May 24 – Relics, elevatio corporis, & fragrance of Resurrection


Arca di San Domenico, please click on the image for greater detail.

Dominican breviary: “In accordance with his wishes, St Dominic was buried ‘beneath the feet of his brethren’ in the church of St Nicholas of the Vineyards, Bologna. (Keeping with this, Dominicans have been traditionally been buried under main, ground floor hallways of Dominican priories, and those living lined the hallways of their priories after Evening Prayer to sing the DeProfundis.). Many of the sick avowed that they had been healed of their infirmities at his tomb; the brethren however were loath to recognise these miracles and accept votive offerings.”

On May 24, the Dominican Order celebrates the translation of the relics of St. Dominic. That is, we remember the day in 1233 when, during a General Chapter of the Order in Bologna, the interred body of St. Dominic was moved in order to allow the faithful to honor him more easily. More than 300 friars were present to celebrate this important day. In one of his letters, Bl. Jordan of Saxony, describes the event:

“But then the wonderful day came for the translation of the relics of one who was an illustrious doctor in his lifetime. Present were the venerable Archbishop of Ravenna, surrounded by bishops and a large number of prelates, as well as by a vast multitude of people of different languages who gave remarkable witness to their devotion. Present also was the Bolognese militia, which would not let this holy body, that they considered to be in their safekeeping, be snatched from them. As for the brethren, they were anxious: although they had nothing to fear, they were seized with misgivings lest the body of Saint Dominic, which had lain in a mean tomb exposed to water and heat for such a long period of time, should be found eaten with worms and giving off a foul odor in the same way that might be expected with other corpses, thus destroying the devotion of the people for so great a man. Nonetheless the bishops approached devoutly. The stone that was firmly cemented to the sepulcher was removed with instruments of iron. Within the tomb was a wooden coffin, just as it had been placed there by the venerable Pope Gregory when he was bishop of Ostia. The body had been buried there, and a small hole remained in the top of the coffin.

The upper part of the coffin was moved a little bit. As soon as the stone was taken away, the body gave forth a wonderful odor through the opening; its sweetness astonished those present, and they were filled with wonder at this strange occurrence. Everyone shed tears of joy, and fear and hope rose in all hearts. We ourselves also smelled the sweetness of this perfume, and we bear witness to what we have seen and smelt. Eager with love, we remained devotedly near the body of Dominic for a long time, and we were unable to sate ourselves with this great sweetness. If one touched the body with a hand or a belt or some other object, the odor immediately attached itself to it for a long period of time.

The body was carried to the marble sepulcher where it would rest—it and the perfume that it poured forth. This marvelous aroma which the holy body emitted was evidence to all how much the saint had truly been the good odor of Christ”.


-by Br Ireneus Dunleavy, OP

Why relics?

It’s a natural instinct to keep meaningful tokens. Anyone who has lost loved ones knows the impact of an old photo, a handwritten letter, or a crackling recorded message. In a way, the ones we have lost become present. Emotion rises along with memories and love’s affection. An old book, jewelry, an article of clothing … we keep these things as mementos. With the saints, however, we not only keep things of the person, but we also keep the body of the person.

The 25th session of Trent’s second decree teaches us why the bodies of saints are different. Relics of bone, hair, and even blood once belonged to bodies possessing a two-fold dignity: (1) being living members of the Body of Christ and (2) being temples of the Holy Spirit. The council states that, through venerating these relics, God bestows gifts on men. Additionally, those who oppose this teaching, “the Church has already long since condemned.”

This condemnation is not found among Dominicans. Today the Order of Preachers celebrates the Translation of Holy Father Dominic. ‘Translation’ is an unfortunate translation. The Latin, elevatio corporis, brings forth the transcendent quality of this feast. We don’t celebrate a horizontal change of word for word moving from tongue to tongue. Rather, we celebrate the vertical change of the profane to the holy. On this day in 1233, St. Dominic’s remains were elevated, celebrated, and laid to rest in the Arca di San Domenico—the exquisite sarcophagus complete in 1267.

Though the brethren lifted St. Dominic from the tomb, it was God who elevated the body of St. Dominic. Our Father in heaven honored our Holy Father Dominic by a miracle (ST III.6). The moment the stone slab covering the coffin was split, the broken seal emitted an indescribable, sweet fragrance. So potent was the smell that those who touched its source, St. Dominic’s bones, themselves began to emit the aroma. Martha feared the stench of Lazarus’ four days in the tomb (Jn 11:38–44), but the friars rejoiced in the sweet-smelling oblation of St. Dominic’s 11 years in the tomb.

The relics of St. Dominic, like all other relics, remind us of not only the saint but the One the saint served. By this miracle, through his lowly servant St. Dominic, God makes real the words of St. Paul:

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. (2 Cor 2:15–16)

Smells, like a mother’s perfume, conjure the deepest memories we have of a person. The smell of St. Dominic works in an analogous way, but with an important difference. The brothers would not have been reminded of the old smell of the perspiring friar. They would have been reminded of the Resurrection. Christ by dying and rising has transformed the decay of death into the fragrance of eternal life. Relics do not just remind us of a life lived, but a life living.“

“Thou didst breath fragrance upon me, and I drew in my breath and now do I sigh for Thee.” -St Augustine

Love, life, & LIFE to come!!
Matthew

Explaining abortion to children

“After her children had gone to sleep one night, pro-life author Jean Garton was finishing a presentation on abortion that included a picture of a baby aborted at 10 weeks. She narrates what happened next:

Suddenly I heard, rather than saw, another person near me. At the sound of a sharp intake of breath, I turned to find that my youngest son, then a sleepy, rumpled three-year-old, had unexpectedly and silently entered the room. His small voice was filled with great sadness as he asked, “Who broke the baby?”

Explaining abortion to a young child is an awful, horrifying thing to do. In our home, this explanation is necessary because of our involvement with crisis pregnancy centers and diocesan pro-life activities. Our kids start to hear the word “abortion” at a fairly young age, and so at a certain point I must tell them, gently, the meaning of the word.

