Tag Archives: Catholic

Our Lord’s words on His Incarnation

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The words of Our Lord to St. Bridget of Sweden, on the mystery of the incarnation and the descration & rejection of the Faith.

“I am the Creator of the heavens and the earth, one in Divinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. I am the one who spoke to the patriarchs and the prophets and the one whom they awaited. For the sake of their longing and in agreement with my promise, I assumed flesh without sin and concupiscence, by entering the womb of the Virgin like the sun shining through the clearest gem. For just as the sun does not damage the glass by entering it, likewise the virginity of the Virgin was not lost when I assumed Manhood. I assumed flesh in such a way that I did not have to forsake my Divinity, and I was no less God – with the Father and the Holy Spirit, governing and upholding all things – although I was in the womb of the Virgin in my human nature. Just as brightness is never separated from fire, so too, my Divinity was never separated from my Humanity, not even in death.

Thereafter I allowed my pure and sinless body to be wounded from the foot to the head, and to be crucified for all the sins of mankind. That same body is now offered each day on the altar so that mankind might love me more and remember my great deeds more often. But now I am totally forgotten, neglected, despised, and expelled as a king is from his own kingdom and in whose place the most wicked robber has been elected and honored.

I have indeed wanted my kingdom to be within man, and by right I should be King and Lord over him, for I made him and redeemed him. However, now he has broken and desecrated the faith which he promised me in his baptism, and he has broken and spurned my laws and commandments which I prescribed and revealed to him. He loves his own will and refuses to hear me. In addition, he exalts the most wicked robber, the devil, above me and has given him his faith. The devil really is a robber, since he steals for himself, by way of evil temptations, bad councils, and false promises, the human soul that I redeemed with my blood. But he does not do this because he is mightier than me; for I am so mighty that I can do all things with a word, and so just, that even if all the saints asked me, I would not do the least thing against justice.

But, since man, who has been given free will, willfully rejects my commandments and obeys the devil, it is only right that he also experiences his tyranny and malice. This devil was created good by me, but fell by his own wicked will, and has become, so to speak, my servant for inflicting vengeance on the workers of evil.

Yet, even though I am now so despised, I am still so merciful that whoever prays for my mercy and humbles himself in amendment shall be forgiven his sins, and I shall save him from the evil robber – the devil. But to those who continue despising me, I shall visit my justice upon them, so that those hearing it will tremble, and those who feel it will say: “Woe, that we were ever conceived or born! Woe, that we ever provoked the Lord of majesty to wrath!”

But you, my daughter, whom I have chosen for myself, and with whom I now speak in spirit: love me with all your heart – not as you love your son or daughter or parents, but more than anything in the world – since I, who created you, did not spare any of my limbs in suffering for your sake! Yet, I love your soul so dearly that, rather than losing you, I would let myself be crucified again, if it were possible. Imitate my humility; for I, the King of glory and of angels, was clothed in ugly, wretched rags and stood naked at the pillar and heard all kinds of insults and ridicule with my own ears. Always prefer my will before your own, because my Mother, your Lady, has, from the beginning to the end, never wanted anything but what I wanted.

If you do this, then your heart shall be with my heart, and it will be inflamed by my love in the same way that anything dry becomes rapidly inflamed by fire. Your soul shall be so inflamed and filled with me, and I will be in you, so that everything worldly becomes bitter to you and all fleshly lusts like poison. You will rest in the arms of my Divinity, where no fleshly desires exist, but only spiritual delight and joy which fill the delighted soul with happiness – inwardly and outwardly – so that it thinks of nothing and desires nothing but the joy which it possesses. So love me alone, and you will have all the things you want, and you will have them in abundance. Is it not written that the oil of the widow did not decrease until the day the rain was sent to earth by God according to the words of the prophet? I am the true prophet! If you believe my words and follow and fulfill them, the oil – joy and jubilation – shall never decrease for you for all eternity.”

