Index : H
As we know the present Hail Mary is really two prayers, one after the other: the Hail Mary properly so-called, and what not too many centuries ago was called the Holy Mary. Confessors would tell their penitents to recite, say, three or five or whatever the number of Holy Marys. We say it so many times almost subconsciously that if there is correspondingly any one vocal prayer that deserves to be looked at more closely it is this one. My plan is to take this prayer in sequence word for word, or better, term for term, in a prolonged meditation on what its sentiments really mean.
"Pope John Paul's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is so deep and pronounced that it is not surprising that she finds a place of honor in almost everything he says and writes." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Now, there are, as you know, two versions of the beatitudes. Who knows who are the two evangelists that give us the beatitudes? Matthew and Luke. Right? I thought to myself, I am sure they have heard and read the eight beatitudes so often that it might be a good idea to talk about the four beatitudes of Saint Luke." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
It is very important to be convinced that Christs Ascension into heaven was an historical fact. As early as the beginning of the second century, St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote seven letters on his way to martyrdom in Rome. In these letters, he is at great pains to defend the historical facts of the events in Christs life, including His Ascension into heaven. The importance of Christs physical Ascension lies in the fact that He is now in heaven as the same identical Jesus who rose from the dead and for forty days appeared to his disciples. Equally important is the fact that this same Jesus who ascended into heaven is really on earth in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.
Our present conference is a profession of our Catholic faith on how God became man. We have already declared that we believe in Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, Our Lord. Our focus here is on how the Incarnation took place. Two powers cooperated with each other in order for the Second Person of the Holy Trinity to become incarnate: the Holy Spirit or the Third Person of the Trinity and the humble girl of Nazareth whose name was Mary. In human language, this cooperation produced the God-Man, Jesus Christ, who is the Redeemer of the human race.
The general judgment means that all human beings from the dawn of history until the end of time will be judged by Christ when He comes on the last day of the world. This does not mean only passing negative judgment on sinners. It also, and emphatically, means the universal manifestation of Gods mercy and of mans cooperation with divine grace. Thus Christ will glorify the virtues of the saints no less than testify to the sinful conduct of the wicked. In both cases, however, the last judgement will glorify God; His infinite justice no less than His infinite mercy.
Surely one of the great developments of our day has been the rise and growth of what is popularly called home schooling, and what I prefer to describe as home education. Behind this development is far more than a reaction to the inadequacy of so many organized schools in North America. In fact, it is more an act of divine providence than a result of merely human factors. In my judgment, it is nothing less than a gift from God which I hope to help all of us appreciate and put to use for the greater glory of God.
"As we have been doing, we are covering our final master theme on the last things: death, judgment, heaven, and this evening hell and purgatory." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Heresy, from the Greek αίρέσίς,
hairesis, denoting "choice" or "thing chosen," in
general refers to a doctrinal belief held in opposition to the recognized standards
of an established system of thought. Theologically it means an opinion at variance
with the authorized teachings of any church, especially when this promotes separation
from the main body of faithful believers.
"PEA gives tone to a parish - a feeling of reverence and awe, a feeling that in this chapel, the Lord is at home. Eucharist is the heart of the parish." Article by Fr. P.J. McHugh of Nativity Parish in Torrance, California.
Manuscript Table of Contents. A study of Catholic teaching about Christ from Biblical times to the present.
Unique among the religious traditions of the world, Judaeo-Christianity is the religion of hope. Its sacred writings from Genesis to the Book of Revelation are eschatological; they always press forward in expectation and recount the past as a presage of the future. One of the benefits of a science like Comparative Religion is to discover this uniqueness, first among the ancient people of Israel and then among their inheritors, the followers of Jesus Christ
The forward thrust of Jewish eschatology has a general aspect that covers the gamut of Israel's faith in Yahweh to lead His people through an earthly Promised Land to their final and beyond-this-earthly destiny. Its more particular form, called Messianism, is the historical background of the Christian religion and the foundation for any comprehensive understanding of Christology.
Christians imply more by the term, "New Testament," than meets the eye. They affirm two levels of God's communication to the human race, an early witness that spanned the centuries before the coming of Christ, and a latter testimony which began with the Incarnation but will continue until the end of time. Against the background of Jewish Messianism, we are in a better position to appreciate how truly different this New Covenant is, even as fulfillment differs from prophecy and the reality differs from hope. No matter how clearly the prophets had spoken--and they could be obscure--they would give us only an inkling of the One they predicted. Our first stage of genetic analysis, then, traces the witness of the Christian scriptures--the Synoptic Gospels, St. Paul and St. John--to the person and mission of the Savior. Our purpose will be as much to discover how the prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ as to lay the foundation for a more scientific Christology in the later Patristic and Conciliar age.
From the dawn of Christianity, the apostles and first leaders of the Church were at pains to verify the origins of their faith and how radically, therefore, the Christian religion differs from the mythology of pagan Greece and Rome. They were conscious of the strength of their position in having a historic center. "We do not utter idle tales," they told their contemporaries, "in declaring that God was born in form of man." There never was a Mithra, the Romans were reminded; and he never slew the mystic bull. There never was a Great Mother of sorrows to wail over Attis and become a true mother to the suffering daughters of humanity. For all her beauty, Isis was only the idealized product of Egyptian zoolatry. The Logos of the Stoics was a pure abstraction, and of their ideal Wise Man, Plutarch wrote, "He nowhere on earth, nor ever has been"; whereas for Christians the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
The beginnings of the science of comparative religion should be traced to the first centuries of the Christian era, when defenders of the new faith found themselves in contest with contemporary Greek and Roman religions. Devotees of Zeus and Jupiter were not going to yield easily, and three hundred years of persecution reflect the gravity of the conflict. Since the foundations of Christianity were laid on the person of its Founder, not unnaturally those who rejected the claims of Jesus of Nazareth focused on His person and achievements to compare them with what they believed were equally true of their own deities and demigods. Moreover, since the center of the Christian faith was attribution of divinity to Jesus, pagan apologists turned to their own religious culture to proclaim similar attributes of persons whom they worshipped. In a word, Christianity was no better than other mythologies of the Mediterranean world.