Explaining the Unthinkable

It’s dreadfully surreal when a mother first exposes the concept of abortion to her child. I usually take a deep breath and say, “Sometimes mommies or daddies don’t want their babies, and they pay a doctor to take the baby out too soon.” Obviously, this is simplistic and not the full range of scenarios, but it leads to the next question: “But what happens to the baby?” Your honest answer: “It’s very sad Honey, but the baby dies.”

So far, each of my children has had the same reaction: disbelief, confusion, denial, and alarm. “How could anyone do that?” they ask, recoiling. “Who forces a mommy to do that?” “Why would a doctor do that to a little baby?”

Children are naturally pro-life, and they really get the horror of it.

You don’t have to paint a picture or get graphic. The idea of someone deliberately killing a baby in his mother’s womb is so foreign to small children as to be absurd, nonsensical, insane. Their little minds sense the disorder and evil immediately, and they reject it.

After our little ones experience that initial shock, we must be sure to remind them about God’s mercy and about our duty love both the babies and their mothers. You might say something like this:

“I know! It’s so sad that someone would do this. Some mommies think they can’t take care of the baby and others don’t even think it is a baby, because people have lied to them about that. But lots of mommies feel terrible later, because deep down they know that what they did was wrong. But guess what? God loves us and he always wants to help us, even if we do something really bad. So let’s pray for the mommies, daddies, and doctors who do this, because God and those little babies want to see all of them in Heaven one day.”

A Light in the Darkness

When I explain abortion to my children, it feels like I’m taking their innocence away from them. After all, once a child understands that our nation not only allows but celebrates the murder of children nestled in their mothers’ wombs, just as they or their siblings had been nestled so recently, how could they not be affected to their core? But it’s important to balance the darkness of abortion with the light of God’s truth.

Here are three concepts that refute the pro-abortion mindset (and many other evils) that you can and should instill in even your smallest children:

The Beauty of Human Life: This is the easiest (and most fun) way to teach your children to be pro-life. There are lots of great videos on the Internet that show human development in the womb through 3-dimensional ultrasounds, computer graphics, and even high definition videos shot from inside the uterus with a tiny camera. Another fun thing is to borrow a fetal model display from a pro-life organization and let your children hold, and love on, these tiny model babies. And here is a “guessing game” that will delight your children and stick with them forever: Pull out the children’s Bible and have them tell you how many people were at the Visitation (Luke 1:39-44). They may guess two, but then they will see that there were four! Mary, Elizabeth, Jesus, and John!

The Equal Dignity of Human Beings: I remember reading a pro-life author who described what happened when his seven-year-old saw a double amputee. She whispered to her father that the man had no legs, but then she said to him, drawing on the lessons he taught her, “But he is still just as valuable as everyone else!” Teach your children early that our dignity and value as human beings is the same no matter how smart, strong, or old we are—or aren’t. And of course, as they say in that children’s classic, Horton Hears a Who: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Good Ends Don’t Justify Evil Means: The most basic principle of the natural law and Christian morality is, “Do good, avoid evil.” Unfortunately, some people think that it’s okay to do “what is necessary” to achieve a good end, even if the means of getting there is evil (e.g., a college student maintains the good of education through the evil means of aborting her unintended pregnancy).

Always remind your children that, if they have a problem, they must never do something wrong—even a little wrong—in order to solve it. When they are small, this might take the form of letting someone else play with a toy instead of using their fists to get it back. As they get bigger, they will grow in virtue and learn a lesson many adults don’t understand: It is always better to suffer evil and be hurt than to inflict evil and be the one who hurts others. One of my favorite quotes is from St. Thomas Aquinas: “Pain or sorrow for that which is truly evil cannot be the greatest evil: for there is something worse, namely, either not to reckon as evil that which is really evil, or not to reject it.”

Finally, explain to your children that many people have changed their hearts on the issue of abortion, including women and men who have procured them, and including abortionists themselves! Some of them even fight against abortion similar to the way that St. Paul, who used to murder Christians, went on to become one of the greatest Christians of all time! Let them know that even though the world can be an unfair and even scary place, God is bigger than the world because He created it. God’s Son Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble; but don’t be afraid, I have overcome the world!” (cf. John 16:33).”

Love & Life,
Matthew

I AM the Way!!

I LOVE St Thomas; yes, his incredulity. But, moreso, his crankiness. He is very easy to imagine as that ONE in any group who is THE negative Nel, apologies to all Nels out there, Bob Bummers, Debbie Downers, etc. He whines. He complains. WHAT a ray of JOY & LIGHT in a group, no?

Were it up to the Apostles, they would surely have thrown Thomas in a well or over a cliff, or whatever it took to get RID of him!!! Imagine waking up to hear, listen to Thomas complain, whine, albeit unrecorded, each morning!!! A REAL upper!!!!

If it weren’t for the miracles and Jesus, it would be a horrible existence to have to live with Thomas. His family must have been GLAD to get rid of him!!! Yet, the Boss, Jesus, knows him, loves him, calls hims, gives him, knowing Thomas, special status. Jesus KNEW Thomas would be the one to openly doubt after the Resurrection.

Some of the Apostles, the ingenues, the younger ones, John, may have believed right off the bat due to their youthful naivete’, or sincerely; but the older, more sodden with experience ones, understandably, were thinking what Thomas said out loud, and took the easy way out to let Thomas do it. See, there’s the rub. The annoying one also always does a great service. He gets to do unpopular work of asking the uncomfortable questions, to the benefit of the group. That is likely why any group keeps them around, to provide that good service despite being annoying.

Jn 11:16


-by Br Isidore Rice, OP

“Where I AM going you know the way.”
Thomas said to Him,
“Master, we do not know where You are going;
how can we know the way?” (John 14:4-5)

“Here Thomas denies the two things that our Lord affirmed.” St. Thomas Aquinas’ first take on his namesake’s question finds St. Thomas the Apostle contradicting the Lord. Whatever St. Thomas the Apostle’s weaknesses, he at least had no trouble speaking his mind.

Jesus claims that Thomas knows the way. Thomas audaciously responds that he doesn’t. His reasoning is as flawless as that of Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else.”

