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2 Maccabees, Chapter 9, Verse 29 His foster brother Philip brought the body home; but fearing Antiochus’ son, he later withdrew i...

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sunday, December 11, Third Sunday of Advent

Psalm 146, verse 6-8:
6 The maker of heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever, 7 secures justice for the oppressed, who gives bread to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free; 8 the LORD gives sight to the blind. The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.

Men of power like to pretend they are the maker of heaven and earth and without a cap on their power become men like Henry VIII of England. They take what they want, oppress; ignore problems that cause men to beg or succumb to food stamps. Free men are only prisoners when they are silenced by their own fears. Faith gave men like Thomas More a belief in truths that others were blind too, and although bowed down by Henry he still speaks to us today telling us to be “The Kings good servant; but God’s first.”

Sir Thomas More-Honesty[1]

John McCain in his book entitled “Character is Destiny” tells us that Sir Thomas More surrendered everything for the truth as he saw it, and shamed a king with the courage of his conscience. Thomas was a brilliant student. He loved learning, and would for the rest of his life prefer the less prestigious but more satisfying rewards of a scholar to the riches and power of the king’s court. He was part of a movement called humanism, whose followers were faithful to the Church but hoped to encourage a better understanding of the Gospels and their more honest application to the workings of society. They studied the great Greek and Roman philosophers, whose views on morality and just societies they believed complemented their Christian principles. They were passionate in pursuit of the truth as revealed by God, and by discovery through study and scholarly debate and discussion. They thought the world could be made gentler with Christian love and greater learning—love and learning that served not only the nobility of court and Church, but all mankind. Thomas was a devout Christian, and for a time lived in a monastery with the intention of entering the priesthood. The monastic life was one of isolation and self-denial. And though he took his religious devotion seriously, he loved the comforts of family life, and the rewards of learning and earthly pleasures as well: music and art, reading and writing, friendship and conversation and jests. He loved his city, London, then the greatest capital of Northern Europe. He loved life. So he left the cloister for a wife and family, and returned to the worldly affairs of men. His love of learning and truth was second only to his love of God, and he encouraged his children, for the sake of their happiness, to seek truth through learning as well as scripture. He cultivated friendships, and exchanged letters with some of the greatest minds in Europe, including with the Dutch priest and famous humanist philosopher Erasmus, who became More’s greatest admirer outside his family, and whose description of More became the title by which he is still remembered to this day: “a man for all seasons.” His scholarly reputation and skill as a scrupulously honest lawyer first gained the attention of the king’s most powerful counselor, the lord chancellor of England, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. An ambitious and shrewd politician, Wolsey recognized the younger man’s talents, and pressed him into the king’s service. Serving first as a diplomat, then in a series of increasingly powerful offices at court, knighted, and given lands and wealth, More became a favorite of Wolsey’s and Henry’s. And while he might have preferred the life of a philosopher, husband, and father to the rigors of public life, he no doubt took pride in the king’s confidence and favor. When Wolsey’s downfall came that would lead in time to Thomas’s death, Henry made his friend, Thomas, Lord Chancellor. It was the highest office at court, and Thomas More was the first layman to hold it. His appointment was greeted favorably by the court and public alike, for Thomas was known by one and all as an honest man, who would conscientiously discharge the duties of his office. As it turned out, he was too honest for his king. Thomas More waged an intellectual and judicial war against the followers of Luther that was at times surprisingly aggressive and even cruel for such a reasonable and just man. In the beginning, he had the king’s full support in his persecution and prosecution of “heretics.” More defended the Church out of religious principle, and because he and the king feared the uncontrollable social disorder that a permanent split among the faithful would surely cause. But his hatred, if it could be called that in such a mild man, was for the heresy and not the heretics. Death was the judgment for heretics in the courts that Thomas More governed, but he went to great lengths to encourage the accused to recant their views and escape their sentence. In fact, in the many cases he prosecuted, all the accused except for four poor souls, who went to their deaths rather than recant, escaped the headman’s ax. More was diligent in his duty, but a much more powerful threat than Luther’s protests had encouraged was growing to the Catholic Church in England. Henry’s queen, Catherine of Aragon, had failed to produce a surviving male heir. Henry was determined to have a new wife who could give him a healthy son. Other kings and nobles had received from the pope annulments of their marriage. But the most powerful king in Europe, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, was Catherine’s nephew, and he had great influence with Pope Clement VII. He persuaded Clement not to grant an annulment that would remove the crown from his aunt’s head. Once Henry fell in love with Anne Boleyn, the fifteen-year-old daughter of a scheming courtier, he would no longer accept papal opposition to his desire to remarry. In this dangerous and growing conflict, Thomas More became a central figure, and he would struggle with all his intellect, lawyer’s skills, and courage to obey his king without forsaking his church. It would prove impossible. Initially More dutifully served the king’s wishes, arguing in Parliament that there were grounds to consider the marriage to Catherine unlawful. But when the king declared himself, and not the pope, to be the supreme head of the Church in England, More offered the king his resignation. Henry refused it, and promised his friend that he would never be forced to take any action that his conscience would not permit. But the king’s assurance was hollow, and soon both he and More realized that the king’s desires and More’s conscience could not be reconciled. More again asked the king to accept his resignation, and this time, Henry agreed. For many months, he was careful not to speak against the king’s wishes, in public or in private. But he declined to attend the king’s wedding to Anne Boleyn. When Parliament passed a law requiring the king’s subjects to sign an oath recognizing Anne as queen, and any children she might bear Henry as legitimate heirs to the throne, he refused to sign it because it denied the pope’s authority over the Church in England. He was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. He remained there until his trial fifteen months later. The jury, which included Anne Boleyn’s father, brother, and uncle, found him guilty and sentenced him to be hanged, and drawn and quartered. Then More spoke his conscience, and said he could not in his own heart accept the king as head of the English Church. The death to which he was first sentenced would have been a far slower and more painful death than he was made to suffer in the end. Henry, mercifully, permitted his old friend and counselor to die by beheading. On the day of his execution, he had some difficulty climbing the scaffold steps. He thanked the guard who helped him, but joked that he should be allowed to “shift for myself” when he came back down. He recited a prayer of repentance. The hooded executioner, as was the custom, begged the condemned man’s forgiveness. More gave him a coin, kissed him, and thanked him for giving him a “greater benefit than ever any mortal man can be able to give me.” And then the man who had all his life loved to jest, made one last joke. As he knelt to place his head upon the block, he asked for a moment to arrange his long beard so that it wouldn’t be severed by the ax, observing that as far as he knew his beard had not offended the king. In his last address, spoken moments earlier, he had asked the crowd of witnesses to pray for his soul and for the king, for he died “the King’s good servant, but God’s first.” One swift stroke and the king’s will was done. The life on earth of honest Thomas More was ended. His glory had just begun.

