New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our Lady’s Birth and the Triumph of Her Reign - Dr. Plinio

Everything the Church does is wise. In Her wisdom, She classifies the different levels of honor to be paid to God, Our Lady and the saints. The first level, called latria or adoration, is only for God and Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Incarnate Word.

The cult of dulia is veneration or mediation, which the Church pays to the saints. However, there is a special category of honor that the Church only pays to Our Lady, called hyperdulia. Our Lady ranks so high above all other saints that the Church had to create a special cult to describe devotion to her. This demonstrates the unique position of Our Lady in all creation.

The Church teaches this in a number of ways. For example: Besides that of Our Lord and Saint John the Baptist, no other birthday is celebrated; no other saint has more than one feast day per year; and while the Church does not allow the same saint to be represented multiple times on the same altar, She permits any number of images of Our Lady to be placed anywhere in a church. Also, the Church celebrates dozens of calendar feasts, liturgical ceremonies and pious practices in Our Lady’s honor.

Among these, Our Lady’s Holy Nativity has a special significance, since it marked a new era in the history of the chosen people.

Since the Old Testament is no more than the account of the wait for the Messias, it can be divided into two phases: The first would be the 4,000-5,000 years before Our Lady’s birth. The second is after that blessed moment in which Providence resolved to bring forth she, whose prayer would bring the Messias.

Her birth was the arrival of that perfect creature who was full of grace before God. Without her, the prayers and sufferings of all humanity would have failed to bring the Incarnation. However with her, the trajectory of history was forever changed. All prayers became more effective and a new manner of blessings and graces began producing sanctity like never before.

Our Lady served as the “Doorway to Heaven” that the hope of the Messias’ coming passed through. Her presence on earth was the occasion for signal graces. The height of her contemplation gave her a force of presence. It made her a fountain of so many and such high graces, that her very existence was an annunciation of Our Lord’s coming.

Thus, the feast of Our Lady’s nativity is very dear. It is the beginning of the Redemption that would eventually defeat the evil powers of paganism and the Gentiles.

There is a profound relationship between Our Lady’s coming and what is occurring in modern society. Once again, Our Lady has taken a pivotal role in history, by raising up souls that burn with the desire for her reign amid the darkness of neo-paganism. They clamor for it and fight for its implantation on earth.

These souls are like Our Lady of the Old Testament. The light has not yet come; neither has the redemption, victory nor liberation from the devil. However, these souls spread graces of hope and determination, in such a way, that they herald the coming victory.

Thus, Our Lady’s nativity is symbolically repeated to prepare the coming of her reign, prophesied by Saint Louis de Montfort and the apparitions of Fatima.

For those who desire Our Lady’s victory, this feast day is especially important. These should pray fervently, for the immediate coming of Her reign, when the long dark night of sin will be eclipsed by her triumph.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The doctrinal mission of the Successor of Peter - Pope John Paul II

The doctrinal mission of the Successor of Peter

According to the Gospel texts, the universal pastoral mission of the Roman Pontiff, the Successor of Peter, involves a doctrinal mission. As the universal pastor, the Pope has a mission to announce revealed doctrine and to promote true faith in Christ throughout the Church. This is the integral meaning of the Petrine ministry.

The importance of the doctrinal mission entrusted to Peter - still according to Gospel sources - is due to the fact that he shares in the pastoral mission of Christ. Peter is the leader of those Apostles to whom Jesus said: 'As the Father sent me, so I am sendingyou' (John 20:21; cf. 17:18). As the universal pastor, Peter has to act on Christ's behalf and in tune with him throughout the vast human area in which Jesus wishes his Gospel to be preached and the saving truth to be carried - that is, the whole world. In the mission of universal pastor, the Successor of Peter is thus the heir to a doctrinal munus, in which he is intimately associated with Peter in Jesus' mission.

This detracts in no way from the pastoral mission of the Bishops who, according to the Second Vatican Council, have among their principal duties that of preaching the Gospel: for they 'are heralds of the faith ... who preach the faith to the people assigned to them, the faith which is destined to inform their thinking and direct their conduct' (Lumen gentium 25).

The Bishop of Rome, however, as the head of the episcopal college by Christ's will, is the first herald of the Faith, to whom falls the task of teaching revealed truth and of showing how it is to be applied in human behaviour. His is the primal responsibility for spreading the Faith in the world.

The Successor of Peter has carried out this doctrinal mission by issuing a continual series of oral and written interventions, which constitute the ordinary exercise of the Magisterium as the teaching of the truth to be believed and to be translated into practice (fidem et mores). The acts which express this Magisterium may be more or less frequent and may take differing forms, depending on the needs of the day, the requirements of particular situations, the possibilities and means available, and the methodologies and techniques of communication; but, given that they derive from an explicit or implicit intention to pronounce on matters of faith and morals, they are connected to the mandate received by Peter and invested with the authority conferred on him by Christ.

To discharge this task, the Successor of Peter, in personal form but with institutional authority, expresses the 'rule of the Faith', which all members of the Universal Church ought to keep - the faithful at large, catechists, teachers of religion, theologians - in seeking the meaning of the permanent contents of the Christian faith, or in relation to discussions that arise within and without the ecelesial community on various points or on the whole corpus of doctrine.

True, everyone in the Church, and theologians especially, is called to carry out this task of constant clarification and explanation. But the mission of Peter and his successors is to establish and confirm what the Church has received and believed from the beginning, what the Apostles have taught, and what Holy Scripture and Christian tradition have fixed as the matter of faith and as the Christian norm of life. Furthermore, the other pastors of the Church, the
Bishops who are the successors of the Apostles, are 'strengthened' by the Successor of Peter in their fellowship of faith with Christ and in the proper fulfilment of their mission. Thus the magisterium of the Bishop of Rome marks a line of charity and unity for all, which especially in times of maximum communication and discussion - such as our own - is absolutely necessary.

The Roman Pontiff has the mission of protecting Christians from errors in the field of faith and morals, and the duty of guarding the deposit of faith (Cf. 2 Timothy 4:7). Woe to him if he were to fear being criticized or misunderstood. He is charged with hearing witness to Christ, to his word, to his law, to his love. To awareness of his own responsibility in the doctrinal and moral sphere, the Roman Pontiff must add the commitment of being, like Jesus, 'meek andhumble of heart'.