Thursday, June 30, 2005
Do You Have Faith?

Throughout our entire lives we will suffer through various crosses as well as joys, but we most focus growing in our relationship to God (Read more: Why is there evil).

I'm sure that we all will be burdened by sorrow and suffering and our faith will be challenged. In those moments of temptation and trial don't ask yourself if you have faith but rather if you would die for your faith. For Our Lord, Jesus Christ, heard the temptations of Satan in the desert as well as in the Garden of Gethsemane asking if the cup could pass from Him. But, He remained faithful and loved us to the end.

"Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

Do you love the Lord enough to die for Him? If you say "yes" then you certainly have faith and thank the Lord for revealing Himself to you as you go forth in life nearing your inevitable crosses but realizing that without the Cross there is no Resurrection.

Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). May the Lord's peace be with all who read this. God Bless you all.

Note: Scripture references are all from the Douay-Rheims Bible.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
Spain Legalizes Homosexual Marriage

Today the country of Spain legalized gay marriage and now numbers among the Netherlands, Belgium, and Canada, as of last Tuesday, which has legalized gay marriage. According to media reports, polls that 75% of the electorate supports the government's liberal policies.

That is extremely sad that people that consider themselves Catholic would go against Church teachings. Look clearly to St. Francis of Assisi and other saints; St. Francis was a man that greatly opposed the bureaucracy of the Vatican at the time, but he remained Catholic and loved the Catholic faith.

Spain is 94% Catholic, but Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has done a lot against the Church, and therefore against Christ, including legalizing homosexual marriage in Spain. Spain is a highly Catholic nation but is falling to the "dictatorship of relativism". Seeing the faith of the majority of Spanish citizens, I strongly disagree with the quotation above.

If you begin to doubt just one article of the faith or a moral teaching then you begin the lose the entire faith. This has been proved time and time again when people leave the Church because they believe in their own morals and ideas. But, in truth, only God's morals matter because, after all, it is the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions.

The Bible, both directly and indirectly, condemns gay marriage.

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 19:1–24; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Mark 10:17–23; John 8:3–11; Romans 1:18–32; 3:23; 1 Corinthians 6:9–11; Galatians 6:1–5; 1 Timothy 1:9–10; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; James 3:2; 5:17

One key example: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, because it is an abomination" (Leviticus 18:22, Douay-Rheims)
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Fish As Penance

I have had a very long argument on whether fish is meat or not with someone I know. Actually, it has been ongoing since last year, but I'm here to explain why we Catholics eat fish on Fridays for those that don't know. Also, I'd like to remind everyone that according to The Holy Church in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, all Catholics must practice some form of penance on all the Fridays of the year. Since Vatican II we no longer must abstain from meat every Friday except during Lent, but we must practice penance every Friday to commemorate Our Lord’s passion and death:

Canon Law (CIC 1983), the Law of the Church:

Canon 1251: "Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the episcopal conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday."

Canon 1253 provides an exception to the rule - and, perhaps, an explanation for the cultural shift: "The episcopal conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety."

To begin, I’d like to point everyone in the direction of Canon Law 1251 & 1253. Both of these are explained with reasons on Friday penance on a great website article I found at Catholic Net.

Today many people wonder why Catholics eat fish while not eating meat. This goes back to the era of Christ when fish was all too common and other forms of meat were much harder to come by. The bottom line is that we must have penance on Fridays all year, but we also must abstain from all meat on the Fridays of Lent while going further on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by fasting.  Read Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Fridays? for more information.

So, if eating fish and giving up meat on Friday is no problem try to go further. After all, the entire point of penance is showing God how sorrowful we are for our sins and calling to our Father, who sent His only begotten Son to die our death, hoping that we may be healed with His blood from the Cross.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
If Roe v. Wade is Overturned

Then abortion would only be illegal in 7 states immediately. Legislation in other states would have to follow, but that is a goal that we should want to support. The elimination of abortion is one of the greatest goals of the pro-life movement, and it rightfully should be the case because abortion is the single greatest holocaust in human history. Millions of lives have died, and we can only hope for an end to abortion.

"The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion because if a mother can kill her own child what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between." (Mother Teresa)

But, the end must occur through great prayer and action. We should continue to trust into our Eternal Father to "deliver us from evil". I urge everyone to find a way into stopping this crime of abortion through prayer and peace because it has destroyed numerous lives of children, mothers, and destroyed families.

More Information: LifeSite News
"The Lessons of St. Francis" by John Michael Talbot
 Well, I just finished “The Lessons of St. Francis” by John Michael Talbot. I had just written a very long and informative review, but my computer suddenly froze and I lost everything.

