Whenever the Church has abandoned the notion of beauty, it has lost precisely the power that it hoped to cultivate—its ability to reach souls in the modern world.

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The Greatest Post-Vatican II Catholic Art

Is it any wonder that so many artists and intellectuals have fled the Church? Current Catholic worship often ignores the essential connection between truth and beauty, body and soul, at the center of the Catholic worldview. The Church requires that we be faithful, but must we also be deaf, dumb, and blind? I deserve to suffer for my sins, but must so much of that punishment take place in church?

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Unlikely story: An avowed atheist’s conversion.

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For the first time in my life, I prayed, and said. “Dear God. There is no logical way you could possibly exist, and even if you appeared before me in the flesh, I would call it an hallucination. So I can think of no possible way, no matter what the evidence and no matter how clear it was, that you could prove your existence to me.

But the Christians claim you are benevolent, and that my failure to believe in you inevitably will damn me. If, as they claim, you care whether or not I am damned, and if, as they claim, you are all wise and all powerful, you can prove to me that you exist even though I am confident such a thing is logically impossible.

Thanking you in advance for your cooperation in this matter, John C. Wright.” — and then my mind was at rest. I had done all I needed to do honestly to maintain my stature as someone, not who claimed to be logical, objective and openminded, but who was logical, objective, and openminded.

Three days later, with no warning, I had a heart attack, and was lying on the floor, screaming and dying.

-Then I was saved from certain death by faith-healing, after which–

-I felt the Holy Spirit enter my body, after which–

-became immediately aware of my soul, a part of myself which, until that time, I reasoned and thought did not exist-

-I was visited by the Virgin Mary, her son, and His Father-

-not to mention various other spirits and ghosts over a period of several days–

-including periods of divine ecstasy, and an awareness of the mystical oneness of the universe-

-And a week or so after that I had a religious experience where I entered the mind of God and saw the indescribable simplicity and complexity, love, humor and majesty of His thought, and I understood the joy beyond understanding and comprehended the underlying unity of all things, and the paradox of determinism and free will was made clear to me, as was the symphonic nature of prophecy. I was shown the structure of time and space.

-And then Christ in a vision told me that He would be my judge, and that God judges no man. I mentioned this event to my wife. Then about a month later, when I was reading the Bible for the first time beyond the unavoidable minimum assigned in school, I came across the passage in the book of John, a passage I had never seen before, and to which no Christian in my hearing had ever made reference, which said the same thing in the same words.

-And then I have had perhaps a dozen or two dozen prayers miraculously answered, so much so that I now regard it as a normal routine rather than some extraordinary act of faith.

So I would say my snide little prayer was answered with much more than I had asked, and I was given not just evidence, and not just overwhelming evidence, but joy unspeakable and life eternal.

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Verses about divine judgment from the Gospel of St. John:

(John 3:17) For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world: but that the world may be saved by him.

(John 5:22) For neither does the Father judge any man: but hath given all judgment to the Son.

(John 5:30) I cannot of myself do any thing. As I hear, so I judge. And my judgment is just: because I seek not my own will. but the will of him that sent me.

(John 7:24) Judge not according to the appearance: but judge just judgment.

(John 7:51) Doth our law judge any man, unless it first hear him and know what he doth?

(John 8:15) You judge according to the flesh: I judge not any man.

(John 8:16) And if I do judge, my judgment is true: because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

(John 8:26) Many things I have to speak and to judge of you. But he that sent me, is true: and the things I have heard of him, these same I speak in the world.

(John 12:47) And if any man hear my words and keep them not, I do not judge him for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

(John 12:48) He that despiseth me and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him. The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Understood By God Alone: The true story of St. John of God.

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I think that you will be enthralled by the passages below as the life of Saint John of God reminds us that to serve God and Him alone as He has revealed Himself to us exclusively through His Catholic Church will cause us to be misunderstood and maligned by even our closest relatives and former associates.

Read more from  Thomas A. Droleskey

But why didn’t God tell him to take the various church scandals more seriously?

