St. Faustina's Message From Jesus on Confession

clock October 5, 2012 13:22 by author John |

Write, speak of My mercy. Tell souls where they are to look for solace, that is, in the Tribunal of Mercy [the Sacrament of Reconciliation]. There the greatest miracles take place [and] are incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage, or to carry out some external ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative and to reveal to Him one's misery, and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully demonstrated. Were souls like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full.

-Diary entry 1448


Why not set aside the time to head over to confession. Most parishes offer it on Saturday, some on Friday. Your shoulders will thank you for removing the burden of your sins!

Friday Flashback 10/5/2012

clock October 5, 2012 13:13 by author John |

93 Lives saved already during 40 days for life! This works - we need to keep the pressure on.

Jeff Miller at the Curt Jester found a great article about a vociferous atheist-turned Catholic

About 25 to 30 Christian college students were massacred in northeastern Nigeria late Monday night - the work of Boko Haram. When will this stop?

Indianapolis priest missing in Greece, feared dead - Please Pray!

Judge: HHS mandate no threat to religious freedom - Are you kidding me?!?!

Obama Waives Sanctions on Countries that Use Child Soldiers - If he doesn't care about the unborn or the newborn (Born alive infant protection act). The next logical step is the not so recently born.

Abortion Clinic Closes, Blames Catholics - keep it up!

Episcopal Bishop Trying to Mix it up with Archbishop Cordileone?

clock October 5, 2012 11:19 by author John |

Apparently, the Episcopal Bishop of California, Marc Andrus is developing a bit of a persecution complex. He came out swinging against Archbishop Cordileone. Then he left in a huff after he didn’t immediately get seated at the installation mass. Nice way to start a new relationship.

Do you know why all this happened? It happened because Cordileone read the words of the Bible and took them to heart. You know, passages such as Romans 1:26-27

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

The Story of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, the Apostle of Divine Mercy

clock October 4, 2012 22:12 by author John |

St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
St. Maria Faustina Kowalska

October 5th is the feast of St. Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy. Saint Faustina's full professed name was Maria Faustina Kowalska. She was a member of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and a mystic visionary, bringing the world the devotion of the Divine Mercy.

Maria Faustina was the third of ten children, born Helena Kowalska on August 25, 1905 in Glogowiec, Poland, which at the time was part of the Russian empire. Her family was poor and deeply religious. At the age of 7, she was in adoration before the Holy Eucharist and felt called to the religious life. Her parents however would not permit her to enter the convent when she concluded finishing school. She worked as a housekeeper to support herself and her parents. She approached her parents twice more, asking to join a convent, each time being denied.

At the age of 19, Faustina went to a dance in a park in a nearby town. At the dance, she had a vision of Jesus suffering. She quickly went to a church, where she was told by Jesus to leave for Warsaw and join a convent. She took a small bag with her on the 130 mile trip the next morning, leaving without her parent’s permission and with no connections in Warsaw.

She arrived in Warsaw and entered the first church she saw, (St. James’ church) and attended mass. She asked the priest, Father Dabrowski, for guidance, and he recommended staying with a local lady he trusted until she could enter a convent.

Faustina was denied entry to several convents in Warsaw because she was penniless and uneducated. Several weeks into her search for a convent that would accept her, she came to the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, where the Mother Superior offered to accept her as a lay sister if she could find a way to pay for her habit. As a lay sister she was unlikely to advance to higher levels in the order due to her lack of education. Her duties would primarily be housekeeping chores for the convent.

She worked as a house maid for a year to save up money, posting money at the convent throughout the year to satisfy her end of the agreement with the Mother Superior. On April 30, 1926, she received her habit and took the name of Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament. In April 1928, she took her first vows as a nun, with her parents attending the ceremony.

From February to April 1929, she was sent to the convent in Wilno (Vilnius, in present day Lithuania) as a cook. She would later return there and meet Father Sopocko, who supported her mission. In May 1930, she was transferred to the convent in Plock, Poland for about 2 years. In the autumn of 1930, she contracted Tuberculosis and was sent away to rest at a form owned by the convent. Several months later, she recovered and returned to the convent in Plock.