I don’t have the time to write the review in such detail again, but I will say how great the book was. It talked about St. Francis’ life in a way that separated it into a chapter on a certain aspect including one on humility, creativity, chastity, community, peace, prayer, et cetera. Each chapter offered examples of Francis’ life, quotation from other individuals, and good insight from the author, who is a Franciscan in Arkansas.

My favorite chapter was the chapter on creation, where Francis shows his love of all life because everything is a creation from the Divine and deserving of respect. Francis however wouldn’t agree with Pantheists, pagan nature worshipers, or Gaia theorists because God isn’t nature and nothing is greater than God. But, Francis did love everything that came as God’s gift and refused to eat certain animals such as lambs because Christ humbly identified himself with lambs. For this reason I have amended my life and will no longer eat the meat of lambs either. During the life of St. Francis, he even negotiated with a wolf attacking a town and found peace, while the greatest memory of Francis is probably his sermon to a group of birds that listened attentively.

The book was very straight-forward with good advice after every chapter on how to incorporate the highlight of that chapter in your life. For example, the end of the chapter on joy talked about being forgiving and thankful while not worrying about tomorrow. The chapter on creation urged recycling and a renewed commitment to respect all forms of living life as a gift from God.

The first page of the book began with a quotation by Francis: “Preach always, when necessary use words.” This is very true on how this man lived his life (after his conversion) by showing God’s mercy and love showing others the faith such as when he created the first nativity scene. We, as Catholics, believe we are saved only through grace, and we believe in faith and works. Look at James 2:26: “For just as a body without a spirit is dead so if faith without deeds.” (Read more)

For, what if Christ only had faith and no works? Would there have been the cross?

I recommend the book and give it a 8.5/10.

Prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;where there is hatred, let me sow love;when there is injury, pardon;where there is doubt, faith;where there is despair, hope;where there is darkness, light;and where there is sadness, joy.Grant that I may not so much seekto be consoled as to console;to be understood, as to understand,to be loved as to love;for it is in giving that we receive,it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Read my post on St. Francis of Assisi
Monday, June 27, 2005
Ten Commandments statue may be displayed on government land

"WASHINGTON - A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutionality of displaying the Ten Commandments on government land, but drew the line on displays inside courthouses, saying they violated the doctrine of separation of church and state..."


I firmly believe that God should be an active part of all of our decisions. He should be the ultimate center of our faith and life, and He should be available for all to see His glory and honor. After all, it is "Freedom of Religion" not "Freedom from religion".

What is your opinion on the Ten Commandments, or "under God" in the Pledge, or "In God we trust" on our currency? I'm for these active reminders of God's grace and love, and anyone can choose to ignore these reminders, but we shouldn't be forced to give them up.

Image Source: Moses Showing the Ten Commandments by Gustave Dore.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Any faithful readers?

I just wanted to know if there are people out there that regularly come here to read my blog. If you are one of them just leave me a comment here because I want to see how many people there are. I love writing this kind of information for Catholics, but I just want to make sure someone is reading it too.

Thanks a lot everyone
Friday, June 24, 2005
"Rise, let us be on our way" by Pope John Paul ll

Since I work at a library, I have the opportunity to read during the periods in the day when there are not many patrons. Yesterday I began, and today I finished, "Rise, Let us be on our Way" by Pope John Paul ll. This work of his was a very quick read with very important wisdom. I'd like to share some of that wisdom now from what I read.

Here is the beginning of the summary of it from the inside cover:
"When 'His hour' had come, Jesus said to those who were with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, to Peter, James, and John, his closest disciples: 'Rise let us be on our way' (Mark 14:42). Not only must He 'be on his way' to fulfill His Father's will: they too, must go with Him. That invitation, 'Rise, let us be on our way, is addressed particularly to us bishops, His chosen friends. Even if these words indicate a time of trial, great effort, and a painful cross, we must not allow ourselves to give way to fear..."

First, it is important to understand this book was about the time that Pope John Paul ll was bishop of Kracow in Poland when Communism controlled the country's life. It will be very useful to people discerning vocations. Pope John Paul ll said John 15:9-14 is at the root of every vocation in the Church:
"As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you."