But lest we think that the disciple has bested the master, Aquinas reconciles Jesus and Thomas’ conflicting claims, stating that “both statements are true: for it is true that [the apostles] knew, yet they did not know that they knew.” The apostles know the way because they know Jesus, Who is the way. They know the destination because they know Jesus, Who is the truth and the life. “I AM the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).

Our destination is God. A life GPS set to anywhere else or to nowhere in particular will not lead us there. It is not an easy thing to go to God and see Him face to face. “No one has ever seen God” (John 1:18a). But there is one way: “The only Son, God, Who is in the bosom of the Father, has made Him known” (John 1:18b).

It took St. Thomas a while to understand. The same boldness that urged him to object that he did not know the way would later specify the way he could come to belief: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). St. Thomas came to believe not only in the resurrection of Jesus, but also that Jesus is Himself the way and the goal: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

Love,
Matthew

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. -Mt 5:4


-please click on the image for greater detail.


A view of the cross and the sculpture ‘Pieta’ by Nicholas Coustou behind debris inside the Notre-Dame de Paris in the aftermath of a fire that devastated the cathedral, in Paris, France, 16 April 2019. The fire started in the late afternoon on 15 April in one of the most visited monuments of the French capital.
Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris fire aftermath, France – 16 Apr 2019, please click on the image for greater detail.

Through the grace and mercy and Providence of God, I have had the opportunity to be comforted in my trials of depression and anxiety, and my experience of the vicissitudes of others.

I have had the privilege to comfort others in suffering the effects of job loss, food insecurity, age discrimination, divorce, death, and alcoholism, as well as the general vicissitudes of human nature they experience.  Praise Him!!!!!!

I know others have had to be comforted from my own vicissitudes I have inflicted on them.  Lord, have mercy on me, for I am a sinful man.


-by Br Mary Francis Day, OP

“This has always struck me as the most outstanding and counterintuitive of the beatitudes. The beatitude itself is a promise, not for the present sorrow, whatever it might be, but for the future. What is it to be comforted or consoled? As Merikakis notes in Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word, to be consoled is to be “called to someone’s side.” If to be in desolation is be abandoned and alone, consolation implies that someone has come to be with me in my sorrow. This beatitude is the promise of an interior presence that is capable of transforming suffering from within.

What kind of presence is this? The kind of happiness that consolation brings cannot come from naivete. Divine consolation is a help to us in a world that is very much fallen and reeling from its wounds. As Christ rose on Easter, with the marks of the nails still in his hands and feet, so by the grace of the Resurrection, we are to rise with our own wounds. These wounds are to be glorified by a life of grace spent following Christ, but they are still wounds. Understood this way, consolation is not incompatible with loss or mourning—it presupposes it. In His Paschal Mystery, Jesus did not eliminate suffering, but He did something only God can do: He transformed it. What was once a mark of sin and death can now be sign of light and life. The aid that comes to us in our own afflictions is the presence of God in our souls, which heals us, and lets us know that we are not alone, and that nothing has been suffered in vain.

We can understand consolation as the interior awareness of this presence, which is a response to our frailty. This divine compassion is not just a sentiment, it is a person: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom 5:5). We call the Holy Spirit “the gift of God most high” because it is by means of the Spirit’s presence that we receive consolation. It is a gift that is freely and abundantly given to all the baptized. Baptism, after all, is nothing less than the divine adoption whereby we become brothers with Jesus and sons of the same Father.

Most of the time, the best consolers are those whom we know and love. The closer someone is to us, the easier it is receive comfort from them. (Ed.  It is equally true, likely moreso, that those closest to us are the cause of our sorrow and mourning, rather than our comfort and the consolation.  Who else can cause such grief?)  This (consolation) is all the more true of the Holy Spirit, Who is closer to us than we are to ourselves. And this is necessary: sometimes human comfort is not enough to cope with loss. Like the mothers of Bethlehem after the slaughter of the Holy Innocents, we may be unable to accept merely human comfort: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more” (Matt 2:18). It is at this point that we must be silent and wait for God to act. This kind of passivity is not stoic resignation, or “acceptance” of the inevitable; it is an act of hope, which is among the most strong and striking of the virtues. “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” (Ps 31:24).”

Love & consolation,
Matthew

Ungrateful – May 10, St Antoninus of Florence, OP (1389-1459 AD), Archbishop & Confessor


-The Charity of St. Anthony, Lorenzo Lotto, 1542; Italy – High Renaissance, oil on panel, 235 x 332 cm, Basilica dei San Giovanni e Paolo, Venice, Italy, please click on the image for greater detail

My sister, although we did not know it then, only the symptoms of several car accidents in short succession, was suffering the effects of PSP in 2005, the year Kelly and I happened to want to be married.

Since my parents had passed eight weeks apart towards the end of 2001, my eldest sibling, my sister, my second mother, was very important to me to have in attendance.  She could not travel, and so, at the risk of my soul and marriage, I asked Kelly if we could delay until Spring of 2006 to see if my sister’s condition would improve.  It never did.  She passed in 2008.

Tearfully and most generously, Kelly agreed to wait.  In so doing, we had to give up the HOTTEST ticket for a wedding ceremony in Chicago, Old St Patrick’s Church.  There is a waiting list of years.  So, desperate for a church building, and Chicago Catholic churches scarce (understatement) on short notice for wedding Saturdays, and the Catholic Church insisting on weddings in Catholic Church churches, you have to get a dispensation otherwise, and who wants to do that, and, it may not be granted, we went begging. The gloriously beautiful Holy Family Church, now in a depressed part of the near west side of Chicago, and so with few congregants and fewer weddings, welcomed us and we became parishioners at the invitation of the pastor, who also witnessed our wedding.

He was the lone priest in this big, sadly underused, gem of a church where Mrs O’Leary, of infamy, used to be a parishioner. This pastor later quipped to us when we blurted out later, as Catholics are wont to do upon some small sacrifice, “But, our reward will be great in Heaven!!” And, he said, to this day we’re not sure if he was serious or not, “Don’t kid yourself.” This pastor, regrettably, turned out to be not one of the better priests either of us have ever met. It happens.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” -Lk 6:32-36

Lk 17:18


– St Antoninus, from Saint Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C., please click on the image for greater detail


-bust outside the family home of St. Antoninus Torre dei Pierozzi, Florence, Italy, please click on the image for greater detail

To mitigate the wide-spread misery caused by the taxes of the Medici, St Antoninus established a lay society, known as the ‘Good Men of St Martin’, who systematically sought out the poor and gave assistance to them.

