Monday, September 18, 2017

Pope Francis: God’s love is shown in his forgiveness of our sins


In Catholic News Agency, Vatican

Hannah Brockhaus 

September 17, 2017

In his Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel reading from Matthew, where St. Peter asks Christ: "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?" But Christ's response is that we must forgive seven times seventy times, “that is to say always. You always have to forgive,” the pope said.
“The forgiveness of God is a sign of his overwhelming love for each of us; it is the love that leaves us free to move away, like the prodigal son, but that awaits our return every day; it is the enterprising love of the shepherd for the lost sheep; it is the tenderness that welcomes every sinner who knocks at his door,” the pontiff said.
“Heavenly Father, our father, is full and full of love and wants to offer it to us, but he cannot do it if we close our hearts to love for others,” the pope said on September 17.


Continuing, Francis pointed out how Jesus teaches us this in the Our Father, when he directly links the forgiveness we ask of God with the forgiveness we give to our brothers and sisters in the words: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
In his Angelus address, Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from Matthew, where St. Peter asks Christ: “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?”


To Peter, seven already seems like the maximum amount of times we should forgive the same person, Francis said. And maybe to us it seems like twice is already a lot.
But Christ’s response is that we must forgive seven times seventy times, “that is to say always. You always have to forgive,” he said. Christ confirms this by telling a parable, the pope continued, a parable which shows “the inconsistency of the one who was forgiven before and then refuses to forgive.”


The king in the parable is a generous man who has compassion on his servant when he begs for forgiveness of a large debt and forgives him.
The servant on the other hand refuses to forgive a much smaller debt of a fellow servant and “behaves in a ruthless way,” having him thrown in prison.
“The incoherent attitude of this servant is also ours when we refuse forgiveness to our brothers,” the pope said. “While the king of the parable is the image of God who loves us with a love so abundant of mercy from embracing us, loving us and forgiving us continually.
“Since our Baptism God has forgiven us, remitting an insoluble debt: original sin. But that’s the first time. Then, with unlimited mercy, He forgives us all the faults as soon as we show even a little sign of repentance,” the pope said. “God is so merciful.”


When we are tempted to behave as the servant did toward his fellow servant, closing off our hearts to those who have offended us and come to apologize, we must remember the words of the Heavenly Father, he stated.He told the ruthless servant: “I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?
“Anyone who has experienced the joy, peace, and inner freedom that comes from being forgiven can open themselves to the possibility of forgiving in turn,” he noted.


Concluding, Francis turned to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who he said “helps us to be more and more aware of the gratuitousness and greatness of the forgiveness received from God.”
May she help us to become as “merciful as He is, the good Father: Slow to anger and great in love.”


....
Taken from: https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2017/09/17/pope-francis-gods-love-shown-forgiveness-sins/

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Mary was a ‘courageous woman’ up to the end, Pope Francis says

 

Commemorating the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel reading from St. John which recounted Jesus' final moments on the cross. Mary, the pope said, had heard Simeon's prophecy that a sword would pierce her heart and knew that her son would one day give his life for humanity.

“At the very end, she is there, standing, looking at her son” on the cross. “Maybe she heard comments: ‘Look, there is the mother of one of the three delinquents.’ But she remains. Silent. She is the mother, she does not deny her son,” the pope said Sept. 15 in his homily during a morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Commemorating the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St. John which recounted Jesus’ final moments on the cross.

Mary, the pope said, had heard Simeon’s prophecy that a sword would pierce her heart and knew that her son would one day give his life for humanity.
Yet she followed Jesus the whole time, which is why “we say that Mary is the first disciple,” the pope said.

Francis told those gathered in the chapel with him that the scene of Mary at the foot of the cross is something to be contemplated in silence rather than explained.

From the cross, “‘woman,’ - her son says - ‘behold your children.’ He doesn’t say ‘mother,’ he says ‘woman,'” the pope said. “A strong, courageous woman; a woman who was there to say, ‘This is my son: I do not deny him.'”

