Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Offertory - Archbishop Sheen

From his short book, 'Calvary and the Mass'.

A wonderful, although brief exposition on our attitude at the Offertory at the Holy Sacrifice in imitation with the Good Thief.


Commentary on Romans - Next Part For Now

I still have much to do on this, as you can see, I have not even gotten to the second chapter of the Letter to the Romans yet. I have made a few adjustments to the first part, but I will post a full and definite copy of this work when I have completed it (Deo volente), and correct the (numerous, no doubt) typos. I have to say one thing about the wonders of modern day technology as I would have been unable to write even half of this by hand. No wonder the Angelic Doctor died before 50 years old...

As written in 1 Samuel, ‘’The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.", accordingly God does not feign acceptance of a man, proclaiming him to be just when he is teeming with hatred and sin. Through an erroneous application of piety and trust in the sufficiency of Christ’s offering to His Heavenly Father, Calvin commits the grave mistake by saying, ‘There is no doubt that we obtain justification in the sight of God only by the intercession of the righteousness of Christ. This is equivalent to saying that believers are not righteous in themselves, but on account of the communication of the righteousness of Christ through imputation...’ and ‘(the justified person) has taken hold of the righteousness of Christ through faith, and having been clothed with it, appears in the sight of God not as a sinner, but as a righteous person’. Certainly no man has claim righteousness before God independently of the Divine Master or His initiative, as the Apostle states, ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God’ (Eph 2:8) and this gift ‘is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Rom 6:28). Elsewhere it is written, ‘And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him’ (Heb 11:6) and the Holy Council of Trent affirms, ‘faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons’ (VI,VIII).
Paul asserts that this ‘power of God’ communicated to men saves the faithful, first of all the Jewish nations, for whom the Messiah was sent only (Mat 15:24), and then onto the Greeks, by the missions of the Apostles who had received ‘grace...and apostolic mission to preach the obedience of faith...in honour of His Name’. Guided by the Spirit of Truth, the chosen men are called forth with the authority of Christ Himself, and the ‘‘Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say." (Lk 12:12). Whosoever rejects the Church of Christ rejects the One Who sanctified her by His Precious Blood, and thereby rejects the Father Who orders all things to His honour and glory.
This affirmation of the primacy of faith does not set up as certain men do, a contradiction between ‘good works’ and divinely granted ‘faith’. One must note that although the ‘upright man finds life by faith’, this acceptance of the divine mercy in Christ and His sorrowful Passion remains the foundation of good works, which naturally flow from it. In Galatians the same author states, ‘faith expressing itself through love’ (5:6), and the Divine John writes, ‘And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.’ (2 John 1:6). Faith is the corner stone, yet it is not the entire edifice. Faith allows man to situate himself in truth and light, without this acknowledgement of his utter dependence upon God for creation, sustenance and redemption, man stumbles in the dark and ‘flatters himself in his mind that he knows not his guilt...he clings to what is evil’’ (Ps 35: 2-4).He lives, nay, exists, as a beast and in his lie, he distorts the nature of his being which is to love and participate in the Trinitarian life of God.
Let us now proceed since these preliminary remarks have been set forward in order to correct certain misunderstandings. One of the greatest catechetical errors of the modern era is to assert the goodness of God and His love, without fully comprehending either. By His goodness (as it is appropriate for a good God to create good things), according to His Wisdom, by the Power of His Spirit, the Blessed Trinity creates man out of nothing without gaining or losing anything in the process. God would have continued to exist in absolute bliss and felicity without need of us. Even if man were to live all the days of Methuselah in extreme penance and anguish of body and soul, he would still remain unworthy to exist for even an instance upon this earth. All is of grace and mercy. It is also false to assert that God must live within certain boundaries in dealing with His creatures that we so foolishness demand, if otherwise, He would be guilty of malevolence. God owes us nothing, although one may say that He has bound Himself to a promise in Christ, yet this is one that He freely made from all eternity. Of His Essence, He is absolute goodness and holiness (which is the will to exist as good), there is no ‘change, nor shadow of alteration’ (Jas 11:17), therefore He detests sin as offensive to His nature, not because it ‘harms’ Him in some way. Sin wounds in a serious manner the operation and nature of the rational beings He brought forth from nothing to love and serve Him, and those who practice such iniquity are deserving of eternal punishment. The Psalmist maintains that the impious will be ‘flung down, they shall never arise’ (35:12), and ‘the wicked will not stand in the judgment... the way of the wicked will perish.’ (1:5-6). No man can excuse God of hiding the truth concerning Himself from them, since ‘the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands... There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard...their words to the ends of the world’ (Ps 19:14). Evil-doers are ‘without excuse’ because ‘what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them since God Himself has made it plain’. One can truly affirm that the earth is apostolic, telling with great eloquence the glory of the Lord. Saint Augustine writes, ‘‘Heaven and earth glorify God. All the creatures proclaim His existence. The heaven cries to God: ‘You it was who made me: I did not make myself.’ And the earth cries: ‘You are my creator: You it was who made me’’. Yet, as a consequence of the evil act of our first parent, the effects of which are transmitted through human nature, our minds are darkened to this sublime witness to the goodness and glory of God. We become confused and dazed at such a mystery and fail to rise above it to Him Who fashioned the universe through a super-abundance of love. The Doctor of Grace continues, ‘This spectacle (the beauty of the created cosmos) which has been given to you to admire, the joy with which it inspires you, the impetus with which it raises up to towards the Maker of it all, the revelation of the ineffable Being through Whom He created it – all this is the testimony of heaven and earth to which you bear witness when you look at them. If you love what he has made, love still more Him Who has made it all.’ With reason, the Divine Apostle states that ‘they (the pagans) knew God’ but by turning aside from the Principle Who creates, orders and blesses, they reduce themselves to corruptibility and giving honour to things that have less value than they. Man is able to be justly condemned for his sin and wayward heart even before or without the revelation of God in Christ, as the truth concerning the presence of God and His effects does not remain merely external but is situated within the heart and mind. Although defaced, the image of God which enables man to will freely, to know and understand and to love endures as if man were to lose this; he would also relinquish his humanity. Through a simple examination of the heart and reasoned discourse concerning his purpose in the world, the human being will infallible come to a knowledge of God, which will reveal His goodness and providence. The Angelic Doctor affirms that perception of visible, sensible objects, although we are unable to see the Divine Essence, ‘because they are His effects and depend on their cause, we can be led from them so far as to know of God "whether He exists," and to know of Him what must necessarily belong to Him, as the first cause of all things, exceeding all things caused by Him.’’ Furthermore, we can deduce from these causes that the Principle of their existence must be Being beyond them, otherwise the First Cause would be constrained within His effects, which is absurd. If so, this ‘cause’ would in turn require another to justify its presence. Yet, He is not the impersonal Aristotelian god who remains aloof from His creation as the Psalmist says, ‘"The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth’’ (102:19) and ‘’ The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.’’ (103:19). The humble of soul may see His ‘everlasting power and deity’ reflected in the cosmos, and then joyfully proclaim His mercy before men and angels. The Good Lord does not bind us to honour Him if He has not gifted us with the capacity for realising His presence, therefore such acceptance and realisation of the truth does not depend upon intellectual ability but arises from purity of heart, which is itself a gift from the Creator. Through hardness of heart, man becomes ‘imprisoned in wickedness’ which lowers him to the dust, which is essentially lifeless, instead of causing him to soar upward to He Who is Life of His essence. Too often in the modern world, one will hear that someone embraces ‘spirituality’ in order to find themselves some ‘transcendence’ without having to resort to religion which carries along with it a great deal of guilt. Such an attitude is a great distortion, which as opposed to guiding man through obstacles by illumination, covers him in greater darkness as it is freely willed and guarded. Man will heap up to himself many instructors who call themselves ‘philosophers’ (lovers of wisdom), and be solicitous for the latest novelty, instead of confronting his disordered desires and correcting them in accordance with right reason which finds its only basis in God. The Apostle elsewhere pronounces that this erroneous behaviour arises from a will to see their own desires suited (1 Tim 4:3. We often see this in today’s supposedly ‘rational’ world, where any behaviour may be excused or promoted simply because such an action is possible. Men will wilfully deceive themselves, submerging themselves in mud, making ‘nonsense out of logic’, appealing to ‘reason, liberty, choice, progress’ (the mantra of our era), resulting in acting like beasts. They are insatiable, yet refuse to confront the source of their misery and wretchedness, they fail to emulate the resolution of the Psalmist whose ‘bones wasted away, through (his) groaning all day long’, as he lingered in his sin, then he turned to his Lord and ‘acknowledged (his) sin’ and God ‘forgave the guilt’ (32:3-5). Our God is a fountain of mercy for those who turn to Him in humility; He pours the Holy Spirit into our hearts Who dwells there, allowing us to cry out Father (Gal 4:6) in the sure hope of salvation. The sinner who is borne about by the changing winds of the world’s values and the fickle ambitions and pleasures of men, has his ‘empty mind darkened’, as he has divorced himself from the Source of all being, truth and love. He in his destitution (the great poverty of disordered love) scrambles around, looking for solace and finds refuge in the ‘works of (his) hands’ whereby ‘provoking the Lord to anger’ (2 Chr 34:25) and to their further shame. The Divine Apostle admonishes, ‘Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things’ (Phil 3:19). According to our doctrine, the Source of all being is the Father Who creates through His Word by the Power of His Spirit, He is the uncreated Creator Who brings forth all that exists, lives and loves for the manifestation of His glory and so that rational creatures may come to share in His divine life. All that exists, in some sense, participates in the nature of God. Rocks participate in a very finite manner by possessing existence, although a very fleeting one. Plants in a further degree through life and the ability to grow. The ‘lord’ over this earth, man, is called to share in a wonderful degree, to a great height through love, which is God’s own gift, in the divine nature, which permits and enables man to transcend his limitations and creaturely confinement and truly to be free. It was rightly said to Adam that if he were to eat of the tree of life, he should ‘surely die’. As soon as man deviates from this course, which is natural and in which consists his eternal felicity, he is not even worthy of the name of ‘man’. He ‘exchanges the glory of the immortal God for a worthless imitation’ which contains less value than mortal man who will soon return to the dust as his deeds deserve. He sets his eyes on ‘the image of mortal man’ (which is not infused with a soul, it therefore has no life), ‘they have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see’ (Ps 135:16) yet it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Who formed the eye and the mouth (Ps 94:9) and ‘knows the secrets of our hearts’ (Ps 44:21). Our modern day idols are even less secure than these, as we do not accord them divinity, we acknowledge that they are a commodity, yet we still render homage to them.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Saint Augustine of Hippo - 3 Cl.

Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church.

Born at Thagaste in Africa in the year 354. As a young man he led an unsettled life both in the philosophy he professed and in his moral behaviour, but later, in the year 386, he was converted and then in 387 received baptism at Milan from the bishop Saint Ambrose. He came back to his own country and led the life of an ascetic. Elected Bishop of Hippo, for thirty-four years he was an exemplary bishop to his flock, teaching his people by his sermons and writings, striving to combat the errors of the time and to make the faith understood. He died in the year 430.


Give heed, O almighty God, to our humble prayers, and since Thou givest us confident assurance in Thy loving kindness, deign to grant us, through the intercession of blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, the effect of Thy wonted mercy. Through our Lord...

'I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ...preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.'


It is no secret that I have a great devotion to the Doctor of Grace, whom I rank as the Greatest of the Fathers. I wish to consider myself, although a son of Holy Mother Church, first and foremost, as a disciple and follower of the Bishop of Hippo. So much could be said about him, but I wish to settle for a few lines concerning his life and how we can learn from the Divine Providence which guarded and protected him and brought him to the truth which set Augustine free.

1) Holy Augustine the Blessed, returned to the Faith that he 'had drunk in with his mother's milk' as an infant, Like the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, who found the Divine Child in the Temple where they had last met, Augustine found the truth and beauty he was seeking, in the name of Jesus that his loving mother had taught him since the start, in the Catholic Faith. He had abandoned the Catholic Church (although he was not baptised as an infant as per custom) as he believed certain teachings were irreconcilable with true thinking. After years of supposedly aimless pursuit for truth, Augustine found that he had possessed it right from the beginning. How many of us take for granted the great mysteries that have been handed on to us? How many of us have set aside the saving doctrine of Christ for the latest novelty? How many of us have refused to bend the knee to Jesus as we have been 'imprisoned in wickedness'?

2) One of the most profound discoveries Augustine made before his conversion was the books of the Platonists (of the 'neo' variety). Although devoid of the saving Name of Jesus Christ, and His unique role as Mediator between God and man, he found providentially a world view in which he could make sense of the Christian gospel. This discovery made possible the great passages he wrote concerning the 'nature' of evil, privation of the good, the deficient will etc. It is through God's ordering, in His Wisdom for His glory, that He brings man to Himself gradually, allowing His creatures to pursue error so that in the long term, he will be readily disposed to grace and conversion. Many of us nowadays, particularly of the traditionalist sort will have a very negative view of secular thinking and philosophy, however all that is truly good descends from the Father, the Source of all. All good is 'mined from the providence' of God and must be used for His honour. Let us not shrink back from a truth that secular wisdom has discovered, but let us appropriate it for the Gospel, for which it truly belongs. Augustine affirms this with a Scriptural illustration. When the Israelites departed from Egypt, that land of slavery, they dispossessed the natives of gold and silver. Such materials had previously been used for the construction of idols to be worshipped in vanity, yet the Good Lord had handed them over to His people, so that they might serve Him instead. Certain evangelical Protestants will assert that these items are of pagan 'origin', and must be discarded lest the Faith of Christ become polluted. We must never let such an attitude take hold of us. However, not all secular thinking is actually true, no matter how loudly and boldly they proclaim so. We must never appropriate a teaching that is contrary to the Holy Catholic Faith 'passed onto the saints once for all', but must promptly discard it as erroneous.

3) Lastly, Augustine came to realise that what is incorruptible is vastly superior to what is corruptible. We all know the sins of Augustine, so I do not wish to state them here, however his life manifests the truth that no matter what intellectual capacity you have been gifted with, you are able to be blinded to the divine light and cling to filth, Let us discern the divine traces in creation as they all proclaim infallibly the goodness and power of the Godhead. Often we will see a beautiful woman and our eyes are drawn irresistibly to her form, yet let us acknowledge that she only, in a very finite manner, participates in the Supreme Beauty, Which is God of His Essence. One day she will be returned to the dust, unrecognisable. He will continue as that 'Beauty so ancient and so new'. We are able to love Him only because He has loved us first, and called us to share in His divine trinitarian communion of Love and life. This is what the human spirit longs for, an acceptance according to truth and perpetual felicity and peace that the world is unable to give.

I wish to finish with a quotation from this holy Doctor concerning the souls pursuit for He Who is and then an extract from the Psalmist:

'You called and cried to me and broke open my deafness: and you sent forth your beams and shone upon me and chased away my blindness: you breathed fragrance upon me, and I drew in my breath and do now pant for you: I tasted you, and now hunger and thirst for you: you touched me, and I have burned for your peace.'

'O God, you are my God, for you I long.
For you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry weary land without water...'

P.s. I believe this should be a First Class Feast (:

Thursday, 26 August 2010

...of the Greek Variety

Saint Maximus the Confessor:

The Incarnation occurred:

''in order to save the image and immortalize the flesh and, having utterly banished the principle of the serpent which had been introduced into nature, to present nature pure again as from a new beginning, with an additional advantage through deification over the first creation, and, as if by a new beginning giving substance to something not previously existing, to restore to health that which had thus collapsed, having strengthened it so as to be immune to falling through its immutability, and to fulfill the will of God the Father with regard to it, having deified it by the power of the Incarnation''.

Comment: Our Divine Lord in assuming human nature, not merely attached Himself to it by 'conjunction' but by His gracious mercy and condescension, He hypostatically united it to Himself. According we must say that the Sacred Flesh, is truly His. By His sharing of our life, in principle, man may receive what belongs by nature and essence to the deity, namely unity and immutability. Man on this earth is pulled in all directions by his passions, he deceives and confuses himself in pursuing transient goods and becomes soiled by draining them of their desirability. Even when he comes to the Good Lord, his will remains divided and he will often abandon his trust in Him. Furthermore, in the Garden, Adam was not truly 'safe' as he could and certainly did, lose his privileged position before His Lord. In the next life, man will be freed from such insecurity and discord, by mirroring in great measure, the divine attributes of unity and immutability.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Saint Philip Benizi - 3 Cl.


