Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Eucharist and the Thanksgiving Holiday

As the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaches and you are busily cooking food, preparing your home for family and friends, and outlining your plan of attack for the Black Friday craziness, I suggest another, more sublime occupation: receiving the Eucharist.

Now, you may be asking yourself, "What does the Eucharist have to do with Thanksgiving?" Well, the word "eucharist" come from the Greek word that means, "thanksgiving." In Jn 6:11, before Christ multiplied the loaves and the fishes (an act that prefigures the Eucharistic feast), He "gave thanks" (eucharisteo). At the Last Supper, when He instituted the Eucharist, He "gave thanks" (eucharisteo) before He turned the bread and wine into His own Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity (cf. Mt 26:27; Mk 14:23; Lk 22:17,19).

We use this word to refer to the Body of Christ that we receive in Holy Communion because it is in every way a moment of thanksgiving: It is Jesus thanking the Father:
  • for those of us who the Father has given Him to be united to Him through reception of the Eucharist, and
  • for the opportunity to perform the miracle that brings Him glory.

It is with a spirit of thanksgiving for all that God has given us that we offer the bread and wine that will become the Eucharist. Of course, we can't help but also thank Him for coming to dwell within us in such a profound way. That our Lord and Savior would come to be in our presence, veiled by bread and wine, and abide in us in a substantial way is a gift unlike any other. And so, on Thanksgiving, when we are to call to mind all that we are thankful for, we should not forget that which is the very meaning of "thanksgiving."

The Catechism is clear on the connection between the Eucharist and the virtue of thanksgiving:
1350 The presentation of the offerings (the Offertory). Then, sometimes in procession, the bread and wine are brought to the altar; they will be offered by the priest in the name of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice in which they will become his body and blood. It is the very action of Christ at the Last Supper - "taking the bread and a cup." "The Church alone offers this pure oblation to the Creator, when she offers what comes forth from his creation with thanksgiving" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4,18,4; cf. Mal 1:11). The presentation of the offerings at the altar takes up the gesture of Melchizedek and commits the Creator's gifts into the hands of Christ who, in his sacrifice, brings to perfection all human attempts to offer sacrifices.

1358 We must therefore consider the Eucharist as:

- thanksgiving and praise to the Father;
- the sacrificial memorial of Christ and his Body;
- the presence of Christ by the power of his word and of his Spirit.

Thanksgiving and praise to the Father

1359 The Eucharist, the sacrament of our salvation accomplished by Christ on the cross, is also a sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for the work of creation. In the Eucharistic sacrifice the whole of creation loved by God is presented to the Father through the death and the Resurrection of Christ. Through Christ the Church can offer the sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for all that God has made good, beautiful, and just in creation and in humanity.

1360 The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his benefits, for all that he has accomplished through creation, redemption, and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all "thanksgiving."

1361 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of praise by which the Church sings the glory of God in the name of all creation. This sacrifice of praise is possible only through Christ: he unites the faithful to his person, to his praise, and to his intercession, so that the sacrifice of praise to the Father is offered through Christ and with him, to be accepted in him.

To summarize, again from the Catechism:
1407 The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church's life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church.

1408 The Eucharistic celebration always includes: the proclamation of the Word of God; thanksgiving to God the Father for all his benefits, above all the gift of his Son; the consecration of bread and wine; and participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord's body and blood. These elements constitute one single act of worship.

I realize that the secular holiday has Protestant roots (at least by the popular reckoning), but there's no reason why Catholics can't use this day to call to mind what they are the most thankful for: our Eucharistic Lord.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Sunday, November 23, 2014

For the Solemnity of Christ the King

In honor of Jesus Christ our King and Savior, upon the conclusion of the liturgical year, I present the following articles:

Articles:

Prayers


Also see my blog post: "What Is the Kingdom of God and How Can I Join?"

ALL HAIL CHRIST THE KING!

