Thy Faith Fail Not

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“I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” -Luke 22:32

In one of the texts for a religion course which I took in high school, the author cites this verse from Scripture to prove the primacy of Saint Peter. She writes, “Peter received the special grace to preserve the faith of the Church…Christ did not say that Peter would never sin but rather that his faith(belief in the truth) would not fail.” Thus, Peter did not lose the gift of faith even when he thrice denied Our Lord. Nowhere else in the Scripture does Jesus Christ mention that He has prayed for a single person, further confirming the significant role of the first pontiff.

Christ’s promise that Peter’s faith would not fail also extended to Peter’s successors. No matter how many mediocre, immoral, or downright scandalous men occupy the Chair, the faith will always be preserved through Jesus’ particular prayer for Peter. This promise must also extend to those popes who lacked prudence and insight, as well as those popes who were terrible theologians and teachers.

A person might ask, and without no good reason, how could this be? Does it not seem like a contradiction to believe that the papacy preserves the faith, yet the man holding the office may not even be considered a theologian in the basic sense of the word? With every bad or questionable thing Rome has done, not just over the past fifty years, but stretching back even further, perhaps even to the very birth of the Church, how could it be considered as a bulwark of the faith?

How? How? How? Why do we become so wrapped up in the question of the how that we forget the what? In this matter, the what is Christ’s promise that Peter’s faith will never fail. How that faith will never fail is ultimately a mystery, one that we will never be able to penetrate fully in this life.

However, recognition of and humble submission to the mystery does not mean completely casting off understanding. In fact, it is this very recognition and humble submission of which faith consists. Faith precedes understanding, and true understanding comes only by faith. As St. Augustine has taught, we believe in order to understand.

In the end, let the questions come. For as long as we have faith, we will never lose our sense of the mystery itself, no matter the degree of understanding which God deigns to bestow upon us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of God

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“And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” Luke 1:28

March 24, the eve of the Annunciation, is the Feast of the Archangel St. Gabriel. Gabriel’s name means ‘power’ or ‘strength’ of God. This signifies the power and strength of the Message the Archangel brought to Our Lady: the message of Her conceiving the Godhead Himself.

The lyrics of “Gabriel’s Message,” sung by the Benedictines of Mary, reflect the sublimity of today’s beautiful Feast.

The Angel Gabriel from heaven came
His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame
“All hail” said he thou lowly maiden Mary
Most highly favored lady Gloria

For know a blessed mother thou shalt be
All generations laud and honor thee
Thy son shall be Emmanuel as seers foretold
Most highly favored lady Gloria

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head
“To me, be as it pleaseth God” she said
“My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name”
Most highly favored lady Gloria

Of her Emmanuel, the Christ was born
In Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn
And Christian folk throughout the world will ever say
Most highly favored lady Gloria

The hymn in its entirety can be listened to here.

With the prayer of St. Aloysius Gonzaga on our lips, let us request the heavenly intercession of the Angel of the Incarnation.

“O, Angel truly strong, strengthen, guide and protect us, thou who by thy embassy didst usher even God Himself to earth; most strong of all, who, having carried off the spoils and having routed that strongly armed one that for so long a time had exercised his destructive tyranny over us, didst rescue us from slavery and restore us to the liberty of the sons of God!”

O holy Angel who didst strengthen Jesus Christ our Lord, come and strengthen us also; come and tarry not!

The Little Door to Good Success

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Behold, I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut: because thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” Apocalypse 3:8

Professor Plinio Correa de Oliveira, a Catholic counter-revolutionary of the twentieth century, believed that this verse in Holy Scripture referred to the Mother of God. She is the Mediatrix of All Graces, the one Lady we can always count upon to intercede for us to God. Her prayers are infallible and they will always be answered.

One of Her lesser known apparitions occurred in Quito, Ecuador, an apparition entitled Our Lady of Good Success. I first learned of Mary’s title under the Good Success invocation a few years ago, when I was discovering the Crisis in the Church. Ever since then, my devotion to Her under this title has been steadily growing over time and I have been praying to Her more frequently. She has bestowed an abundance of favors upon me, and it is only just that I spread the knowledge of Our Lady of Good Success to others in return.

Today marks the beginning of the traditional novena which commemorates the making of the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Good Success and its christening. Her words to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres(the Conceptionist religious to whom Mary appeared) on February 2, 1610 were:

“This knowledge [of the apparitions and many prophecies to Mother Mariana] will only become known to the general public in the 20th century.

