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Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Why Catholicism Must Be True

"If twelve men without influence, without knowledge, inexperienced in the ways of the world, but loving Christ profoundly, have succeeded by the aid of some poor Jews in spreading the Christian Faith throughout the Roman Empire; if they have accomplished what Greece with all its eloquence, and Rome with its military power have failed to achieve; if they have succeeded in founding an institution which has lasted [20] centuries - an institution which has regenerated the world, emancipated the slave, rehabilitated women, dignified family life, comforted the afflicted, uprooted vices, taught sublime truths, pure morality and heroic virtue,an institution which has resisted long-continued and dangerous destructive tendencies, undergone centuries of persecution, witnessed the passing away of kingdoms and peoples, remaining itself erect and immovable upon the ruins of time - an institution which has opposed human interests and passions -surely we have here the greatest of miracles. Unless the principle of causality be denied or the cogency of evidence called in question, it is necessary to recognize that this institution is Divine" (Francois de Lamy).
Sunday, January 13, 2019
The Forgotten Sacramental: Blessed Salt

Holy Water, Rosaries, Scapulars, Crucifixes, but... salt?  Yes, surprisingly to many, a powerful yet forgotten sacramental exists which is none other than Blessed Salt.

A few weeks ago I visited a parish that actually had containers of salt near the front door that were blessed. They asked for a very minimal donation of only 40 cents per 26 oz Iodized Salt container like you would find at the grocery store.  They noted on the top of the salt containers that they were all blessed by the priest with the special blessing reserved for salt.  I happily picked up one, made a donation, and parceled it out to several people in small containers.

Blessed Salt is a Sacramental that needs to make a comeback in the Church. In fact, I see very few traditional Catholic parishes that even make it available.

Blessed Salt is a powerful Sacramental.  The Rituale Romanum blessing of Holy Water, in fact, required exorcized salt.  How was salt exorcized and why?  Let's hear the prayer from the Rituale:
God's creature, salt, I cast out the demon from you by the living + God, by the true + God, by the holy + God, by God who ordered you to be thrown into the water- spring by Eliseus to heal it of its barrenness. May you be a purified salt, a means of health for those who believe, a medicine for body and soul for all who make use of you. May all evil fancies of the foul fiend, his malice and cunning, be driven afar from the place where you are sprinkled. And let every unclean spirit be repulsed by Him who is coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire. 
All: Amen. 
Let us pray. 
Almighty everlasting God, we humbly appeal to your mercy and goodness to graciously bless + this creature, salt, which you have given for mankind's use. May all who use it find in it a remedy for body and mind. And may everything that it touches or sprinkles be freed from uncleanness and any influence of the evil spirit; through Christ our Lord. 
All: Amen.
Why was it done?  The practice of putting salt into the water comes no doubt from the incident of the miraculous cure of the poisonous well (see 4 Kings 2.19-21), where the prophet Eliseus used salt to purify the water of the well.

Later on, in the blessing of Holy Water, the priest will pour the salt into the water and pray:
God, source of irresistible might and king of an invincible realm, the ever-glorious conqueror; who restrain the force of the adversary, silencing the uproar of his rage, and valiantly subduing his wickedness; in awe and humility we beg you, Lord, to regard with favor this creature thing of salt and water, to let the light of your kindness shine upon it, and to hallow it with the dew of your mercy; so that wherever it is sprinkled and your holy name is invoked, every assault of the unclean spirit may be baffled, and all dread of the serpent's venom be cast out. To us who entreat your mercy grant that the Holy Spirit may be with us wherever we may be; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.
So the blessing of salt is more than a blessing - it is an exorcism.  But unlike what most people think when they hear the word "exorcism", it is a minor and not a major exorcism. The USCCB's website provides information on the distinction:
While both forms of exorcism are directed against the power of the devil, the Rite of Major Exorcism is employed only when there is a case of genuine demonic possession, namely, when it is determined that the presence of the devil is in the body of the possessed and the devil is able to exercise dominion over that body. 
Minor exorcisms are prayers used to break the influence of evil and sin in a person's life, whether as a catechumen preparing for Baptism or as one of the Baptized faithful striving to overcome the influence of evil and sin in his or her life.
While unlike Sacraments, the number of Sacramentals can be increased or decreased by the Church. And unlike Sacraments which give actual grace, the Sacramentals do not give grace in and of themselves. As the Baltimore Catechism explained: "The Sacramentals of themselves do not remit venial sins, but they move us to truer devotion, to greater love for God and greater sorrow for our sins, and this devotion, love, and sorrow bring us grace, and the grace remits venial sins."  And furthermore, the Catechism states, "The difference between the Sacraments and the Sacramentals is: 1. The Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ and the Sacramentals were instituted by the Church; 2. The Sacraments give grace of themselves when we place no obstacle in the way; 3. The Sacramentals excite in us pious dispositions, by means of which we may obtain grace."

