Early Church MosaicAfter someone asked me some questions on Twitter, I decided to finally update the Church Fathers page in the Resource section here at the site, which I should have done long ago. Then I could have said, Why, here you go, all conveniently listed for you. But I hadn’t updated the page in a couple of years so… It’s updated now and largely re-written. Still by no means an exhaustive list, but there are more titles now and a link or two also updated/edited. I also added some videos and some Logos/Verbum titles and collections to the list.

Still not exhaustive by any means, but should be useful and helpful to those starting out in the study of the Early Church and Church Fathers. Cheers! And peace be with you.

mgok_reillyYes, I saw the ruling. I wasn’t surprised by it, saw it coming. This has been in the works for a long time. Many years. Decades, even. From the 60’s onward (though, of course, it began long before then) this has been in the works. Read School of Darkness (which doesn’t mention homosexuality but reveals the marxist machine behind many movements). Read Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything. Read After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s (if you can find a used copy for a reasonable price or in a library). Read Rules for Radicals. Read about Cultural Marxism and the Frankfurt School (see related videos also). Listen to Psychology: Friend or Foe (CD or MP3) or read We Overcame Their Tradition, We Overcame Their Faith by Dr. William Coulson. Also see video below.

All of these things are interconnected. All of these movements and trends have led us to where we are now. To combat our enemy, we must know our enemy. We have been complacent or ignorant or asleep for TOO LONG. Wake up, wise up, and RISE UP, Church, NOW.

Psychologist Dr. William Coulson explains what he and fellow psychologist Carl Rogers did to Catholic religious houses, and more, in the 60’s. What they needed was holiness and spiritual training and discipline. What they got was “self-esteem” and not an authentic understanding of the human person as taught by the Church. What a mess. And look where we are today: vocations dropped to almost nothing in those houses that opted for false spirituality; vocations booming in houses that kept or returned to authentic Catholic spirituality and RELIGION. Yes, the R word. RELIGION: That by which we are bound in covenant to and united with God, and without which we have a vague, amorphous and all too often imaginary relationship without any basis at all in reality.

Do I feel strongly about this? I do, but this is not about feelings or opinions or desires or wishes. This is about reality, about the world of the real versus the world of really stupid wishful thinking. The world IS, God IS, and all the playing with words that humans can do will never change reality. Contrary to all the new age nonsense so many have imbibed, we do NOT make our own reality. Reality is a given and we receive it and deal with it, or we can butt our heads against it which won’t hurt reality but can break our hard little heads. Looking around me, I see a lot of people who prefer to bash their own heads against the brick wall of reality instead of learning to see the world as it really is.

Divine Mercy
Jesus, we trust in You!

But I also see many people who are more spiritually aware than that. We are praying for those who are obstinate and who are determined to harm themselves and others. We are praying for those who insist on living in a way that may bring some sort of temporary pleasure but can never bring lasting happiness. And can certainly never bring eternal joy.

By the way, once one accepts reality as it is (which does not mean giving in to sin or giving in to despair), the brick wall aspect of it drops away and what is revealed is beautiful beyond words. Is there terror in the world, and sin, and horror, and death? Yes. But there is also joy and love and friendship and family and creativeness and intellect and spirit and heart and music and so many things I can’t even think of without feeling overwhelmed by tears at the beauty of it all. The world would be such a different place if people gave themselves over to real Love. And the One Who is Love Itself.

For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen!

(A post for the Year of Faith) Several people have asked this question: Why does the Year of Faith last 410 days instead of 365?

Answer: Part of being Catholic is learning to think with the mind of the Church. She thinks liturgically about time, which differs from the civil (as in secular, not as in polite) measuring of time. The Church measures time from one liturgical or spiritually or historically important event (historically important to the Church, that is) to another, not a mere length of 365 days that carries no meaning beyond the amount of time it takes the earth to revolve once around the sun.

Looking further I found this quote at Catholic Culture.

“The opening and closing dates of the Year of Faith carry special significance. October 11, 2012, will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, and the Vatican notes that the special year should be “a propitious occasion to make Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church more widely and deeply known.” November 24, 2013, will be the feast of Christ the King, and the CDF underlines the importance of using the year to encourage Catholics to share the precious belief in Christ as the redeemer of the mankind.”

The dates of liturgical celebrations, even the release of documents, generally correspond to a significant date on the Church calendar or in her history. Look at a few encyclicals and other publications and you’ll see what I mean. For example, here’s what you’ll find at the end of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, the Gospel of Life:

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 25 March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, in the year 1995, the seventeenth of my Pontificate.

One of the things non-Catholics (and even some Catholics) are surprised to discover is how Catholic the Early Church was. (Hint: VERY.) And nothing makes this point better than reading the writings of the Early Church Fathers. I just added a list of resources that will help introduce you to the Fathers. It’s by no means an exhaustive list but, hey, it’s a start. :) I’ll add more to it as time goes on, as I’m doing with all the resource pages.

