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“Pray for us, O Holy Martyrs….” March 11, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Novenas, reading, Saints, sanctity.
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Just a really quick post from Dom Prosper Gueranger’s exegesis on the Forty Martyrs, Roman soldiers doomed to die on a frozen lake for their adherence to the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church:

Pray for us, O Holy Martyrs, that we may avoid all compromise with our enemies; for our defeat is certain if we try to serve two masters. 

I can think of no more appropriate intention for these authors than this!

And upon reflection, the Church will not change, and be restored, until we are.  That is the mandatory first step.

But sometimes, we may have to go beyond that, in order to defend Truth.

There is a disturbing cascade against orthodox belief in the Church hierarchy March 11, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, Christendom, disaster, disconcerting, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, scandals, secularism, the return.
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I could almost have titled this post instead, “There is a great disturbance in the Force.”  Because that is a pretty good analogy for what is going on.

Irrespective of concerns that some blogs or news sites may have a tendency towards hyperbole, just going with statements from the hierarchy of late is extremely troubling regarding defense and proclamation of the orthodox faith.  To put it in blunt, political terms, it is as if there is recognition that there has been a sea change in opinion at the highest level of the Church from conservative to progressive, and ambitious men in positions of extreme import are falling all over themselves to correspond with the new ideological paradigm. To wit:

Those are just a few items that jumped to mind immediately.  There are many more, and I glossed over some already.

I am at this point flummoxed as to where all this leads.  In many respects, I fear this rhetoric and the upcoming Synod, because it all seems to point in a disastrous direction.  While I remain supremely confident that no formal Doctrine/Dogma will be (or can be) changed at any Synod, I do fear “pastoral approaches” that, in a similar vein to some of the more problematically worded aspects of Vatican II,  will have the effect of obliterating the doctrines in question.

I guess I’ve said much of this before, sorry to be a broken record, but even in the past few weeks it seems as if the abandonment of defense of Dogma – the supreme job of every bishop in the Church – has changed from a moderate stream into a violent torrent.

No, there is no panic button being pressed, but I have to ask, where is all this headed?  And, even more, what is the appropriate response?  Mario Palmaro, God rest his soul, called for Catholics to protest loudly and vigorously in defense of the true understanding/practice of the Faith.  But many are uncomfortable doing so (aside from reading fretful bloggers), it seems.  I see no kernel of support for a lay Catholic organization demanding defense of Dogma.  I am not certain how one would even go about such.

Prayer is certainly vital and called for, but is it time for a more concrete response?  If not now, when?  Under what conditions? A priest related to me that if Catholic men were not willing to go to the barricades, so to speak, over the redefinition of marriage, there is nothing they would defend.  Is there anything we will truly defend, collectively?  Or do we wait for the few remaining bastions to be torn down and then try to pick up the pieces? And if we do engage in protest, what does that look like?  Thousands flying to Rome and engaging in a march, or sending letters, or?

I don’t pretend to have firm answers to any of the above. Certainly, such a protest could be viewed as a chastisement of our episcopal authorities – but are there times when such is allowable, even appropriate?  Could we even be successful?

Thoughtful suggestions welcome.

I guess the question I am really trying to ask is, do “we” (I wasn’t there) really suffer through the ringer of the 70s-80s again, and watch all the very small gains made in the past 25 years be pretty much wiped out, or do we stand athwart the tide of elite opinion and shout “no!,” as so many French Catholics have done of late?

And if so, what issue do we galvanize around?  Is sodo-marriage that issue, or something else?

Fire away.

Deacon Sandy the very model of passive-aggressive progressive Catholicism March 11, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Liturgy, Papa, sadness, scandals.
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So the notorious Deacon Sandy, pastoral administrator of the priest-less Good Shepherd parish of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee (and a man apparently desperate to continue the disastrous legacy of his intellectually bankrupt and immoral lodestar, Rembert Weakland), is back, this time with an effort to publicly insult Pope Benedict for being a crass materialist.

Pope Benedict may have been many things, but implying he was a wannabe richy rich who just lusted after material gain is not one of them.

My problem, however, is not so much with Deacon Sandy’s stupid use of a projector screen, nor his little attempt to garner favor with his aging and tiny Katholyc audience (for Mass at Good Shepherd is much less a Sacrifice than it is a performance).

