The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

First Sunday of Advent - B

Isa 63:16-17; 64:3–8, 1 Cor 1:3-9, Mark 13:33-37

When Jesus is telling us in the Gospel about the necessity of being awaken or being vigilant He means it literally.

Our spiritual life is like driving a car. We can be going about our business, attempting to live our faith, but taking things for granted. Warning signs are often ignored. These signs might be slacking off from church attendance, letting some things into our homes or lives that are questionable, inappropriate or even unchristian. Maybe we are exercising less control over our tempers. Or perhaps, we are not making as much time for prayer as we need. Suddenly, we fall asleep. Temptation is there, but we don't have enough spiritual energy to resist. If we are blessed, we wake up in time to realize that we are destroying the spiritual life of our baptism. But it could happen that we don't wake up and sleep forever in our sins, spiritually dead.

Perhaps we fall asleep missing the opportunities the Lord provides for us to experience His Presence and provide His Presence, His Love and Compassion, to others. Sometimes we get so involved in what we are doing that we forget why we are doing it. You know me. I’m a steamroller when it comes to preparing everything for one of our celebrations. How many of you have smiled at me, or said “Hi” and I haven’t even noticed? That’s what I mean, getting so involved with what I am doing that I forget why I am doing it. Moms and Dads can do this quite often too. A Mom or Dad can be so busy caring for the family that he or she misses the opportunity to be with the family. Or we can be so determined to reach out to Christ in strangers and experience His Presence in those whom we do not know, that we ignore His Presence in our brother and sister, our parents or our children.

We need to stay awake.

Lastly I read quite strong statement on one webpage dealing with sociological problems of the contemporary civilization:

What is deepest sickness of the contemporary world?
An the answer was rather depressive …

The contemporary world's deepest sickness is     ….. arrogance ... and apathy of a well-fed society obsessed with constant entertainment. If something is not entertaining then I am "uninterested, uninvolved, unconcerned, neglectful and careless   …"

The truth about God, about Creator for majority of our generation is ABSOLUTELY not entertaining

Apathy is the stage of being asleep, and this is the biggest danger of our religious life, causing nothing else that lethargy and finally the death.

It seems that we are living in the time of a disappearance or even an evaporation of faith. I am not accusing anybody I am just stating the visible fact … Faith is disappearing from the contemporary world. We are witnessing to the atrophy, degeneration and withering of the faith.

In the Gospel of St. Luke Jesus is asking a very awkward question: "When the Son of Man comes to the earth, will He find the faith in human hearts?" Luke 18:8"

This is why Jesus at end of today's Gospel strongly warns us: "May He not come suddenly and find you sleeping."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Feast of Christ the King of the Universe ….

For the past month as we near the end of the Liturgical year we have been focusing primarily on the end times, the four last things. Namely. death, judgment, heaven and hell. Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. Jesus Christ is the King. Our readings today show that we have a merciful King, a King who suffered and died for us, a King who has called us into His eternal kingdom of love. Yet, we all know that we are not worthy to share eternal life with the all good, all merciful King. Each one of us knows our own per­sonal sins, our own failings, our omissions.  And we also know that heaven is only for those who are holy and pure.

What does it take to enter heaven?

In the Book of Revelation the Bible tells us that nothing impure can enter heaven. To live with God in paradise we must be cleansed not only of our sins but also of all temporal punishment due to sin. Our soul must be spotless when we die. Our soul must be free from all sin, all attachment to sin and all temporal punishment due to sin - otherwise we cannot enter heaven. Temporal punishment is due even after the sin itself has been forgiven by God. This is clearly the teaching of Sacred Scripture. Because of man's sin God brought man out of his first disobedience, forgave him his sin but condemned him from now on "to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow" (Wisdom 10:2).

Temporal punishment or cleansing occurs either in this life or in the next or it may be a combination of both. In just one example of temporal punishment in the bible, and there are many, God forgave Moses and Aaron their sin but because of their disbelief they were kept out of the promised land (Numbers 20:12) and died without entering it. There was a punishment or cleansing meted out to them even though their sin had been forgiven. This is what the church calls temporal punishment and Moses and Aaron underwent it in this life. In fact, the whole penitential system of the church testifies and reminds the faithful that God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin along with the guilt.

