Bishops from the five Nordic countries have released a letter on the traditional Christian teaching on sexuality, upholding the “embodied integrity of personhood” against modern transgender ideologies. https://t.co/ya9OTeYZIO— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) March 25, 2023
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VATICAN: Pope Francis publishes revised Norms to respond to abuse & harassment
This document not only includes sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, but also harassment of seminarians, and by superiors.
Twitter is deeply involved in US Govt. Online Harassment Contractors
Editor’s Note: Catholics, pay attention to this story, because the group this contractor supports, #Nafo, has declared that after Russia, they will work to destroy the Catholic Church.
This Passiontide: give the gift that can save lives of fellow Catholics & Christians
EU: Massive Liquidity Injections and Regulations changes are cause of Banking Crisis
USA: Catastrophic Tornado Outbrake takes 23 lives in Mississippi
USA: Govt. so eager to kill its own citizens that it bribed Hospitals to violate WHO guidelines
“Anti-Vaxxer” is the new Nazi pejorative against those who accept the Nuremberg Code
Make this Lent the event that will change your life forever…
by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
The season of Lent is something so regular in its advent that it is easy to lose the proper sense of what we should be doing differently, and why this season is so important for our lives as Catholics.
Indeed, so scheduled and habitual are the events of modern life, that it is easy to let the season of Lent go by without ever making those changes necessary in our daily schedule, without which it is impossible to gather and taste the spiritual fruits of the season.
Lent is a Season for Good Works
First, let’s enumerates many good works that can be done during Lent, which though salutary each in a different manner, do not comprise the essential act that we should be engaged in, frequently, during this season.
Thus, first, there is the lenten resolution, which, even when I was a child, was still quite commonly practiced among Catholics — a sort of Catholic version of the New Years resolution, but us much more Christian.
While, yes, it is a good thing to resolve at the start of lent, to undertake some work of charity or devotion, to sanctify this holy season. That is not the essence of Lent.
Thus, it is a good and holy thing to resolve to go to Daily Mass, receive the Sacraments more frequently, give alms to the poor in the third world, purchase a book about spiritual things, and read some of it, or attend devotional exercises such as the Stations of the Cross, while not neglecting to keep Friday’s meatless, these things while they should never be omitted, are not precisely what Lent is about.
Preparation for Holy Week and Easter is only the Secondary purpose of Lent
Now frequently we hear that the purpose of Lent is to prepare us to celebrate worthily the Sacred Feasts of Holy Week and Easter. This too, while true, is only a secondary purpose behind Lent.
True, Lent is a liturgical season, which originated to prepare converts to the Faith, for Baptism on Easter, in the early centuries of the Church.
But Lent, as a liturgical season, is not directed principally to preparing the individual or the local Catholic Community to celebrate liturgical ceremonies worthily. Rather, it has a higher purpose, just as the ceremonies do not exists for themselves, but for a higher purpose.
There is a certain sort of error, which has quietly creeped into the Catholic world in the last century, which conceives Catholic life to consist essentially in liturgical celebrations. So widespread is this error, that you find Catholic laity reading out loud the entire rite of the Mass in Latin or in the vernacular, when the priest is absent, going so far as to say the priest’s parts; while thinking that on Sundays when there is no Mass in their area, that it would be a sin or fault or imperfection to omit the similitude of the liturgical celebration, so essential they believe that is to Catholic life.
Without a doubt the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is essential to the life of every Catholic and to the entire church. But the liturgical ritual’s enactment is not the center of life. Its what that ceremony represents, which is the center of our life: the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, through which, and without which, we cannot be saved and receive grace.
And hence the scope or role of the liturgical functions is not to be an end in themselves, but to be instruments and occasions for us to do those acts which are essential to Christian life: the practice of the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity; the contemplation of God and of Heavenly things, and the consideration of the present state of our souls in the light of God.
The Primary Purpose of Lent
Lent, essentially, is for this: to be an occasion in which we consider profoundly and anew, the state of our souls in the light of God, and in considering this, weighing the immense travesty of our sins against the dire and extreme eternal punishment, which we most certainly merited for them.