No, my problem is that Sandy is a passive-aggressive wimp who constantly tries to hide under pathetically thin excuses and special pleading every time he is caught out.

When he was caught out proclaiming how proud he was to abuse the Liturgy in all manner of ways, he tried to pretend that he was somehow misunderstood and that their parish intends to change their approach.  Well, a month or so on, and no change.

The man claims they don’t have kneelers (but they do have big, plush comfy chairs, much more expensive that a plain bench) because they are a poor parish and don’t have the money.  He didn’t include that his congregation – I am all but sure –  feels it beneath themselves to kneel to their Lord and Savior in the flesh.

Now, he’s trying to claim that wasn’t a photo of Pope Benedict, but just a guy in white cassock and red shoes. It could be JPII, or Paul VI, or even Pius XII, I suppose, but the point is that he’s attacking what he sees as the materialism of the papacy.  He’s wrong, the Pope wears red shoes because he is walking in the footsteps of martyrs, and signals his own willingness to be martyred for the Faith by wearing them.  I have no way of knowing, but I doubt many of Deacon Sandy’s flock have a faith that would stand the test of a bad hangnail.

But the point is, he keeps getting caught, and keeps coming up with these bad, see-through excuses.  This is how progressives have behaved in the Church for decades, undermining doctrine and authority, promoting heresy, abusing the Liturgy, bullying lay people under their authority, but then scurrying like roaches for corners when the light of publicity or a Church investigation is turned on them.  “Oh, we’re faithful!,” “Oh, we’re misunderstood!” they cry.

Please.

What kind of person leeches off an institution he secretly despises?  What kind of person constantly tries to weaken, undermine, or overturn that institution from within?

For locals, this Deacon Sandy is so much like disgraced “Father” John Stack it isn’t funny. Same boring, worldly, unchallenging homilies. Same tired old progressive liturgical shtick. Like so many progressive priests before him, Stack left the Church to marry, but still claims to be “Catholic”. He continues to minister to a steadily declining flock of almost entirely elderly Katholycs.  He would have been laicized years ago if the Jesuits didn’t keep dragging their feet.  If the school districts ever cut him off, he’ll be in real trouble.

Odds are, Archbishop Listecki will terminate this little ego trip video apostolate at Good Shepherd.  Or maybe we’ll see Deacon Sandy continue to flame out.

Scary story about the power of the Rosary March 11, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Our Lady, sanctity, shocking, sickness, Society, Tradition, Victory, Virtue.
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Thanks to reader TB for the link, but this is a powerful but disturbing story regarding the power of the Rosary.  It regards notorious Florida serial killer Ted Bundy.  Some people are so far lost in sin they become dominated by evil, but Our Lord, through Our Lady, has power over them:

At 3: 00 am on January 15 Bundy entered the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University and murdered two girls before heading off to search for more victims. When he entered a third girl’s room with a bat for a weapon, he saw a rosary clutched in her hand, dropped the bat and fled.

Later the girl told authorities that before she left for college she had promised her grandmother that she would pray the rosary every night for protection, even if she fell asleep in the process. This is what she had done that night, and she was still holding the rosary when the murderer entered her room. Bundy later confessed to over thirty murders.

Father Joseph M. Esper says in his book With Mary to Jesus, “Ironically, when Ted Bundy was on death row, awaiting execution for his crimes, he asked Monsignor Kerr to serve as a spiritual counselor, and the priest took the opportunity to ask about that terrible night. Bundy explained that when he entered the girl’s room, he had fully intended on murdering her; some mysterious power was preventing him.”

Father Esper adds, “And not only does it (the rosary) aid our own spiritual growth — it also undermines the kingdom of Satan. The famous Vatican exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth testified, ‘One day a colleague of mine heard the devil say during an exorcism, “Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end.”‘

Pray the rosary daily for protection and to defeat the forces of Satan!

————-End Quote————

Pray the Rosary for many reasons, especially during Lent, but defeating satan is another very good reason to do so. We are locked in a spiritual combat. Our enemies are principalities and power, thrones and dominions, who in one irreversible, unimaginable act of pride rejected God’s Will and were cast out. If we receive the Sacraments (especially Confession) regularly, try to practice virtue, and avoid habits of sin, it is incredibly unlikely that demons or dark forces will gain any power over us. But for those who are lost in grave habits of sin, it is very, very possible.

