Index : M
"All the great biblical masters of the ages have affirmed that there are four parts to the Magnificat. In the first strophe, Mary expresses her gratitude to God; in the second, she praises God for his power, His holiness and His mercy; in the third, she compares how differently God deals with the proud and the humble; in the fourth, she recalls that all the ancient prophecies to the Jews are now being fulfilled in the Messiah, Who was at that moment present in her womb." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Since the dawn of Christianity women have been outstanding in passing on the true faith to succeeding generations.
My purpose in this short presentation is to ask three simple questions and answer them in a few words: How have women been the spiritual mothers of the Church since apostolic times? Why are women desperately needed as apostles of the faith in our day? What are some practical recommendations to Catholic women for the future?
My hope is that the Marian Catechists can somehow become affiliated with the Missionaries of Charity.
The Marian Catechists are a group of Catholic lay woman whose purpose is to promote sound religious instruction in the Catholic faith to children and young people.
"This is my 31st year in working for the Holy See. The single most
important responsibility which the Holy Father and the Vatican has given
me, to inspire the laity, the faithful devoted laity, to preserve and
promote the Catholic Faith." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The Risen Savior is now on earth
really coming to us in His living humanity in Holy Communion." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The purpose of the Marian Catechists is twofold: 1) To cultivate a deep devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a special loyalty to the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome. 2) To teach the Catholic religion, personally and through the media of social communication, especially to Catholic families throughout the world.
"We might make the obvious observation that prayers to the Blessed Virgin are so typically Catholic as almost to identify Catholicism. The reason for that, before we go into detail, is that we believe that the Mother of God was the holiest human person who ever lived, keeping in mind that her Son is a divine Person. We further believe that a person's influence with God, a person's power of intercession with God, is in direct proportion to that person's sanctity. Believing as we do that Mary, as the Mother of God, as full of grace, is the holiest of human persons, inevitably Catholic piety from the very beginning invoked Mary so that she in turn might intercede with her Son." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
A comprehensive listing of Marian shrines located around the world.
"In the nature of things, our treatment will be theological, and we will have to resort to certain facts of history and statements of doctrine that are somewhat technical. There are three basic errors which occasioned the Churchs defining Marys divine maternity. Ever since its definition by the Council of Ephesus these three errors keep cropping up, so much so that we can say that the dogma of Mary being the true Mother of God is a precondition for admitting three other mysteries of our Faith." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"It is easy to write on Pope Pius XII and the Blessed Virgin Mary because there is so much to say. We might recall how as a young boy in Rome he would stop every day to visit the shrine of Madonna della Strada at the Church of the Gesu where, as he told his mother, "I pray and tell Mary everything." Or we might reflect on his life-long devotion to the rosary, his frequent sermons on our Lady, his constant reference to her in his writings or, in summary, his own testimony shortly after election to the papacy, that "our priestly life began with Mary and has always been directed under her motherly eye." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The basic principle of modern feminism is The Communist Manifesto. Marx and Engels could not have been more clear. They state, if Communism is to succeed, there must be the "Abolition of the family"!
"Our present Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, so stresses devotion to Our Lady that some people think it is excessive piety. But today's world desperately needs to believe that Mary is the Mother of the Incarnate God and the Mother of the spiritual life." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Pope John Paul II assures us, "That Mary was the first of Christs disciples. She was the first in time because even when she found her adolescent Son in the temple she received from Him lessons that again she kept in her heart. Not only was she the first of Christs disciples, she was the greatest. Because no one else had been taught by Him to such depth as the mother who lived with Him for most of His earthly years. She was both mother and disciple. Indeed we may dare say her discipleship was more important than her motherhood," unquote Pope John Paul II.
