President Obama’s Christmas message – with a few very important Catholic corrections

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by Doug Lawrence

The President had this to say at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree: 

“Each Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child who came into the world with only a stable’s roof to shelter Him,” he said. “But through a life of humility and the ultimate sacrifice, a life guided by faith and kindness towards others, Christ assumed a mighty voice, teaching us lessons of compassion and charity that have lasted more than two millennia. He ministered to the poor. He embraced the outcast. He healed the sick. And in Him we see a living example of scripture that we ought to love others not only through our words, but also through our deeds.” “It’s a message both timeless and universal — no matter what God you pray to, or if you pray to none at all — we all have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to make a difference that is real and lasting,” he continued. “We are our brother’s keeper. We are our sister’s keeper.”

Link

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Now for a few very essential Catholic criticisms and revisions to the above:

Jesus Christ, the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity, came into the world and assumed human flesh, along with a human soul, according to the divine plan and power of God, his Father, in order to redeem mankind from sin.

Taking on human flesh and becoming like us in all things, except for sin, Jesus is true man. Yet Jesus never ceased to be God. 

During his earthly existence, Jesus led a totally sinless life of humility and sacrifice, compassion, mercy and healing – because God is love – Jesus Christ is God and Messiah – and anything to the contrary is simply not a part of his awesome divinity – nor part of his sinless, perfect, totally incorrupt humanity.

By merely being himself, Jesus Christ fulfilled everything that was written about him in the the prophetic biblical volumes of the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets. Only God could do that! Research this for yourself, if you don’t believe me. Just make sure you actually do the work!

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Jesus – complete with his glorified and resurrected human body and soul, which is now eternally united with his Divine Spirit – is enthroned in Heaven, at the right hand of God the Father, as King if Kings and Lord of Lords.

Jesus has absolute power over all things in Heaven, on Earth and under the Earth – and he promises to come again, at the end of time, to judge the living and the dead.

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The same Jesus is also the head of the Catholic (Universal) Church and it is only by Jesus’ name – according to God’s grace, in faith – that any man might hope to be saved from eternal death and Hell.

So be nice, if it makes you feel better – but remember that corrupt, tin-horn politicians like Barack Obama – who want to “keep” you – actually intend to oppress you – while God’s loving plan is one of unbridled, genuine peace and true, personal freedom.

So reject all of Barack Obama’s “slick” worldly nonsense, “reasonable” advice and other vain deceits and put all your trust in Jesus Christ and the only Church he ever founded, authorized, empowered and eternally guaranteed, for the purpose of our eternal salvation – the Catholic Church!

The only sure and certain hope of making a difference that is real and lasting (for your eternal soul and the souls of your loved ones) is membership in the Catholic Church – which typically begins with the Sacrament of Baptism – followed by a lifetime of fervent prayer and religious studies, along with full, faithful and regular participation in all of the Church’s other authentic work, worship, sacraments and devotions.

Nothing less is likely to get the job done,
but miracles do occasionally happen,
if you think God might be willing to make an exception,
just for you!
 

The main thing Jesus came to do was set people free from the eternal oppression of Satan, sin and death – so that we humans might – one day – be able to once again enjoy eternity in Heaven, with God – without having to put up with lies, obfuscations and other inane chatter from shameless demagogues, like Barack Obama.

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Jesus succeeded.

Such is the reason for our joy.

 M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S !

Related link: Christmas – the prequel

National tree photo: Wikipedia.org

What did the incarnate Jesus know … and when did he know it?


“The knowledge and love of our Divine Redeemer, of which we were the object from the first moment of His Incarnation, exceed all the human intellect can hope to grasp. For hardly was He conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, when He began to enjoy the beatific vision, and in that vision all the members of His Mystical Body were continually and unceasingly present to Him, and He embraced them with His redeeming love.” (Pius XII, Mystici Corporis 75)

The Church has taught that, even in his human intellect and soul, Christ Jesus knew – with an unlimited, universal, and infallible knowledge – all things, past, present and future. Further, the popes do not say that this knowledge came little by little or that there was any time in which he was ignorant – rather, it is affirmed that our Savior possessed this knowledge from the first moment of his conception.