We must do penance not only for ourselves, but for those lost in sin, too.  It is a vitally necessary work of spiritual mercy.

 

Conversion not a one time act March 11, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, religious, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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From Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen in his magnum opus Divine Intimacy, CONVERSION:

…..This is the program which the Lord wishes to accomplish in our souls during the holy season of Lent: to lead us by means of mortification and prayer to a life of higher perfection and closer intimacy with Him. He stretches out His hand to us, not only to save us from dangers, but also to help us climb those higher places where He Himself will nourish us. thCAUJ3V3S

The point of departure which will make the realization of this Divine plan possible is a new conversion our our part: we must collect our powers, desires, and affections, which have been scattered and are lingering in the valley of the purely human; [works done outside Grace only result in natural or human responses. There is no growth in supernatural, sanctifying Grace]  putting them all together, we must make them converge on God, our one last end. In this sense, our Lenten conversion would consist in a generous determination to put ourselves more resolutely in the way of perfection. It means a new determination to become a saint. The desire for sanctity is the St_ Teresa and St_ John of the Crossmainspring of the spiritual life; the more intense and real this desire is in us, the more it will urge us to pledge ourselves totally. In this first week of Lent, we must try to arouse and strengthen our resolution to become a Saint.  If other efforts in the past have been unsuccessful or have not entirely reached the goal, this is no reason for discouragement. Nunc coepi – “now I have begun,” or rather, “now I begin”; let us repeat it humbly, and may the experience of our past failures make us place our trust in God alone.  [If we’ve failed in planned mortifications, or not started yet, don’t sweat it, just get up and try again, or start now.  Most of Lent remains, there is still plenty of time]

St. Thomas teaches that ” in the pursuit of the end, no limits should be set” (IIa, IIae, q.184, a.3). Sanctity is the end of the spiritual life; that is why we must propose it to ourselves, not in a reduced, restricted manner, but in all its fullness – fullness which speaks to us of intimate union with God, of the San_Juan_de_la_Cruz_3631_jpg_1306973099complete invasion of Grace, and of entire conformity to the Divine Will, to the extent that it becomes the only motive of all our actions; for when the soul becomes totally purified of everything contrary to God’s Will, “the the Lord will communicate His supernatural Being to it, in such a way that it will seem to be God Himself and to have what God possesses “(San Juan de la Cruz, Ascent of Mt. Carmel, II, 5, 7). Sanctity is the plenitude of love and Grace; it is transformation in God by love, it is deification by Grace.  [Again, works done in cooperation with Grace are incredibly efficacious and bring us into closer union with Christ. Works done absent Grace merit us nothing 542762_571355846207931_1756857327_nsupernatural, and only merit human or natural gains or responses. Thus, a protestant outside Grace might receive worldly accolades for a large charitable donation, but this is not efficacious of Grace, and thus the protestant remains as distant from God as before]

What measure of love and Grace must we attain? That depends primarily upon God’s designs on our soul and on our cooperation. Now on our part, the secret of reaching the goal is never to stop: first, because even if we were to grow in love indefinitely, we would never be able to love God as much as He is to be loved; secondly because we do not know to what degree of sanctity God is calling us. Furthermore, God does not let Himself be outdone in generosity, and the more we give ourselves to Him in the exercise of intense love, the more He will give Himself to us by Grace. [Do we show 552468_508469082496608_930305339_nour love for God by a one time act of “faith,” or do we show it by a continuing process of eschewing vice, embracing virtue, and denying our bodily desires to grow in Grace?  Which shows more love, joyfully willed suffering or a life of leisure with occasional acts of “charity?”]

The measure of loving God is to love Him “without measure.; if we should not set a limit to love, neither should we set one to our conversion. The Lord said “Be converted to Me with all your heart” (Jl, II:12). This is the indispensable condition for loving God with our whole heart. The cases where total conversion is reached in an instant by a very special Grace are rare; ordinarily, we do not arrive at it except by a daily progressive conversion. And if, in this 196437_508469765829873_117701050_nconversion, as in the whole work of sanctification – the initiation is always from God, who prevents us with His Grace, our cooperation is nevertheless required; hence we must strive every day with renewed diligence to “be converted to God with our whole heart.” Let this be our program for Lent.