In a few chapters, Pope John Paul ll described parts in the consecration of a bishop. I wanted to share some of those points in this post:
  • As in all ordinations (deacons, priests, and bishops), the man would prostrate himself while the Litany of the Saints is sung.
  • The celebrant lays his hands on the head of the man who is to be a bishop and the co-celebrants do the same. Then the prayer of consecration is said.
  • The Book of the Gospels is placed on the bishop's shoulders to remind him of the burden in proclaiming the Gospel. His head is anointed with oil too. Unlike a priestly ordination where just the hands are anointed, the bishop's head is anointed with Chrism oil.
  • For the consecration to take place, there needs to be proper matter and form like with all Sacraments. In this case, the celebrant must not only speak the words of consecration by lay his hands on the soon-to-be bishop's head (Lumen Genium n. 21)
  • Following consecration, the Book of the Gospels is presented to the bishop. The Bishop is to be a teacher and a "Servant of the Word", who must satisfy his flock for their hunger for the Word.
  • The bishop receives the miter on his head as a reminder to let the light of holiness shine and to prove worthy "to receive the unfading crown of glory" at Christ's Coming (1 Peter 5:4)
  • The final part of the ceremony, before the start of the Mass where the new bishop takes part in, is that the Bishop receives the croiser. It is a reminder for him to guard Christ's flock that has been entrusted to him for the present time.
  • The bishop also receives a ring. He is told: "Take this ring, the sign of your fidelity. In integrity of faith and purity of life, protect the holy Church, bride of Christ." It is a sign of a bond to the Church.

Pope John Paul ll called the greatest responsibilities of a bishop is administering the Sacraments. We see the excellent job that Pope John Paul ll did in his long pontificate by all the souls he brought joy to in so many ways. The first bishops were the apostles, and the bishops of today are also called to live holy lives as Christ did. The bishops of today are the successors of the apostles.

We remember the image of Christ as the Good Shepard, and the bishop is also called to tend to his sheep in such a loving way as Christ did. The cardinals also are called to great holiness and wear red, the color of martyrs, to show they would die for their faith.

One part of the book that remains in my memory are the three images of the Good Shepard that Pope John Paul ll points out: 1. He carries lost sheep back on his shoulders, 2. He leads his flock to green pastures, and 3. He guards his flock with a staff to death if needed.

John Paul ll did an exceptional job at this following in Christ's footsteps with his love for the people. He traveled far more than any pope in history and canonized more people as well, proving that holiness is possible to all peoples no matter if their vocation is to the priesthood or married life or other.

Pope John Paul ll called being a bishop a "spiritual fatherhood", which should be modeled after the step-father of Christ, St. Joseph. The Pope also acknowledged that only God the Father is the perfect father, but we are also called to fatherly love, especially bishops. The Pope continued by saying the greatest ally of the enemies is fear especially fear by the apostles. Scripture mentioned to go forth with nothing because if you have nothing you will not fear to lose anything other than God's love (Matthew 10:9-10). Many dictators control with fear, and if we have fear of losing our possessions, we may just lose our treasure in Heaven. "Where your treasure is, there also your heart shall be," and Pope John Paul ll's heart appeared firmly in the love of going forth to serve (Matthew 6:21). Pope John Paul ll cited Cardinal Wyszynski: "Lack of courage in a bishop is the beginning of disaster."

Yet, the Pope made it clear not to enter the priesthood for power or honor. He said that bishops must, "...Serve by ruling and rule by serving." John Paul ll said that part of the Cross is in the bishop, and we must all pick up our crosses throughout life to go to the Resurrection, so wouldn't it be harder for a bishop to carry his cross than us? Rejoice, as our Heavenly Father shall never ask more of us than what we can give. But, be glad at the what the Lord has offered you and offer up your sufferings so as to only grow closer to the One God, whose divine image we were created in.

I greatly enjoy certain parts, and it was a very easy read. I highly recommend this book. I'm not a good at rating books, but I'll give this one 8.0/10, well worth your time.


"Truly, there can be no turning one's back upon the truth, ceasing to proclaim it, hiding it, even if it is a hard truth that can only be revealed at the cost of great suffering. 'If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free' (John 8:31b-32): this is our duty and our source of strength! Here there is no room for compromise nor for an opportunistic recourse to human diplomacy. We have to bear witness to the truth, even at the cost of persecutions, even to the shedding of our blood, like Christ himself..." (190 - 191)
The Church in Latin America

A recent survey found that 71 percent of South Americans consider themselves Catholic, down from 80 percent in 1995. Protestants or evangelicals increased from 3 to 13 percent in that same period.

Yet, the Church still has high credibility in the eyes of 73 % of Latin Americans.

Latin America has some of the greatest Catholic countries in the world with Latin America now following Europe in the number of cardinals. Europe has 52% of cardinals with Latin America at 17%. In addition, there are 1.12 billion Roman Catholics in the world with only 25% in Europe compared to 43% in Latin America (statistics here are from the February 28, 2005 issue of Newsweek).

Source: Catholic Online
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Tell Senators not to support embryonic stem cell research

I believe that all people should support this bill whether Catholic or not. All life is special because it is a gift from God made in His Divine image and crafted with His own hands. The embryos in question are ones that will most likely be discarded from INVITRO clinics anyway, but these lives are creations of God. We shouldn't have the right to kill an embryo to potentially save a person. I once read that only 20% of embryos killed even produce a usable stem cell line. Not one patient has been helped by embryonic stem cells. The complete opposite is true of adult stem cells.

