ST. LOUIS OF FRANCE
Acts, Chapter 9, verse 26
When he arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all AFRAID of him, not believing that he was a disciple.
The “he” in this verse is the same Saul that was killing the early Christians that later became the Apostle Paul.
Christ tells us to love our enemy which is much easier to say than to do. Yet as much as possible we are to not fear them but strive to love them. Often, we find it difficult to love even our family and neighbors let alone our enemies. In fact, the opposite of fear is not courage but love. Hebrews, Chapter 13, Verse’ 1-6 show the following ways of living to demonstrate true love or charity.
The true meaning of love is to seek the good of the other as other.
· In all that you do be an agent of hospitality.
o That is to be generous. Even the poor can be rich in their praise and love of others. Share not only your time, talent and treasure but truly give of yourself to others of your intellect, emotional support, and physical presence. A good guide is the spiritual works of mercy: instruct the ignorant; counsel the doubtful; admonish sinners; bear wrongs patiently; forgive offences willingly; comfort the afflicted; pray for the living and the dead.
· Do what you can to free others of their prisons whether these are self-imposed i.e. addictions or through ignorance.
o A good guide is the corporal works of mercy: feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; clothe the naked; harbor the harbor-less; visit the sick; ransom the captive; bury the dead.
· Marriage is the physical reality of our soul’s marriage to God through the Holy Spirit; therefore.
o If married love and honor your wife; be chase in spirit whether married or single knowing that marriage is the physical sign of your union with God. Disdain any kind of sexual defilement.
· Avoid the love of money.
o Seek simplicity and contentment. Treat all the wealth you have as if it were Gods; on loan to you to build the Kingdom; which it is. You can do this if you know and trust God will never forsake you or abandon you.
Render unto Caesar
This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.
John F. Kennedy
Have we become a soulless Nation? Have we in the pursuit of happiness; ignored the Gospel of Life. Realizing that if we put success or liberty as greater values than life that we are serving Caesar and not God. To understand this, we need to review the US Bishops “The Gospel of Life”.
The Gospel of Life
Brothers and sisters in the Lord:
At the conclusion of the 1998 ad limina visits of the bishops of the United States, our Holy Father Pope John Paul II spoke these words:
Today I believe the Lord is saying to us all: do not hesitate, do not be afraid to engage the good fight of the faith (cf. I Tim 6:12). When we preach the liberating message of Jesus Christ we are offering the words of life to the world. Our prophetic witness is an urgent and essential service not just to the Catholic community but to the whole human family.
In this statement we attempt to fulfill our role as teachers and pastors in proclaiming the Gospel of Life. We are confident that the proclamation of the truth in love is an indispensable way for us to exercise our pastoral responsibility.
"Your country stands upon the world scene as a model of a democratic society at an advanced stage of development. Your power of example carries with it heavy responsibilities. Use it well, America!" --Pope John Paul II, Newark, 1995
When Henry Luce published his appeal for an "American century" in 1941, he could not have known how the coming reality would dwarf his dream. Luce hoped that the "engineers, scientists, doctors . . . builders of roads [and] teachers" of the United States would spread across the globe to promote economic success and American ideals: "a love of freedom, a feeling for the quality of opportunity, a tradition of self-reliance and independence and also cooperation." Exactly this, and much more, has happened in the decades since. U.S. economic success has reshaped the world. But the nobility of the American experiment flows from its founding principles, not from its commercial power. In this century alone, hundreds of thousands of Americans have died defending those principles. Hundreds of thousands more have lived lives of service to those principles -- both at home and on other continents -- teaching, advising and providing humanitarian assistance to people in need. As Pope John Paul has observed, "At the center of the moral vision of [the American] founding documents is the recognition of the rights of the human person . . ." The greatness of the United States lies "especially [in its] respect for the dignity and sanctity of human life in all conditions and at all stages of development."
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying: Before I
formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I consecrated you; a
prophet to the nations I appointed you.
