The Lion of Munster

Sunday, February 14, AD 2016

The Lion of Munster

Neither praise nor threats will distance me from God.

Blessed Clemens von Galen

(I ran this series originally back in 2011.  I am rerunning it now, because the contemporary Church is greatly harmed by the unwillingness of so many clerics to confront evil forthrightly.  In this year of Mercy we must not forget the need to cry out for Justice, and that is precisely what the Lion of Munster did.)

The Nazis hated and feared Clemens August Graf von Galen in life and no doubt they still hate and fear him, at least those now enjoying the amenities of some of the less fashionable pits of Hell.  Going into Lent, I am strongly encouraged by the story of Blessed von Galen.  I guess one could come up with a worse situation than being a Roman Catholic bishop in Nazi Germany in 1941, and confronting a merciless anti-Christian dictatorship that was diametrically opposed to the Truth of Christ, but that would certainly do for enough of a challenge for one lifetime for anyone.  (Hitler privately denounced Christianity as a Jewish superstition and looked forward after the War to “settling accounts”, as he put it, with Christianity in general and Roman Catholicism in particular.)

Priests who spoke out against the Third Reich were being rounded up and shipped off to concentration camps.  What was a bishop to do in the face of such massive evil?  Well, for the Bishop of Munster, Clemens von Galen, there could be only one answer.

A German Count, von Galen was from one of the oldest aristocratic families in Westphalia.  Always a German patriot, the political views of von Galen would have made my own conservatism seem a pale shade of pink in comparison.  Prior to becoming a bishop, he was sometimes criticized for a haughty attitude and being unbending.  He was chosen Bishop of Munster in 1933 only after other candidates, no doubt recognizing what a dangerous position it would be with the Nazis now in power, had turned it down.  I am certain  it did not hurt that he was an old friend of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII.

Von Galen immediately demonstrated that he had not agreed to become Bishop of Munster in order to avoid danger.  He successfully led a fight against the Nazi attempt to take over Catholic schools, citing article 21 of the Concordat between the Vatican and Nazi Germany.  He then began a campaign, often using humor and ridicule, against the Aryan racial doctrines proposed by Alfred Rosenberg, chief Nazi race theorist, and a man even some high level Nazis thought was little better than a crank.  Von Galen argued that Christianity totally rejected racial differences as determining how groups should be treated, and that all men and women were children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ.  The Bishop spoke out against Nazi attacks on the “Jewish Old Testament” stating that Holy Writ was Holy Writ and that the Bible could not be altered to suit current prejudices.

In early 1937 he was summoned by Pope Pius XI to confer with him on an encyclical in German, highly unusual for an encyclical not to be written in Latin as the primary language, that the Pope was in the process of drafting.  The encyclical was the blistering Mit Brennender Sorge (With Burning Heart) that the Pope ordered be read out in every parish in Germany on Palm Sunday 1937.  A head long assault on almost every aspect of National Socialism, it may be read here.

The language in the encyclical was blunt, direct and no doubt benefited from von Galen’s input and his experience from the battles he was waging with the Nazis.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to The Lion of Munster

  • This is a good history lesson.

  • Blessed von Galen shows an example far too many of us are unwilling to follow.

  • Agian, a timely piece of history from Mr. McClarey. Thanks.
    Number 42.
    A clarion call for all Catholics in America to engage in today’s conflict, the destruction of America through radical Socialist and Marxist ideologies which indoctrinate the young and silence the rationale of freedom of religion.

    The joy, triumph and hymn’s of gratitude must resound from coast to coast united in Truth.
    His Truth that all life is sacred. Perverse lifestyles are always going to be perverse. No amount of propaganda will change the Truth.
    He and His Word will never change.
    Our hearts must change. We must accept them, love them and pray with them, but never accept their concupiscence as a cherished choice of behavior.

    Our time is a critical time in history. The slope isn’t just slippery. It’s angle of decent is increasing dramatically and as it increases it will be extremely difficult to reclaim the pure air of the highlands. The stagnant repulsive air of the pit will become the new progressive National Socialist Amerika, an unrecognizable Nation of free people. A people serving and worshipping the State.

  • Gosh there are so many GREAT blessed of fairly recent history! I hope they will get the attention they apparently deserve. I also think of Cardinal Mindszenty.

  • Pingback: Von Galen Contra Gestapo – The American Catholic
  • Would that we had his like in some of our dioceses today.

But We Have Forgotten God

Sunday, February 7, AD 2016

As we approach Lent in this Year of Mercy it is striking to me how most who call themselves Christians have lost any sense of sin.  Christ seems to be perceived as a divine Pal, with a dog like eagerness to embrace us just the way we are.  Such a deity would seem to resemble Barney the Dinosaur more than the God of the Bible.  Forgotten is the need for sorrow for sins, repentance for sins and amendment of life.  Our ancestors tended to think much differently.  Consider Proclamation 97 of Abraham Lincoln calling for a national day of prayer and humiliation to pray for forgiveness of national sins.  Here is the text of the proclamation:

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.

And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State.

 

Continue reading...

8 Responses to But We Have Forgotten God

  • “No God condones terror. No grievance justifies the taking of innocent lives, or the oppression of those who are weaker or fewer in number.” President Obama 2/5/16. National Prayer Breakfast.

    Until abortion is classified as an act of terror, innocent lives, weaker and fewer in number, will continue to be slaughtered under the nose of an arrogant hypocritical President who continues to use God for his purposes… not asking God how he might do his will.

  • And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon…”

    Why is it that I sense a far stronger “Catholic” view of the essential need for man to actually have sorrow and “repentance” for sins, from this non-Catholic man, than I do from most of the modernists at the “Kasper show,” or for that matter, (in this “year of mercy”) from the Vatican?

  • Confess sins?
    Receive Mercy?

    How about that!

    Abe has it down pat.
    Go figure.