The Christ Child, living in the womb of Mary his Mother, already had perfect use of reason and will – he was able to know each of us, and he loved us all not only as God but even as man. The unborn Child yet had a Sacred Heart with which he loved us even in his humanity.

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I got a chance to experience the new, Revised Roman Missal, at Sunday Mass. It was good!

by Doug Lawrence

I attended Mass at my old parish in Chicago yesterday. They had decided to start using the new, revised Roman Missal, so we had little cardboard fold-outs to help keep us apprised of all the new “parts”.

The priest had some new language to get used to, as well.

The toughest thing seemed to be remembering to say, “And with your spirit” rather than “And also with you”.

The youngsters had a bit of a hard time figuring out what the people were thricely doing with their hands, during the penitential rite. But they’re smart. They’ll “get it”.

Probably the easiest thing to get used to was listening to the revised language, which did indeed add new emphasis to many of the awesome yet sublime beliefs and principles of the authentic Catholic faith, many of which had recently been either blatantly disregarded or totally forgotten.

One other thing I noticed was the “little c” used for the word “catholic” in the Nicene Creed.

The word “consubstantial” is in the Creed now, referring to Jesus Christ, the incarnation, and the mystery of the Holy Trinity, where God is described as sharing one and the same eternal, uncreated, godly substance, among three distinct, rational, divine persons.   

There were a few other changes, but nothing problematic. The little, cardboard “cheat sheets” proved to be more than adequate.

All in all, it was a positive experience, and not really that much a “stretch” at all.

I liked it!

Read and/or print your own official “cheat sheet” (PDF)

This Week’s Ask Alice: Should a doubtful (but otherwise practicing) Catholic receive Holy Communion?



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Yaron asks: I am a Jew I wanted to ask two questions about your faith: 1. If there is a Catholic that was baptized as a baby in the Catholic church and he comes every week to the church and gives money to the church, however he does not believe that Jesus is God, can he take from the bread and wine in the church? 2. Will this Catholic enter paradise after he dies? I appreciate your reply.

Alice answers: You’ve asked two worthwhile questions which merit complicated answers. It’s interesting that a Jewish person like yourself, seems to have a clearer understanding of Catholic teachings than your Catholic friend does.

To licitly receive the Body (bread) and Blood (wine) of Christ a Catholic must: 1) Be in the state of grace, (i.e. have no unconfessed mortal sins); 2) Believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament; and 3) Observe the Eucharistic fast.

If a baptized Catholic does not believe that Jesus is God, there would be no point to his receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, since that person would receive Holy Communion unworthily.

However, no human being fully understands how Jesus can be both God and man. This mystery is called the Incarnation. Faith means believing what we cannot see. If your friend struggles with doubts about Jesus being God he is like many other Catholics, even some saints, who suffer from what St. John of the Cross dubbed, “the dark night of the soul.” As long as your friend believes in God, prays, attends weekly Mass, and financially supports his church, we must be wary of judging his heart. That’s God’s job.

Just as the Incarnation remains a mystery to all of humanity, an even greater mystery is Divine Mercy. No one can guarantee exactly where your friend will spend eternity because God’s mercy is “astonishment for Angels, incomprehensible for Saints” (Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska: 949) Although you friend’s heart is riddled with doubts, God in His infinite mercy, can choose to forgive him and admit him to Paradise. That’s God’s choice.

“He says to Moses, ‘I will show mercy to whomever I choose; I will have pity on whomever I wish.’ So it is not a question of man’s willing or doing, but of God’s mercy……In other words, God has mercy on whom He wishes, and whom He wishes He makes obdurate.” (Romans 9:15)

Please pray for your Catholic friend, that God will enlighten his heart and increase his faith.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

Jesus and the Cross: Incarnation, Crucifixion, Salvation.


by Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Our Lord finished His work, but we have not finished ours. He pointed the way we must follow. He laid down the Cross at the finish, but we must take it up. He finished Redemption in His physical Body, but we have not finished it in His Mystical Body.

He has finished salvation, we have not yet applied it to our souls. He has finished the Temple, but we must live in it. He has finished the model Cross, we must fashion ours to its pattern. He has finished sowing the seed, we must reap the harvest. He has finished filling the chalice, but we have not finished drinking its refreshing draughts. He has planted the wheat field; we must gather it into our barns. He has finished the Sacrifice of Calvary; we must finish the Mass.