“During this epoch the Church will find herself attacked by terrible waves of the Masonic sect, and this poor Ecuadorian land will be agonizing because of the corruption of customs, unbridled luxury and extravagance, the impious press and secular education. The vices of impurity, blasphemy, and sacrilege will dominate in this time of depraved desolation, with the one who should speak out being silent…..

“The simple, humble faith in the truth of my apparitions to you, my chosen child, will be reserved for humble and fervent souls who are docile to the inspirations of grace, for our Heavenly Father communicates His secrets to the simple of heart, and not to those whose hearts are inflated with pride, pretending to know what they cannot or infatuated with empty knowledge.”

The above quote comes from Tradition in Action’s formal and compelling invitation to pray the novena, which can be read here. Their introduction to the novena can be read in this link (along with historical background of the apparition) and Day One of the novena may be found in this one.

The short novena to Our Lady of Good Success is as follows:

* Hail Mary Most Holy, Beloved Daughter of God the Father
Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres,
grant thy good success to this request (name request)…
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be…
Saint Michael, pray for us.

* Hail Mary Most Holy, Admirable Mother of God the Son
Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres,

grant thy good success to this request (name request) …
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be…
Saint Gabriel, pray for us.

* Hail Mary Most Holy, Most Faithful Spouse of the Holy Ghost
Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres,
grant thy good success to this request (name request) …
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be…
Saint Raphael, pray for us.

* Hail Mary Most Holy, Temple and Sacrarium of the Most Holy Trinity.
St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, pray for us.

Our Lady of Good Success, thou who art the all-powerful intercessor before the Most Holy Trinity, deign to hear and answer my request, so long as it contributes to the salvation of my soul and the glory and exaltation of Holy Mother Church.
Hail Holy Queen…(*) In the apparitions to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, the three Archangels – St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael – addressed the Blessed Virgin Mary with these three salutations, and then intoned the last salutation in unison.

I hope that whoever reads this will consider taking part in this novena. With Mother Mariana, we should all say,“Star of the stormy sea of my mortal life, may your light shine upon me so that I do not stray from the path that leads me to heaven.”

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Geocentrism 101

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[1] For David himself. Bless the Lord, O my soul: O Lord my God, thou art exceedingly great. Thou hast put on praise and beauty: [2] And art clothed with light as with a garment. Who stretchest out the heaven like a pavilion: [3] Who coverest the higher rooms thereof with water. Who makest the clouds thy chariot: who walkest upon the wings of the winds. [4] Who makest thy angels spirits: and thy ministers a burning fire. [5] Who hast founded the earth upon its own bases: it shall not be moved for ever and ever. -Psalm 103

Yes, folks, I am a geocentrist. I believe that the Earth does not move and that the sun revolves around it. I believe that the Earth is at the center of this universe so magnificently created by God. I first began to believe in geocentrism several months ago because of many factors, the most important being that geocentrism is supported by Catholic theology.

In order to learn more about the natural science behind such a system, I’ve begun to read Geocentrism 101: An Introduction to the Science of Geocentric Cosmology by Dr. Robert Sungenis. In this “layman’s version” of Dr. Sungenis’ hefty three volume work Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right, Sungenis sets out to refute the Copernican Principle(that the Earth is not significant and is not in a special place in the universe). One of his statements in the introductory chapter says, “Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity was invented to cover the weaknesses of Special Theory, but in doing so the General Theory allowed the Earth to be motionless in the center of the universe.” Here are five quotes from scientists which are printed in the back of the book:

Briefly, everything occurs as if the Earth were at rest. —Physicist, Hendrik Lorentz

A great deal of research has been carried out concerning the influence of the Earth’s movement. The results were always negative. —Physicist, Henri Poincare

No physical experiment has ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion. —Historian, Lincoln Barnett

Thus, even now, three and a half centuries after Galileo, it is still remarkably difficult to say categorically whether the Earth moves. —Physicist, Julian Barbour

Either coordinate system could be used with equal justification. The two sentences, ‘the sun is at rest and the Earth moves,’ or ‘the sun moves and the Earth is at rest,’ would simply mean two different conventions of two different coordinate systems. —Albert Einstein

That last quote is a real kicker, my friends. I am very excited to be reading this book and affirming my faith in an all too forgotten teaching of the Holy Catholic Church. Onward, cum Christo!

