Psalm 85, verse 9-11:
9 I will listen for what God, the LORD, has to say; surely he will speak of peace to his people and to his faithful. May they not turn to foolishness! 10 Near indeed is his salvation for those who FEAR him; glory will dwell in our land. 11 Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss.
Christ is drawing near through Mary and the
Eucharist. We are to rejoice just as Mary did in her Canticle of Praise when
she entered the house of Zechariah.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my
spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s
lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The
Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His
mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his
arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers
from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled
with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped
Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise
to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
The Law of Love
Our Lord Jesus himself clearly taught us the first principles of Catholic morality: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” (Mt 22:37-40) Love, or charity, is the great commandment of the Lord. Love of God and love of neighbor are the source & summary of Catholic morality. “All the law and the prophets” flow from this starting point. This means that what love requires is the essence of all moral rules, all of the Ten Commandments, and all aspects of morality spoken of by the prophets and even by Christ himself. The only things needed are those things which love makes necessary. It is also important to say that love does, indeed, require many things! In fact, it takes only a few simple steps of logic to deduce the Ten Commandments and most of the rest of Catholic morality from this starting point. Those moral precepts describe the minimum that love requires.
“What do you mean the
morality’s basic moral code describes the minimum necessary to live in
union with Christ. If we fall below that level, then the life of Christ cannot
live within us. That’s the meaning of mortal sin: an action
which shows God that we refuse his offer to become “children of God” (John
1:12) and “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4). So, if that’s the
minimum, then what’s the maximum that love requires? Again, Jesus
provides the answer: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one
another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all
men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(John 13:34-35) The maximum, then, is to completely give ourselves for
others, even as Christ did for us. To put it more simply: there is no
maximum! We’ll always find that we can give more.
demands we care about human rights, but we must begin with the protection of
to Get Serious About Fatima
world's gone mad. Take the attacks and outrages perpetrated by men upon their
neighbors or the persecutions of the Church in China and North Korea, and the
list could go on. But it's pointless to compare tragedies, to try to determine
who's most wounded, who is most in pain. Rather, it's time and long past time
to apply the solutions we've had all along. I'm talking, of course, about the message of Fatima, specifically Our Lady's calls for
the daily Rosary for peace in the world and the Five First Saturday’s devotion.
fellow Marian Fr. Seraphim Michalenko sometimes tells a story that a priest
ministering in Japan shared with him in Rome. This priest was attending an international
gathering of Christians from across the world, attended by foreign dignitaries.
The ambassador from Japan approached the priest, verified that the priest
served in Japan and was a Catholic priest, and then said, "War is your
fault." The priest was surprised and asked what the ambassador meant. The
ambassador said, "You Catholics, all of you — we do not have peace in the
world. It is your fault." The priest said, "Ambassador, why do you
blame us?" The ambassador said, "I've read about this. The Lady came
to you at Fatima, right? That's what you believe? She told you what to do to
secure peace in the world. Well, there's no peace in the world, so obviously
you Catholics haven't done it." The priest had to acknowledge that the
ambassador was correct, but still tried to protest, saying, "Isn't peace
everyone's responsibility?" The ambassador was vehement. "No, she
came to you Catholics. Not to Buddhists. Not to Hindus. She came to you, and it
is your responsibility."
We've been given the answer. Pray the
Rosary daily for peace in the world and invite others to pray with you. At
college, there would occasionally be "sit ins for peace." A number of
my fellow students, passionately convicted and righteously indignant though
they were, would go and sit outside the student center with signs. That was
their sit in for peace. It always massively frustrated me because here we were,
a Catholic school, armed with a whole host of powerful prayers and devotions,
and there they were just sitting. If they'd just bothered to pray the Rosary,
their protest would have meant a great deal in this world and the next. Why not
arrange for a Rosary for peace at your colleges and universities, if not every
day, then at least every Saturday, traditionally set aside as Our Lady's day?
Why not revive the tradition of family and neighborhood Rosaries, offered
specifically for the intention of peace in the world? What about having a
regular Rosary for peace at your parish, maybe even before Mass with the
permission of your pastor?
• Make the Five First Saturdays devotion
• Consecrate yourself to the Immaculate Heart, and encourage others to do the same.
• Become invested in the Brown Scapular.
• Do penance for your sins and on behalf of poor sinners everywhere.
