly pleasures, that he resolved to spend the rest of his days in the service of God. From being a healer of bodily ailments, he became a physician of souls, then retired for a time, by divine inspiration, to a cavern where he remained in prayer.

When the bishop of Sebaste in Armenia died, Blaise, much to the gratification of the inhabitants of that city, was chosen to succeed him. Saint Blaise at once began to instruct his people, as much by his example as by his words, and the great virtues and sanctity of the servant of God were attested by many miracles. From all parts, the people came flocking to him for the cure of bodily and spiritual ills.

When the governor of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia, Agricolaus, began a persecution by order of the Emperor Licinius, Saint Blaise was seized. After interrogation and a severe scourging, he was hurried off to prison. While he was under custody, a distraught mother, whose only child was dying of a throat disease, threw herself at his feet and implored his intercession. Touched at her grief, he offered up his prayers, and the child was cured.

The prisoner was brought before Agricolaus again for further questioning, and again was whipped while tied to a pillar. He was spared from drowning when thrown into a lake; the governor ordered then that he be beheaded. At the execution site he prayed aloud to God for his persecutors, and asked that in the future those who would invoke him might be aided, as he had been permitted to assist them during his lifetime. Our Lord appeared to him and said in a voice which all bystanders heard, that He granted his prayer. Since that time his intercession has often been effectually solicited, especially in cases of all kinds of throat problems.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Our Lady of Good Success and the Purification - 2nd February 2010

Our Lady of Good Success! Our Lady of the Purification! What can be said about these two invocations? In what sense does the feast day of Good Success relate to the Feast of the Purification? And how can these invocations be understood in relation to our fight in the present days?

According to the precept of the Old Testament, a mother would take her son 40 days after his birth to the Temple to present herself to be purified and to offer the child to God. This was a precept that every good Israelite mother observed. It was, moreover, a beautiful law that reflected the holiness of God.

A child is born amid the dangers that accompany every gestation. But, finally, he is born. Oh! Happy success! As soon as the mother recovers enough to travel, she takes the child and goes to the Temple. She goes and presents her child to God because He was the one who created him so he might be offered to God and live for Him. The Old Law made this presentation obligatory.

Because she did not have original sin, Our Lady was above the Old Law. Likewise Our Lord, who is God, was not subject to the Law that He Himself made. The Legislator is superior to the Law. So, in principle, He was not obliged to go, and Our Lady was not obliged to take Him to the Temple in Jerusalem. But she wanted to do so. She wanted to do out of respect for the law, for tradition. Loving tradition and animated by her intense love for God, she took her Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, to the Temple of Jerusalem.

Then we have the story in the Gospels on that episode at the Temple. It is God Incarnate Who enters the Temple built to worship Him. Even if the Temple had been much more splendid than the Temple of Jerusalem, it still would not have been sufficient for the Incarnate God to enter. It was the greatest hour, the blessed hour, the perfect hour. Never before in its history was the presence of God so intense and complete in that Temple as it was in that hour. One can say that at that moment, the angels filled the Temple and began to sing to celebrate the solemn moment. Our Lady entered holding Our Lord. Yet almost no one realized the magnitude of the event.

The religious decadence of the Chosen People was great at that time. The faithful were divided into two main currents: One wanted to adapt to the Greco-Roman influence that dominated the temporal world. They were the Saducees, in many points analogous to the present day progressivists. The other current pretended to follow the influential party of the Macabees and keep the old traditions of Israel. But unfortunately, this initial good intention had been deviated, and most of this group were now simply practicing a religion of formulas and rites, empty of any soul. They were the Pharisees, in many points similar to some false traditionalists of our days. Thirty years later, the heads of the Pharisees who revolted against the doctrine of Our Lord were the ones who led the plot to crucify Him.

At the time Our Lord was born, both currents were far from the right path of God. The Temple was filled with booths of people doing business of all kinds. Almost everything was in ruins, a moral decadence.

Then, the One Who is the Author of all things entered into this spiritual ruins. And those men of ruin did not perceive Who He was. He came to fulfill the ritual of presentation, and a prophet, Simeon, who was the Prophet chosen by God for this act of receiving the Son of God in the Temple, came forward. Receiving the Divine Child in his arms, he spoke the words of that canticle: “Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine …”

“Now thou dost dismiss thy servant in peace, O Lord, according to thy word.
Because my eyes have seen my salvation,
Which thou hast prepared in the face of all peoples,
A Light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.”

Our Lady, joyous, heard these words spoken by that old man, who seemed embittered by life, by a promise that still had not been fulfilled. The promise of God that he would see the Messiah before he died. Then, when he saw the Messiah arrive, he cried out “Now, Lord, I can die in peace because my eyes have seen the Savior.”

