Archbishop Coakley of Oklahoma City: Sanctification is “the principle and foundation of the Christian life, of all pastoral planning and pastoral work. … God creates us for holiness. God calls us to become saints.”

allsaintsimages

He said that the universal call to holiness is “really the heart of the [Second Vatican] Council, the heart of Lumen Gentium for sure, so I’ve hit upon that for many years, even before coming here, trying to inculcate that call to holiness, that call to be saints. That’s what it means to be Christian.”

He had written, “Holiness is not the prerogative of an elite few. It is the fundamental vocation that every Christian receives in baptism,” and reflected that holiness is not privatized or individualistic, though its expression is unique to each person.

“I’m trying to speak to the distorted understanding of what holiness means,” Archbishop Coakley explained. People often “equate sanctity with piety, and certainly, saints are pious people, but I think genuine holiness is much more robust than that.”

“Holiness has to be attractive, if it’s going to be compelling,” he said, adding that a genuine holiness “will be attractive.”

“I’ve encountered so much resistance to the notion of holiness, because people have such a poor understanding of what holiness looks like; what holiness looks like in a family,” he noted.

Read more

Editor’s note: Go make disciples of Jesus Christ – not necessarily disciples of Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, Pope Paul VI, etc. Preach the authentic Gospel, in season and out. Not the watered down, touchy-feely, feminized and modernized version that has been foisted on Catholics for lo these many years. Then see what happens!

1 Corinthians 1:10-13

(10) Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no schisms among you: but that you be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment.
(11) For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
(12) Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
(13) Is Christ divided? Was Paul then crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

What is the “wrath of God?”

The wrath of God is our experience of the total incompatibility of unrepented sin before the holiness of God.

The unrepentant sinner cannot endure the presence, and the holiness of God.There is for such a one wailing and grinding of teeth, anger and even rage when confronted by the existence of God and the demands of His justice and holiness.

God’s wrath does not mean in some simplistic sense that God is “mad” as if being emotionally worked up to fury. God is not moody and unstable. God is not subject to temper tantrums like we are. Rather this, God is holy, and the unrepentant sinner cannot endure his holiness, but experiences it as wrath.

Read more

In spite of all the scandals, it’s nice to know that the Catholic Church still accomplishes its’ divine mission.

stpeterssqenh

There is probably never a moment during the day in which Mass is not being celebrated somewhere on this planet, where the Liturgy of the Hours is not being celebrated. At every moment, Catholic school bells ringing, the poor and sick attended to by the Church, confessions being heard, counsel being given.

Text and video

Editor’s note: Msgr. Charles Pope provides a much needed look at all the good things the Catholic Church continues to accomplish in the world. The short video is both inspiring and informative. And all this has been going on virtually nonstop, 24/7 and 365, for the last 2000 years!

Imitating Christ: How to Make Your Family Holy.

holyfam

The Holy Family of Jesus is the greatest example and model for all human families. The Holy Family, like our own, knew and experienced hardships and tensions.

We hear of one such episode in the Gospel which is the basis for both the third of the Seven Sorrows of Mary and the fifth of the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary; the loss and finding of the child Jesus at the Temple.

As we meditate on this passage of Sacred Scripture (cf. Luke 2:41ff), we can relate to the emotions that Mary and Joseph experienced, the anxiety and joy, in realizing that they did not know where their child was and then finding him safe and well at the Temple.

Going deeper, we can each, perhaps, see in our own life the times when we have left Jesus behind… the anxiety when apart and the joy and peace that comes when we have again found Jesus in the center of our family.

Read more

On Infant Baptism and the Complete Gratuity of Salvation

It is a simple historical fact that the Church has always baptized infants. Even our earliest documents speak of the practice. For example the Apostolic Tradition written about 215 A.D. has this to say:

The children shall be baptized first. All of the children who can answer for themselves, let them answer. If there are any children who cannot answer for themselves, let their parents answer for them, or someone else from their family. (Apostolic Tradition # 21)

Scripture too confirms that infants should be baptized if you do the math. For example

People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (Luke 18:15-17 NIV)

So the Kingdom of God belongs to the little Children (in Greek brephe indicating little Children still held in the arms, babes). And yet elsewhere Jesus also reminds that it is necessary to be baptized in order to enter the Kingdom of God:

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:5 NIV)

If the Kingdom of God belongs to little children and we are taught that we cannot inherit it without baptism then it follows that Baptizing infants is necessary and that to fail to do so is a hindering of the little children which Jesus forbade his apostles to do.