Don't just sit there — the world is in trouble, and we have the answer.
Brain Thrive by 25 is a scientifically designed research-based course designed to change the lives of teenagers and young adults all over the world.
Multi-Dimensional Education, Inc.,
(MDEI) an independent education research group, studied the effects of Brain
Thrive by 25 at 16 sites on over 330 students. They found that the
decreased drug, alcohol and tobacco use
Utilizing a multi-dimensional approach
to assessing the outcomes associated with the implementation of Brain Thrive by
25, this study supports the Brain Thrive by 25 positive impact on brain
function and schools seeking to help students succeed academically.
According to Dr. Doug Grove,
President of MDEI, “After spending a year organizing and implementing the
study, and weeks of analysis, the results strongly supported that unlike many
interventions we have evaluated, Brain Thrive by 25 was literally making a
difference in developing better minds of the students who took part in the
Catholic Activity: Your Child's Spiritual Training
Your child's religious
training should begin almost as soon as he is born. Here are basic guidelines
for instructing your child before he has reached the age of reason.
At seven to ten months, a
baby begins to listen to sounds intently. He does not know what words mean, but
he gets an impression from the tone of your voice, your facial expressions, and
your gestures. It is not too soon to begin teaching him a prayer. Such a prayer
should be as simple as possible, and preferably repetitive — with the same
sounds repeated over and over. Sister de Lourdes cites this one:
Thank you, God, for
Jimmy, Thank you for Jimmy's bread, Thank you for Jimmy's smile, Bless Jimmy in
As soon as your child can
speak in syllables, you can teach him simple prayers. For example, carry him to
a painting or statue depicting the Baby Jesus in His Blessed Mother's arms, and
point out to him that the Infant Savior also had a mother who loved Him. Before
he reaches his first year, he may be able to enunciate the name of Jesus. He
can be encouraged to say good night to the Savior of the painting or statue.
When the family eats together, the baby in his high chair will observe that
grace is said before and after meals. He will join in the prayers automatically
as soon as he is able.
Pictures have a powerful
appeal for the one-year-old and two-year-old. You can encourage his interest in
religion by showing him paintings of great events in the life of Our Lord. You
will find him an interested viewer and listener if you show him pictures of
Baby Jesus, and the Holy Family, and of Biblical incidents. He will also be a
rapt listener as you narrate the stories which the pictures illustrate. At
Christmas time especially, you can impress upon him that this great feast
commemorates the birth of the Infant Savior: your telling of the Christmas
story can begin to implant a reverence for this great feast that will last
throughout his life.
In his third year, your
child will probably be ready to learn about the creation by God of the world
and everything in it. You will have opportunities to teach him as a matter of
course that God made the flowers, the trees, the dog whose back he pats, and
every other thing that he sees about him. Express your own appreciation for
God's many gifts — the beautiful flowers, the lovely sunset, the water you drink,
the food you eat. In this way, he too will recognize that God is a loving
Father to Whom we owe gratitude for all things.
By the time he is three,
he should be sufficiently advanced mentally to begin practicing simple acts of
self-denial. If he is given a piece of candy before dinner, he will probably
understand if he is told that he must not eat it until after his meal. This is
his first realization that satisfaction of present desires must often be
deferred for our own good.
At the age of four, he
should be ready to take a more active part in family prayers. In some families,
father, mother and children pray together in the evening before the first child
goes to bed. His attendance at night prayers will impress the importance of
this devotion upon him and enable him to learn the words sooner than he perhaps
would ordinarily. Four-year-olds usually do not have a long attention span,
however, and the average child may become distracted after a few minutes. The
night prayers in which he joins may be kept short at first and gradually
lengthened as he grows older.
At this time, your child
is old enough to understand certain moral principles: that he must obey his
parents because God wishes him to do so; and that lying, stealing and
disobedience are not in accordance with God's will. You can teach these
principles by giving him the image of God as his Eternal Father. If he has a
loving trust in his own father, he will not find it difficult to visualize God
as the loving Father of all mankind. He is also ready to learn of his Guardian
Angel; many childish fears can be removed if he knows that his Guardian Angel
always watches over him, and he will feel secure in new experiences when he
knows that he has a protector.
From ages four to six, you
can intensify in many different ways the moral training you began earlier.