He was born at Florence of the noble family of Benizi. He entered the Order of the Servites as a lay brother. Ordained a priest, he was made General of his Order.


O God, who in blessed Philip, Thy Confessor, didst give us a splendid example of humility: grant that Thy servants, by following him, may despise earthly prosperity, and ever seek heavenly things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ...

'Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked...'
'Amen I say to you, that you, who have left all things and followed Me, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.'

Random Thought

Man is not elected on account of his comeliness or his merits, but is chosen so that he may be beautiful and fruitful in good works.

Romans 1 - A Sneak Peak

Fratres: I write this commentary in the hope of building up the Body of Christ, so that in all things glory may be given to our God Who reigns forever. The Epistle to the Romans of the Divine Apostle Paul is a treasure trove of spiritual delights, sufficient to raise the souls of all men, whether clergy, religious or laity, learned or simple to the Truth Who is Christ Jesus, Our Lord. I undertake this study of this Sacred Writing so I may participate in closer union with our Divine Redeemer through His Mystical Body suffering on this earth in the hope of coming face to face with Him Whom I read about. I call upon the intercession of the glorious Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and of all Hearts that I may explain, as far I have been given the capacity, this heavenly doctrine concerning the Descent of the Logos and the exaltation in principle of man with humility and faith.
Many homilies, commentaries and expositions have been commended to paper on this Epistle yet for my sake; I believe it to be pertinent that I write so that I may understand more fully. If there is contained within this work anything contrary to the Faith, I sincerely apologise for negligence, but it will not be out of bad faith that such errors are proclaimed. My plan is to reproduce this commentary in the form of a ‘sermon’ if you will, or each chapter for Filioque each week. I ask for initial good will before I commence and urge for you to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Chapter 1.

For us Catholic Christians, the Letter to the Romans especially concerning the doctrine of justification by faith set forth by Paul is often troubling. In the past one hundred years, such a sublime teaching of the gratuitous mercy of the Good Lord has been gravely distorted by Protestantism that so many of us approach it with scepticism at the very least. Yet with the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit, the Soul of the Church, we may be led into all truth (Jn 16.13), by remaining faithfully united to His Mystical Body, who is the pillar and foundation of that message (1. Tim 3:15). With this in mind, let us proceed according to the regula fidei that we may be preserved from such deviation.
The Holy Apostle declares that he ‘is not ashamed of the Good News’, even though this kerygma was a source of ‘stumbling’ for the Jews and a message of ‘foolishness’ for the erudite and cultured Greeks (1. Cor 1:23). Lacking this sophistication of the world, the Apostle remains faithful to his calling, calling to mind the words of Our Blessed Lord Who did say, ‘If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.’(Lk 9:26).The scandal of the Cross, His Supreme Immolation for our ransom was an affront to the human assumption that such a termination of a mission was a resounding failure. Even though the Suffering Servant was set forth as the propitiation to remove the guilt and to bind up the wounds of the people of Israel (cf. Isaiah 53), the Incarnation of the Eternal Word of the Father and His utter humiliation on the Cross as a common criminal was more than they could honestly bear. It verily surpasses the hopes of all men. When our Master prophesied that He would be handed over to the scribes and Pharisees, the Prince of the Apostles answered with the expected human reaction of astonishment and fear at such a fate (Mt 16.21-23). The expectation of the Jews was frustrated, and they received a kingdom not of this world, which was incomprehensible to their uncircumcised hearts of stone. No man could ever have conceived of the complete condescension of the Lord Who sent forth in love, His Beloved, Sole-Begotten Son so that whosoever shall believe in Him shall not perish but receive eternal life (Jn 3.16) and be crowned with righteousness (2. Tim 4:8) before the host of angels. He acknowledges the ‘power of God’ which manifests itself in the foolishness of the Cross, for the mockery and scorn of men. Yet for Paul and the member of the Body of Christ, the Cross far from being dead, dry wood, becomes the Tree of Life for us, through which the fruits of sanctity blossom and give delight to passersby, who wish to taste and see that the Lord is good. This Faith was not merely taught to the lost sheep of the House of Israel or the Gentiles, but that intimate union with the Redeemer was urged to be accepted by mankind, so that they may inherit the’ kingdom prepared for (them )before the foundation of the world’ (Mt 25:34). An aversion to the wood of the Cross on which is hung our Salvation, is sign of the reprobate who fails to acknowledge the universal sinfulness of humanity and the necessity of grace and the divine mercy. Paul states elsewhere, ‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’ (1 Cor 1:18). It is imperative to state however, in whatever manner the ‘economic’ Trinity operates, we see a reflection of the immanent life of the Deity. With the risk of proclaiming subordinationism (which I reject), we can realise how in the ivine communion of love, the Eternal Son of the Father is in some sense dependent upon the First Person (although fully God by nature) as He receives His essence from the Source of the Godhead. In the Incarnation, brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit through the cooperation of Mary, the Mediatrix of all Graces, the Logos comes to do the will of Him who sent Him (Jn 6:38) into the world to save sinners and grant them abundant life (Jn 10:10). He submits to the eternal plan of His Father even to the point of death (Phil 2:8) and is raised in great glory and given the Name above all Names (Phil 2:9). By His humble submission to the divine will, He reverses the sin of Adam, our First Parent who fell through pride. God does not merely ‘stoop down to look’ (Ps 113:6), but He unites Himself hypostatically, that is truly in the harmony of one Person, the whole nature of humanity so that we may be healed. As Athanasius said, “He became what we are that we might
become what He is.”
The ‘justice of God’ was a phrase that haunted Martin Luther, through which all he saw initially was his innumerable weaknesses and imperfections which were due to be punished by the just decree of God. In his failure to comprehend this divine mystery, he distorted the truth to fit human sensibilities and claimed his innovation of sola fide as a safeguard for the grace of God in Christ. However, the Council of Trent against such error declared that the ‘formal cause’ of our justification consists of the ‘justice of God, not that whereby He Himself is just, but that whereby He maketh us just, that, to wit, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and we are not only reputed, but are truly called, and are, just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to everyone as He wills, and according to each one's proper disposition and co-operation ‘ (6, 6). The Good Lord elects through an inscrutable decree some of His sinful creatures to share in the divine nature whereby they are conformed to the image of His Son, Who is blessed forever. He desires them to be animated by charity, which reflects the Essence of God Who is Love (1 Jn 3:16). He chooses to make them righteous in His sight as He knows the secret desires of the heart and is not fooled by the appearances of men.

Much more must be written, but I need a bit more time to collect my thoughts on such a sublime mystery. But here it is so far...

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Commentary on Romans

I have started work on the commentary on the Divine Apostle's Epistle to the Romans and I hope to have the first chapter uploaded in a few days. I have decided to write it up in the form of 'homilies' for each chapter so that at certain points I may enter into greater detail.

Pax Vobis.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Closure of last Catholic adoption centre in England and Wales

From Catholic News Agency:

London, England, Aug 20, 2010 / 05:32 am (CNA).- The suppression of Catholic institutions in the U.K. continues as the only remaining Catholic adoption agency in England and Wales has lost a battle to continue its services. A commission ruled the agency’s religious views did not justify its refusal to place children with homosexual couples.

Catholic Care, the social care organization of the Diocese of Leeds, had applied to amend its legal charitable objects to allow it to continue adoption work in accordance with Catholic teaching. The Charity Commission for England and Wales refused the application, claiming that Catholic Care’s reasons did not meet the necessary threshold for an exemption from sexual orientation discrimination laws.

The charity places children only with married heterosexual couples.

“In certain circumstances, it is not against the law for charities to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation,” commented Andrew Hind, chief executive of the Charity Commission. “However, because the prohibition on such discrimination is a fundamental principle of human rights law, such discrimination can only be permitted in the most compelling circumstances.”

A Catholic Care spokesperson said the charity is “very disappointed” with the outcome.

“Catholic Care will now consider whether there is any other way in which the Charity can continue to support families seeking to adopt children in need,” the spokesperson commented in a Wednesday statement.

The agency said it will seek to register as an adoption support agency to support adoptive parents already approved by Catholic Care and to serve those who were adopted in the past and are now seeking information about their background.

