What do we mean when we say “Peace Be With You” at Mass?

Question: Precisely what type of “peace” are we hoping for when we say “Peace Be With You” at Mass?

Answer: The “peace beyond all understanding” that the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity became man in order to declare, is the peace between sinful mankind and God, which could only be achieved by the salvific work of Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son.

When we say “Peace Be With You” at Mass, we should be thinking something like this: “May God, according to the grace obtained for us by his divine son, forgive all our sins, justify us in faith and personally invite us to spend eternity with him, in Heaven.”

For people of true faith, that should also be enough to mitigate any of the temporarily anxieties and worries brought on by the stresses and strains of our mundane existence here on earth, until the day that we might be privileged to experience God as he really is.

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Where was God during all the recent earthquakes, hurricanes and wildfires?

Question: Where was God when all the recent earthquakes, hurricanes and wildfires were going on?

Answer: Even though God hadn’t heard from many of those affected (for a very, very long time) he was patiently standing by, waiting to hear from them, in order to provide for all their needs, according to his inestimable love and kindness, as well as his inexhaustible, supernatural abundance.

Those who know God know that this is true.

Phillipians 4:6-8 Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, (shall) keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline: think on these things.    

Once a Catholic, always a Catholic – you hope!

One of the sweet things about being a priest is being able to minister at a person’s deathbed. The veil between this world and the next is very thin at that point, and you can see so much. When I say you can “see” so much what I mean is that so much is revealed. At that point the person who is dying is usually very vulnerable and open. Their worldly facade is fading. Their accomplishments and pride are forgotten. They realize that all the stuff of this world will soon be left behind.

Often the person is quietly sleeping. The family is gathered around and there is no response as the last rites are given. On the other hand, sometimes the process is very conscious. More than once I’ve been called to visit a man or woman who has called the parish office specifically because they know they are dying and they want to see a Catholic priest.

So I once made my way to a small apartment in a not so good part of town. I was admitted to find a man in his sixties with a haggard expression gasping for air. Call him Ralph.

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For more than 1900 years, the serenity and peace of the Catholic Faith and the certainty of the Church’s immutable doctrine were widely recognized as products of the fullness of divine grace and truth, which she alone possessed.

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But now all has changed… dreadful days have come upon us which the appeasing rhetoric of modernized Christians cannot hide: the Revolution of the atheist world has entered the Church and is wearing everything down.

There is no longer any stability and the Church appears to have entered into a perennial Revolution which changes everything continuously: confusion in the rites, confusion in doctrine, confusion in morals, confusion in discipline.

You do not know if the truth of today will be the same tomorrow. Many, priests and faithful, rush around anxiously in order not to be left behind, adapting themselves in whatever way they can, to this wearisome confusion.

The one who is truly seeking God in this revolutionary Church, is left frightfully alone.

What to do in this suffocating atmosphere? And what not to do?

First of all, it is important not to be beset by agitation, it is important not to react like revolutionaries: that would be like treating a disease, which is precisely what the Revolution is, with the same illness. The revolutionary spirit, even when it pretends to save the good, will never be the solution.

Instead, it is essential to stay really outside of the Revolution, by living Catholicism integrally in the stability that was there, before the Revolution invaded everything.

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Editor’s note: Vatican II is what happens when God finally steps aside and permits the men who run the Catholic Church to pursue all the desires of their hearts.

