Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Adult Formation Series, September 4 -- The Stigmatic Saints: Introduction (Part 1 of 3 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)


 Celebrating the visit of the relics of St Padre Pio to our Parish, we will have a three part series on the mysterious gift of the "stigmata" - the wounds of Christ's Passion that were impressed upon the hands, feet and side of Padre Pio.

Objectives of Session 1:
1) Define the "stigmata" and review the Biblical foundation for the word
2) Recognize the relation of the "visible" and "invisible" stigmata.
3) Appreciate the basic historical facts and statistics related to the stigmata.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Sunday Sermon, September 2 -- No Bible without the Pope (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

We now read from the Letter of St James at the Sunday Masses for five weeks. This week and next, we will preach about the Letter, its place in Scripture, and the life of St James the Apostle.

St James is one of the seven "Catholic Epistles" - while these are all now recognized as part of the Bible, they were not always accepted by all. We consider the formation of both the Old Testament and the New, why the Protestant Bible is missing seven books from the Old Testament, and why the Catholic Church has always been correct to included those seven books.

Without the teaching authority of the Pope and Ecumenical Councils, we would never know which books truly belong in the Bible -- without the Pope, we wouldn't have the Bible.

Finally, looking more particularly at St James' Letter, we see that man is not justified by faith alone, but through works in faith. This Letter is the death of Protestantism.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Sunday Sermon, August 26 -- Marriage: The Great Sacrament in Christ and in the Church (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

"This is a great sacrament, but I speak in Christ and in the Church."  (Ephesians 5:32)

The Protestants do not accept that marriage is a true sacrament instituted by Christ, but rather see it as pertaining to the realm of secular government. This is why Martin Luther allowed not only divorce, but even polygamy (that a man may have more than one wife).

However, the Catholic Church insists that marriage is a true sacrament of the New Law -- the "great sacrament" as St Paul calls it.  We consider the institution of matrimony from the beginning when God created Adam and Eve, the first sin as a satanic assault on marriage (even as the devil will wage his last great war as a battle over marriage and the family), and how God straight away began to heal marriage. We then turn to matrimony as a Sacrament instituted by Christ - signifying and truly making present the love of Christ and of the Church.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sunday Sermon, August 19 -- The Eucharist, Replies to Protestant Objections (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Replies to typical Protestant objections against the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist:

1) Jesus says, "The words I speak are spirit and life" - but this does not mean that they are merely metaphorical or symbolic.
2) There is only one body of Jesus, and it is in heaven - but this same body is present in a new way in the Sacrament.
3) It would be cannibalism to eat human flesh - but when we receive the Eucharist we are received into Christ, for this is not ordinary food.

The real problem is that those who do not believe in the Eucharist lack faith - and we need to pray for their conversion.

In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus gives us himself even in his humanity to be our companion and friend until the end of time.

Holy Day Sermon, August 15 -- The Assumption of Mary, CoRedemptrix

An explanation of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. A discussion of the reality of her death and resurrection. Consideration of Mary's unique role in being united to Jesus our Redeemer - hence, she is truly CoRedemptrix.

Sunday Sermon, August 12 -- Spiritual Hunger for the Eucharist (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Jesus desires to inspire a spiritual hunger for the Eucharist through his Bread of Life Discourse. To have spiritual hunger, we must have faith and charity.

The Church requires the hour fast for communion as a way to remind us of this spiritual hunger.


Sunday Sermon, August 5 -- The Bread of Life Discourse is not a Metaphor (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The manna in the wilderness was the miracle of heavenly bread feeding 1.4 million Jewish people for 40 years in the desert. This is 300 train cars worth of manna daily!  And Jesus says that the Eucharist is greater still. The Eucharist cannot be a mere symbol, else it would not be more miraculous than the manna.

Three reasons why the Bread of Life discourse cannot be a metaphor:
1) Because of the words Jesus uses: "true food", "amen, amen", "true drink", etc.
2) Because of the reaction of the people present: Both the believers and the unbelievers knew that Jesus was speaking literally.
3) Because the saints of the ages have always interpreted this passage in the strict literal sense.


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Sunday Sermon, July 29 -- Our Rituals Bear Witness to our Eucharistic Belief (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Jesus multiplies the loaves to give a tangible example of miraculous bread before then teaching the dogma of the Eucharist in the Bread of Life Discourse. He prepares us for his teaching by showing us a miracle.

Similarly, the Church prepares us for belief in the Eucharist by the rituals she uses during the Mass and in adoration of the Eucharist outside of Mass.

Consider: In the Mass, we know by example that the bread is changed into the Eucharist at the moment of the words of consecration, because it is after this moment that the priest holds up the Host for us to adore the Lord. Likewise, we know that Jesus is living and active in the Eucharist, because we ask him to forgive us our sins as we look to the Host and say, "Lord, I am not worthy."