On the night of Sunday February 22, 1931, while she was in her cell in Plock, Jesus appeared to her as the "King of Divine Mercy" dressed in a white garment, with rays of white and red light streaming from his heart. Jesus told her:

"Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: "Jesus, I trust in You". I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and then throughout the world. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish."

Jesus also told her that he wanted the Divine Mercy image to be

"solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy."

Faustina did not know how to paint, so she asked for help from some of the other nuns in the convent, but they did not assist her. Faustina returned to Warsaw to prepare to take her final vows as a nun in November 1932. On May 1, 1933 she took her final vows in Lagiewniki and became a perpetual sister of Our Lady of Mercy. She then was sent to Vilnius again to work as the gardener. Shortly thereafter, she met Father Michael Sopocko, the confessor to the nuns, who was also a professor at Stefan Batory University.

During her first confession to Fr. Sopocko, she revealed her visions and Jesus’ instructions to her. Fr. Sopocko insisted that she undergo a psychiatric evaluation, which she passed without issue. Sopocko grew to trust in Faustina’s mission, and supported her. It was Fr. Sopocko who encouraged her to keep a diary of her visions and conversations with Jesus.  He also introduced her to the artist Eugene Kazimierowski, who was also a professor at Stefan Batory University. Kazimierowski finished the first rendition of the image we now know as the Divine Mercy Image in June 1934. Several other artists would reproduce the image, the most famous of which was created by Adolf Hyla.

Faustina predicted that her message would be suppressed for some time, stating in her diary on February 8, 1935:

There will come a time when this work, which God is demanding so very much, will be as though utterly undone. And then God will act with great power, which will give evidence of its authenticity. It will be a new splendor for the Church, although it has been dormant in it from long ago.

This did come to pass. The Vatican in 1959 suppressed her messages, but the suppression was lifted in 1978 by Pope John Paul II.

On Good Friday, April 19, 1935, Jesus told her that He wanted the Divine Mercy image publicly honored. On Friday, April 26, 1935, Fr. Sopocko delivered the first sermon on Divine Mercy, with Sr. Faustina in attendance. The first mass in which the Divine Mercy image was displayed was on April 28, 1935, which was the second Sunday after Easter.

On September 13, 1935, Faustina wrote about a vision in which she was given the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. In the vision, she received the purpose of the Chaplet, namely to obtain mercy, to trust in Christ’s mercy, and to show mercy to others. In November of 1935, Faustina created the rules for a new contemplative religious congregation devoted to the Divine Mercy. In December, she visited a house in Vilnius that she had seen in a vision as the first convent for the new congregation.

The next month, Faustina visited Archbishop Jałbrzykowski to discuss the new congregation, but he reminded her of her perpetual vows to the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. In March, 1936, after telling her superiors of her thoughts about leaving her order to found a new order, she was transferred to Waldenow, which is southwest of Warsaw.

The first Divine Mercy pamphlet, which contained the image was created by Fr. Sopocko and given an imprimatur by Archbishop Jałbrzykowski. Copies were sent to Faustina in Warsaw.

Later in 1936, she became ill with what is believed to be tuberculosis and she was moved to the sanatorium in Pradnik, Krakow. She prayed the chaplet frequently for the conversion of sinners and kept her diary for the remaining 2 years of her life. In August of 1937, Fr. Sopocko asked Faustina to write the instructions for the Novena of Divine Mercy, which she received in a vision from Jesus on Good Friday of 1937.

The message of Divine Mercy grew in 1937. That year, the first holy cards with the Divine Mercy image were created, a pamphlet was published entitled Christ, King of Mercy, and on November 10, 1937, Faustina’s Mother Superior showed her the booklets while Faustina lay in her bed, her health deteriorating. The booklets contained the novena, chaplet, and the Litany of Divine Mercy. Meanwhile, her visions became more intense and she could sense the end of her life was near. By June of 1938, she was so ill that she could no longer write.

In September, Fr. Sopocko visited her in the sanatorium, finding her in very poor health, but in ecstasy, praying. In September, she was transferred back home to Krakow as her end was near, where Fr. Sopocko visited her one last time in the convent. On October 5, 1938, Faustina made a final confession and died in Krakow. She was buried on October 7 and now rests at the Basilica of Divine Mercy in Krakow.