St. Louis of France
Reigning from 1226 to 1270, Louis IX showed how a saint would act on the throne of France. He was a lovable personality, a kind husband, a father of eleven children, and at the same time a strict ascetic. To an energetic and prudent rule Louis added love and zeal for the practice of piety and the reception of the holy sacraments. He was brave in battle, polished at feasts, and addicted to fasting and mortification. His politics were grounded upon strict justice, unshatterable fidelity, and untiring effort toward peace. Nevertheless, his was not a weakly rule but one that left its impress upon following generations. He was a great friend of religious Orders, a generous benefactor of the Church. The Breviary says of him: "He had already been king for twenty years when he fell victim to a severe illness. That afforded the occasion for making a vow to undertake a crusade for the liberation of the Holy Land. Immediately upon recovery he received the crusader's cross from the hand of the bishop of Paris, and, followed by an immense army, he crossed the sea in 1248. On the field of battle Louis routed the Saracens; yet when the plague had taken large numbers of his soldiery, he was attacked and taken captive (1250). The king was forced to make peace with the Saracens; upon the payment of a huge ransom, he and his army were again set at liberty." While on a second crusade he died of the plague, with these words from the psalm upon his lips: "I will enter Thy house; I will worship in Thy holy temple and sing praises to Thy Name!" (Ps. 5). It was his mother's supreme desire that her son should become a kind, pious and just ruler. She was wont to say to him: "Never forget that sin is the only great evil in the world. No mother could love her son more than I love you. But I would rather see you lying dead at my feet than know that you had offended God by one mortal sin." These words remained indelibly impressed upon his mind. St. Louis was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis and so is included in the family of Franciscan saints.
St. Louis’ Last Instructions to his Eldest Son
Then he [Louis] called my Lord Philip, his son, and commanded him, as if by testament, to observe all the teachings he had left him, which are hereinafter set down in French, and were, so it is said, written with the king's own saintly hand:
· "Fair son, the first thing I would teach thee is to set thine heart to love God; for unless he love God none can be saved. Keep thyself from doing aught that is displeasing to God, that is to say, from mortal sin. Contrariwise thou shouldst suffer every manner of torment rather than commit a mortal sin.
· "If God send thee adversity, receive it in patience and give thanks to our Savior and bethink thee that thou hast deserved it, and that He will make it turn to thine advantage. If He send thee prosperity, then thank Him humbly, so that thou becomest not worse from pride or any other cause, when thou oughtest to be better. For we should not fight against God with his own gifts.
· "Confess thyself often and choose for thy confessor a right worthy man who knows how to teach thee what to do, and what not to do; and bear thyself in such sort that thy confessor and thy friends shall dare to reprove thee for thy misdoings. Listen to the services of Holy Church devoutly, and without chattering; and pray to God with thy heart and with thy lips, and especially at Mass when the consecration takes place. Let thy heart be tender and full of pity toward those who are poor, miserable, and afflicted, and comfort and help them to the utmost of thy power.
· "Maintain the good customs of thy realm and abolish the bad. Be not covetous against thy people and do not burden them with taxes and imposts save when thou art in great need.
· "If thou hast any great burden weighing upon thy heart, tell it to thy confessor or to some right worthy man who is not full of vain words. Thou shalt be able to bear it more easily.
· "See that thou hast in thy company men, whether religious or lay, who are right worthy and loyal and not full of covetousness, and confer with them oft; and fly and eschew the company of the wicked. Hearken willingly to the Word of God and keep it in thine heart, and seek diligently after prayers and indulgences. Love all that is good and profitable and hate all that is evil, wheresoever it may be.
· "Let none be so bold as to say before thee any word that would draw or move to sin, or so bold as to speak evil behind another's back for pleasure's sake; nor do thou suffer any word in disparagement of God and of His saints to be spoken in thy presence. Give often thanks to God for all the good things he has bestowed on thee, so that thou be accounted worthy to receive more.
· "In order to do justice and right to thy subjects, be upright and firm, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left, but always to what is just; and do thou maintain the cause of the poor until such a time as the truth is made clear. And if anyone has an action against thee, make full inquiry until thou knowest the truth; for thus shall thy counsellors judge the more boldly according to the truth, whether for thee or against.
· "If thou holdest aught that belongeth to another, whether by thine own act or the act of thy predecessors, and the matter be certain, make restitution without delay. If the matter be doubtful, cause inquiry to be made by wise men diligently and promptly.
· "Give heed that thy servants and thy subjects live under thee in peace and uprightness. Especially maintain the good cities and commons of thy realm in the same estate and with the same franchises as they enjoyed under thy predecessors; and if there be aught to amend, amend and set it right, and keep them in thy favor and love. For because of the power and wealth of the great cities, thine own subjects, and especially thy peers and thy barons and foreigners also will fear to undertake aught against thee.