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

For the Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo

St. Charles Borromeo
"When Saint Charles was dying he had the picture of the dead Christ brought to him, so that he could die happily in the thought of his Savior's death. And this is really the remedy for all those who fear death: to think often of Him Who is our life, and never to think of one without the other."
-- St. Francis de Sales
(Letters 512; O. XIV, pp. 119-120)

As the patron saint of catechists, St. Charles Borromeo is very special to me. The Pictorial Lives of the Saints provides this short biography:
About fifty years after the Protestant heresy had broken out, our Lord raised up a mere youth to renew the face of His Church. In 1560 Charles Borromeo, then twenty-two years of age, was created cardinal, and by the side of his uncle, Pius IV, administered the affairs of the Holy See. His first care was the direction of the Council of Trent. He urged forward its sessions, guided its deliberations by continual correspondence from Rome, and by his firmness carried it to its conclusion. Then he entered upon a still more arduous work - the execution of its decrees. As Archbishop of Milan, he enforced their observance, and thoroughly restored the discipline of his see. He founded schools for the poor, seminaries for the clerics, and by his community of Oblates trained his priests to perfection. Inflexible in maintaining discipline, to his flock he was a most tender father. He would sit by the road-side to teach a poor man the Pater and Ave, and would enter hovels the stench of which drove his attendants from the door. During the great plague, he refused to leave Milan, and was ever by the sick and dying, and sold even his bed for their support. So he lived, and so he died, a faithful image of the Good Shepherd, up to his last hour giving his life for his sheep.

The entry in the New Advent Encyclopedia says much of him specifically regarding his influence in religious education:
"After the Council of Trent he was much occupied with the production of the catechism embodying the teaching of the council, the revision of the Missal and Breviary."
[. . .]
"the education of the young, even down to minute details, was foremost in his thoughts."
[. . .]
"Another great work which was begun at this time was that of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, in order that the children might be carefully and systematically instructed. This work was really the beginning of what is now known as the Sunday school."
[. . .]
"In November he began a visitation as Apostolic visitor of all the cantons of Switzerland and the Grisons, leaving the affairs of his diocese in the hands of Monsignor Owen Lewis, his vicar-general. He began in the Mesoleina Valley; here not only was there heresy to be fought, but also witchcraft and sorcery, and at Roveredo it was discovered that the provost, or rector, was the foremost in sorceries. Charles spent considerable time in setting right this terrible state of things."
[. . .]
"Next he visited Bellinzona and Ascona, working strenuously to extirpate heresy."

Article no. 9 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church acknowledges his contribution to catechesis in the wake of the Council of Trent:
"The Council of Trent initiated a remarkable organization of the Church's catechesis. Thanks to the work of holy bishops and theologians such as St. Peter Canisius, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Turibius of Mongrovejo, or St. Robert Bellarmine, it occasioned the publication of numerous catechisms."

St. Charles Borromeo was indeed one of the great Catholic Counter-Reformation saints, taking the decrees of the Council of Trent and employing them in the Diocese of Milan and throughout Italy with the utmost tenacity and vigilance.

Interestingly, he was surrounded by saintly people throughout his life. He consulted St. Philip Neri when constructing the rule for the Oblates of St. Ambrose, and gave First Communion to St. Aloysius Gonzaga. He counted as friends St. Edmund Campion, St. Francis Borgia, and St. Andrew of Avellino.

His last words were "Ecce venio" (Behold I come).

I have a holy card of St. Charles Borromeo with the following prayer on the back:
O saintly reformer, animator of spiritual renewal of priests and religious, you organized true seminaries and wrote a standard catechism. Inspre all religious teachers and authors of catechetical books. Move them to love and transmit only that which can form true followers of the teacher who was divine. Give me the ability to teach this faith to others without pride, without ostentation, and without personal gain. Let me realize that I am simply an instrument for bringing others to the knowledge of the wonderful things God has done for all His creatures. Help me to be faithful to this task that has been entrusted to me. Amen.

For more information on the life of this great saint, see the following links:

St. Charles Borromeo, patron saint of catechists ... ora pro nobis!

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Resources on Purgatory for All Souls Day

Since today is All Souls Day and the month of November is the month when we remember the souls in Purgatory and make a special effort to pray for their speedy entrance into heaven, I thought it would be helpful to provide some resources that explain what Purgatory is.

If anyone has any questions about this topic, just leave me a comment.

May the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic
- - - - - - - - - -
General Articles:
From the Early Church Fathers:
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
My Blog Posts on Purgatory:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Resources on Halloween and All Saints/Souls Day


There is much confusion about the origins of Halloween, and about what the Church celebrates on and around this day. Sometimes it can be a little difficult to make sense of it all. As a result, I offer the following links to articles and other resources that will help you to learn more about these holidays, and to defend them against the oh-so-typical charge that Catholics are pagans. I say Protestants just don't know how to throw a party like we do! (evidence here)

I repost this every year around this time with additional links, so if you are a regular here see the bottom of the list for some material that you might not have read yet.

Have fun everyone! Be holy!

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What Is the Grace of Final Perseverance?