The Divine Mercy Devotion

Divine Mercy Image

In 1942 Archbishop Jałbrzykowski was arrested by the Nazis, but Father Sopocko and other professors went into hiding near Vilnius for about two years. Sopocko used his time in hiding to establish a new religious congregation devoted to the Divine Mercy. After the War, Sopocko wrote the constitution for the congregation and assisted in founding the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Mercy. By 1951, there were 150 Divine Mercy centers in Poland.

After Faustina died, her sister nuns sent her writings to the Vatican. Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani tried unsuccessfully to persuade Pope Pius XII to condemn the writings. In 1959 he included her writings on a list he submitted to the newly elected Pope John XXIII in 1959. The Pope signed the decree placing her work on the Index of Forbidden Books. The Vatican forbade the Divine Mercy devotion, and reprimanded Sopocko, suppressing all of his work. The Divine Mercy writings remained on the Index until it was abolished on June 14, 1966 by Pope Paul VI.

In 1965 Archbishop Karol Wojtyla of Krakow who would later become Pope John Paul II opened a new investigation. In 1967 he submitted some documents about Faustina to the Vatican, requesting the start of the process of her beatification. The case was accepted for review in 1968.

In 1977, just before he was elected as John Paul II, Wojtyla asked the Vatican to reconsider the ban on the Divine Mercy devotion. In April 1978, the Vatican lifted the ban, and identified misunderstandings created by a poor Italian translation of Kowalska's Diary. Afterward, the questionable material could not be correlated with the original because of difficulties stemming from World War II and the subsequent Communist era.

Faustina was beatified on April 18, 1993 and canonized on April 30, 2000 - the first saint in the 21st century. Divine Mercy Sunday is now celebrated on the Sunday after Easter.

What is the Hypostatic Union? (The Catholic Meaning)

clock October 4, 2012 14:08 by author John |

Basic definition of the Hypostatic Union

The Hypostatic union is a dogma of the Catholic Church. It refers to the two natures of Christ. These natures are the Divine and human which are united in one incarnated person, Jesus.

The term comes from the word Hypostasis, which means, that which lies beneath as basis or foundation. Hypostasis denotes reality as distinguished from appearances. It denotes an actual, concrete existence. Before the Council of Nicæa (325) hypostasis was synonymous with ousia (roughly meaning “being” in English). The distinction between them developed in the Church as the various heresies about Christ emerged and were debated. It was definitively established by the Council of Chalcedon (451), which declared that in Christ the two natures, each retaining its own properties, are united in one subsistence and one person. They are not joined in a moral or accidental union (as Nestorius asserted), nor commingled (as Eutyches asserted), and nevertheless they are substantially united.

Biblical Basis for the Hypostatic Union

In the first chapter of John, we have a solid basis for the understanding of the Incarnation of Christ, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1). In verse 14, we hear about the incarnation of Jesus: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).

In Philippians 2:6-7, St. Paul writes about the natures of Christ: “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance”

Acts 3:15 gives us some perspective on the relationship between the human and Divine natures of Christ, “But the author of life you killed, whom God has raised from the dead: of which we are witnesses”. If Christ was killed, he must have had a human nature. He could not have been killed had he not been human, as Tertullian argues later on.

In Colossians 2:9, St. Paul tells writes, “For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity-bodily”. Paul refers to both the human and Divine natures.

The Hypostatic Union in the Early Church

The early forms of the creed all make profession of faith, not "in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, Who became Man for us and was crucified" (Denzinger’s “Enchiridion”). These creeds express the 2 natures of Christ: God and man.

In his work, “Ancoratus” (the well anchored man), which includes arguments against Arianism and the teachings of Origen, Epiphanius of Salamis (? - 403) contends that even before the heresies of Nestorius, the Oriental Church proposed to catechumens a creed that was more detailed than that proposed to the faithful. This creed contained the following: "We believe . . . in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of God the Father . . . that is, of the substance of the Father . . . in Him Who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made Flesh, that is, was perfectly begotten of Mary ever Virgin by the Holy Spirit; Who became Man, that is, took perfect human nature, soul and body and mind and all whatsoever is human save only sin, without the seed of man; not in another man, but unto himself did He form Flesh into one holy unity [eis mian hagian henoteta]; not as He breathed and spoke and wrought in the prophets, but He became Man perfectly; for the Word was made Flesh, not in that It underwent a change nor in that It exchanged Its Divinity for humanity, but in that It united Its Flesh unto Its one holy totality and Divinity.”