    Canon 915 is merciful.
    It reinforces the stance the Catholic Church has taken regarding abortion, and mercifully instructs as to the consequences instore for those who disobediently refuse the direction.

    Stop the sin of protecting abortion rights or do not present yourself for Holy Communion.
    Seek forgiveness, confess and receive Mercy!

  • How often does the Sunday Mass homily discuss sin? For more than 50 years, I dare say not much.

  • (I just noticed this gem.)
    “Jefferson Davis issued similar proclamations during the War. ”

    As this nation heads south for primaries and a leader which will determine our direction, the one remaining sin, according to our modern sophisticated liberalized nation, appears to be that Jefferson Davis’ people largely still believe in sin and the need to repent.

  • I’ve seen an uptick in various non-Catholics taking up Lent– as with when they take on other Catholic observations, they’re learning it from the ancient Jews.
    Kind of like explaining that of course we honor Mary, she’s Jesus’s mom, Lent can reach them by framing it as following in Christ’s steps, rather than “Oh, that CATHOLIC thing.”
    A rose by any other name does smell as sweet, but if you call it sinus destroying stinkbomb folks are unlikely to find out. 😀

  • Penguin Fan – I always wonder when I read comments like this. Our homily today was about sin, how each sinful act we commit is a decision we make to put ourselves above God. Awareness of sin isn’t the final goal, of course. Isaiah, Paul, and Peter were made aware of their unworthiness, but God moved them past that into a relationship with Him. Lent is a time for giving things up – not to some inanimate object, but to the God who is worthy of our adoration. We were urged to offer up this Lent for the people we have wronged, the people we have led into sin over our lives.

  • “….designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.”

    Yes we have a lot to be humiliated about especially for a number of Godless Supreme Court decisions made over the many years. The court has taken liberties with the law that were never intended by the founders. Let us, during this lent, set aside a day of prayer for the Supreme Court that a solution can be found to overturn their evil decisions.

The Temptations of Christ-Conclusion

Sunday, March 22, AD 2015

 

1] Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. [3] And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4] Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. [5] Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple,

[6] And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. [8] Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, [9] And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. [10] Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.

Matthew 4: 1-10

Go here to read part one of our Lenten examination of the temptation of Christ by Satan, here to read part two, here to read part three and here to read part four.  Satan had now issued his final temptation to Christ, all Earthly, power and waited for a reply.

As Mohammed demonstrated five centuries later, a religion that establishes secular rule over a kingdom at the inception of the religion can spread very fast and very far.  Reestablish the Davidic kingdom under Christ and Christianity might have spread just as rapidly, especially if Christ called upon the ten legions of angels he referred to at the beginning of His Passion.  Instead of just teaching, the Way taught by Christ would become the laws of the Earthly kingdom He would establish.  His mercy and justice would become statutes, and not just teachings passed slowly by word of mouth and in writings.  His mission could be accomplished without the pain and ignominy of the death on the Cross, a death Jesus would pray that he might not experience.  A throne or the Cross, in terms of His human nature this may have been the most compelling temptation.  Christ would be depicted throughout Christian history as Christ the King.  Why not be a King while He lived? What good He could accomplish here on Earth, ushering mankind into a utopia under His all wise rule.

It is instructive to recall that throughout his forthcoming three year ministry, everyone except Christ expected him to do this.  Certainly the Apostles did, constantly asking Him when the Kingdom would begin and arguing among themselves for positions of power in this new polity.  The Sadducees did, viewing His entrance into Palm Sunday as setting the stage for His revolt, and their fears that His attempt, or the attempt of His followers, to crown him as King, would lead to war with Rome.  As for the Romans, Christ died on a Roman Cross under a sign accusing him of being, or pretending to be, the King of the Jews.  Everyone seemed to expect that Christ would attempt to be a King here on Earth.  Why not fulfill these expectations?

Continue reading...

One Response to The Temptations of Christ-Conclusion

The Temptations of Christ-Part Four

Sunday, March 15, AD 2015

1] Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. [3] And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4] Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. [5] Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple,

[6] And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. [8] Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, [9] And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. [10] Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.

Matthew 4: 1-10

Go here to read part one of our Lenten examination of the temptation of Christ by Satan, here to read part two and here to read part three. With his first two temptations having been rejected, Satan was perhaps in a momentary quandary about what to try next.  One can almost visualize a Satanic smile as he determined the next temptation.

Most Jews assumed that the Messiah, the Son of David, would come to establish the liberty of Israel and to reign as King.  Josephus, writing about events occurring some three and a half decades after Christ’s crucifixion stated that this belief lead to the great Jewish revolt against Rome:  But their chief inducement to go to war was a equivocal oracle also found in their sacred writings, announcing that at that time a man from their country would become the ruler of the world. 

One of Christ’s Apostles may have been a member of the Zealots, one of whose slogans was Dominion Belongs to God Alone.  The Gospels say almost nothing about Simon the Zealot, so it is unclear as to whether he was a member of the Zealot party, or simply zealous.  That of course has not stopped speculation about him and the relationship, if any, of Christ with the Zealots.

Under occupation by a pagan power, Judea was always teetering on the edge of revolt, as Christ, and Satan, well knew, and the image of the Messiah coming in power and glory to restore the kingdom of Israel by force was irresistible.

Continue reading...

One Response to The Temptations of Christ-Part Four

The Temptations of Christ: Part Three

Sunday, March 8, AD 2015

 

1] Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. [3] And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4] Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. [5] Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple,

[6] And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. [8] Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, [9] And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. [10] Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.

Matthew 4: 1-10

Go here to read part one of our Lenten examination of the temptation of Christ by Satan, and here to read part two.  After the failure of the temptation of bread, Satan decides to tempt Jesus with the Messianic expectations that had grown up among the Jews about the Messiah, the expectations that Jesus had heard personally since boyhood.  Satan takes Jesus up to the pinnacle of the Temple, the locus of the worship of God in this Vale of Tears.  All Jews who believed in the Messiah assumed that he would announce himself in Jerusalem.  Some thought it would be a spectacular appearance with the Messiah coming from the sky with angels to raise the Jews up.  During the Jewish Revolt of 66-73 as the Romans besieged Jerusalem, the Zealots would scan the skies looking for the Messiah to come and save Jerusalem.