He blessed them, and told the mother the future of that Child. He foresaw the Glory and the Cross. He said: “Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted.”

The Prophetess Anna also sang the glories of the Child. By divine inspiration, Simeon and Anna were given to know that which until then only St. Joseph and Mary and a few others knew, that He was the Son of God.

What is the relation of this event to Our Lady of Good Success? What is success? It is an event worthy of note, something that demands care, sacrifice, and dedication, and which gives a result. When this result is good, one says that it is a good success. There was much good success in the birth of Our Lord: the gestation of Our Lady was perfect; it was followed by a blessed and happy delivery, and the Child was healthy and perfect. Therefore, to commemorate such good success and to fulfill the precept of purification Our Lady took Him to the Temple.

In the broadest sense of the word, good success applies also to all those who carry out an arduous work, who take on a great responsibility, who desire to do difficult things to reach the result they were striving for. When their efforts are accomplished with the desired good result, they have a good success. Our Lady is the patroness of all those who seek a good success in the service of her cause.

You can see how apt it is for our days, how those who work and strive in the darkness of the night of the neopaganism of our days to see the sun of the Reign of Mary rise can rightfully call the result a good success. Can’t it be said that Our Lady of Good Success will be the so happily chosen patroness of the hour in which the Reign of Mary will finally be born on Earth?

Monday, February 1, 2010

St. Brigid of Ireland - 1st February 2010

Daughter of Dubtach, pagan Scottish king of Leinster, and Brocca, a Christian Pictish slave who had been baptized by Saint Patrick. Just before Brigid’s birth, her mother was sold to a Druid landowner. Brigid remained with her mother till she was old enough to serve her legal owner Dubtach, her father.
She grew up marked by her high spirits and tender heart, and as a child, she heard Saint Patrick preach, which she never forgot. She could not bear to see anyone hungry or cold, and to help them, often gave away things that were Dubtach’s. When Dubtach protested, she replied that “Christ dwelt in every creature”. Dubtach tried to sell her to the King of Leinster, and while they bargained, she gave a treasured sword of her father’s to a leper. Dubtach was about to strike her when Brigid explained she had given the sword to God through the leper, because of its great value. The King, a Christian, forbade Dubtach to strike her, saying “Her merit before God is greater than ours”. Dubtach solved this domestic problem by giving Brigid her freedom.
Brigid’s aged mother was in charge of her master’s dairy. Brigid took charge ,and often gave away the produce. But the dairy prospered under her (hence her patronage of milk maids, dairy workers, cattle, etc.), and the Druid freed Brigid’s mother.
Brigid returned to her father, who arranged a marriage for her with a young bard. Bride refused, and to keep her virginity, went to her Bishop, Saint Mel of Ardagh, and took her first vows. Legend says that she prayed that her beauty be taken from her so no one would seek her hand in marriage; her prayer was granted, and she regained her beauty only after making her vows. Another tale says that when Saint Patrick heard her final vows, he mistakenly used the form for ordaining priests. When told of it he replied, “So be it, my son, she is destined for great things.”
Her first convent started c.468 with seven nuns. At the invitation of bishops, she started convents all over Ireland. She was a great traveller, especially considering the conditions of the time, which led to her patronage of travellers, sailors, etc. Brigid invented the double monastery, the monastery of Kildara, which means Church of the Oak, that she ran on the Liffey river being for both monks and nuns. Saint Conleth became its first bishop; this connection and the installation of a bell that lasted over 1000 years apparently led to her patronage of blacksmiths and those in related fields.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Considerations on Catholic Culture - Part 5 - Prof Plinio Correa De Olivera

Non-Catholic cultures
Can man develop a true culture outside the Church? No one would deny that the Egyptians, the Greeks, or the Chinese possessed authentic and admirable elements of culture. However, it is undeniable that the Christianization of the classical world gave it much higher cultural values.
Saint Thomas teaches that human intelligence is able, of itself, to know the principles of moral law but that, in consequence of Original Sin, men easily deviate from the knowledge of this law, wherefore it became necessary for God to reveal the Ten Commandments. What is more, without the help of grace, no one can enduringly practice the law in its entirety. And though grace is given to all men, we know that the Catholic peoples, with the superabundant graces they receive from the Church, are those who do manage to practice all the Commandments. On the other hand, a human society is only in its normal state when the greater part of its members observe the natural law. And from this it follows that if non-Catholic peoples are able to have admirable cultural attainments, their culture is always gravely lacking in some capital points, depriving it of integrity and full harmony, so necessary to all that is excellent or even simply normal. Again, in the Church alone is found true and perfect culture.