Pray for the return of the Church of England to the fold.

The Best Remedy in the Hour of Sorrow[2]

In need, sorrow, and dejection the best means to relieve our distressed hearts is humble and confiding prayer, in which we can pour out our hearts before God, and give ourselves up to His love and mercy, as did Anna, the sorrowful mother of Samuel the prophet, Josaphat in painful uncertainty, Susanna falsely accused and condemned to death, and innumerable other servants of God. These all prayed to God and were delivered from their afflictions, receiving help and consolation. St. James therefore admonishes us, “Is any one of you sad? let him pray” (James v. 13); and St. Paul, encourages us not to be solicitous about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to let our requests be known to God. Are you, then, sad and discouraged? Lift up your soul to God, and say with David, “Give joy to the soul of Thy servant, for to Thee, O Lord, I have lifted up my soul” (Ps. Ixxxv. 4).


What does it mean to rejoice in the Lord? It means to be glad in remembering the grace by which God called us to the true faith, and gave us the hope of eternal salvation, and to rejoice even in all our tribulations and adversities for the Lord’s sake, as St. Paul did (n. Cor. vii. 4). It also admonishes us to give a good example by modesty and an edifying life, and to fix our desires on God, Who will never fail us if we make our wants known to Him by prayer and supplication, and give Him thanks for benefits received.

In what does the peace of God consist? It consists in a good conscience, such as St. Paul enjoyed. It is this peace, this tranquility of the soul, which sustained the holy martyrs in their agonies, and consoled others under persecution for Christ s sake (St. Matt. v. 11, 12).

Gaudete Sunday[3]

A joyful warning comes from the Lord's heralds. "Rejoice: the Lord is nigh." As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Savior means for us. The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing nigh when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom. The oft-repeated Veni ("Come") of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John: "Come, Lord Jesus," the last words of the New Testament.

Today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, "Rejoice". Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath.


COURAGE FOR THE MODERN WORLD 2017 #2017CALENDAR



Authored by Mr. Richard H. Havermale Jr.This book is the continuation of my first book based on more than 365 references in the Bible to fear, dread, and that in fact our God encourages us to "BE NOT AFRAID". To do this we must be in the presence of our Lord and talk to Him. I recommend you develop the habit of spending 10-15 minutes a day with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel or if that is not available some other quiet place where you can be in the presence of our Lord. Read the daily entry and reflect on it asking our Lord and His mother to talk to your heart and reveal to you the will of the Father and then Do it. The layout of this book is to list and reflect on the books of the bible Sirach through Revelations. In the early part of September my search of the verses dealing with fear and being afraid was completed; so I asked the Lord what do I, do now. After some reflection I realize that the fruit of fear in the Lord is the Theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love  which ultimately results in Peace of the Lord. As a consequence the month of September will deal with Peace, October with Love and the month of November will be reflections on Faith and Hope. After Thanksgiving for the season of Advent and Christmas this work uses a multitude of references that reflect the Christmas season. There are many theologians who state that the eighth deadly sin is fear itself. It is fear and its natural animal reaction to fight or flight that is the root cause of our failings to create a Kingdom of God on earth. Saint John Paul II in his writings and talks also tells us to BE NOT AFRAID. In fear or anger we walk away from God. Our Lord, Jesus Christ taught us how to walk back toward God in His sermon on the mount through the Beatitudes. Each of the beatitudes is the antidote for the opposite deadly sins.



[1]McCain, John; Salter, Mark. Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember
[2] Goffine’s Divine Instructions, 1896.



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