The laity are certainly permitted to use exorcized salt or any other sacramental that the Church has for their disposition. To those who have blessed salt, it is recommended to keep it in a separate container marked as "Blessed Salt" so as not to mix it up with the other salt in the home.  And when it is used, it is not a magic weapon - it should be used with reverence and while saying a short prayer to ask for grace from Almighty God. The laity can sprinkle the blessed salt in small amounts on their property, throughout their neighbor, at the threshold of their door praying against the threat of burglary, or use it in their cooking too - all while doing so in a prayerful manner.

So ask your priest to pick up a copy of the Rituale Romanum and provide for you and your parish this treasure - the forgotten sacramental of Blessed Salt.
Monday, January 7, 2019
2019 Solemn High Mass for the Epiphany with Solemn Blessing of Water and the Epiphany Proclamation Chant

Some highlights from yesterday's Solemn High Mass for the Epiphany of the Lord including the solemn blessing of Epiphany water and the Epiphany Proclamation. Praying and hoping that many more TLMs will be said here at the Church of the Immaculate Heart in Belmont. Thanks go out in a big way to the Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco.

Solemn Blessing of Epiphany Water:

Epiphany Proclamation:

“Know, dearest brethren, by the gift of God’s mercy, as we have rejoiced for the birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, so also we announce to you joy for the Resurrection of the same Our Savior. On the seventeenth day of February will be Septuagesima Sunday. On the sixth of March, the day of Ashes, and the beginning of the fast of most holy Lent. On the twenty-first of April, we will celebrate with joy the holy Easter of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. On the thirtieth of May will be the Ascension of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. On the ninth of June, the feast of Pentecost. On the twentieth of the same month, the feast of the most holy Body of Christ. On the first of December, the first Sunday of the Advent of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, to whom belong honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Solemn High Mass:

Photos (c) A Catholic Life Blog, 2019
Sunday, January 6, 2019
Catholic Resolutions 2019

Each year I have made what I call "Catholic Resolutions."  These New Years Resolutions are not centered on losing weight, eating more healthy, or the like.  Rather, these resolutions each year are centered around my spiritual life.  I encourage all of you to make resolutions specifically geared on improving your own Faith life and your own knowledge of the Faith.  Ask yourself:

1. Do I know the Faith that I profess to believe in?  If not, how can I learn more?  For example, has an ideal Adult Course just for this purpose.
2. Am I truly living a Catholic life?  Am I learning more prayers?  Am I helping others to learn the Faith and live it out?  Do I regularly receive the Sacraments?
3. Do you struggle with certain sins or addictions?
4. Do you need to make more donations to Catholic organizations or pro-life charities?

This is the time of year to truly set Catholic Resolutions which will have eternal repercussions.

Some General Suggestions of Catholic Resolutions for 2019:

  1. Pray the Rosary everyday if you are out of the habit 
  2. Pray Lauds (morning prayer) and Vespers (evening prayer).
  3. Say a prayer for the Poor Souls in Purgatory everyday, such as the St Gertrude Prayer
  4. Attend Mass one day extra a week in ADDITION to Sunday. And if you have fallen away from Mass, start going weekly again 
  5. Make it a habit to go to Confession at least every 2 weeks 
  6. Fulfill the First Friday Devotion as well as the First Saturday Devotion
  7. If you don't, start wearing the Brown Scapular

I will begin with reviewing my 2018 Resolutions:

2018 Catholic Resolutions

1.   Focus on Morning Prayers Each Day (3 Dominican Prayers, Daily Lauds, the 3 Hail Mary Devotion each morning)
2.   Attend Daily Mass 3X a week
3.   Make time for 15 minutes of spiritual reading/meditation each day preferably in the morning
4.   End the work day with Evening Prayers (e.g. Vespers)
5.   Focus on conquering old habits and practicing a detachment to material things.

2018 Catholic Resolution Results

1. I've made great progress on starting each day off with prayer, especially since I have recently purchased a Baronius Press Divine Office in Latin and English.  I've been incorporating the Dominican Prayers, Daily Lauds/Prime, the 3 Hail Mary Devotion, and others. I don't necessarily say all of them each day but a day rarely passes when I don't start it off with some prayers
2. Up until a job change that I had in the year, I was going to Mass nearly every day.  Alas, I'm not able to do that now but I was able to go usually 2X a week after the job change but it is more difficult now due to the traveling distance. But Mass attendance is one of the activities I enjoy the most in life.  Even on vacation, I will use those days to attend the Traditional Mass at many new places. I try to share those photos often on my Instagram.
3. This goal I've had the most difficult time with.  I have read some good books this year like the biography of Garcia Moreno and I'm still reading others, but it is slow.  I am thankfully usually listening to a traditional sermon on Youtube almost every day.
4. I've thankfully habitualized myself where if I don't pray Vespers things just "don't feel right."  I rarely pray Compline but Vespers is an integral part of my life now and I've become accustomed to saying it after a day of work.
5. Alas, old habits are hard to break. I continue to make progress and practice detachment and these sentiments, which are an integral part of the Ignatian retreat, is at the essence of developing a prayer life. I will continue to work on these.