Read more

This week’s Ask Alice: Does the term “holy” rightly apply only to God, alone?



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Mario asks: My Protestant friend does not think Mary deserves the title “holy”. He states only God is holy and only God can be considered holy. Is the Blessed Virgin Mary truly holy? Why in the Hail Mary prayer does it use the word “holy” (as in “Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners…”)?

Alice answers: The “Hail Mary” which Catholics pray, contains the exact words found in every Protestant, i.e., King James Bible!

“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee:
blessed art thou among women.”
(Luke 1:28)

The archangel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary is the only time in the Bible that an angel praises a human being. In this Scripture verse, Gabriel proclaims that Mary has been perfected in grace. An angel is a messenger of God. Clearly, Gabriel proclaimed the message that Mary is holy because she was sinless. Also, Mary is holy because she carried, bore, and nurtured the Son of God.

“The power of the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” (Luke 1:35)

Doesn’t your Protestant friend consider saints and angels to be holy? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word “holy” means, “Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power, sacred. Living according to a strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; saintly: a holy man.”

The same dictionary defines “saint” as, ” a person who has died and gone to Heaven.” The definition for “blessed” is, “held in veneration, revered.”

All of the dictionary definitions, when compared, define “holy” as a title that befits the Blessed Virgin. To call Mary, the Mother of God, holy, is not only a Catholic truth, but, also, an example of correct English word usage as well!

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

*****

Doug Lawrence adds: In a Christian context, the word “holy” literally means to be permanently set apart for God’s service.

Leviticus 27:28 Any thing that is devoted to the Lord, whether it be man, or beast, or field, shall not be sold: neither may it be redeemed. Whatsoever is once consecrated shall be holy of holies to the Lord.

“Holy” also typically denotes spiritual fidelity, and a complete absence of sin.

Catholics experience holiness in Jesus Christ, through our worthy participation in the sacraments of the church, and by our active participation in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

The Blessed Virgin Mary experienced (and continues to experience) holiness in Jesus Christ, in a much more direct manner!

Like many of her contemporaries, Mary, the Mother of God, took a vow of holy virginity in the Temple, at a very young age. Under the Mosaic Law, Mary would remain a virgin, totally devoted to God, even after a subsequent marriage.

The relevant passages can be found in Numbers, chapter 30, where the Law of Moses specifically authorizes just such a vow.

If a woman vow any thing, and bind herself by an oath, being in her father’s house, and but yet a girl in age: if her father knew the vow that she hath promised, and the oath wherewith she hath bound her soul, and held his peace, she shall be bound by the vow: Whatsoever she promised and swore, she shall fulfil in deed. (Numbers 30:3-4)

While the mere taking of such a vow would not necessarily make a person holy, God’s election of that person, for the purpose of divine maternity, most certainly would. There’s absolutely no doubt that the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of God’s “elect”.

Talk about a “personal relationship” with God!
Of all Christians, Protestants, in particular,
ought to be able to easily understand and appreciate
this aspect of Mary’s holiness!

Divine Transformation:

On Mount Sinai, Moses was (literally) transformed after spending only 40 days with God.

And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights: he neither ate bread nor drank water, and he wrote upon the tables the ten words of the covenant. And when Moses came down from the Mount Sinai, he held the two tables of the testimony, and he knew not that his face was luminous from the conversation of the Lord. And Aaron and the children of Israel seeing the face of Moses, were afraid to come near. And being called by him, they returned, both Aaron and the rulers of the congregation. And after that he spoke to them, And all the children of Israel came to him: and he gave them in commandment all that he had heard of the Lord on Mount Sinai. And having done speaking, he put a veil upon his face.
(Exodus 34:28-33)

For over 30 years, Mary shared her earthly dwelling place with Jesus, who is God, in the flesh. Imagine the effect the Son of God would have on his Blessed Mother, after spending more than 30 years with her?! Note that Mary also is routinely pictured, wearing a veil!