If the person of Christ was a stumbling block among His own contemporaries, and the test of discipleship was acceptance or rejection of the Savior, the same condition prevailed as the Church approached the end of her catacomb days and was to take her place of freedom in the Roman Empire. There had been challenges to the divinity of Christ from the beginnings of the Christian era and John's Gospel was written mainly to meet the critics of the first century who, in his words, wished to "dissolve Christ," and separate the man Jesus from Christ, the Son of God. The whole period from the apostolic age to the time of Constantine was not without its "heretics from within and hecklers from without" who sought to change the ancient faith. A new crisis, however, faced the Church on the eve of her liberation, and continued through four centuries of her existence, to the time of Mohammed and for another hundred years after the rise of Islam.
Between the Councils of Nicea and Ephesus arose a series of patristic writers that have shaped Christology on its kerygmatic side more than any other factor in the history of the Church. Nicea had clarified the divine nature of the Savior and Ephesus would define His divine personality, but in the interim was a century that for output of theological genius has not been duplicated since; and even the thirteenth century produced its great synthesis of faith only because it had the monumental work of Augustine, Jerome and Chrysostom to lean upon. It is impossible to do more than get a glimpse of these hundred remarkable years; but they cannot be passed by without leaving a one-sided impression of the Christian religion--as though it depended solely on the periodic councils to forward the development of dogma. Actually the councils themselves could be so effective because they had the wisdom of saintly scholarship on which to draw for a deeper understanding of revelation, here of the Word of God become Man.
True to their native tendency of philosophizing the faith, theologians in the East were not satisfied with the plain orthodoxy of Nicea. Arianism had by no means disappeared, even after the death of its great supporter, the Emperor Constans (350 A.D.), although its main thrust was shifted to the West and Northwest and continued to harass the Church for centuries through the Arian hordes of Goths, Vandals, and Lombards. Preoccupied with the question, "What think you of Christ?" Eastern speculators directed their attention from Christ as God (vindicated at Nicea) to Christ as man. They asked themselves: if Christ has two perfect natures, human and divine, how is He only one person? If He is only one individual, it seemed to some of them that at least one component part was perfected by the union. Since it could not be His divinity, it must have been His humanity. Christ had to lack something as man, which His divinity supplied.
Five and a half centuries are a long time between the Council of Constantinople which condemned the Monothelites and the birth of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 A.D.) who climaxed the Church's highest period of speculative theology. In the interim the science of Christology had not substantially grown beyond what it was at the end of the patristic age. Yet the person of Christ was not for that reason less dominant in the lives of the faithful, or less relevant in the life of the Church. It was only that generations of battling the Vandal hordes, and more generations in stabilizing European culture precluded serious academic investigation. With the rise of the great universities, first as day schools attached to monasteries or cathedrals and later as full-blown institutions of higher learning, all branches of human study grew apace--including the religious sciences. The life and teachings of Christ became part of these studies, and by the end of the twelfth century we find a library of manuscript production on every phase of the Incarnation and Redemption.
The person of Christ is more deeply venerated in the Catholic world than even most Catholics realize. No doubt Christians in the Protestant tradition have a great respect for the Savior, and their piety is permeated with references to Jesus Christ, to a point that Catholics sometimes apologize for their "institutional religion" and apparent lack of emphasis on the One who stands above all forms of institutionalism. Actually devotion to Christ is widespread in the Roman Catholic Church, and, though obscured for some people because of semantics, it is the most popular form of piety practiced by millions of the faithful--under the form of cultus of the Sacred Heart.
The Fatima consecration to Our Lady has an ancient history. It is all the more important to see something of this history in the light of some reservations and even criticism of what we know goes back to the early centuries of the Church.
The phenomenal growth of devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist has puzzled not a few sincere people. Nocturnal Adoration societies, Perpetual Adoration groups, national associations of the faithful promoting organized visits to the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Hours before the tabernacle, monthly, weekly and even daily exposition of the Eucharist in churches and chapels, in one country after another, have become commonplace.
It is authentic Catholic doctrine and it rests on the unchangeable truth of our revealed faith. But it needs to be explained, and the explanation is a classic example of what we call development of doctrine.
The Fathers of the early Church defends with vigor the permanence of the Real Presence. Already in the second century the faithful frequently carried the Holy Eucharist with them to their homes.
There are many reasons for beginning our study on the History of Religious life by paying some attention to its origins in the New Testament. Whatever else Religious Life means, it should mean a complete and whole souls dedication of oneself to God. But this kind of commitment is impossible without strong motivation. The higher the demands, the stronger must be the motive to meet them. And the strongest motives a Christian can find for making the sacrifices the religious life calls for - is the belief that the foundations of this life are in Divine Revelation
Why do we say that Jesus is the first Religious?
What did the Church tell us? And we go back to Christ Himself and His immediate followers. Three kinds of totality, we are told by the Church, identify religious life as first practiced by the Savior and His immediate followers and to be somehow imitated by all who since the first century claim to be religious. Totality of Sacrifice, Service and Duration.
Were on the Christian community in the early post-Apostolic age. My reason for doing this is to give some historical context for seeing what happened immediately after Christs Ascension into Heaven and, indeed, after the apostles had gone to their reward and the Church began, as it were, on Her own. We first note that from the very beginning that early Church which, for our purpose, would extend from Pentecost up to, say, the end of the third century. So its about the two hundred fifty years after Pentecost by which time, as we shall see, we have the first beginnings of organized religious life much more as we know it now.