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World’s smallest Catholic church

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A nice story of a little known church – the smallest parish in the world.

https://aleteia.org/2018/04/16/the-worlds-smallest-catholic-church-is-in-texas/

The sign outside St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Warrenton, Texas, is meant to catch the eye of visitors taking leisurely drives down rural Route 237, halfway between Austin and Houston: “HISTORICAL, WORLD’S SMALLEST CATHOLIC CHURCH, ST. MARTIN’S, VISITORS WELCOME.”
Without the sign, a passerby might mistake the tiny church for a shed or child’s playhouse, as Gerald McLeod notes in his article about the church in the Austin Chronicle.

“We get lots of people asking about the history of the church,” Mary Leitko with the Round Top Chamber of Commerce told the Austin Chronicle. “It’s quite a local tourist attraction.”

Mass is celebrated once a month (“for the intentions left at the altar”) in the 12-foot by 16-foot church, which has barely enough room for six rows of pews to seat 20 people. Members of the parish can attend two other, much larger churches in nearby Fayetteville.
According to a history of the church, McLeod notes that there was once a larger church by the same name where the tiny one stands. In 1915, when the population shifted to the cities, the church became less necessary, and the original St. Martin’s was dismantled in order to use the wood to build a school in Fayetteville.
According to the article in the Austin Chronicle, the parishioners used leftover wood salvaged from the school project to build the little church overlooking the original St. Martin’s church cemetery.

When the school was finally demolished in 1968, many of the original church fixtures were transferred to the chapel, including the altar, the church bell, statues, and an oil painting of St. Martin.

The Martyrs of Bosnia

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https://www.catholicfamilynews.org/blog/2018/2/22/february-1945-the-30-martyrs-massacred-by-the-communists-in-bosnia

The following is from Catholic Family News & is a must read, recounting the evil of the communist agenda, as shown in the torture of these great priests and brothers.

During the Turkish domination of Bosnia-Herzegovina, twelve Franciscan friars of Herzegovinian origin, came from Kresevo in Bosnia, deciding to construct a monastery in their land of origin, as a sign of faith, choosing to do so in Široki Brijeg.

Establishing themselves in this small village, and after having bought a large plot of land at a high price, they began to construct a church dedicated to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven. The work to build the monastery soon began, and then a building to use as a seminary.

Nearby they erected a scholastic center which included a gymnasium where the friars taught the young generations of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A house for borders from far away was also built. And so the place became a Christian cultural center, and the shrine transformed into a symbol for Herzegovina. Exactly 100 years later, the monastery was devastated and destroyed.

It happened in this way: on February 7, 1945, the Communist party members decided to destroy from the Christian symbol from its foundations, and to uproot the Catholic Faith, kindness and the recognition of the Franciscan friars from the hearts of the people.

They arrived at three in the afternoon, finding 30 religious in the monastery; many of them were professors in the gymnasium adjacent to the monastery.

The communists said: “God is dead, there isn’t a God, there’s not a Pope, there’s not a Church, there’s no need for you, go back to the world and work.”

They tried to persuade the friars, with threats and blasphemies, to take off the religious habit. They responded: “We are consecrated religious, we cannot take our habits off.”

Then, an angry soldier took the Crucifix and threw it out on the ground. “There,” he said, “now you can choose either life or death.”

Each of them knelt, embracing and kissing Jesus, holding the Cross to their breast, all of them saying like Saint Francis: “My God and my All.”

As mentioned, some of the Fathers were very famous professors, they had written many school books and manuals.

But they didn’t embrace their books and say: “You are everything for me.” No! They embraced Jesus, the Master! Full of hate and malice, the persecutors then took the friars one by one, taking them out of the convent, and killing them; they then doused the bodies with gasoline and burned them.

The Friars went to their death praying and singing the Litany of Our Lady.

These things have been to testified to, by the soldiers who had been part of the execution squad.

One of the soldiers was shocked by the heroic behavior of the Friars. He recounted: “Ever since I was a little boy at home, I always heard from my mother that there is a God, that God exists. Lenin, Stalin, Tito had always affirmed the contrary and did everything to instill in us that there is no God, that He doesn’t exist!