O Lord of my soul and my only good! Why do You not wish that the soul should enjoy at once the consolation of arriving at this perfect love as soon as it has decided to love You and is doing all it can to give up everything in order to serve You better? But I am wrong: I should have made my complaint by asking why we ourselves have no desire to arrive at it, for it  is we alone who are at fault in not at once enjoying so great a dignity. If we attain to the prefect possession of this true love of God, it brings all 480769_557355737607942_1104780631_nblessings with it. But so niggardly and so slow are we in giving ourselves wholly to God that we do not prepare ourselves to receive this benefit….So it is that this treasure is not given to us in a short time because we do not give ourselves to God entirely and forever……O my God, grant me the Grace and the courage to determine to strive after this good with all my strength. If I persevere, You, who never refuse Your help to anyone, will strengthen my courage until I come off with victory. I say courage, because the devil, with so many obstacles, tries to make us deviate from this path.” (St. Teresa of Jesus, Life, II)

second  conversion of st theresa convent of san jose santiago

The Proof of Love March 11, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Lent, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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In light of the previous post, a re-post, on how we demonstrate our love for God not with a onetime altar call that in almost all cases produces no lasting conversion, but through a lifetime process of mortification, prayer, and similar works of piety done in cooperation with Grace.

I haven’t quoted from Divine Intimacy in a long time.  Let me rectify that.  From day 96, Proof of Love.  But first, a quick aside.  I was once reading this book in a restaurant, and this guy comes up and asks me what I’m reading.  I show him the cover, which says nothing but Divine Intimacy in big gold letters.  He gives me this wry look and says “Fo yo woman?”  And I say, it’s not like that.  And he goes “Oooohhhhh” and steps away gingerly.  I still don’t think he got it!

After the Incarnation, the Cross of Jesus is the greatest proof of His Love for man. Similarly, mortification, which is suffering eagerly accepted for the love of God, is one of the greatest proofs of love that we can give Him. It means freely giving up a satisfaction or a pleasure in order to impose on ourselves, for love of God, something which is contrary to our own natural inclinations; we thus prove that we prefer to satisfy God rather than ourselves. Every act of voluntary mortification, whether physical or moral, says to God, “Lord, I love You more than myself!” And since a soul in love has an ardent desire to give proof of its love, it is very vigilant not to miss a single opportunity for renunciation. 201203-saint-teresa-margaret

It was in this sense that St. Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus resolved “not to let a single occasion for suffering escape, as far as she was able-and always in silence between God and herself.” In fact, she made every effort “to find at each moment some occasion for suffering or bodily pain, so as never to satisfy the slightest appetite or desire, and she sought ways to make even what was necessary, painful and wearying to her body.” Her ardent love for God found an  outlet in this generous, untiring exercise of mortification……….

The value of voluntary mortification consists much more in the good will with which it is practiced than in the intensity of the suffering which is imposed, although the latter may contribute to it in the sense that a more painful mortification requires more good will.

The amount of suffering must be wisely proportioned, and limited to the physical strength of each one; but what must never be limited is the love, the

Not all souls return to dust

Not all souls return to dust

spirit of generosity with which we preform each act of sacrifice. From this point of view, a slight mortification done with all the love of which a  soul is capable has greater value than a painful penance performed in a material way, with no interior spirit…..

….Loving contemplation of the Crucified was the soul of all the austerities of St. Teresa Margaret.  “This humiliated, suffering God, of whom she was constantly thinking, was the One who gave her the interior strength to overcome every difficulty, however arduous, and to take on spontaneously so many labors and works of charity and mortification; it was He who gave her an insatiable desire for suffering.”

Contemplating Jesus Crucified, the soul feels that even if it is mortifying itself much for love of Him, its sacrifices and renunciations amount to very little, and instead of conceiving sentiments of vain complacency for the mortifications already practiced, it feels the need of humbling itself and of always doing more. “Have great love for suffering,” says St. John of the Cross, “and consider it very little to attain the favor of the Spouse, who hesitated notto die for thee.”