We do not usually talk about Mary as a catechist and we do not commonly think of her as a model for those who catechize. But the Blessed Virgin Mary is not only a pattern, she is a perfect model of what every catechist in the Catholic Church should be. We say that Mary is the perfect model of what every Catholic catechist should be. In saying this, we affirm what may not be obviousthat Mary was a catechist. She did instruct others in the one, true Faith. And she did it so admirably that we may legitimately call her the Mother of Catechists." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Devotion to Marys dogmatic titles simply means loving her and imitating her virtues. Christianity would be meaningless without the Blessed Virgin. Her quiet presence opened Christian history at the Incarnation and will continue to pervade the Churchs 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.
Prayerful reflection on Marys Magnificat is always in order. It is the longest discourse we have recorded of the contents of Marys heart. Totally inspired, it is the perfect prayer of humility. It is a sublime prayer of humble adoration. The Magnificat has been a part of the Churchs liturgy since the first century. Ancient monks and hermits recited it daily and it might well be said to be The Prayer of Religious.
"The first apparition of our Blessed Mother at Fatima occurred just thirty years ago on May 13, 1917. It may have been only a coincidence that a few years later the Holy Father should have chosen May 13 as the Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine, Confessor and Doctor of the Universal Church. The fact is that hardly another man in the history of Catholic thought has written more extensively on the glories of Mary or defended her interests more ardently against the attacks of the heretics than this humble scholar from Tuscany. In his private life he was no less devoted to the Mother of God. He fasted every Saturday in her honor. Every morning he used to rise an hour before the rest of the community to recite the Office of the Blessed Virgin on his knees. As a Cardinal in Rome, he organized a special commission to study and defend the doctrine of the Immaculate Conceptionfully three centuries before its formal definition by the Church." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
In these reflections we will address ourselves to two simple questions and answer them briefly but pointedly: first, "Why is Mary specially appropriate as the model of faith for priests?" And, "How can the practice of faith teach all the faithful, but especially priests, to live more faithfully our Christian commitment, and priests their priesthood to which her Son has ordained them?" - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Our present meditation is on the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of Jesus Christ, and therefore the Mother of the Holy Eucharist. We cannot emphasize too strongly that the Holy Eucharist is the living Christ, in the fullness of the human nature which He received from His Mother. As Saint Augustine says, "The flesh of Jesus is the flesh of Mary." Except for her, He could not have said at the Last Supper, "This is my Body, this is my Blood." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"There is a special appropriateness in speaking on Mary, Mother of the Church at this time. We are speaking on a Saturday, which from post-apostolic times has been considered Mary's Day. Why, because, as the Fathers of the Church explain; of all the followers of Christ, Our Lady was the only one whose faith did not falter at all after the Savior's Crucifixion. She remained the Valiant Woman not only under the Cross but after the Cross. She was absolutely certain that what her Son had foretold would come to pass." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
When Mary told the angel at the Annunciation, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word," she became the patroness of every priest and religious until the end of time. Her acceptance of God's invitation to become His Mother made her the Mother of all vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
"Mary, the Blessed Virgin, mother of Jesus Christ and, according to Roman Catholic theology, the greatest of the Christian saints. The title "Mary" occurs only once in the Old Testament as the name of Moses sister (Exodus 15:20). Its etymology has been variously traced to mean beautiful, bitter, rebellion, illuminatrix, lady, and beloved of God. Scholars prefer the last meaning, derived from the Egyptian, which may be explained by the four centuries sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Pope John Paul II's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is so deep and so pronounced that it is not surprising she finds a place of honor in almost everything he says and writes. In one country after another where the Pope visits he seeks out the Marian shrines and there speaks at great length on the Mother of God." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"In 1970, Pope Paul VI instituted January 1 as the feast of Mary, Mother of God. This was to replace the feast of Our Lords Circumcision, and place the Latin Rite in accord with the Eastern tradition of the Catholic Church. It would also supplant the former feast of the Maternity of Mary on October 11. The Holy Father gave five reasons for instituting the new feast. Each reason tells us what we believe when we profess our faith in Marys Divine Maternity, and how this mystery should affect our daily lives." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Unless catechetics pays due respect to Mary it will not give due honor to Christ, and without Christ there is no Christianity.
Of all the seven sacraments, Matrimony has been the most widely challenged in the history of the Catholic Church. It has also been the main cause of disunity in Christianity.