The Crucifixion was not meant to be an inspirational drama, but a pattern act on which to model our lives. We are not meant to sit and watch the Cross as something done and ended like the life of Socrates. What was done on Calvary avails for us only in the degree that we repeat it in our own lives.

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Jesus Christ: True God and True Man


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Mary’s fiat: A moment in time which defines all history.

There is a moment in time which defines all history; a moment to which all that came before, all that has come after and all that is yet to come, points as supremely significant.  On March 25th of each Liturgical Year, we remember the event that took place then – the moment when the Blessed Virgin Mary gave her fiat to God’s request that was communicated to her by the Archangel Gabriel – the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord. The significance of this day derives from what Mary’s yes allowed to occur – the moment when our God entered into His own creation and became man. It is the moment when the love of God for us was made manifest like never before since man was created and called into communion with the Creator Who is revealed as Father.

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Is God Just A Mathematical Singularity?

Q: I’ve always been interested in the debate between God/higher power and mathematical infinity/singularity. I’m not saying I believe in one thing or the other. Say, we scientists, take the singularity that supposedly created our Big Bang, which lead to all sorts of beautiful patterns with patterns and chaos within chaos such as plants and black holes, and we ask where this singularity came from. From a scientific perspective, something that supposedly came from “nothing” but managed to unknowingly architect the universe we live in, couldn’t that be considered god? this singularity? I’m not talking about a Christian God or a Muslim God or a Bible, Torah whatever God. Just something that is represented by the mathematical concept of infinity. Something that is bigger, brighter, “more” than us but also contains us. I just think it’s poetic.

A: Your approach errs in that it reduces God to simply a mysterious force of nature, not unlike “The Force” in the “Star Wars” movies.

The Gospels provide us with insights into the true nature of God that are not only much richer and robust, but that also make it easier for us to come to know and love God, as well.

One of the practical aspects of the incarnation of Jesus Christ (God becoming man, and dwelling among us) was giving God a real, human face … along with a real, human heart … and a real, human soul.

In the person of Jesus Christ, the here-to-fore immutable, unknowable God became one of us, revealed God’s salvific plan for mankind, personally fulfilled that divine plan, and then left behind on earth his Catholic church … in order to make his truths and his plan widely known … and his provision universally available … to every generation.

That’s love. And it is also most certainly, poetic!

Much more on this here

This Week’s Ask Alice: Fallen Angels, the True Nature of Heaven, What Would Things Be Like If Adam Hadn’t Sinned?

Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Mike S. Asks: If Heaven is perfect (without sin) how could there be a war between the good angels and the bad angels? If Adam and Eve had not sinned, what would have happened to Jesus Christ?

Alice Answers: Heaven is the perfect state of existence. It is the eternal home of God, angels and saints. There are no devils in Heaven. The evil spirits were banished to hell during a war between the good and bad angels which occurred before God created Adam and Eve. The mighty battle, led by St. Michael the Archangel against Satan, is described in the book of Revelation.

“Then war broke out in Heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. Although the dragon and his angels fought back they were overpowered and lost their place in Heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent known as the devil or Satan, the seducer of the whole world, was driven out; he was hurled down to earth and his minions with him.” (Revelation 12:7- 9)

There are no conflicts in Heaven, since no one can enter Heaven with hate in his or her heart. The souls of people who refuse to give or accept the love of God and neighbor are in hell.

The good news is that Satan was banished from Heaven! The bad news is, “But woe to you, earth and sea, for the devil has come down upon you!” (Revelation 12:12)

Satan and his demons wander the earth seducing people, such as Adam and Eve, to sin. If our first parents had not sinned, Jesus could have remained in Heaven rather than come to earth as a helpless infant (through the mystery of the Incarnation) to suffer a horrible crucifixion and death to save us from our sins.

However, all human beings have an inclination toward sin called concupiscence. After the Great Flood, God promised Noah and his descendants that he would not destroy all of humanity because of our sinfulness.