God forgives our sin but there is always some repair to be made for the damage caused by our sin. This is why our sufferings in this life can have a redemptive quality to them. We offer up our sufferings in reparation for our sins. That is why when we confess our sins the priest will assign a penance to help repair the damage done by our sin.

Let me use another example which clearly shows that the damage caused by sin must always be repaired - even after the sin has been forgiven. If you were to come to my house and pick up a stone and throw it through my picture window and break it. I would be a little upset. But then if you felt remorse and came to me asking me to forgive you I most probably would forgive you. However my window is still broken. You are the one who broke it. You were sorry for breaking it and you asked me to forgive you, which I did.

Now, forgiveness might take away the sin of you breaking my window but my window is still broken. It needs to be repaired.  Now who do you think should repair the damage done by your act?

Who is going to repair the damage done?

Of course, it should be you. That's only fair and just. Another example of this temporal punishment or repair for the sin committed is also in the bible and there are many others. In 2nd Samuel the bible tells us about King David and his sin and the consequence of his sin even after it was forgiven. David first commits adultery with the wife of Uriah the Hittite and then David has Uriah murdered in battle when David discovered that Uriah's wife was pregnant with David's child. The Lord sent the prophet Nathan to David. Nathan confronted David and told him all that he had done wrong. Then in remorse David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.  But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die. The Lord was not being vindictive but rather being just. The Lord forgave the sin of David but repairing the damage caused by David's sin cost the life of the child. The temporal punishment due to David's sin was the life of his precious child. Let me use another example.

Imagine a beautiful piece of wood. A perfect piece of shiny Mahogany. That perfect piece of mahogany represents your soul. Not a mark on it. However when we sin it's like taking a hammer and a nail and driving the nail into the beautiful wood. The nail represents the sin. However, when we repent of our  sin and are forgiven, the nail is removed from the beautiful wood. But what remains? An ugly nail hole. We have to do something to repair that nail hole in order to restore the wood to its original beauty.

It's the same with our souls. When we sin it's like driving a nail into that beautiful piece of wood. When we are forgiven it's like removing the nail from that wood. Now we need to do something to repair the nail hole. The temporal punishment (the nail hole) remains. As i said that is why the priest assigns us a penance after we have confessed our sins. That is to help us repair the damage caused by our sin and that is clearly biblical teaching. We need to repair that nail hole. God's justice demands that we do something to repair the damage caused by our sin.

Are all sins the same? No, they are not. The bible differentiates between serious and minor sins. Otherwise all sin, no matter how serious, would send us all to hell. The bible tells us in 1 John chapter 5 that there is some sin that is deadly. Deadly sin that if unrepented, would condemn us to hell. We call this deadly sin Mortal Sin. Mortal sin separates us completely from God and if we were to die unrepentant it would mean that we are choosing Hell for all eternity. However, as the bible says, there is also sin that is not deadly. Sins that are not deadly we call venial sins. Venial sins are not deadly since they do not separate us from God completely.

For example, if I was to steal a small apple from a large orchard and then died with that sin on my soul do you think I deserve the same punishment for all eternity in the fires of hell along with the murderer and the adulterer? No, of course not.

However if I was to die with that venial sin on my soul then I could not go immediately to heaven. Why?  Again, the bible in the book of Revelation chapter 21 verse 27 tells us that nothing impure can enter heaven. Since I have died with a sin on my soul that has not separated me completely from God I won't go to hell because my sin is not serious enough but then again I cannot enter heaven either because I am still impure. And even if the sin were forgiven, there is still the temporal punishment due to that sin. I still have that nail hole to patch up.

The bible gives us the answer. And that answer has been the teaching of the church from the very beginning. The answer is what the church calls purgatory. The Bible clearly teaches that there is a place which the Church calls Purgatory. Purgatory is where those who are not ready to enter paradise, because of sin or reparation for sin, go in order to be purified before entering into heaven. Purgatory is a place of God's mercy. All the souls who are in purgatory will one day enter into paradise. If it wasn't for purgatory then all sin, mortal or venial would place me in a position where I could not ever enter heaven. Even with my sins forgiven, there is still the temporal punishment due to my sin. If there was no such thing as temporal punishment then David's child didn't have to die, and Moses and Aaron should have been allowed into the Promised Land. After all, God is not a vindictive God, punishing people even though He has forgiven them.