St. Justin, in the middle of the second century, lists as one of the features of Christianity - listen - that many men and women age of fifty and sixty instructed since childhood in the teaching of Christ, have kept their virginity. That good to hear? He was writing in the year 150A.D. This esteem for virginity is found throughout the whole Church, so it is not, you might say, consistent with any particular culture
Our purpose is very specific: to identify what may be called the spiritual patrimony of the early Church as the foundation on which all future living of the evangelical counsels was built.
The date of St. Benedict is 529. Our intention is to see in historical sequence the early development of what may be called structured religious life; but all before St. Benedict, the Founder of Western Monasticism. To get our bearings and keep them, we should first divide the matter to be seen into something like logical parts each preceding, somehow meeting, the future part on which, then, it will build. Part One: To look at something of the persons whose life and practices set the pattern for Western Monasticism; second, the features of the life of these persons and third, the organization in established Rule.
The subject of our lecture, therefore, is the contributions of St. Augustine to the doctrinal principles and community structure of religious life. The best way to approach St. Augustines doctrinal teaching is to see what were the principal heresies that he had to combat during his day.
As we look at monastic spirituality, I have here four principal aspects. First, monasticism conceived as conversion of life, then at greatest length its basic elements on which we will spend most of the time, then its continuous influence in the Church and then some permanent values for everyone, whether religious or not.
Does this foster humility? It sure does; because given that definition of taciturnity silence with a purpose it means therefore that if I am, according to Benedicts norm, a taciturn individual; I will speak when I should, I will say a lot; change the wording I will talk a lot. Not everyone who talks a lot says a lot.
The spiritual combat is Benedict's great masterful contribution to the spiritual life. The apostolate is of two kinds: the apostolate of holiness and the apostolate of service. What's the difference? Both are forms of the apostolate.
What the monastic tradition contributed to religious was the idea of a community that was first and mainly a group of believers, it was first of all a community of faith; secondly, it was a community of obedience; thirdly, it was a community of service. But what bears emphasis is that the communal character of religious life depended not only on being obedient to the Abbot, the community is also interrelated; so that my bond to my community is not only that fifty in a given community might have the same superior and then each going their respective ways. You will still have community in name but no longer in reality. We call that a corporate apostolate, for example: Living together, being together, working together, recreating together, everything is done together; that's monasticism pure and simple. One of the features of religious life in the strictly monastic tradition is that everything is done together.
There was a need for reformation because there had been a decline which is a nice word for saying that there had been a secularization of religious life. What were some of the features that became prominent and for which all those reformers, and I just chose the biggest, struggled to overcome?
However Francis, for the first time in the Church's history, went beyond the monastic Orders that by this time had become widespread and had done great work in the Church beyond Benedict, Bernard, Romuald and the rest of them. Francis, though like them, said, "If you want to be poor as I understand poverty, you must dispossess yourself of everything you own - you." But then he went beyond that and he said, "You must also dispossess yourself as a community."
Now the Poor Clares are of course the Second Order, but they identify themselves completely as far as possible with the Friars Minor in terms of personal and communal dispossession. But conservatively there are three hundred Franciscan Institutes recognized by the Church. There are four thousand religious communities in the Catholic Church, and I am confident that at least three hundred follow a Franciscan way of life. But the vast majority except for the three of men and the Poor Clares for women, most of them are not Orders but Congregations; they therefore do not take solemn vows of poverty; they therefore do not dispossess themselves of what they own even as individuals, less still as communities.
By Franciscan theology we mean of course the reflection on the faith as has been done over the centuries by the great masters of theology in the Franciscan order. So Franciscan theology is the theology of the Franciscans, but who have been true to the spirit of Saint Francis. The four great names always after Saint Francis, that may be said to be the founders of Franciscan theology, are Alexander of Hales, who are the earliest, blessed Raymond Lily, Saint Bonaventure, and Duns Scotus.
We will take an analysis and a rundown of ten of the outstanding statements in the Dominican tradition given by St. Thomas Aquinas, who was on the scene early in the Dominican Order and whose writings have influenced the whole Church ever since. I would like to first give you a brief rundown on the history of the Dominican Order, compare St. Francis with St. Dominic, then go over the chart with you, and then look at St. Thomas' teaching, which is, perhaps, the highest expression of Dominican spirituality that we have.
There are three principal sources of Ignatian spirituality. They are the so-called Momumenta Ignatiana - about forty volumes of the writings not only of Ignatius, which are not that much, but the lives of his contemporaries and of all the documentation of the Society of Jesus of the Holy See and between the Society of Jesus and by then Cardinals, Patriarchs and Bishops throughout the world. Because by the time St. Ignatius died the Society had spread in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas . So the Momumenta are the basic source of all documentation from Ignatius' first entrance on the scene to his death.
Notice we call this Teresian spirituality and not precisely Carmelite spirituality. The reason for the importance is first of all that the Churchs authority stands behind the person whom she has either canonized or beatified and above all has approved that persons writing, soundness of doctrine, and for our purpose, way of sanctity. When the Church canonizes people, she infallibly declares two things: one, that the individual is certainly in heaven in the glory of God; and secondly, the effect this persons way of life is a secure and effective means of also attaining holiness. The spirituality therefore has to do with that tried and approved means of growing in holiness.
Frances de Sales built on St. Ignatius, notably of course, his spiritual exercises and Ignatius stress on human liberty.
The real difference between saints and would be saints: there are those who are saints [because they] voluntarily cooperated with Gods grace. The has beens, pardon me, the would have beens, are those who had the grace but did not cooperate.