Final perseverance is that last grace which confirms us in the Lord at the moment of death. It is a free gift of God that preserves or maintains the state of grace in our souls so that we can die in that state. You are in a state of grace when your soul is in righteous standing before God. This gift preserves that state by enabling our will to cooperate with the various means of receiving grace, namely prayer and the sacraments.

The grace of final perseverance also implies that death comes when we are in that state of grace, and not in a state of mortal sin. By that I mean, when a person prays for the grace of final perseverance, he is also praying that death will come in a timely manner, when his soul is in righteous standing before God.

According to Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, final perseverance is basically God practicing his stewardship or loving care over our souls. It is, “an ever watchful superintendence of us on the part of our All-Merciful Lord, removing temptations which He sees will be fatal to us, comforting us at those times when we are in particular peril, whether from our negligence or other cause, and ordering the course of our life so that we may die at a time when He sees that we are in the state of grace."

Final perseverance can be seen as a single gift of grace, or as the body or collection of graces we have received throughout our whole lives, all coming together to affect our final end. As a single gift, we are reminded of the Good Thief crucified alongside Jesus, who, after living a life of sin, was compelled to convert in his final hour after witnessing the example of Jesus. The grace of final perseverance made that possible.

As a body of graces, we think of the life-long Catholic who sticks ever closer to the sacraments and is evermore devoted to prayer as his age advances and his health deteriorates. And then, when death is surely near, he calls upon the priest to make his last Confession, to receive Viaticum, and to be Anointed. In this case, the grace of final perseverance was actually working throughout his whole life, compelling him to perform the various pious practices that brought him now, in his final hour, to death in the state of grace.

What an extraordinary gift this would be to receive! Extraordinary … and necessary, since we cannot go to heaven without dying in a state of grace. What’s more, this gift only comes by way of God’s merciful response to our entreating Him for it in prayer. This is basically what we’re doing when we say in the Our Father, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (cf. CCC nos. 2849, 2854), and in the Hail Mary, “Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” We are praying for the gift of final perseverance.

Scripture mentions final perseverance in several places:

Ezek 18:24-28 But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity and does the same abominable things that the wicked man does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds which he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, he shall die. 25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die for it; for the iniquity which he has committed he shall die. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is lawful and right, he shall save his life. 28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Wis 4:10-15 There was one who pleased God and was loved by him, and while living among sinners he was taken up. 11 He was caught up lest evil change his understanding or guile deceive his soul. 12 For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind. 13 Being perfected in a short time, he fulfilled long years; 14 for his soul was pleasing to the Lord, therefore he took him quickly from the midst of wickedness. 15 Yet the peoples saw and did not understand, nor take such a thing to heart, that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.

Mt 10:22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Jn 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

Rom 11:22-23 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.

Rom 14:4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand.

1 Cor 15:1-2 Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, 2 by which you are saved, if you hold it fast—unless you believed in vain.

Gal 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Phil 1:6 And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Col 1:21-23 And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, 23 provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

1 Thes 5:23-24 May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

2 Tim 2:12 if we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;

1 Pet 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.

2 Pet 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall;


In my mind, any passage that refers to the importance of enduring to the end, continuing in his kindness, standing fast, etc. is also a passage about this grace. For more information, see the following articles:


Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Christopher Behind Columbus

So, as I'm sure you know, today is Columbus Day in the US. As you may also know, Christopher Columbus is a very controversial figure. I spent a good part of the day trying to learn more about the man and discern for myself whether he's a villain, a hero, or some mysterious mixture of both. I must say, I'm still undecided.

Nowadays, he appears to be more vilified than anything, although I noticed a trend in recent conservative scholarship to make a reappraisal of the man. As a Catholic, I'm not sure if I should be proud of this great Catholic discoverer of "The New World" or disgusted by him. Should I mount a defense of my brother in the faith, or count him among the other embarrassing moments in Church history?

Below, you'll find some articles that attempt to address the issue from a Catholic perspective. I'm not sure if any of them really resolve this issue in my mind. But, I did find them to be very informative, and perhaps you will too:

I would like to close by quoting from Samuel Eliot Morison, a renowned American historian and biographer of Columbus. In his book Admiral of the Ocean Sea, he presents an image of Christopher Columbus that would certainly appeal to any Catholic. He notes a similarity between the mariner and the saint who bears the same name:
"Why the parents of Columbus chose the name Christofaro for their son, born in 1451, we do not know, but in so doing, they furthered the natural bent of the boy's mind.

"Saint Christopher was a tall, stout pagan who yearned to know Christ but could not seem to do anything about it. He dwelt on the bank of a river in Asia Minor where there was a dangerous ford and by reason of his great stature and strength helped many a traveler to cross.