No, God forgave David but in His divine justice David had to make reparation for the damage his sin did. He had to repair the window he broke. And so when I die if I have venial sins on my soul or if there is still attachments to sin then there has to be some way for me to be purified so that I may eventually enter heaven. God in His great mercy has provided such a way. There are many,  many examples in the bible where the process of purification called purgatory is described.  For example, in Matt. 5:26,18:34; Luke 12:58-59  – Jesus teaches us, “Come to terms with your opponent or you will be handed over to the judge and thrown into prison. You will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” The word “opponent” (antidiko) is a reference to the devil who is an accuser against man  and God is the judge. It means that if we have not adequately dealt with Satan and sin in this life, we will be held in a temporary state called a prison, and we won’t get out until we have satisfied our entire debt to God.

This “prison” is what the church calls purgatory where we will not get out until the last penny is paid. In the book of Baruch 3:4 - Baruch asks the Lord to hear the prayers of the dead of Israel. Prayers for the dead are unnecessary for those who are in heaven and certainly  unnecessary for those who are in hell, they can no longer be helped. These dead can only be in the place called purgatory, where our prayers can and do help them.

And again in Matt. 12:32 – Jesus says, “And anyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but no one who speaks against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven either in this world or in the next.” Jesus thus clearly says that there is a cleansing after death. Forgiveness is not necessary for those in heaven, and there is no forgiveness for those in hell. Jesus is telling us that there is another state after death, and the Church for 2,000 years has called this state -  purgatory. And there are many,  many other examples.

Once a soul is in purgatory it cannot be lost. However, once a soul is in purgatory they greatly need the prayers and sacrifices of those who still live in the Church on earth in order to help them be purified, help them to patch the nail holes and fix the windows and thereby speed their way into heaven. This is one of the many blessings of our Catholic faith. The communion of the saints within the three dimensions of the Church, that is, the church on earth (the church militant), the church in heaven (the church triumphant) and the church in purgatory (the church suffering) is very important for helping souls get to heaven. Unfortunately, when someone dies, many people do not pray for that soul because they have already automatically canonized them.

We often say that so and so is safe in the arms of Jesus. That may be true but it also may be true that so and so is suffering in purgatory and is being purified for entry into heaven. (if time, tell about friend, purgatory and protestant funeral - celebration of the life of so and so - no prayers for the repose of the soul). So it is a big mistake for us not to pray for the dearly departed.

If you die and go to purgatory you will suffer through the purgation of your sins, the cleansing of your soul for a much longer time if you do not have the prayers and sacrifices of the people in the Church on earth. If the person is in Hell of course the prayers cannot help him but those same prayers may help others in purgatory. That is why the church always prays for the souls in purgatory and the greatest prayer of all is of course the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Catholics should offer Masses, their prayers and their sufferings for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed.

Now some who do not understand this teaching have objected and have said that the word purgatory is not in the bible therefore how can the church say there is such a place? Yes it is true that the word purgatory itself is not in the bible but there certainly is biblical teaching that there is a place where after death we are cleansed and make reparation for sin. The fact that the word Purgatory is not there is no reason not to accept and believe the Dogma of Purgatory.

Because this process of purification which the church calls purgatory is most certainly described in the bible many, many times. What about the Trinity? Do you believe in the Trinity? We have to remember that the word Trinity is also not in the bible but Christians have never had any problem in believing the teaching about the Trinity because the teaching about the Trinity clearly is taught in the bible. The same thing applies to purgatory. It is clearly taught in the bible. In fact there is more said about the teaching of purgatory then there is about the trinity.

Our great and merciful King has thought of everything and has graciously provided us with the means to purge ourselves of all that keeps us from His Kingdom of Heaven. So my dear friends let us not forget to pray and to offer up our sufferings not only in reparation for our sins but also for those of all the faithful departed. And let us ask others to remember to please remember to pray for us once our time comes to leave this world.

God Bless you,

Deacon Bernie Ouellette

Friday, November 21, 2014

the Hell ... is for real ...