By using the logic that they are not human, we can also claim that blastocysts, zygotes, and fetuses are also not humans. To a greater and more severe degree, we can state that a child is less “human” that an adolescent who is less “human” that an adult. All stages of life from blastocyst to old age deserve respect because they are human not just a potential.

It is at the first day after conception that the unborn child’s sex, eye and hair color, height and skin tone have already been decided. At the 21st day the unborn child’s heart begins to beat. No one can claim that an embryo is not a human being or that donating them is not an affront to the dignity of life. Can we still sell humans as slaves? Rightfully no, and the same should be true of embryos, which are as much “human” as us even if they are less developed. There are many stages of development throughout life, but life is life no matter how much we try and change that.

To send a email to your Senators please visit this website from the National Right to Life. This anti-life bill is referred to as H.R. 810.
The Eucharist

"And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.'" (Matthew 26:26-28)

Preface: All images used on this page are from The Holy Mass Website. All Scripture readings used are from the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible, the English translation of the Latin Vulgate.

The Eucharist - Holy Communion - simply is Christ's body, blood, soul, and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine. It is not a symbol of Christ, but rather, it is truly and really Jesus Christ! At the point in the Mass known as the consecration the priest, acting in persona Christi, will say "This is my Body, which will be given up for you" and "This is my Blood...". These were the words of Our Savior when He turned the bread and wine at the Last Supper into His Body and Blood, and, by the divine power of God in the priesthood, the bread and wine become Jesus Christ. Note: It is correct to say the Bread and wine become Jesus, not Jesus becomes bread and wine.

At the Consecration during the Mass everyone present except the celebrant should kneel in adoration because by God's divine power the bread and wine become His eternal Son, Jesus Christ. The bread and wine become Jesus Christ's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity as Our Lord Himself taught in Sacred Scripture specifically at the Last Supper. The only thing remaining of bread and wine is the appearance of bread and wine (called the "accidents"). Jesus Christ gave this awesome power to His disciples, the first bishops who have passed this down through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Iit is in the Most Holy Eucharist that the veil between Heaven and earth is the shortest and we receive Our Lord, Most High. That intimate moment can not be put into words as it is only the soul that speaks with such fervent love that some are moved to tears. We truly are living Our Savior's Command: "Take ye, and eat. This is my body" (Matthew 26:26).


Some people that don't believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist claim that Jesus meant for it to be symbolic. Such disbelievers need to merely examine the Gospel of John Chapter 6. That chapter is focused entirely on the Eucharist, and we see this clearly when Our Lord tells them "Unless you eat my Body and Drink my Blood you will have no life within you". After Our Lord finished, His followers do one thing - they leave Him. If Jesus was speaking symbolically He would have said "No, you misunderstand" like He did before in the Gospels, but this time He just let them walk away. Thousands left Him, but He let them because what He spoke was literally true and they just couldn't accept it. In the past when Jesus said "I am the Door" or "I am the vine" thousands did not leave Him because they could accept a metaphor. This time was clearly different as thousands of Jesus's followers left Him because they couldn't believe what He was saying. Those that remained where the apostles. This was what was said:

"After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him. Then Jesus said to the twelve: 'Will you also go away?' And Simon Peter answered him: 'Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God." (John 6:67-72).

The Gospel of Matthew states: "And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.'" (Mt 26:26-28; cf. Mk 14:22-24, Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-25)

Eucharistic Miracles:

Several times through history the divinity of Christ in this Supreme Sacrament have shown through the bread and wine in rare but miraculous events. "Eucharist" literally means "thanksgiving" as through this sacrament we receive the greatest joy of them all. These Eucharistic miracles not only confirm the Real Presence but also that Jesus Christ remains with us. The Miracle of Lanciano, Italy (8th Century); Cascia, Italy (1300s); and Sienna, Italy (1730) are just three of these miraculous events.

Council of Trent:

The Thirteenth Session

CANON I.-If any one denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.

CANON lI.-If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species Only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema.

CANON III.-If any one denieth, that, in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist, the whole Christ is contained under each species, and under every part of each species, when separated; let him be anathema.

CANON IV.-If any one saith, that, after the consecration is completed, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are not in the admirable sacrament of the Eucharist, but (are there) only during the use, whilst it is being taken, and not either before or after; and that, in the hosts, or consecrated particles, which are reserved or which remain after communion, the true Body of the Lord remaineth not; let him be anathema.

CANON V.-If any one saith, either that the principal fruit of the most holy Eucharist is the remission of sins, or, that other effects do not result therefrom; let him be anathema.