Apostolic Testimony:

The apostles and the disciples knew Mary, and they had no doubt that she was all of these things, and more … according to the power and grace of her son, Jesus, whose human body was divinely fashioned from Mary’s sinless and holy flesh.

The angel Gabriel hailed Mary as “full of grace”. To be “full” means just that … with no room at all in her soul for sin of any kind. God made her that way. He did it for himself … but mainly,
he did it for us.

Jesus Christ … “The holy that was born of thee” … was made of Mary’s own, holy flesh. While there’s no doubt that the power of God alone made that possible, the FACT remains!

The Bible tells us that nothing unholy can enter Heaven. That’s because God dwells in Heaven, with his angels and his saints, and his personal standard of holiness is infinitely high. Would the Father disrespect his son by providing for him (during his nine months in Mary’s womb) anything less than a sinless … and less than holy … human vessel, in which to dwell? Not likely!

Would Jesus accept a woman as his mother that was anything less than holy? Absolutely not! The “mission requirements” of the Messiah demanded a holy mother who would also serve as his most faithful and trusted disciple … one who could not be “turned” by the forces of evil.

For Mary, holiness was absolutely required.
God provided it, Mary willingly cooperated,
and Yahweh’s Salvation (Jesus) was born.
Case closed!

Testimony of the Scriptures:

God makes days holy:

Exodus 12:16 The first day shall be holy and solemn, and the seventh day shall be kept with the like solemnity: you shall do no work in them, except those things that belong to eating.

God makes Israel a holy nation:

Exodus 19:6 And you shall be to me a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation. These are the words thou shalt speak to the children of Israel.

God makes men holy:

Exodus 22:31 You shall be holy men to me: the flesh that beasts have tasted of before, you shall not eat, but shall cast it to the dogs.

God makes priestly vestments holy:

Exodus 28:2 And thou shalt make a holy vesture for Aaron, thy brother, for glory and for beauty.

God makes sacrificial vessels holy (bearing graven images, no less):

Exodus 28:36 Thou shalt make also a plate of the purest gold: wherein thou shalt grave with engraver’s work, Holy to the Lord.

God makes animal sacrifices and the hands of the priests who offer them, holy:

Exodus 29:33 That it may be an atoning sacrifice, and the hands of the offerers may be sanctified. A stranger shall not eat of them, because they are holy.

God makes the altar of sacrifice holy, as well as those who serve there:

Exodus 29:37 Seven days shalt thou expiate the altar and sanctify it, and it shall be most holy. Every one, that shall touch it, shall be holy.

God makes oil holy:

Exodus 30:25 And thou shalt make the holy oil of unction, an ointment compounded after the art of the perfumer,

God makes incense holy:

Exodus 30:35-36 And thou shalt make incense compounded by the work of the perfumer, well tempered together, and pure, and most worthy of sanctification. And when thou hast beaten all into very small powder, thou shalt set of it before the tabernacle of the testimony, in the place where I will appear to thee. Most holy shall this incense be unto you.

Because we are God’s children, and he is our God, he makes us holy, through our faithful observance of his laws and precepts:

Leviticus 11:44 For I am the Lord your God. Be holy because I am holy. Defile not your souls by any creeping thing, that moveth upon the earth.

Leviticus 20:7-8 Sanctify yourselves, and be ye holy: because I am the Lord your God. Keep my precepts, and do them. I am the Lord that sanctify you.

God’s name is holy, simply because it is HIS name. Wouldn’t Mary be similarly holy simply because she is HIS (Jesus’) mother?:

Leviticus 22:32-33 Profane not my holy name, that I may be sanctified in the midst of the children of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctify you: And who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. I am the Lord.

Leviticus 27:28 Any thing that is devoted to the Lord, whether it be man, or beast, or field, shall not be sold: neither may it be redeemed. Whatsoever is once consecrated shall be holy of holies to the Lord.

I can quote another 387 instances just like these, from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, where God makes various people, days, and things “holy”.

When God takes something or someone to himself and deems it “holy” … who can say otherwise?