These expectations are key to understanding the nature of the second temptation.  Satan was not tempting Christ by asking Him to perform an Act, throwing himself off the top of the Temple in order to require a manifestation of divine power, he has tempting Christ to begin His ministry with a stupendous miracle that would cause all of Jerusalem to flock to Him.  No years of preaching in the backwaters of Galilee, Samaria and Judea.  One massive miracle, flying over Jerusalem, with angels and the whole of Israel would follow Him as the Messiah.

Throughout his three years ministry Christ was constantly confronted with the demand that He perform miracles, and no matter how many He performed, the demand always persisted.  How many came out to see Him, not for His preaching but in hopes to see Him perform one of the miracles they had heard of?  From what Christ said, I would assume many:

1AND there came to him the Pharisees and Sadduccees tempting: and they asked him to shew them a sign from heaven. 2But he answered and said to them: When it is evening, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red. 3And in the morning: To day there will be a storm, for the sky is red and lowering. You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the times? 4A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. And he left them, and went away.

Matthew 16:  1-4

[46] He came again therefore into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain ruler, whose son was sick at Capharnaum. [47] He having heard that Jesus was come from Judea into Galilee, went to him, and prayed him to come down, and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. [48] Jesus therefore said to him: Unless you see signs and wonders, you believe not. [49] The ruler saith to him: Lord, come down before that my son die. [50] Jesus saith to him: Go thy way; thy son liveth. The man believed the word which Jesus said to him, and went his way.

John 4:  46-50

He understood that a stupendous miracle such as Satan proposed would make many converts for him, and establish Jerusalem as a base for him.  No years of toiling in the hinterlands, instead He would begin His ministry with a stupendous triumph in the big time, Jerusalem, THE CITY, as if there were no others, for most Jews. Certainly this prospect was tempting?

Continue reading...

One Response to The Temptations of Christ: Part Three

The Temptations of Christ: Part Two

Sunday, March 1, AD 2015

 

[1] Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. [3] And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4] Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. [5] Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple,

[6] And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. [8] Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, [9] And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. [10] Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.

Matthew 4: 1-10

Go here to read part one of our Lenten examination of the temptation of Christ by Satan.

The first temptation of Christ by Satan was devilish, of course, clever.  Pretending not to be sure that Christ is the Second Person of the Trinity, Satan challenges Christ to turn stones into bread.

On the surface this challenge is simple enough:  Christ hungers and Satan asks for a simple miracle so that he may be sure that Christ is God, and by this easy feat of divine power Christ can appease his human hunger.  However, as Satan knew, the temptation went far deeper than a mere appeal to human hunger.

How to tempt God?  The very concept is blasphemous, of course, but Satan is blasphemy incarnate.  I suspect that Satan’s answer to this puzzle was by appealing to God’s love.  As Christ would note, God marks the sparrow’s fall.  He loves each man, as if there were no other.  How He must pity us in our travails here below, our struggles against poverty and all the other ills that our fallen state and our fallen world present to us.  How many an atheist, bringing up one of these ills, has thrown back in the face of believers the taunt, “How could a just God allow this!”

Thus the Father of Lies appealed to Christ to use his divine power, not just to appease His hunger, but as a sign of how He could use His power to end hunger and all the other ills that Man is heir to.  Satan tempted God by appealing to His mercy, to place sinful Man back in the Garden and satisfy all Man’s material wants, ending human physical suffering with the slightest exertion of the divine will.  Temptations to evil are the most difficult to resist when the sin proposed is being utilized for a good end.  Satan, no doubt, who fell from pride, felt a surge of it when he suggested the clever bread temptation to Christ.

Continue reading...

One Response to The Temptations of Christ: Part Two

  • When He was teaching a multitude, which stayed on to hear more, He performed the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fishes showing mercy for those people. They wanted to hear His teaching, and, so, were graced with that miraculous food.
    .
    “To this lie Christ responded, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Christ would not give Man the illusion of earthly salvation by becoming a divine dispenser of Welfare. He had come to bring eternal salvation by having Man freely choose to follow Him. No iota of the Law of God would be annulled by Christ, but all would be fulfilled by Him. It would not be mercy to leave Man in his sins and give him earthly bread instead of the bread of angels. The height of mercy is to call Men to live by every word from God, and thus Christ refused the temptation of bread.” The devil didn’t care whether He suffered hunger, he just wanted to see God rejected and himself served.
    “Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.”

The Temptations of Christ: Part One

Sunday, February 22, AD 2015

[1] Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. [3] And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4] Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. [5] Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple,

[6] And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. [8] Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, [9] And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. [10] Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.

Matthew 4: 1-10

 

Lent is a time for confronting evil, both within and without us.  During Lent we recall Christ’s temptation by Satan, the culmination of his forty days and nights in the desert.  This passage has always struck me as mysterious.  Why would God allow Satan to tempt Him to sin?  Why would Satan attempt to do so?