....
Taken from: https://cruxnow.com/cns/2017/09/15/mary-courageous-woman-end-pope-francis-says/

Monday, August 14, 2017

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary





APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION OF
POPE PIUS XII  

 
MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS
DEFINING THE DOGMA OF THE ASSUMPTION

November 1, 1950


1. The most bountiful God, who is almighty, the plan of whose providence rests upon wisdom and love, tempers, in the secret purpose of his own mind, the sorrows of peoples and of individual men by means of joys that he interposes in their lives from time to time, in such a way that, under different conditions and in different ways, all things may work together unto good for those who love him.(1)
2. Now, just like the present age, our pontificate is weighed down by ever so many cares, anxieties, and troubles, by reason of very severe calamities that have taken place and by reason of the fact that many have strayed away from truth and virtue. Nevertheless, we are greatly consoled to see that, while the Catholic faith is being professed publicly and vigorously, piety toward the Virgin Mother of God is flourishing and daily growing more fervent, and that almost everywhere on earth it is showing indications of a better and holier life. Thus, while the Blessed Virgin is fulfilling in the most affectionate manner her maternal duties on behalf of those redeemed by the blood of Christ, the minds and the hearts of her children are being vigorously aroused to a more assiduous consideration of her prerogatives.
3. Actually God, who from all eternity regards Mary with a most favorable and unique affection, has "when the fullness of time came"(2) put the plan of his providence into effect in such a way that all the privileges and prerogatives he had granted to her in his sovereign generosity were to shine forth in her in a kind of perfect harmony. And, although the Church has always recognized this supreme generosity and the perfect harmony of graces and has daily studied them more and more throughout the course of the centuries, still it is in our own age that the privilege of the bodily Assumption into heaven of Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, has certainly shone forth more clearly.
4. That privilege has shone forth in new radiance since our predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the loving Mother of God's Immaculate Conception. These two privileges are most closely bound to one another. Christ overcame sin and death by his own death, and one who through Baptism has been born again in a supernatural way has conquered sin and death through the same Christ. Yet, according to the general rule, God does not will to grant to the just the full effect of the victory over death until the end of time has come. And so it is that the bodies of even the just are corrupted after death, and only on the last day will they be joined, each to its own glorious soul.
5. Now God has willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary should be exempted from this general rule. She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.
6. Thus, when it was solemnly proclaimed that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, was from the very beginning free from the taint of original sin, the minds of the faithful were filled with a stronger hope that the day might soon come when the dogma of the Virgin Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven would also be defined by the Church's supreme teaching authority.
7. Actually it was seen that not only individual Catholics, but also those who could speak for nations or ecclesiastical provinces, and even a considerable number of the Fathers of the Vatican Council, urgently petitioned the Apostolic See to this effect.
8. During the course of time such postulations and petitions did not decrease but rather grew continually in number and in urgency. In this cause there were pious crusades of prayer. Many outstanding theologians eagerly and zealously carried out investigations on this subject either privately or in public ecclesiastical institutions and in other schools where the sacred disciplines are taught. Marian Congresses, both national and international in scope, have been held in many parts of the Catholic world. These studies and investigations have brought out into even clearer light the fact that the dogma of the Virgin Mary's Assumption into heaven is contained in the deposit of Christian faith entrusted to the Church. They have resulted in many more petitions, begging and urging the Apostolic See that this truth be solemnly defined.
9. In this pious striving, the faithful have been associated in a wonderful way with their own holy bishops, who have sent petitions of this kind, truly remarkable in number, to this See of the Blessed Peter. Consequently, when we were elevated to the throne of the supreme pontificate, petitions of this sort had already been addressed by the thousands from every part of the world and from every class of people, from our beloved sons the Cardinals of the Sacred College, from our venerable brethren, archbishops and bishops, from dioceses and from parishes.
10. Consequently, while we sent up earnest prayers to God that he might grant to our mind the light of the Holy Spirit, to enable us to make a decision on this most serious subject, we issued special orders in which we commanded that, by corporate effort, more advanced inquiries into this matter should be begun and that, in the meantime, all the petitions about the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven which had been sent to this Apostolic See from the time of Pius IX, our predecessor of happy memory, down to our own days should be gathered together and carefully evaluated.(3)
11. And, since we were dealing with a matter of such great moment and of such importance, we considered it opportune to ask all our venerable brethren in the episcopate directly and authoritatively that each of them should make known to us his mind in a formal statement. Hence, on May 1, 1946, we gave them our letter "Deiparae Virginis Mariae," a letter in which these words are contained: "Do you, venerable brethren, in your outstanding wisdom and prudence, judge that the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin can be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith? Do you, with your clergy and people, desire it?"