Catholic Care has been providing adoption services for over 100 years and has served hundreds of families in that area. It still provides school counseling, residential care for children, and support for adults with learning disabilities and mental health problems.

While eleven Catholic adoption agencies were in operation in 2007, Catholic Care is the only one remaining which has not closed or renounced its religious identity. Sexual orientation regulations passed by the Labour government prompted the action.

The Christian Institute said the charity commission’s ruling comes amid “increasing concern” among many Christians that their rights and liberties are “often trampled on by homosexual ‘rights’.”

Comment: Should we Catholics not simply submit to the ruling that homosexual couples must be considered as adoptive parents for the sake of the good work that is done by such agencies? Will not other children suffer because of this closure? Certainly children will suffer but they would be harmed by being placed in illicit relationships. Our first duty and obedience is to God Who abhors such behaviour as contrary to nature. I am waiting for the ruling that states that Jewish butchers must provide pork for purchase, or they will be ruthlessly closed down...

Another Distinction

On my wander to and around our local shopping centre, without acknowledging the shops I passed, I spent some time in a phase of meditation on theology. I am sure I would have received a number of glares or brought about some giggles from the mouths of passers by as I, most likely, was talking to myself as normal.
By some roundabout manner, I came to the distinction that must be made between 'per accidens' and 'per se' causes, as this creates a great deal of confusion in the minds of contemporary thinkers. First of all, 'per accidens' causes:

These are causes that do not have a direct or essential link with the effect produced. For instance I could say, the Kenyan built my house. There is nothing in his nationality (his 'Kenyanness') that necessarily shapes bricks into the form of houses. This attribute does not directly actualise some possible outcome. This is 'per accidens' or 'by accident'.
Another example would be, Abraham being the cause of Jacob. Of course, Abraham begot Isaac who in turn was the direct cause (with Rebekah) of Jacob, but Abraham was not involved immediately in the production of the third Patriarch. This is an example of a 'linear' or 'temporal' cause, which is given the appellation of 'per accidens'.
'Per se' causes:

These are causes that directly and essentially have a relation to the outcome. I would be able to say, the builder constructed my flat. It is in the nature and skill of a builder to do such a thing. His occupation will frequently bring about the said effect. It is part of his job specification. This is 'per se' or 'through itself. Also I could say, 'the Kenyan won the race', as an application of a 'per se' cause...
Another example would be, the case of a ball smashing a window. We often would explain such an incident as the ball being kicked by a boy on the grass and then the window becomes cracked after a period of time as the object travels through the air. However, it is more precisely the impact of the ball on the window that causes the breaking of the grass. It must not be conceived in terms of two distinct events. This can be called a 'per se' cause. There is no lapse of time between the cause and the effect.

This is no mere nicety or subtle rhetoric. It is fundamental that we understand these notions to avoid great error. In discussing St. Thomas' arguments for the existence of God, an obvious and much-used rebuttal is that, 'God may have created, but it does not mean He exists just now. He could have fashioned the world, and then left'. The modern philosopher nods his head in approval as Thomas was unable to perceive this evident failure to prove the existence of the deity of Christianity. However this is not what the Angelic Doctor was referring to. We do not merely believe in a God Who creates, but also a God Who sustains and orders in His wisdom , all of creation. In my hand I am holding a pen. Now imagine me using that pen to shift the position of my mobile phone to the end of the desk, where it knocks off a book. For the movement of the book, not only is the nudge of the phone necessary but also the pen which in turn is moved my the hand. There is a link between all three items which are moved by the principle (that is, my hand). I am not simply tossing a pen, which relocates the mobile...and so on. The continued involvement of my hand and the direction it gives, is imperative to the crashing of the book onto the floor. The principle does not solely occupy the position of a first cause, but the first term in the series, upon which the entire set depends. Such is the activity of God.

Friday, 20 August 2010


Holy Virgin, stand by me as your stood by your Son at the Cross, when you offered yourself in silent immolation with the Lamb. Never depart from my side until Christ be formed in me.

Whether the First Man Knew All Things?

Part 1. Question 94, Article 3.

In such a blessed and happy state, what knowledge did our first parent possess? And in what manner did he attain to this truth?
The first objection that St. Thomas states notes that there are 3 forms of knowledge that Adam could have possessed.

1) Acquired - This cannot be, as this is received by living experience (which he had not yet achieved).
2) Connatural - This cannot be either as he was of the same nature as we are today, and we do not possess this by origin. Our soul is 'like a clean tablet (tabula rasa) on which nothing is written' as Aristotle said.
3) Infused - Again, this is impossible as 'it would have been of a different kind from ours, which we acquire from things themselves.'

However, it is Adam's task to give names to the animals of the garden (Gen. 2:20), and names 'should be adapted to the nature of things', therefore the first man had knowledge of the natures of these fellow creatures. It follows also, that he held knowledge of all things.
Next Thomas, explains that things which are perfect exist prior to those that are imperfect. For something to become corrupted, or run down, it must exist in a state of wholeness before this privation occurs. Also, 'act precedes potentiality; for whatever is in potentiality is made actuality only by something actual'. This is an important philosophical point that must be explained as it has reference to other matters in theology, particularly concerning the 'nature' (which is, incidentally, anhypostatic) of evil. On my desk, I have a yellow coloured pen. It is of its essence, a pen, although it possesses accidents (non-essential attributes) such as the colour, taste, weight and texture. My yellow pen is potentially black, as changing an accident will not destroy the essence (that is, the 'penness') of the item. For something to be altered, it is necessary for it to exist in the first place. It must be in a state of being, that is, to be actual. Furthermore, this pen can only be transformed black by an external agent (a paintbrush or whatever) which exists actually.
Let us move on since this has been noted briefly.
The Good Lord, fashioner of all that is seen and unseen wished, out of His gracious mercy, to allow men to participate in His creative power. He orders nature so that certain creatures function as agents in His loving plan for the world, that they 'might be principles of other things'. As regards to human beings, we can cooperate in His creative power, by procreation mainly, however also, He permits us to rule and teach others. The Angelic Doctor concludes, 'as the first man was produced in his perfect state, as regards the body, for the work of generation (that is, begetting of children), so also was his soul established in a perfect state to instruct and govern others'. I would also like to include the soul's faculty to govern and rule itself, which was perfect in the case of Adam, as he was created in a state of justice and harmony, free from the future consequences of concupiscence and corruption, transmitted through human nature to his descendants.
It is obvious that no man can communicate truth or knowledge to another, if he does not possess it beforehand (See article concerning the Wisdom of Christ). Therefore it was fitting that God should create Adam in such a state that he would have, as the father of the human race, a knowledge of all things that a person could acquire naturally in order to pass on. These natural truths must be self-evident, that is clear and comprehensible, available to be obtained in the natural order.
However, as 'man does not live by bread alone', we must have knowledge of the supernatural end to which we are called. Such an end is blessed union with and vision of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, and Adam knew these truths as it was indispensable for him so that he may 'direct his life'. These truths would be infused into his intellect, although 'his knowledge was not different from ours; as the eyes that Christ gave to the man born blind were no different from those given by nature'.
It must be noted that is would have been superfluous for Adam to be gifted with a knowledge of matters which did not pertain to the obtaining of his supernatural end. He had no knowledge of future contingent events and 'some individual facts, as for instance the number of pebbles in a stream' et cetera.
Despite this, Adam was fashioned from the dust in a superior manner to which we are created today. He received from God a keen intellect and a height of perfection far surpassing, mortal and fallen man, as was fitting. The first man could be said to have increased in knowledge in so far as what he knew speculatively, he would experience personally firsthand. Moreover, regarding supernatural knowledge, this would have been infused directly by God, in order for him to know deeper mysteries stored up for him.

Random Thought

From the theology of Saint Augustine of Hippo:

The question should not be, why does God allow certain people to perish eternally? But, why does He allow anyone at all to be saved?

Apatheia and Deification

In my reading of 'The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition' by Norman Russell, I came across Saint Clement of Alexandra. In his doctrine of deification, the believer imitates the 'apatheia' (that is, the freedom from passion), which the Logos possess by nature. Russell continues:

'In attaining apatheia the perfect Christian becomes godlike in his freedom from all needs and desires, even to the point of not desiring, as his principal goal, his own salvation'.