When life’s circumstances brought me to the martyrdom of Široki Brijeg and I saw how the Friars faced death, praying and blessing their persecutors, begging God to pardon the sins of the executioners, then my mother’s words rang clear, and I thought: my mom was right, there is a God, God does exist!”

Today, that soldier converted, and has a priest-son and a daughter who is a religious.

In their fury, they ravaged and wiped out the writing on the stone placed above the main entrance of the friary, on which was written the Name of God and the dedication to the Assumption of Our Lady.

Today the dedication is no longer legible, but the blood of the Martyrs has written it even more deeply in the hearts of the people, and brilliantly shines in the eyes of the Lord.

A dedication can be erased, it can be burned, destroyed, ruined, but the Faith cannot be taken from the heart of the Church.

To this day, Our Lady is lived, honored and celebrated with great love, at the Shrine.

The shrine is the largest in all of Bosnia-Herzegovina: it is a symbol, a sign. The communists had thought that by destroying the “sign,” the Faith would be finished too. Instead, the Faith has grown and developed under the mantle and protection of Our Lady.

Our Franciscan Martyrs had also grown and lived enveloped by Our Lady’s mantle. The bodies of the 30 witnesses of the Faith were left hidden in the earth for years and years; one could not name them or commemorate them in any way.

But the blood of the Martyrs cried out and was an example for everyone, and so new vocations flowered in hearts, the Church and Faith grew like a thriving tree.

At the time, I was four years old, and I remember how often my parents told us of what had happened to the Friars. And this was also the case in many families of my peers. The desire to imitate our Martyrs and ourselves become friars grew more and more.

Our Martyrs are witnesses to the Faith, witnesses to the love of God and neighbor. The 30 Franciscans didn’t become martyrs by chance, or by accident; they offered their lives and testified to the Faith consciously and with great joy.

This is very important. As the Church has always done and taught, so did they forgive their enemies, pray for their persecutors and bless their killers.

In the same way as Maximilian Kolbe and many others! Among the various Martyrs, the only difference is that of the means and method of martyrdom, but all have always manifested a great ardor and love: the love which burns hate, which burns and destroys violence, and everything changes and transforms into joy, a celebration, in the victory of Our Lord’s grace.

The Church takes life from the blood of her martyr-sons. These will always remain a great (source of) strength of the Church.

We who live in this place, and you who come here as pilgrims, we can reflect a little on the worth of our Faith and examine how much our Faith is important to us; how I am ready to give my life for my God, what I can do for my Jesus, what my Christ and His Cross and my Christian vocation mean to me.

A week after the massacre at Široki Brijeg, the communists went to Mostar and found seven friars in the monastery.

Although they knew what had happened in Široki Brijeg, they had decided not to escape, but to remain in the friary.

One of them was Father Leon-Grgo Petrovic, doctor of Theology, born in Klobuk in 1883. He, as Franciscan provincial, had the grace to consecrate all of his friars, who he felt were in danger at the beginning of the war, to Our Lady.

Now we can see how that consecration flourished. The devotion to Our Lady, that beautiful flower offered to the Blessed Virgin, bloomed on the day of the massacre, February 7, 1945.

As God the Father sent His Son to die, for the salvation of the whole world, and Jesus remained obedient, accepting the sacrifice of Himself, so our Martyrs offered their own lives and blood for the salvation of men, for peace, for our conversion.

They were immolated for the peace and good of the whole Church. I now want to present to you our Friars who became mature through martyrdom – some were only 20 years old – and who were capable of giving witness for Christ, and to demonstrate Who Christ was for them, for us.

With love and veneration, I give you their names…

The Martyrs of Široki Brijeg

Friar Bruno Adamcik, with degrees in philosophy and music from Bratislava, was 37 years old when he went to the glory of Heaven.

Friar Marko Barbaric, 80. Devoted to Our Lady, he had a reputation for sanctity among the students and seminarians, who witnessed that while walking in the park, he often spoke with the birds. These, as soon as they saw him, hastened to greet him and perched themselves on the hand he extended to them. He had lost his memory and was unaware of the war. On that February 7, 1945 he was in his cell, sick with typhus. The Communist officials ordered that he also be brought out, and so he was carried outside on a blanket. Then he was killed and thrown in the fire.