The ante-Nicaean Fathers expressed the belief in the union of the two natures of Christ. St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, “There is only one physician — of flesh yet spiritual, born yet unbegotten, God incarnate, genuine life in the midst of death, sprung from Mary as well as God, first subject to suffering then beyond it — Jesus Christ our Lord.” St. Justin the Martyr wrote, "Since the Word is the first-born of God, He is also God"

Melito, Bishop of Sardis (about 176), wrote: "Since the same (Christ) was at the same time God and perfect Man, He made His two natures evident to us; His Divine nature by the miracles which He wrought during the three years after His baptism; His human nature by those thirty years that He first lived, during which the lowliness of the Flesh covered over and hid away all signs of the Divinity, though He was at one and the same time true and everlasting God"

St. Irenæus, contends that: "If one person suffered and another Person remained incapable of suffering; if one person was born and another Person came down upon him that was born and thereafter left him, not one person but two are proven . . . whereas the Apostle knew one only Who was born and Who suffered" Tertullian also strongly argued for Christ's two natures: "Was not God really crucified? Did He not really die as He really was crucified?"


Drum, Walter. "The Incarnation." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 4 Oct. 2012 <>.
Pace, Edward. "Hypostatic Union." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 4 Oct. 2012 <>.

Obama Drops the Ball

clock October 3, 2012 20:32 by author John |

Nearly all the political pundits (even a vast majority of the Democratically inclined) are now saying that President Obama lost the debate. I prefer to look at it as the truth being made clear to all. Obama now has 4 years of track record to defend. He benefitted so few in relation to the many he hindered.

Obama looked confused, listless, meandering, and frankly, defeated. I nearly felt sorry for him, but then I remembered the millions of unborn children lead to the slaughter under his approving watch. I remembered the assault on marriage launched by this president. I remembered the assault on the consciences of the Catholics of this country. I almost felt sorry for him. Then I came to my senses and realized this is the only way he could be undone. It is the only way his crushing path of destruction could be reversed. It will not bring back those children killed by abortion, but it will give us some progress toward ending their continued murder.

We just need a couple more debates like this.

What Are the 7 Corporal Works of Mercy? (The Catholic Meaning)

clock October 3, 2012 05:45 by author John |

"And the crowds asked him, "What then should we do?" He said to them in reply, "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." - Luke 3:10-11

The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy are:

  1. To feed the hungry;
  2. To give drink to the thirsty;
  3. To clothe the naked;
  4. To harbor the harborless;
  5. To visit the sick;
  6. To ransom the captive;
  7. To bury the dead.

Faith calls us to follow the 10 Commandment, to receive the Sacraments, and to pray, but it also calls us to practice charity for our neighbors when they are in need. While we know that faith is essential for our salvation, we also know that we cannot be saved by faith alone. As we see in the Book of James:

"You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called 'the friend of God.' See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." - James 2:22-24

These works of Mercy are the more practical and visible ways to exercise our faith to those in need. The first and second of these works are closely related. In contemplating them, we ask ourselves, how often do we help provide for the needs of those who are hungry and thirsty? Do we help out at food pantries; do we donate food or money to buy food for the hungry? Our witness can be extremely powerful by giving "our daily bread" to those who so desperately need it.

We are called to give clothing to the naked. This thought should compel us to consider the excess of clothing that many of us have. How many pairs of shoes do we need? How many pairs of pants and shirts are really necessary for us? Is it possible for us to donate these excesses of ours in order to bring hope to those who need it?

The issue of homelessness is very prominent in our world. Imagine the pain of those who truly have nowhere to go. Are our doors open to those who are in need? Do we offer to take in the homeless? Do we give money to the many Catholic shelters that provide such crucial aid to those who are unable to provide for themselves?

We must visit the sick. In doing so, we uphold the dignity of the human person. Consider the feelings of those who spend so much time in hospitals and nursing homes without the comfort of those they love. How many of our elderly are permanently confined to stark building with little love or attention paid to them? We should freely choose to visit the shut-ins, the sick, and the lonely. We can be a great source of hope in their lives.