This quality is truly a divine gift, whereby we mirror the unity of God by casting aside the passions which pull us in many directions. We become focused on Him Who Is, and are not tossed around by the waves of irrational desires and whims.
A harmony reflecting that essential unity of the deity is obtained and we become like God and participate in His life.

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day

Saint Anselm of Canterbury:

"The Mother of God is our mother. May the good mother ask and beg for us, may she request and obtain what is good for us."

Comment: The will of the Holy Virgin is most conformed to that of her divine Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. On this earth, our Redeemer spent 30 years under her authority, living truly obedient to her. In Heaven, His will does not change and Jesus remains faithful to His loving Mother and grants her most humble requests. Whoever approaches the Queen of all Hearts will never be refused the divine mercy.

St. Bernard - 3 Cl.

Abbot, Doctor of the Church.

Born of noble Burgundian parents, was a monk of the Cistercian Order, a branch of the Benedictine Order. He became Abbot of the famous monastery of Clairvaux, which he himself had founded. The writings, sermons and letters of this great Doctor rendered invaluable services to the Church. He also preached the second crusade, and died at Clairvaux A.D. 1153.


O God, who didst give blessed Bernard to Thy people as a minister of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech Thee, that we, who have had him for our teacher on earth, may deserve to have him for our advocate in heaven. Through our Lord...

'The just will give his heart to resort early to the Lord...'
'Nations shall declare his wisdom, and the Church shall show forth his praise.'

'I believe though I do not comprehend, and I hold by faith what I cannot grasp with the mind.' - St. Bernard.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Plans For Next Writings

If the Good Lord grants me the time and ability, I wish to undertake certain writings for Filioque:

1) Consider, under the guidance of the Angelic Doctor, the state of our first parents before the Fall in order to assess the glory that has come about since the Incarnation and the subsequent (in principle) exaltation of man.
2) Write a commentary on the Letter to the Romans, which so influenced my holy patron, Augustine before and after his conversion to the true Faith.
3) Respond to certain beliefs, concepts and overall cosmic view of the Faith movement.

However, most importantly I ask that you pray for our Holy Father that his visit to Scotland may be fruitful in bringing about a greater devotion to our Lord Christ in His Catholic Church, and that the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ will be protected by His mercy from all harm.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Whether the First Man Saw God through His Essence?

Part 1. Question 94, Article 1.

The intimate harmony and unity of Adam and his Lord must be considered first of all. As stated in Genesis, man and God lived together in harmony and peace. All that was needed, whether it be earthly sustenance or the immediate presence of God was provided freely for our parent's happiness. Now, man can only be truly happy when he experiences the vision of God, in Whom all things find their fulfilment and in Whom there is no shadow of change or decay. St. John Damascene relates that, 'while established in paradise, (Adam) led a life of happiness in the enjoyment of all things'. Further, the great Bishop of Hippo writes, 'If man was gifted with the same tastes as now, how happy must he have been in paradise, that place of ineffable happiness!' Peter Lombard elucidates the matter by stating that man 'saw God immediately'. His knowledge of the Lord was not therefore hazy and opaque, so it follows that he saw God in His Essence.
Such a conclusion is altogether unacceptable. As I have noted, it is only in God that man finds rest, satisfaction and blessedness. We have been gifted with an intellect for the sole purpose of knowing God. Also, in His gracious mercy, He has granted us a free will so that we may love and embrace Him without coercion. Once these longings for felicity are fulfilled, man is incapable of sinning, which is the confused and disordered desire for happiness. Once the Supreme Good is possessed, man truly recognises the futility of pursuing fleeting or corporeal things. Saint Thomas declares that 'the intellect of a man who sees the Divine Essence has the same relation to God as a man to beatitude'. No man, not even those famed for folly, would wish to turn from felicity if they possessed it. It is true that man may give up some good, his family for instance, in the hunt for something else. Yet, in the Beatific Vision man comes to acknowledge his utter dependence on God for his life and being, and that no rest can be found in any created thing, only in Him Who Is, can man rejoice eternally. Following this acquisition of eternal life, man is unable to sin. It must consist of eternity, or his blessedness would be a mere sham, soon to be removed.
The Blessed Apostle Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:46, 'That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural'. St. Thomas explains, 'But to see God through His Essence is most spiritual' and he concludes, 'therefore the first man in the primitive state of his natural life did not see God through His Essence.'
So what therefore did this initial blessed and happy condition of Adam consist of if not the immediate and direct vision of the Lord?
It must be noted that the state of Adam was greatly superior to this land of sorrows that we now inhabit. Our first parents knew God with a far higher degree of knowledge than we currently possess as a result of our darkened intellect and indifference to pursing wisdom and truth through trial. The Angelic Doctor wrote that Adam's knowledge of His Lord occupied a middle position between the blessedness of the elect in Heaven (where we see Him through His Essence) and that of us in this valley of tears (where we know Him from His effects in a cloudy manner).
To continue, St. Thomas declares that the 'higher the creature is, and the more like it is to God, the more closely is God seen in it'. Following Saint Augustine, I will posit the imago Dei in the mind, the intellect of man, therefore by our capacity to reason, reflect and judge we share more fully than the other creatures of the earth in the divine nature. 'Thus God is seen in a much more perfect manner through His intelligible effects than through those which are only sensible or corporeal. However, as a result of the privation of original justice, concupiscence and the flesh warring about the spirit, man is easily distracted by matter and is blinded to the truth beneath each substance, primarily that each is made and sustained by the Good Lord.
All things in Eden were a symphony for the glory of God, all existed in accordance with justice. The higher things - those who most fully resembled God - held sway over lower creation. Therefore, Adam was not enticed or perturbed by external matter, as it posed no threat to him, and he clearly acknowledged its truth as goods before the Supreme Good. He could without any hindrance, but with great joy and certainty, realise the divine traces in creation which led him to God, the first principle of all.
St. Augustine remarks, 'perhaps God used to speak to the first man as He speaks to the angels; by shedding on his mind a ray of the unchangeable truth, yet without bestowing on him the experience of which the angels are capable in the participation of the Divine Essence'.
In conclusion, it is fitting to say that Adam was in Eden, happy, but he did not yet possess the eternal felicity of the elect in the Beatific Vision of God's Essence. His condition was endowed, as the Doctor of Grace affirms with 'a life of happiness in a certain measure' as he, by the generous love of God was gifted with 'natural integrity and perfection' (that is, perfection according to his nature at that time).
In reply to the Master of the Sentences that Adam 'saw God immediately', the Dominican distinguishes between two forms of a medium of knowledge.

1) 'Through which, and, at the same time, in which, something is seen...(like) a man is seen in a mirror and is seen with the mirror'.
2) 'Whereby we attain to the knowledge of something unknown ; such as a medium in a demonstration.'

He affirms that God is not seen with medium 2, but with number 1. Adam did not need to proceed from one article (effect) to another, reasoning, so that we may attain to the First Principle' as Adam 'knew God simultaneously in His effects', above all in his intellectual endowment by which he most fully is likened to God.
Therefore, Adam possessed a great degree of knowledge of God and had assurance of His presence, yet he did not view God through His Essence. The 'obscurity' existed in a different mode to today's lack of realisation of the deity, simply as at that time he did not see God truly as He is, but mediated through His creation, although in a far superior manner that we may glimpse in this fallen state.

Things to Consider

It is often the case that in theology one question will give rise to a hundred. Earlier, we reflected on whether God would have still become incarnate even if man had not fallen. At the end of that brief reflection, I stated that as a result of the Incarnation, man has been exalted to a greater level that than of Adam, as God truly came to unite Himself with His creation. Now, it is pertinent that we consider what actually was the state of Adam before he transgressed the law of God? To proceed any further, we must not fail to give sufficient attention to this important issue.
With St. Irenaeus, Tertullian and Origen (among others), I like to make a distinction between 'image' and 'likeness'.
My theory on this - still yet untested but I will present it for consideration- is that man was not created in a completely perfect state. He was created good and endowed greatly, yet lacked the love of God that is perfected in trial. He had a sharp intellect, his soul ruled over his body, and he experienced an intimate relationship with his God. I would not go as far as St. Irenaeus to say that the Fall was not caused by malice, but by immaturity, whereby man sinned as a result of not knowing fully his purpose. I assert that the sin of Adam was complete madness, and our first parents cannot be excused on grounds on concupiscence (which they did not possess) or a previous affection for sin. They only knew the good and they had no reason to deny the veracity of their Maker's word.