Juan de la Cruz

Juan de la Cruz

Swedish Pentecostal Megapastor converts to the One True Faith March 11, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Bible, catachesis, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Interior Life, Lent, mortification, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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Thanks to my wife for sharing this with me.  A Swedish Pentecostal pastor of a 3300 video board toting megachurch announced last Sunday he is joining the Catholic Church.  God be praised, such conversions are rare:

The founder of a 3,300-member megachurch in one of Sweden’s largest cities announced yesterday [Sunday, March 9] his decision to leave his charismatic congregation and join the Roman Catholic Church.

Ulf Ekman, who introduced Sweden to the prosperity-emphasizing Word of Faith movement when he founded Word of Life Ministries and Word of Life Church, had stepped down from the pastorate at the Uppsala church last spring.

“I have come to realize that the movement I for the last 30 years have represented, despite successes and much good that has occurred on various mission fields, is part of the ongoing Protestant fragmentation of Christendom,” Ekman wrote in an op-ed for Swedish newspaper Daegens Nyheter.

Well that’s all very good to see.  However, here is an interesting tidbit that might prove a bit controversial:

In a note on his ministry website, Ekman explains that he and his wife, Birgitta Ekman, have undergone a slow transformation over the past decade as they have come to know practicing Roman Catholics, including many charismatic Catholics.

As my Norwegian ancestors would say, Uff da!  I am one of many who has grave problems with charismatic Catholicism.  At the very beginning of my conversion, a religious priest tried to suck me into this movement, and I actually participated in several months of classes to sort of form into a charismatic.  While there was some very good catechesis, no doubt, it was all fundamentally disordered by all this protestant aping “life of the spirit” stuff – I might say garbage – involving speaking in tongues, “resting in the Lord,” etc.  Such practices are quite distant from traditional Catholic piety, and can even be seen as leading one in a disordered direction away from true sanctity.

In my experience, charismatic Catholics have some misunderstandings of mortification and cooperation with Grace, and some seem even to operate under a protestant “once saved, always saved” mentality.

This ties in with another piece I saw last night, which just about floored me, wherein an American protestant pastor opines that Lenten mortification are “spiritually dangerous.”  This piece is a veritable dossier on protestant errors, so let us see a few of them:

 The spiritual-minded experience fasting positively because it conforms to our default position about spiritual matters. Deep down, we are all born as Pharisees, believing that sin and salvation are a matter of discipline, something within our control. [This pastor admits that he tends to take things too far – fasting to the point of passing out in the past. Protestantism has a fundamental error, in that because something can be abused and done in a disordered way, it should never be done at all.  That is what is being argued here.  They overlook that it is our interior motivations that make an act virtuous or full of vice. If we fast for our own glory, or feel that if we just check some boxes on a list we are saved (the ultimate evangelical protestant belief – accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior ONCE and you are saved forever!), then our mortifications will merit us nothing, and could add to our sins.  But if we do it in the hope that we are simply cooperating with Grace in establishing control over our bodily lusts, the better to love God and our fellow man, then these acts are incredibly efficacious of Grace.  But protestants don’t believe in such efficacy, as we will see below]  The ascetic way of the penitential partakes of the natural religion of the natural man, not the revealed religion of the Gospel.  [Here we see the constant protestant tendency to latch onto certain bits of Scripture while ignoring others, or radically misinterpreting certain passages.  Here, we see the total neglect of “take up your cross and follow me,” as well as the definitive exhortation in Mt XXV:31-46] Which is one reason why fasting is so widespread in most every world religion.  [This guy is really taking a strong stand. He hates him some mortification.  Once again, mortification done absent Grace will avail nothing supernatural. But with Grace, it is everything, and was the prime, one might even say entire, focus of early Christian spirituality.]

Back to Mark 7, where Jesus hit the nail on the head.  [This is where Christ advises us not to fast as the Pharisees do, but even here this guy misses the point.  Christ plainly commands us to fast – we are simply not to do so in a manner similar to the Pharisees, who did so for public show and with the thought that they could make themselves holy absent any work of God. This is Pelagianism, a condemned heresy, but most protestants are ignorant of both the heresy and its errors]  We all desperately want to believe that sin is outside of us, something that goes into us and defiles us. [I would say that orthodox Catholics are quite aware that our sins come from within us] That it is a particular act, or behavior, or excess, that we can readily regulate and control should we choose. Though Jesus never sinned, he became sin on our behalf, and understood sin better than we do, and boy did he understand the sin of Phariseeism. [Which, I would argue, this protestant is actually promoting, through his rejection of Grace accompanying works as the means for personal interior conversion.  Again, another major protestant error, in that following pure Calvinism – to which this guy surely adheres – we are faced with the idea that man is irretrievably evil and unable to perform any works that will merit Grace. This is the “total depravity” garbage, one of the worst errors ever posited, and directly counter to what all the Fathers of the Church believe.  It is founded on a complete perversion of Scripture, and fundamentally illogical, because even the “faith alone” on which it is posited is a work.  Faith is a work.  It is a non sequitur to claim otherwise.]

