Index : B
Baptism is not only the first of the seven sacraments; it is also the basic sacrament. How? Unless a person is baptized, none of the other six sacraments can be received. Only a baptized person can be confirmed. Only a baptized person can receive absolution in the sacrament of Confession. Only a baptized person can receive the sacrament of Matrimony. Only a baptized man can be validly ordained a priest.
With this meditation, we begin the public life of Jesus Christ. We call it the public life to distinguish the 30 years of Christs hidden life at Nazareth. We also call it the public life because it represents Christs reaching out to the world publicly.
After discussing the Baptist terminology for Eucharist, Crabtree outlines Baptist Eucharistic tradition
Hardon summarizes traditional Roman Catholic Eucharistic teaching on real presence, the sacrifice of the Mass, and communion.
"The center of the whole Catholic liturgy is the Eucharist. The Eucharist is most important in the life of the Church because it is Jesus Christ. It is the incarnation continued in space and time. The other sacraments and all the Church's ministries and apostolates are directed toward the Eucharist." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The aim of this course is to obtain some fundamental instruction in the principles and practice of Catholic morality.
"We have native tendencies in us-the passions-that tend to tyrannize us. What we talk about as the Seven Capital Sins, I like to call our seven basic tendencies as fallen human beings. We also know that to ignore the fact that we must war against ourselves and against the seductions of evil all around us would be folly. On the other hand, we are also to practice virtue. Our focus here is on that aspect-what we sometimes call the positive side of the Gospel ethic." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"We ask ourselves: How are the beatitudes given to us by Christ a compendium of what we may call the New Testament Decalogue? Keep in mind that Jesus insisted that He had not come to abolish the law of the prophets, on the contrary He came to fulfill. We ask ourselves how are the beatitudes the fulfillment of the Ten Commandments?" - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Easter is the most important feast in Christianity. In fact, it is the pivot of the ecclesiastical year, around which everything in the Churchs calendar revolves.
My plan is first to say something about the Free Church tradition of Protestantism exemplified by the Baptists; then analyze the concept of believers baptism as understood by those who practice it; followed by a resume of Catholic teaching on confirmation; and finally draw some lines of comparison between the baptism of adults who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior and the confirmation of young people who receive a special outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
St. Robert was devoted to the Blessed Virgin from his earliest years. According to his schoolmate, later Canon Vincent Patiuchelli, as a young boy Bellarmine used to recite daily the Office of the Blessed Virgin, often in company with Vincent as the two of them walked slowly along the road.
Shortly after his defection from Rome, Johann Döllinger bitterly reproached the Vatican Council with "doing nothing but defining the private opinions of a single man Cardinal Robert Bellarmine." The accusation is false but suggestive, because it leads us to investigate the teaching of St. Robert on the organization of the Catholic Church as the Mystical Body of Christ. Most of the Council's business had to deal with the origin and nature of the one true Church. Moreover, Bellarmine's ecclesiology was the main source from which the Fathers of the Council drew their decrees and definitions. Consequently, with the current interest even among non-Catholics in the Church of Christ as the Mystical Body, we should not overlook what Robert Bellarmine has to say about a subject in which the Church herself considers him the outstanding authority.
With two of his religious brethren being raised to the honors of the altar recently, if Robert Bellarmine were alive today he would very likely have re-edited his classic treatise on the canonization of the saints. The errors against which it was originally directed are just as alive today as they were in the sixteenth centuryonly now our separated brethren ignore the saints instead of attacking them. In any case, Bellarmines apologia of sanctity deserves to be better known. It forms a substantial part of his two-million-word "Controversies against the Reformers" which Pius XI declared to be the main reason, after his personal holiness, why Bellarmine was made a Doctor of the Universal Church.
The complete text of the Benediction Program Healing Service, with prayers and responses.
One way to increase devotion to Jesus is to promote and attend Benedictions and Holy Hours. Jesus is very much neglected in the
tabernacles around the world.
"All the mysteries of Christ's life tell us something about reliance on
the Providence of God in our lives. But the event of Christ's birth at
Bethlehem is especially revealing." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The expression, "Biblical Spirituality," can have many meanings. It will be useful in this opening chapter to examine some of these meanings, and then concentrate on the one meaning in which we use this term in the present volume. Biblical spirituality can mean a study of the spiritual life based on the Bible. Other sources of insight, like revealed Tradition, are not questioned or ignored, but the almost exclusive emphasis is on Sacred Scripture.
As we go through the life story of Father Gerald and look into his priestly mind, we shall find a man who was chosen by Providence to teach priests who they are and why they were ordained. In his own words, "A good priest is a prisoner of love for Our Lord because Our Lord is a prisoner of love for him." A priest, therefore, is a man of faith who is ordained to sustain and nourish the faith of others, just as much in the twentieth century as in the first. It is the same Christ now as lived on earth then through the power of priestly consecration.
There is a basic problem that the founder of the Paracletes and Handmaids raises for anyone who is concerned, as he was, with the status of the Catholic priesthood in the modern world. The problem is, "Whatever happened to the priesthood?"