Likewise, outside of Mass, we consider how the rite of Benediction and the Eucharistic Procession teach us that Jesus is a priest in the Eucharist. From the Sacred Host, he blesses his people and intercedes for us!

Sunday Sermon, July 22 --- Devotion to the Precious Blood (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

The month of July is the Month of the Precious Blood. Devotion to the Precious Blood is a devotion to the humanity of our Savior. We worship the blood of Jesus, because he is a divine Person. Even in his humanity, he is always God.

One devotion to the Precious Blood is the Seven Mysteries of the Precious Blood:
1) The Circumcision
2) The Agony in the Garden
3) The Scourging at the Pillar
4) The Crowning with Thorns
5) The Carrying of the Cross
6) The Crucifixion and Death
7) The Piercing of His Heart

Another modern devotion which is essentially a devotion to the Precious Blood is the Divine Mercy Devotion. In this, we see the Blood of Jesus as an ocean of mercy.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Sunday Sermon, July 15 -- Anointing of the Sick (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

A sermon about the nature of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick (Extreme Unction): Who can give it, who can receive it, what the sacrament is for.

This sacrament is the completion of confession to take away the wounds of sin, and therefore can only be given by a priest or bishop.  Further the sacrament is only for those who are serious ill and have begun to be in a real danger of death - yet, we should not wait till the last moments of life before calling the priest.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Sunday Sermon, July 8 -- The Life and Ministry of St Paul (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

St Paul's personality and spirit come to life in his Second Letter to the Corinthians. We will consider the life and ministry of the "Apostle to the Gentiles" as well as the meaning of the "thorn in the flesh" and how St Paul inspires us today.

Born in Tarsus, Saul or Paul (he had both Hebrew and Roman names) was educated in the Law and was among the Pharisees. After persecuting the Christian Church, he was converted when our Lord appeared to him on his way to Damascus. St Paul engaged in three great missionary journeys prior to his first arrest and imprisonment. Having been released, he continued in his preaching and ministry until his second arrest which ended with his martyrdom on 29 June AD 67.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Sunday Sermon, July 1 -- The Raising of Jairus' Daughter (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Sunday Sermon)

A preliminary note about the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and how the Sunday Gospel teaches us that Our Lord approves of the use of sacramentals, and that he himself wore a scapular.

Our Lord chose Peter and James and John to witness the resurrection of Jairus' daughter. Peter represents the magisterial authority of the Church and also the sacramental life. James represents the missionary spirit of the Church and the witness of the martyrs. John represents virginal purity and contemplation.

"He said that she should be given something to eat."  Jesus' teaches us about the reception of holy communion - that we must be raised to spiritual life (through baptism and through confession) so as to benefit from the reception of the Eucharist as our spiritual food.

Sunday Sermon, June 24 -- In Defense of Marriage (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist

St John the Baptist is a martyr for marriage - Jesus' public ministry begins in the context of the defense of marriage. Sr Lucia of Fatima tells us that Our Lady revealed that the last battle would be over marriage and the family.

Marriage can only refer to that particular union which is of itself ordered toward children and family. This is why same-sex unions can never be "marriage". As Catholics, we can admit that there may be great commitment, sacrifice, and even love between a same-sex "couple", but that friendship will never be a marriage.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Sunday Sermon, June 17 -- St Barnabas and the Early Church (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Born in Cyprus, a Jew of the tribe of Levi, Joseph, having converted to Christianity shortly after Pentecost, sold all that he had and donated his vast riches to the Apostles. On this account, and because of his skill in preaching, the Apostles named him "Barnabas" (meaning, "son of consolation" or "son of exhortation") and ranked him among there number.

St Barnabas is one of the most important saints in the history of the Church: He brought St Paul into the Christian community, he was the first "Apostle to the Gentiles", he shows us the power of mercy and was a man without any prejudices.  After serving as the first Bishop of Milan, he was martyred in Cyprus and laid to rest with a copy of the Gospel according to St Matthew which he had made with his own hand.



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Adult Formation, June 12 -- Q&A on Marriage (Series on Marriage, part 6 of 6 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

A final session on the theology of marriage in Scripture and in the Church. Q&A format, with concluding reflection on the most controversial matter in the Church today - Why those in an irregular "marriage" (example, divorced and remarried) must be refused communion if they present themselves.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sunday Sermon, June 8 -- Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

We begin with a consideration of the "brothers and sisters" of  Jesus who are mentioned in this Sunday's Gospel. The word "brother" can mean "cousin" and is often used this way in both the Old and New Testaments. Furthermore, we know that names of some of these "brothers" (James, Joses, Jude, Simon), and we also know their parents' names -- Cleophas (or Alphaeus) and Mary (not the Blessed Virgin, but another woman named Mary who was a close friend of the Virgin Mary). Thus, it is clear, that these are not children of Mary the Mother of God, nor even children of St Joseph by some previous marriage.