12. But those whom "the Holy Spirit has placed as bishops to rule the Church of God"(4) gave an almost unanimous affirmative response to both these questions. This "outstanding agreement of the Catholic prelates and the faithful,"(5) affirming that the bodily Assumption of God's Mother into heaven can be defined as a dogma of faith, since it shows us the concordant teaching of the Church's ordinary doctrinal authority and the concordant faith of the Christian people which the same doctrinal authority sustains and directs, thus by itself and in an entirely certain and infallible way, manifests this privilege as a truth revealed by God and contained in that divine deposit which Christ has delivered to his Spouse to be guarded faithfully and to be taught infallibly.(6) Certainly this teaching authority of the Church, not by any merely human effort but under the protection of the Spirit of Truth,(7) and therefore absolutely without error, carries out the commission entrusted to it, that of preserving the revealed truths pure and entire throughout every age, in such a way that it presents them undefiled, adding nothing to them and taking nothing away from them. For, as the Vatican Council teaches, "the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter in such a way that, by his revelation, they might manifest new doctrine, but so that, by his assistance, they might guard as sacred and might faithfully propose the revelation delivered through the apostles, or the deposit of faith."(8) Thus, from the universal agreement of the Church's ordinary teaching authority we have a certain and firm proof, demonstrating that the Blessed Virgin Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven- which surely no faculty of the human mind could know by its own natural powers, as far as the heavenly glorification of the virginal body of the loving Mother of God is concerned-is a truth that has been revealed by God and consequently something that must be firmly and faithfully believed by all children of the Church. For, as the Vatican Council asserts, "all those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written Word of God or in Tradition, and which are proposed by the Church, either in solemn judgment or in its ordinary and universal teaching office, as divinely revealed truths which must be believed."(9)
13. Various testimonies, indications and signs of this common belief of the Church are evident from remote times down through the course of the centuries; and this same belief becomes more clearly manifest from day to day.
14. Christ's faithful, through the teaching and the leadership of their pastors, have learned from the sacred books that the Virgin Mary, throughout the course of her earthly pilgrimage, led a life troubled by cares, hardships, and sorrows, and that, moreover, what the holy old man Simeon had foretold actually came to pass, that is, that a terribly sharp sword pierced her heart as she stood under the cross of her divine Son, our Redeemer. In the same way, it was not difficult for them to admit that the great Mother of God, like her only begotten Son, had actually passed from this life. But this in no way prevented them from believing and from professing openly that her sacred body had never been subject to the corruption of the tomb, and that the august tabernacle of the Divine Word had never been reduced to dust and ashes. Actually, enlightened by divine grace and moved by affection for her, God's Mother and our own dearest Mother, they have contemplated in an ever clearer light the wonderful harmony and order of those privileges which the most provident God has lavished upon this loving associate of our Redeemer, privileges which reach such an exalted plane that, except for her, nothing created by God other than the human nature of Jesus Christ has ever reached this level.
15. The innumerable temples which have been dedicated to the Virgin Mary assumed into heaven clearly attest this faith. So do those sacred images, exposed therein for the veneration of the faithful, which bring this unique triumph of the Blessed Virgin before the eyes of all men. Moreover, cities, dioceses, and individual regions have been placed under the special patronage and guardianship of the Virgin Mother of God assumed into heaven. In the same way, religious institutes, with the approval of the Church, have been founded and have taken their name from this privilege. Nor can we pass over in silence the fact that in the Rosary of Mary, the recitation of which this Apostolic See so urgently recommends, there is one mystery proposed for pious meditation which, as all know, deals with the Blessed Virgin's Assumption into heaven.
16. This belief of the sacred pastors and of Christ's faithful is universally manifested still more splendidly by the fact that, since ancient times, there have been both in the East and in the West solemn liturgical offices commemorating this privilege. The holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church have never failed to draw enlightenment from this fact since, as everyone knows, the sacred liturgy, "because it is the profession, subject to the supreme teaching authority within the Church, of heavenly truths, can supply proofs and testimonies of no small value for deciding a particular point of Christian doctrine."(10)
17. In the liturgical books which deal with the feast either of the dormition or of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin there are expressions that agree in testifying that, when the Virgin Mother of God passed from this earthly exile to heaven, what happened to her sacred body was, by the decree of divine Providence, in keeping with the dignity of the Mother of the Word Incarnate, and with the other privileges she had been accorded. Thus, to cite an illustrious example, this is set forth in that sacramentary which Adrian I, our predecessor of immortal memory, sent to the Emperor Charlemagne. These words are found in this volume: "Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself."(11)
18. What is here indicated in that sobriety characteristic of the Roman liturgy is presented more clearly and completely in other ancient liturgical books. To take one as an example, the Gallican sacramentary designates this privilege of Mary's as "an ineffable mystery all the more worthy of praise as the Virgin's Assumption is something unique among men." And, in the Byzantine liturgy, not only is the Virgin Mary's bodily Assumption connected time and time again with the dignity of the Mother of God, but also with the other privileges, and in particular with the virginal motherhood granted her by a singular decree of God's Providence. "God, the King of the universe, has granted you favors that surpass nature. As he kept you a virgin in childbirth, thus he has kept your body incorrupt in the tomb and has glorified it by his divine act of transferring it from the tomb."(12)