“Never again will I doom the earth because of man, since the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start; nor will I ever again strike down all living beings as I have done.” (Genesis 8:21)

Even if Adam and Eve had not sinned, Jesus would have come to earth to save any one of us from the wages of our sins, which is death. “For God so love the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Doug Lawrence adds: Regarding the perfection of heaven and the fall of the angels: Please see paragraph 63 of St. Thomas Aquinas’ treatise on the angels.

63. SIN OF THE FALLEN ANGELS

1. A rational creature (that is, a creature with intellect and will) can sin. If it be unable to sin, this is a gift of grace, not a condition of nature. While angels were yet unbeatified they could sin. And some of them did sin.

2. The sinning angels (or demons) are guilty of all sins in so far as they lead man to commit every kind of sin. But in the bad angels themselves there could be no tendency to fleshly sins, but only to such sins as can be committed by a purely spiritual being, and these sins are two only: pride and envy.

3. Lucifer who became Satan, leader of the fallen angels, wished to be as God. This prideful desire was not a wish to be equal to God, for Satan knew by his natural knowledge that equality of creature with creator is utterly impossible. Besides, no creature actually desires to destroy itself, even to become something greater. On this point man sometimes deceives himself by a trick of imagination; he imagines himself to be another and greater being, and yet it is himself that is somehow this other being. But an angel has no sense-faculty of imagination to abuse in this fashion. The angelic intellect, with its clear knowledge, makes such self-deception impossible. Lucifer knew that to be equal with God, he would have to be God, and he knew perfectly that this could not be. What he wanted was to be as God; he wished to be like God in a way not suited to his nature, such as to create things by his own power, or to achieve final beatitude without God’s help, or to have command over others in a way proper to God alone.

4. Every nature, that is every essence as operating, tends to some good. An intellectual nature tends to good in general, good under its common aspects, good as such. The fallen angels therefore are not naturally evil.

5. The devil did not sin in the very instant of his creation. When a perfect cause makes a nature, the first operation of that nature must be in line with the perfection of its cause. Hence the devil was not created in wickedness. He, like all the angels, was created in the state of sanctifying grace.

6. But the devil, with his companions, sinned immediately after creation. He rejected the grace in which he was created, and which he was meant to use, as the good angels used it, to merit beatitude. If, however, the angels were not created in grace (as some hold) but had grace available as soon as they were created, then it may be that some interval occurred between the creation and the sin of Lucifer and his companions.

7. Lucifer, chief of the sinning angels, was probably the highest of all the angels. But there are some who think that Lucifer was highest only among the rebel angels.

8. The sin of the highest angel was a bad example which attracted the other rebel angels, and, to this extent, was the cause of their sin.

9. The faithful angels are a greater multitude than the fallen angels. For sin is contrary to the natural order. Now, what is opposed to the natural order occurs less frequently, or in fewer instances, than what accords with the natural order.

64. STATE OF THE FALLEN ANGELS

1. The fallen angels did not lose their natural knowledge by their sin; nor did they lose their angelic intellect.

2. The fallen angels are obstinate in evil, unrepentant, inflexibly determined in their sin. This follows from their nature as pure spirits, for the choice of a pure spirit is necessarily final and unchanging.

3. Yet we must say that there is sorrow in the fallen angels, though not the sorrow of repentance. They have sorrow in the affliction of knowing that they cannot attain beatitude; that there are curbs upon their wicked will; that men, despite their efforts, may get to heaven.

4. The fallen angels are engaged in battling against man’s salvation and in torturing lost souls in hell. The fallen angels that beset man on earth, carry with them their own dark and punishing atmosphere, and wherever they are they endure the pains of hell. [Note: For further discussion of angels, see Qq. 106-114.]

What would have happened if Adam had not sinned?

Even if Adam had never sinned, God would still be God, we would still be his human creatures, and there would likely be at least some type of a divinely instituted system of justice. While the nature and the “flavor” of our human existence would be radically different from what we currently experience, any effect on God himself would probably be minuscule, since he is dependent on us for nothing, at all.

For more on these types of things, go here.

Why be Catholic?