The answer to the  first question is that God became one of us.  Like us in our humanity He was subject to the lure of sin.  The Incarnation is filled with mysteries but few are deeper than this.  God allowed Himself to feel the same attraction to sin, the revolt against the Divine Will, that we, in our Fallen humanity, feel.  He exposed Himself to every weakness that we experience and allowed Satan the opportunity to see if he could tempt God, too, to Fall.  And that was the attraction for Satan.  Eternally in revolt from the love of God, his only hope for victory in this doomed rebellion was to convince God to reject His own love.  God deciding to make himself Man must have struck Satan as madness, and perhaps CS Lewis is correct, even inspired Satan’s revolt:

 When the creation of man was first mooted and when, even at that stage, the Enemy freely confessed that he foresaw a certain episode about a cross, Our Father very naturally sought an interview and asked for an explanation. The Enemy gave no reply except to produce the cock-and-bull story about disinterested love which He has been circulating ever since. This Our Father naturally could not accept. He implored the Enemy to lay His cards on the table, and gave Him every opportunity. He admitted that he felt a real anxiety to know the secret; the Enemy replied “I wish with all my heart that you did”. It was, I imagine, at this stage in the interview that Our Father’s disgust at such an unprovoked lack of confidence caused him to remove himself an infinite distance from the Presence with a suddenness which has given rise to the ridiculous enemy story that he was forcibly thrown out of Heaven.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to The Temptations of Christ: Part One

Gator’s Back on the Menu

Friday, February 20, AD 2015

 

 

 

Father Z advises us of this taste treat for our Lenten repasts:

 

:

I have posted on this in the past, but repetita iuvant as we say in Latin.

ORIGINAL:

Someone sent me a copy of a letter written by the Archbishop of New Orleans to a member of his flock about eating alligator during Lent.  The answer is “yes”.  You may eat alligator during Lent.

This is old news to readers of this blog, of course.  Last year I posted this, which ought to have settled the whole thing:

QUAERITUR: Abstinentia de carne lacertina aut crocodrillina

Ex lectoris e-pistulis extractum:

Reverendo patro Ioanni Zuhlsdorfo discipulus C. salutem et commemorationem in precibus suis. Gratias meas, sivis, ob opum tuam tibi agere volo. [Acceptae.] Mihi, catholico iuveni et discipulo in collegio liberalum artis et liberalum (aut impudicarum) mentum, scripturae tuae magnam auxilium fuerunt. Mox Ludovicianam meabo. Quaeritur: Sineturne corpus alligatoris feria VI in Quadregesima sine violando abstinentiam Quadragesimae edere?

Ossificatus manualista impoenitens respondeo de paginis Compendii Theologiae Moralis (Sabetti-Barrett) n. 331, :

Nomine carnis veniunt omnia animalia in terra viventia ac respirantia, ut communiter admittunt theologi ex regula tradita a S. Thoma vel, ut S. Alphonsus innuit, n. 1011, animalia quae sanguinem habent calidum; vel illud quod consuetudo regionis ut carnem habet; vel, si nec consuetudo praesto sit, dubium solvi potest considerando mentem Ecclesiae in sanciendo delectu ciborum, ut comprimendae ac minuendae carnis concupiscentiae per salutarem abstinetiam consuleret; examinetur, an huiusmodi animal simile sit aut dissimile iis quorum esus interdictus est et an illius carnes humano corpori validius nutriendo et roborando idoneae dignoscantur; et si ita appareat, ista caro inter vetitas est ponenda. Benedict XIV., De syn. dioec., lib.11, c. 5, n. 12. Haec quatuor multum deservient omni dubitationi solvendae.

Ergo, crocodrilli et lacertae inter reptilia sunt et amphibia.

Edi ergo possunt feriis sextis et tempore Quadragesimae

Omnibus tamen diebus ab eis edimur!

So, there you have it.

You can eat alligator and crocodile on Fridays of Lent.

Continue reading...

17 Responses to Gator’s Back on the Menu

  • The Catholic Church has cast a fairly broad net as to what is acceptable in Lent. Basically, “if it swims in water, it is ripe for the slaughter”–seal, manatee, gator. Even strictly terrestrial fare such as tortoises (since they look like turtles) was fair game. I, personally, will stick to cod, flounder and tilapia, but then I am a sentimentalist.

  • Does the gator know that it shouldn’t eat you for Lent?

  • If not Pinky the Gator should be reminded of that fact.

  • If in Prairieville, LA, go to Sammy’s. They have the best fried alligator appetizer around.

  • If I am ever down there Phillip I will be sure not to miss the gator-pertifs!

  • Mary De Voe asks; “Taste like chicken?”

    No. Gator-bait has a remarkable similarity in texture and flavor to chicken. Gator texture is a cross between adolescent seal pups and snail-darter’s. The flavor of Gator is mistakenly close to American Snowy Owl….which, mind you, you must abstain from on Fridays during Lent.
    Bon appetite! 🙂

  • Because of the Global Warming and the unusual advance of Snowy Owls to southern states, Rome has granted a dispensation on the white birds for Fridays. This has NOT been confirmed by EOTT.

  • Philip, does gator come in cans? I think I will pass. God bless.

  • I was obnoxious last night. Trying to hard to be cute. Pearls is an eatery near home, Elk Rapids Mich. I’ve eaten their appetizer, gator, and it was so-so.
    Once was enough.
    Canned Gator? Why not?
    Take care.

  • The Other Andrew B:
    I understood that manatee–a mammal–was once scientifically considered a fish because of the Catholic Portuguese explores having/desiring to eat it on Fridays. Then again, lobster was considered stripped bass bait and hardly was aesthetic enough to eat on Fridays. Some changes are good. I suppose.

  • The Other Andrew B:
    I understood that manatee–a mammal–was once scientifically considered a fish because of the Catholic Portuguese explorers having/desiring to eat it on Fridays. Then again, lobster was considered striped bass bait and hardly was aesthetic enough to eat on Fridays. Some changes are good. I suppose.

  • Creole turtle soup is delicious. The true version is made from terrapin, which I’ve only had access to once. Usually I use veal or pork stew meat. It is never made from sea turtle. I’ve had fried gator and cooter (turtle) in LA and FL. Both appetizers are a novelty. Since it’s like chicken I guess it takes white wine though an Abita beer is better.

  • I’ll stick to peanut butter. Less pentitential for me than eating fish — even with lots of ketchup. Yup, I wriggle out of that sacrifice ; )

  • Pingback: THURSDAY AFTERNOON EDITION - BigPulpit.com
  • I sometimes feel guilty on Lenten Friday’s loving fish more than anything, maybe I should try gator-
    – does it pair well with doppelbock ?