"THERE is one terrible truth in Christianity that in our times, even more than in previous centuries, arouses implacable horror in the heart of man. That truth is of the eternal pains of hell. At the mere allusion to this dogma, minds become troubled, hearts tighten up and tremble, passions become rigid and inflamed against the doctrine and the unwelcome voices that proclaim it.”

Mark Mallett's blog - absolutely "must read


Advent Parish Mission in Perth


Main topic:                Humanity is lost without God

St Paul – man with the realistic vision says that the World is living in a deep misery because it doesn’t know God.

1 day - Saturday – Sunday (29-30 November)
The value of the Gospel
All Masses
Where are we now? Why are we lost? How did we get there?
Diagnosis and expectations, the fundamental hostility between the World and Christ

2 day – Monday (1 December)
Justification trough Faith in Jesus Christ

6:30pm – Mass in the church and after the Mass at 7:00m – conference in the Parish Hall
Where are we going? From darkness into Light
How will we get there? Faith in Christ à Love of Christ à obedience to Christ
Salvation – man’s way and God’s way, wrong idea of self-salvation.

3 day – Tuesday (2 December)
Duties of Christians

7:00pm – Mass with the conference in the church
How do we win eternal life? New life in Christ

4 day – Wednesday (3 December)
Penitential Service

7:00pm - with an opportunity for an individual confession- multiple priests available

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle A

Proverbs 31: 10-13, 19-20, 30-31;
1 Thessalonians 5: 1-6;
Matthew 25: 14-30

Once upon a time a TV commentator delivered a very pessimistic editorial on a Friday evening broadcast (taped earlier in the day).

-       The world was in grim shape, he told the camera.
-       Global warming was worse than anyone had thought it was.
-       The population of the world would double again in the next twenty year.
-       It was likely that an asteroid would hit earth before the end of the next century.
-       Rage was increasing the third world countries against our wealth.
-       The races were polarizing in America.
-       The crime had turned up again.
-       Our schools were total failures and would not, could not get any better.
-       There was a drug and alcohol epidemic in white suburban high schools.
-       Divorce rates were increasing.
-       Abortions were at an all time high.

A wave of bad news was sweeping the earth and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

When the taping was over, he got into his Mercedes and drove rapidly into the country to escape the Friday night traffic rush. At his house on the shore of the lake, he relaxed in the sauna, sipping from a large glass of Barolo wine, swam in the pool, wrapped himself in a silk robe, and sat on the deck as the sun set. He poured himself a second glass of wine and, as the sky turned red and then purple he thought that life was very good indeed.

Let us look at the parable we are presented with today.

-       First, a talent was not a coin, it was a weight in gold or silver of about 40 Kilos, so it was a very considerable treasure that this man was trusting to his servants. One talent was probably equivalent to a whole lifetime’s wages for such a servant—he had entrusted them with something precious beyond their wildest dreams.

-       The second point is that the Master took a very long time to come back. This is a tiny but important detail in today’s Gospel. It shows the Master’s love for his servants that he gave them more than ample time for the treasure of the talents to yield bounteous fruit.

What is the precious thing that God has entrusted to us? Is it not our own gifts or talents, as we try to understand it sometimes? Is it not our live which is a wonderful gift of God? It is, of course, but also it is the Good News of Salvation.

The great treasure that we have been given is the gift of the Gospel—the realization that Jesus is our Savior and that through our faith in him we will find salvation. It is what we do with these gifts: our life our talents and the gift of the Good News, that makes all the difference.
We are surely all at quite different stages in relation to this gift of faith. What am I doing in my life with this gift? Do I develop it, do I increase my faith, do I take care of it or I simply bury it in the soil, or maybe I neglected it and forgot?

Like the man in the Gospel
'Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.'

The man with one talent did not lose it. But, he did not do anything at all with it. If he had tried and failed, he would have met compassion and forgiveness. But he simply denied his responsibility, or he has chosen the easiest way … I will loose nothing because here I have my secured ticket to the Kingdom. I will bury it and at the proper time I will unearth it … Clever. Isn’t it?

-       Some of us may not even be sure whether they have it or not. This might be a particular problem for some of our young people, but not only them. There are many long-standing members of the congregation who suffer doubts and experience long periods of darkness and disbelief.