The fact that Jesus Christ took on flesh, lived a human existence, communicated and confirmed certain divine truths, died, subsequently rose again, and (while he still walked the earth) founded and personally guaranteed the Catholic Church (in spite of the human corruption, which has always been a part of it) provides Catholic Christianity with a unique status, as the only constant, living eye-witness to divine truth (and the ONLY church that Jesus Christ EVER founded, authorized, empowered and eternally guaranteed, for the purpose of our salvation.)

Something Really Important To Contemplate On This New Year’s Eve

My Italian missal offers a helpful reminder of this fuller dimension of the mystery of the Incarnation in one of its auxiliary prefaces for Advent:

“You have hidden from us the day and hour in which Christ your Son, the Lord and judge of history, will appear upon the clouds of heaven clothed in power and splendor; on that great and glorious day, the present world will pass away, and new heavens and a new earth will arise. Now, Christ comes to meet us in every man and in every time, so that we may accompany him in faith and bear witness in love to the blessed hope of his reign.

And so, anticipating his final advent, together with the angels and saints we sing as one the hymn of your glory…”

Now that’s something worth staying up late to ponder: the Yom Yahweh, the Day of the Lord, in which every tear will be wiped away and all things will be made new; the day when the Father brings to completion, in the Supper of the Lamb, the work of salvation first announced in the call of Abraham; the day which begins that endless day called the Kingdom come in its fullness; the day on which that often-hollow phrase “the international community” takes on real meaning.

Read more from George Weigel

A neat thing about Christmas

Christmas, Christ’s birth in a carnal body, calls forth faith, perhaps precisely because it mystifies. Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholics, it’s sometimes said, put different emphases on the events of Christ’s life. The Orthodox supposedly focus on Easter, Resurrection, and Redemption, while Catholics emphasize Christmas, Incarnation, and Christian life in the world (with the implied criticism that this tends to make us worldly). But there can be no competition of this kind between real Christians. No one perfectly imitates Christ, who came into the world and lived virtually like everyone else for thirty years before his extraordinary public ministry, death, Resurrection, and Ascension. Without His birth and Incarnation, however, there could be no death and Redemption. Earth and Heaven come together in Him in ways that exceed all telling.

Speaking with holy and Christian accuracy, we believe in this without understanding it. It remains a mystery for even the greatest theologians. Why were we redeemed in this and no other way? The pagan and Jewish critics had a point about Christ’s life and death, as Paul says: for the pagans it was foolishness and for the Jews a scandal.

And yet there is the fact of Christ, a man of no high birth who came into the world, not at Rome or Athens or one of the great Asian capitals, but in a small village in an unimportant nation on the Eastern edge of the Mediterranean in mid-winter. He won no public office, waged no military battles, developed no grand intellectual system – things we might understand as greatness. In human terms, only a fool would have expected such a person appearing in such a place and in such circumstances to turn the world upside down.

But he did, and does, which is why we ponder and prepare this month for His coming.

Read more about it

Question for those who oppose devotion to the Blessed Virgin?

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Q: Considering that her Heavenly Spouse is the Holy Spirit, and that through her intercession many miracles have been wrought, do you not consider your stance to be one that the Pharisees took toward the miracles that Jesus wrought?

Attributing to Satan the works of God is an unforgivable sin. Through her, great things were, are, and will be done. It is God who does these things.

A: Non-Catholics are rarely schooled in understanding the full extent of the mystery of Jesus’ incarnation.

The fact that God would have waited for the consent of a young Jewish girl for permission to send his son into the world, so God could redeem us, is a concept that many people find impossible to accept … even though it is absolutely scriptural and true.

The repercussions of Mary’s voluntary consent are similarly difficult for the unschooled to properly appreciate … especially when the bible spends so little time explaining it for us.

Suffice it to say that God created Mary as a great gift to his son Jesus, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords … and any gift good enough for Jesus should be more than good enough for the rest of us.

Jesus appreciates his mom. He honors her, he respects her, and he recognizes Mary’s essential role in his salvific work … and those who profess to be Christian should try to emulate Jesus, whenever possible.

Anyone who refuses to appreciate this, who attempts to denigrate the character of the Blessed Virgin in order to bring disrepute upon her, upon Catholics, or upon the Catholic Church, disrespects Jesus, and is likely to have a lot of explaining to do, come Judgment Day.

For more on this, go here:

http://mariology.com/