We consider the sin of "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" as the unforgivable sin.  The Fathers of the Church debated a great deal about what this sin was, and St Augustine considers that it is the sin of despair leading to final impenitence, death in the state of mortal sin. This is certainly part of the answer.

St Thomas Aquinas goes further and specifies that "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" is when sin is committed out of malice, or hatred of God, rather than out of weakness or ignorance. Such sins are particularly damaging to the spiritual life as being contrary to love.

Finally, we propose that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (the Heart of Love) is a primary means whereby we might avoid falling into blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Adult Formation, June 5 -- Marriage and Celibacy (Series on Marriage, Part 5 of 6)

Objectives of Session 5 – Marriage and Celibacy
1) To know the key teachings of our Lord about virginity
2) To appreciate the Church’s magisterial teachings about celibacy
3) To be able to defend the Church’s discipline of clerical celibacy


Corpus Christi Sunday Sermon, June 3 -- The Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano (in the year 700) has been studied by scientists numerous times over the past 1,300 years (most recently in 1970) -- the Host visibly turned to a piece of human heart tissue, the Chalice sensibly changed to blood.  I have seen this miracle myself, and there are hundreds like it.

Jesus, on the night before he died, desired to express his great love for us -- and he said, "This is my body." With these words, he would both offer himself as a sacrifice for our salvation, and remain with us forever as our companion and friend.  We consider the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, a heart of love.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Adult Faith Formation, May 29 -- Matrimonial Consent and Indissolubility (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Objectives of Session 4 – Matrimonial Consent and Indissolubility
1) To recognize what is required for valid marital consent
2) To appreciate the four “marriage scenarios”  
3) To understand why all marriages are intrinsically indissoluble although some are extrinsically dissoluble
4) To be able to explain the difference between an annulment and a divorce


Monday, May 28, 2018

Trinity Sunday Sermon, May 27 -- God's existence and the Trinity (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

First, we consider a philosophical proof of God's existence as the Creator who holds the world in existence always. We make "the argument from contingency" - that the existence of the universe which did not have to be implies that there is some Creator who exists necessarily.

However, although God's existence can be known by human reason, the mystery of the Trinity is known only by Divine Revelation and the gift of faith.  By an analogy to the human soul, we understand the Son as the perfect image of the Father (God knows himself and the Father begets the Son), and the Holy Spirit as the love of the Father and the Son (God loves himself and the Father and the Son breath forth the Holy Spirit).

The Trinity dwells within us by grace, be heavenly glory we will dwell within the communion of the Three Persons forever.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Adult Faith Formation, May 22 -- Marriage in Scripture (Series on Marriage, part 3 of 6 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Objectives of Session 3 – Marriage in Scripture
1) To recognize the teaching of marriage present in the creation account
2) To be able to account for polygamy and divorce in the Old Testament
3) To appreciate the New Testament teachings on marriage and virginity


Monday, May 21, 2018

Sunday Sermon, May 20 -- Docility to the Holy Spirit (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

At Pentecost, the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit. We see how the great saints were perfectly docile to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. St Philip Neri is an example of a man who followed the Spirit's promptings and lived in an intimate communion with the Holy Spirit.

How can we be more docile to the movements of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
1) Have a great reverence, love, and devotion to the sacraments - especially Baptism and Confession.
2) Daily reading of Sacred Scripture, with the saints as our guides to interpretation.
3) Devotion to the saints, reading the lives of the saints.
4) Obedience and respect for the Pope and all that the popes have taught through the ages.


Sunday Sermon, May 13 -- Mary, Mother of the Church (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

This year, Pope Francis has promulgated a new feast for the Universal Church: Mary, Mother of the Church is to be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost. This Marian title (which is rooted in the writings of St Ambrose and has previously been promoted by Pope Benedict XIV and Pope Leo XIII, as well as Pope Bl Paul VI, Pope St John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI) is a reflection most especially of Mary's role as a mother to the Apostles in the days between the Ascension and Pentecost.

We consider the biblical foundation for calling Mary the Mother of the Church, as well as the promotion of this title at the Second Vatican Council.

Adult Faith Formation, May 8 -- Marriage and Family Life (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi -- Series on Marriage, part 2 of 6)

Objectives of Session 2 – Marriage and Family Life
1) To appreciate the teachings of the Council of Trent on Marriage
2) To recognize the “natural inclination” of all men toward marriage
3) To articulate the blessings and ends of marriage


Monday, May 7, 2018

Sunday Sermon, May 6 -- Marital Chastity in light of Humanae Vitae (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Having preached about the difference between Natural Family Planning and Contraception last week, we now turn to a consideration of what chastity means for married couples.