  • I am sure gator pairs well with everything.

Saint Augustine on the Resurrection

Sunday, April 20, AD 2014

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  ,here  , here, here , here  , here and here to read the first eight posts in the series, we come to the conclusion with the eternal glory of Easter.

In this Vale of Tears we lead lives afflicted by sin and always in the shadow of death.  Christ came to free us from the chains of sin and to prove to us that death is not an end, but merely our beginning in infinity.  My mother died thirty years ago on Easter Sunday 1984.  Because of Easter I know that I will see her again, along with my son who died last year on Pentecost.  Without either hope or love we are but poor creatures indeed.  Easter gives us hope and tells us that we are children of a loving God.  Saint Augustine reminds us of these great truths:

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Saint Augustine on the Resurrection

Saint Augustine: The Body and The Blood

Thursday, April 17, AD 2014

BouveretLastSupper

Christ bore Himself in His hands, when He offered His body saying: “this is my body.”

Saint Augustine

 Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  ,here  , here, here , here  and here to read the first seven posts in the series, we come to Holy Thursday and the First Mass.  As Catholics, we join in the great mystery of God sacrificing Himself for us at every Mass we witness, just as if we were sitting at the Last Supper watching Christ transforming the bread into His Body and the wine into His Blood.  Saint Augustine explained to new Catholics why bread and wine are placed on Catholic altars:

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Saint Augustine: The Body and The Blood

Saint Augustine: Palm Sunday

Sunday, April 13, AD 2014

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  ,here  , here, here and here to read the first six posts in the series, we come to the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  Looked at in purely human terms Palm Sunday was the height of the career of Christ, His moment in the sun when he was acclaimed by crowds as he entered Jerusalem, causing enough commotion that Caiaphas decided that He must die to prevent his followers from alarming Rome sufficiently to start a war.  Cold political calculation began its work on Palm Sunday and led to the swift death of Christ on a cross by Good Friday.  How many, many movements throughout history have died still-born as a result of the leader swiftly being put to death!  Saint Augustine reminds of us why this did not happen to the Christian “movement”:

Continue reading...

One Response to Saint Augustine: Palm Sunday

  • Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is the only Person WHO can give us sovereignty over ourselves. To call an individual, a people, a nation, sovereign is a prayer, a wish. To call an individual, a people, a nation sovereign without the Son of Man is a joke.

Saint Augustine: No Matter How Great Our Crimes

Sunday, April 6, AD 2014

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Isaiah:  1:18

 

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  ,here  , here and here to read the first five posts in the series, we come to the whole purpose of Lent.   One of the greatest weapons in the arsenal of the eternal enemy of Man is despair.  How many people abstain from confession and reconciliation with God on the mistaken belief that their sins are too great and they are beyond redemption.  It would seem in our day that these people would be small in number since so many would appear to have lost any sense of sin.  Perhaps, but perhaps also a denial of the fact of sin is merely a surface attempt to avoid the gnawing guilt and emptiness that sin usually causes in most souls, whether the sin is recognized as such or not.   For all lost and wandering souls the forgiveness of God is close at hand for His mercy is as infinite as His justice is sure.  What so many of us have earned at the hands of His justice, He spares us by His mercy.  Despair is a sin, and in Lent we should turn our backs on it, as we do all sin.  Here is what Augustine wrote in regard to forgiveness of sins, no matter how great they are:

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Saint Augustine: No Matter How Great Our Crimes

  • Thank you for this Donald McClarey.
    .
    Where was the man taken in adultery? Moses prescribed the penalty of death by stoning of both, the man and the woman caught in adultery. Ignoring the Law of Moses, the stoners were indulging their lust for death. The stoners were a mob not interested in Justice.
    .
    Why haven’t Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy Pelosi proclaimed the Good News of Justice? All men, gay and straight are entitled to equal Justice. It is the duty of the state to deliver equal Justice. Equal Justice, to be delivered by the state, can only be found in the perfectly legal and moral innocence of the newly begotten human being at fertilization and creation of a new human soul.
    .
    Let it be known, atheists, abortionists, fornicatiors and to all men, that your soul has been created by God, “our Creator”, in equal Justice, in moral and legal innocence. “Who is like unto God”
    .
    When the atheist discarded his/her belief in God, the atheist destroyed belief in perfect Justice, in the virtues, in his own existence as an immortal and rational human being. The atheist exchanged him/herself for a finite, corrupt Justice, stoning a woman for a half-truth. Dare I say, that the man who committed adultery with the woman was among those willing to stone her, that the man who impregnated the woman with an innocent child is the one who is willing to abort the innocent child for his own sin? Justice stoned and aborted. Justice put to death. Equal Justice put to death.

  • “Where was the man taken in adultery?”

    Presumably he was quicker in getting away than the woman was, or he had already been stoned. This was an obvious attempt on the part of the leaders of the mob to use this incident to trap Jesus by forcing him to either forego mercy and allow the woman to be stoned or to negate the law of Moses by ordering mercy. Jesus neatly sidestepped the trap by indicating that those who would stone the woman were also enmeshed in their own sins, and therefore were not fit to pass judgment on her. (If the woman was a prostitute, I wonder if some of her other customers were among those who were going to stone her?) The words of Jesus obviously packed a large wallop since the woman was not stoned and the mob dispersed, not an easy task to accomplish when the blood lust of a mob is at its peak.

  • Donald McClarey: I like your reading better. Thank you.

  • “times of repentance have been rightly established by those set over the churches, that satisfaction may also be made in the Church, in which the sins are forgiven.”
    There is a rite in the Pontificale Romanum for the reconciliation of those on whom public penance had been enjoined. The reconciliation traditionally took place on Maundy Thursday.
    http://www.liturgialatina.org/pontificale/000.htm

    The practice of imposing public penance fell into desuetude during the 17th century, in part as a reaction to Jansenist insistence on its restoration, in its full ancient vigour. By that time, the years of penance enjoined in the early penitentials had been reduced to, at most, a single Lent and were often commuted to other good works, such as a pilgrimage, or alms-giving.