CANON VI.-If any one saith, that, in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, is not to be adored with the worship, even external of latria; and is, consequently, neither to be venerated with a special festive solemnity, nor to be solemnly borne about in processions, according to the laudable and universal rite and custom of holy church; or, is not to be proposed publicly to the people to be adored, and that the adorers thereof are idolators; let him be anathema.

CANON VII.-If any one saith, that it is not lawful for the sacred Eucharist to be reserved in the sacrarium, but that, immediately after consecration, it must necessarily be distributed amongst those present; or, that it is not lawful that it be carried with honour to the sick; let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.-lf any one saith, that Christ, given in the Eucharist, is eaten spiritually only, and not also sacramentally and really; let him be anathema.

CANON IX.-If any one denieth, that all and each of Christ's faithful of both sexes are bound, when they have attained to years of discretion, to communicate every year, at least at Easter, in accordance with the precept of holy Mother Church; let him be anathema.

CANON X.-If any one saith, that it is not lawful for the celebrating priest to communicate himself; let him be anathema.

CANON XI.-lf any one saith, that faith alone is a sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist; let him be anathema. And for fear lest so great a sacrament may be received unworthily, and so unto death and condemnation, this holy Synod ordains and declares, that sacramental confession, when a confessor may be had, is of necessity to be made beforehand, by those whose conscience is burthened with mortal sin, how contrite even soever they may think themselves. But if any one shall presume to teach, preach, or obstinately to assert, or even in public disputation to defend the contrary, he shall be thereupon excommunicated.

Quotations on the Eucharist:
  • "Who does not see that the hidden life of Nazareth is continued in the divine Host of the tabernacle, and that the Passion of the God-Man on Calvary is renewed in the Holy Sacrifice at every moment of the day and night and all over the world? Is not our Lord as meek and humble in His Sacrament as during His mortal life? Is He not always the Good Shepherd, the divine Consoler, our bosom Friend?" (St. Peter Julian Eymard)
  • Since Christ Himself has said, "This is My Body" who shall dare to doubt that It is His Body?" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem)
  • "If we don't want to be fools and blind the intellect there's no reason for doubt. Receiving Communion is not like picturing with the imagination, as when we reflect upon the Lord on the cross or in other episodes of the Passion, when we picture within ourselves how things happened to Him in the past. In Communion the event is happening now, and it is entirely true. There's no reason to go looking for Him in some other place far away" (St. Teresa of Avila)
  • Go to adoration as one who would go to heaven, to the divine banquet. Our Lord will give us audience of grace and love. He is waiting for us. He is longing for us." (St. Peter Julian Eymard)
  • "The soul that receives the Divine Blood becomes beautiful, as being clothed in a more precious garment, and it appears so beautifully aglow that if you could see it you would be tempted to adore it" (St. Mary Magdalene di Pazzi)
  • "My children, we can never prepare ourselves too much for Holy Communion" (St. Padre Pio).
  • "This Sacrament being a mystery of faith, we must believe firmly that Jesus Christ is really present in the Holy Eucharist, and that He is living and glorious there as in heaven" (St. John Vianney).
  • "The Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ which suffered for our sins, which the Father raised up by his goodness" (St. Ignatius of Antioch).
  • "This Fountain [of the Holy Eucharist] is a fountain of light, shedding abundant rays of truth. And beside it the angelic powers from on high have taken their stand, gazing on the beauty of its streams, since they perceive more clearly than we the power of what lies before us and its unapproachable dazzling rays" (St. John Chrysostom).
  • "Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master's declaration, the body and blood of Christ" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem).
  • “The Eucharist is that love which surpasses all loves in Heaven and on earth” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux).
  • "Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: 'This is My Body.' No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored It" (Saint Augustine).

Common Questions:
  1. What are the parts of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?
  2. Why did Jesus institute the Holy Eucharist?
  3. What are the conditions on receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion?
  4. What is Holy Communion?
  5. Does the Sacred Host also contain Christ's Blood?
  6. What are Eucharistic Miracles?
  7. Can Holy Communion ever be denied?
  8. How many times a day can we receive Communion?
  9. What is Intinction?
  10. What is the Eucharistic fast and how long is it?
  11. How often is one required to receive the Eucharist?
  12. What is a Eucharistic Procession?
  13. What is Eucharistic Adoration?
Related Websites/Encyclicals:
  1. Adoremus
  2. New Advent, Catholic Encyclopedia
  3. Real Presence Association
  4. Mirae Caritatis, Encyclical of Leo XII on May 28, 1902

Image Sources: ~The Holy Mass~Home Page. These images are not the property of "A Catholic Life"
Monday, June 20, 2005
The Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross is a devotion consisting of 14 different parts - called stations - of Christ's passion and death. The devotion holds many great rewards attached to it including a plenary indulgence.