In order to study this matter with greater clarity, we will turn to the Angelic Doctor and set out simply what he states concerning the condition of Adam before the Fall. My next few meditations will come solely from the saint as I do not have enough wisdom or knowledge to dwell on a time so far gone.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Fixing Your Intentions at the Offertory

Further to what I wrote earlier, I found this on the internet which improves on what I wrote:

Fixing your intentions at the Offertory

The Purpose of the Church

To perpetuate the Incarnation and to bring the salvation wrought by the Precious Blood of the Lamb to all nations.

The Virtues of the Blessed Mother

...according to the Apostle of Mary, Saint Louis Marie de Montfort:

1) her profound humility
2) her lively faith
3) her blind obedience
4) her continual mental prayer
5) her mortification in all things
6) her ardent charity
7) her heroic patience
8) her angelic sweetness
9) her divine wisdom
10) her divine purity

Let us this month dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the most glorious Virgin, imitate these virtues all for the greater glory of her Divine Son, to Whom be praise forever.

Saint Joachim - 2 Cl.

Confessor, Father of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The holy Patriarch Joachim was the husband of St. Anne, and the father of our Lady. This feast, originally kept on March 20,, was transferred to the day following the Assumption, in order to associate the Blessed Daughter and her holy father in triumph.


O God, who of all Thy Saints didst choose the blessed Joachim to be father to the Mother of Thy Son: grant, we beseech Thee that we who honour his festival, may evermore experience his patronage, Through our Lord...

'Thou hast crowned him with glory and honour: and hast set him over the works on Thy hands, O Lord'

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day

Saint Isidore:

'Anyone who reflects on his own life in the light of its end, rather than the passing of the days, perceives how wretched and short it is.'

Time to profit by. Life to know and love and serve God. We often complain how little time we have, yet we often spend the time we have been given in idle persuits. These 'hobbies' or diversions certainly have their place, to give rest to the body and soul, however all must be moderated. Too often, our duties for our state in life are suspended while we vegetate in front of the television and we end up wearier than when we pressed the on button.


Eternal Father, Almighty God, accept my memory, my intellect, my will, my body and my soul all for Your Glory. I offer myself in union with the Holy Redeemer, Your Only-Begotton Son, together with the humble obedience of the great Holy Mother of God.
Nerver permit me to separate myself from Your loving mercy and renew in my soul the divine likeness. Pater, fiat voluntas tua.

Our Lady and the Most Holy Sacrifice

The Holy Virgin reigns in great glory in heaven because of the wonderful things the Good Lord has done for her, truly holy is His Name. The Mother of God is not simply to be admired from afar, but wishes ardently that we imitate her holy example for the greater glory of her Divine Son.
God in Sacred Writ is named as the potter, while we are likened to clay. Mere, brute matter cannot resist the artist's hands, on the other hand, we are able to destroy grace in us. Instead of humbly submitting to His mercy, we prevent Him working great things in us. Our Blessed Lady's Fiat is the supreme human example of handing oneself over to the will of the Good Lord. I am sure that what she consented to in great faith and trust was not fully known by her. Even greater therefore should she be honoured by men for her love!
Each day we are confronted with the question, posed by the grace of the Holy Spirit, her Heavenly Spouse, whether we wish to become saints or accept corruption and perish. No day must go by, without our commending of our souls to His hands, willing to accept whatever death may be pleasing to Him.
At the Holy Sacrifice, we are again presented with this probing question. The Priest at the Offertory, begs the Eternal Father to accept this spotless host, which he the unworthy servant of God offers for his offenses, sins, and negligences, for all those present, on behalf of all faithful Christians, so that we may possess life in abundance. This is not an isolated act where the faithful kneel idly before the distribution of the Holy Gifts. We must place ourselves on the Paten with the host, offering in union with the Sacred Victim, our memories, intellects, wills, bodies and souls, all for the honour of the Blessed and Undivided Trinity. We are graciously called to the foot of the Cross, with the Holy Virgin who suffered a silent and bloodness martyrdom, with the Divine John and the prostrated Seraphim and Cherubim.
The tears rolled softly down her cheeks, yet her humble obedience to her Lord's will was perfect, lacking in nothing. At the Mass, the Supreme Act of adoration, thanksgiving, petition and reparation we are urged to do the same. Now that is truly 'active participation'.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 1 Cl.

Thou art the honour of thy people, O holy Mother of God, there is no stain in thee.

This Sunday, we commemorate the Assumption of the Holy Virgin, body and soul into Heaven. She shares the fullness of glory and joy, above all other creatures. While we, in this valley of tears, sigh for the adoption of the sons of God and the redemption of our bodies, she rejoices in the Presence of her Divine Son Who preserved her from all stain of sin.
She crushed the head of the serpent by her entire self-offering to God, at the Annunciation and at her silent immolation at Calvary in intimate union with our Redeemer. We say, with the Fathers, 'Death through Eve, life through Mary'. O Holy Mother of God and our Mother, blessed art thou amongst all women, praise of thy name shall not depart out of the mouth of men. Loving Mother, thou art the glory of Jerusalem, through whom all the graces of God pass, intercede for us with thy Son, our Lord and God.
There was nothing in common between thee and satan, that prince of lies and creator of evil. Enmities were placed between that fallen angel and thee, Queen of Heaven. O Mother, you brought forth the Second Adam, to free us from the corruption of sin, preserve us from clinging to the 'old man'.

Judith was praised by the sons of Israel for cutting off the head of Holofernes to liberate the people from foreign oppression. What greater glory should Mary earn because of her obedience and humility, death has been conquered! She did not destroy armies but by her cooperation in the redeeming plan of God, assisted in the reconciliation of men to God, and the renewal of the inward man.
Truly we must call her blessed, as the Good Lord has blessed her by His Power, that is the Spirit, so that she could bring forth the Saviour.

From Vespers on this most joyous occasion:

'Mary is taken up into Heaven, the Angels rejoice, and bless God with songs of praise. Mary the Virgin is taken up into the bridal chamber of Heaven, where the King of Kings sitteth on His starry throne. We run after the odour of Thine ointments. The young maidens have loved thee exceedingly. O daughter, blessed art thou of the Lord, for through thee we have partaken of the fruit of life. Fair and beautiful art thou, o daughter of Jerusalem, terrible as an army in battle array'.

Liturgical Dance...

Currently I have a craving for rainbow stoles and flower pots....

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Vigilate itaque...

...quia nescitis diem, neque horam.

It is with a touch of sadness that I write this. The past few days I have heard of two deaths of young girls that resided in my area and have been concerned with certain reactions. The Good Lord is not unjust in permitting the deaths of His creations, and all things occur for His glory. I understand the distress that their parents, relatives and friends are undergoing at this moment, but for us, Catholic Christians, we have been given a warning. You know not the day nor the hour, said the Lord, when the Son of Man comes. Therefore keep watch and be prepared. These were sudden deaths, and I pray that they may find mercy, however the best preparation for death is a righteous life based upon faith. We all will suffer this rending of body and soul and this must not be feared. It is the passage to eternal life.
As Catholic Christians we have been gifted and graced with much, through no merit of our own, therefore much is expected of us in return. I urge you all to live every moment as though you were to be judged immediately. A false conclusion made is that life must be lived to the full, persevere in the hunt for pleasure, let no amusement or idly fancy escape you. But I say to you, where your treasure is, there your heart will be to. If you sow in the field of nature, you will receive a perishable harvest. If in the field of the Spirit, you will obtain a harvest of everlasting life. To focus and pursue the corruptible ends in disintegration.

Thomas a Kempis wrote:

'Very soon your life here will be at an end: look then to the state of your soul. Man is here today and tomorrow he is dead; and when he is out of sight, he is also quickly out of mind. Oh! the blindness and stupidity of man who thinks only of the present, and forgets to provide for the future. You ought to be as careful in every word and deed as if you were to die that very moment. If you had a good conscience you would not dread death very much. It is better to guard against sin than try to escape death. If you are not ready today, how will you be tomorrow? Tomorrow is an uncertain day; how can you tell whether you will have tomorrow?'

Saint Clare - 3 Cl.


Saint Clare of Assisi expressed to Saint Francis the desire to consecrate herself to God. Together with him, she became the foundress of the Franciscan Nuns of the Second Order: the 'Poor Clares'. She governed her convent for forty-two years, and died A.D. 1253.