From the encyclical letter, Humanae Vitae, of Pope Paul VI, paragraph 11:
"The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent Council recalled, "noble and worthy.'' It does not, moreover, cease to be legitimate even when, for reasons independent of their will, it is foreseen to be infertile. For its natural adaptation to the expression and strengthening of the union of husband and wife is not thereby suppressed. The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse. God has wisely ordered laws of nature and the incidence of fertility in such a way that successive births are already naturally spaced through the inherent operation of these laws. The Church, nevertheless, in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life."

We consider what is permitted from married people in terms of intimacy at various stages and in various circumstances of life.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Adult Faith Formation, May 1 -- Introduction to Series on Marriage (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Series on Marriage, Part 1 of 6)




Objectives of Session 1, Introduction to Marriage
1) To recognize that marriage is a natural institution as well as a sacrament
2) To see that even outside of the Church, marriage falls under certain principles of natural law
3) To appreciate that all marriage (even non-sacramental marriage) must be freely chosen, permanent, exclusive, and open to life
4) To recognize that the Church accepts the natural marriages of non-baptized persons
5) To recognize that two baptized persons cannot enter into a merely natural marriage, but only a sacramental marriage


Friday, May 4, 2018

Sunday Sermon, April 29 --- Natural Family Planning is not Contraception (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)


“Neither the Church nor her doctrine is inconsistent when she considers it lawful for married people to take advantage of the infertile period but condemns as always unlawful the use of means which directly prevent conception […]. In reality, these two cases are completely different.” (Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae 16)

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the encyclical in which Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the Church's teaching regarding openness to life within marriage and condemned as always immoral the use of any form of contraception, following the request of the US Bishops, we will be preaching two sermons this week and next on marriage and family life, and chastity within marital intimacy.

This sermons explains the difference between Natural Family Planning and contraception, showing that the two are "completely different" and that NFP is not in any way "Catholic Contraception" but is in accord with the nature of marriage, the nature of marital intimacy, and the nature of the human person.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sunday Sermon, April 22 -- The Life and Gospel of St Mark (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

This week, we celebrate the feast of St Mark the Evangelist (April 25). In the past few years, we have preached about the other three Evangelists, and now we turn to st Mark.

St Mark was a Jewish priest, converted by St Peter. He wrote his Gospel in Rome, and includes more details than any of the other Gospels (even though it is the shortest). St Mark also includes many Aramaic words and phrases which Jesus spoke, even giving us the particular inflection of our Lord's speech. Through St Mark, we are able to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd.


Sunday Sermon, April 15 -- Why Communion on the tongue is preferred to Communion on the hand (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)


A sermon on the fruitful reception of Holy Communion. First, we consider that we must be in the state of grace in order to receive communion worthily (having confessed all serious sins), then the importance of maintaining a one hour fast before communion, as well as the value of proper dress for Mass.

Regarding the manner of receiving Holy Eucharist, we recognize that there is a clear preference for receiving communion on the tongue rather than in the hand (since the universal law of the Church does not permit communion in the hand, and it is only allowed with special permission of the Pope and of the local Bishop – it is allowed in the USA, but not generally throughout the world). Additionally, there is always the option to kneel when receiving. 

In years past, Catholics were taught not to chew the Host after receiving – and there is good reason for this practice, since “crumbs” stuck in our teeth or in our mouth are still fully Jesus and must be consumed reverently (thus, not chewing, reduces the number “crumbs” and shows great reverence for our Lord’s Presence in this Sacrament).



Communion on the hand was permitted on certain conditions (Pope Paul VI, 1969):

“The condition is the complete avoidance of any cause for the faithful to be shocked and any danger of irreverence toward the Eucharist. […] The new manner of giving communion must not be imposed in a way that would exclude the traditional practice. […] The rite of communion in the hand must not be put into practice indiscriminately. […] The option offered to the faithful of receiving the Eucharistic bread in their hand and putting it into their own mouth must not turn out to be the occasion for regarding it as ordinary bread or as just another religious article. […] Care must be taken not to allow particles of the eucharistic bread to fall or be scattered.” 



Cardinal Sarah (whom Pope Francis appointed as the #1 man for the Liturgy, to whom all priests and bishops should look for guidance in how to celebrate Mass) was recently as stating that the widespread practice of Communion on the hand is a “diabolical attack” and “part of Satan’s attack on the Eucharist”. The Cardinal said:

“Receiving Communion on the hand undoubtedly involves a great scattering of fragments. […] The saint [Mother Teresa] was saddened and pained when she saw Christians receiving Holy Communion in their hands. In addition, she said that as far as she knew, all of her sisters received Communion only on the tongue. Is this not the exhortation that God himself addresses to us: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it”? (Ps 81:10). […] Why do we insist on receiving Communion standing and on the hand? Why this attitude of lack of submission to the signs of God? […] Let us come as children and humbly receive the Body of Christ on our knees and on our tongue.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Divine Mercy Sunday Sermon, April 8 -- St Faustina, Apostle of Divine Mercy (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Overview of the vocation story of St Faustina, and close look at certain moments of her life. How Jesus called her to promote the devotion to Divine Mercy, specifically through the Divine Mercy Image and Divine Mercy Sunday.



Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Easter Sermon, April 1 -- God's Sabbath Rest: Eve, Mary, the Church (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

We consider the sorrow of Holy Saturday, when God himself lay dead in the tomb. This day is Mary's day, for she alone had faith in the Resurrection and, in the midst of sorrow, she is our true Mother.

The Lord rested on the seventh day of creation, Jesus rested in death on the Sabbath, Adam rested in a deep sleep when God fashioned the woman from his side. We see that as Eve came from the side of Adam as his bride, so too the Church was fashioned from the opened side of Christ on the Cross.

Holy Thursday Sermon, March 29 -- The Mystery of the Triduum (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

At every Mass, we enter into the mysteries of salvation after the manner of a sacrament. However, during the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil) we enter into these mysteries after the manner in which they were historically accomplished. That is to say, we re-live these mysteries in a more "dramatic" fashion than at any other time in the liturgical year - following the Lord's footsteps through his Passion and Resurrection.


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Sunday Sermon, March 18 -- The Seven Last Words of Jesus (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Sunday Sermon)

The "Seven Last Words" are the seven last phrases spoken by our Savior as he hung for three hours dying upon the Cross.


The First Word - Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

The Second Word - Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)

The Third Word - When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he love, he said to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he said to the disciple: Behold thy mother.  (John 19:26-27)

The Fourth Word - Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? That is, My God, my God, why hast thouh forsaken me?  (Matthew 27:24)

The Fifth Word - I thirst.  (John 19:28)

The Sixth Word - It is finished.  (John 19:30)

The Seventh Word - Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.  (Luke 23:46)


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sunday Sermon, March 11 -- Veneration of the Crucifix (Sunday Sermon, Father Ryan Erlenbush)

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up."

Jesus refers to the Book of Numbers, chapter 21. We consider the history of the Old Testament event and the importance of devotion to the Crucifix in the life of the Church. Also, answering varied objections that Protestants make to the image of Christ Crucified, as well as objections made against religious statues.

Sunday Sermon, March 4 -- The History of the Sacrament of Confession (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

An overview of the History of the Sacrament of Confession, and what each age of the Church can teach us. First, a reminder of the three acts of the penitent: Contrition (sorrow for sin and resolve to never sin again), Confession (naming our sins, and all mortal sins according to name and number), and Satisfaction (performing our penance, and living a penitential life).

The early Church teaches us that true contrition and a firm resolve never to sin again are the most important aspect of confession.
The early Church also teaches us of the joy of reconciliation of the sinner with God and with the Church.
The monastic period teaches us that penance is important.
The scholastic period and early modern period teach us of the importance avoiding occasions of sin.
The current age of the Church seems to focus primarily on the "nuts and bolts" of the method of confession, the naming of sins and the memorization of the formulae. While this is important, we must remember that the most important part of confession is to be truly sorry for our sins and to be firmly resolved never to sin again.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Sunday Sermon, February 25 -- The Testing of Abraham, Faith in the Resurrection (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sermon for the Second Sunday of Lent, on the testing of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac as a prefigurement of the Cross of Jesus Christ.

Mount Moriah is the place where the Jewish Temple was later built. On the far side of that mount is an outcropping which was later called Golgatha. Jesus carried the wood of the Cross up the very same slopes where Isaac carried the wood for the sacrifice.

Further, we know through St Paul's Letter to the Hebrews that Abraham had explicit faith in the resurrection from the dead -- for he reasoned that, if he did sacrifice Isaac on the mountain, God would raising him back to life and fulfill the promises through him.  (Hebrews 11:17ff)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Sunday Sermon, February 18 -- The World Needs Catholics to Fast (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

For the Christian, holiness is the imitation of Christ - and Jesus fasted for forty days, which is why we fast and do penance during Lent. In particular, we fast from food and abstain from meat. Fasting and abstinence is deeply connected with who man, it is not merely a convention. Of all the ways we are attached to worldly things, food is primary. And of all types of food which give strength to the body, the meat of warm blooded animals is primary. Therefore, we sacrifice not only what is good, but even what is necessary (food, and in particular meat); so that we might be strengthened to give up what is not only not necessary, but is not even good (that is, sin).

One hundred years ago, Our Lady appeared in Fatima to ask for penance and prayers for the conversion of sinners and peace in the world. At that time, Catholics fasted for over fifty days of the year (included every day of Lent excepting Sundays), and abstained from meat and eggs and dairy for about one hundred days of the year (including every day of Lent, even the Sundays). Nowadays, we are only required to fast two days a year and to abstain from meat eight days - that is less than five percent of the fasting and less than ten percent of the abstinence which Catholics have practiced for some two thousand years!