Through family prayer and other devotions, when you read to him, and through
little talks when you perform his daily routines with him, you can inculcate
the great truths of our religion. In particular, do not overlook opportunities
to instill high ideals through reading. Many excellent books recount Bible
stories in attractive pictures and text and they stress vividly the importance
of practicing virtue in our lives. For example, the story of Adam and Eve can
be a means of teaching him why he must obey God and his earthly parents. The
story of Abraham may teach him that we must be ready to sacrifice all we
possess if God requires it. From the parable told by Jesus of the widow's mite,
he can learn that we must always show our gratitude to God; from the parable of
the talents, that we must always do our best for His glory.
Many devotions and
religious observances can now be made an intimate part of your child's daily
life. In Chapter 16, devoted to religious observances in the home, you will
find many suggestions to help you make the love of God the greatest fact in
your child's existence.
Our Lord taught that the
love of God is the first and greatest commandment, but He also said that a
second commandment was like it — the commandment that we must love our neighbor
as ourself. You probably can best teach this commandment by example. More
powerful than your words will be your courteous attitude toward those who visit
your home; toward peoples of other races and creeds; toward those less
privileged in a spiritual or material sense than yourself. Christ's teaching
that all men are brothers under the Fatherhood of God will have greater meaning
for your child if he notices that you always treat others with respect.
Before your child is
seven, you will probably notice the formation of his conscience. He may show by
expressions of guilt or shame when he has done wrong. This development of
conscience indicates that you now can appeal to him more and more on the grounds
of reason, rather than on the weight of your authority. The seven-year-old
normally is sufficiently developed to take responsibility before God for his
actions. By the orderly and constructive training you have provided, he should
be able to recite his morning and night prayers; he should know the important
laws of God and Church — the necessity to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days
of obligation and of abstaining from meat on Friday, for example; and he should
be ready to begin preparations for his First Communion.
Obviously, your child's
moral training at home does not stop when he enters parochial school. Rather,
it continues throughout his lifetime. In the remaining chapters of this book
you will find many suggestions to help you meet his continued needs for
spiritual guidance. Specific problems you may encounter in his various stages
are discussed below.
Activity Source: Catholic Family Handbook, The by Rev. George A. Kelly, Random House, Inc., New York, 1959
of the Catholic Church
PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION ONE THE SACRAMENTAL ECONOMY
CHAPTER ONE THE PASCHAL MYSTERY IN THE AGE OF THE
Article 2 THE PASCHAL MYSTERY IN THE
Sacraments of the Church
1117 As she has done for the canon of Sacred Scripture and for
the doctrine of the faith, the Church, by the power of the Spirit who guides
her "into all truth," has gradually recognized this treasure received
from Christ and, as the faithful steward of God's mysteries, has determined its
"dispensation." Thus the Church has discerned over the centuries
that among liturgical celebrations there are seven that are, in the strict
sense of the term, sacraments instituted by the Lord.
1118 The sacraments are "of the Church" in the double
sense that they are "by her" and "for her." They are
"by the Church," for she is the sacrament of Christ's action at work
in her through the mission of the Holy Spirit. They are "for the
Church" in the sense that "the sacraments make the Church," since
they manifest and communicate to men, above all in the Eucharist, the mystery
of communion with the God who is love, One in three persons.
1119 Forming "as it were, one mystical person" with
Christ the head, the Church acts in the sacraments as "an organically
structured priestly community." Through Baptism and Confirmation the Priestly
people is enabled to celebrate the liturgy, while those of the faithful
"who have received Holy Orders, are appointed to nourish the Church with
the word and grace of God in the name of Christ."
1120 The ordained ministry or ministerial priesthood is at the
service of the baptismal priesthood. The ordained priesthood guarantees
that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for
the Church. the saving mission entrusted by the Father to his incarnate Son was
committed to the apostles and through them to their successors: they receive
the Spirit of Jesus to act in his name and in his person. The ordained
minister is the sacramental bond that ties the liturgical action to what the
apostles said and did and, through them, to the words and actions of Christ,
the source and foundation of the sacraments.
1121 The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy
Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental character or
"seal" by which the Christian shares in Christ's priesthood and is
made a member of the Church according to different states and functions. This
configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by the Spirit, is
indelible, it remains for ever in the Christian as a positive disposition
for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine protection, and as a vocation to
divine worship and to the service of the Church. Therefore these sacraments can
never be repeated.
Litany of the Most Precious
Blood of Jesus