Hear us, O God, our Saviour: and as we rejoice in the feast of blessed Clare, Thy Virgin: so we may learn a filial devotion to Thee. Through our Lord...

'The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with the lamps: and at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh: go ye forth to meet Christ the Lord.'

Comment: Let us offer a prayer today for those faithful souls who consecrate themselves entirely to our Lord in the religious life in imitation of blessed Clare. May they live with burning love for their Beloved and be ready to greet Him when He arrives.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Whether if Man Had Not Sinned, God Would Have Become Incarnate?

From Part III, Question 1, Article 3:

Since I have returned from the Faith Conference, I have given this topic some degree of thought, but I wish to present the thought of the Angelic Doctor first of all, to lay some foundations. I am sure that many of you will wonder the suitability of such questions which may seem purely speculative as we live in a fallen world and the Logos truly did descend. However, I believe that this is an important question as it relates to my previous thoughts on predestination and deification.

Let's begin with the Summa Theologica.
First of all we must define what the essential mission of the Incarnation of the Word was. Saint Augustine writes that 'Many other things are to be considered in the Incarnation of Christ besides absolution from sin.' Do we envisage the sending of the Son to be as a teacher, an example, a Messiah (of some variety) or a Saviour?
As written in the Holy Gospel according to Luke, 'the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost' (19:10). No if man had remained in the state of original innocence, unpolluted by the taint of sin, it follows that the Word would not have assumed human nature. The Divine Apostle, Paul appears to confirm this assertion as he wrote, 'Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners' (1 Tim. 1:15). Since there is no disease, does a need remain for the calling of the Physician?
Yet, we still have much to consider. It is evident that the Fall did occur and therefore what Christ came for involves principally redemption from sin. On the other hand, what currently is the prime motive may be otherwise. The Good Lord is not constrained by the actions of His creations which He has brought into being from nothing. The Angelic Doctor acknowledges that there are differing opinions on this matter but believes that greater weight should be placed upon the view that the Son of God would not have taken on flesh. Although, 'the power of God is not limited to this (the sin of Adam being committed); -even had sinned not existed, God could have become incarnate'.
Saint Thomas states that the will of God is made known to us through Sacred Writ (which also includes its interpretation in the life of the Church), and as the disaster of sin is linked to the coming of the Word, it 'is in accordance with this to say that the work of the Incarnation was ordained by God as a remedy for sin.'
However, to further complicate the issue, it is necessary to note that Sacred Scripture does not relate the other possibility that the earth were not created. It records actions according to truth, and does not deal with mere hypotheticals. God created the earth and sustains it. Man truly sinned and fell short of the glory of God, and floundered helpless without a Mediator.
In dealing with Saint Augustine's quotation that there are more things to be considering apart from liberation from sin, these 'additionals' concern the state of fallen man. Since if our First Parents had remained in the state of order and justice, they would have continued with the divine light of wisdom, and equipped to complete our whatever needed to be done.
Yet, we can all agree that as a result of the Descent, mankind has been raised to a lofty height. What is mortal man that God was so concerned about him, that He suffered humiliation on the Cross for His salvation? Without this dwelling of God with man as a friend, could this have occurred? Would we have been able to become 'gods' without His assumption of human nature?
All of this needs to be carefully thought out. But here is a start to the debate...

The Slippery Slope

I have just finished reading a short article in a newspaper concerning the explicit sexualisation of children through music. I am sure we all have our opinions and grievances on such an important matter yet I wish to here note some theory concerning the 'slippery slope'.
For many liberals, the notion of the 'slippery slope' (what I like to name, the 'widening door') is nothing more than moral hysteria, whereby man is trapped through fear of progress.
Yet, by liberalising certain moral norms, we undermine the very basis of that particular rule or law. What is affected is not merely a particular prohibition, but the very system itself. The worldview is radically altered, leading the way to a greater decline in morality.
As an example I wish to present the case of abortion. Once man has decided in his folly, that there are particular instances where a 'termination' may occur, the very value of life is categorically diminished. Far from preserving freedom of choice and 'autonomy', what manifests itself is the new belief that life and its importance are based upon outside considerations, on circumstances and whims. Therefore, it follows, that if the sanctity of life is grounded upon feelings and circumstances, there is no basis for the freedom of the will either. Life is rendered essentially worthless in itself, and is dictate by passing trends and currents of thought.

Distinction of Providence

Saint Augustine distinguishes two 'forms' of divine providence at work.

1) 'Natural' providence whereby the Lord works in a mysterious, inward manner to create, sustain and order according to natural processes. He writes:

'If all existing things would cease to be if form were taken from them, the unchangeable form by which all mutable things exist and fulfill their functions...is to them a providence. If it were not, they would not be'

2)'Voluntary' providence occurs most of all because of the plight of fallen man. In this 'form', He in His gracious mercy converts men from sin and turns them to Him through no merit of their own. He sustains order despite the corrupt nature of man and his predisposition to evil. He acts in space and time, to judge and punish evil, and to reward those who act according to justice. However, most importantly of all, He accomplices His saving work by sending prophets to preach repentance, and at the summit of the story of redemption, He sends the Logos to assume flesh in the womb of the Holy Virgin. Even today through His Catholic Church, He works by the interior illumination and cleansing of the Holy Spirit to bring men from the 'old man' to put on gradually the 'new man' Who is Christ Jesus. He in His wisdom orders creation to His glory and His will could never be frustrated.

Short Reflection on Prayer

I have written elsewhere on the topic, infact the gift, of prayer, yet not enough could ever be told of it. Without such intimate communion with the living and true God, no man is able to be saved. The life we have been given in this exile is that of relentless perseverence through the grace of God so that we may be made holy as the Father is holy. One is unable to regain the divine likeness if the very archtype is unknown to us, or is not sought after.
Saint Augustine writes 'There is brought about in prayer a turning of the heart to Him, Who is ever ready to give, if we will but take what He has given.'. Yet one cannot turn to God, unless He excites our minds and brings about in us a delight. Man seeks after what is pleasing to him, what will afford him benefit if he persues it. God, in His wisdom, orders and directs our wills to Himself, to the Supreme Good, in Whom there is no shadow of change or decay. He frees our captive wills and effects the change necessary so that we can cling to Him. With great reason we say at the foot of the Altar of God, 'Thou shall turn and give us life, and Thy people shall rejoice in Thee'.
Prayer is itself a gift, where man is invited to share closely with His Creator, Sustainer and Liberator. In prayer, man encounters He Who is His origin and end, in fact it is the Origin that seeks him. The Good Lord brings about delight in the creature's soul of the privilege and heights of prayer, that man can only foolishly decline. Through responding to the divine call, man is purged of evil inclinations and learns to acknowledge the truth of his nature; that it finds its fulfilment in the blessed and undivided Trinity.
In all things we must imitate the example of our Divine Redeemer. Follow His prayer, His intimate communion with the Father, His complete subjugation to His Father's will, even to the point of death. In prayer, we must not attempt to coerce God, to persuade Him of our merits or plans. We are not His equals. Our Lord Christ did not count equality with God to be grasped, but He emptied Himself and assumed the condition of a slave. Let us put aside our assumptions, our ambitions and submit to the Father humbly in prayer, beseeching that His will be done in us, however uncomfortable it may appear. Be molded by His mercy, as we are only the clay in His hands, and He will graciously bring you to glory.

New Member of the Body

This Sunday after the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, we had the joy of a new baby being baptised into the Catholic Church. For us in our community it was a great source of joy, especially for Father. Undergoing this laver of regeneration, the child is now sanctified, adopted as a child of God, made a temple of the Holy Spirit and a partaker of the Divine Nature. It is humbling to realise that this young boy was made the holiest person in church that day.
I ask you all to pray for him and his parents, that he may advance in holiness and endure faithfully to the end. The vocation to marriage and parenthood is a sublime call, where not only is your own soul at stake, but that of your spouse and your children as well. Through their example, prayers and guidance, the child is prepared not for employment or schooling, but must be equipped for heaven. To fail in such a duty is a grievous sin, yet the Lord never abandons us and His grace is always present for fallen men. Let us pray that the child will not stain his baptismal garment and will become a channel of grace for the rest of the community in which he resides.

