Friday, November 30, 2012

Should we try to predict the advent of the Day of Judgment?

1st Sunday of Advent, Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
Jesus said to his disciples: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the seas and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
Cult leaders often gather a following through predictions regarding the end of the world. Indeed, this is a pseudo-science among certain Protestants who look through the newspapers to find “signs” of the end-times.
These “prophets” are little more than fortune tellers, since no man can predict the end of time and neither would such be profitable unto the salvation of souls.
A brief consideration of the theological tradition regarding the signs of Judgment Day will help us to realize precisely why Catholics ought not to spend any time or energy on premonitions about the Second Coming of our Savior.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why do the souls in purgatory suffer so? An answer from St. John of the Cross

The month of November is dedicated to the poor souls in purgatory. These holy souls are assured of their salvation and enjoy the possession of the three theological virtues, and yet they suffer greatly. Indeed, excepting only the pains of hell, there is no suffering which can compare with that which the souls endure in the purifying fires of purgatory.
The one consolation of purgatory would be the fact that it is only temporal and not eternal suffering which must be endured. Indeed, every soul in purgatory will eventually enjoy the beatitude of heaven. However, the souls which languish there are not consoled by this thought, for it seems to them that their purgation will go on forever. While they do truly possess the theological virtue of hope (and so are certain of their salvation), yet they are overcome by the thought that their current sufferings will go on forever and that God has abandoned them.
This is the teaching of the mystical doctor, St. John of the Cross. His experience of the dark night of the soul gave him light in this point.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Is Christ the King of the angels, even in his humanity?

Solemnity of Christ the King
For in [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally. And you are filled in him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:9-10)
It is clear enough that, in his divinity, our Savior is head of both angels and men, for the reign of God extends to every creature. It was through the eternal Word that all things were made, and therefore we may well attribute divine authority and kingship to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
However, we may well ask whether, as man, Jesus is rightly called the King of the Angels. The angels were not created through the humanity of Christ, nor (it seems) were they redeemed through his sacred humanity – for he became man in order to save men, but the good angels were already saved.
Therefore, on the Solemnity of Christ the King, we ask whether Christ is the King of the angels in his humanity.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Jesus knew everything, including the Day of Judgment. Obviously!

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark 13:24-32
But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
The Church teaches that our Savior knew everything, past, present and future, and therefore also knew the day and the hour of the final judgment. In fact, it is a condemned heresy to say that Jesus, in his human intellect, did not know the exact moment of the second coming – this heresy, called “Agnoeticism” was condemned by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
However, very sadly, most Catholics have no idea that they are espousing heresy when they say that our Lord did not know certain created truths, like the time of the judgment.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

St. Philemon, Bishop and Martyr

Sts. Archippus, Appia (Apphia), and Philemon

Tomorrow, Thursday of the thirty-second week in Ordinary Time, the Church reads from the Letter of St. Paul to Philemon. This is the shortest of St. Paul’s letters, and is nearly the shortest book of the Bible. With a mere 445 words, only the second and third Letters of St. John are shorter.
Yet, as the Apostle was inspired by the Holy Spirit to send Philemon this Letter, we do well to consider the life and identity of this saint.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

St. Martin: Advent, Peace, and Chapels

November 11th, Feast of St. Martin
“Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptized; he has clothed me.”
Thus, in a vision, spoke our Savior before his angels attesting to the divine election of the Roman soldier Martin. St. Martin of Tours is one of the most beloved saints of the early Church. He was one of the first post-Apostolic era saints venerated without being crowned a martyr, since he died of sickness. Thus, the Church praises him saying that he received a martyrs crown without suffering a martyr’s death.
There are three details about St. Martin that will help us to appreciate the great significance this saintly Bishop has for the Church and the world today.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tithing and original sin

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark 12:38-44
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.”
The Christian faithful are obligated by divine law, by natural law, and even by positive Ecclesiastical law to assist with the financial needs of the Church. While the “tithe” refers to the Biblical tradition of giving ten percent of one’s gross income, the Catholic faithful are not obliged to meet any specific amount but are rather encouraged to be generous in their support of the mission of the Church.
There are three ends toward which this financial aid is directed: divine worship (including maintaining the church buildings), works of the apostolate and of charity, and the support of the priests.
There is also a theological meaning behind the “tithe”, which reveals the spirituality of the Sunday collection plate.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Is there Mass in heaven? Is Christ a priest forever?

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Hebrews 7:23-28
Jesus, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away.
And again we read, Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech. (Psalm 109:4)
Jesus is indeed truly a priest, rather the priest, forever – nevertheless, he has offered the once sacrifice of the Cross only once, for all. Thus, while our Savior is truly a priest in heaven, we must admit that he does not make continual offerings for sin, for he has entered heaven once through the one sacrificial offering of his own most pure body.
A priest forever, the Lord no longer makes the offering of the Cross (excepting through the representation of this one self-same sacrifice through his ministers upon the altars of the Church) – but now, having died once for all, Jesus is always living to make intercession for us. (Hebrews 7:25)
Then, we ask, is there “Mass” in heaven?