Operation Formation December 9, Speaker: Rev. John Belmonte, Diocese of Joliet Catholic School Superintendent

Link to Flier (PDF)

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Out of every ten people, seven can not live their faith in full freedom.

The most persecuted religion is Christianity, with at least 200 million people suffering from discrimination. This was revealed by the report on religious freedom in the world that is published every two years by the Catholic organization “Aid to the Church in Need.”

In 21 of the 194 countries studied, there is hardly any religious freedom. The report notes that there are two types of religious persecution: one by policy and one by members of other religions.

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79% of all abortions in New York City over a 10-yr period – 726,845 babies – were Black and Hispanic.

  • According to Dr. La Verne Tolbert, former NYC Planned Parenthood board member, Planned Parenthood targets black babies, and there have been 20 million aborted Black babies in the U.S. since 1973.

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Novena for the Immaculate Conception

Novena for the Immaculate Conception

O IMMACULATE Virgin! Mary, conceived without sin!
Remember, thou wert miraculously preserved from
even the shadow of sin, because thou wert destined
to become not only the Mother of God, but also
the mother, the refuge, and the advocate of man;
penetrated, therefore, with the most lively confidence
in thy never-failing intercession, we most humbly implore
thee to look with favor upon the intentions of this novena,
and to obtain for us the graces and favors we request.
(Here form your petitions.)
Thou knowest, O Mary, how often our hearts are the
sanctuaries of God, Who abhors iniquity. Obtain for us,
then, that Angelic purity which was thy favorite virtue,
that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone, and
that purity of intention which will consecrate every thought,
word, and action to His greater glory. Obtain also for us a
constant spirit of prayer and self-denial, that we may recover
by penance that innocence which we have lost by sin,
and at length attain safely to that blessed abode of the
Saints, where nothing defiled can enter.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.


Editor’s note: Computer users should quickly understand that we weren’t the first to utilize the concept of a “firewall” in order to avoid sabotage or corruption.

If Jesus’ human flesh had been tainted by sin in any way, then his life and his sacrificial death would have been pointless, and we would all still be trapped in our sins, hopelessly destined for an eternity in hell.

Mary is God’s original “firewall” against human sin. Superabundantly graced by God … Mary … even from the moment of her conception … was preserved from all  sin (original and otherwise) and as a result of God’s grace (and Mary’s willing cooperation) she never sinned at all … before, during, or after Jesus Christ took on the holy flesh that Mary agreed to provide … flesh that was absolutely necessary for Christ’s mission of reconciliation and redemption.

Submitted by Doria2

Amazing Grace

A recurring them in Christian chat rooms and other types of on-line forums is the Catholic understanding of saintly intercession … especially regarding the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary … and whether such practices can be truly termed Christian.

It’s true that a good number of today’s Catholics and non-Catholics alike, seem to have a great deal of difficulty correlating the literal text of the Bible with Catholic teachings and practices, on this matter.

And while most Protestants choose to concentrate solely on faith, scripture, and Jesus … Catholics may choose all of the above … plus the very substantial “cult” of Mary … along with veneration of angels and all the other saints.

So … who is right … and why?

The awesome power and sufficiency of God’s grace

From Adam’s fall until the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the world was totally devoid of God’s sanctifying grace, with all of mankind enslaved to Satan, sin and death.

In the fullness of time, God provided, through his sovereign power over all creation, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was conceived without sin … “full of grace” … “highly favored” … the only non-divine person ever proved to be totally immune to the corruption of Satan’s evil, earthly dominion.

It is for this reason that Mary
should be universally honored and venerated,
since … never before or since …
has any other non-divine human being
ever successfully accomplished such a thing …
with or without the help of God’s grace.

The Bible agrees:

Luke 1:46-49  And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is his name.

The fact that Mary chose to so closely cooperate with God in all of Jesus’ great, salvific work, is absolute proof of the sufficiency of God’s grace … that his will be done, on Earth, and in Heaven.

This triumphant and extraordinarily successful
behavior is most certainly to be emulated,
since Mary’s close cooperation
with God and his grace
makes her THE “Model Christian” of all time.

God’s grace is also why the Blessed Virgin Mary holds so many titles … including the “Mother of the Church” … and why she has already been crowned  the authentic “Queen of Heaven” … ruling and reigning there, at the right hand of her divine son, Jesus … according to the “amazing” power of his grace.