The plague hit Florence in 1448 and 1449. Then an earthquake shook it in 1453, followed by a cyclone in 1456, and then a famine! St Antoninus was frequently seen with his mule loaded with emergency supplies, going through the streets of the city to help those in both material and spiritual need, bringing relief supplies and the succour of the sacraments.


-by Br Bartholomew Calvano, OP

St Antoninus is “…a model in this thankless charity. Saint Antoninus, a Dominican friar who lived in the early 15th century, was well known both for his contributions to moral theology and for his love of the poor. As Archbishop of Florence, he focused his attention and resources on the poor. He instructed those who established homes for the care of the suffering, whether it be from malady, poverty, or abandonment, to persevere in their care, even if those they served were ungrateful.

A prime example of the types of organizations that St. Antoninus founded was the association known as the Good Men of St. Martin. This group of laymen dispersed funds entrusted to it wherever the need was found. The primary purpose of this association, however, may seem strange to us. The first recipients of its charity were to be the shamefaced poor, a title given in 15th century Florence to those who, because of having fallen from a higher stratum of society, were too ashamed to beg and so starved in silence. Such poor only accepted charity reluctantly, and scant gratitude could be expected from them for it. Saint Antoninus’ charity, however, was too broad to be limited to only those who came seeking it.

Saint Antoninus chose to trade in, by means of charity toward the grateful and ungrateful alike, the riches he had on earth to receive a reward in heaven. In imitation of him, may we also show ourselves to be children of God through unselfish mercy and kindness to all of our neighbors.”

“Eternal God, you wonderfully blessed Saint Antoninus with the gift of wisdom. Pour out upon us, Your servants, the same spirit of understanding, truth, and peace. May we know in our hearts what pleases You and pursue it with all our strength. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen”.
– Collect for the feast of St Antoninus (10th May).

His body remains incorrupt.

Looks good for 560, not a day over 100.  San Marco, Florence, Italy.

Love,
Matthew

History & Tradition

It is important to note Judaism has, throughout its entire history, had a scripture and tradition existence. Only sola scriptura is the real novelty.  Tradition, capital “T”, in the Catholic lexicon, does not mean “we have ALWAYS done it this way!!”  Some Orthodox and some Catholic fascists may mean it that way, but that is not how mainstream Catholicism means it.  Tradition in mainstream Catholicism means “How has the Holy Spirit guided us throughout the sojourn of His Church, His Bride, on this earth, awaiting His return?”

If Protestantism is true,
Christians have zero need to understand even their own history or tradition.

According to sola scriptura and the principle of private judgment, Protestants believe they can discover saving Christian truth themselves, using only their Bible and the Spirit. This understanding is especially prevalent in Evangelicalism—stemming perhaps from the influence of the Radical Reformers, who were not impressed by Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin and instead took the magisterial Reformers’ ideas to their logical end. As a result, most Evangelicals today know little about history and tradition, including the history of their own beliefs.

Distrust of History and Tradition

One of the events that led to the anti-traditional bent of Evangelicals was the revivalism of the First and Second Great Awakenings in the United States 200 years ago.

Even though Evangelicals owe many of their most important beliefs to John Calvin’s influence, through the revival spirit of anti-traditionalism many denied any connection with him and did not even have a basic understanding of who he was. Fast-forward to today, and the situation is much the same.

One Evangelical friend of mine said to me: “I don’t care what Luther or any other Protestant teaches.”

Why don’t he and other Evangelicals care what Luther or Calvin or anyone else says? Because my friend has the Holy Spirit dwelling within him, and he has his Bible, so he believes from those he can individually come to know divine truth.

Because Catholicism is true,
It’s important to learn from the wisdom of those who have gone before us in faith.

One of my Anglican friends wanted to buy a book by St. Augustine, a Father of the Church who is known as the “Doctor of Grace.” He happened to be close to a popular Christian chain bookstore, so he stopped in and looked around. Not finding the book, he approached the person working at the store to ask where he could find it: “Pardon me, where are your books by Augustine?” The employee looked at him blankly and responded, “Augustine who?”

This little story demonstrates an endemic problem with Evangelical Protestants: They have largely forgotten men and women who came before them in the Christian faith, those giants on whose shoulders (and prayers) they now stand. Christianity didn’t end in the year 100 when the Bible was finished being written and resume again 1,500 years later when the first Baptists founded a new ecclesial community. But going into this Christian store, one is hard pressed to find a book written in the time period between the Bible and the twentieth century.

A dose of humility is the remedy. Just as we do not attempt to re-derive all mathematical and scientific formulas anew in every generation, so we should stand on the shoulders of the saintly theological giants who have gone before us. If nothing else, it stands to reason that the men and women closest in time and proximity to the apostles could give us invaluable insights into their teachings. And, indeed, this is what we see when we read their works.

Even secular wisdom informs us that forgetting history condemns us to repeat it. Many of the heresies today are not new—they are unwittingly recycled from centuries past, often by well-meaning Christians who interpret the Bible apart from Tradition and the historical witness of the Church. The Catholic belief that our Lord has guided His Church into all truth through every century gives us the confidence that we can trust our forefathers in the Faith.

The Protestant’s Dilemma

If Protestantism is true, then Christians in each generation figure out all truth for themselves, with nothing but the Bible as their guide. After all, it is quite possible that the Christians who came before us made errors, even on important doctrines, and that God is raising up new voices today to correct those errors. But how can we know which are teaching truth, and which are reviving old heresies?”

Love & the tradition (long term of wisdom of generations) of living the faith,
Matthew

Jesus & socialism

The Huffington Post seems to think so – On Christmas 2016, HuffPost published the online article Jesus Was A Socialist

In the Stern Dining Hall of Stanford University there is a painting by Antonio Burciaga called The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes.