Anyone with doubts about the effectiveness of traditional Catholic prayer and relics need only look at Pope John Paul II — whose life, as it turns out, was even more prayerful, self-sacrificing, and mystical that previously related.

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Submitted by Doria2

Once upon a time, there was a Catholic Saint who could fly

St. Joseph of Cupertino “cruising”

On hearing the names of Jesus or Mary, the singing of hymns, during the feast of St. Francis, or while praying at Mass, he would go into dazed state and soar into the air, remaining there until a superior commanded him to come down.

Joseph, and God,  liked zero-G so much, He decided to let Joseph experience anti-gravity on a pretty regular basis. But the event that caught everyone’s attention? I thought you’d never ask.

Joseph’s most famous flight allegedly occurred during a papal audience before Pope Urban VIII. When he bent down to kiss the Pope’s feet, he was suddenly filled with reverence for Christ’s Vicar on earth, and was lifted up into the air. Only when the Minister General of the Order, who was part of the audience, ordered him down was Joseph able to return to the floor.

Imagine something like that happening during Our Pope’s visit to the United Kingdom today. Guess what else?

Joseph gave off a sweet smell because he was pure. Joseph could also smell the bad odor of a sinful person. When they would come, sometimes he would tell them that they stank and that they should go wash themselves. By this, he meant for them to go to confession.

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A “Feud” with the Flying Saint

Benedict XVI offers St. Hildegard of Bingen as a role model for women

Among other things, the pope noted that Hildegard demanded that the priests of her day live “a life consistent with their vocation,” in response to perceptions of widespread corruption and immorality in the clerical ranks.

At the same time, Benedict added, Hildegard was opposed to the Cathars, a quasi-Gnostic medieval reform movement seeking a more “pure” church.

Here’s what Benedict said:

“The Cathars … proposed a radical reform of the church, above all to combat abuses by clergy. She criticized them strongly for wanting to subvert the very nature of the church, reminding them that a true renewal of the ecclesial community isn’t obtained so much with change in structures, but a sincere spirit of penance and a difficult path of conversion.”

“This,” Benedict concluded, “is a message that we must never forget.”

On a different note, Benedict XVI also offered St. Hildegard of Bingen as a role model for women theologians, praising the perspective that women bring to theological discussions.

“Theology can receive a unique contribtuion from women, because they’re capable of speaking about God and the mysteries of the faith with a special intelligence and sensibility,” the pope said.

“I therefore encourage all those women who perform this service to do it with a profound ecclesial spirit, nourishing their own reflections with prayer, and looking to the great richness, in part still unexplored, of the medieval mystical tradition, above all that represented by luminous models such as Hildegard of Bingen.”

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Read more about St. Hildegard

Church to celebrate feast of saint who wrote about the ‘long dark night of the soul’

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On December 14, the church  will commemorate the life of St. John of the Cross, the doctor of the Church who first wrote about the “long dark night of the soul.”

John of the Cross was born in the 16th century into a family which had fallen out of wealth. His father, a silk trader, had been disowned by his own family for marrying a woman of a lower social class. The family survived as silk weavers, but John’s father died while John was very young. The boy began to work in a hospital while attending school part time. It is said that he seemed incapable of learning any trade.

He entered the Carmelite Order, but became disillusioned and thought of leaving. Then he met St. Teresa of Avila. Together with the saint, he reformed the Carmelite order by founding the Discalced (literally“shoe-less”) Carmelites.  At the time, many Carmelites had moved  from a life of fasting, prayer and penance. They resented the reforms.

John was kidnapped by members of his own order and imprisoned in a small, cold and dark cell. He was beaten regularly. Yet in this time, he wrote some of his most profound poetry. Eventually, he escaped and was able to share some of his mystical writings with the world. He is famous for having written “The Ascent of Mt. Carmel,” “The Dark Night of the Soul,” and “The Spiritual Canticle.”

He died at the age of 49, and was canonized in 1726. In 1926, he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI.

Today he is considered one of the first, and greatest mystics.

Read his timeless and classic work “The Dark Night of the Soul”

Read “The Life of St. John of the Cross”