19. The fact that the Apostolic See, which has inherited the function entrusted to the Prince of the Apostles, the function of confirming the brethren in the faith,(13) has by its own authority, made the celebration of this feast ever more solemn, has certainly and effectively moved the attentive minds of the faithful to appreciate always more completely the magnitude of the mystery it commemorates. So it was that the Feast of the Assumption was elevated from the rank which it had occupied from the beginning among the other Marian feasts to be classed among the more solemn celebrations of the entire liturgical cycle. And, when our predecessor St. Sergius I prescribed what is known as the litany, or the stational procession, to be held on four Marian feasts, he specified together the Feasts of the Nativity, the Annunciation, the Purification, and the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.(14) Again, St. Leo IV saw to it that the feast, which was already being celebrated under the title of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother of God, should be observed in even a more solemn way when he ordered a vigil to be held on the day before it and prescribed prayers to be recited after it until the octave day. When this had been done, he decided to take part himself in the celebration, in the midst of a great multitude of the faithful.(15) Moreover, the fact that a holy fast had been ordered from ancient times for the day prior to the feast is made very evident by what our predecessor St. Nicholas I testifies in treating of the principal fasts which "the Holy Roman Church has observed for a long time, and still observes."(16)
20. However, since the liturgy of the Church does not engender the Catholic faith, but rather springs from it, in such a way that the practices of the sacred worship proceed from the faith as the fruit comes from the tree, it follows that the holy Fathers and the great Doctors, in the homilies and sermons they gave the people on this feast day, did not draw their teaching from the feast itself as from a primary source, but rather they spoke of this doctrine as something already known and accepted by Christ's faithful. They presented it more clearly. They offered more profound explanations of its meaning and nature, bringing out into sharper light the fact that this feast shows, not only that the dead body of the Blessed Virgin Mary remained incorrupt, but that she gained a triumph out of death, her heavenly glorification after the example of her only begotten Son, Jesus Christ-truths that the liturgical books had frequently touched upon concisely and briefly.
21. Thus St. John Damascene, an outstanding herald of this traditional truth, spoke out with powerful eloquence when he compared the bodily Assumption of the loving Mother of God with her other prerogatives and privileges. "It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God."(17)
22. These words of St. John Damascene agree perfectly with what others have taught on this same subject. Statements no less clear and accurate are to be found in sermons delivered by Fathers of an earlier time or of the same period, particularly on the occasion of this feast. And so, to cite some other examples, St. Germanus of Constantinople considered the fact that the body of Mary, the virgin Mother of God, was incorrupt and had been taken up into heaven to be in keeping, not only with her divine motherhood, but also with the special holiness of her virginal body. "You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life."(18) And another very ancient writer asserts: "As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him."(19)
23. When this liturgical feast was being celebrated ever more widely and with ever increasing devotion and piety, the bishops of the Church and its preachers in continually greater numbers considered it their duty openly and clearly to explain the mystery that the feast commemorates, and to explain how it is intimately connected with the other revealed truths.
24. Among the scholastic theologians there have not been lacking those who, wishing to inquire more profoundly into divinely revealed truths and desirous of showing the harmony that exists between what is termed the theological demonstration and the Catholic faith, have always considered it worthy of note that this privilege of the Virgin Mary's Assumption is in wonderful accord with those divine truths given us in Holy Scripture.
25. When they go on to explain this point, they adduce various proofs to throw light on this privilege of Mary. As the first element of these demonstrations, they insist upon the fact that, out of filial love for his mother, Jesus Christ has willed that she be assumed into heaven. They base the strength of their proofs on the incomparable dignity of her divine motherhood and of all those prerogatives which follow from it. These include her exalted holiness, entirely surpassing the sanctity of all men and of the angels, the intimate union of Mary with her Son, and the affection of preeminent love which the Son has for his most worthy Mother.
26. Often there are theologians and preachers who, following in the footsteps of the holy Fathers,(20) have been rather free in their use of events and expressions taken from Sacred Scripture to explain their belief in the Assumption. Thus, to mention only a few of the texts rather frequently cited in this fashion, some have employed the words of the psalmist: "Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark, which you have sanctified"(21); and have looked upon the Ark of the Covenant, built of incorruptible wood and placed in the Lord's temple, as a type of the most pure body of the Virgin Mary, preserved and exempt from all the corruption of the tomb and raised up to such glory in heaven. Treating of this subject, they also describe her as the Queen entering triumphantly into the royal halls of heaven and sitting at the right hand of the divine Redeemer.(22) Likewise they mention the Spouse of the Canticles "that goes up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh and frankincense" to be crowned.(23) These are proposed as depicting that heavenly Queen and heavenly Spouse who has been lifted up to the courts of heaven with the divine Bridegroom.
27. Moreover, the scholastic Doctors have recognized the Assumption of the Virgin Mother of God as something signified, not only in various figures of the Old Testament, but also in that woman clothed with the sun whom John the Apostle contemplated on the Island of Patmos.(24) Similarly they have given special attention to these words of the New Testament: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women,"(25) since they saw, in the mystery of the Assumption, the fulfillment of that most perfect grace granted to the Blessed Virgin and the special blessing that countered the curse of Eve.