This most sober of considerations is what Lent is about. Without that consideration and that done frequently in this holy Season, we miss the whole importance of Lent.
Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell: these are the 4 Last Things, and these should be the objects of our frequent consideration, in Church, and out of Church.
The Saints made the consideration of the state of their soul in the light of God their habitual, daily reflection and habit of mind. It was for this reason that the Saints did so many things which startle the mind and stir the soul of whomsoever hears or reads of them.
Essential Practices for Lent
We will soon enter into the season of Lent. It will therefore, be very useful for us, now to consider its essential practice, ordering all the other customary practices of Lent towards this one essential thing: our own repentance.
The mere consideration that we have sinned, is necessary, but this is not the only step we need to take.
We need to examine the causes of our sinfulness: in which things or places are have we most sinned: with whom, about what things, during which activities.
A wise Catholic who actually wants to save his soul, does not take likely the consideration of such things. This is so, because he is a prudent Christian who realizes that unless he corrects a minor spiritual problem, it can easily grow into a greater one.
A humble Catholic too, realizes that, in the reconsideration of ones past sins, one can often find that one’s past confessions were much too superficial, and that in failing to remove one’s self from the occasions of those sins, that the vice which bore their deadly fruit has grown deeper still in one’s soul.
Let’s consider, therefore, the motives we should have in examining our conscience during Lent. I do not mean “examining one’s conscience” in the perfunctory and quick manner in which we are accustomed, rightly, to do prior to receiving the Sacrament of Penance.
I mean this in the sense of the habit of meditation we should have to do this, whenever we do this, but especially throughout every day of the season of Lent.
Just as one’s house will soon be filthy as a pig-sty, if one does not regularly clean every corner of it; so the soul gathers moral filth through very tiny and unnoticed daily sins.
These grow the vices in our soul; and when these vices are strong enough they give birth to the evil fruit of mortal sin. And since one mortal sin, unrepented of, is sufficient to lose eternal life, and merit the everlasting and unimaginably excruciating fires of Hell, the prudent Catholic will not take lightly the importance of cleaning the house of his soul.
The first difficulty in this work that we find is that venial sins, each of them, reduce quite unnoticeably the ability of our souls to recognize sin and its effects.
Thus, unless we have a strong habit of examining our soul, when it comes time to think of our sinfulness, we cannot find anything to convict ourselves of!
If this is the case, with yourself; then you have found the first thing to confess and the first thing you must investigate with prayer and meditation: the fact that you do not recognize yourself to have sinned.
As the Psalms say, even the holiest of men sins seven times a day. If you are not a Saint, you surely sin more than 7 times a day; if you are a Saint you will already be convinced that you sin much more than this.
However, to counter super-scrupulosity, which is the spiritual disease of those who are convinced that certain things are sins, and that they have committed these quite frequently, even though their real sins are much greater, and by this too anxious of self-accusations they omit the consideration of their vices of pride or despair in the power of God’s grace to forgive them in the Sacrament of Penance; nevertheless for the majority of us, we have not this fault, we just don’t see our sins; we do not suffer from a preoccupation of believing we have sinned when we have not; we suffer from the opposite spiritual fault, of considering we have not sinned, when we have!
One rule of thumb is, that if you do not consider you have committed any sins in the last year, you probably have the habit of committing many mortal sins: its just that since the effect of sin is the darkening of the mind, you have been so blinded by your sins that you can’t see it.
Lent is a prosperous spiritual time to seek the cure of such a blindness. And one must seek it, to escape from the dire punishment of Hell which would surely engulf such a blinded soul!
Practical Remedies to Cure one’s own Impenitence
There are some practical remedies to obtain this cure, which need to be mentioned, because they are never preached.
The first is that for most of us, a direct attack upon this blindness does not convince of anything. Even a very moving sermon, has little or no effect beyond recognizing that it was such.
The actual change of heart, which is the goal of repentance evades the sinner.