Rich Through His Poverty

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“And behold one came and said to him: Good master, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting? Who said to him: Why asketh thou me concerning good? One is good, God. But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He said to him: Which? And Jesus said: Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith to him: All these I have kept from my youth, what is yet wanting to me? Jesus saith to him: If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me. And when the young man had heard this word, he went away sad: for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19, 16-22

This is the Scriptural passage from Matthew’s Gospel with which St. Basil the Great opens his sermon, “To the Rich.” In the sermon, Basil vigorously condemns the greed and immorality of the rich in general. He exhorts them to use their abundance of material possessions to alleviate the suffering of the poor so that they might obey Christ’s teaching in the Gospel. Basil says that the young man in this passage had laudable intentions, “yet all his good intent is cast under judgment by this: he does not focus on what is truly good, but rather looks to what pleases most people.”

The venerable Father of the Church calls the rich to account for their selfishness and coldness towards those less fortunate than themselves:

You ask about eternal life, yet show yourself completely bound to the enjoyment of this present life.

You have preferred your own enjoyment to the consolation of the many? For the more you abound in wealth, the more you lack in love. If you had truly loved your neighbor, it would have occurred to you long ago to divest yourself of this wealth…But you lament at relinquishing gold and silver and property—that is, stones and dust—in order to obtain the blessed life.

Had you not sought glory from the dirt, you would have discovered the true glory like a shining beacon leading you to the Kingdom of Heaven. Nonetheless, having wealth is dear to you, though you gain from it no advantage whatsoever. And the futility of chasing after what is worthless is obvious to everyone.

Basil imparts a significant paradox about material wealth. “If you try to keep it, you will not have it; if you scatter it, you will not lose it.” The “contrived extravagances” of the rich are all for naught. The more a person tries to use his temporal goods for his own selfish interests, the more they will be lost to him. Few of the rich come to realize that “they have received wealth as a stewardship, and not for their own enjoyment.” The Eternal Judge will look upon these people who denied Him, who squandered their “opportunity to exchange corruptible things for the Kingdom of Heaven.” To paraphrase St. Basil, the rich who showed no mercy, did not open their homes, and gave no bread, will be shown no mercy for themselves; they will expelled from the Kingdom and they will not receive eternal life. So many of them are not moved by the fear of Hell, by the desire of the Kingdom. They do not think of their immortal souls.

Finally, Basil exhorts to “transfer everything to the eternal realm” and reminds everyone that “works of piety are an excellent burial garment.” He points to Christ, the Good Counselor, as our Guide and Model. For Christ “became poor for us so that He might make us rich through His poverty, and ‘gave Himself a ransom for all.'”

An Alliance Divine

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“In my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and found him not. I will rise, and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not. The watchmen who keep the city, found me: Have you seen him, whom my soul loveth? When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him: and I will not let him go, till I bring him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that bore me. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and the harts of the fields, that you stir not up, nor awake my beloved, till she please.” Canticle of Canticles 3:1-5

Happy birthday to the Little Flower of Jesus, born on this day in the year of Our Lord 1873, one-hundred and forty-two years ago. Two particular quotes and a passage in The Story of a Soul in the eighth chapter, “Profession and Oblation to Merciful Love,” stand out for me in my reading of her today. Here is a small, simple, human girl completely and utterly and profoundly in love with Our Lord. No earthly lover can ever compare to the one and only Lover. He has taken her heart and placed it besides His Own. St. Therese tells us, “No one shall say that a woman in the world does more for her husband who is merely mortal than I for my Beloved Jesus.” She teaches us that “the glory of earthly unions cannot compare with the glory of being the Spouse of Jesus.”

What a truly beautiful vocation is this, the call to be a Bride of Christ. He is the one Bridegroom who will never abandon His Spouse. He is the one Bridegroom His Spouse can always rely upon and have complete faith and hope in. He is the one Bridegroom worthy of all the love a woman’s heart is capable of giving to another.

I will end this post with a wedding invitation which Therese wrote and read out loud to the novices at Carmel. It is breathtaking beyond what mere human words can describe.

ALMIGHTY GOD

The Creator of Heaven & Earth

and Ruler of the World

and

THE MOST GLORIOUS VIRGIN MARY

Queen of the Court of Heaven

Invite you to the Spiritual Marriage of Their

August Son

JESUS, KING OF KINGS,

and LORD OF LORDS

with

Little Thérèse Martin,

now Lady and Princess of the Kingdoms of the Childhood and Passion of Jesus, given in dowry by her Divine Spouse, from whom she holds her titles of nobility: OF THE CHILD JESUS and OF THE HOLY FACE.

It was not possible to invite you to the Wedding Feast celebrated on Mount Carmel on September 8, 1890, only the Celestial Choir being admitted.

You are nevertheless invited to the Bride’s RECEPTION tomorrow, the Day of Eternity, when Jesus, the Son of God, will come in splendor on the clouds of Heaven to judge the Living and the Dead.

The hour being uncertain, please hold yourself in readiness and watch.