28. Thus, during the earliest period of scholastic theology, that most pious man, Amadeus, Bishop of Lausarme, held that the Virgin Mary's flesh had remained incorrupt-for it is wrong to believe that her body has seen corruption-because it was really united again to her soul and, together with it, crowned with great glory in the heavenly courts. "For she was full of grace and blessed among women. She alone merited to conceive the true God of true God, whom as a virgin, she brought forth, to whom as a virgin she gave milk, fondling him in her lap, and in all things she waited upon him with loving care."(26)
29. Among the holy writers who at that time employed statements and various images and analogies of Sacred Scripture to Illustrate and to confirm the doctrine of the Assumption, which was piously believed, the Evangelical Doctor, St. Anthony of Padua, holds a special place. On the feast day of the Assumption, while explaining the prophet's words: "I will glorify the place of my feet,"(27) he stated it as certain that the divine Redeemer had bedecked with supreme glory his most beloved Mother from whom he had received human flesh. He asserts that "you have here a clear statement that the Blessed Virgin has been assumed in her body, where was the place of the Lord's feet. Hence it is that the holy Psalmist writes: 'Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark which you have sanctified."' And he asserts that, just as Jesus Christ has risen from the death over which he triumphed and has ascended to the right hand of the Father, so likewise the ark of his sanctification "has risen up, since on this day the Virgin Mother has been taken up to her heavenly dwelling."(28)
30. When, during the Middle Ages, scholastic theology was especially flourishing, St. Albert the Great who, to establish this teaching, had gathered together many proofs from Sacred Scripture, from the statements of older writers, and finally from the liturgy and from what is known as theological reasoning, concluded in this way: "From these proofs and authorities and from many others, it is manifest that the most blessed Mother of God has been assumed above the choirs of angels. And this we believe in every way to be true."(29) And, in a sermon which he delivered on the sacred day of the Blessed Virgin Mary's annunciation, explained the words "Hail, full of grace"-words used by the angel who addressed her-the Universal Doctor, comparing the Blessed Virgin with Eve, stated clearly and incisively that she was exempted from the fourfold curse that had been laid upon Eve.(30)
31. Following the footsteps of his distinguished teacher, the Angelic Doctor, despite the fact that he never dealt directly with this question, nevertheless, whenever he touched upon it, always held together with the Catholic Church, that Mary's body had been assumed into heaven along with her soul.(31)
32. Along with many others, the Seraphic Doctor held the same views. He considered it as entirely certain that, as God had preserved the most holy Virgin Mary from the violation of her virginal purity and integrity in conceiving and in childbirth, he would never have permitted her body to have been resolved into dust and ashes.(32) Explaining these words of Sacred Scripture: "Who is this that comes up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning upon her beloved?"(33) and applying them in a kind of accommodated sense to the Blessed Virgin, he reasons thus: "From this we can see that she is there bodily...her blessedness would not have been complete unless she were there as a person. The soul is not a person, but the soul, joined to the body, is a person. It is manifest that she is there in soul and in body. Otherwise she would not possess her complete beatitude.(34)
33. In the fifteenth century, during a later period of scholastic theology, St. Bernardine of Siena collected and diligently evaluated all that the medieval theologians had said and taught on this question. He was not content with setting down the principal considerations which these writers of an earlier day had already expressed, but he added others of his own. The likeness between God's Mother and her divine Son, in the way of the nobility and dignity of body and of soul - a likeness that forbids us to think of the heavenly Queen as being separated from the heavenly King - makes it entirely imperative that Mary "should be only where Christ is."(35) Moreover, it is reasonable and fitting that not only the soul and body of a man, but also the soul and body of a woman should have obtained heavenly glory. Finally, since the Church has never looked for the bodily relics of the Blessed Virgin nor proposed them for the veneration of the people, we have a proof on the order of a sensible experience.(36)
34. The above-mentioned teachings of the holy Fathers and of the Doctors have been in common use during more recent times. Gathering together the testimonies of the Christians of earlier days, St. Robert Bellarmine exclaimed: "And who, I ask, could believe that the ark of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the thought that this virginal flesh which had begotten God, had brought him into the world, had nourished and carried him, could have been turned into ashes or given over to be food for worms."(37)
35. In like manner St. Francis de Sales, after asserting that it is wrong to doubt that Jesus Christ has himself observed, in the most perfect way, the divine commandment by which children are ordered to honor their parents, asks this question: "What son would not bring his mother back to life and would not bring her into paradise after her death if he could?"(38) And St. Alphonsus writes that "Jesus did not wish to have the body of Mary corrupted after death, since it would have redounded to his own dishonor to have her virginal flesh, from which he himself had assumed flesh, reduced to dust."(39)
36. Once the mystery which is commemorated in this feast had been placed in its proper light, there were not lacking teachers who, instead of dealing with the theological reasonings that show why it is fitting and right to believe the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven, chose to focus their mind and attention on the faith of the Church itself, which is the Mystical Body of Christ without stain or wrinkle(40) and is called by the Apostle "the pillar and ground of truth."(41) Relying on this common faith, they considered the teaching opposed to the doctrine of our Lady's Assumption as temerarious, if not heretical. Thus, like not a few others, St. Peter Canisius, after he had declared that the very word "assumption" signifies the glorification, not only of the soul but also of the body, and that the Church has venerated and has solemnly celebrated this mystery of Mary's Assumption for many centuries, adds these words of warning: "This teaching has already been accepted for some centuries, it has been held as certain in the minds of the pious people, and it has been taught to the entire Church in such a way that those who deny that Mary's body has been assumed into heaven are not to be listened to patiently but are everywhere to be denounced as over-contentious or rash men, and as imbued with a spirit that is heretical rather than Catholic."(42)