This chapter from my book might also be of interest (link)

I hope this helps!

May God richly bless you and yours,

Doug

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

The Devil Is Afraid of Holiness

Ildefonso Schuster, the son of a Roman tailor, the Abbot of Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls, and the Cardinal-Archbishop of Milan, was at the same time a scholar learned in the Church’s liturgy, in history, in art, in catechesis, spirituality, and archeology; he was a shepherd of souls, a diplomat, and a peace-maker. Beneath the scarlet robes of a Prince of the Church, he remained a monk, a child of Saint Benedict. Thus was he able to say:

Before all other things, and even above all things, O Venerable Brothers, we are essentially adorers. “This is how one should regard us, as ministers of Christ” (1 Cor 4:1). After that we must also be ministers of the people, the salt of the earth, and fishers of men, etc. but first, it is absolutely necessary that we be true servants of God: Ministers of Christ . . . appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God (Heb 5:1).

As Cardinal-Archbishop, Blessed Schuster never failed to direct the energies of his priests toward the One Thing Necessary. A few days before his death he withdrew to the seminary he had built and there he delivered a final message to his seminarians, warning them of the futility of an apostolate without personal holiness:

I have no memento to give you apart from an invitation to holiness. It would seem that people are no longer convinced by our preaching; but faced with holiness, they still believe, they still fall to their knees and pray.

People seem to live ignorant of supernatural realities, indifferent to the problems of salvation. But when an authentic saint, living or dead passes by, all run to be there.

Do not forget that the devil is not afraid of our [parish] sports fields and of our movie halls: he is afraid, on the other hand, of our holiness.

Read more

Priest offers positive, common sense definition (and defense) of celibacy

Fr. McBride said that the real reason for sex abuse and sexual misconduct by priests is not celibacy but “the failure to practice the virtue of chastity when faced with temptations to abandon their vow of celibacy.”

He noted that people often make the unfortunate mistake of defining celibacy in a negative way as if it’s simply the act of giving up marriage and and children.

However, “the positive view of celibacy,” he said,  “is that it is a form of loving God and people with an undivided heart.”

“Celibacy did not block Blessed John Paul II from being admired as one of the most courageous priests on earth,” Fr. McBride underscored. “See how one celibate priest stood up against one of the most corrupt governments of his time.”

“Priests that abused children did not do so because of their celibacy, rather they failed because they broke their vow to be chaste,” he said.

Read more at Father Z’s

Bishop Tobin prefers to maintain a positive view of things happening in today’s church.

I see a Church in which the vast majority of priests are good and sincere men who work very hard, conscientiously and generously, to serve the Lord Jesus and His people.

I see a Church in which most of our parishes are strong and vibrant; parishes that are filled every Sunday with good and faithful people who assemble to hear the Word of God, to receive the Holy Eucharist, and to thank God for the many gifts and blessings they’ve received.

I see a Church in which thousands of individuals, women and men, young and old, assist the Church either as paid professionals or volunteers in diverse fields such as Catholic education, religious education, youth ministry, Catholic Scouting, parish leadership and liturgical ministries.

I see a Church that has dedicated lay organizations – such as the Knights of Columbus, the Daughters of Isabella, the Saint Vincent de Paul Societies and many others – which invest lots of time, talent and money to do great, but often unseen things, in service to our Church and community.

I see a Church that’s not at all afraid to wade into the turbulent waters of intense public debate and bring the truth of the Gospel to issues such as health-care reform, immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage.

I see a Church that provides outstanding social services – supporting nursing homes and food pantries, helping refugees get settled in their new homes, teaching immigrants to speak English, providing heating assistance for families, and opening shelters for homeless folks during dark, cold winter nights.

I see a Church that’s determined in its defense of human life, with brave and hardy individuals praying in front of abortion clinics on frigid January mornings, generously providing for the needs of single moms, and testifying on behalf of holy matrimony in the halls of the State House.

I see a Church in which scores of remarkable young people spend their vacation time travelling to Jamaica and other Central American countries ministering to impoverished, handicapped children who will never have the material blessings that they themselves have.