As a preface to all of the following, indulgences may only be earned by Catholics in the state of grace. Those unfamiliar with indulgences should consult: Indulgences - The Basics
Indulgences for the Stations of the Cross:
  • A plenary indulgence every time the devotion is completed.  [A plenary indulgence is the removal of all punishment due to sin. Even though you are forgiven in Confession, the punishment remains unless an indulgence is granted]
  • An additional plenary indulgence if one receives Holy Communion on the day.
  • Also an additional plenary indulgence if one performs the devotion ten times and receives Holy Communion within a month after so doing.
  • A partial indulgence of ten years for every Station made if one was not able to finish the Stations.
    The Conditions for Gaining This Indulgence:
    • Walking from Station to Station when making the Way of the Cross privately; when making it publicly, it suffices for the priest with the altar boys to do so.
    • Meditate at each Station on the sufferings of our Lord.
    • These two conditions are essential. No oral prayers are prescribed; yet they are profitable.
    A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful for making the Stations of the Cross under the normal conditions:
    • One is free from all attachment from sin
    • One receives the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist (Within 7 days before or after completing this devotion but if you are in the state of mortal sin, you can not complete this devotion and gain the indulgence. You must be in the state of grace while saying the stations, even if you satisfy this requirement of Confession after)
    • One prays for the intentions of the Pope
    While there are many benefits, including indulgences, from praying the Stations of the Cross in a Church, it is not always possible to travel to a Church for this.

    Normally, these prayers must be said in a church building, but those legitimately impeded from doing so may also gain the indulgence by holding a specially blessed crucifix and piously meditating on the Passion of Our Lord while reciting:
    • One Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for each Station
    • Five Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory Bes in memory of the Holy Wounds of Our Lord
    • One Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be "for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff" (="the exaltation of Mother Church, the propagation of the Faith, the uprooting of heresy, the conversion of sinners, peace and concord among Christian nations, and the other needs of the Church.")
    • If the prayers are said in common (as in a family) it is sufficient that only one person hold the crucifix.
    In the Stations of the Cross we commemorate and remember how much our Savior loved us - to the very end. As we profess at Mass, His dying destroyed our death, and His Rising Again restored our life.

    Before each station, pray "We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you [genuflect] because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world."

    Advice from St. Alphonsus Liguori: "The pious exercise of the Way of the Cross represents the sorrowful journey that Jesus Christ made with the cross on His shoulders, to die on Calvary for the love of us. We should, therefore, practice this devotion with the greatest possible fervor, placing ourselves in spirit beside our Savior as He walked this sorrowful way, uniting our tears with His, and offering to Him both our compassion and our gratitude."

    The Stations of the Cross: 
    1. Jesus is Condemned to death 
    2. Jesus carries the Cross 
    3. Jesus falls the first time 
    4. Jesus meets His Mother Mary 
    5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the Cross 
    6. St. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus 
    7. Jesus falls the Second Time 
    8. Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem 
    9. Jesus falls the third time 
    10. Jesus is stripped of His garments 
    11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross 
    12. Jesus dies 
    13. Jesus' body is taken down 
    14. Jesus' body is placed in the tomb
    Don't support UNICEF or the March of Dimes

    As Catholics we should always be cautious of what work our donations contribute towards, and I strongly recommend again the March of Dimes and UNICEF because these organizations support abortion, which is equal to the murder of another human being. Technically, the March of Dimes is neutral on abortion but they support destroying embryos with genetic abnormalities (1).

    I'd like to point out that I recently read that UNICEF's work involves promoting abortion (2).

    Note: Some other charities give to Planned Parenthood, the leading abortion provider in the US. See the list.
    Do we actually believe in the Atonement of sins?

    I've seen numerous people through my life that don't believe in God. They view the existence of Our Lord as "contradictory" and "impossible". These people have doubts because they don't see proof before them. But, doesn’t God give us all the grace we need to accept Him if that is our wish? "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed" (John 20:29, Douay-Rheims).

    All Catholics must believe fully in all parts of the Nicene Creed and all articles of the Faith, Dogmas, and Canons proclaimed in the history of the Holy Catholic Church.

    Concerning the Atonement of Sins:

    First of all, we believe that Jesus Christ was God-made man and both fully human and fully Divine. We saw his divinity at the Transfiguration for example while his human nature was seen especially in the Garden of Gethsemane where He feared death as all humans do. Our Lord suffered hunger, pain, cold, and many other pains except sin proving He was fully human.

    Well, since Jesus Christ is God every action of His, whether in a divine or human nature, is an act of infinite value because it was done by God himself. When we go back to the sin of Adam we see the first sin that destroyed the human race and was passed down to us as descendants of Adam. Some people claim that is entirely unfair, but in truth no one on earth except Mary and Christ didn't commit actual sin anyway. So, even if that sin wasn't passed to us we still would be committing sins as everyone still does after their Baptism when original sin is washed away.