Vincent de Paul was a hardheaded realist. His, I dare say, is the most down to earth spirituality you are going to consider in these two semesters. In time, he discovered that the great needs, the social needs of the people, were minor compared to their spiritual needs. And there he felt that if Im going to do what needs to be done for the faithful, I must help the priests.
St. John Baptiste de La Salle was French - 1651 to 1719. Chronologically he fits in between Vincent de Paul and Alphonsus. As a matter of fact except for Vincent there could not have been a John Batiste de La Salle. He is the founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Date of foundation and Church's approval - 1684. Among the writings, I would especially recommend the Method of Mental Prayer. It was written for his own members; simple, clear, detailed. St. John Baptiste did not want priests in his community, though he himself of course was a priest, canonized rather late - 1900 and has since been declared patron of teachers.
St. Alphonsus, first of all, is in the Catholic Church the patron both of confessors and of spiritual directors. He is the founder of a major religious community. He is in many ways as significant in moral theology as Thomas Aquinas is in dogmatic theology.
The sources are all drawn from the documents of the Holy See regarding Elizabeth Seton. There are four principal documents that can be consulted. There is a whole volume of the so-called Acta of Beatification, hundreds of pages of the study of Elizabeth Seton's virtues. But in terms of documents the first is the decree of her beatification and then canonization - the two decrees in which her life and virtues are synthesized. The second is the homily that Pope Paul VI gave on the day of her canonization. The third is the allocution that the same Pope gave to the American hierarchy. And the fourth is an Angelus message some time later in which Pope Paul came back to Mother Seton.
I dare say among all the saints that we have so far studied in the past two semesters most of you know a great deal about this saint. It's all the more strange, by the way, in view of the fact that she lived a very short life, did nothing spectacular, performed no extraordinary deeds and died apparently in obscurity in a Carmelite convent.
I think I would say something about religious life since the Second Vatican Council. I would like to look at it from three viewpoints. First, to identify the principle documents of the church during and since the Council, from which the both present status and future prospects of religious life somehow will stem. Then very briefly look at the problems, whose number is legion and whose solution is known to God alone will have entered religious life since the Council. And then something about the renewal and adaptation that is going on and that shows great promise into the years to come.
For St. Francis the whole world and, with emphasis, the animal world was a reflection of the greatness, the beauty, and the variety of Gods own perfections. Then, his love of Gods goodness. For Francis, Gods goodness was Gods sharing with His creatures what He, as God, possessed from all eternity. He never had toif no single creature had been made, God would not have deprived anyone of anything they had a right to. The single most important premise in Franciscan spirituality is we have a right to nothing from God. And the word is nothing. And the word is nothing. We can claim nothing from God as though we had a right even to come into existence.
What I want to do today is to cover as much as we can about the life, writings and significance of St. Catherine of Siena. One reason is because St. Catherine lived in a time when the Church was in, I would say, the gravest crisis of her history because there were more than one claimant to the Papacy and we know, of course, that the strength of the Catholic Church depends, of course, on the Papacy.
Were now beginning our second semester in Church History and as you remember what we did was we went up to the beginning of the sixteenth century and we are now starting what is really called Modern History. Modern Church History begins with a rise of Protestantism. What I thought I would do during class today is to choose first to talk about Protestantism, and then within Protestantism the four principle forms of Protestantism, how they differ from each other, and especially how they differ from Catholic Christianity.
Our present lecture is on Halloween. Christian and Catholic Feasts paganized. The birthday of Protestantism is October 31st, 1517, the Vigil of the Feast of All Saints. On that day Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses, as he called them, to the door of the castle of Wittenberg, Germany. Among these theses, Luther denied the Churchs right to give absolution from sins in the Name of Christ. Three years later Luther was condemned by Pope Leo X as a heretic: and before Luthers death in 1546, something like one-third of Europe was lost to the Catholic Church. And it all began on Halloween, October 31st, 1517. In other words, in the mind of every Protestant, having taught - as I have told so many of you - in six Protestant seminaries including the Lutheran School of Theology for seven years; And I never, for a moment, compromised on Catholicism. Youd think after three days they would throw me out bodily. Oh! I love Protestants. My widowed mother took in boarders, women boarders. And the first two boarders that stayed with us till I was, well, sixteen were two Lutheran girls. I heard about Martin Luther by the age of three. Im sure they were the only Lutherans in the United States then, Susan and Judith, who abstained from meat on Fridays. My mother told them, "My boys asking embarrassing questions. Want to say here, talk to your pastor." No meat on Fridays. Pastor said ok so
I love Protestants. But I sure know the difference - Protestantism is not Catholicism. In the history of the world, therefore, the Vigil of All Saints is the birthday of Protestantism.
The saints understood the importance and dignity of grace, which they attested is so excellent that neither the gift of prophecy, nor the working of miracles, nor any speculation, however sublime, is of any value without it. For the gifts of nature are common to the good and bad; but grace is the proper gift of the elect. They that are adorned with, influenced by, and sanctified in it are esteemed worthy of eternal life. No one has spoken more eloquently about grace than the author of the Imitation who, through his influence on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, has shaped so much of modern spirituality. "Grace," he wrote, "is the mistress of truth, the light of the heart, the comforter of affliction, the banisher of sorrow, the expeller of fears, the matrix of devotion, the producer of tears. What am I without it but a piece of dry wood and an unprofitable stock, fit for nothing but to be cast away." This is not rhetoric but only a faint declaration of the truth, since without grace man is not only left to his own resources and incapable of reaching the Trinitarian destiny to which he was raised but, because of the fall, cannot for long even remain faithful to the laws of his own nature.