You see, in the Catholic Church there are so many good people; so many good things that happen everyday. This is just a snapshot of the Church I see, and no doubt I’ve missed other parts of the beautiful mosaic. To those I haven’t mentioned, I apologize, but thank you too, for your dedication and truly good work.

Read more

Scandals in the church

A Catholic Perspective

Answering Scandal with Personal Holiness
Fr. Roger J. Landry: Perhaps the single best commentary on the matter.

Tell Father You See Jesus
Bud Macfarlane: The attack on the twin towers of our faith.

The Catholic Bishops and the Scandals
Kenneth Whitehead: Why so many bishops ignore dissent.

A Close Look at Voice of the Faithful
Deal Hudson: “VOTF is simply another group of dissenters.”

The Bishop’s Secret Letter
Deal Hudson: Eight American bishops call for a Plenary Council.

Scapegoating and the Scandals
Father Richard John Neuhaus: Where there is no mercy, there is no hope.

The Deficiencies of the Bishop’s Policy
Charles Rice: Vague definitions leads to the intimidation or blackmail of priests.

Homosexuality, Dissent and Modernism – The Roots Of Abuse
“The bishops still don’t get it.”

See 20 more articles like this at CatholicCity.com

Voris: Catholicism is as tangible as the water you drink and the air you breath and the food you eat.


Watch the video

Read the transcript (PDF)

Why frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance can work miracles.


Romans 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for you are not under the law, but under grace.

Grace is the currency of Heaven … and it’s also the way God enables, empowers, and sanctifies those who love him.

Probably one of the most under-appreciated aspects of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the fact that (like all sacraments) it infuses abundant grace into the soul.

How much grace?

For the sake of argument, let’s call it “enough to replace all that had been lost, through sin … plus a little more.”

What does this mean, for Catholics who are seriously pursuing personal holiness, conversion, and ultimate perfection in Jesus Christ?

Every time you make a good confession … no matter how grievously you might have offended God … you leave … absolved of all your sins … but also with (at least) a little more grace in your soul … than you ever had before.

Imagine what would happen,
if every time you went to the bank,
you left with more money in your account
than when you went in!

Scripture informs us that God has always empowered the weak and the infirm in this way:

2Corinthians 12:9  And he said to me:
My grace is sufficient for thee:
for power is made perfect in infirmity.
Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Regularly presenting ourselves before the Lord, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, serves to empower us to overcome any and all of our human infirmities (spiritual weaknesses, and even physical illnesses) through the sufficiency of God’s abundant grace.

Accepting this fact and acting on it (in humility and faith) not only keeps the forces of the world, the flesh, and the devil under control … but it is a sure and certain way to please God … since it also keeps us perfectly centered in his will … and his plan.

It doesn’t get any better than that, this side of Heaven!

Based on all of this, how often should a Catholic go to confession? Probably a lot more often than we do!

Related article

Benedict XVI on All Saints Day: Sanctity Is the Christian’s Life Goal


VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Sanctity is the goal of a Christian’s life, and one gets a glimpse of holiness at every Mass, says Benedict XVI.

On Monday, the Solemnity of All Saints, the Pope reflected on sanctity before praying the Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

The Solemnity of All Saints, he began, “invites us to raise our gaze to heaven and to meditate on the fullness of divine life that awaits us.”

“Sanctity, to imprint Christ in oneself, is the objective of a Christian’s life,” the Holy Father affirmed. “And we experience in advance the gift of the beauty of sanctity every time we take part in the Eucharistic liturgy, in communion with the ‘immense multitude’ of the blessed, who in heaven eternally acclaim the salvation of God and of the Lamb.”

Benedict XVI also reflected on today’s feast day, the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls), which he said reminds us “that Christian death is part of the journey of assimilation to God, which will disappear when God is everything in all.”

“Although separation from earthly affection is certainly painful,” he continued, “we must not be afraid of it, because when it is accompanied by the prayer of suffrage of the Church, it cannot break the profound bonds that unite us to Christ.”

Quoting his encyclical “Spe Salvi,” the Pontiff also spoke of eternity, which he said is not “‘an unending succession of days in the calendar, but something more like the supreme moment of satisfaction, in which totality embraces us and we embrace [the] totality’ of being, of truth, of love.”