In this regard,
the totality of the biblical promises
that Jesus makes to every faithful Christian
has already been fully realized
in the extraordinary,
grace empowered existence
of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

That is not to say there will be nothing left in Heaven for the rest of us, since God’s abundance is infinite, and he never “runs out” of anything. So we can be sure of receiving all that God has promised us in Heaven, no matter how many billions of other souls might triumphantly enter therein.

While Mary, the Mother of God, enjoys a totally unique and preeminent position in God’s order of grace, there’s nothing preventing God from giving awesome power and authority to angels and/or to all the other saints.

The Book of Revelation lists a number of divine “rewards” that will be bestowed on those who manage to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, by voluntarily cooperating with God’s grace:

Eternal life

Revelation 2:11  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: He that shall overcome shall not be hurt by the second death.

Ruling and Reigning

Revelation 2:26  And he that shall overcome and keep my words unto the end, I will give him power over the nations.

Divine Honor and Recognition

Revelation 3:5  He that shall overcome shall thus be clothed in white garments: and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life. And I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

Holiness – Being Set Apart by God for His Express Purpose

Revelation 3:12  He that shall overcome, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God: and he shall go out no more. And I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and my new name.

Theosis – Becoming like God

Revelation 3:21  To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with me in my throne: as I also have overcome and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Relationship – As God’s Tried and True, Sons and Daughters

Revelation 21:7  He that shall overcome shall possess these things. And I will be his God: and he shall be my son.

The power of God’s grace is the only thing that makes all of this possible.

Why?

Luke 1:37 Because no word shall be impossible with God.

So … why do Catholics think it is OK
… even laudable
to ask Mary and the saints for help?

Because Mary and the saints are already “tried and true” … holy and acceptable to God.

Because only God and his grace made the triumph of Mary and the saints possible.

Because the promises of Christ are practical and salvific, and meant to be an ongoing blessing to all the People of God, wherever they might presently be found.

Because we’re all “family” … related to each other (and to God) through Adam, Jesus Christ, and the Church … and there is solid biblical precedent for the right of “kin” helping (and redeeming) other “kin”.

Because helping others in their time of need is the charitable and Christian thing to do … especially for those who have already been perfected by God’s grace, in Heaven.

Because God respects the dignity of the human race, which he created (in his own image and likeness) by kindly remembering to include us (along with our good works/voluntary cooperation with his grace) in his universal plan of salvation.

Because God loves us, and Heaven poses no barrier at all to the power of divine love and grace.

There’s no doubt that God empowers angels
to assist men, in times of need.

Mary and all the other saints,
by the power of God’s grace,
possess power and authority that is superior
to that of the angels,
so there is absolutely nothing that would prevent
them from using that power for the benefit of souls
still on earth … because, as we all know …

God desires all men to be saved,
and to come to the knowledge of his truth.
(1st Timothy 2:4)

Islam needs to emerge from its’ self-imposed “dark ages” and join the world community.


The days of Muslim Conquest
and the Crusades are behind us.

by Doug Lawrence

Islam claims to be a religion of peace, but so long as Islam continues to harbor terrorists and murderers within its’ ranks, and so long as Islam appears to officially support various types of revenge and brutal discrimination, under the false guise of Sharia and Jihad, few non-Muslims are ever likely to take Islam seriously, as a true world religion … let alone, a religion of peace.

Muslim Sharia Law is an only slightly modified version of the old Mosaic Law of the Jews. The Law actually worked pretty well in the harsh living environment of nomadic desert dwellers … and it should have … since it was originally given to the Israelites by God (Allah) for that express purpose. But when impressed on modern-day urban citizenry by certain fundamentalist Imams, Sharia can easily take on the look and feel of brute totalitarianism.

All of current-day Islam’s inherent violence and its’ serious denials/abuses of personal freedom make Islam look very unappealing and even frightening to the common man. And that should not come as a surprise, to anyone.

I’m betting that the promoters of true Islam can make a logical case for many/most of their fundamental beliefs and practices, but there’s no way they can ever do the same for violent Jihad and brutal, religious persecution and discrimination … simply because that type of behavior is essentially an unjust, corrupt aberration … and it was never a part of original, authentic Islam.

The days of the Crusades are behind us. The world (except apparently, for certain Muslims, and a few others) has moved on. Now, it’s high time for the true leaders of the Islamic world to get together, universally reject violence and terrorism, disown and shun those who can’t or won’t change their Medieval ways, and finally, join the modern family of nations, in peace.