37. At the same time the great Suarez was professing in the field of mariology the norm that "keeping in mind the standards of propriety, and when there is no contradiction or repugnance on the part of Scripture, the mysteries of grace which God has wrought in the Virgin must be measured, not by the ordinary laws, but by the divine omnipotence."(43) Supported by the common faith of the entire Church on the subject of the mystery of the Assumption, he could conclude that this mystery was to be believed with the same firmness of assent as that given to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Thus he already held that such truths could be defined.
38. All these proofs and considerations of the holy Fathers and the theologians are based upon the Sacred Writings as their ultimate foundation. These set the loving Mother of God as it were before our very eyes as most intimately joined to her divine Son and as always sharing his lot. Consequently it seems impossible to think of her, the one who conceived Christ, brought him forth, nursed him with her milk, held him in her arms, and clasped him to her breast, as being apart from him in body, even though not in soul, after this earthly life. Since our Redeemer is the Son of Mary, he could not do otherwise, as the perfect observer of God's law, than to honor, not only his eternal Father, but also his most beloved Mother. And, since it was within his power to grant her this great honor, to preserve her from the corruption of the tomb, we must believe that he really acted in this way.
39. We must remember especially that, since the second century, the Virgin Mary has been designated by the holy Fathers as the new Eve, who, although subject to the new Adam, is most intimately associated with him in that struggle against the infernal foe which, as foretold in the protoevangelium,(44) would finally result in that most complete victory over the sin and death which are always mentioned together in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles.(45) Consequently, just as the glorious resurrection of Christ was an essential part and the final sign of this victory, so that struggle which was common to the Blessed Virgin and her divine Son should be brought to a close by the glorification of her virginal body, for the same Apostle says: "When this mortal thing hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory."(46)
40. Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination,(47) immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.(48)
41. Since the universal Church, within which dwells the Spirit of Truth who infallibly directs it toward an ever more perfect knowledge of the revealed truths, has expressed its own belief many times over the course of the centuries, and since the bishops of the entire world are almost unanimously petitioning that the truth of the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven should be defined as a dogma of divine and Catholic faith--this truth which is based on the Sacred Writings, which is thoroughly rooted in the minds of the faithful, which has been approved in ecclesiastical worship from the most remote times, which is completely in harmony with the other revealed truths, and which has been expounded and explained magnificently in the work, the science, and the wisdom of the theologians - we believe that the moment appointed in the plan of divine providence for the solemn proclamation of this outstanding privilege of the Virgin Mary has already arrived.
42. We, who have placed our pontificate under the special patronage of the most holy Virgin, to whom we have had recourse so often in times of grave trouble, we who have consecrated the entire human race to her Immaculate Heart in public ceremonies, and who have time and time again experienced her powerful protection, are confident that this solemn proclamation and definition of the Assumption will contribute in no small way to the advantage of human society, since it redounds to the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, to which the Blessed Mother of God is bound by such singular bonds. It is to be hoped that all the faithful will be stirred up to a stronger piety toward their heavenly Mother, and that the souls of all those who glory in the Christian name may be moved by the desire of sharing in the unity of Jesus Christ's Mystical Body and of increasing their love for her who shows her motherly heart to all the members of this august body. And so we may hope that those who meditate upon the glorious example Mary offers us may be more and more convinced of the value of a human life entirely devoted to carrying out the heavenly Father's will and to bringing good to others. Thus, while the illusory teachings of materialism and the corruption of morals that follows from these teachings threaten to extinguish the light of virtue and to ruin the lives of men by exciting discord among them, in this magnificent way all may see clearly to what a lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined. Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective.
43. We rejoice greatly that this solemn event falls, according to the design of God's providence, during this Holy Year, so that we are able, while the great Jubilee is being observed, to adorn the brow of God's Virgin Mother with this brilliant gem, and to leave a monument more enduring than bronze of our own most fervent love for the Mother of God.
44. For which reason, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.
45. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.
46. In order that this, our definition of the bodily Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven may be brought to the attention of the universal Church, we desire that this, our Apostolic Letter, should stand for perpetual remembrance, commanding that written copies of it, or even printed copies, signed by the hand of any public notary and bearing the seal of a person constituted in ecclesiastical dignity, should be accorded by all men the same reception they would give to this present letter, were it tendered or shown.
47. It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
48. Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, in the year of the great Jubilee, 1950, on the first day of the month of November, on the Feast of All Saints, in the twelfth year of our pontificate.
PIUS XII