Now the sixth work of mercy will undoubtedly perplex many. How many captives do we know? People are not kidnapped in our presence very often. This particular act of mercy is always of some value to us, however. Consider those in places without the right to freely practice religion. The mere act of going to mass likely brings the threat of imprisonment. Do we offer any help to these destitute faithful? Do we offer or even investigate the options available to us in providing help to them? Do we even pray for them? Consider also the possibilities of visiting the imprisoned. Do we care for those in jail? Let us not forget those who are imprisoned, especially those who are held captive because of their love for God.

Finally, the last of the works of the corporal works of mercy urges us to bury the dead. Fortunately, in our society, burying the dead is normally done with the necessary respect. There are situations, however, where this respect is forgotten and we treat the dead with neglect. Consider the cases of cryogenic freezing in the hope of reviving them many years later. Clearly this does not show the proper respect for their bodies. Consider those who turn their loved ones ashes into diamonds or other types of jewelry or who scatter their ashes. Of course there is also the disrespect show to those who are aborted. They are thrown in the dumpster as medical waste. Let us always show due respect for the bodies of those who have gone before us.

In practicing these corporal works of mercy, just as with the spiritual works of mercy, we build up the dignity of the human person. These are opportunities for grace in our daily lives. In exercising the works of mercy, we truly follow the commands that Christ gave us:

"Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'" - Matthew 25:34-40

Catholic Teaching on the Guardian Angels

clock October 2, 2012 14:19 by author John |

October 2nd is the feast day of the Guardian Angels.

The Catholic teaching on guardian angels has been developed over the entire course of history. While the Catholic Church has not spoken definitively on the existence of “guardian angels” in particular, there are explicit references to angels in general and indirect references to “guardian angels” in the Bible. It is commonly held that each person has a guardian angel (in some cases more). Angels are God’s messengers, comforters, and warriors. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “From infancy to death human life is surrounded by (the angels’) watchful care and intercession.” (336)

Old Testament

In the Old Testament, angels are mentioned frequently, sometimes relating to their role as guardians of individuals. In Genesis 18-19, angels bring down the wrath of God against Sodom and Gomorrah. They also protect Lot from the angry and lustful crowd closing in on his house. In Genesis 21, “God’s Messenger”, comforts Hagar and her child in the wilderness. An angel came to Abraham as he was about to sacrifice his son, assuring him of God’s blessings.

 In Exodus 23:20, God Says to Moses, “"See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared". This may be the closest we get to hearing of “guardian angels” in the Old Testament. Still, the angel is sent to Moses to lead him rather than the current understanding of an angel assigned from birth, baptism or conception.

Joshua meets an angel while he is near Jericho, “While Joshua was near Jericho, he raised his eyes and saw one who stood facing him, drawn sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you one of us or of our enemies?"  He replied, "Neither. I am the captain of the host of the LORD and I have just arrived." Then Joshua fell prostrate to the ground in worship, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?"  The captain of the host of the LORD replied to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy." And Joshua obeyed.” (Joshua 5:13-15).

In Psalm 91:11, we hear: "For God commands the angels to guard you in all your ways." Also in Daniel 10 angels an angel is mentioned, who speaks to Daniel “As I looked up, I saw a man dressed in linen with a belt of fine gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face shown like lightning, his eyes were like fiery torches, his arms and feet looked like burnished bronze, and his voice sounded like the roar of a multitude.” He mentions angels as protecting particular geographic areas, and Michael is identified as “one of the chief princes”

New Testament

An angel announces the birth of John to Zechariah in Luke 1: “But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.” Later in the same chapter, the angel Gabriel appears to Mary at the Annunciation. In Luke 2, angels appeared to the shepherds when Jesus was born.

In Matthew 2, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling him to flee with his family to Egypt. Later in the same chapter, an angel appears again to him telling him when it was safe to return to Israel. In Matthew 4, angels ministered to Jesus. In Luke, 22:43, we hear of an angel who comforts Jesus during His agony in the garden, “And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him.”

In Matthew 18:10, a reference to the association of angels with children is found, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

An angel helps Peter escape from jail in Acts 12. This is obviously an act of protection as Peter was likely to be executed. These angels help us in many ways, and can assist us in our purpose in life, namely getting to Heaven.