Old Law – Fulfilled and Set Aside By Jesus Christ

tabletsstone.jpg

Christians Not Under the Old Law

Pius XII: Mystici Corporis, 29: “And first of all, by the death of our Redeemer, the New Testament took the place of the Old Law which had been abolished; then the Law of Christ together with its mysteries, enactments, institutions, and sacred rites was ratified for the whole world in the blood of Jesus Christ…but on the Gibbet of His death Jesus made void the Law with its decrees fastened the handwriting of the Old Testament to the Cross, establishing the New Testament in His blood shed for the whole human race. “To such an extent, then,” says St. Leo the Great, speaking of the Cross of our Lord, “was there effected a transfer from the Law to the Gospel, from the Synagogue to the Church, from the many sacrifices to one Victim, that, as Our Lord expired, that mystical veil which shut off the innermost part of the temple and its sacred secret was rent violently from top to bottom.”

30: “On the Cross then the Old Law died, soon to be buried and to be a bearer of death, in order to give way to the New Testament of which Christ had chosen the Apostles as qualified ministers”

Council of Trent, ch 1, 793: “but not even the Jews by the very letter of the law of Moses were able to be liberated or to rise therefrom”

Council of Trent, Session 6, ch 2: “that He might both redeem the Jews, who were under the Law”

Council of Trent, Canon 1: “If anyone shall say that man can be justified before God by his own works which are done through his own natural powers, or through the teaching of the Law…let him be anathema.”

Council of Florence, DS 695: “There are seven sacraments of the new Law: namely, baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, orders, and matrimony, which differ a great deal from the sacraments of the Old Law. For those of the Old Law did not effect grace, but only pronounced that it should be given through the passion of Christ; these sacraments of ours contain grace, and confer it upon those who receive them worthily.”

Council of Florence, DS 712: “It firmly believes, professes, and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosiac law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were established to signify something in the future, although they were suited to the divine worship at that time, after our Lord’s coming had been signified by them, ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began; and that whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of the law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally.”

“All, therefore, who after that time observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, it declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors. Therefore, it commands all who glory in the name of Christian, at whatever time, before or after baptism’ to cease entirely from circumcision, since, whether or not one places hope in it, it cannot be observed at all without the loss of eternal salvation.”

Pope Benedict XIV, Ex Quo Primum, #59: “However they are not attempting to observe the precepts of the old Law, which as everyone knows have been revoked by the coming of Christ.”

Pope Benedict XIV, Ex Quo Primum, #61: “The first consideration is that the ceremonies of the Mosaic law were abrogated by the coming of Christ and they can no longer be observed without sin after the promulgation of the Gospel.”

Pius VI, DS 1519-1520 (condemned the following): “Likewise, the doctrine which adds that under the Law man ‘became a prevaricator, since he was powerless to observe it, not indeed by the fault of the Law, which was most sacred, but by the guilt of man, who, under the Law, without grace, became more and more a prevaricator’; and it further adds, ‘that the Law, if it did not heal the heart of man, brought it about that he would recognize his evil, and, being convinced of his weakness, would desire the grace of a mediator’; in this part it generally intimates that man became a prevaricator through the nonobservance of the Law which he was powerless to observe, as if ‘He who is just could command something impossible, or He who is pious would be likely to condemn man for that which he could not avoid’ (from St. Caesarius Serm. 73, in append., St. Augustine, Serm. 273, edit. Maurin; from St. August., De nat, et “rat., e. 43; De “rat. et lib. arb., e. 16, Enarr. in psalm. 56, n. I),– false scandalous, impious, condemned in Baius (see n. 1504).

1520 20. “In that part in which it is to be understood that man, while under the Law and without grace, could conceive a desire for the grace of a Mediator related to the salvation promised through Christ, as if ‘grace itself does not effect that He be invoked by us’ (from Conc. Araus. II, can. 3 [v.n. 176]),– the proposition as it stands, deceitful, suspect, favorable to the Semipelagian heresy.

The above citations were taken from Denziger’s, and were compiled by Bob Sungenis, at Catholic Apologetics International.

Commentary by Doug Lawrence:

Jesus personally gave us the new commandment: Love God. Love your neighbor.

In this, he was anticipating his perfect and atoning sacrifice, which would accomplish what no law ever could.

The old law …. all of it … ceased to exist once Jesus gave us the NEW and BETTER covenant in his blood.

Under the NEW COVENANT, we have the BEATITUDES, which do indeed promise BLESSINGS and REWARDS for laudable behavior.