The following quotations from a number of authentic sources express the mind of St. Ignatius on a variety of subjects suitable for prayer and reflection.
While the Constitutions and Spiritual Exercises are the main embodiment of this spirit, select statements from other writings, as given here, may offer useful material for meditation according to the second method of prayer.
"For some time now our theme will be life after death, and our present meditation will be on the meaning of death and triumph over death. Sacred Scripture is unrelenting in its emphasis on the passing character of this life. There is a realism about death in the Bible. It runs counter to the philosophy on unbelief which either denies or ignores the fact that our stay on earth is only a short prelude to eternal life after death." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
We live out the mystery of Christ's resurrection by our devotion to the Eucharist
because the Holy Eucharist is the Risen Christ
now on earth in our midst.
"Prayer is the sublime conversation we are mysteriously able to hold with the invisible world of God and of Gods angels and saints. It is sublime because that is what we are preparing for during our stay on earth. Prayer is the one activity that will not be interrupted by death, but will continue in heaven, never to end." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Until modern times the relationship of morals to religion was taken for granted, and writers as far different in philosophy as Plato and Avicenna, or in theology as Aquinas and Luther, never questioned the basic truth expressed on Mt. Sinai when Yahweh gave the Jews the Decalogue, the first precepts of which were to honor God as a foundation for the secondary precepts of the moral law. But something new has entered the stream of human thought, the concept of man's autonomy that wishes to dispense with religion in its bearing on morals, on the grounds that the very notion of religious values is only a mental construct. Whatever bearing they may have on ethical principles, it is not as though the concept of God was a necessary condition for being moral in the current, accepted sense of the term." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"It is indispensable to restrain our anger and to practice meekness. So too it is humility of heart that will make us gentle in our dealings with others. Only God can see the human heart. We can only see the exterior of other people. And they can only see us externally. Gentleness is love made manifest. Gentleness is charity shown. Gentleness is sincere love shown by the kindness that we manifest." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"I wish to speak on the subject of memorization as the key to learning the Catholic faith. Memorization, in teaching religion, has been considered an out-dated form of pedagogy. Behind this judgment about memorization being old-fashioned is the invasion of error about the Catholic faith and a mistaken understanding of Catholic education." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
it seems worthwhile to look at mental prayer as closely as we can so that we might better appreciate what a treasure it really is and appreciating its value might engage in what some saints, like St. Teresa of Avila, have said is absolutely necessary to achieve sanctity. No mental prayer, no holiness. And I would add it is necessary not only to achieve sanctity, but sometimes even to preserve ones sanity.
"Our scope in this article is to cover three areas of a subject which is as vast as our faith. First, what does the Church understand by mercy? Then, how is Christ really incarnate Divine Mercy? And then very pertinently, how do we not only have the option but the obligation of responding to the profound mystery of the Mercy of God who became Man out of love for us?" - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Those churches which follow the system of religious faith and practice originally promoted by John Wesley (1703-1791) and his brother Charles (1707-1788) are called Methodist. The name was probably derived from the methodical way Wesleys disciples applied themselves to Bible study and prayer.
"The following is a comprehensive schema of all the phenomena in the Acts which occurred after the Ascension and which are traditionally regarded as miraculous. Prophecies, visions, the gift of tongues and other spiritual graces are not included. Only physical miracles, in the technical sense of events which transcend the sensible forces of nature, are listed." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The miracle of the sun at Fatima is more important than most people realize. It is, in fact, the divine confirmation of the message of Fatima. To appreciate its importance, we should ask ourselves three questions: What is a miracle? Why are miracles important? And how did the solar phenomenon at Fatima confirm the supernatural communication of Our Lady to the three children who were the immediate recipients of her communication?