…..Two problems present themselves with this view. First, it underestimates our sin. Remember, Jesus listed pride and deceit as two of the things that bubble up from within our hearts. As sinners, we can’t help taking pride in the things we do to give our salvation a little push, so engaging in such self-prescribed spiritual disciplines just gives us more sin — the sin of pride — to repent of. [As I said, total depravity and complete misunderstanding of Grace and how it works]

Second, and more fundamentally, is the uniqueness and purpose of Christ’s sufferings. Jesus didn’t die to purify his own soul, but ours. He fasted for forty days in the wilderness on our behalf, so we wouldn’t have to; not as a model, but as a substitute. His passion was not a discipline that made his heart pure in its love for his Father, it was the price to be paid for our sins, and he paid it in full.

And this is where the completely inverted image of Christianity that comes with hardline protestantism reveals itself.  We are total dung. We can do nothing good. All we can do is proclaim a faith in Christ (one time!) and we are saved, because St. John wrote in Chapter 45 of his Gospel that God is contractually obligated to admit into Heaven every soul that makes a one time declaration of Faith.*

The problem with all this, aside from the self-serving “individual interpretation of Scripture” on which it is based, is that it fundamentally perverts right understanding and practice of the Faith.  It literally inverts Christianity, taking away the fundamental vehicle of sanctification – cooperation with Grace which is demonstrated through our joyfully willed acts of mortification, propitiation, adoration, etc, and changes into a model where we just lay back and wait for that good Grace to just run all over us after we make a profession of Faith.  It is counter to Scripture, such as the aforementioned Matthew 25:31-46 makes clear: our salvation is predicated on good works.  And we will not have the wherewithal to perform external acts of good until we have permitted God to sufficiently quieten our fallen tendencies towards sin through mortification.

The guy ends his paean to error with the claim that Christ doesn’t want us to do good for ourselves, but for others!  Really!  That’s why He constantly counseled on the need to lead a sinless life and to follow the narrow, rocky way to salvation, not the broad protestant-built highway of self-will masquerading as virtue. Because that’s the deadly trap, in the protestant-calvinist way of thinking, with no mortification, it is incredibly easy, almost assured, that unmortified souls will mistake vice for virtue, or perform virtuous acts absent Grace which net them no supernatural gain at all.

The Catholic/Orthodox belief, firmly grounded in Scripture and built upon the incredible sanctity and wisdom of the early Fathers, posits that we must permit Christ to mold us into His image through cooperation with Grace, which entails constant mortification, in order to then have the virtue required to serve others in a truly Christ-like, selfless manner. That does not mean we wait to serve others until the process is complete, for it will never be complete, but it does mean we do our very best through mortification, prayer, partaking of the Sacraments, which actions will provide the very seedbed of virtue on which to base our acts of charity – our entire life of charity – towards others.  It is impossible, according to too many Saints to list and even more so according to the experience of millions of pious souls, to practice truly selfless virtue towards others without mortification.  It is the very basis of the interior life.  This piece in the Federalist is really just a vile calvinist attack on a timeless, fundamental Christian practice.

In conclusion, I think what the author truly wanted to say is that protestant practice of mortification is a danger to protestantism, not to the souls in question.

It just goes to show how twisted off and erroneous one can become when there is not an Authority to provide settled understandings of Scripture and its meaning, which St. Peter – the First Pope – warned us about in his 2nd Catholic Epistle.

And this is what true ecumenism should involve, refuting in the strongest terms the soul-endangering heresies of protestantism, and calling them to conversion.  I pray for that Swedish couple, that they develop a proper understanding of the Faith.

*Just in case you don’t know, there is no 45 Chapter of St. John’s Gospel.