Accordingly supernatural grace has two elements that characterize it and distinguish it from everything merely natural, its positive and absolute gratuity and its heavenly finality. The first refers to God as efficient cause, who willed to produce a benefit for us beyond the most extravagant conception of a finite mind; the second refers to God as final cause, towards whom we are being directed as our Trinitarian end. Taken together, the two elements give us a definition of grace as a supernatural gift which God confers gratuitously on rational creatures in order to bring them to eternal life.
Most Catholics would be surprised if anyone questioned or denied that we need the grace of God to be saved. Built into the Catholic mind is a correlation between grace and heaven so close that the one is unthinkable without the other. The relationship is correct, and the instinct which tells us that we need divine assistance to reach our final destiny is a reflection of the Churchs faith over the centuries. Nevertheless, this faith was not preserved without struggle. The calm assurance we now have is the fruit of conflict and of clarification that reach back to the early period of Christianity. The conflict still continues and is, in fact, the most deep seated tension in all human history. There is, on the one hand, the assertion of mans independence in the moral order. On the other hand we have the contrary admission that man is not autonomous, that with all the native powers at his command he is really helpless without special and constant intervention to realize the ultimate purpose of his being.
Man is a bundle of contradictions. Newman called him the strange composite of heaven and earth, cloaking corruption yet weakness mastering power. "What sort of freak then is man," wrote Pascal, "How novel, how monstrous, how chaotic, how paradoxical, how prodigious! Judge of all things, feeble earthworm, repository of truth, sink of doubt and error, glory and refuse of the universe!"
The first species of grace was implied in the statement of St. Athanasius, that "God has not only made us out of nothing; but He gave us freely, by the grace of the Word, a life in correspondence with God"; the second was described by St. Ambrose, that "every holy thought is the gift of God, the inspiration of God, the grace of God." In technical terms, the first is called sanctifying grace, the second actual, although the terminology is fluid and a variety of synonyms is used for both concepts. Our concern here is with the habitual, supernatural state of soul, as distinct from the transitory assistance received from God, comparable to the principle of rational life which makes us men as distinguished from the passing divine influence that concurs with our every action.
All religion is somehow based on the recognition of a superhuman Reality of which man is at least vaguely conscious and towards which he strives to orientate his life. This orientation may take on extreme forms, or it may be so simple as almost to elude inquiry, but its driving spirit is always the desire to communicate with the divine and, so far as possible, to share in the attributes of the one who is God.
Our dependence upon God and His supernatural communication affects every aspect of our being. Through sanctifying grace we are given a new life that raises us to the divine family and makes us partakers in the very nature of God. This corresponds to the vital principle in the physical order, enabling us to perform actions that are meritorious of heaven. Just as, naturally speaking, we receive from God both our nature and the constant influx of His general concursus; so supernaturally He gives to His elect not only the wellspring of deiform vitality but also the special assistance we need to guide the mind and inspire the will in our pathway to glory. Another name for this transitory light and inspiration is actual grace.
We know that somehow manís destiny involves two kinds of freedom:†his own and that of God. In examining the dialectic between the two, we keep in mind that from the divine side God "will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth," but from man's side there is power to follow or resist the loving intentions of God.
In order to appreciate the meaning and importance of the celebrated controversy about efficacious grace, we must see its beginnings in their historical work. Apart from the circumstances to which it gave rise, the centuries-old discussion between two major religious orders in the Church might well seem to be "wrangling about a theological subtlety." If the subject under dispute was subtle, the issue at stake was far from useless. In fact on its clarification depended the substance of the Catholic faith. Commentators on the disputation De Auxiliis sometimes underrate the significance of the problem by considering it only a domestic argument with no relevance to the Christian life. It is highly relevant, and the early disputants were not "wanting in a sense of humor" for taking too seriously what should have been an academic debate.
Woven into the texture of merit are such typically Catholic ideas as freedom of the will, good works, growth in sanctifying grace, the evangelical counsels, and intercessory prayer. They are neither conditions which make merit possible, or derive from meritorious actions nor assist the soul in meriting more effectively before God. A clear understanding of supernatural merit does more than educate the mind in the Christian religion; it offers motivation for fidelity in the spiritual life and, paradoxically, lie close to the center of the heroism of the saints.
In The Clerks Tale by Chaucer, we are told that natural goodness comes of God, no strain of blood can give it, no, nor ancestor. This was a poetic way of saying that so-called virtue is not born of nature but comes as a gift of God, who endows some people with qualities of mind and heart that others, after a lifetime of effort, never acquire.
The holiness spirit in Protestantism stems from the teaching of John Wesley, who believed there were two stages in the process of justification: freedom from sin and sanctification or the second blessing. With the decline of strictly Wesleyan principles among American Methodists, groups of perfectionists were organized to preserve and foster the idea of holiness as an essential part of the Methodist tradition. About 30 denominations in the U.S. qualify as Holiness bodies, even though the term does not appear in their official names.
We begin by observing that there is no such thing as chance with God. God has a purpose for everything which he created. God must have a purpose, and a purpose for us, in creating the angels, and the first I would say, fundamental reason is because God wants us to both understand and live spiritual life. And the angels are pure spirits. Our lives are only as spiritual as they are angelic.
Holy Communion preserves the supenatural life of the soul, increases the life of grace already present, cures the spiritual diseases of the soul, and gives us a spiritual joy in the service of Christ, in defending His cause, in performing the duties of our state of life, and in making the sacrifices required of us in imitating the life of our Savior.
We do not normally associate the Holy Eucharist with marriage and the family. But we should. Without the Eucharist, there would not be a livable sacrament of matrimony or a stable Christian family. What are we saying? We are saying that Christ intended these two sacraments to be related as condition and consequence. The Eucharist is the condition, and matrimony as the core of the family is the supernatural consequence.