  • Pingback: The Cistercians Are Back at Zirc - BigPulpit.com
  • Pingback: Saint Augustine: Palm Sunday | The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Saint Augustine on the Resurrection | The American Catholic

Saint Augustine: Late Have I Loved Thee

Sunday, March 30, AD 2014

st-augustine-of-hippo7_opt

 

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  ,here  and here to read the first four posts in the series, we come to the whole purpose of Lent.  We repent our sins and turn away from them, but these are not ends in themselves.  We do them to help reawaken in our souls our love of God.  God loves each of us with a love the intensity and magnitude of which we, in this life, cannot hope to fathom.  It has been said that God loves each man as if he were the only one.  He loves us enough to die for us, the creator of life suffering an ignominious human death to bring us to Him.  Blinded by sin and the follies of this Vale of Tears we are often unable to see that the sweet loves we encounter in this life are but pale reflections of His love.  Saint Augustine, after a wasted youth, did finally understand that love, and wrote about his discovery in imperishable words:

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Saint Augustine: Late Have I Loved Thee

Saint Augustine on Sin, Fear and Love

Sunday, March 23, AD 2014

Saint_Augustine_Portrait

 

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  and here to read the first three posts in the series, we come to Augustine’s discussion of why we should avoid sin.  Augustine thought that refraining from sin due to fear of Hell did not involve the rejection of sin but rather fear of burning.  The true reason for avoiding sin is love of God and therefore rejection of sin as a result of that love.  Our Act of Contrition mentions both motivations but is clear what should be the most important:

O my God,
I am heartily sorry for
having offended Thee,
and I detest all my sins,
because I dread the loss of heaven,
and the pains of hell;
but most of all because
they offend Thee, my God,
Who are all good and
deserving of all my love.

As the saying goes, fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and no doubt the fear of Hell for many a sinner is the beginning of repentance, but that is only the beginning, and not the end, of our struggle against sin.  Christ taught us to call God Father and that He is a loving Father.  Anything that turns us from the God who loves us with such an eternal love, we reject, not out of fear but out of love:

Continue reading...

11 Responses to Saint Augustine on Sin, Fear and Love

  • This Letter CXLV of St Augustine was a crucial text in the great debate between the Jesuits and their opponents (particularly the Jansenists) over attrition and contrition and whether the former was sufficient for the sacrament of penance.

    Thus, we have the Jesuit in Lettre X of Les Provinciales: “Our fathers, Fagundez, Granados, and Escobar, have decided, ‘that contrition is not necessary even at death; because,’ say they, ‘if attrition with the sacrament did not suffice at death, it would follow that attrition would not be sufficient with the sacrament. And the learned Hurtado, cited by Diana and Escobar, goes still further; for he asks: ‘Is that sorrow for sin which flows solely from apprehension of its temporal consequences, such as having lost health or money, sufficient? We must distinguish. If the evil is not regarded as sent by the hand of God, such a sorrow does not suffice; but if the evil is viewed as sent by God, as, in fact, all evil, says Diana, except sin, comes from him, that kind of sorrow is sufficient.’ Our Father Lamy holds the same doctrine.”

    “You surprise me, father; for I see nothing in all that attrition of which you speak but what is natural; and in this way a sinner may render himself worthy of absolution without supernatural grace at all. Now everybody knows that this is a heresy condemned by the Council.”

    “I should have thought with you,” he replied; “and yet it seems this must not be the case, for the fathers of our College of Clermont have maintained (in their Theses of the 23rd May and 6th June 1644) ‘that attrition may be holy and sufficient for the sacrament, although it may not be supernatural’; and (in that of August 1643) ‘that attrition, though merely natural, is sufficient for the sacrament, provided it is honest.’”

  • “‘that attrition may be holy and sufficient for the sacrament, although it may not be supernatural’; and (in that of August 1643) ‘that attrition, though merely natural, is sufficient for the sacrament, provided it is honest.’””
    .
    Imperfect contrition, although imperfect, is an act of the will to be contrite, to accept penance and forgiveness, to accept grace.

  • The contrition I learned about in parochial school also contained a resolve to sin no more with the help of His grace. This whole topic should merit all Catholics to study what our Church teaches on “justification”. Sometimes, I feel Catholics get mixed up with our justification beliefs and protestants justification beliefs. The Act of contrition, I learned, didn’t have the fear of burning part; i.e. “Oh my God I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishment, but most of all because they have offended Thee my God, who art All Good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin, Amen! This contrition never refers to fearing hell. What you refer to regarding this fear of hell was taught to me as an imperfect act of contrition. Being sorry because we have offended God is the ultimate repentance. Great topic for an article, thanks.

  • The contrition I learned about in parochial school also contained a resolve to sin no more with the help of His grace. This whole topic should merit all Catholics to study what our Church teaches on “justification”.
    This is right. I’ve seen good, smart Protestants struggle with the question about why we should avoid sin, and I think their aversion to Catholic Church as an institution causes them to miss out on this teaching. Creflo Dollar, for example someone I was watching recently, a good preacher on many topics, is so devoted to his (abhorent) ‘prosperity gospel’ that he has a blindspot when it comes to the topic of sin. If godly behavior brings many earthly blessings, he argues, then sinful conduct leads to earthly consequences. His doctrine would allow no consequences in the afterlife.
    Other Protestants have differing views obviously, but none I’ve heard seem satisfying compared with Catholic doctrine. I think Ray and Donald have it right that studying St. Augustine and justification and sanctification are the way to find satisfying answers.
    .
    Imperfect contrition, although imperfect, is an act of the will to be contrite, to accept penance and forgiveness, to accept grace.
    Amen.
    .