It’s an homage to Da Vinci’s Last Supper but with Hispanic heroes in place of Jesus and the apostles.

The mural has generated controversy because of its depiction of socialist revolutionary Che Guevara in the place of Jesus Christ. One outraged student wrote in a Stanford newspaper, “Che Guevara was a butcher and a tyrant. It is utterly disgusting, offensive, and ignorant for Casa Zapata to deify him on its walls.”

But many people think it’s entirely appropriate to compare Che to Jesus because both men were “socialists” who liberated the poor.

In her popular book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich says Jesus was a “wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist” whose inconvenient message about helping the poor the Church tries to suppress.

In 2015, Bolivian president and head of the Movement for Socialist party Evo Morales gifted Pope Francis with a “Communist crucifix.” It depicted Christ crucified on a hammer and sickle (the symbol of the communist party in the Soviet Union) in an effort to show that socialism and Christianity are compatible with one another.

Pope Pius XI said “no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist,” but this counterfeit Christ says the exact opposite: the only good Catholics are true socialists. If you really cared about the poor, if you really accepted the call of Christ to care for the “least among us” (Matt. 25:40) then you would support socialist policies to eliminate poverty.

But how can that be true if . . .
…Jesus Did Not Preach Socialist Policies

If you define a socialist as “a person who wants to help the poor,” then Jesus was a socialist—but then so is almost everyone else. What makes someone a socialist is not his desire to help the poor but his belief about what kind of economy provides the most benefit to the poor.

Capitalism, for example, is defined in terms of private ownership of the means to produce goods and services. Usually, this kind of capitalism takes place within a “market economy” that allows for the free exchange of goods and services as a means to create profit. Capitalists believe that this voluntary series of exchanges makes everyone in the economy wealthier and that this is the most effective way to lift people out of poverty.

Socialism, on the other hand, refers to the collective or “social” ownership of the means to produce goods and services. There are several different kinds of economic models that have been called socialism, but according to The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought, “By its very nature [socialism] involves the abolition of private ownership of capital; bringing the means of production, distribution, and exchange into public ownership and control is central to its philosophy.”

Socialists claim the best way to alleviate poverty is through a central authority like the government (as opposed to decentralized forces like the market) distributing a society’s wealth among its individual members.

If this is what is meant by “socialism,” then Jesus was not a socialist because Jesus did not seek to abolish the private ownership of capital (like money or natural resources) or the means of production like organized farms and manufacturing technologies.

According to economist Lawrence Reed, “The fact is, one can scour the scriptures with a fine-tooth comb and find nary a word from Jesus that endorses the forcible redistribution of wealth by political authorities. None, period.”

But even if Jesus didn’t preach socialist political policies, couldn’t we say he preached socialist values when it came to individuals? After all, he told the rich man that if he wanted to inherit eternal life he should sell what he had and give it to the poor (Mark 10:21). Doesn’t this mean that Jesus wanted the rich to give away all their money to the poor?

It should first be noted that giving away your money to the poor is a charitable value rather than a socialist one. Jesus’ commands for individuals to give alms to the poor (Luke 12:33) did not include whether those individuals should give that money directly to the poor, donate it to charities who serve the poor, or allow the money to be taxed and redistributed though government subsidy programs.

Helping the poor is a non-negotiable issue for Christians, but there can be reasonable disagreement among believers over which methods are the best way to reduce poverty.”

Love & freedom, and love of freedom,
Matthew

Altars & relics


-The remains of St. John Neumann (1811-1860) enclosed within the glass altar of the National Shrine of Saint John Neumann, which is located in the lower church of the Parish of St. Peter the Apostle (1842-1847), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On December, 27, 2007, the body of St. John Neumann was put into a new set of traditional vestments, substantially affecting the appearance of the saint’s body. Fire broke out in the lower church on May 13, 2009. The pulpit, located near the body, was reduced to ashes, but the body of the saint was left intact. The plaster covering over the face did not show any signs of heat. The pastor, Fr. Kevin Moley, C.Ss.R., of the same order as St John Neumann, the Redemptorists, called it miraculous. When Bishop Neumann died suddenly in 1860 he was buried, as requested, at St. Peter’s Church beneath the undercroft floor directly below the high altar.

Pope Paul VI beatified Neumann during the Second Vatican Council and declared him a saint in 1977. The undercroft at St. Peter the Apostle Church underwent several renovations after Neumann’s initial interment. The space served for years as the lower church of St. Peter the Apostle parish and eventually became the National Shrine of Saint John Neumann after his canonization. The body of the saint lies in a glass-enclosed reliquary under the main altar. It is dressed in the episcopal vestments with a mask covering the face.

The saint’s body has undergone multiple vestment changes since it was first displayed at the time of his beatification. In 1989, during the course of a major renovation of the shrine, the body of the saint was clothed in a set of modern vestments cut in the Gothic style. On December 27, 2007, the body received a new mask and was clad with a set of high-quality traditional Roman vestments, including a laced alb, stole, maniple, episcopal gloves, and traditional Roman fiddleback chasuble. The Cardinal Archbishop of Philadelphia, Justin Francis Rigali, was present to assist with the vesting.  Please click on the image for greater detail.

Early Christians under persecution in Rome would bury their dead in the catacombs.  No surprise.  However, they also needed to celebrate Mass in secret, for obvious reasons.  The catacombs were perfect.  And what better place to celebrate Mass than on the tomb of one who gave the ultimate witness to the faith.