But if I do nothing to develop, to improve, to increase my faith why am I astonished that my faith is dying, failing and vanishing? God gave me all what I need; it’s now up to me to do something with it.

-       Others of us might find it a bit of a burden—knowing and believing in Jesus and his message but feeling quite inadequate to the task of transforming the Gospel into daily life.

God gave me the gift; He gave me the necessary skills and means. It’s now up to me to do something with this. It is astonishing; how clever and intelligent, bright we are when dealing with the multiplication of our earthly assets and how lazy, clumsy and naïve whence going about our eternal life?

-       Then some of us might feel full of faith and have put a lot of effort into carrying the precepts of the Gospel over many years and who yet feel that for one reason or another God has let them down badly. They certainly haven’t lost their faith but feel a bit depressed about it and don’t know where Christ is leading them.

This is the situation when I declare: “I believe in God” but I don’t believe HIM, I don’t trust Him. Or rather I don’t trust Him thoroughly. Should I not search how to strengthen my faith, should I not “invest more” in the religious growth  and development?

-       Still others might be experiencing a new joy as they experience some wonderful grace or blessing from God. This is the situation when I cooperate, co work with God’s grace, with God’s gift. Somebody asked me not so long time ago: Father, do you have never doubts or suspicions that, what are you believing and doing as a pastor is wrong? Don’t you have any doubts that God is deceiving you? Don’t you doubt God’s existence and Mercy? My answer was direct: To doubt God’s existence means for me to deny my own reason and this is the end of myself, but I know also that, this is the great gift of God, with which I try to cooperate through my whole life ….

The parable tells us that faith is a real and wonderful gift from God. It is entirely unbidden—as in the parable the servants are given no clue in advance what the master is about to do.

Faith is also given to us according to our ability to deal with it—each in proportion to his ability, as it says in the parable.

But the most important aspect of the Parable is that the Master will eventually return. The parable is about Christ’s Second Coming and the judgment we will all face at the end of time. We know that we will be called to account for how we have handled this gift of faith that we have been so generously given.

-       This first thing to realize is that it is not a burden; it is a gift.
o   For how many Catholics the faith is a burden?
-       The second thing to realize is that the man who is punished is condemned because he has buried his talent. He has refused to deal with it. He has simply ignored the gift and literally buried it.
o   How many of us did the same with the talent of our faith, how many of us simply buried it?

So the message of hope is that whatever stage of life you are at, whether you are doubting, whether you are struggling to make sense of the Gospel message, whether you are teaching the love of Christ to your children, whether you are rejoicing in some new grace or blessing, whether you are going through the dark night of the soul, whether you are groping in darkness and searching for some chink of light—whatever might be happening with your faith at least something is happening!

Yes we will face judgment and we will have to give an account of ourselves. But it will be a long and convoluted story and we will have a wonderfully sympathetic listener (who knows the story all along because he was an essential part of it) and whose judgment will be merciful and who wants above all other things our happiness.

His whole aim is to give us joy—not a superficial joy, but a deep and lasting and fulfilling joy based on a life of engagement with him.

The most dangerous situation, the situation of disaster is when you bury your faith, and do nothing!!! So DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR FAITH!!! Don’t sleep!!!

file in .pdf format

Friday, November 07, 2014

November - 09 - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - A

Dedication of the Basilica of St. John on Lateran

Sunday Reflections

A Gallup poll revealed that 78% of North Americans anticipate going to Heaven. Yet, many of them admit they never pray nor study the Scriptures nor go to church. They confess they only think of themselves. Moreover, for them the teaching of the Church (and by it the teaching of Christ) is irrelevant, outdated and non-realistic. Why would God want them in His Heaven? If we don't like being a patsy, why should God be one?

His Kingdom is a prepared place for a prepared people. If you do nothing for your eternity, don’t expect any miracle or God forcing you into it.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. Inscribed on its main door are the words: “Mater et caput omnium ecclesiarum urbis et orbis - Mother and head of all churches in the city and the world”. As Cathedral of the Rome - the city where the Prince of the Apostles shed his blood - the Lateran Basilica deserves that title. 