    The eternal price of sin is death. "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned" (Romans 5:12, Douay-Rheims).

    Therefore, Jesus Christ took our place on that Cross at Calvary and died for our sins and His death was of infinite value, so He died for everyone past, present, and future. Jesus Christ descended unto the dead and broke the chains of death because even death is lower than God. And, finally, Jesus Christ rose from the grave and our sins' debt has totally been paid by Him dying our deaths. Heaven is now open, and we all shall also rise from death as Our Lord did if we follow Him and His Church on earth.

    For more information please research St. Anselm's doctrine of Atonement.

    Image Source: Unknown, Believed to be in the Public Domain
    Sunday, June 19, 2005
    Devotion to the Most Holy Rosary

    How to pray the Rosary:

    The Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a prayer given to St. Dominic in 1214 by Mary, and today this is said by saying certain prayers typically kept track by using Rosary beads. Here is how to say the Rosary:

    STEP 1: Make the sign of the Cross:
    In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

    STEP 2: Say the Apostles' Creed:
    I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.  He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day, He rose again. He ascended into heaven And is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

    STEP 3: Say 1 "Our Father":
    Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, On earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

    STEP 4: Say 3 "Hail Mary's":
    (For the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity)
    Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
    Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death.

    STEP 5: Say 1 "Glory Be":
    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

    STEP 6: Say 1 "Our Father":
    And announce the first mystery that we are praying for today.

    STEP 7: Say 10 "Aves":
    Say 10 Hail Marys while reflecting on the mystery

    STEP 8: Conclude the Decade:
    Say a Glory Be and a Fatima Prayer.
    Fatima Prayer: O My Jesus, forgive our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven especially those that most need your divine mercy.

    STEP 9: Continue the Rosary:
    To continue the Rosary, announce the next mystery and repeat steps 6-8 for all the mysteries of that given day. 

    STEP 10: Conclude the Rosary:
    Conclude the Rosary with the Hail Holy Queen and the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel (shorter form).

    Why pray the Rosary? 

    It's a very valid question that should be addressed. First, the Rosary is a devotion of prayers that allow us to contemplate on the life of Christ and Mary and join in more mystical union with God through prayer. Why the Rosary? Because the Rosary is everything: It praises God through the Our Father, contemplates the life of Jesus and Mary, and seeks Mary's motherly intercession and guidance. Through the Rosary meditations, we grow closer to Jesus.

    Can I just pray a prayer to God instead of Mary? Sure, but why would you want to. If you were in need wouldn't you want another to pray for you as well? All of us are certainly in Communion with the saints and through this communion, the saints can pray for us. This is a part of our faith stated in the Nicene and Apostles Creed. Mary is a great advocate and mother who prays for us and cares for us immensely; She loves us very much. Our Lord gave her to us as a mother from the Cross:
    Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own. (John 19:25-27, Douay Rheims)
    Mary is not God. Worship belongs to the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) alone! However, Mary is an important advocate. She was saved by God from falling into original sin before her birth. We, therefore, believe and profess without a doubt that Mary was without sin, a Dogma called the Immaculate Conception.

    Above all, the Holy Trinity is the Lord alone; He is the One and Only God. We as Catholics don't worship Mary at all but ask her to pray for us as I would ask a friend to pray for me. We honor saints as holy people, but we never adore them as Christ alone is to be adored. Devotion to Mary and the saints is very important. Why pray to Mary and the Saints?
    Virtues Corresponding to Each Mystery:

    When we pray the Rosary, we can keep in mind the various virtues that correspond to each mystery. As we pray and meditate on the Rosary mysteries, also pray for the corresponding virtue.

    Fatima Requests:

    In a series of apparitions that have been proven as authentic, Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima. These three shepherd children were given messages and a miracle was even performed there that was witnessed by thousands. In the miracle on Oct 13, 1917, the sun danced, changed colors, and was hurled towards earth as if to destroy it. The sun then rose again in its original position. This event was witnessed by 70,000 thousands of people! It's been called, the Miracle of the Sun.

    Before this on May 13, 1917, Our Lady told the 3 children (Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco): "Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war." In an apparition on July 13, she requested devotion to her Immaculate Heart and Communions of reparation on the first Saturday of each month. In a September 13th apparition, she stressed the importance of the daily Rosary, and in her final apparition, she said, "I am the Lady of the Rosary."

    Rosary Miracles:

    I was researching Rosary miracles and found this site on a variety of Rosary miracles.