A direct attack upon this spiritual insensitivity to sin does not work, because one can only recognize sin, inasmuch as one opens one’s mind to the ability to see it and fear it.
Spiritual blindness is accompanied by a lack of fear of sin; a certain habit of easily excusing major sins, as if they were light faults; and venial sins and imperfections. There is a certain distortion of judgment in the soul, which has resulted by ignoring the immortality of sin for so long. And it is, admittedly, a very evil consequence of sin, to free one’s self from.
And to be absolutely frank, its is very rare that a single confession will be sufficient. Just as those with cancer are not cured by taking just one pill, but often have to endure very painful procedures and months and years of treatment; so this kind of insensitivity to sin requires a long and protracted treatment.
The key to progressing against this awful spiritual disability, is to take tiny steps towards weakening and conquering this disability.
Regaining one’s ability to see one’s own sins, is not some mysterious spiritual practice. It begins with the recognition of one sin which our conscience still can see is a sin. Perhaps, however, we only think it is an imperfection or venial sin; but if we consider its causes or nature or occasion, it certain, in a soul which does not consider itself to be a great sinner, that he has overlooked something which conceals the fact that he is in reality a great sinner.
I won’t speak about the fact that it is already a mortal sin of pride to consider that you are not a sinner: because such a declaration for such a soul is usually too much to understand. Pride is a very spiritual sin, and one who has lost the sense of morality, has lost the sense of what is spiritual.
However, at the start it is always useful to consider and recognize intellectually that this is true; even if affectively and effectively we do not understand how this can be the case, because of our blindness.
How to dispose one’s self to the great Grace of Repentance
So, uprooting spiritual blindness begins with considering the one thing we can still see as a sin or imperfection. This is the first step, because the very nature of spiritual progress is an re-capacitation of the power of the mind to consider spiritual things. And like dominoes which when aligned properly, cause the next one to fall, when they themselves are toppled, so sins, when recognized and repented of, are the occasion to open our minds to the recognition of other sins.
In each step of the process, the recognition of one sin is the work of the conscience in its present state. But this recognition cannot enable us to make the second step, which is repenting of the sin, because this second step is the work of prayer, devout and persistent to obtain the grace to repent of it. And this can only be obtained by humble supplication.
All kinds of fasts, prayers, liturgies, meditations, pilgrimages, spiritual readings, alms, etc., are not going to assist your soul, if you do not use them as accompaniments to the work of earnestly begging for the grace of repentance, and disposing yourself to it by acts of self humiliation before God, in private, in the recesses of your heart and mind, wherein you declare, decide and resolve, that God is God, and that you are just a poor sinner, who in no manner deserves anything but judgment and damnation!
Humility is the key here: how often a sinner might struggle to overcome one vice all his life, but fail to do so, simply because he never got down on his knees in private, and admitted to God and to himself that he was incapable of virtue by himself, and that he could only be virtuous and good, by the gift of God, earnestly begging Him for it on such an occasion!
This humble prayer and devout, secret supplication for grace, is the key step and the essential prerequisite for repentance, though, it can in fact be done in the secret of one’s heart, even in public places, while driving, or traveling, or even during other occupations, when the soul is properly disposed and God in His Mercy bestows the actual grace for it to occur.
During this essential step of humble recognition, a sorrow is engendered in the soul, along with a fear and realization of the danger of damnation, that the heart and mind turns vivaciously towards God and stirs it to ardently appeal for grace.
During such times it sometimes happens that this movement is responsive to grace sufficiently to receive the gift of tears, and during such a gracious movement, the dispositions of the soul can be cleansed and purged from years and years of distorted affections; leaving the heart with a new and healthy sense of sin and its gravity, and a new and healthy vivacity for things spiritual and heavenly.
The Proper Place and Role of Self-mortification
Essential to preparing the soul for such a humble recognition is the practice of mortification.
Mortification consists corporally with fasting from beverages and food, abstaining from meat and rich foods; use of cold showers, and the endurance of sensations which are painful or sacrificial.