Church Fathers

The early church fathers had different opinions on how and when guardian angels were assigned to humans. Most held that every person regardless of faith was given an angel to watch over them. Some fathers believed that an angel was given at baptism.

Here are some of the quotes the fathers of the Church have made concerning guardian Angels:

“Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” – St. Basil

“There are two angels with a man — one of righteousness, and the other of iniquity … The angel of righteousness is gentle and modest, meek and peaceful. When he ascends into your heart, he speaks to you of righteousness, purity, chastity, contentment, and every other righteous deed and glorious virtue. When all of these things come into your heart, know that the angel of righteousness is with you.” - Hermas

“Every believer — although the humblest in the Church — is said to be attended by an angel, who the Savior declares always beholds the face of God the Father. Now, this angel has the purpose of being his guardian.” – Origen

“I mean that holy angel of God who fed me from my youth.” - St. Gregory the Wonderworker

“We have learned from the inspired writings that all who are born … are committed to guardian angels.” - St. Methodius

Do not be surprised if you fall every day and do not surrender. Stand your ground bravely. And you may be sure that your guardian angel will respect your endurance. A fresh, warm wound is easier to heal than those that are old, neglected, and festering, and that need extensive treatment, surgery, bandaging, and cauterization. Long neglect can render many of them incurable. However, all things are possible with God. - St. John Climacus

If you feel sweetness or compunction at some word of your prayer, dwell on it; for then our guardian angel is praying with us. - St. John Climacus

In the presence of an invisible spirit, the body becomes afraid; but in the presence of an angel, the soul of the humble is filled with joy. Therefore, when we recognize the presence from the effect, let us quickly hasten to prayer, for our good guardian has come to pray with us. - St. John Climacus

When you close the doors to your dwelling and are alone you should know that there is present with you the angel whom God has appointed for each man...This angel, who is sleepless and cannot be deceived, is always present with you; he sees all things and is not hindered by darkness. You should know, too, that with him is God, who is in every place; for there is no place and nothing material in which God is not, since He is greater than all things and holds all men in His hand. - St. Antony the Great

Even if an angel should indeed appear to you, do not receive him but humiliate yourself, saying, 'I am not worthy to see an angel, for I am a sinner.' - St. Clement of Rome

The angel who is always near us is by nothing so distressed and made indignant as when, without being constrained by some necessity, we deprive ourselves of the ministration of the Holy Mysteries and of reception of Holy Communion, which grants remission of sins. For at that hour the priest offers up the sacrifice of the Body of Him Who gives us life, and the Holy Spirit descends and consecrates the Body and Blood and grants remission to creation. The Cherubim, the Seraphim, and the angels stand with great awe, fear, and joy. They rejoice over the Holy Mysteries while experiencing inexpressible astonishment. The angel who is always by us is consoled, because he also partakes in that spectacle and is not deprived of that perfect intercourse. - St. Isaac the Syrian

Devotions and Pious Traditions

Over the centuries, a number of pious devotions have developed around the guardian angels. Listed below are several prayers to them:

Chaplet to the Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel Prayer (Angel of God my Guardian Dear)

My Good Angel

Novena to the Guardian Angels

There is even a Confraternity of the Holy Guardian Angels that you can join!

What are the 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy? (The Catholic Meaning)

clock October 2, 2012 05:30 by author John |

Mercy is a virtue. It compels us to alleviate the suffering of another. The Church presents us with 7 spiritual and 7 corporal works of mercy. These are ways in which we can practice charity to others and thus bring about tremendous good in the world. The practice of these works is required of all of us. These works are binding. Though it may not always be possible to practice them, as the situation does not present itself to perform these works at all times, we should always take the opportunities to live by these works when possible.

The 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy:

  1. To instruct the ignorant;
  2. To counsel the doubtful;
  3. To admonish sinners;
  4. To bear wrongs patiently;
  5. To forgive offenses willingly;
  6. To comfort the afflicted;
  7. To pray for the living and the dead.

The first work is to instruct the ignorant. By this we are called to instruct others in the faith. This involves teaching formally and dispelling misconceptions and fallacies when they arise. How often do we hear people speaking as if they had authority, only to spread false teachings about Christ and His Church? When these situations arise, we must spring to action. We must therefore, be informed about our faith so that we may properly teach it to those who do not yet know the fullness of the truth.