On the Feast of St. John Lateran we hear about the only recorded act of violence by Jesus. With chords he made a rough-and-ready whip and drove the money-changers out of the temple, knocking over their tables. What provoked this uncharacteristic action? The answer is clear: The temple represents the people, Israel before the Lord. Jesus was defending his bride. 

What did I do, for the Church and for myself?
Do I respect the temple of God, the church where I enter to pray and not to chat or to be entertained?
Do I respect the temple of God which is my body?

Do I respect the Church, the Community of brothers and sisters of Christ?

09 November 2014 – 32 Sunday in Ordinary Time – A - The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

Ezekiel 47: 1-2, 8-9, 12;
Psalm 84: 3-6, 8, 11;
1 Corinthians 3; 9c-11, 16-17;
St. John 2, 13-22 

Today we are commemorating two different occasions. Firstly, today is kept as Remembrance Sunday in Canada and many Commonwealth countries. And so we call to mind those who lost their lives in the two world wars and in the many conflicts since. It is appropriate that we keep alive the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we might live our lives free from tyranny. We should not forget that, while war is something to be avoided whenever possible, it is also important that certain God-given values should be defended at all costs. So it is fitting that we pay tribute to those who gave their lives in these conflicts. But it is also our earnest prayer that future generations may live their lives in an atmosphere of peace and trust between nations. If the Gospel means anything at all, it means the avoidance of war and the promotion of peace and mutual understanding. With the unforgettable words of Christ “Blessed are the peacemakers” in mind, we also pay tribute to those who work for the promotion of peace in the world of today.

The second occasion we are commemorating is the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. You might think that this is a rather strange thing to be celebrating but in every church throughout the world the day of its dedication is kept as a feast.

The Mother Church

Nearly 1700 years ago, in ancient Rome, Christians wanted a parish home and they built the first church, the Lateran Basilica. Today, we join all Catholic churches throughout the world to celebrate the dedication of the Lateran Basilica. History tells us why. Newly converted to Christ, Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in the year 313. After three centuries of persecution, Christianity was now a legal religion within the Roman Empire. Followers of Jesus finally had the right to public worship. The Church of St. John Lateran, historically, the first church built after Christians were legally permitted to hold public worship. We celebrate its dedication. Our Mother Church is our parish. What did I do to fulfill my responsibility for this church, for this community where I am living? Does Jesus has to reproach me too: “stop making my Father's house a marketplace.” (J 13:16). What is my behavior in the church, do I see it as the holy space consecrated to God, or rather as a

"We Are the Church"

Reminds me of the song "We Are the Church." The song begins, "The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place, the church is a people."3 "We are the church, we are the people of God." Paul said it in his letter to the Corinthians, our second reading today. He wrote, "Brothers and sisters: You are God’s building.... you are the temple of God, ... the Spirit of God dwells in you.... [And,] the temple of God, which you are, is holy." The Greek word Paul uses for the word "you" is plural. In English, we do not distinguish between "you" meaning one person, and "you" meaning several people. Writing in Greek, Paul uses the plural word for "you." By the "temple of God" Paul means the community of believers, the church. Gathered as the followers of Christ, we are church, we are the temple of God. Am I not destroying this temple of God?

Our Sacred Place

That being said, to assemble, we need a building. The Christians in Rome built the Lateran Basilica; we build a parish church. Here in our parish church we do the sacred actions of the people of God. That’s the purpose of our church, to make God present to us. At church we receive the Sacraments. We hear the Word of God proclaimed, telling us about God and giving us guidance on how to live the holy Christian life. The center of our church life is Eucharist. When we take Communion, we have a face to face meeting with Christ. I like the dialogue used for Communion in some eastern Rites of our Roman Catholic Church. The person will whisper his or her name to the priest, who then says, "Robert, servant of God, receives the Body of the Lord," or "Catherine, handmaid of God, receives the Body of the Lord." Our dialogue is simpler. The priest says, "The Body of Christ;" we respond, "Amen." When we receive Holy Communion, there is no doubt that God knows us by name (Isaiah 43:1). 