"One day when he was asleep in his cabin he heard a Child's voice cry out, 'Christopher, Christopher. Come and set me across the river!' So out he came, staff in hand and took the infant on his shoulders. As he waded across, the Child's weight so increased that it was all he could do to keep from stumbling and falling, but he reached the other bank safely. 'Well, now my lad,' said he, 'thou hast put me in great danger, for thy burden waxed so great that had I borne the whole world on my back it could have weighed no more than thee.' To which the child replied, 'Marvel not, for thou hast borne upon thy back the whole world and Him who created it. I am the Child whom thou servest in doing good for mankind. Plant thy staff near yonder cabin, and tomorrow it shall put forth flowers and fruit -- proof that I am indeed thy Lord and Savior.' Christopher did as he was bid, and sure enough, next morning, his staff had become a beautiful date-palm.

"From that day forth Christopher has been the patron saint of all who travel by land, sea, or air. In his name, Christopher Columbus saw a sign that he was destined to bring Christ across the sea to men who knew Him not. Indeed, the oldest known map of the New World, dated A.D. 1500, dedicated to Columbus by his shipmate, Juan de la Cosa, is ornamented by a vignette of Saint Christopher carrying the Infant Jesus on his shoulders.

"We may fairly say that the first step toward the discovery of America was taken by the parents of Columbus when they caused him to be baptized Christofaro in some ancient church of Genoa, one day in the late summer or early fall of 1451."

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

October: Month of the Rosary

In honor of the most Holy Rosary, which we take up as our sword and shield particularly during this month of October, I have collected the following resources for your edification:

General Articles

The Rosary Encyclicals (go here for a summary of the Rosary encyclicals)

Rosary Apologetics

I also have two blog posts on the rosary:
Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

For the Memorial of "the Little Flower"

In more recent times, St. Therese of Lisieux shows us the courageous way of abandonment into the hands of God to whom she entrusts her littleness. And yet it is not that she has no experience of the feeling of God's absence, a feeling which our century is harshly experiencing: "Sometimes it seems that the little bird (to which she compared herself) cannot believe that anything else exists except the clouds that envelop it.... This is the moment of perfect joy for the poor, weak little thing.... What happiness for it to remain there nevertheless, and to gaze at the invisible light that hides from its faith" (Letter 175. Manuscrits autobiographiques, Lisieux. 1956, p. 52).
-- Pope Paul VI, Gaudete in Domino (On Christian Joy)

For more information about St. Therese of the Child Jesus, see the following links:
Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Friday, September 26, 2014

For the Optional Memorial of Sts. Cosmas and Damian

Today is the feast day of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. Since they are twin brothers and I have a twin brother, I've always had an appreciation for these two.

Cosmas and Damian were both doctors and surgeons in their day (the third century), and were called "the moneyless" b/c they never ceased to aid the sick without pay. They were loved and revered by all. This made their patients docile to the Gospel of Christ, which they always preached to those who sought their care. When Diocletian began his persecution of Christians, they were the first to be sought and captured. They died as martyrs, never forsaking their faith in Jesus Christ.

Today I pray that, like them, my twin brother and I will be able to do God's will in all things and to hold tight to our faith in Jesus Christ. I certainly know what it's like to be "moneyless"!

For more information about Sts. Cosmas and Damian, see the following links:
Sts. Cosmas and Damian ... ora pro nobis.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

For the Optional Memorial of St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor

Saint Robert Bellarmine is perhaps one of the greatest Jesuits who ever lived. He was one of the Counter-Reformation saints of the Church, who defended Her with the utmost skill and fidelity when a host of heresies attempted to overtake Her. His catechisms for children and teachers were widely read and utilized well into the twentieth century (for more on the importance of his catechisms, see my paper, "The Church's Constant Preoccupation"). He is the patron saint of catechists.

Take some time today to learn more about this great man of faith:
St. Robert Bellarmine ... ora pro nobis.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Unfortunate Prosperity Gospel

What is the “prosperity gospel” I keep hearing about? Is it true to what the Bible says?

The prosperity gospel is the teaching that what God wants more than anything is for you to be happy, and He establishes this happiness in your life by blessing you with monetary wealth, bodily health, peace of mind, and positive relationships. If you have faith in this plan for your life, then God will lavish His great gifts upon you. Furthermore, suffering does not come from God but only from Satan, who does not want us to live abundantly.

This is a false teaching, and it is fitting that with yesterday's Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we would look briefly at how this message squares with the sacrifices and the crosses that are really inherent to the Christian life.