Our present meditation is on the Holy Eucharist as the bedrock foundation for the Christian family and for rebuilding Christian civilization throughout the world. What I wish to stress is two words in the title of this conference: "Foundation" and "Rebuilding." Our focus, therefore, will be to explain how and why devotion to the Holy Eucharist is necessary as the divinely ordained foundation for Christian families; and how Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is our only hope for rebuilding a civilization based on the values of authentic Christianity.
We who have the true faith believe that nothing ever happens by chance. The massive culture of death that has invaded the minds of whole nations must somehow have a divinely ordained purpose. As Saint Paul tells us, where sin has abounded, there grace will even more abound. Who would doubt that sin is abounding on a level and with a depth of evil never before experienced in human history? Our faith tells us that consequently God has stores of His grace for the future. But there is one proviso. We must be able to see why the present evil of world genocide is permitted by God. We must be able to see, as we have never seen before, the true meaning of human life in this world as a prelude to the eternal life for which we were made."
I wish to share with you how the Holy Eucharist is the source of miraculous powers. Christ in the Blessed Sacrament gives us super-human energy by which we can practice the virtues that He expects of His followers. These virtues are beyond the capacity of human nature to perform. For the present, let us limit ourselves to just four virtues: charity, chastity, patience and fortitude.
"Once this fact of faith (Jesus Christ, God and man, is present in the Blessed Sacrament) is recognized, it is not difficult to see why prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is so efficacious." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
It must sound pious to associate the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Priesthood. But this is not piety. It is necessity. Without the priest there would not be a Eucharist and without the Eucharist, the priesthood would not be holy. Our present focus, however, is on the necessity of the Eucharist to produce and provide for living out the supernatural, and therefore humanly impossible demands that Christ places on those who enter the priesthood in His name.
It would be unrealistic to expect the Church to remain unaffected by present day secularism. Catholics are too much a part of the culture in which they live and too exposed to the ideas of their day not to be influenced by what they experience. Add to this secularism the rise of the communications media in the twentieth century and we get some idea of how inevitably the Church has suffered by contact with the unbelieving world in which she lives.
We do not normally associate the Holy Eucharist with the sacrament of matrimony. But we should. Without the Eucharist, there would not be a livable sacrament of matrimony. What are we saying? We are saying that Christ intended these two sacraments to be related as condition and consequence. The Eucharist is the condition, and matrimony is the supernatural consequence.
Love for the Eucharistic Lord is the key to sanctity. Every true apostle lives his life with Christ, in His Eucharistic Presence, the Sacrament of all sacraments.
"Pope John Paul II reflects upon the Holy Eucharist as the source of the strength and the growth of the Church. Our Holy Father is inspired by the perennial teaching of the Church, expressed in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 'Lumen gentium,' of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. The teaching of the council reminds us that the Church receives its strength and growth from the altar of Christs Sacrifice. Even as the individual members of the Body of Christ are strengthened and grow in holiness, most of all, by participation in the Holy Mass, so does the whole Body of Christ receive its life and development from the Eucharistic Sacrifice (no. 21a). The importance of the Holy Eucharist for the life of the Church, from her very beginnings, cannot be emphasized enough." - Archibishop Raymond L. Burke
Our conference this evening is on the Eucharist as communion and sacrament. There is generally no difficulty in speaking about the Eucharist as Sacrament. In fact, thats the way most Catholics understand the Eucharist. However, our focus is more specific. We wish to explore how the Holy Eucharist is a sacrament three times over as present sacrament, as communion sacrament, and as sacrifice sacrament. Tonights focus is on the Holy Eucharist as communion sacrament.
Our present conference is on the Sacrifice Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The language may seem a bit strange. It was, however, our present Holy Father who distinguished the Holy Eucharist as a sacrament three times over. The Holy Eucharist is a present sacrament, a communion sacrament, and a sacrifice sacrament. One reason for this conference is to clarify what Im afraid in many Catholics minds is obscured.
"It is the Eucharist that defines us, it is the Holy Eucharist that makes us Catholic, it is devotion to the Holy Eucharist that puts us in the right relationship with God." - Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte
When the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century defined the meaning of the Eucharist, it declared that "the Body and Blood, together with the Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the whole Christ, is truly, really and substantially contained in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist."
The Holy Face of Jesus, Prayer of St. Theresa of Jesus to the Holy Face, The Medal and the Holy Face, and The Prayer of Mother Maria-Pierina.
Since the coming of Christ the Catholic family is not just a poetic or rhetorical model but the pattern of what all family life in the world must be. Family life came into existence with the coming of Christ in a way that no one anywhere in recorded history had lived "family life" before the time of Christ.
If there is one phenomenon that characterizes the modern world, especially the modern western world, it is the breakdown of family life. The most rampant divorce rate of human history, which in some cities in the United States has reached a rate approaching a 100%. One large city, unnamed, recently had a divorce rate of 500%, five divorces for one marriage that year. The national American rate is well over 50% and climbing constantly. European social scientists, who see whats happening, say America on these conditions cannot survive.
One method is based on the four word aspiration and prayer, Adoro Te Rex
Gloriae, I adore Thee, King of Glory. The idea is to divide one's holy hour
into four quarters: "You spend the first in adoration; you spend the second
in thanks; you spend the third quarter in reparation; and finally you spend
the last quarter in giving something to God."
Why a HOLY HOUR before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament? Perhaps many still ask that question. To it there is basically only
one answer: Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is present.
"The title of our present meditation is certainly strange. In fact, it is really two titles wrapped in one. Both parts of the title are contrasts. The first is between the Holy Mass and the innocents who were killed by King Herod. The second is a contrast between the sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifices of human beings." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Among the sacraments, none is more distinctively Catholic than the sacrament of Order. The plural, Orders, is commonly used because there are three levels of this one sacrament, namely the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate.