Each Catholic Church has within it an altar stone. Before the Second Vatican Council, Latin-Rite priests could lawfully celebrate Mass only on a properly consecrated altar. This consecration was carried out by a bishop, and involved specially blessed “Gregorian Water” (water to which wine, salt, and ashes are added), anointings (LOTS of consecrated oil), singing, and ceremonies. The First class relics of at least two saints, at least one of which had to be a martyr, were inserted in a cavity in the altar which was then sealed, a practice that was meant to recall the use of martyrs’ tombs as places of Eucharistic celebration during the persecutions of the Church in the first through fourth centuries. Also in the cavity were sealed documents relating to the altar’s consecration. The tabletop of the altar, the “mensa”, had to be of a single piece of natural stone (almost always marble). Its supports had to be attached to the mensa. If contact was later broken even only momentarily (for instance, if the top was lifted off for some reason), the altar lost its consecration. Every altar had to have a “title” or “titulus” in Latin. This could be The Holy Trinity or one of its Persons; a title or mystery of Christ’s life (Christ the Good Shepherd; the Holy Cross); Mary in one of her titles (Mother of Christ; Our Lady of Good Counsel); or a canonized saint. The main altar of a church had to have the same title as the church itself, for instance, there are many “side altars” in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, but the “high altar” in the center is dedicated to St. Patrick. This reflected the idea that the altar was the key element, and the church was built to house it, as opposed to the church being built and simply supplied with an altar as part of its furniture.

Obviously, these regulations would have made it impossible to celebrate Mass anywhere but inside of a Roman Catholic church. To provide for other circumstances—for chaplains of everything from military to Boy Scout units, for priests traveling alone, for missionaries, or for large outdoor celebrations of Mass on pilgrimages—portable altars, popularly called “altar stones,” were used. These were usually blocks of marble, often about 6 inches by 9 inches and an inch thick, consecrated as described above. A priest with a field kit could simply place this stone on any available surface (a tailgate, or a stump or log) to celebrate Mass, or it could be inserted in a flat frame built into the surface of a wooden altar. Many Roman Catholic schools had a full-sized, decoratively carved wooden altar (which, being wood, could not be consecrated) in their gym or auditorium that could be taken out and prepared for Mass, with an altar stone placed in the “mensa” space.

The privilege of using a portable altar was not automatically conferred on any priest. Cardinals and bishops normally had such rights under canon law, but other priests had to be given specific permission— this was, however, easily and widely obtained.

Consecrated altar stones are no longer required in parish altars, but they are part of a tradition dating back to the second century, when the early Christians celebrated Mass on top of the tombs of the martyrs.  Before Vatican II, the altar stone was really the altar.

When you had a wooden table or a wooden altar against the wall, the altar stone was always consecrated. The priest would kiss the altar stone and place the gifts on it. Most people didn’t think about it that way, but fundamentally that’s what it was.

Fifty years after the Second Vatican Council’s liturgical reforms included lifting the requirement that the Eucharist be celebrated on stone and relics, parishes may wonder about the meaning of these stones and what to do with them.

An altar stone is a solid, flat piece of natural stone which contains relics of at least two saints — one a martyr — as well as incense grains representing an offering to God. The stones had to be large enough to hold a chalice and sacred host, and on average are nine inches square. Five crosses engraved on the top signify the five wounds of Christ.

Before Vatican II, only stone altars could be consecrated. Many parishes had wood altars, so they placed consecrated altar stones in their altars to meet the requirement. If a priest wanted to celebrate Mass in a park for a parish picnic or on the battlefield for soldiers, for example, he had to bring the piece of stone with the embedded relic.

The practice of placing martyrs’ relics beneath an altar is found in Revelation 6:9: “When he broke open the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the witness they bore to the word of God.”

Around 150 A.D., Christians expressed belief in Jesus’ resurrection by offering Mass on the tomb of a martyr, often on the anniversary of his or her death, when a saint’s feast is typically celebrated marking their real birthday into eternal life. In 517 AD, a Church council in France first decreed that, to be consecrated, an altar should be made of stone. Parishes obtained relics for their altar stones from a central Vatican office.

Before Vatican II, a bishop usually consecrated altar stones in a ceremony that was similar to, but less formal than, an altar consecration. The bishop used blessed oil, incense and a type of holy water reserved for anointings and ceremonies that contained salt, wine and ashes.

During Vatican II, the Council fathers changed the requirement that altars contain relics or altar stones as they sought to preserve, improve and reform the Sacred Liturgy. They advocated for the altar to be viewed as a table in addition to a place of sacrifice.

The Council retained the custom of placing relics under altars if their authenticity was verified. They preference is for a recognizable part of the body, rather than dust gathered from a crypt.

Today, altars are dedicated in a revised rite, and relics are optional. But according to the Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar, they still play a role: “For it is altogether proper to erect altars over the burial place of martyrs and other saints or to deposit their relics beneath altars as a mark of respect and as a symbol of the truth that the sacrifice of the members has its source in the sacrifice of the Head [Jesus]. Thus ‘the triumphant victims come to their rest in the place where Christ is victim: He, however, Who suffered for all is on the altar; they who have been redeemed by His sufferings are beneath the altar.’”


-by Br Philip Nolan, OP

People realize that something strange is going on with Catholic altars when they visit a church that has the full body of a saint in a glass case beneath the stone slab. Saint John Neumann’s shrine in Philadelphia (pictured above) is a good example of this. It’s like an open-casket wake that never ends. Not only does this practice reveal something about the Catholic understanding of the body, it makes clear the somewhat shocking truths about all Catholic altars: every altar is a place of death.

Our altars have their roots in the Jewish altar in the Temple. The altar in the Temple, according to the laws of Torah, was a place marked by sacrifice and blood and fire. There the priests made the different offerings that God had instituted as constitutive of the covenant with his people. It must have often been a messy, smelly place, but it is where God chose to have his people worship and make atonement for their sins.

In the Last Supper, Jesus institutes a new sacrificial system. He offers himself, once for all, in the unbloody sacrifice of the Eucharist. He ties together the full meaning of the history of the chosen people—the Exodus, the sojourn in the desert, the promise of fruitful land—into one great sacrament that makes present the fulfillment of all these realities. And he does this in the context of a meal among friends.

The Catholic altar follows upon both mysteries: place of sacrifice and place of meal. As the Catechism puts it, “The altar, around which the Church is gathered in the celebration of the Eucharist, represents the two aspects of the same mystery: the altar of the sacrifice and the table of the Lord” (CCC 1383). Furthermore, as a place of encountering the Lord in the celebration of the Eucharist, the altar itself becomes a representative of Christ: “What is the altar of Christ if not the image of the Body of Christ?” asks St. Ambrose.