Friar Jozo Bencun, 76. He had been pastor in Humac and Široki Brijeg.

Friar Marko Dragicevic, 43. With degrees in history, Greek and Latin, he could not think of any of his students failing, so he found ways to bring out their positive sides.

Friar Miljenko Ivankovic, 21. He was very devout and humble. Today his brother and nephew are Franciscans.

Friar Andrija Jelcic, 41. He had been Father Guardian of Široki Brijeg. He built the church in Capljina. The people remember him as being a good shepherd and a true father.

Friar Rudo Juric, 21. A cleric in simple vows.

Friar Fabijan Kordic, 55. Very pious and good, he made habits for the brothers, and prepared himself to receive the habit which never wears out: that of martyrdom.

Friar Viktor Kosir, 21. When all the youngest seminarians, although not wishing to leave the monastery were commanded by the Rector to return to their own villages, knowing well that the Communists were coming to kill them, Friar Viktor resisted more than the others, but obediently returned home. There, he stayed only a few hours, despite his parents’ pleas, who heard the rumble of the airplanes who were bombing. He died with the others, as he desired. His mother had another son, and gave him the same name. However she often cried, looking at the picture of her dead son. The little one calmed her, telling her that he would take his brother’s place. Today, in fact, he is a Franciscan priest who exercises his ministry especially in the confessional.

Friar Tadija Kozul, 36. Professor of philosophy, Greek and Latin, a teacher of the clerics who loved him very much and preferred to die together, rather than leave him.

Friar Krsto Kraljevic, 50. He had been a great example to the people, in how he carried his cross of sickness, in this way preparing his soul for martyrdom.

Friar Stanko Kraljevic, 74. Preacher, professor, formator of clerics in Široki Brijeg.

Friar Zarko Leventic, 26. He confessed the sick, and bringing them the Eucharist, fell ill with typhus. He was also taken out of bed and killed. Chaplain in Široki Brijeg.

Friar Bonifacije Majic, 62. Professor and catechist, he got up during the night to fix the boys’ sheets. He was very loved by the people as a friar, professor and pedagogist.

Friar Stjepan Majic, 20, he had finished the novitiate and pronounced temporary vows shortly before.

Friar Arkandeo Nuic, 49. Graduated from the Sorbonne (University of Paris) he taught Latin, Greek, German and French. He was called the “little sheep of God” for his meekness.

Friar Borislav Pandzic, 35. Professor of Religion, he was a friar of true and simple Franciscan life.

Friar Kresimir Pandzic, 53. He had several degrees and had been provincial for three years. Professor of classical languages and director of the school, very active, he demanded the best of his students. He had great duties, but always remained humble.

Friar Fabijan Paponja, 48. Responsible for the boarding school, he was very tenderhearted toward his students, to whom he always gave little gifts.

Friar Nenad Venancije Pehar, 35. Professor of philosophy. Loved by his students because he did not differentiate between them.

Friar Melhior Prlic, 53. A laybrother and carpenter. He was respectful of the Rule, never absent from community prayer, much loved by the other brothers.

Friar Ludovik Rados, 20. He had just finished the novitiate and made temporary vows.

Friar Leonard Rupcic, 38. Professor of French, he gave such an example of humility and goodness that his students were more embarrassed when they hadn’t studied, than with any other professor.

Friar Mariofil Sivric, 32. Chaplain and teacher, as well as vicar of the friary. He was a classic example of a humble brother faithful to his Franciscan vows.

Friar Ivo Sliskovic, 68. After having worked in various parishes, he came to Široki Brijeg to spend the last years of his life.

Friar Kornelije Susac, 20. In temporary vows.

Friar Dobroslav Simovic, 38. Having become a doctor of Theology in Paris, he was then a seminary professor, he wrote a dissertation in French on the Our Father.