So, now, here are my 2019 Catholic Resolutions

1. Make the Total Consecration to Mary
2. Complete the First Saturdays Devotion, which I've done previously but I wish to repeat since it is so important in our world today.
3. Conquer addictions and practice detachment to material things, as I mentioned in the previous year's resolutions
4. Maintain my Daily Divine Office routine

I encourage you to make Catholic Resolutions as well! What are yours? Share them below in the comments box.
Friday, January 4, 2019
Christmas at St. Joseph's FSSP Church in Rockdale

I stopped in St. Joseph's Church for the Feast of St. John the Evangelist and was delighted to see what has become of it since the FSSP has taken over.  After several years and a new pastor, the transformation is extreme from the previous barren days. 

New Church at end of 2018:

Image Sources: A Catholic Life Blog

Church when the FSSP came in 2013:

Church back in 1915 after its consecration:

The History of the Christmas Tree

Since we are still in the 12 Days of Christmas that lasts from December 25th through January 7th, here is a good reminder of the history of the Christmas tree.

Thursday, January 3, 2019
Francis: The Lord's Prayer "Induces Temptation"

Prayer Vigil with Pope Francis ahead of Synod © Mazur/, October 4, 2014

Guest Post By David Martin

Pope Francis is again advocating that the Our Father be changed. It was reported last month that the pope is expected to approve a change in the translation of the Lord’s Prayer, the famous biblical petition that has been recited by Christians for 2000 years. 

The Italian Episcopal Conference [CEI] has submitted the proposed change to the Vatican for approval, changing the line "lead us not into temptation" to "abandon us not when in temptation," reported the Italian newswire service Ansa and the U.K. Express.

It was in December 2017 that Francis first proposed that the Lord's Prayer be changed, arguing that the translation used for centuries in many parts of the world, including the Italian and English versions, go against the teachings of the Church and Bible.

In the centuries-old recited prayer, followers of the Christian Faith call upon God to "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." 

Speaking to Italian broadcasters on December 7, 2017, Francis argued this was incorrect, saying, "It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation." 

"A father doesn’t do that, a father helps you to get up immediately," Francis said in an interview on Italian television. "It's Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department."

So Christ taught us to invoke a God who leads us into temptation? To think that the Messiah's instruction to mankind on how to pray—as penned by the Evangelists as the infallible Word of God and as followed for 2000 years by all the Saints and members of Christ—is now incorrect! It appears that it is the pope who is leading us into temptation.

To say that the proposed "reform" of the Our Father warrants respect is to say that Catholics for 2000 years have been misled by the Our Father. Moreover, it instigates doubts about the whole of Sacred Scripture and the age-old direction of the Church. It appears that it is Pope Francis who is leading us into temptation.

Francis purports to criticize the English and Italian translations of the Our Father, when he knows full well that it is the original manuscript he is criticizing. The original text from the Lord's Prayer, as taken from the Latin Vulgate, reads: et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo, which translated is: "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." (Matthew 6:13). This is also the same in the Greek: καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.

Hence, this is not a translation issue, but a scriptural issue. The English translations of the Our Father as recited today are correct, because they are taken from the Vulgate, which is the official version of Holy Scripture, the source from which all authentic translations must directly or indirectly be taken. 

The pope's initiative is entirely uncalled for. Never in the 2000-year history of the Church has it occurred to any pope or saint that the Lord's Prayer stood in need of change, so why is Francis calling into question something so central to the Faith—the "perfect prayer" given to us by Christ Himself on the Mount—and at a time when the Church is undergoing the worst debacle of its 2000-year history? What is needed today is that rock-solid stability of old to offset the new order of change that has misled the Church since Vatican II, so why is Francis leading us into the temptation of change?

It appears he is upset over the idea of being led away from temptation, since he is led by the temptation of globalism and change. The Bible threatens him to give up his change, so instead of humbly admitting that scripture is correct he judges that it is "incorrect, in the same way he has denied the miracle of the loaves and has judged that evangelization is "solemn nonsense." 

The Church's mission is precisely to evangelize and lead us away from the temptation of this world that we may arrive at the shores of everlasting peace. God in His mercy wants us all to know that this world is not our common home, but rather a quagmire of temptation, and that our true home is in Heaven with God and the Saints who said the un-revised Our Father during their lives. 

Therefore, as children of God who obey the Father's commands, we take the Father's hand and ask Him to lead us not into temptation, but away from all evil, because if we chase after temptation—especially the temptation to change the Bible and the doctrines of the Faith—God will let go of our hand, and in His permissive will He will lead us, not only into temptation, but into the very fires of hell. And by the way, Papa, this condemnation is forever.

Christ warns of the dire consequences of changing but one word of Holy Scripture. He says to St. John in the Apocalypse: "If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book." (Apoc. 22:18) 

Let us therefore reverence the words of Christ in the Gospel, remembering that all Scripture is "inspired of God." (2 Timothy 3:16) "Neither let us tempt Christ: as some of them tempted, and perished by the serpents." (1 Cor. 10:9)


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