The Seven Daily Habits of Holy People


There are various ways to come to know Jesus. We are going to speak briefly about some of them in this article. You want to come to know, love and serve Jesus the same way you learn to love and stay in love with anybody: your spouse, family members, and close friends, i.e. by spending a considerable amount of time with him on a regular and, in this case, daily basis. The payoff, if you will, is the only true happiness in this life and the vision of God in the next. There are no easy substitutes. Sanctification is a work of a lifetime and it requires our determined effort to cooperate with God’s sanctifying grace coming through the sacraments.

The seven daily habits that I propose to you are the morning offering, spiritual reading (New Testament and a spiritual book suggested to you by your spiritual advisor), the Holy Rosary, Holy Mass and Communion, at least fifteen minutes of mental prayer, the recitation of the Angelus at noon, and a brief examination of conscience at night.

These are the principal means to achieve holiness. If you are a person who wants to bring Christ to others through your friendship, these are the instruments by which you store up the spiritual energy that will enable you to so. Apostolic action without the sacraments and a deep solid interior life will in the long run be ineffective. You can be sure that all the saints incorporated in one way or another all of these habits into their daily routine. Your goal is to be like them, contemplatives in the middle of the world.

Read more by Fr. McCloskey

Countercultural Christianity: The Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Amen.

Prayer attributed to Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),
Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

Thanks to Msgr. Charles Pope

There is a Freedom in Holiness

A more helpful and true understanding of the Christian moral life and of Christian moral norms is that they are descriptions of what a transformed human being is like. What begins to happen to a person who is indwelt by the Spirit of Christ? What do they look like, act like? What are their priorities and attitudes? In other words what begins to happen to a person in whom Jesus Christ really beings to live and whom he is transforming? In the great moral treatise of the Lord known as the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is not merely giving negative prescriptions (not to be angry, not to look lustfully, not to divorce or swear oaths, etc). Rather he is describing the transformed human person. Such a person has authority over their anger (Mt 5:22); has the courage to be reconciled to others around him (5:24); has authority over his thought life (5:28) and sexuality (5:28); loves his or her spouse (5:31); Is a man of his word (5:34); is not revengeful, feels no need to retaliate (5:39ff); and loves everyone, even his enemies (5:43ff). This is but a partial description of a human being not only being transformed but also set free from deep drives of sin like anger, greed, lust, pride, envy, gluttony, sloth, resentments, hatred, fears, bitterness, self-centeredness, egotism, bad priorities, worldliness and the like.

Read more

Purgatory – Biblical and Reasonable

purgenh

The Catholic teaching of Purgatory is one of the teachings of the Church that today many struggle to understand. Non-Catholics have generally rejected this teaching, calling it unbiblical. Actually, it is quite biblical and the biblical roots of the teaching will be shown in this reflection. Many Catholics too, influenced and embarrassed by the protests of non-Catholics have been led to downplay, question or even reject this teaching. The task of this reflection is to set forth the Catholic teaching on Purgatory as both biblical and reasonable. It is perhaps best to begin with a description of the teaching on Purgatory, then show it’s biblical roots. Finally it will be good to show why the teaching makes sense based on what God has said to us about holiness and heaven.

Read the article

Heroic Virtue: The Essence of Holiness and a fruit of God’s Grace

 Crucifixion of St. Peter

petercrucfd

Excerpts from the recent remarks of Archbishop Angelo Amato about heroic virtue and the holiness of the Saints:

The original source of the holiness of the Church (and holiness in the Church) is the Triune God.

Heroic virtue is recognizable, first of all, by its frequency, its promptness, the joyful character of virtuous activity; and secondly, by the fact that amidst complicated obstacles, formed by external or internal circumstances, these are overcome in such a way that the virtuous hero can be considered capable of great sacrifices for the Gospel in the total abnegation of self.

In heroic virtue, Christ becomes visible again in our midst and the saint becomes the mirror of Christ. The saints, moreover, are true operators of the enculturation of the Gospel, not through theories elaborated at a desk, but rather by living and manifesting the sequela Christi (the following of Christ) in their own culture.