In Scripture we see that worldly prosperity can be a dangerous thing because it causes the prosperous to rely on their own merits and self-sufficiency instead of depending on God. This is, for example, why God reduced Gideon’s army from 30,000 to 300 before He brought them into battle (Judg 7:2-7). When they won it was a miracle, and it was easier for them to see that it was God, not their own might, that gave them the victory.

Note that It was not Satan that reduced Gideon’s army, it was the Lord. He didn’t lavish Gideon with more troops than he could ever need, He actually took troops away, so that God may be glorified. That is how God works.

But that’s just one example. The proponent of the prosperity gospel really has no way to make sense of the entire life of Christ. For one, Jesus should have been the richest of the rich. After all, who has more faith in the plan of God than Jesus? But what do we see? “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt 8:20). He was born in a feeding trough (cf. Lk 2:7) and upon His birth, His mother gave the poor person’s sacrifice in the Temple (cf. Lk 2:22-24; Lev 12:6-8).

What did He preach? Seize upon the prosperity that God has in store for you? No. He said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Mt 19:24). “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mt 19:21). “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Mt 6:19).

Furthermore, Jesus taught the apostles that they would suffer just like He did (cf. Jn 15:18-20). The Apostles didn’t live the prosperous life. They lived the life of sacrifice on behalf of Christ and the gospel. When Paul’s authority was challenged, he offered as his credentials the fact that he actually gave up prosperity for the sake of suffering. Go read 2 Cor 11:24-30. It’s one of the most powerful passages in all of Scripture.

Finally, the God of the prosperity gospel would have removed the thorn in the flesh of Paul after he begged God three times to remove it. But how did God respond? “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). Nowhere is that more clearly displayed than on the Cross, where Christ is the most powerful at the very moment He is the weakest. The Cross is the very antithesis of the prosperity gospel, and if we desire to be with Christ, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow him (cf. Lk 9:23).

For more on the prosperity gospel from a Catholic perspective, see the following articles:

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Sunday, September 14, 2014

For the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:5-11)


Vexilla Regis Prodeunt
by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609)

Abroad the regal banners fly, now shines the Cross's mystery: upon it Life did death endure, and yet by death did life procure.
Who, wounded with a direful spear, did purposely to wash us clear from stain of sin, pour out a flood of precious water mixed with blood.
That which the prophet-king of old hath in mysterious verse foretold, is now accomplished, whilst we see God ruling the nations from a Tree.
O lovely and refulgent Tree, adorned with purpled majesty; culled from a worthy stock, to bear those limbs which sanctified were.
Blest Tree, whose happy branches bore the wealth that did the world restore; the beam that did that Body weigh which raised up Hell's expected prey.
Hail Cross, of hopes the most sublime! Now, in the mournful Passion time; grant to the just increase of grace, and every sinner's crimes efface.
Blest Trinity, salvation's spring may every soul Thy praises sing; to those Thou grantest conquest by the Holy Cross, rewards supply. Amen.
Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross: On this triumphant day.

- - - - - - - - - -

For more information about this feast day, see the following links:

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Reclaiming Augustine

Protestant apologists, especially of the Reformed/Calvinistic variety, love to claim Augustine as an early Church Father who professed their unique beliefs on grace, predestination, authority, and many other topics. I personally think such an exercise is an ahistorical grasping at straws and a false reading of a very Catholic man.

Since today is St. Augustine's feast day, it is as good a day as any to reclaim Augustine and plant his theology firmly within the mind of the Church. Dave Armstrong has a post on his blog that goes a long way towards achieving that end. On all of the following doctrines, Dave has provided quotes from the works of Augustine that show the Catholicity of his thinking:
  • Apostolic succession
  • Baptism
  • "Catholic" Church
  • Church authority
  • Contraception
  • Deuterocanonical books
  • Eternal security
  • Eucharistic adoration
  • Real Presence in the Eucharist
  • Faith Alone
  • Irresistible grace
  • Mary: Mother of God, perpetual virgin, sinless
  • Sacrifice of the Mass
  • Merit
  • Mortal and venial sin
  • The papacy and the Roman See
  • Penance
  • Primacy and preeminence of Peter
  • Prayers for the dead
  • Purgatory
  • Relics
  • Invocation/intercession/veneration of the saints
  • Scripture alone
  • Sacred Tradition

It really is an amazingly helpful post! He has several other articles on the thought of St. Augustine as well:
For my part, I have a small post that answers the question, "Did Augustine Invent Original Sin?" What do you think?

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic
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