5 keys to better discernment

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Five general principles of discernment of God’s will that apply to all questions about it, and therefore to our question too, are the following:

  1. Always begin with data, with what we know for sure. Judge the unknown by the known, the uncertain by the certain. Adam and Eve neglected that principle in Eden and ignored God’s clear command and warning for the devil’s promised pig in a poke.
  2. Let your heart educate your mind. Let your love of God educate your reason in discerning his will. Jesus teaches this principle in John 7:17 to the Pharisees. (Would that certain Scripture scholars today would heed it!) They were asking how they could interpret his words, and he gave them the first principle of hermeneutics (the science of interpretation): “If your will were to do the will of my Father, you would understand my teaching.” The saints understand the Bible better than the theologians, because they understand its primary author, God, by loving him with their whole heart and their whole mind.
  3. Have a soft heart but a hard head. We should be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” sharp as a fox in thought but loyal as a dog in will and deed. Soft-heartedness does not excuse soft-headedness, and hard-headedness does not excuse hard-heartedness. In our hearts we should be “bleeding-heart liberals” and in our heads “stuck-in-the-mud conservatives.”
  4. All God’s signs should line up, by a kind of trigonometry. There are at least seven such signs: (1) Scripture, (2) church teaching, (3) human reason (which God created), (4) the appropriate situation, or circumstances (which he controls by his providence), (5) conscience, our innate sense of right and wrong, (6) our individual personal bent or desire or instincts, and (7) prayer. Test your choice by holding it up before God’s face. If one of these seven voices says no, don’t do it. If none say no, do it.
  5. Look for the fruits of the spirit, especially the first three: love, joy, and peace. If we are angry and anxious and worried, loveless and joyless and peaceless, we have no right to say we are sure of being securely in God’s will. Discernment itself should not be a stiff, brittle, anxious thing, but—since it too is part of God’s will for our lives—loving and joyful and peace-filled, more like a game than a war, more like writing love letters than taking final exams.

Read more from Peter Kreeft

A woman is trapped in the wreckage of a horrific car crash. Then a Catholic priest who had anointing oil with him, arrived.

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“He came up and approached the patient, and offered a prayer,” New London Fire Chief Raymond Reed told KHQA-TV. “It was a Catholic priest who had anointing oil with him. A sense of calmness came over her, and it did us as well.”

Considering how many people were at the scene and interacting with the mystery faith leader, the story is a fascinating one.

“I can’t be for certain how it was said, but myself and another firefighter, we very plainly heard that we should remain calm, that our tools would now work and that we would get her out of that vehicle,” the firefighter added.

Now here’s where things get weird.

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Editor’s note: These things happen way more often than most people think. Here’s another short, illustrated, real-life, personal story.

God loves you. God will provide – and that often means answering frantic prayers with just the right person, for the job. All we can do in the mean time, is try not to mess things up too badly – and/or too often – since God’s ways are not our ways – and it’s never wise to act recklessly or presumptuously.

It’s also always a good idea to say a quick prayer for anyone who you might notice, happens to be in distress, may have been injured, may be very near death, or has recently died.

One more thing … thank God for priests. The vast majority of priests are nice guys who are just trying to do God’s work, under what usually turns out to be very difficult circumstances. Priests are at their best – and are most appreciated  – when they are attending to the souls of those who are literally, staring death in the face. Those who have been there will, I am sure, agree.

James 5:14-15 Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (15) And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man. And the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Additional related links:

A last chance for lost souls

Anointing of the Sick, Last Sacraments, and the Apostolic Pardon

What Are “Last Rites”?

Priest’s Heroic Battle Action

Priests Prevented From Anointing Boston Marathon Bombing Victims

Three kinds of holy oil/chrism

Saint Padre Pio and the Angels

Papal visit to shore up situation in Lebanon, the last, best hope for preserving Christianity in the middle east.

The pope arrived in Harissa on time at 6 p.m. to sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation for the Middle East, and was greeted by Lebanese and Vatican flags as well as banners bearing the word “peace” in multiple languages.

Gathered opposite the church on chairs set out for the event, visitors said the pope’s visit was a sign that Christians would retain a presence in Lebanon despite their uncertain future in the rest of the region.

“If Christians remain here [in Lebanon], the whole region will become better and different,” said Tony Haddad, who came to catch a glimpse of the pope from the nearby town of Bzommar.

Haddad, who described the visit as historic, said that Vatican’s concern for the people of Lebanon and the region means it has blessed the country and will not abandon it, despite unrest in the Middle East.

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