Holy Virgin, intercede for the parents that they may raise up a saint in their midst by the constant grace of our Lord Christ.


Of St Tiburtius, Martyr
St. Susanna, Virgin, Martyr.

The Roman deacon Tiburtius, son of the prefect of Rome, was beheaded after suffering many cruel torments A.D. 286.
Susanna, a holy virgin of high lineage, refused to marry the son of Diocletian, and was beheaded after grevious torments A.D. 295.


May we enjoy the continual succour of Thy holy Martyrs Tiburtious and Susanna, O Lord; for Thou never ceasest to regard with mercy those to whom Thou dost vouchsafe such powerful help. Through our Lord...

'Brethren, the saints through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire...'

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Random Thought

Why do we complain of the evil in the world, when we so readily add to it?

...of the Greek Variety

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus:

'Through visible objects is made apparent the ordering of nature whereby reason is able to deduce the Author of the universe. How indeed could the universe have begun to exist, and how could it be still in existence, if God had not given it existence and were not sustaining it day by day now?'

Comment: All that exists must either have come into existence or have been present from all eternity. Nothing is able to cause its own existence, it cannot simply will itself into being. For it to will itself into being, it would have to already exist, which is absurd.

Fruits of Lectio Divina

The following meditation is taken from the Second Letter of the Divine Apostle, Paul to the Corinthians (9:6-10) for the feast day of St. Laurence:

What can man claim in the sight of God? What do we possess that we have not received? One of the greatest lies of the contemporary world is that man is an autonomous being, free to do as he pleases who shapes his own path through applying his efforts single-mindedly.
The sole aim of life is union with Christ, where man animated by charity participates in the divine life through the mercy of God. He who cheerfully gives imitates the generosity of God, Who can never be outdone in dispersion of goodness. All that we impart to our brothers in purity of heart is returned to us, crowned in glory. To hand out alms with a sorrowful heart is a great insult to God, Who out of nothing formed you and has called you to share in the trinitarian life. Such a lack of love for your neighbour often finds its source in a deficiency of trust in the Lord. Why would you hold back goods from your needy brother if you trusted in the love of God Who would provide all your necessities? Love for your neighbour only finds its perfection in love for our Creator, the Source of all Love. In return, He does not fill the poor with perishable goods, but transmits the divine life. Not mere earthly sustenance, but eternal glory and joy. As Christians the model for our life should be our Divine Redeemer. What did Christ gain when He offered Himself as a ransom for our sins? Honour and glory? He had these things with the Father from all eternity. He had no need for creation yet wished for us to share in His life for all eternity. We may call our acts of love, sacrificial, selfless, however such deeds end in self-recovery. Christ gained nothing by His Oblation, except souls that would share His glory, but the Cross certainly cost Him something.
What we relinquish for our friend only passes through our hands. It is the Lord Who 'ministereth the seed', it is His goodness that allows such acts of kindness to be performed. By His grace, we are able to abound in all good works. He liberates our captive will so that we can be truly merciful and act like Him. He that 'soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly', so if we wish to receive abundant life, why do we only yield aspects of our current state? Why do we compartmentalise our devotion to the Lord? Love what Christ loved on the Cross and place your spirit in the Father's hands. He will never desert you.

Random Thought

The reward of love is Love Himself.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Fr. Barron on Anti-Catholicism

I thought my page was looked a bit drab and wordy, so I have inserted a video from Father Barron, who always presents interesting thoughts on current issues of importance. A number of times recently I have thought, 'they would never say that about the Jews... (insert untouchable group here)'. About Catholics? Most certainly.

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day

Saint Catherine of Siena:

'I therefore earnestly request, as a special grace, the exercise of that supreme charity which prompted you to make man in your own image and likeness. What inspired You, or who persuaded You, to grant men such dignity? It was love alone which made You care for Your creature; You were, so to speak, possessed by love. I see clearly that man deserved to lose that dignity which You accorded him. Such depths of charity cannot be plumed. What heart is so hard that it can maintain its independence, virtually unmoved, when it contemplates the descent of God's grandeur into the depths of that dejected condition which is the measure of our humanity'

Comment: With the Psalmist (8:4), we wonder, 'What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?' Man rises up to God as He is the source of our being and only in Him can we shout for joy and take our rest. Yet, what has God to gain from our exaltation? What did He lack that He was forced by a law of necessity to bring us forth from nothing? No such motive compelled Him. So how can we answer this problem? The answer is simple: Divine love. In the Trinitarian life, God is subsisting perfection, relying on nothing outside of the divine essence. He receives His source from nothing, but He communicates that divine life to us. We may marvel at this great act of love, but how greater was the descent of the Logos to assume flesh and suffer a most horrendous death so that we may have abundant life? What could we offer to God in return, but ourselves? After all, our exaltation will be simply the Lord crowning His own gifts.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Random Thought

Even if we were to labour all the days of Methuselah in extreme penance and anguish, we would not be worthy to spend a single moment on this earth. All is of grace and mercy.

The Nature of Love - Some Clarification

I have thought in depth about what I have written previously on the nature of love, and have not been greatly pleased. For a basic outline it may be adequate, yet I was and remain concerned about how such writing may be perceived by others. Those two reflections must not and cannot be understood as stand alone features, but must be read in the light of my other writings on theology and the spiritual life. In case one day my writings are dissected by Popes and Ecumenical Councils (I say in jest), I must issue some elucidation on this most important question.
First of all, with Saint Thomas, I make a distinction between the natural will and the deliberate will. All of us as human persons have certain implicit desires that long to be fulfilled. All men without exception desire the perpetuation of a happy life and wish for the Good and Truth, yet in such a condition after the Fall, distortions frequently occur. No man desires evil, but sighs for the Good, for Truth and for blessedness. In sin, it is not that the ‘corruption’ that is sought after but what good remains. As a result of the Fall, man’s capacity to reason clearly and desire purely are seriously damaged. The will is vitiated, the intellect is darkened and man fumbles in the darkness. Such holy longings for the Supreme Good remain as potentialities, requiring the impulse of divine grace to bring about a delight in the mind so the ‘captive will’ can be liberated and perform a salutary act. Without this divine initiative, man is unable to discern the divine traces in creation and rise above to Him Who is Love of His essence. Free will on its own can do nothing apart from sin.
The heights of love we are called to, that I have spoken of recently, occur only because of the gracious mercy and operation of the Blessed Trinity, in particular the Incarnation of the Logos and His Supreme Oblation on the Cross. From the pierced side of Christ flow all graces necessary to bring us to sanctity and a share in the divine nature. Those who are saved and exalted are so, simply because of this Offering, which Holy Mother Church renews daily in the Mass, applying the merits to the souls of her children. Love finds its fulfilment in Christ who suffered excruciating torments so that we may have life and have it in abundance.

Without existing in a state of grace, man cannot be acceptable to God; his longings for love will be distorted and will rest upon some apparent good but will fall short of God, Who is Love truly.

Faith Conference

I have safely returned from my week in Surrey for the occasion of the Summer Faith Conference 2010. I would like to thank all who made this event possible, our priests in particular those who delivered a presentation, the women behind the scenes and all who contributed to a wonderful, Christ-filled week. Such orthodox events are rare for young people, and it was certainly a delight (and a shock) to hear the Church's doctrines concerning artificial contraception, abortion and the Real Presence of our Divine Lord in the Eucharist uncompromisingly defended. Also, this trip for me could not have been made possible without the funds being provided by my own parish in Livingston.
For an Augustinian with a great interest in and respect for Saint Thomas, the terminology and concepts of the Faith movement were strange to say the least. Using the current scientific explanation for the universe's origins, they believe that all creation is directed towards and finds its meaning in the Incarnation of the Logos, Who would have descended to earth whether man had sinned or not. Their approach is certainly Christ-centered, as it is only through Him that all things were made and only under His Name can man be saved. We were also told how God from all eternity had the Church foremost in His divine mind, all creation is for the Church, whereby one is united most intimately with the Lord, the Head. Their presentation of beliefs was not merely applied to the earth, or human society but to all that is, which I found very refreshing.
Also, I would like to show again my appreciation for Father T. Finigan who offered the Holy Sacrifice according to the Old Rite, and graciously permitted me to serve. For someone of immense learning, he is certainly a humble soul.
I attach a link for some photographs from his blog:

Faith Conference 2010 Group