Friar Radoslav Vuksic, 51. He studied in Vienna, and was then a professor of mathematics and physics, besides being director of the gymnasium for six years. Ex-Yugoslavia had decreed that teachers also be examined by the government of Belgrade. When Friar Radoslav appeared before his examiners, they were stupefied by the Friar’s wisdom and culture. One of his students, today a famous philosopher in America, wrote that he was the most intelligent man and professor he had ever encountered.

Friar Roland Zlopasa, 33. A philosophy professor who taught more by his life, than with words. Known for his profound meditations.

Friar Leopold Augustin Zubac, 55. An excellent priest and professor, assistant at the hydro central which produced electric energy, constructed by the Friars for their needs, and those of the surrounding area.

 

 

The Catholicity of the Church

The Catholic Church is the most unique institution that has ever existed. Only she claims to be the authentic Bride of Christ.  Through her, we live and have life in sanctifying grace, for it is to her that Our Lord left the means of salvation, which are found through the Sacraments.

“It is so evident from the clear and frequent testimonies of Holy Writ that the true Church of Jesus Christ is one, that no Christian can dare to deny it. But in judging and determining the nature of this unity many have erred in various ways. Not the foundation of the Church alone, but its whole constitution, belongs to the class of things effected by Christ’s free choice. For this reason the entire case must be judged by what was actually done. We must consequently investigate not how the Church may possibly be one, but how He, who founded it, willed that it should be one. But when we consider what was actually done we find that Jesus Christ did not, in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible after that manner in which in the symbol of our faith we profess: ‘I believe in one Church.’ ‘The Church in respect of its unity belongs to the category of things indivisible by nature, though heretics try to divide it into many parts… We say, therefore, that the Catholic Church is unique in its essence, in its doctrine, in its origin, and in its excellence… Furthermore, the eminence of the Church arises from its unity, as the principle of its constitution – a unity surpassing all else, and having nothing like unto it or equal to it’ (S. Clemens Alexandrinus, Stronmatum lib. viii., c. 17). For this reason Christ, speaking of the mystical edifice, mentions only one Church, which he calls His own – ‘I will build my church;’ any other Church except this one, since it has not been founded by Christ, cannot be the true Church.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”, 1896 A.D.

The third mark of the Church is that she is Catholic; that is, universal. And justly is she called Catholic, because, as St. Augustine says, she is diffused by the splendor of one faith from the rising to the setting sun. Unlike states of human institutions of the sects of heretics, she is not confined to any one country or class of men, but embraces within the amplitude of her love all mankind, whether barbarians or Scythians, slaves or freemen, male or female… Moreover to this Church, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets belong all the faithful who have existed from Adam to the present day, or who shall exist, in the profession of the true faith, to the end of time… She is also called universal, because all who desire eternal salvation must cling to and embrace her, like those who entered the ark to escape perishing in the flood. This (note of catholicity), therefore, is to be taught as a most reliable criterion, by which to distinguish the true from a false Church.”   ~Catechism of the Council of Trent

New Years’ resolutions that really matter

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http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/6-new-year%E2%80%99s-resolutions-catholics-are-achievable

As we wrestle with ourselves over our new years’ resolutions, let’s not lose sight of those that really matter – growth in the knowledge and beauty of the Faith.

Week 1: On Sundays, explore related passages from Scripture for the liturgical day.
Take just 5 minutes each Sunday, open the Bible or collection of sermons, and find a passage to reflect on which corresponds to the day. This week’s feast of the Holy Family is rich for reflection. The Gospel is taken from Luke 2:42-52, dealing with the loss of Our Lord in the Temple. On the topic of Jesus and the doctors in the temple, one could read from the Psalms, 118:97-104. Or on the moral beauties of a united family, Exod. 20:12, Deut. 5:16; 26:16, Proverbs 17:6; 23:22-25; 30:17; 31:10-31.