Many explanations can be given, and by now scores have been made, to try to account for the crisis of the priesthood that no one, except those who are part of it, will deny. But there is one explanation that deserves our special attention, because given by the subject of the present study. Father Gerald would say there is a crisis in the priesthood because there is a crisis in modern society. The secularism of our day has affected the Church and infected her priests; or better, there is a problem in the Catholic priesthood wherever and to the extent that secular philosophy has penetrated the ranks of Christ's ordained.
It is impossible to grasp Father Gerald's great love and concern for the priesthood, unless we see something of his understanding of what a priest is. During his lifetime, he did things that others misunderstood. He traveled many thousands of miles, to distant countries, and across the United States many times, in the interest of the priesthood. He literally exhausted himself in urging bishops to support his efforts for Christ's anointed ones, and in the pursuit of his vision he allowed himself to die estranged from the Via Coeli he had spent years in creating in order to serve the poorest of Christ's poor, the priests who were in trouble and who wanted to return to the active service in the priesthood.
Father Gerald was convinced that, given their indispensable role in the Church of God, as the ones who bring Christ down on earth in the Eucharist, and the ministers of the sacraments and the Word, priests must above all be holy men. Behind this conviction was the memory of the Church's long history. Holy priests sanctify their people; unholy priests, except for a miracle of grace, turn people away from God. "It is true," he admitted, "that no soul in all the world will be lost without its own deliberate and consummate folly." Granting this, yet for "the soul in a parish where there is a saintly priest, his chances are multiplied a thousand fold. The young people who fall under the influence of a holy priest, how they are strengthened to meet the temptations and dangers of the world for all their life."
One evidence of Father Geralds balanced spirituality is the fact that he never lost sight of the human factor in the pursuit of sanctity. He never tired urging priests to pray. And all we have so far seen should make it clear that he looked to divine grace for whatever success a person expects in the ways of God. At the same time, he had no illusions about God's expectations of man. If we are to pray and beg the divine mercy for help, as though everything depended on Him, we are also to exert ourselves as though everything depended on us.
It is impossible to understand Father Gerald's spirituality without seeing something of his understanding of the humanity of Christ. Somewhere near the center of this spirituality was the realization that God became man, not only to redeem a sinful race by dying on the Cross, but to show how much He loves us. Father Gerald's apostolate to priests derived from this same concentration. He saw priests as the ones who, like Mary, gave flesh to the Son of God.
Christ was the center of everything that Father Gerald wrote or said on the priesthood. Whether exhorting priests to be faithful to their calling, or recalling them to the responsibility they have to the Church of God, the main focus was always on their relationship to Christ. It is His call that leads a man to the altar; it is His grace that sustains him in priestly fidelity; it is His Kingdom that the priest is to labor for and spend himself in saving. In a word, there is only one priesthood, that of Jesus Christ, in which some men are undeservingly privileged to share.
Given his exalted understanding of the priesthood, whose central purpose is to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass, it was inevitable that Father Gerald would urge priests to live the Mass which they celebrated. The priest, he insisted, "has to be the image of Jesus Christ." But, then, who or what is Jesus Christ? He is two things. He is priest and victim. He is the one who offers and the one who is offered.
There is one fundamental reason why a priest should be specially devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is ordained to bring the living Christ on earth in the Holy Sacrifice, to make the living Christ available to the faithful in Holy Communion, and to keep the living Christ on earth in the Blessed Sacrament. In his own way, therefore, a priest continues the miracle of the Incarnation that Mary first made possible at Nazareth and Bethlehem.
Father Gerald had a keen awareness, bordering on mystical experience, of Christ's abiding presence in the Holy Eucharist. When he drafted the Rule of Life for the Paracletes, he directed that they spend, "A personal Holy Hour daily, spent whenever this is possible in a chapel where Our Blessed Lord is present eucharistically. This is your Holy Hour given with Mary to Jesus."
It cannot be that he was not painfully conscious of the problem that celibacy poses in the life of a priest. His years of experience with "priests in trouble" were enough to convince him, as he admitted, that fidelity to his celibate commitment makes a heavy, sometimes heroic, demand on the generosity of one who wants to remain faithful to the Christ Who ordained him. One reason for the relative silence on this subject was perhaps the realization that we are here dealing with a very delicate matter, so delicate, in fact, that it should not be lightly treated in public. Moreover, as those who knew Father Gerald best can testify, he did often deal with chastity among priests, but in a manner that would be most beneficial to the persons in question, namely in private and with the protection of confidentiality.
Father Gerald was too familiar with the Scriptures not to know how important is prayer in the apostolate to priests. What he read in the New Testament convinced him that priests must personally be men of prayer, but others must -- imperatively must -- pray for them
Here we have the revealed teaching of the Holy Spirit, as a practice (for Peter) and a petition (by Paul) that among the duties of a Christian is to pray for priests. Surely if Peter, the first Pope, and Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, needed prayers, how much more their successors in the papacy, episcopate and the priesthood.