In this building, we encounter God. Perhaps we stop for a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, to say a prayer before the Tabernacle. Perhaps we come as a prodigal son or daughter to meet the merciful Lord in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Perhaps we come as a young couple to proclaim our love before the altar, and to ask that God to bless our married life together. The word “church” has different meanings and connotations:

- Written in capital C – is the Body of Christ, the community of His disciples, the Bride of Christ, the Holy Church of God – whom I am destroying by my sins and negligence

- written in small c – is the building where I am suppose to meet the Church in capital C, the community. But this building should be also honored, because it is the place where I meet my God. Do I not behave in this sacred (consecrated) place like in the cafeteria or town hall?

In its history, our church has withstood the persecutions of a hostile Roman Empire, endured scandals of both of our times and of other times, has stood firm against heresy, and even endured when people showed a general lack of interest. As we celebrate the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, let us keep our church, our Father’s house, as pure and holy and Christ wants His church to be.

Deacon Bernie Ouellette

Saint John Paul the Great, His five loves ...

The Eucharist was the principal reason for his priesthood. He said, ‘‘For me, the Mass constitutes the center of my life and my every day.’’ He added, ‘‘nothing means more to me or gives me greater joy than to celebrate Mass each day and to serve God’s people in the Church.’’

John Paul II

you reject the teachings of the Church ...

"Try your hardest to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed. 'Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself standing outside knocking on the door, saying, "Lord, open to us," but he will answer, "I do not know where you come from." Then you will start saying, "We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets," but he will reply, "I do not know where you come from; away from me, all evil doers!" Luk (13:24-27)

It doesn’t matter if you are attached nostalgically to the parish of your childhood if you reject the teachings of Christ. What matters – and the only thing that matters is you reject the teachings of the Church ...

"Anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me reject the one who sent me." (Luke 10:16)

"It’s disingenuous actually to sit in parish, go up to receive Holy Communion – signifying you are one with the Church, to rattle off the line, “I believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” and then reject that same Church in Her teachings."

Is it not a pure example of pharysaism ???

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Catholic Europe ...

Listen to this free talk given by Michael Voris in Regent Hall in London on the Faith in Europe and what we can do to help build up the Church. Feel free to share.

November 1 - All Saints, November 2 - All Souls Day

All Saints

This feast that we know as All Saint's Day originated as a feast of All Martyrs, sometime in the 4th century. At first it was celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost. It came to be observed on May 13 when Pope St. Boniface IV (608-615) restored and rebuilt for use as a Christian church an ancient Roman temple, the Pantheon. The pope re-buried the bones of many martyrs there, and dedicated this Church to the Mother of God and all the Holy Martyrs on May 13, 610. About a hundred years later, Pope Gregory III (731-741) consecrated a new chapel in the basilica of St. Peter to all saints on November 1, and he fixed the anniversary of this dedication as the date of the feast. A century after that, Pope Gregory IV (827-844) extended the celebration of All Saints to November 1 for the entire Church. Ever since then -- for more than a millennium -- the entire Church is celebrating the feast of All Saints on November 1st. It is a principal feast of the Catholic Church. It is a holy day of obligation, which means that all Catholics are to attend Mass on that day.

All Saints Day - reflection

The saints are certainly not the exotic animals in the Catholic Zoo.

To know what the way to holiness is, we must go with the Apostles up the mount of the Beatitudes to draw near to Jesus and listen to the words of life that come from his lips. Today too he says to us again:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! 
Blessed are those who mourn! 
Blessed are the pure in heart! 
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! 
Blessed are the merciful! 
Blessed are the peacemakers! 
The saints took these words of Jesus seriously. They believed that they would find "happiness" by putting them into practice in their everyday lives. And they realized their truth in everyday experience: despite their trials, moments of darkness and failures, they already tasted here below the deep joy of communion with Christ. In Him they discovered the final accomplishment of their needs and longings.

Would you like to enter the Kingdom of God, you have to be saint. Would you like to be a saint, follow their example. Nothing more simple, nothing more obvious and nothing more beautiful.