No wonder the world and the Church are in such a sad state! Catholics don't do penance any more! Mary has been asking for one hundred years now, will any generous hearts embrace fasting and abstinence this Lent for peace in the world and the salvation of souls?


Listen online [here]!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Lenten Fasting and Abstinence, and Fridays abstinence throughout the year



The Current Law of the Church
Abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of the year (except if there is a Solemnity), which is strictly mandatory during Lent but can be substituted with another penance outside of Lent. [This is mandatory for all 14 and up, until death.]
Fasting, meaning one regular meal and two small snacks, on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday – and encouraged on Holy Saturday.  [This is mandatory for all from 18 to 59.]
(Laws of fasting and abstinence bind gravely, so that it is objectively in the realm of mortal sin to break them significantly without a grave reason [like being very ill or having to perform some extreme physical labor, or pregnancy, etc].)

Father Ryan’s Recommendations  (simply some ideas of how to enter more fully into Lent)
Fasting has traditionally been understood to mean only one meal (taken after 3pm), and only one very small snack (like a piece of bread with honey, or a few veggies). Those who are grown and healthy might consider incorporating this practice on even a weekly basis, especially Fridays – however, growing children, the elderly, the sick, pregnant mothers, etc should speak first with their confessor.
Abstinence has traditionally been understood to mean not just avoiding meat, but also products derived from these animals – namely, broth, meat-gravy, dairy, eggs, etc. This is the origin of the “Easter egg,” since eggs were forbidden during Lent. This is also why Catholics were called “Fish eaters” because they couldn’t eat meat or eggs or dairy – fish was a major part of the Lenten diet.
Less than 100 years ago, abstinence was practiced not only on Fridays, but also on Wednesdays and Saturdays – and even “partial abstinence” on every day of Lent (including Sundays), which meant that meat, eggs, or dairy could only be eaten at one meal during the day. The more ancient practice was to fully abstain from meat, eggs, and dairy on every single day of Lent, and to fast every day but Sunday!
For those who are able, it would be good to consider practicing abstinence from meat, eggs, and dairy on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays – especially on the Ember Days of the First Week of Lent. And even to adopt partial abstinence on every day of Lent.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it, we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it, we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it, we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.”
(Pope Benedict XIV, in the Constitution Non ambigimus of 10 June 1745)
Let’s review the Canon Law of the Church:
Can. 1249 All Christ's faithful are obliged by divine law, each in his or her own way, to do penance. However, so that all may be joined together in a certain common practice of penance, days of penance are prescribed. […]
Can. 1250 The days and times of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and [every day of] the season of Lent.
Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. […]
Can. 1253 The Episcopal Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.

It is clear that each and every Friday through the entire year is a day of penance. This is prescribed by the Law of the Church. In the Universal Church, Catholics are obligated to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. The US Bishops have obtained permission for some other form of penance for Fridays outside of Lent. However, we must recall that all US Catholics are obligated to do penance of some sort on every Friday of the year (excepting if it be a solemnity; for example, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart). Penance on Fridays is binding on all Catholics from 14 years until death. There is no upper age limit to abstaining from meat or some other form of penance outside of Lent. However, the two days of fasting (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) bind only from 18 to 60 years – we are encouraged to fast also on Holy Saturday.
But how serious is this obligation? After Vatican II, Pope Paul VI issued a declaration regarding the necessity of penance in the Christian life. Regarding abstinence from meat (or some other penance as determined by the Bishops’ Conference) on every Friday throughout the year, the Pope states, in 1966, “Their substantial observance binds gravely.” (Paenitemini, Norm II.2) This was further clarified by the Vatican, stating that omitting a part of the prescript of penance “which is notable either quantitatively or qualitatively, without an excusing motive” is a grave sin. (Dubium of 31 March 1967).
What does this mean? It means that Catholics are bound under pain of mortal sin to practice penance on every Friday throughout the year, and not just during Lent. The universal way in which Catholics practice this penance is by abstaining from meat. However, in the USA other forms of penance may be substituted, but some sort of penance is mandatory. To omit penance on numerous Fridays outside of Lent (or even one Friday of Lent) without a grave reason would be a mortal sin.
Am I in mortal sin, if I've never heard about this and have never done Friday penance before?! Of course not. If you truly did not know, but generally seek to follow the teachings of the Church, you are not guilty of committing a mortal sin you didn't know about. However, we all have the obligation to learn and spread the fullness of the Catholic teaching, so we must strive from now on to practice Friday penance throughout.
Why haven't I heard about this before? If it really is an issue of mortal sin, why haven't other priests told me about this?! It is sad that there are many teachings which have not been communicated clearly over the past 50 years. Friday penance is a wonderful way to be united with Christ, who died on Friday for our salvation – this is all about imitating Jesus with much love!