Mortification of the body does not work, when such activities are undertaken by a spirit of self-sufficiency, a kind of presumption that without God one can work his own repentance, or that in doing such things, one proves that he is not a sinner or is some sort of spiritual giant or athlete.
Such a spirit makes such corporal mortifications sinful!
Rather such practices should be undertaken only with the motivation to humble oneself, detach oneself from such a spirit of self sufficiency, and open the door of the spiritual world to the virtue of humility.
This desire to seek spiritual enlightenment, to leave aside one’s pride, to change one’s life at its root, to gain a sense of spiritual things and to loose one’s carnal view of things, should be the motivation of spiritual mortifications, which are very helpful to dispose our souls to the grace of repentance: such as all those customary acts of Lent, which were mentioned at the beginning of this essay, a snot being the principal purpose of Lent.
Repentance is the principal purpose of Lent, and all other things must be ordered to that. But repentance has as its goal the reuniting of the soul with God and the resumption of the path toward perfection in the pursuit of eternal salvation. Lent thus finds it glory, not in preparing us for liturgical celebrations in time, but in being an occasion to return to the quest for eternal salvation in eternity.
CREDITS: The Featured Image is Giovanni Bellini’s, Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, which correctly depicts the fortitude of Christ in spiritual warfare, unlike so many more recent paintings which show Him collapsing under the sight of the sufferings He as about to endure. The image is used here in accord with a GNU Free license, though the work of art is in the public domain.
Br. Bugnolo explains How to Sanctify Lent
This same video can be watched or downloaded here from the FromRome.Info server:
There is no Faith without the Cross
by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
God could have forgiven sin by simply willing it. He did not have to order His Son to become incarnate and die on the Cross to redeem us.
Yet, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that all who believe in Him, may not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16, Vulgate).
God’s incarnation was a scandal to the Jews, who refused to admit that God could take flesh and remain God. So they had Him betrayed by a false apostle and buffeted Him, falsely condemned Him and put Him to death.
But since He was God of Life, He rose from the dead, as the Saving God and as the Redeeming Man.
The passage of Jesus Christ from the glory of Palm Sunday through the horrors of the Cross to the Glory of Easter Sunday is the Mystery of Faith.
Here I use “mystery” and ”faith” differently that what you might suppose. I use the former as in a crime novel, and the latter as the theological virtue.
The path through the Cross and to the Resurrection was necessary for Christ’s Disciples. Because having become true Man, they could hear His teaching and accept it as either coming from a man or from the Son of God. Hence in them, both human faith in the man who stood before them and supernatural faith in the God who stood before them were joined together in a single act.
Human faith however cannot save. Only supernatural faith can save.
Of this supernatural faith, The Apostle Paul says, Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
Thus, to teach us to have supernatural faith it was necessary that Christ do something the acceptance of which would be impossible for human faith. And since human faith is a natural virtue and nature is inclined first of all to preserve its own life, the Cross was the necessary path through which Jesus Christ, as our Redeemer and our Teacher, had to walk to guide us by His example to eternal life.
This is why the Cross is inexplicable to the natural or carnal man. This is why our corrupt human nature draws back at the suggestion of penance, mortification, sacrifice and offering our lives up at risk for the sake of the Gospel. And this is why so few desire the grace of martyrdom, or even the lesser graces of being a victim soul or embracing a religious vocation of penance and sacrifice.
But only in the embrace of total self sacrifice, motivated out of Faith in Jesus, can we follow the call of truly supernatural faith, that which alone can lead us on the path from death to life, from this world to the Resurrection.
This is why, there is no Faith, no supernatural faith, without the Cross. And this is why we must embrace the Cross if we have faith, because that is what faith is about. And this is how we can renew the Church, each of us individually, while doing God’s will on earth.
Faith does not point the way to suicide, faith points the way of self sacrifice for God and neighbor, in the works of mercy, corporal or spiritual, and in the mortification of our corrupt nature in penance and conversion. We must begin with conversion of ourselves and the keeping of God’s commandments, but we must grow into the life of being merciful to others.