When we encounter those who are unsure of their faith, we must affirm them in it and help them grow. Everyone’s faith is tested, as that is the only way it can grow. Untested faith is a house of cards, waiting to collapse. Our faith must be tested in fire so that it may be strong. There are times, however, when that fire causes the faith to be soft and malleable on its way to solidifying. During these times when our loved ones are suffering loss, persecution, or anger, and their faith is in doubt, we must stand by them and offer show them the way. We must show them the ultimate source of strength, Jesus.

The third of these works of mercy is to admonish the sinner. This can be the most difficult to carry out. We know that sinfulness is a very secretive and explosive matter. The sinner frequently recognizes his sins, but is defensive about them. Neglect of this particular work of mercy has led to our society being so morally relativistic. If the truth is not made known, it will be forgotten. Though it may cause strife at times, we must bear this cross and carry on. We must tell people when they are sinning. They will likely counter with the line “Stop judging me!” Of course we should not judge others, but sins are committed in plain sight, and so they must be addressed. We must not make assumptions about sins that are implied or that might not have taken place, but we must inform people when they are blatantly sinning.

We must bear wrongs patiently. This is also a very difficult task. Our pride gets in the way. We must not be taken advantage of, says our ego. Truly, when others offend us, injure us, attack us, or undermine us, we are called to “Turn the other cheek”. We can do no better than to imitate Christ, the silent victim, who by His patient, courageous endurance of all forms of bodily and mental torture. He was beaten, insulted and killed, yet in His acceptance, He purchased our redemption. How marvelous would our reward be if we could just bear the slightest wrongs with joy and hope in our eternal reward?

Inseparably bound with the patient endurance of offenses, is the forgiveness of them. When our heart is filled with bitterness and grudges, we find no room for the love of Christ within it. Forgiveness requires heroic virtue at times. Mercy dictates that we forgive others’ faults and wrongs, even when it pains us greatly and gives us no temporal satisfaction. Heroism requires sacrifice. Sometimes the greatest heroism stems from the sacrifice of pride. Forgiveness is an eternal virtue, as we will find forgiveness after death to the degree that we showed it to others in this life.

There are times when all we can do is to give a thoughtful word to someone in pain or sorrow. We must comfort the afflicted. In doing so, we help others cope with difficulties. We build up the dignity of our brothers and sisters in Christ when we give them our time and comfort, for those who suffer, sometimes suffer the most painful of ordeals when they find no one who is willing to help them in their struggles. They find their dignity and self-worth crushed. Let us never leave a friend in misery without some heart-felt words or a loving embrace to lift them out of their affliction.

Finally, the greatest and most powerful form of mercy is prayer, for though we can provide physical and emotional aid to our neighbors, the Lord God can provide the greatest aid, which is spiritual. Our prayers are the most important form of mercy we can give. It shows our ultimate dedication to the alleviation of the burdens of others. Our private intercession for our neighbors and for the departed brings us little fame or admiration from others, but in the end, when we stand before God, we will be able to give an account of our prayerful mercy to others, and so Jesus will in turn show us mercy.

These works are not optional. They are indeed binding and necessary for our eternal salvation. We are called to be merciful. The opportunities are frequent and urgent. Let us not pass by the afflicted in their times of trial. Let us love others through these spiritual works so that through our sacrifice, we may bring others to the greatest joy, which is the vision of God in all His splendor in Heaven.

Tuesday Ear Tickler: Paul Moses Leads Commonweal Readers into the Desert

clock October 2, 2012 04:29 by author John |

The Tuesday Ear Tickler award is Solemn Charge’s weekly recognition of teachers who “Tickle the Ears” of those who “no longer endure sound doctrine”. In the spirit of 2 Timothy 4 2-4, this award serves to identify theological or doctrinal errors, dissent or hostility toward the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, or writing that undermines the purpose of each human soul – to know love and serve God so as to enjoy eternal happiness with Him in Heaven. I make no judgment of the writer’s intentions. Usually the winner of this award was raised in the 60’s so that right there is a mitigating factor toward their culpability for their actions. I do judge concrete actions and the quality of ideas, however…

Today’s winner is Paul Moses, writing at Commonweal, a publication that prides itself in distorting the teachings of the Church and acting as its own magisterium. Moses’ attempts to diminish Obama’s support for the murder of unborn human beings, promotion of homosexual marriage, and frontal assaults on the rights of the Catholic Church earn him the award today. (Moses’ comments in the red quote boxes, my comments in black.)