· "Love and honor all persons belonging to Holy Church, and see that no one take away or diminish the gifts and alms paid to them by thy predecessors. It is related of King Philip, my grandfather, that one of his counsellors once told him that those of Holy Church did him much harm and damage in that they deprived him of his rights, and diminished his jurisdiction, and that it was a great marvel that he suffered it; and the good king replied that he believed this might well be so, but he had regard to the benefits and courtesies that God had bestowed on him, and so thought it better to abandon some of his rights than to have any contention with the people of Holy Church.
· "To thy father and mother, thou shalt give honor and reverence, and thou shalt obey their commandments. Bestow the benefices of Holy Church on persons who are righteous and of a clean life, and do it on the advice of men of worth and uprightness.
· "Beware of undertaking a war against any Christian prince without great deliberation; and if it has to be undertaken, see that thou do no hurt to Holy Church and to those that have done thee no injury. If wars and dissensions arise among thy subjects, see that thou appease them as soon as thou art able. "Use diligence to have good provosts and bailiffs, and inquire often of them and of those of thy household how they conduct themselves, and if there be found in them any vice of inordinate covetousness or falsehood or trickery. Labor to free thy land from all vile iniquity, and especially strike down with all thy power evil swearing and heresy. See to it that the expense of thy household be reasonable.
· "Finally, my very dear son, cause Masses to be sung for my soul, and prayers to be said throughout thy realm; and give to me a special share and full part in all the good thou doest. Fair, dear son, I give thee all the blessings that a good father can give to his son. And may the blessed Trinity and all the saints keep and defend thee from all evils; and God give thee grace to do His will always, so that He be honored in thee, and that thou and I may both, after this mortal life is ended, be with Him together and praise Him everlastingly. Amen."
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO-THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
Article 4-THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION
XI. The Celebration of the Sacrament of Penance
1480 Like all the sacraments, Penance is a liturgical action. the elements of the celebration are ordinarily these: a greeting and blessing from the priest, reading the word of God to illuminate the conscience and elicit contrition, and an exhortation to repentance; the confession, which acknowledges sins and makes them known to the priest; the imposition and acceptance of a penance; the priest's absolution; a prayer of thanksgiving and praise and dismissal with the blessing of the priest.
1481 The Byzantine Liturgy recognizes several formulas of absolution, in the form of invocation, which admirably express the mystery of forgiveness: "May the same God, who through the Prophet Nathan forgave David when he confessed his sins, who forgave Peter when he wept bitterly, the prostitute when she washed his feet with her tears, the Pharisee, and the prodigal son, through me, a sinner, forgive you both in this life and in the next and enable you to appear before his awe-inspiring tribunal without condemnation, he who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen."
1482 The sacrament of Penance can also take place in the framework of a communal celebration in which we prepare ourselves together for confession and give thanks together for the forgiveness received. Here, the personal confession of sins and individual absolution are inserted into a liturgy of the word of God with readings and a homily, an examination of conscience conducted in common, a communal request for forgiveness, the Our Father and a thanksgiving in common. This communal celebration expresses more clearly the ecclesial character of penance. However, regardless of its manner of celebration the sacrament of Penance is always, by its very nature, a liturgical action, and therefore an ecclesial and public action.
1483 In case of grave necessity recourse may be had to a communal celebration of reconciliation with general confession and general absolution. Grave necessity of this sort can arise when there is imminent danger of death without sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear each penitent's confession. Grave necessity can also exist when, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors to hear individual confessions properly in a reasonable time, so that the penitents through no fault of their own would be deprived of sacramental grace or Holy Communion for a long time. In this case, for the absolution to be valid the faithful must have the intention of individually confessing their sins in the time required. The diocesan bishop is the judge of whether or not the conditions required for general absolution exist. A large gathering of the faithful on the occasion of major feasts or pilgrimages does not constitute a case of grave necessity.
1484 "Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession." There are profound reasons for this. Christ is at work in each of the sacraments. He personally addresses every sinner: "My son, your sins are forgiven." He is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them. He raises them up and reintegrates them into fraternal communion. Personal confession is thus the form most expressive of reconciliation with God and with the Church.
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 Render unto Caesar, Charles J. Chaput