  • Pingback: Why College - BigPulpit.com
  • God does not want us to sin because it hurts ourselves and others. God teaches us what is sinful and what is good. This is one of the reasons we love God. When I sin I have contrition because I have hurt myself or someone else, not because I have offended God who cannot be offended.

    Is the above an heretical idea?

    Appreciate your comments.

  • Is the above an heretical idea?
    Michael, a good place to start (as always) is with the Catechism. This section in particular seems to to pertain to your point:
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a8.htm
    .
    Section 1849, for example, says that sin is a “failure in genuine love for God and neighbor”. And at 1850 quotes Psalm 51, “Sin is an offense against God: ‘Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight.'”
    .
    There is more to it than that, but perhaps a starting point.

  • Pingback: Pastoral Sharings: " Fourth Sunday of Lent" | St. John
  • Pingback: Saint Augustine: No Matter How Great Our Crimes | The American Catholic
  • Pingback: EDICION MARZO ABRIL I | Big Pulpit en Espanol
  • Pingback: Saint Augustine: Palm Sunday | The American Catholic

Saint Augustine and the Pear Tree

Sunday, March 16, AD 2014

Saint Augustine and the Pear Tree

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  and here to read the first and the second in the series, we come to Saint Augustine’s description of what he viewed as one of his worst sins, the theft of pears from a pear tree.  More than a few people have been mystified as to why this incident caused Saint Augustine such pain.  Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, for example, wrote  “Rum thing to see a man making a mountain out of robbing a pear tree in his teens”.  Such critics of course completely miss the point.  The incident of the pear tree is the classic example of pure sin.  Augustine and the other rowdies did not steal the pears to feed themselves, they threw the pears to hogs.  They did this evil not to satisfy some hunger or desire, but for the sake of the sin itself, and that is what makes the act so monstrous in retrospect in the eyes of Saint Augustine.  The worst sort of sin we can do is a sin that has no purpose other than to engage in sin, in disobedience to God.  Most sins men do are a bad road to reach a worldly good.  A thief who robs a bank to gain money.  A couple who fornicate with each other to show their love for one another.  A glutton who gorges himself because he loves fine food.   The pear tree sin lacks any good as a goal that led to the commission of the sin, and leaves only the desire to do an evil act.  Saint Augustine was right to weep over this, as should we all whenever we do evil solely for the sake of doing evil.  Saint Augustine on the pear tree:

Continue reading...

15 Responses to Saint Augustine and the Pear Tree

  • I’m going to concur with the Supreme Court Justice for one reason…Augustine’s next mistress after he dumped the ten year mistress that bore him a son. The first one left saying she would love him til death. Then St. Monica finds him a respectable girl to marry who however is too young to marry as yet. Augustine can’t wait for her, sexually speaking, so he gratuitously seeks and takes another mistress for sex…according to himself in the “Confessions”. Gratuitous pear theft…gratuitous mistress for fornication…which is worse? The second of course. He may have been displacing a lot of big guilt on to that real pear guilt such that the pear was doing double duty. After he converted really, Augustine according to a contemporary, chose never to be alone with a woman even relatives. Jerome, a brief fornicator in his youth, was the opposite and had many female friends after he converted. Augustine had sinned far more in that area.

  • “Augustine and the other rowdies” Mob mentality. Each one to impress the mob, then the mob owns that individual. The mob takes away his soul and makes of him a beast. Yes, I concur. Addiction to irrationality. Senseless sin except for committing the sin and offending against God the reason being.
    .
    Would Augustine have committed that sin if he was alone? I think not. Therefore, he avoided the near occasion of sin.
    .
    It has occurred to me that this is how communism operates. Communism owns you, you do not own communism.

  • “Gratuitous pear theft…gratuitous mistress for fornication…which is worse? The second of course.”

    Of course not. He and his mistress had their son, who they named Adeodatus, gift of God. His mistress ultimately repented before Augustine:

    “She was stronger than I”, wrote St. Augustine, “and made her sacrifice with a courage and a generosity which I was not strong enough to imitate.” She returned to Carthage, whence she had come, and the grace which had led her to sacrifice the object of her affection further impelled her to bury herself in a monastery, where she might atone for the sin which had been the price so long paid for it.”

    Adeodatus, a bright child with a very bright future, died at sixteen, to the intense grief of his father, and no doubt his mother. Much good came out of Augstine’s sinning with his mistress and he did not sin with her merely for the sake of sin itself.

  • Donald,
    Reread my post. I clearly was talking about the mistress after her…no.2.

  • bill bannon: “I’m going to concur with the Supreme Court Justice for one reason…Augustine’s next mistress after he dumped the ten year mistress that bore him a son.” It was a sin of lust, whereas, the sin of stealing the pears was a sin of ingratitude, a sin against the Holy Spirit. Sins against the Holy Spirit are unforgivable.
    I have no respect for Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr. for having a mentally handicapped girl sterilized because she had been raped, instead of hanging the rapist by his man-parts so all would-be rapists could see. Now every patient under anesthesia runs the risk of the doctor’s lust. It is the patient’s fault for having been created most enchantingly beautiful, I suppose. Yet, another sin against the Holy Spirit. Hang all rapists by their man-parts and the crime of rape will drop to minus one, (-1).

  • Confessions Book Six

    CHAPTER XV

    25. Meanwhile my sins were being multiplied. My mistress was torn from my side as an impediment to my marriage, and my heart which clung to her was torn and wounded till it bled. And she went back to Africa, vowing to thee never to know any other man and leaving with me my natural son by her. But I, unhappy as I was, and weaker than a woman, could not bear the delay of the two years that should elapse before I could obtain the bride I sought. And so, since I was not a lover of wedlock so much as a slave of lust, I procured another mistress — not a wife, of course. Thus in bondage to a lasting habit, the disease of my soul might be nursed up and kept in its vigor or even increased until it reached the realm of matrimony. Nor indeed was the wound healed that had been caused by cutting away my former mistress; only it ceased to burn and throb, and began to fester, and was more dangerous because it was less painful.