The Beatitudes are to the new covenant what the law was to the old … only better.

So that begs the question: Which laws are you following? Precisely how does following an obsolete set of laws obtain grace? Why are you not instead seeking ALL the blessings and rewards promised by Christ, in the Beatitudes?

Jesus went on to found the authentic Church, to serve as the infallible guide for every generation of Christians, until the end of time … and to act definitively, as the primary distributor of all his grace, peace, and forgiveness.

The church eventually readopted and readapted the Ten Commandments … to be used as a guide to the spiritual realities and Christian morality of the New Covenant.

But the fact remains: People continue to sin almost constantly, and the law provides no remedy for sin, other than judgment. It never did.

Fortunately for us … God does.

God saves by the grace of the cross, which is freely available to all … primarily through the one, holy, apostolic and universal church that Jesus personally founded, for the purpose of our salvation … the Catholic Church – not by any law.

More … about that “jot and tittle” passage in the Gospel

About the Sabbath day

St. Paul speaks to the Galatians about “the Law”:

Gal 3:1 O senseless Galatians, who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the truth: before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been set forth, crucified among you?
Gal 3:2 This only would I learn of you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?
Gal 3:3 Are you so foolish that, whereas you began in the Spirit, you would now be made perfect by the flesh?
Gal 3:4 Have you suffered so great things in vain? If it be yet in vain.
Gal 3:5 He therefore who giveth to you the Spirit and worketh miracles among you: doth he do it by the works of the law or by the hearing of the faith?
Gal 3:6 As it is written: Abraham believed God: and it was reputed to him unto justice.
Gal 3:7 Know ye, therefore, that they who are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Gal 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God justifieth the Gentiles by faith, told unto Abraham before: In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Gal 3:9 Therefore, they that are of faith shall be blessed with faithful Abraham.
Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written: Cursed is every one that abideth, not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Gal 3:11 But that in the law no man is justified with God, it is manifest: because the just man liveth by faith.
Gal 3:12 But the law is not of faith: but he that doth those things shall live in them.
Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (for it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree).
Gal 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus: that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.
Gal 3:15 Brethren (I speak after the manner of man), yet a man’s testament, if it be confirmed, no man despiseth nor addeth to it.
Gal 3:16 To Abraham were the promises made and to his seed. He saith not: And to his seeds as of many. But as of one: And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Gal 3:17 Now this I say: that the testament which was confirmed by God, the law which was made after four hundred and thirty years doth not disannul, to make the promise of no effect.
Gal 3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Gal 3:19 Why then was the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom he made the promise, being ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Gal 3:20 Now a mediator is not of one: but God is one.
Gal 3:21 Was the law then against the promises of God: God forbid! For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law.
Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise, by the faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe.
Gal 3:23 But before the faith came, we were kept under the law shut up, unto that faith which was to be revealed.
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our pedagogue in Christ: that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:25 But after the faith is come, we are no longer under a pedagogue.
Gal 3:26 For you are all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:29 And if you be Christ’s, then are you the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise.

And similarly … to the Colossians:

Col 2:6 As therefore you have received Jesus Christ the Lord, walk ye in him:
Col 2:7 Rooted and built up in him and confirmed in the faith, as also you have learned: abounding in him in thanksgiving.
Col 2:8 Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit: according to the tradition of men according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ.
Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporeally.
Col 2:10 And you are filled in him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Col 2:11 In whom also you are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand in despoiling of the body of the flesh: but in the circumcision of Christ.
Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism: in whom also you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God who hath raised him up from the dead.
Col 2:13 And you, when you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he hath quickened together with him, forgiving you all offences:
Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us. And he hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross.
Col 2:15 And despoiling the principalities and powers, he hath exposed them confidently in open shew, triumphing over them in himself.
Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink or in respect of a festival day or of the new moon or of the sabbaths,
Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come: but the body is of Christ.
Col 2:18 Let no man seduce you, willing in humility and religion of angels, walking in the things which he hath not seen, in vain puffed up by the sense of his flesh:
Col 2:19 And not holding the head, from which the whole body, by joints and bands, being supplied with nourishment and compacted, groweth into the increase of God.
Col 2:20 If then you be dead with Christ from the elements of this world, why do you yet decree as though living in the world?
Col 2:21 Touch not: taste not: handle not.
Col 2:22 Which all are unto destruction by the very use, according to the precepts and doctrines of men.
Col 2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in superstition and humility, and not sparing the body; not in any honour to the filling of the flesh.