Abortion is the ultimate crime. Other crimes can be perpetuated for some profit or gain. But there is no gain in abortion, except a lifetime of pathetic quiet. Other crimes can be provided by some deadly passion, like lust, or anger or revenge. But there is no real passion in abortion, except an idolatrous self-love or inhuman self-will.
My plan for the conference is first, to read the verses from the Acts of the Apostles in which St. Luke describes what happened at Pentecost in the actual Descent of the Holy Spirit, and then immediately after Peter's sermon where he himself was inspired by the Spirit, how that same Spirit affected and began to shape the first converts. Then having read the passages we shall reflect separately on the prominent features of what the Holy Spirit does when he descends on the faithful.
We speak of the Holy Spirit in many different ways: as Love, as Gift, as the Paraclete, as the Advocate. All of these titles are biblical and identify some of the profound attributes of the Spirit promised by Christ before his Ascension into Heaven. But there is one that we especially need to recognize today and that is the Spirit as Power. What does this Spirit as Power really mean? Let us analyze it in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit which pertain to the will.
First, we ask ourselves what is the virtue of hope; then, why does the virtue of hope need to be specially sustained in our day; and finally, how are we to assure ourselves of the help of the Holy Spirit to remain hopeful as Catholics and as consecrated persons in the most devastating century of Christian history?
There are some topics that are meant to startle the audience to attention. Like clever ads in the newspapers or magazines you say something bizarre to catch the readers' notice; but the title of the ad does not really mean what the words are saying. This is not the case here. The full title of my talk to you would read, "Home Education is Necessary for the Survival of the Catholic Family."
We are speaking about home education at the heart of the Church. At the heart of the Church is the family
Our plan is to ask three questions: What is home education? Why is home education necessary for the survival of the Catholic family? How is home education to be provided not only for the survival but for the progress of the Catholic family as we enter the third millennium?
There are so many subjects that we could talk about on Christmas day, but I thought the most appropriate would be to speak on Christmas and the Eucharist. There are many aspects to their relationship, but I believe that they are mainly three: both Christmas and the Eucharist are facts; both reveal a mystery; and both are meant to teach us a profound and not easily learned lesson.
There is no other Christian virtue about which the saints have written so much or more eloquently than humility. The reason for this is not difficult to find, since, in a sense, this was the principal virtue that God came into the world to teach us.
It is most appropriate that the beginning of the New Year should be the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. The first day of a new year reminds us of the beginning of things, the beginning of the world and of mankind. We commemorate, therefore, the creation of the world, when God brought the universe into existence out of nothing.
The Feast of Saint John the Evangelist is a most appropriate occasion to speak on a subject like this one. In fact, I would suggest as a theme for a retreat, the following passage of our Savior recorded by John from the Last Supper: "Now this is everlasting life that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." The important word in this summary of Christianity given us by Jesus is the word "know."
The name "Spiritual Exercises" is a method of preparing and disposing the soul to free itself from all inordinate affection, and after it has freed itself from them, to seek and find the Will of God concerning the ordering of life for the salvation of oneís soul.
There are some blessings of human existence that people think about and talk about more than others. There are few things about which more is said and written, for which more effort is made and more prayers are offered, than peace.
The important thing, for our purpose, is that they had both been for a long time solitaries in the desert, and only with great reluctance, on the strong insistence of the people, did they leave the desert and enter the active life of the priesthood and the episcopate. Both wrote extensively. Their writings on the beauty and importance of solitude are among the finest we have in Christian ascetical literature.
It is traditional when using the Spiritual Exercises to close with a meditation on the love of God. Saint Ignatius calls this meditation "A Contemplation for Obtaining Love" (Contemplatio ad Amorem). We shall go over what Saint Ignatius says about love: what it means, how it is practiced, and how we can grow in the love of God. "Suscipe" is the first word of the exulted prayer that is a perfect act of the perfect love of God.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?"
In this meditation, I would like to do two things, and then close with a third: first, briefly describe the facts of Christís crucifixion; second, reflect on the further fact that Christ is still being crucified; and then, what all of this should mean to us.
Let us reflect for a few minutes on the meaning call Him "Lamb of God." Although the name was first used by John the Baptist, referring to the Savior, its roots are centuries before Christ in Isaiah, who foretold that the Messiah would be the Suffering Servant and the Lamb to be sacrificed.
As we know, there are two ways we can pray on the great mysteries of our faith, and surely Christís birth is a great mystery. We can either reflect on the mystery, think about it, analyze it and discursively meditate on the meaning of what God revealed, where the faculty we mainly use is our minds; or we can, not so much think about, as look at the mystery by what we call "contemplation", where it is not so much the mind but rather the heart, the sentiments, that are active.
It is remarkable that the day after Christmas we should be celebrating the feast of a martyr. The custom goes back to the very early Church. It seems that in her wisdom, the Church wanted to make sure that we associated Christ with martyrdom. There are many lessons that todayís feast teaches us. If yesterdayís was called "Christmas", todayís has been also called "Stephenmas." But there are especially four lessons: the lesson of love, the lesson of hatred, the lesson of conversion, and the lesson of forgiveness of oneís enemies.
We commonly and correctly identify religious life with the pronouncement of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. That is true but not quite adequate. We know, for example, that there are in the Church people living what is called a consecrated life as members of secular institutes.
Certainly never in modern memory, and never perhaps in the Churchís history, has the Holy See (the See of Peter) been more assailed, and not only by the Churchís avowed enemies but even by so many of her own sons and daughters. But when we believe that the See of Peter is the See of Christ, we are believing that what that See teaches is the truth.
The confidence of many is shaken, because we live in a time of history when so many are falling away from the faith; when priests and religious, often after years of service of the Church, suddenly it seems, break their commitments and not a few then turn their backs on the Church and attack the very Mother that had given them so much; and when family life is so unstable.