"December third of this year will mark the fourth centenary of the death of St. Francis Xavier. Among the glories of the saint which need to be vindicated at the present time are the miracles which four centuries of tradition have identified with his name. Rationalist criticism has consciously singled out the supernatural phenomena reported in the story of his life. The argument is that if you can eliminate divine intervention from the life of "one of the most noble and devoted men" in the history of the Church, you logically eliminate the same from the Church as a whole. Even Catholics have been influenced by this criticism." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
We address ourselves to the questions: "Why and how are Members of the Fatima Family Apostolate called to Holiness?" Needless to say, this subject covers an ocean of ideas. That is why I wish to limit myself to just four questions and answer them as briefly and intelligently as I can: 1. What is holiness? 2. What is the Apostolate of Holiness? 3. Why is the message of Fatima a call to the Apostolate of Holiness? 4. How should this Apostolate be put into practice?
"As Catholics, we believe that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was sent into the world to redeem the human race and restore our friendship with God. But we also believe that the Third Person of the Holy Trinity was sent by Christ on Pentecost Sunday to sanctify the world which He had redeemed by His blood." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"If there was ever a strange title for a talk on the Pro-Life movement it is surely, "Modesty is always in Style." The reason why this title seems so strange is that people just do not associate modesty with the pro-life movement or, as the Holy Father calls it, "the Culture of Life." Yet the two issues are closely related. Modesty is a pre-condition for chastity, and chastity is the pre-condition for the culture of life." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The sudden death of Monsignor Sawher was a great grace to the Archdiocese of Detroit. Monsignor Sawher was a close friend whom I came to know very personally since I came to live in Detroit about nine years ago. My simplest description of Monsignor Sawher is to say that he was a great priest. He was a holy priest, a dedicated priest, a priest whose death is a great loss to the archdiocese." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Nowadays every one is talking about moral and spiritual values in public schools. The first sentence of the massive statement of the Educational Policies Commission of the National Education Association in 1951 stated that "A great and continuing purpose of education has been the development of moral and spiritual values. To fulfill this purpose, society calls upon all its institutions. Special claims are made on the home and the school because of the central role of these two institutions in the nurture of the young." In 1955 the National Council of Churches held a conference on "Religion and Public Education." Its main resolution was "Since religious truth is a part of our heritage of truth, it should be included in the child's education wherever relevant to the subject matter of education." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Moral theology seeks to cut through this miasma of relativism and
establish human conduct on something more stable than the shifting sands
of custom, and give it motivation far above the prevailing norms of
conformity and the fear of being different.
Until modern times the relationship between religion and morality was
generally taken for granted, and writers as far different in philosophy
as Plato and Avicenna, or in theology as Aquinas and Luther, never
questioned the basic truth expressed on Mount Sinai, when Yahweh gave
the Jews a decalogue whose first precepts were to honor God as a
foundation for the secondary precepts of the moral law. But something
new has entered the stream of human thought, a concept of man's autonomy
that wishes to dispense with religion in its bearing on morals, on the
grounds that the very notion of religious values is only a mental
However, just because an act is human does not tell us whether it is
morally good or bad. The moral quality of our actions derives from three
different sources, each so closely connected with the other that unless
all three are simultaneously good, the action performed is morally bad.
The concept of obedience to superiors is built into the history of
civilized society, and no culture worthy of the name has existed without
stressing the respect which is due to legitimate authority or the duties
of those in command. While much diluted through centuries of use, the
very word piety, derived from the Latin pietas, basically means devotion
to the source of our being - beginning with the parents to whom we owe
physical existence, to the state which is responsible for our social
A superficial observer might wonder why a course in moral theology
should include a full-scale treatment of murder and mutilation, when
even the most primitive peoples had laws against unjust aggression and
punished offenders with severest penalties. The fact is that our present
age has seen mass-killing practiced as never before in history, and,
under the guise of eugenics, social welfare and pragmatism, has condoned
actions that not only Christianity but all religious systems have
condemned as crimes against humanity.
The morality of drinking is unique, at least in a country like the
United States which spends about twelve billion dollars annually for
alcoholic beverages. Unlike other ethical decisions that people are
called to make, drinking involves more than one option. It may be the
choice to drink or not to drink. If the decision is to drink, another
choice has to be made about the amount that is moderate for the person
himself, because in this matter no two people are alike. And if alcohol
has given trouble, there may be the need to abstain from drink
altogether as the only practical way of solving the problem.