Click to read the entire article

Additional details:

Holiness is something we have in Christ. Without Jesus Christ, it would be impossible for anyone to be holy, to do anything meritorious (in the eyes of God) or to attain Heaven.

The purpose of every Catholic Sacrament, each of the seven instituted personally by Jesus Christ, is to freely and abundantly dispense the supernatural grace that has the divine power to transform, and to make us holy.

The Catholic Church, also personally instituted by Jesus Christ, remains the universal sacrament of salvation in the world, not because of anything we do, but according to what God has already done for us. In perfect union with God, the Catholic Church is inseparable from Jesus, who is “The Way, the Truth, and the Life”.

Receiving the sacraments while refusing to do the work which they (in Christ) empower (and inspire) is being no different than the wicked, lazy, and foolish servant who buried his talent in the ground, reaping nothing but wrath and perdition, for his reward.

Hence, the true path to holiness in Christ can always be found through our constant, faithful and charitable participation in all of the authentic work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church.

There is no other way.

What Is Holiness? Why Is Holiness Important?

Q: What Is Holiness? Why Is Holiness Important?

A: Holiness is something we have in Christ, and it’s impossible to achieve without him.

Since nothing unholy will ever be admitted to Heaven, holiness is critical for salvation.

The whole purpose of the Church is to lead all to holiness in Christ, so that death and hell will no longer reign over the earth.

The most dependable way to achieve authentic holiness is through a lifetime of charitable and faithful participation in all of the work, worship, sacraments, and devotions of the Catholic Church.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

IV. CHRISTIAN HOLINESS

2012 “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him . . . For those whom he fore knew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.”64

2013 “All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.”65 All are called to holiness: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”66

 

In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ’s gift, so that . . . doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints.67

2014 Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called “mystical” because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments – “the holy mysteries” – and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all.

2015 The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.68 Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:

 

He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.69

2016 The children of our holy mother the Church rightly hope for the grace of final perseverance and the recompense of God their Father for the good works accomplished with his grace in communion with Jesus.70 Keeping the same rule of life, believers share the “blessed hope” of those whom the divine mercy gathers into the “holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”71

What are some Instances Of Holiness In The Bible?

Q: What are some Instances Of Holiness In The Bible?

A: Of course, God is holy.

People, places, and things become holy when God accepts them, takes them to himself, or sets them apart, for his particular purpose(s).

Holiness is something that is impossible to achieve on our own.

Holiness is something we Christians experience, and hopefully become, in and through Jesus Christ and his Church.

Adam and Eve were originally holy … before the fall.

The ground on which Moses walked, when he encountered God, was holy. Odds are, Moses eventually became holy, too, since he spent a lot of time in God’s immediate presence.

The desert Tabernacle was holy, as was the Ark of the Covenant, and later … so was the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is Holy. Mary was the first person in history to be “saved” … and she was saved, from the moment of her conception. She was also the first person since Adam and Eve to receive sanctifying grace from God. This was to equip and prepare Mary to become the mother of Jesus.

John the Baptist was probably holy, since he had a special mission from God, he was baptized by the Holy Spirit while still inside his mother’s womb, and he was also a martyr.

Golgatha (Calvary) is holy, since that’s where Christ’s blood was poured out. Jesus’ tomb would also be holy, for much the same reason.

The Church is holy, because it comes from God, and it belongs to God.

Baptism makes a person holy.

The Bible is holy, because it is the inerrant, written Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church was holy.

Christians who confess their sins, who exhibit true contrition for them, and who authentically repent, might be holy … at least until they commit another sin.

Every Catholic and Orthodox Church building and sanctuary is holy, since the real presence of Jesus Christ is typically reserved there.

Denominational Christian church buildings are holy, because they are dedicated to God.

Catholics who receive the Holy Eucharist, while in a state of grace, are most certainly holy, since they enjoy the real presence of Jesus Christ within them, which for a short time, makes them living tabernacles of the Lord.

Moving further along, all the saints in Heaven, as mentioned in the Book of Revelation, are holy.

When Jesus comes again, all of creation will become holy … transformed by the power of God … for eternity.

There’s probably a number of other good examples, and I dont mean to exclude anyone or anything. I just ran out of time.