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Reminder – Feast of the Ascension tomorrow! May 12, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic.
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Yes, the Feast of the Ascension is no longer a Holy Day of Obligation in pretty much every diocese in the US, the holy day being moved to Sunday (because we don’t want to be inconvenient).  But, tomorrow is the ‘real’ day – the Lord ascended to Heaven 40 days after his Resurrection. 

Fr. John Trigilio and Fr. John Zuhlsdorf have already ranted about this practice of moving our great feast days to Sunday.  That doesn’t mean that the faithful cannot celebrate Mass on the actual feast day!  Get on out and go to Mass!  I’ll see you there.  Oh, and we’re going to have a little special something tomorrow at St. Mark in Plano.

A great homily May 12, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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Fr. Larry Adamcyzk has a couple of blogs, one of which contains text of his Sunday homilies.  I posted the other day that one of the reasons people say they leave the Church is a lack of inspiration from priests, especially from homilies.  I opined that homilies by priests are far too often too vague, too generalist, and too happy clappy.  They don’t keep people’s attention, and they don’t often deal with those subjects that are absolutely core to our faith, but which may make some people feel uncomfortable. 

None of that from Fr. Larry.  He focuses on those things that really, really matter – death, judgement, heaven, and hell.  When is the last time you heard a priest warn that dying in a state of mortal sin will lead one to hell?  Fr. Larry also rightly highlights the Mass as a Sacrifice, and the coming down of Heaven, the New Jerusalem, to earth in a ceremony oriented towards God.   It’s not a family meal holding hands and singing folk hymns around a picnic table – it’s Heaven come down to Earth, as St. John the Apostle describes in Revelation. 

An excerpt:

To quote that great saint and doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Lisieux, “I do wish you were dead.”  This is what little Therese said to her mother, in the midst of giving her a big hug.  In a letter written by her mother, Therese’s mother explains, “Baby is such a little imp.  In the midst of caressing me, she wishes I were dead!  ‘Poor darling Mamma, I do wish you were dead!’  She is quite astonished when I scold her, and excuses herself by saying, ‘It’s only because then you will go to heaven; you told me that you have to die to go there.  In the same way, she wishes her Father were dead, when her love gets the better of her.”  Oh, to have the faith of that little child and echo the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel, “If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father.” St. Augustine asks why if we love Christ do we fear death?  His answer is that if we fear death, we do not love Christ perfectly.  The purpose and destiny of our lives is to live forever in the very life of the Trinity, a gift that even the angels do not share, for Jesus did not become an angel but assumed a human nature, and took that human nature to sit at the right hand of the Father.  Don’t you think it odd that we hardly ever hear homily about the four last things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell.  Yet, those are the most important and lasting things.  Many in the Church do a great job telling us how we should love one another, many in the Church do a great job about how we need to take care of the poor, many in the Church do a great job of making us feel comfortable and at ease in the Church.  But this is not the purpose of the Church.  It has been the tendency in recent years to talk as if anybody who has died has automatically gone to heaven.  Yet, universal salvation is not taught in the Bible nor in the Church.   The purpose of the Church is to help get us, body and soul, into heaven.  However, those who die in a state of mortal sin suffer the everlasting punishments of hell.  It is the purpose of the Church to prepare us for those for last things:  death, judgment, heaven, hell. 

Too many in the Church today do not believe that anyone goes to Hell.  No, we can’t judge the final destination of any of us, but we do know, because Christ has revealed this through His Church, that those who die in a state of mortal sin have no other desitnation but hell.  When we commit a mortal sin, we’ve completely cut ourselves off from God’s Grace.  We’ve divorced ourselves from God.  That is why God hates sin so much – it’s what separates us from Him and can be final, irrevocable.  But because our God is such a loving God, he has given us the Sacrament of Confession, so that we can confess our sins and return to God’s sanctifying grace.  But many in the Church today think this is not so.  Many people think “I’m basically a good person, I’ll get into Heaven,” even though this “basically good person” may not have been to Mass in years and may have been to a strip club three weeks before.   Some people say they don’t have any sins to confess.  Hah!  Are you the Blessed Mother?  We all sin, perhaps many times daily, every one of us.  Statistics reveal that most males can’t even go more than a few days without committing a mortal sin, and given that 97% of Catholic women use contraception or have been sterilized – well, the need for regular confession seems apparent.