"First of all, they should come clean about their past. Its remarkable how many people are concerned about their past because they are not sure that they have made a clean sweep or confession of anything." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The standard lexicons of the English language correctly define infallibility as exemption from fallacy or error of judgment and they also correctly say, under the word "Infallible": "In Roman Catholic doctrine, incapable of error in matters of faith and morals." My purpose in the present study is to look at four aspects of our subject in the form of four questions: 1. What is infallibility? 2. Why must the Church founded by Christ be infallible? 3. Who within the Church is infallible? 4. How infallible is the teaching Church?
"Our present conference is on how, how should Catholics be retrieved who have lost either their faith or they have at least lapsed from the practice of their Catholic religion. Our first conference, you remember, was on why, why has there has been such widespread abandonment of the Catholic faith in one formally Christian country after another, including our own United States. We concluded that the faith was not so much lost as given up. And in many cases, not even given up, but never really grasped or understood in the first place." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The Catholic family in super-developed countries like the United States is on trial for its existence. This is not my personal opinion but the measured judgment of the Vicars of Christ. One modern pope after another keeps warning the faithful about the deadly struggle going on in the world today, between Christ, the Light of the world, and Satan, the prince of darkness, and the main focus of this struggle is the FAMILY.
"One of the most memorable experiences that I ever had was with the Miraculous Medal!
This experience so changed my life that I have not been the same since. My faith in God, faith in His power to work miracles, was strengthened beyond description." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Not too many years ago this would have been a strange title for a lecture, "How to be an authentic Catholic." The reason is obvious. Catholics were Catholics. They were not Protestant, or Mormons, or Jehovahs Witnesses. But much has happened in the last thirty or so years. Nowadays there are so many people who call themselves Catholic but really are not." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Nowadays there are so many people who call themselves Catholic but really are not. There are books published and periodicals; there are conferences
given, and symposiums held; there are religious programs and celebrations sponsored, and all professedly Catholic. But so many of
these are Catholic only in name and not in reality." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Our present conference is on, How to Cope with the Abuses in the Eucharistic Liturgy. The moment you hear that title you realize that this will be the most unusual conference we have so far engaged in. It will be unusual on several counts. We shall deal here with one of the most delicate and difficult features of what I do not hesitate calling the revolution going on in the Catholic Church today. We shall identify some of the features of this revolution which involves the most sacred element in Christianity - nothing less than Christ Himself in the Blessed Sacrament." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Here only two recommendations will be made, which can be reduced to two imperatives: learn the secret of silence, and develop the art of mental prayer. Both are closely related and each one depends on the other. Yet they are not the same, and together they will give us some idea of how Christ can, indeed must, be followed in our day." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The expression "love of God" has more than one meaning. Consequently, the practical question of how to grow in this love depends in no small measure on what meaning we attach to the expression. The love of God can mean, first, friendship with God in sanctifying grace; it can mean the service of God in doing His Will; it can finally mean affection for God in the acts of love by which we show our affection for Him." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"I don't think anyone here has any doubt about why we should speak about keeping our children Catholic. The widespread loss of young Catholics to the true faith is unparalleled in Christian history. Millions of teenagers and those in their early twenties are leaving the Catholic Church in one so-called developed country after another. I will never forget the dinner I had with a Catholic father and mother who sadly told me that their seventh child had just left the Church. All seven had been given a nominally Catholic education, at great sacrifice to their parents." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The Savior is described by St. Luke as telling His followers to pray continually and never lose heart. Let us think seriously about what we are told. We need, that is we should, which means we are expected to, pray continually.
The Spiritual Exercises were written by St. Ignatius Loyola over a period of some ten years, from 1521 to 1533. They are based on three principal sources: Sacred Scripture, personal religious experience, and certain masters of the spiritual life, notably Thomas A. Kempis, the author of the Imitation of Christ. The Exercises were first officially approved by Pope Paul III on July 31, 1548, exactly eight years to the day before the death of St. Ignatius. Since then some forty Bishops of Rome have formally approved and praised the Exercises, and strongly recommended them for use by the faithful. In 1922, Pope Pius XI declared St. Ignatius the heavenly patron of all spiritual exercises and retreats.
our answer is or should be, we make the Mass more vital in our
religious life by knowing the Mass, second by living the Mass and
thirdly, by participating in the Mass."
Dissenters as they piously called themselves, dissenters from the Church's teaching, erroneously used the council to support the idea of bishops being independent of the pope and the single main reason for the wide spread dissent of bishops from the Vicar of Christ, is contraception.
"The disintegration of the family, in one Western nation after another, is the result of disintegration of Christianity in these societies. As a
once-Christian nation becomes de-christianized, the family in these nations begins to break down. The breakdown of the family in
once-flourishing Christian countries is the consequence of a de-christianized society." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"No single papal document in modern times has received more publicity than
Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae. Months before it was published
on the feast of St. James the Apostle, July 25, 1968, the secular press
of the world predicted a change in the Catholic Church's position on contraception.
When the document was issued, its uncompromising stand on artificial birth
control became an acid test of Catholic orthodoxy. For the first time in
centuries, the term "dissenters" came into popular use. Those
who disagreed with Humanae Vitae came to be identified as dissenters
from the Church's ordinary, but infallible, teaching authority." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Pope Paul VIs encyclical, Humanae Vitae, is surely the most discussed and controverted papal document of modern times. To some people it is a symbol of an outmoded ethical mentality. But to loyal, believing Catholics, it is a blessed gift from the Vicar of Christ." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
I will take up each virtue separately and try to show why it is so important for priests, if they wish to be priestly priests,
to be humble and obedient, and how they can grow in humility and obedience." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.