The Christian concept of marriage, although built on the natural law,
differs sharply from the earlier practices among the Jews and pagans,
and also from the modern secular usage - to the point that no area of
public relationship more clearly distinguishes Christianity from other
institutions of human society. It cuts across every aspect of the moral
law and has implications in every phase of man's attitude towards God,
so that marriage can truly be called the most revealing trait of the
Christian religion and almost the test of its validity.
Few subjects of social interest and no aspect of marriage is more highly
charged with emotion than birth control. The output of literature, pro
and con, rivals best sellers in the fiction field, and the end is not
yet in sight. In fact, if students of American law are to be believed,
propagandists for birth control have only begun their fight to make
contraception not only legally permissible but, if possible, also
mandatory in the foreseeable future.
Few aspects of marriage have been written about more extensively than
its breakdown through legal separation, yet the analysis for the most
part has been descriptive rather than critical. Sociologists and others
commonly look upon marriage as a purely secular affair, with social
dimensions indeed but not basically religious. The result is much
diagnosis but no claims to any effective remedy for the most serious
blight on the American way of life. If argument were needed for the
importance of religion in morality, we have it here in the problem of
divorce, where the cleavage between borrowed ideals and actual practice
is so tragic in consequences for the people themselves, for their
children, and for the future of the nation. Human nature is too weak and
human passions too strong to cope with the drive to independence and
freedom, which lie at the root of divorce, without powerful support from
religious values and motivation.
It is not a new thing for Christianity to be accused of trying to take
the fun out of life, especially in matters of sex, by upholding taboos
which are simply contradictory to human nature. The pagan contemporaries
of the early Christians scoffed at their insistence on premarital
chastity and marital fidelity, and more than one martyr in the first
centuries was a victim of what we now understand to have been acts of
sadism. Exercise of power by individuals and groups was often associated
with a wanton cruelty that had its origins in sexual pleasure heightened
by causing others to have pain.
The hardest thing in life is to escape from the shell of egoism that
naturally encrusts every human being and consistently to live for
others, in a word, to practice justice and charity. Yet everything that
religion teaches and all the evidence of experience confirm the judgment
that even naturally speaking true happiness consists in giving rather
than in getting, and that no one is more miserable than the man whose
life revolves only around himself and his own desires.
Morality in business places a constant demand on the conscience of a
believing Christian. More than any other phase of modern life, the
business world is permeated with problems that challenge one's sense of
justice and equity and that call upon every resource of prudence if a
man wants to remain faithful to ethical principles and also succeed in
the competitive market of today's economy.
The legal and medical professions cut across so many facets of human
conduct and imply so many principles of morality that some knowledge of
the ideals of these two professions should be familiar to everyone.
Fortunately lawyers, doctors and nurses have reflected a great deal on
the ethics that should guide their professional conduct, and a summary
of these ethical norms is available to the public.
My plan is to cover three areas of the relationship between Mary and the Eucharist, by making three statements of our Catholic faith, and then proceeding to prove each in sequence. First statement: "Without the Blessed Virgin, we would not have the Holy Eucharist." Second statement: "Without the Eucharist, we could not now adore on earth, Jesus Christ, the Son of God who became the Son of Mary." Third statement: "From the Eucharist we obtain the grace we need to become more and more like the Immaculate Virgin Mary and more and more loving like the loving Heart of Mary."
Today's Gospel on the marriage feast at Cana tells us everything we need to know about Our Lady as the Mother of Divine Providence. The Church has given her this title because she, better than anyone else, is the perfect teacher of what Providence should mean in our lives. She teaches us to believe there is a Providence of God. She teaches us to trust in His Providence. And she teaches us to cooperate with Divine Providence in our lives.