The problem is that people are no longer cognizant of their sin.  We live in a culture that says ‘if it feels good, do it,’ and encourages selfishness and puts personal pleasure as the highest end.  People are not going to have the nature of sin reinforced by the culture – in fact, the culture positively encourages much sin.  The only place this can come from is the Church.  But since this topic is controversial, may make people mad, and, God forbid, could cause some complaints or might even cause donations to dip for a week or two, sin is a topic almost never heard in our churches anymore.  Where does that leave the people?   Since fewer than 5% of Catholics make it to Confession ever anymore, that leaves alot of people in a very precarious position – basically trusting that God will be so magnaminous as to forgive even unconfessed mortal sins after death, in spite of centuries of Church doctrine to the contrary. 

Christ gives priests an awesome responsibility.  They are responsible for the formation and salvation of all the laity under their care.  Yes, some, perhaps many may reject the priest’s best efforts.  But in cases where there has been neglect on certain subjects, that priest may be held culpable.  As Christ said: “Whoever causes one of these little ones 5 who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” I don’t intend this to be taken as menacing, but as an exhortation, a reminder of their great priestly duty.  It is said in charity in the hopes that as many may be saved as possible.

Cardinal Arinze on pro-abort politicians May 12, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, General Catholic.
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Should they receive Communion?  Uh……no. 

I love the joke at the beginning. 

Apparently, it’s video Wednesday May 12, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.
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When I get lazy, it’s always easy to just throw up a bunch of videos!  Actually, this one is also very cool.  Fr. Robert Barron, a pretty well known theologian and commentator, has been working for two years on a project to help explain the Catholic story, and the Truth Christ has proclaimed through His Church, to a skeptical and jaded world.  The trailer is below:

You can learn more here.  The movie is still in production and needs funds.  I think this movie could be a very powerful tool of apologetics and evangelization.  Would you consider, in your charity, helping fund this movie?  I know we all have many demands on our very limited resources, but I think this is a very worthwhile project to support.  Pope Benedict has called us to a new, orthodox evangelization – supporting this movie would be one way to do that.

This is a worldwide project with filming locations from Europe, to North America, Mexico, Brazil, the Middle East and Asia.  It’s an expensive undertaking, but it looks as if the results could be truly impressive.

Dominus vobiscum!

San Antonio readers! May 12, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
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Even though my blog is oriented towards Dallas Catholics, I do have readers from all over.  I have a fair number from San Antonio, and for you guys, I thought I would point out that this Sunday, May 16th, Our Lady of the Atonement, my favorite San Antonio parish, will be having a concert featuring Gerre and Judith Hancock from the UT Austin School of Music and the Atonement Choir.  Since my nephew Christopher S. is in the choir, and since the Atonement Choir is a cut far above your average parish choir, I encourage all to attend. 

The concert is at 3:30 pm and a reception will follow.  The program includes a composition called ‘Elijah’ including music from Mendelssohn, and Bach’s Piece d’Orgue, among other works.  It will conclude with Evensong and Benediction, which I can say with authority is magnificent at Our Lady of the Atonement. 

Sounds like something to check out!

Another great video, of a great Pope May 12, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
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Thanks to Patrick Madrid, here is the oldest known video of a Pope.  It’s from 1896 (the  year my maternal grandfather was born), and shows then 85 year old Pope Leo XIII:

Pope Leo XIII reigned for 25 years, from 1878 to 1903.  He was the oldest pope, dying at age 93.  A staunch critic of socialism (see why I love him), Pope Leo XIII defined much Church doctrine on economic issues in Rerum Novarum.  Interestingly, he did not state that support for abortion could be included in a package of greater social justice benefits.  I’m sure he was intending to get around to that. 

Pope Leo XIII also encouraged Scripture reading by all Catholics.  You can still gain a plenary indulgence, granted by Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus, by reading Sacred Scripture for 15 minutes every day for a month.  Way to go Leo! 

Two great videos May 12, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Society.
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If you’ve never seen Bill Whittle in action, you’ve been missing out.   He does videos about weekly for Pajamas Media’s PJTV, and most are absolute gems.  Sure, he might be a right wing knuckle dragging neanderthal – but he’s a captivating speaker and has a true sense of what makes America great.  When he gets going, he can be inspirational.  He’s one reason I blog today. 

Unfortunately, PJTV does not allow embedding of their videos, so you’ll have to go to the links below.  The first video is really good, it takes apart the biases of the self-annointed ‘cultural elites’ and looks at how they are placing themselves in grave jeopardy.  It’s a bit partisan, I suppose, but the core message is not.  There is a wide and growing divergence between the elites and the ‘regular people’ in this country.

The 2nd video continues this theme, but is far more heartfelt.  If you can watch this without being moved, you’re a harder person than I am.