Why, then, does the Church have the practice of placing relics of saints, whether small pieces or full bodies, beneath altars? On the symbolic level, there is a profound unity between the saint and the altar. The altar, an image of Christ, holds the physical remains of those who took on the form of Christ in their earthly life—suffering, dying, and now, thanks to God’s generosity, living again with him. We can look on the body of the dead saint without fear because they faced death and triumphed by being united with Christ’s victory over death. By our reverence and faithfulness to the altar and the perfect Sacrifice that adorns it every day, may we do the same.”

Love,
Matthew

Myth: Virgin Mary belief from pagan stories

“One stone thrown by the “Christians stole their teachings from paganism” crowd features the Blessed Virgin Mary.

They claim Catholic beliefs about Mary are founded on ancient pagan myths. These attacks usually center on her virginity, the conception and birth of Jesus, and whether the titles “Mother of God” and “Queen of Heaven” have pagan origins. There is even an outlandish claim by the mythicist D.M. Murdock that “the Virgin Mary is, like Jesus Christ, a mythical character, founded upon older goddesses”[emphasis in the original].”

Atheists are not the only ones who attack Marian teachings. Fundamentalist Jack Chick, in his tract “Why Is Mary Crying?” declares that Mary was substituted by the Catholic Church for pagan goddesses. Chick’s tract portrays her standing before God the Father, crying, telling him she is a sinner, and bemoaning Catholics’ “worshipping” her by bowing to her statue.

Chick alleges that Catholic Marian teachings are the work of Satan, who wants to confuse Christians by inducing them to worship a “counterfeit virgin.” So when the Catholic Church was created in the year 300 (according to Chick), under the influence of the Evil One, it created the cult of the Virgin to more easily convert the masses, who were used to worshipping pagan goddesses such as Diana, Aphrodite, Venus, and Isis. This is just one of Chick’s many bizarre theories about the Church.

The supposed similarities between ancient pagan myths and the Christian belief that Jesus was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary are greatly exaggerated.

In pagan myths, miraculous conceptions and births always involve mythical gods, not historical persons like Jesus, and their births are either through a sexual encounter or some type of miraculous creation not involving a virgin mother. One oft-cited example of a pagan myth with supposed similarities to the Virgin Birth is that of the Roman god Mithras, who was born not of a virgin, but out of rock. A second example is the Indian god Krishna, who was, as it were, telepathically transmitted from the mind of the god Vasudeva into the womb of the goddess Devaki.

On the surface this appears similar to Jesus’ conception and birth until the full story is revealed that Devaki and Vasudeva had seven previous children!

The early Church recognized the Blessed Mother’s unique role in salvation history, as is evidenced by the writings of the early Church Fathers, who clearly believed in Mary’s virginity, her role as the mother of God, and her exalted status as Queen of Heaven. In the fifth century, however, Nestorius, the patriarch of Constantinople, questioned those beliefs. An eloquent preacher, on Christmas Day in 428 AD Nestorius gave a homily questioning whether Mary was the mother of God:

They ask whether Mary may be called God-bearer. But has God, then, a mother? . . . Mary did not bear God . . . the creature did not bear the Creator, but the man, who is the instrument of the Godhead. He who was formed in the womb of Mary was not God himself, but God assumed him.

For Nestorius, Mary was the Christotokos (Christ-bearer), the one who bore the “fleshy garment” of Christ, not Theotokos (God-bearer, or Mother of God).

St. Cyril of Alexandria (375-444 AD) took great offense at Nestorius’s teachings and wrote a letter exhorting him to teach the orthodox belief that Mary is the mother of God. When Nestorius refused to turn from his heresy, Cyril wrote letters to the emperor as well as to Pope St. Celestine I (r. 422-432 AD), who confirmed that Nestorius’s teachings were heretical.

In a letter to his monks, Cyril succinctly captured the essence of Nestorius’s heresy and its far-reaching effects if embraced: “I am astonished that the question should ever have been raised as to whether the Holy Virgin should be called the mother of God, for it really amounts to asking, is her son God, or is he not?”

Eventually, at the ecumenical council at Ephesus in 431, Nestorius’s heresy was condemned and he was deposed and excommunicated. The title Mother of God is not borrowed from pagan myth but rather reflects the reality of who Mary’s son is and what the Church has taught about both of them from the beginning.

Those who try to link Marian teachings to pagan myths also look to her title as Queen of Heaven for proof. Protestant critics in particular point to the episode in the book of Jeremiah (Jer. 44:1-17) wherein the prophet warned the Jews living in Egypt to turn from their idolatrous ways. The Jews did not listen, and said they would continue to burn incense to the “queen of heaven,” usually identified as the Assyrian-Babylonian fertility goddess, Ishtar.

These Protestant critics contend that Catholics are like those Jews of old, worshipping a pagan deity by using the same title in reference to Mary. But the use of a title in one setting does not imply acceptance of that title’s connotation in another setting. Queen of Heaven applied to Mary is not rooted in pagan goddesses but in the Davidic kingdom. In that kingdom, the queen was the king’s mother, not his wife (primarily because the Jewish kings were polygamous).

So the title refers to Mary’s royal dignity as mother of the King of Kings. Pope Pius XII taught in his encyclical on Mary as Queen of Heaven that the title was used from the “earliest ages” of the Church, and is deserved by virtue of her share in Jesus’s salvific mission (her Fiat ushers in the Kingdom of God); her role in the economy of salvation (as intercessor and Mediatrix); and her share in Jesus’s royalty (as the Queen Mother of the king).

The Real Story: The Church’s Marian teachings are rooted in Scripture and Tradition; they do not derive from pagan myths. Pagan stories of virgin births, and goddesses referred to as queens or mothers of a god, are not proof that Catholic beliefs about Mary were copied. The Church recognized Mary as the mother of God from its beginnings and when Nestorius questioned that belief in the fifth century it was condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431. And Catholics do not worship Mary, as many Protestants believe, but she holds a unique place in salvation history, as her “yes” (…fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. -Lk 1:38) to the Incarnation was essential to God becoming man.”

n.b. Editor: it is important to mention, in pagan myths, there is no consent, rather rapine/deception/disguise. Only in the Annunciation does the Divine God, ask.  Free will is respected. It’s about relationships.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons

The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God [Against Heresies, 5:19:1 (c. a.d. 189)].