ENDNOTES

1. Rom 8:28.
2. Gal 4:4.
3. Cf. Hentrich-Von Moos, Petitiones de Assumptione Corporea B. Virginis Mariae in Caelum Definienda ad S. Sedem Delatae, 2 volumes (Vatican Polyglot Press, 1942).
4. Acts 20:28.
5. The Bull Ineffabilis Deus, in the Acta Pii IX, pars 1, Vol. 1, p. 615.
6. The Vatican Council, Constitution Dei filius, c. 4.
7. Jn 14:26.
8. Vatican Council, Constitution Pastor Aeternus, c. 4.
9. Ibid., Dei Filius, c. 3.
10. The encyclical Mediator Dei (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, XXXIX, 541).
11. Sacramentarium Gregorianum.
12. Menaei Totius Anni.
13. Lk 22:32.
14. Liber Pontificalis.
15. Ibid.
16. Responsa Nicolai Papae I ad Consulta Bulgarorum.
17. St. John Damascene, Encomium in Dormitionem Dei Genetricis Semperque Virginis Mariae, Hom. II, n. 14; cf. also ibid, n. 3.
18. St. Germanus of Constantinople, In Sanctae Dei Genetricis Dormitionem, Sermo I.
19. The Encomium in Dormitionem Sanctissimae Dominae Nostrate Deiparae Semperque Virginis Mariae, attributed to St. Modestus of Jerusalem, n. 14.
20. Cf. St. John Damascene, op. cit., Hom. II, n. 11; and also the Encomium attributed to St. Modestus.
21. Ps 131:8.
22. Ps 44:10-14ff.
23. Song 3:6; cf. also 4:8; 6:9.
24. Rv 12:1ff.
25. Lk 1:28.
26. Amadeus of Lausanne, De Beatae Virginis Obitu, Assumptione in Caelum Exaltatione ad Filii Dexteram.
27. Is 61:13.
28. St. Anthony of Padua, Sermones Dominicales et in Solemnitatibus, In Assumptione S. Mariae Virginis Sermo.
29. St. Albert the Great, Mariale, q. 132.
30. St. Albert the Great, Sermones de Sanctis, Sermo XV in Annuntiatione B. Mariae; cf. also Mariale, q. 132.
31. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., I, lla; q. 27, a. 1; q. 83, a. 5, ad 8; Expositio Salutationis Angelicae; In Symb. Apostolorum Expositio, a. S; In IV Sent., d. 12, q. 1, a. 3, sol. 3; d. 43, q. 1, a. 3, sol. 1, 2.
32. St. Bonaventure, De Nativitate B. Mariae Virginis, Sermo V.
33. Song 8:5.
34. St. Bonaventure, De Assumptione B. Mariae Virginis, Sermo 1.
35. St. Bernardine of Siena, In Assumptione B. Mariae Virginis, Sermo 11.
36. Ibid.
37. St. Robert Bellarmine, Conciones Habitae Lovanii, n. 40, De Assumption B. Mariae Virginis.
38. Oeuvres de St. Francois De Sales, sermon for the Feast of the Assumption.
39. St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary, Part 2, d. 1.
40. Eph 5:27.
41. I Tim 3:15.
42. St. Peter Canisius, De Maria Virgine.
43. Suarez, In Tertiam Partem D. Thomae, q. 27, a. 2, disp. 3, sec. 5, n. 31.
44. Gen 3:15.
45. Rom 5-6; I Cor. 15:21-26, 54-57.
46. I Cor 15:54.
47. The Bull Ineffabilis Deus, loc. cit., p. 599.
48. I Tim 1:17.
     