Tom Moran, a veteran New Jersey political columnist, wrote today on what he said is Archbishop John Myers’ politicking for the Republican presidential ticket.

Moses, clearly an Obama supporter, despite the many attacks on life and liberty that the president has launched, takes exception with a Bishop who speaks the truth. Myers highlights the evil present in Obama’s platform and actions. What Moses can’t stand is clarity. The Devil lives in the gray areas. Shining light on evil will make the morally weak attack from the shadows, as is the case with Moses in this piece.

The quote Moran refers to, contained in a pastoral letter on marriage that Myers released, is: “We must exercise our right to vote in defense of marriage and life. This is our duty as citizens and believers.” In an editorial, the Star-Ledger said Myers maintains it was a coincidence that the pastoral letter was issued at this point in the election season. The paper disagreed, saying that “to issue a pastoral letter such as this, at this time, is clearly intended to influence the vote of New Jersey’s more than 1 million Catholics. It may not be an explicit endorsement of Romney, but Myers’ meaning cannot be missed.”

What makes this particularly hard for Moses and many other pro-party-of-death evangelists is that the distinctions are crystal clear. When a party officially endorses unlimited access to death for the unborn, it becomes increasingly more difficult to evangelize for them without attacking those who highlight their evil positions. A person of well-formed conscience cannot help but make the right choice. Myers is simply attempting to aid people in properly forming their consciences.

It’s reasonable and necessary for an archbishop to explain the church’s position on marriage and the family. In fact, I think church authorities have stumbled on that somewhat. But Archbishop Myers had to know that reporters would zero in on his reference to the “duty” of Catholic voters in a document issued at the height of the presidential race. For my own part, the most eye-catching passage in the pastoral letter states that if Catholics are “unable to assent to or live the Church’s teaching in these matters, they must in all honesty and humility refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they can do so with integrity; to continue to receive Holy Communion while so dissenting would be objectively dishonest.”

I would think that Myers wanted reporters to zero in on the “duty” of Catholic voters. In this election, voting for the pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, anti-Catholic candidate can only be done in 3 ways: 1) The voter is not aware of the candidate’s positions, 2) the voter is not aware of the moral gravity of the candidate’s positions, 3) the voter understands the first 2 points, but chooses to vote for the immoral candidate anyway. Myers is simply attempting to eliminate #1 and 2. While Moses might find Myer’s statement on worthy reception of the Eucharist eye-catching, it is a valid point, which highlights the gravity of choosing the 3rd path, namely voting for an immoral candidate willingly.

Especially since we are in the midst of a heated and divisive political campaign, this passage serves as an invitation for Catholics to follow Tom Moran’s path out the door. This evidently was not lost on the Episcopal Church’s bishop of Newark, who responded in an op-ed article: “My hope and prayer is that we can move beyond arguments about unfounded threats to the flourishing of families and focus our attention on the real threats, such as the rising tide of unemployment and poverty, which has left more than 295,000 children in our state — including 42 percent of children in Newark — living below the federal poverty level. … Let us use the reach and blessing of our religious traditions to help all families and children flourish — housed, clothed, fed and healthy.”

Moses frames the debate as a matter of driving people away from the Church due to the trouble some people have in a bishop speaking with moral clarity. A bishop cannot help a person that refuses to follow the teachings of the Church. If a person leaves the Church because the teachings are too difficult, then it wasn’t the bishop who sent them away. It was the person who sent Jesus and His commandments away.

Finally, quoting the bishop of a sinking denomination, which is losing membership by the droves due to its watered down teaching does not make for the best source. Claiming to be concerned for the “real issues” does not establish those issues as having primary importance. Protection of life and liberty should come before actions to alleviate the massive unemployment and poverty that the current administration has neglected until the election season. That is not to say that these issues are unimportant – because they are. We must first be concerned with addressing the greatest evils.

I hereby award the Tuesday Ear Tickler Award for Tuesday, October 2, 2012 to Paul Moses.