We address Our Lady as Mother of God every time we recite the Hail Mary, and say, "Holy Mary, Mother of God." This title is at once the most fundamental Marian profession of our Catholic faith, and the most endearing in Catholic piety. Unless Mary is, indeed, the Mother of God, no other title, certainly no superlative title of the Blessed Virgin would have any meaning; and because she is Gods Mother, every title we might give her as the noblest of Gods creatures pales by contrast with this one, Mater Dei.
"He has chosen us; we have not first chosen Him. But we must respond by making our society something beautiful for Godsomething very beautiful. For this we must give allour utmost. We must cling to Jesus, grasp Him, have a grip on Him, and never let go for anything. We must fall in love with Jesus." I would change only one word from this quotation of Mother Teresa. Change the word "society" to "family." That is what home education is all about. Your purpose as homeschooling parents is to make your families something beautiful for God. But the price you must pay is high. Like Mother Teresa, you must see the infinite God in Jesus Christ. You must cling to Him, grasp Him, have a grip on Him and never let go for anything. You will be only as effective home educators as you and your children fall deeply in love with Jesus, our God who became man and died on the cross out of love for us.
It is an unexpected privilege to write to you on the occasion of Mother Teresas entrance into eternity. More than twenty years ago, while teaching in New York City, Mother Teresa invited me to speak with her about the new branch of the Missionaries of Charity that she was founding. They are now called the Missionaries of Charity, Contemplative.
The problems to address are manifold and require almost superhuman strength, and certainly Gods grace to apply solutions. These problems include finding ways to protect children from indoctrination to mold their attitudes and beliefs along lines that are frequently at variance with the moral values and beliefs of their parents.
[P]arents are obliged either to devise their own schooling for their young or submit their children to the idea that, morally speaking, there are only opinions, none of which can be considered superior to any others. Aside from ideological manipulation of students, there is also in conventional schools the lowering of academic standards and expectations and the obvious result of lowered test scores. Finally, there is the lack of a disciplined environment with emphasis on reverence and respect for God and His Church, the family, and our country. The result, in a milieu of permissiveness and secularization, is not the formation of Christian souls but unruly behavior, the loss of belief, and poor character development.
With those proper tools (the evidence compiled over the
centuries) a natural spirituality of wonder in the presence of God
will develop in the same way scientific wonder has grown--time after time--in
their hearts. It may look different than most societal style devotions, but
it is the action of God in the hearts and souls of His beloved: cold, hard scientists
who can split atoms, construct space shuttles and skyscrapers or transplant
a kidney easily--but who are moved to tears as they kneel before the tabernacle--knowing
full well Who calls to them from inside. - Rev. Dr. Patrick J. Dolan, PhD.
"Paul M. Quay, S.J., was one of the most brilliant students that I taught in a Jesuit theologate. He already had a doctorate in physics before he began his study of theology. Over the years, until his premature death, he did not publish extensively. But certainly, The Mystery Hidden for Ages in God is a synthesis of his superb understanding of the Catholic faith and one of the great books of the second half of the twentieth century. The more than four hundred pages of this volume are an answer to the question which the author raises in his introduction. It is worth quoting in full." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"We might begin by saying that this is the most fundamental truth of our faith in Christian marriage and the family. What is it? That, unlike all other marriage either before the coming of Christ or now in the world, two baptized people when they receive marriage notice they are not only marrying and actively exchanging their mutual consent, they are, as the late Archbishop Sheen said and he has a book on the subject, free to get married it is husband, wife, and Christ who enter into the sacramental bond of marriage. What is that fundamental truth? That what had not been true before and is not true outside of Christianity, two baptized people receive grace; special extraordinary grace which they both need and not just, mind you, not only at the time when they marry. They receive graces, in the plural, all through their married lives." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Christianity has meaning only on the presupposition of sin. Mankind, we believe was in need of redemption because mankind had sinned deeply, universally and seriously, even unto death. The gravity of the sin demanded a corresponding price of redemption: nothing less than God becoming man to suffer and die on the cross for our salvation. One of the mysteries of salvation history is how to explain what seems to be unexplainable." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.