St. Gregory Thaumaturgus

For Luke, in the inspired Gospel narratives, delivers a testimony not to Joseph only, but also to Mary the Mother of God, and gives this account with reference to the very family and house of David [Four Homilies 1 (c. a.d. 256)].

It is our duty to present to God, like sacrifices, all the festivals and hymnal celebrations; and first of all, the Annunciation to the holy Mother of God, that is, the salutation made to her by the angel, ‘‘Hail, thou that art highly favored!’’

St. Methodius of Philippi

While [Simeon] was thus exultant, and rejoicing with exceeding great and holy joy, what had before been spoken of in a figure by the prophet Isaiah, the holy Mother of God now manifestly fulfilled [Oration on Simeon and Anna 7 (c. a.d. 300)].

Hail to you forever, you Virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto you do I again return… Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man…Therefore we pray you, the most excellent among women, who boast in the confidence of your maternal honors, unceasingly to keep us in remembrance. O Holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate your memory, which will ever live, and never fade away.

St. Peter of Alexandria

[ T]hey came to the church of the most blessed Mother of God, and Ever-Virgin Mary, which, as we began to say, he had constructed in the western quarter, in a suburb, for a cemetery of the martyrs [The Genuine Acts of Peter of Alexandria (a.d. 305)].

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

The Father bears witness from heaven to his Son. The Holy Spirit bears witness, coming down in the form of a dove. The archangel Gabriel bears witness, bringing the good tidings to Mary. The Virgin Mother of God bears witness [Catechetical Lectures 10:19 (c. a.d. 350)].

St. Athanasius of Alexandria

The Word begotten of the Father from on high, inexpressibly, inexplicably, incomprehensibly, and eternally, is he that is born in time here below of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God [Incarnation of the Word 8 (c. a.d. 365)].

Love,
Matthew

Apr 30 – Pope St Pius V, OP (1504-1572)


-please click on the image for greater detail


-by Br Paul Marich, OP

“For many generations, especially throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, several popes had negative reputations on account of their sinful lifestyles or corrupt governance. While still possessing the authority of the Vicar of Christ on earth, these popes were not living up to the life of holiness that Christ expected of Peter and his successors.

One exception in the midst of this chaos was St. Pius V, whose feast we celebrate today. A Dominican friar who reigned from 1566 to 1572, Pius made his mark in a relatively short papacy. He promulgated the catechism and missal that were formulated by the Council of Trent. He called for the praying of the Rosary when Christian naval forces were threatened by the Turks during the Battle of Lepanto. He excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I when she steered England back toward Protestantism. A legend also attributes to Pius the origin of why the pope wears white—he would not remove his white Dominican habit once elected pope!

For all that he accomplished as pope, the Church venerates him as a saint because of his virtue and holiness. Alongside his accomplishments, Pius was known to live a very austere life, rejecting many of the luxuries to which popes had been accustomed in his time. While he may have been elected the Successor of St. Peter, he never stopped being a humble Dominican friar. Prayer and penance preceded any work that he did in governing the universal Church. G.K. Chesterton, in his famous poem, Lepanto, described St. Pius V in this way:

“The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke.”

It can be very tempting to view our relationship with God, or our service to the Church, from a functional angle. “What am I doing? Can I make this better?” are some questions we may ask. Despite our best efforts, it is God who begins every good work in us, and it is he who brings it to completion. According to Lumen gentium, “it is evident to everyone, that all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity” through a life of holiness (40). By our union with Christ through the regular reception of the sacraments, we come to share in his holiness. Only then are we properly disposed to carry out through action what the Holy Spirit places upon our hearts.

We recognize Pius V as a saint for his life of profound holiness. He was a shining star who turned to God in charity and humility in the midst of a world of darkness. His life of holiness, prompted by the movement of the Holy Spirit, led him to do great things for the Church, the impact of which remains with us to this day. His example directs us to a life in Christ. Through lives rooted in prayer and the sacraments, we too are made ready to face whatever struggles, difficulties, or tasks that lie ahead. May St. Pius V be our model, helping us to navigate through the voyage of life.”


-remains of Pius V in his tomb in Santa Maria Maggiore, please click on the image for greater detail

Love,
Matthew

Summa Catechetica, "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam." – St Anselm, "Let your religion be less of a theory, and more of a love affair." -G.K. Chesterton, "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men and women who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, and who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it."- Bl John Henry Newman, Cong. Orat., "Encounter, not confrontation; attraction, not promotion; dialogue, not debate." -cf Pope Francis, “You will not see anyone who is really striving after his advancement who is not given to spiritual reading. And as to him who neglects it, the fact will soon be observed by his progress.” -St Athanasius, "To convert someone, go and take them by the hand and guide them." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP. 1 saint ruins ALL the cynicism in Hell & on Earth. “When we pray we talk to God; when we read God talks to us…All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection.” -St Isidore of Seville, “Also in some meditations today I earnestly asked our Lord to watch over my compositions that they might do me no harm through the enmity or imprudence of any man or my own; that He would have them as His own and employ or not employ them as He should see fit. And this I believe is heard.” -GM Hopkins, SJ, "Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book." — St. John Bosco, "Why don't you try explaining it to them?" – cf St Peter Canisius, SJ, Doctor of the Church, Doctor of the Catechism, "Already I was coming to appreciate that often apologetics consists of offering theological eye glasses of varying prescriptions to an inquirer. Only one prescription will give him clear sight; all the others will give him at best indistinct sight. What you want him to see—some particular truth of the Faith—will remain fuzzy to him until you come across theological eye glasses that precisely compensate for his particular defect of vision." -Karl Keating, "The more perfectly we know God, the more perfectly we love Him." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP, ST, I-II,67,6 ad 3, “But always when I was without a book, my soul would at once become disturbed, and my thoughts wandered." —St. Teresa of Avila, "Let those who think I have said too little and those who think I have said too much, forgive me; and let those who think I have said just enough thank God with me." –St. Augustine