Wednesday, July 11, 2018


FEAST OF ST. BENEDICT


Acts, Chapter 13, verse 26
My brothers, children of the family of Abraham, and those others among you who are God-fearing, to us this word of salvation has been sent.

During this month of July, we celebrate two events that are related to the age of enlightenment which resulted in forms of democratic government in the United States and France. America’s revolution although immersed in the ideology of the age of enlightenment retained its fear of God which was indeed been our salvation. Whereas, France lost its fear of God and as a result found no salvation in man; thus, began the reign of terror and Napoleonic wars. God is no tyrant; his church although flawed is his Kingdom on earth there is no other way to salvation.

A number of novel ideas about religion developed with the Enlightenment, including Deism and talk of atheism. Deism, according to Thomas Paine, is the simple belief in God the Creator, with no reference to the Bible or any other miraculous source. Instead, the Deist relies solely on personal reason to guide his creed, which was eminently agreeable to many thinkers of the time. Atheism was much discussed, but there were few proponents. Wilson and Reill note that, "In fact, very few enlightened intellectuals, even when they were vocal critics of Christianity, were true atheists. Rather, they were critics of orthodox belief, wedded rather to skepticism, deism, vitalism, or perhaps pantheism." Some followed Pierre Bayle and argued that atheists could indeed be moral men. Many others like Voltaire held that without belief in a God who punishes evil, the moral order of society was undermined. That is, since atheists gave themselves to no Supreme Authority and no law, and had no fear of eternal consequences, they were far more likely to disrupt society. Bayle (1647–1706) observed that in his day, "prudent persons will always maintain an appearance of [religion].". He believed that even atheists could hold concepts of honor and go beyond their own self-interest to create and interact in society. Locke said that if there were no God and no divine law, the result would be moral anarchy: every individual "could have no law but his own will, no end but himself. He would be a god to himself, and the satisfaction of his own will the sole measure and end of all his actions".[1]

Feast of Saint Benedict[2]

Saint Benedict was born in Nursia in central Italy around the year 480. He was born to a noble family, and after being homeschooled, he was sent to Rome to complete his education. The teenaged Benedict was already turning toward the Lord, and when he went to Rome he was disappointed and dismayed by the lazy, extravagant ways of the other young students. Benedict was born into a time of immense social upheaval. The once grand Roman Empire was on its last legs. The ancient city of Rome was crumbling due to decadence from within and attacks from without. Seventy years before Benedict’s birth the city fell to the invasions of the barbarians. The civil authority was in tatters, the city had been stripped of its grandeur, and the Church herself was beset with corruption and theological arguments. Benedict left the chaos of the city and sought a quiet place to study in the mountains north of Rome. Near the town of Subiaco, he found a community of holy men, and settled near them to pursue a life of prayer. Eventually Benedict was asked to be the leader of the community. When that went wrong he left to start his own monastic community. One community soon grew to twelve, and to establish these new communities on a sound foundation Benedict, wrote his simple Rule. We mustn’t think of Benedict’s communities as the great monasteries that existed in the Middle Ages. In the sixth century, Benedict’s small communities consisted of perhaps twenty people. They scratched their living from the land just like the other peasants with whom they lived. The only difference is that Benedict’s monks observed celibacy, lived together and followed a disciplined life of prayer, work and study. This simple, serious life was to prove a powerful antidote to the decadent chaos of the crumbling Roman Empire. Saint Benedict died on March 21, 547. After receiving Communion, he died with his arms outstretched, surrounded by his brothers. He left behind a legacy that would change the world. The monasteries became centers of learning, agriculture, art, and every useful craft. In this way, without directly intending it, the monasteries deeply affected the social, economic, and political life of the emergent Christian Europe. The monastic schools formed the pattern for the later urban cathedral schools, which in turn led to the founding of universities. In this way, monasticism preserved and handed on the wisdom of both Athens and Jerusalem, the foundations of Western civilization. It is for this reason that Saint Benedict is named the patron of Europe. Benedict is a great figure in the history of Western Europe, but his life and writings also give us a sure guide for a practical spiritual life today. His practical Rule for monks in the sixth century provides principles for Christian living that are as relevant and applicable today as they have been for the last 1,500 years.

Today the secularists mark world population day.

World Population Day History[3]

World Population Day seeks to draw attention to issues related to a growing global population.  The world's population as of April 2016, is over 7.4 Billion.  The world's population is rapidly surging with birth rates on the rise and life expectancy increases.  Over the last century, between 1916 and 2012, global life expectancy more than doubled from 34 to 70 years while world population has quintupled from 1.5 billion to 7.3 billion between 1900 and 2016.  
In 1989, the United Nations designated July 11th as World Population Day in an effort to garner attention for population issues and crises such as displaced people, rights and needs of women and girls and population safety on a global level. With an ever-growing world population, World Population Day serves to highlight the challenges and opportunities of this growth and its impact on planet sustainability, heavy urbanization, availability of health care and youth empowerment. 

Since they do not fear the LORD,
what can the king do for them?


Catholic Population Principles[4]
In order to provide a moral perspective, we affirm the following principles derived from the social teaching of the Church.
1. Within the limits of their own competence, government officials have rights and duties with regard to the population problems of their own nations—for instance, in the matter of social legislation as it affects families, of migration to cities, of information relative to the conditions and needs of the nation. Government's positive role is to help bring about those conditions in which married couples, without undue material, physical or psychological pressure, may exercise responsible freedom in determining family size.
2. Decisions about family size and the frequency of births belong to the parents and cannot be left to public authorities. Such decisions depend on a rightly formed conscience which respects the divine law and takes into consideration the circumstances of the places and the time. In forming their consciences, parents should take into account their responsibilities toward God, themselves, the children they have already brought into the world and the community to which they belong, "following the dictates of their conscience instructed about the divine law authentically interpreted and strengthened by confidence in God."
3. Public authorities can provide information and recommend policies regarding population, provided these are in conformity with moral law and respect the rightful freedom of married couples.
4. Men and women should be informed of scientific advances of methods of family planning whose safety has been well proven and which are in accord with the moral law.
5. Abortion, directly willed and procured, even if for therapeutic reasons, is to be absolutely excluded as a licit means of regulating births.


The Way[5]
"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."
15.  Don’t succumb to that disease of character whose symptoms are inconstancy in everything, thoughtlessness in action and speech scatter-brained ideas: superficiality, in short. Mark this well: unless you react in time-not tomorrow: NOW!-that superficially which each day leads you to form those empty plans (plans ‘so full of emptiness’) will make yof your life a dead and useless puppet.
  
Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Please pray for me and this ministry
·         Please Pray for Senator McCain and our country; asking Our Lady of Beauraing to intercede.

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