    The first major Rosary miracle and one of the most impressive is the one that occurred at the Battle of Lepanto: In 1571 the Christian army, after intense devotion with the Rosary, succeeded in one of the greatest naval victories in the Battle of Lepanto against the powerful Turks. The sixty-five thousand men prayed the Rosary for three hours. Finally, after these devotions, the men were given absolution (forgiveness of their sins). The Turks had nearly three times more troops. The winds were against the Christians and the conditions were poor, but after the devotions ended, the winds, at the very start of the battle, aided the Christians to a colossal victory against the Turks. This was one of the greatest naval upsets in history, from this, the Turks never fully recovered and their threat in the Mediterranean Sea ended. Following this victory, Pope Pius V established the Feast of Our Lady of Victories on October 7th. The name was later changed to its present form - the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

    St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort wrote: "The rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the Heart of Jesus, Our Redeemer, who loves His Mother." There are many other miracles included one attributed to Hiroshima. The reason why the Russians pulled out of Austria in 1948 is also attributed to the Rosary Campaign there where 1/10 of the population prayed the Rosary daily for the withdrawal; it came on May 13, 1955, the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, when the Russians signed the accord to leave Austria, and no one was injured at all.

    St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort wrote: "The rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the Heart of Jesus, Our Redeemer, who loves His Mother."

    15 Promises of the Rosary:

    Mary has promised 15 specific promises for those devoted to the Rosary that she told St. Dominic when she gave us the Rosary to lead us closer to God.

    1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.
    2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
    3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
    4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of people from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
    5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.
    6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just, he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
    7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
    8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the Saints in Paradise.
    9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
    10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
    11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
    12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
    13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
    14. All who recite the Rosary are my children, and brothers and sisters of my only Son, Jesus Christ.
    15. Devotion of my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

    Rosary Encyclicals:

    Supremi Apostolatus Officio:
    It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary, and to seek for peace in her maternal goodness; showing that the Catholic Church has always, and with justice, put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God. And truly the Immaculate Virgin, chosen to be the Mother of God and thereby associated with Him in the work of man's salvation, has a favor and power with her Son greater than any human or angelic creature has ever obtained, or ever can gain. And, as it is her greatest pleasure to grant her help and comfort to those who seek her, it cannot be doubted that she would deign, and even be anxious, to receive the aspirations of the universal Church.

    Octobri Mense:
    At the coming of the month of October, dedicated and consecrated as it is to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary, we recall with satisfaction the instant exhortations which in preceding years We addressed to you, venerable brethren, desiring, as We did, that the faithful, urged by your authority and by your zeal, should redouble their piety towards the august Mother of God, the mighty helper of Christians, and should pray to her throughout the month, invoking her by that most holy rite of the Rosary which the Church, especially in the passage of difficult times, has ever used for the accomplishment of all desires. This year once again do We publish Our wishes, once again do We encourage you by the same exhortations. We are persuaded to this in love for the Church, whose sufferings, far from mitigating, increase daily in number and in gravity. Universal and well-known are the evils we deplore: war made upon the sacred dogmas which the Church holds and transmits; derision cast upon the integrity of that Christian morality which she has in keeping; enmity declared, with the impudence of audacity and with criminal malice, against the very Christ, as though the Divine work of Redemption itself were to be destroyed from its foundation -- that work which, indeed, no adverse power shall ever utterly abolish or destroy.

    Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on September 22, 1891.
    Laetitiae Sanctae:
    For We are convinced that the Rosary, if devoutly used, is bound to benefit not only the individual but society at large.

    Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on September 8, 1893.
    It is always with joyful expectation and inspired hope that We look forward to the return of the month of October. At Our exhortation and by Our express order this month has been consecrated to the Blessed Virgin, during which for some years now the devotion of her Rosary has been practiced by Catholic nations throughout the world with sedulous earnestness. Our reasons for making this exhortation We have made known more than once. For as the disastrous condition of the Church and of Society proved to Us the extreme necessity for signal aid from God, it was manifest to Us that that aid should be sought through the intercession of His Mother, and by the express means of the Rosary, which Christians have ever found to be of marvelous avail. This indeed has been well proved since the very institution of the devotion, both in the vindication of Holy Faith against the furious attacks of heresy, and in restoring to honor the virtues, which by reason of the Age's corruption, required to be rekindled and sustained.

    Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on September 8, 1894.
    The mightiest helper of the Christian people, and the most merciful, is the Virgin Mother of God. How fitting it is to accord her honors ever increasing in splendor, and call upon her aid with a confidence daily growing more ardent. The abundant blessings, infinitely varied and constantly multiplying, which flow from her all over the whole world for the common benefit of mankind, add fresh motives for invoking and honoring her.

    We have already had the opportunity on several occasions during Our Pontificate of bearing public testimony to that confidence and devotion towards the Blessed Virgin which We imbibed in Our tenderest years, and have endeavoured to cherish and develop all our life long. 
    The Rosary Story As Told in Video:

    The First Post

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