  • Same argument. Augustine did not have a brief relationship with his second concubine out of a desire to sin for the sake of sin. That is what makes the pear tree sin so deadly in the mind of Saint Augustine, and I completely agree with him.

  • “”A depraved soul, falling away from security in thee to destruction in itself, seeking nothing from the shameful deed but shame itself.””

  • Pingback: Veiled Allusions - BigPulpit.com
  • Compare: “but of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden,” God said,” you shall not eat. neither shall you touch it, lest you die.” But the serpent said to the woman, No, you shall not die; for God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”. Did Augustine see a connection, in that he stole the pears to know evil? It seems so, Eve, goaded on not by a mob but by the Devil. Perhaps a devil inhabits a mob, something of which Augustine was painfully aware.

  • Having found my old copy of “Confessions”, I stand somewhat corrected. He speaks for himself: “Let my heart tell you what prompted me to do wrong for no purpose and why it was only my own love of mischief that made me do it. The evil in me was foul, but I loved it”. Perhaps the theft of the pears was an affirmation of the lawless lust he had come to embrace.

  • Without Christ, he (the devil) would surely “sift us like wheat”.

    Thanks.

  • Pingback: Saint Augustine on Sin, Fear and Love | The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Pastoral Sharings: " Fourth Sunday of Lent" | St. John
  • Pingback: Saint Augustine: Late Have I Loved Thee | The American Catholic

Saint Augustine: Sins of the Flesh

Sunday, March 9, AD 2014

 

 

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here to read the first in the series, we come to Saint Augustine’s comments on sins of the flesh.  It is interesting that Saint Augustine begins the passage noting that some argue that the sins of the flesh are not sins, precisely the same argument that is made in our time.  Saint Paul  mentioned, and refuted, this argument in his epistles, so it is as old as Christianity.  The sins of the flesh are not the most dire of sins, rather the reverse, that pride of place going to the sin of pride, a sin I have ever struggled with, and that caused Lucifer to fall from Heaven to Hell.  However, sins of the flesh are sins, being a perversion of the love that is at the heart of Christianity.  Lust is ever an inadequate substitute for love, and attempting to make it a substitute is at the core of many of our social problems today, treating people as things, means to our own gratification, rather than children of a loving God that we love with fidelity and self-sacrifice, to mirror in our lives some minute fragment of the love that God lavishes on us.  Here is Saint Augustine on sins of the flesh:

Continue reading...

Larry and Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, March 5, AD 2014

ash_wednesday

 

My late son Larry always seemed to enjoy Ash Wednesday.  Last year I went up with him to receive ashes.  He heard the traditional admonition:  “Remember man thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.” and had the ashes placed on his forehead.  He then did the normal circle turn that he did after receiving Communion, and we went back to our pew.

Little did we know that this would be Larry’s last Ash Wednesday.  He died in the wee hours of Pentecost last year of a seizure.  (On that dreadful date I said to my wife that one of the greatest gifts God has given us in this life is our inability to see the future.)  Now Larry’s physical body is well on its way back to dust, awaiting the Resurrection when it will be reunited with his soul.

Larry is now in the land which knows not Ash Wednesday, but only Eternal Easter, and we are left to experience an Ash Wednesday without him.  I have always found Ash Wednesday to be a bleak day and it will be much bleaker yet without my son.  However, Ash Wednesday, like death, is not the end, but merely a beginning.  As Ash Wednesday is the portal to Easter, death is the portal to eternal life. 

Continue reading...

13 Responses to Larry and Ash Wednesday

  • Don, I pray you and your wife feel the Peace of our Lord, as you attend Ash Wednesday Mass today.

    Your words really resonate.

    I love how you constantly refer to this life as we all live it- in a “Vale of Tears”. It expresses so accurately how much we yearn for God.

    Your beautiful son Larry now lives eternally, right by his Heavenly Father, watching down on you his earthly father.

    You and your family are in my prayers on this day.

  • A beautiful reflection, Don.

  • Your son is in the loving arms of Jesus, his Savior.

    Soon, we’ll be there right along side of them.

    A blessed Lenten season to all here.

  • Larry looks like you, Donald. Blessed Larry.

  • “You and your family are in my prayers on this day.”

    Thank you Ez. Saint Francis of Assisi used to call himself a beggar completely dependent upon God. Until my son died I didn’t really understand his words and now I think I do.

  • “A beautiful reflection, Don.”

    Thank you Michael. Larry led a beautiful life, and it brings me peace when I think or write about him.

  • “Larry looks like you, Donald.”

    I like to think he did. He had his maternal grandmother’s curly hair, and the lean, lanky build of his paternal grandfather. He had the big feet of his maternal grandfather, and when he laughed or was angry he always reminded me of his paternal grandmother. Whenever I looked into his eyes I usually saw the gentleness of my bride looking back.

  • “Your son is in the loving arms of Jesus, his Savior.”

    I believe that with every fibre of my being OA.

  • “one of the greatest gifts God has given us in this life is our inability to see the future.”

    Well said Don.

  • Eloquent is how I would describe that ‘turn of joy’. Of course, trying to imagine the moments, I wonder whether you or someone in your family might be there behind him.

  • My son Larry always walked before me when we went up for Communion or ashes. I still find myself instinctively keeping a space for him.

  • Don:
    Your magnanimous (great-souled) words touched my heart and brought a tear to my eye. They made Ash Wednesday come alive for me. If we knew the future, would we act differently. Since we do not know the day nor the hour, should we act as if was imminent and strive even greater to bring out the best in others and ourselves while we traverse this vale of tears on our way to what we hope will be a heavenly reward? I guess in the end, it’s not what we “give up” for Lent but what we do for Lent.
    Peter

  • Thank you Pete. Since Larry’s death I think I do appreciate the gift of each day more than I did before. When I was a kid a priest once told me that I should live each day as if it was my last. That piece of ageless advice makes much more sense to me now than it did then.