This is also why there is not fruit in the apostolate without the apostle accepting suffering. And this is why physical suffering is more necessary than any other kind of suffering. Physical suffering is the only kind that can kill you. Physical suffering, thus, is the only true sacrifice and risk. Though we should be cheerful when any suffering comes upon us on account of our service to God. When we embrace that with faith, we can merit great things for others.
And this is why Our Lord said, Greater love no man hath than he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
Our Lord did not require that we do the greatest sacrifices. But He invites us to follow Him on that path. The salvation of countless souls depends upon that.
CREDITS: The Featured Image is a photo by Br. Bugnolo of a grate to a side Chancel at Saint John Lateran.
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Palestrina: Missa Gabriel Archangelus
Today is the Feast of the Annunciation
of the Archangel Gabriel to the Most Blessed Virgin
As there is no day of the year in which this Great Archangel is so joyful for having been tasked by Almighty God to bear His Message of Divine Mercy to mankind we can do no better than to rejoice with this Great Archangel and pledge to him that from now on we shall be especially loyal to God Most High and devoted to the Most Holy Ever Virgin Mary, Mother of Our God and Savior!
VATICAN: Pope Exhorts all Priests to be zealous in the Sacrament of Confession
Commentary by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
It is amazing the sound Catholic doctrine contained in this one short report. But is it horrific the evil things the enemies of Christ and known controlled opposition sources are saying against this totally Catholic exhortation given by Pope Francis.
After nearly 8 weeks, in which the world has seen the effects of the juridically valid election of Pope Francis by the Catholics of Rome, these enemies of Christ has failed to pin one thing on him. So they have resorted to innuendo and now are taking up the narratives of Christ’s enemies and asserting these false claims as true, so as to throw any mud they can against the Vicar of Christ, and by this means destroy the faith of Catholics, the hope in the indefectibility of the Church, and trust in Christ’s High Priestly prayer.
I have omitted in the last 2 weeks my regular article about this, thinking that the enemies of Christ would relent, but no, they become even more vicious. Maike, Yore and Frank Walker have joined their club. I suggest striking these off your list of reliable sources, because no matter how much a man has been a sinner, one should never calumniate him on the basis of his past bad habits, but always judge justly his present actions.
However, as regards the Sacrament of Confession, the current malaise which has sprouted up all over against it, is that confessors and preachers are neglecting to put any emphasis at all on our duty to love God and our duty to be humble. Yes, God always loves, but when we speak of God’s love in that sense, we are not speaking about the love which saves, because that love God has for even the damned in Hell. That love is not sufficient. We need to focus in on the love which saves, which is God’s search for man’s response of a humble love which makes itself known in faith and repentance, not the presumption of being forgiven at any time for anything without these two things.
But repentance is not true, unless it is humble and does not presume, and thus leads the forgiven sinner to acts which remind him of this: which are above all acts of spiritual caution in the future as regards all the occasions which gave birth to or in which there sprouted his sin, and mortification of oneself in all things which brought the soul to tread again on that evil ground.
This is why so many Saints fled, did tremendous penances, fled to the wilderness or joined religious Orders. Without the recognition that the soul cannot be saved except in the prison of spiritual prudence and habitual service, we fool ourselves when we go to confession, thinking we are sorry, but intending to do nothing to cure the root of our disobedience.
Now is the time of Lent and Passiontide is about to begin. We would be truly prudent if we took time to think of these things at length, and reflect on our lives so stained with horrible sins against the love of God which saves.
FRANCE: Massive Protests against Macron’s assault on pensions
EU: Globalists cause panic in European Bank Stocks
AJ and Br. Bugnolo talk about the Spiritual Works of Mercy
NETHERLANDS: Anti-globalists win massive victory in national elections
VATICAN: Pope Francis calls for restoration of perpetual onsite confessors
Editor’s Note: This is something which perhaps few alive today remember, that in a major Church there would be at least one confessor on duty all day long. The great Saints such as St. John Vianney, St. Padre Pio and St. Alphonsus dei LIguori practiced and advocated this. It is a dire need and changes the entire attitude of the faithful regarding visiting.