Ash Wednesday Sermon, February 15 -- On Lenten Fasting (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

"Rather than giving something up, this Lent I'm going to add something."
This is a recipe for a terrible Lent.  Indeed, there are three acts to be performed during Lent: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving - if we don't fast, we are already at 66%, which is a D-.

The fast is the core of our Lenten discipline: Fasting helps us to break free from the attachments of the world so as to pray with greater devotion, and fasting brings us to union with the poor whose whole year is a continuous fast.

Just one hundred years ago, Catholics would abstain from meat every day of Lent (even Sundays), and from eggs and dairy on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Further, every day of Lent excepting Sundays was a fasting day. There were 40 days of fasting during Lent! Not to mention more than 10 others throughout the year!

Today, we are only required to fast on two days (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) and to abstain from meat on Fridays. No wonder the world is in such a terrible state - Catholics don't do penance any more! Who else will do penance and pray for sinners, if we don't fast during Lent?


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sunday Sermon, February 11 -- The Fruitfulness of Priestly Celibacy, St Damien of Molokai (Sermons on Priestly Celibacy, Part 3 of 3 - Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Review of the previous two sermons on the theology of priestly celibacy and the history of clerical celibacy.  The priest is celibate primarily because Jesus was a celibate priest - being so conformed to Christ, it is fitting that the priest should imitate the Lord in embracing celibacy. Furthermore, the celibate man offers to God an undivided heart, but the married man's heart is divided between his wife, the world, his family, etc and the Lord - since the priest is wholly consecrated to divine worship, it is fitting that his heart be given to God wholly through celibacy.

Celibacy is tied to the very nature of the priesthood, even as Christ united celibacy to the priesthood in his own person. It is a discipline which could change, but it would be horrible if it did change.

The real history of "married priests" is that the common practice in the early Church was for married men to cease living as husbands with their wives at the time of their ordination. Furthermore, even today, when a married man is ordained (for example, when a married man is ordained a permanent deacon), he makes something like a "conditional promise" of celibacy, since he is not permitted to remarry after ordination if his wife dies. Holy Orders tends towards celibacy.

We consider the joy and the fruitfulness of priestly celibacy as we look at the life of the Leper Priest of Molokai, St Damien.

“Missionary priest, born at Tremeloo, Belgium, 3 January 1840; died at Molokai, Hawaii, 15 April 1889. He was sent to the mission of the Hawaiian Islands, where he arrived, 19 March, 1864. Ordained priest at Honolulu 24 May of the same year. On 10 May, 1873, Father Damien, at his own request and with the sanction of his bishop, arrived at the settlement [on Molokai] as its resident priest. There were then 600 lepers. He not only administered the consolations of religion, but also rendered them such little medical service and bodily comforts as were within his power. He dressed their ulcers, helped them erect their cottages, and went so far as to dig their graves and make their coffins. After twelve years of this heroic service he discovered in himself the first symptoms of the disease. On 28 March, 1889, Father Damien became helpless and passed away shortly after, closing his fifteenth year in the service of the lepers.” (From the Catholic Encyclopedia)


Friday, February 9, 2018

Sunday Sermon, February 5 -- The Real History of Priestly Celibacy (Sermons on Priestly Celibacy, part 2 of 3)

"Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever." (March 1:30)

Having discussed the theology of priestly celibacy last week -- pointing out the gift of celibacy where by the priest imitated Jesus who was a celibate priest and is consecrated entirely to the Lord for divine worship -- we turn this week to the history of clerical celibacy.

There is a common myth that says that the priests were married in the early Church and only in the Middle Ages did the Church force priests to be celibate. This is a false and incomplete picture of the early Church. In fact, from the time of the Apostles (example, St John and St Paul), there were men who embraced celibacy as they lived their priestly vocation. On the other hand, we note that St Peter was married, and likely even had children -- thus, we see that there were married priests in the early Church.

However, we also know from divine revelation, that St Peter gave up married life with his wife when he was called to be an Apostle. And this was the common practice throughout the early Church, that when married men were called to become deacons, priests, or bishops, they voluntarily abandoned married life with their wives and children. St Jerome testifies to this saying, "Though they have wives, they are no longer husbands." In order to be ordained, the common practice of the early Church was that a man would give up marital intimacy with his wife - we call this "continence", whereby a married couple chooses perpetually to abstain from conjugal union.

This is explicit in the Bible: The Lord says to Simon Peter, "You have left wife and children to follow me" (cf Luke 18:29). This indicates that St Peter gave up the intimacies of married life with his wife, when he was called to be an apostle and a priest.

Furthermore, even in those Eastern Churches where married men are permitted to be ordained as priests, and also in the Roman Catholic Church where married men are ordained as deacons, we see that Holy Orders (of its very nature) tends toward celibacy. Indeed, once a man is ordained, he is not permitted to marry - thus, if the wife of a married priest or deacon dies, that man is not permitted to remarry, but is expected to embrace celibacy. We might even say that even in those cases where a married man is ordained as a deacon or a priest, he is making a "conditional promise" of celibacy, if ever his wife should die.