All Souls Day

All Soul's Day (sometimes called the "Day of the Dead") is always November 2 (November 3rd if the 2nd falls on a Sunday). All Soul's Day is a Roman Catholic day of remembrance for friends and loved ones who have passed away. The day purposely follows All Saints Day in order to shift the focus from those in heaven to those in purgatory. It is celebrated with masses for the dead. While the Feast of All Saints is a day to remember the glories of Heaven and those there, the Feast of All Souls reminds us of our obligations of prayer for the deceased and to live holy lives and that there will be purification of the souls of those destined for Heaven. 

All Souls Day - reflection

Those who have passed away are as alive today as they ever were. They hear and see us and are close to us. It is we who have the veil across our eyes. And we shall see them all again – God willing that they are with Christ and we also end up with Him. Our souls never die – we live forever. And so life for the soul continues after death for all eternity, as before, to think, to remember, to love. And does not God's dominion and mercy extend over that soul beyond the grave as well as this side of it? Who am I to place the limits to God's empire and say to Him: "You go only so far and no farther?" Two thousand years after Abraham's death our Lord said: "I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. And of course all three of these guys were long, long gone from this earth. By this our Lord is telling us that He is not the “God of the dead, but of the living”. So if it is good for me to pray for my brother while he is still alive in the flesh, why would anyone think that it would be useless for me to pray for him once he’s passed away from this life? For while he was living I prayed not for his body, but for his soul. If this brother of mine dies with some slight stains upon his soul, a sin of impatience, for instance, or an idle word, is he fit to enter heaven with these blemishes upon his soul? No; the sanctity of God forbids it, for "nothing defiled shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven."[Apoc. 21: 27.]

Will I send him then, for these small offenses, to eternal torments with adulterers and murderers? No; the justice and mercy of God forbid it. Therefore, my common sense and simple logic demands that there must exist a middle place for cleansing of the soul before it is worthy of enjoying the companionship of God and His Saints.

Purgatory. So we see that the teaching of the Dogma of Purgatory is supported by Scripture, Tradition and our own common sense. God has equipped kids with a lot of common sense so perhaps that is why they accept the teachings of the church more readily than adults do.  When have you heard an adult say “I don’t understand this – but if God says so then I guess it is”.  We hear children say this quite often.”

No wonder Jesus tells us that unless we become like little children we shall not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. That is not to say that we should not question. Of course we should. But sometimes it just takes faith. God "will render to every man according to his works,"-- to the pure and unsullied everlasting bliss; to the reprobate eternal damnation; to souls stained with minor faults a place of temporary purgation. This means those who are in Heaven don’t need our prayers, those who are hell – our prayers can’t help them – our prayers can only help those who are in purgatory.

I can’t bring to mind any Dogma of the Church more consoling to the human heart than the article of faith which teaches us the effectiveness of our prayers for the faithful departed. It robs death of its sting. It surrounds our mourning with a rainbow of hope. It softens the bitterness of our sorrow, and reconciles us to our loss. It keeps us in touch with the departed dead just as much as correspondence keeps us in touch with the absent living.

It preserves their memory fresh and green in our hearts. We know they are always with us. As for Purgatory ... Many English-speaking Christians (both Catholic and non-Catholic) are somehow under the ridiculous impression that it is some kind of medieval invention of the Church and not the ancient and consistent belief of Apostolic Christians. It may not have been called purgatory from the very beginning but both Catholics and Jews have been praying for the repose of the souls of the dead from the very beginning.

We are members of the communion of saints, which includes all in Heaven and Purgatory, and all those living the Gospel on earth. The Church invites us to pray and do penance for those in Purgatory, and to give alms to the poor and offer indulgences for the souls in Purgatory. The Mass is even more important than indulgences. Of all we can do to help those in Purgatory, there is nothing more precious than to offer the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

This month we invite you to include the names of those of your dearly departed whom you wish to remember in our book of Remembrance. During Mass we will remember all those included in the book for, as I said, there is no greater prayer we can offer for them than the Sacrifice of the Mass. Imagine the joy of one day entering Heaven and having hundreds, per­haps thousands of souls whose Purgatory we lessened by offering Masses and indulgences, to greet us and thank us for our efforts. And, certain­ly the souls we have helped leave Purgatory and enter heaven are already praying for us while we are still here on earth. Through our prayers, Masses, indulgences and other good works, "May the souls of the faith­ful departed through the Mercy of Christ, rest in peace. Amen."