Year-of-Faith-PacwaI don't know about you, but I try to be a good Christian, a devout Catholic. I try to practice my faith, to do what I am supposed to do, to love my Lord and my fellow man. I try. Well… Okay, sometimes I try. And sometimes I don't try at all. I just act like I don't even know anything about Christianity and I charge ahead like a water buffalo–wait, do water buffalo charge? Oh, you know what I mean. Don't act like you don't. You go to confession and Mass (if you're a Catholic, and if you're not, then you pray or give testimony and go to your community's worship service or whatever your community calls it or does) and you resolve to do better, to remember yourself and your commitment to the Lord, to change, to allow Him to change you, to rely less on your stubborn self and more on Him. Journeying Toward God in the Barque of Peter And yet you do the same thing, time after time, the same thing you did last time and the time before that, and the same thing you have been confessing since you went to your first confession, no matter how many years ago that was. And you're still doing the same thing! Oh, maybe you catch yourself now and then, but for the most part you are still losing your temper the way you always have and about the same things and at the same people.

ARGH! What's a (supposed) disciple to do?!

Well, I'll tell you what this wannabe disciple is going to do. The same thing I have been doing. The same thing I will keep doing and having to do. I will pick myself up off the floor again and go to confession and go to adoration and tell the Lord that I am sorry and ask Him to forgive me and ask Him to help me. Again. And, yes, I have already asked Him that, I know I don't have to wait until I go to confession and I don't wait until I go to confession to talk to the Lord. We talk a lot. Well, mostly I talk and He tries to get a word in edgewise and sometimes I shut up and let Him. Sometimes He tells me the most beautiful things. And sometimes I even hear what He says. Yep, sometimes I actually listen.

All of which leads to the heart of my post: the Year of Faith which our Holy Father announced a while back and which began on October 11 2012. Pope Benedict has asked all the faithful to study anew the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the documents of the Second Vatican Council, so that we may deepen our knowledge of our faith and of our Church and of our Lord. So that we may deepen our love for Him Who is Love. And how else can our love for God grow if our knowledge of Him does not also grow? And how can our knowledge of Him grow if we do not make an effort to know the Truth He has revealed to us? And how can we know the Truth He has revealed to us if we do not trouble ourselves to listen to His voice in the teachings and liturgy of the Church He Himself gave us?

We are all of us embarking on a journey, setting out into the deep. The Lord will guide us on our way, the Lord Himself Who is the Way and the Truth and the Life. He is the only Truth that is worth knowing. May the Lord richly bless you and yours during this Year of Faith and may His peace be upon you forever and ever. Amen.

AND it came to pass, that when the multitudes pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Genesareth, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And going into one of the ships that was Simon's, he desired him to draw back a little from the land. And sitting he taught the multitudes out of the ship. Now when he had ceased to speak, he said to Simon: Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said to him: Master, we have labored all the night, and have taken nothing: but at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes, and their net broke. And they beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they were almost sinking. Which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was wholly astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. And so were also James and John the sons of Zebedee, who were Simon's partners. And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And having brought their ships to land, leaving all things, they followed him. — Luke 5:1-11, Douay-Rheims translation.

Learn more: Read more about the Year of Faith at the official website or at the USCCB or at EWTN and many other places too numerous to list. Read Porta Fidei (the Door of Faith) or the transcript of the Homily at the Opening Mass of the Year of Faith, both by Pope Benedict. Other resources include a Catholic Bible study guide by Fr. Mitch Pacwa (Kindle version or paperback) and daily brief readings in the Catechism delivered to your email inbox and also available online. This is truly a wonderful resource and I have enjoyed my mornings with the Catechism very much since this program began on Oct 11. We're not far along yet and you have plenty of time to join in. Please do! You can join in the discussion on the site and learn a lot that way and share what you know, too. You can also find the entire set of sixteen documents of the Second Vatican Council online at EWTN.

 

Fortnight 4 FreedomI plan to write more about this at some point but right now I’m linking to the USCCB‘s Fortnight 4 Freedom site. My current novel-in-progress focuses on this very issue of freedom and faith, and the writing has taken over my blog time and pretty much the rest of my life. (After much struggle and a long dry period, having the writing take over my life, at least part of it, is a good thing and I am loving it.)

“The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayerstudycatechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.”

For information, bulletin inserts, web graphics, pdf’s and more: http://www.fortnight4freedom.org

[Note: This page has several photos on it, so I’m not posting the whole thing on the front page of the blog. See the post page for all the photos. Thanks!] I’ve been sitting in a cafe downloading and editing photos from the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally in Birmingham, AL, that took place from noon until around 1 p.m. today.

CEC For Life Director, Fr. Terry Gensemer
CEC For Life Director, Fr. Terry Gensemer

Didn’t realize that today is Fr. Coyle’s birthday. Who’s Fr. Coyle? He was a Catholic priest at St. Paul’s in downtown Birmingham, back before St. Paul’s was made the cathedral. He worked very hard to bring people together, used to pray the Divine Office on the steps outside the St. Paul’s so he could be close to those passing by. He was threatened many times for the audacity of true hope, for taking Christ’s prayer that we all be one seriously and doing something about it.

Hey, check it out! News cameras! Local news coverage! Maybe...
Hey, check it out! News cameras! Local news coverage! Maybe...

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