This is the real history of clerical celibacy and married priests in the early Church, and it shows even more plainly that celibacy is intimately tied with the very nature of the deacon, priest, and bishop.



Listen online [here]!

Sunday Sermon, January 28 -- The Theology of Priestly Celibacy (Sermons on Priestly Celibacy, part 1 of 3 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

St Paul says, "I should like you to be free from anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided." (1 Corinthians 7:32)

Inspired by the readings of the next three weeks, we will be preaching a series of sermons on priestly celibacy, indeed on clerical celibacy. This week, we consider the theology behind priestly celibacy; next, the history of clerical celibacy (for deacons, priests, and bishops); and finally, an example of celibacy in the life of a saintly priest.

Celibacy is a great gift, and a source of much joy. In fact, celibate priests are generally happier (according to surveys) than most married men in the USA -- thus, celibacy is not a burden or a cause of sorrow, but is shown even by the secular studies to be a means of gaining great happiness and fulfillment.

There are three reasons often given for priestly celibacy: Married priests wouldn't be able to focus as much on their ministry, they would have to be paid a great deal more to support their families, and they would not be able to be sent as missionaries. These are all good reasons, but they are not the best reasons or the real reason.  Even if some men could perform the work of priestly ministry while being married, even though some parishes could afford to pay the priest more, and even though some priests will never be sent on mission - still, it is better that the Church maintain priestly celibacy in the West.

Celibacy is an imitation of Christ Jesus. Jesus was a celibate priest, and his example shows us that celibacy is tied to the very nature of the priesthood. The priest, in his very person, is consecrated to the Lord for worship - even as the Church building is set aside from the world for the sake of divine worship, the priest is set apart for worship by the gift of celibacy.

Listen online [here]!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

New Home for Father Ryan's Sermons!

Friends, I am in the process of switching to a new means of posting sermons online - I have switched off Sound Cloud for a number of reasons, and the sermons are no longer up there. However, they are all still at archive.org (search "Father Ryan Erlenbush" and click on "Date Archived" for the latest) and can be accessed via the parish website [here] and my New Theological Movement blog by clicking on the "click [here]" link in each sermon post.
I will be trying to update the older posts to provide a playable embedded link from archive.org. It is my hope that I can set up my own website to host sermons and from which I will be able to establish a podcast to allow downloading of sermons onto smart phones more easily!
You can find all the sermons archived here: https://archive.org/details/@father_ryan

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sunday Sermon, January 21 --- Voting, Contraception, and the Pro Life Cause (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The conversion story of Bernard Nathanson, who had been the nations leading abortionist (over 75,000 abortions) and became one of the leaders of the Pro Life cause.  Catholics can promote the culture of life by voting pro life, by not using contraception, and by penance.

It is important to educate people on the link between contraception and abortion -- not only that the contraceptive mentality leads to abortion, but also that many forms of contraceptives actually cause abortions.   If you get in bed with Planned Parenthood, don't be surprised that you end up committing an abortion.


Sunday Sermon, January 14 -- On Purity and Pleasure, and Pornography (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Rules without a relationship leads to rebellion and resentment. Rather than preaching about impurity and un-chastity, we will focus rather on purity and the goodness of pleasure. We also comment on the grave danger which pornography poses in the modern day.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sunday Sermon, January 7 -- The Importance of the Traditional Roman Litrugical Calendar (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

As the Church bids us proclaim the movable feasts of the coming year at the Epiphany, we consider the liturgical calendar and feasts of the Christmas season as they now are in the post Vatican II Mass and as they had been in the ancient tradition of the Church.

In the modern Mass, the 12 days of Christmas and the real meaning of Epiphany are obscured, even as the Christmas season is cut short. The enrichment of the life of the Church with the celebration of the Extraordinary Form (aka Traditional Latin Mass) can help us celebrate the Christmas season with greater joy, and reminds of the season of Epiphanytide.


Pope Benedict XVI often reminded us of the importance of the Traditional Latin Mass for the life of the Church. Indeed, he claims that the New Mass of the Second Vatican Council is, in some respects, a banal fabrication which must be reformed and renewed.

“One of the weaknesses of the postconciliar liturgical reform can doubtless be traced to the armchair strategy of academics, drawing up things on paper which, in fact, would presuppose years of organic growth. The most blatant example of this is the reform of the Calendar: those responsible simply did not realize how much the various annual feasts had influenced Christian people's relation to time […] they ignored a fundamental law of religious life.” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Feast of Faith.


“The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation. In place of the liturgy, fruit of a continual development, they have placed a fabricated liturgy. They have deserted a vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication. They did not want to continue the development, the organic maturing of something living through the centuries, and they replaced it, in the manner of technical production, by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment.” (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in Revue Theologisches, Vol. 20, Feb. 1990)