There are two sides to Father Gerald's apostolate to priests. One side is universal and reaches out to all bishops and priests in the Church; in fact not only the living but also the deceased. Its object is to solicit the divine mercy and obtain for priests the grace they need, among the living to become holy, and for the deceased a speedy release from purgatory. On this level, all the faithful are asked to cooperate. By their prayers and sacrifices they merit before God what the Lord promises to give those who ask in His name. And if anything can be asked for in the name of Christ, it is certainly the blessings of His goodness on those whom, from eternity, He has chosen to anoint with the powers of the priesthood.
Timeline of Fr. Fitzgerald's life.
Father Hardon has been a priest for over 52 years, a member of the Society of Jesus for over 62 years
. From Who's Who in America.
Talk about a paradox: Blessed or happy are those who are not happy. "Now Lord, we know you can speak mysteriously but what does this mean?" Is Christ telling us there is blessedness and happiness if we mourn? YES. In other words, is it sinful to mourn? No, provided we mourn over the right things and we mourn in the right way.
Blessed Mother Teresa placed great value on the daily Holy Hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. She and her sisters depended
upon this devotion to the Eucharist for the graces to accomplish their daily work among the poor. In fact, Blessed Mother Teresa attributed the
success of their work and their growth in the Missionaries of Charity vocations to the many hours they spent in adoration.
So we return to our second statement that there would be no Christ now on earth for us to adore, except for His Mother Mary. In the Holy Eucharist is present the whole Christ, true God and true Man. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, who existed in the bosom of the Father from all eternity. But Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is God become-man, who was conceived and born in time of His virginal Mother Mary.
Had you already been saying here there is one mystery of our Faith that needs to be understood in our day, it is the Holy Eucharist. First statement: Without the Blessed Virgin, we would not have the Holy Eucharist. Second statement: Without the Eucharist, we could not now adore Jesus Christ on earth as the Son of God Who became the Son of Mary. Third statement: From the Eucharist we obtain the graces we need to become more and more like the Immaculate Virgin Mary and more and more loving like the loving heart of Mary.
There is no secret about how the Blessed Virgin is related to the Holy Eucharist. It is very simple: except for the Blessed Virgin, we would not have the Holy Eucharist.
What is the role of the Blessed Virgin in the sanctification of the family? In other words: How important is Our Lady in making holy, or sanctifying the Catholic family?
It is seen immediately that the Blessed Virgin is part of the doctrinal possession of Catholic Christianity. So that to teach Catholic doctrine means to teach Mary as belonging to the mystery of the Incarnation and the Mystical Body of Christ. My intention here is to look at both the contemporary approaches in Catholic religious education, and try to show how the Blessed Virgin figures in each approach. My conclusion will be to point up some practical implications for the future.
"Christianity would be meaningless without the Blessed Virgin. Her quiet presence opened Christian history at the Incarnation and will continue to pervade the Church's history until the end of time. Our purpose in this meditation is to glance over the past two thousand years to answer one question: What are the highlights of our Marian faith as found in the Bible and the teaching of the Catholic Church?" - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Jesus Christ instituted the priesthood at the Last Supper when He told the Apostles, "Do this in commemoration of me." He was, of course, referring to what He Himself had just done by changing bread and wine into His own living body and blood. God became man in order to die for us on the Cross. But He also became man to live among us in the Holy Eucharist as Sacrifice, Communion and Real Presence. But there would not be a Eucharist without the Blessed Virgin Mary. God, as God, had been present in the world from the moment He created the world. He had to be, otherwise the world would not exist." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
If there was one thing that stood out in the Catholic Spain of Columbus' day, it was the people's great devotion to the Blessed Virgin. It was a devotion that took almost eight centuries to mature
I wish to speak to you about "The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Catholic Evangelization of America." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
But it is mainly by imitating the Mother of Jesus that we make our devotion to her part of our daily lives. Introduce the children early to look upon Mary as their Mother. Teach them to learn from her how they should become like her. And all the while, train them to keep in touch with her by small aspirations, arising spontaneously from their heart, like the whisperings of a child to the one who gave them birth - into the life of God.
The breakdown of the family in once-flourishing Christian countries is the consequence of a de-Christianized society. What, then, is the solution? Itís obvious. Restore authentic Christianity and you will restore family life.
"This is not a book of pious fancy, but a carefully written work of faith. Easy to read, it relies heavily on the teachings of the Holy Father and the great Eucharistic saints of Catholic history." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Zollis book, "The Nazarene", was written shortly after his conversion to the Catholic Church. It is an unusual book, especially because it concentrates on the one word "Nazarene." Its authors purpose is to concentrate on the title Nazarene." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
There are some topics that are catchy when you first hear them, but they lose their impact by their very startling presentation. Whoever heard of the sixth commandment as so binding that if you break it, it leads to murder? But that is precisely what I am saying.
Reflections on the meaning and observance of Lent by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.