Week 2: Practice Generosity
Beyond the precept of the Church that requires us to give of our fruits, generosity is more than money. Sometimes the greater generosity is that of time. This week, make one act of generous time that you ordinarily would not do. For husbands and fathers, perhaps go into work early, so you can leave a bit early in order to spend extra time with children. For mothers, perhaps it’s an unsolicited offer to help another mother watch her children for the afternoon or simply 15 minutes of meditation during the week in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Week 3: Practice Purity of Intention
This Third Sunday after Epiphany also coincides with the feast of St. Agnes, who is venerated for her purity. But purity can go beyond the mandates of the 6th and 9th commandment. Let us also reflect on our intentions during this week before we take an action – is this task, conversation, or recreation I am about to undertake done for the greater glory of God, or is it self-serving?

Week 4: Practice Silence
In Lamentations, and throughout scripture, the preference for us to be silent in prayer and meditation is a recurring theme; “It is good to wait with silence for the salvation of God” (Lam. 3:26) This week, make an effort once a day to allow another to speak, or to refrain from an idle comment. You may be surprised at the frequency this happens. St. Joseph is also a shining example throughout the Christmas gospels: be silent, allowing others to shine more than you.

Week 5: Practice Gratitude
This week make it a practice to find ordinary things throughout the day to be grateful for. It could be gratitude to another, say a coworker for a task they perform daily and it has become so routine we don’t offer anything beyond the mumbled “thanks.” Or it could be a small prayer of thanksgiving to God for the gifts of health, family, a Catholic education for your children, or stable employment. And as we come closer this Sexagesima Sunday to Lent, let us be especially grateful to Our Lord and his priests for the unbound mercy in the confessional.

Week 6: Say the Angelus
In churches and priories, the practice of saying the Angelus is common. In homes and our daily lives, it is less so. On this Quinquagesima Sunday, also the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, let us fall into the good habit of reciting the Angelus. At first, we can make it a habit to say it just once a day – maybe after we wake with our morning prayers. Then, add it to your lunchtime and dinner routine, so along with the Church, you can unite yourself to Our Blessed Mother three times each day.

 

 

13 Our Fathers in honor of St. Francis of Paola

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It is piously believed that St. Francis of Paola recited 13 Our Fathers and Hail Marys in honor of Our Lord and His Apostles. A most worthy endeavor for us to take up. The following is from The Racolta:

https://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2018/01/13-fridays-in-honor-of-st-francis-of.html

Pope Clement XII., in the Brief Coelestium munerum dispensatio of Dec. 2, 1738, granted –

i. A plenary indulgence to all the faithful who, upon thirteen Fridays continuously preceding the Feast of St. Francis of Paola (April 2), or at any other time of the year, shall, in honour of this Saint, being truly penitent, visit, after Confession and Communion, a church of the Minims, commonly called the Paolotti, either already erected or hereafter to be erected, and pray there for our Holy Mother Church; this Indulgence may be gained on any one of the said Fridays; and

ii. An indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines on all other Fridays.

Moreover, wherever there are not churches of the above named order, or where they are distant at least a mile from a person’s own dwelling, the same Clement XII. granted in these two cases, by a Brief Nuper editae of March 20, 1739, the same indulgences to the faithful as are mentioned above, conditional of course upon their previous Confession and Communion. In this Brief permission is given to visit any other church whatsoever dedicated to God in honour of St. Francis of Paola, or any altar existing in any church where there is a picture of this glorious Saint; and if none of these conditions can be complied with, the visit may be made to their own parish church.

This devotion originated with St. Francis himself, who practised it in honour of our Lord Jesus Christ and His twelve Apostles with this intent, on each of the thirteen Fridays he used to recite thirteen Pater noster’s and as many Ave Maria’s, and this devotion he promulgated by word of mouth and by letter to his own devout followers, as an efficacious means of obtaining from God the graces they desired, provided they were for the greater good of their souls.

Since the death of the Saint, which took place April 2, 1507, the day on which Good Friday fell in that year, this devotion has always been practised by the faithful throughout the whole Catholic world in honour of the holy Founder; and so it came at last to be approved by the said Clement XII., who granted the Indulgences above named, in order to animate good Christians to adopt it.