Join the Crusade to End Satanism in America


Image result for defeat satanism through mary
....     
 
     Tomorrow [15th August] is the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven.
 
     As much as we celebrate her glorious entrance into heaven, aren’t we thankful that she didn’t stay there?
 
     I  mean, as devotees of Fatima, we—you and I— are thankful that she saw fit to visit the human race 6 times at Fatima, Portugal, 100 years ago.
 
     And to show the Blessed Mother how very thankful we are, I invite you to join this Rosary Pledge to End Satanism in America.
 
     At Fatima, Our Lady gave us a powerful weapon – the Rosary – and this campaign is all about using the Rosary against the forces of evil that are trying to take over our beloved country.
 
     America Needs Fatima began this campaign last December and already we are getting some impressive results:
  • over 3,192,000 rosaries pledged so far!
     
  • The Greater Church of Lucifer in Spring, Texas – CLOSED!
     
  • Plans to erect a satanic monument in Belle Plains, Minnesota – ENDED!
 
     But there are many more battles ahead:
  • Fox Network will be airing Lucifer (a television program designed to mainstream Satan) this October for a third season.
     
  • The Satanic Temple continues to infiltrate our schools through its “After School Satan Clubs” in order to teach our children the “virtues” of Satanism. 
     
  • Professed Satanists continue to openly enter the political arena, running for office and invoking Satan at council meetings across America.
 
     You may well ask: “But, Robert, why haven’t I heard about any of this in my church?”
 
     The answer was given to us over 400 years ago when Our Lady again left her throne in heaven to give her children warnings about the times in which we now live:
 
“In this supreme moment of the need of the Church, those who should speak will fall silent.”
 
― Prophecy of Our Lady of Good Success to Venerable Mother Mariana in 1611, speaking about the “reign of Satan.” 
 
     So, Damien, I say to you, this is the moment not to fall silent. This is the moment for you to speak up… 
 
     ...using the language that Our Lord loves to hear: the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
 
     Invoking Our Lady of the Assumption in the year of the Fatima Centennial, will you join me in this Crusade by clicking here to pray a rosary for America?
 
     Or maybe pledge to pray one rosary a month to end the mainstreaming of Satanism in our country.
 
     One rosary a week? One rosary a day? 
 
     Keep in mind that we are in the Fatima Centennial and how Our Blessed Mother at Fatima requested the recitation of the Holy Rosary. 
 
     At each and every one of her apparitions!
 
 
     Whatever Rosary power you can lend to our Crusade to End Satanism in America – it will all add up.
 
     And my hope – my prayer – is that all the rosaries prayed by all Our Lady’s friends in 2017 will add up to 5 MILLION ROSARIES!
 
 
     Please remember, my friend, the malice of Lucifer is such that he has always wanted to be not only known, but also worshipped as God is worshipped by angels and by men.
 
     He even tempted Our Lord Jesus to worship him! 
 
     Our words and efforts should echo the response of Christ Himself:  “Be gone, Satan: the Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him alone shalt thou serve!” (Matt. 4:10)
 
 
I remain your friend,
In Jesus and Mary,
 
 
Robert E. Ritchie
 
Robert E. Ritchie
America Needs Fatima
www.anf.org
 
PS: Every rosary prayed counts toward our goal of 5,000,000 rosaries in 2017, so please send this email to all your friends and family who want to see an End to Satanism in America.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Confession on – or around – Divine Mercy Sunday?


Image result for diary sister faustina



By Rev. Father David Watt


No. 699 of St Faustina’s Diary, speaking of Divine Mercy Sunday, says ‘The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment’.  Interpretations vary widely.
Sometimes the text is glossed as follows:  ‘…Confession [beforehand] and receive Holy Communion [on the actual day]...’.  To say the least, this explanation itself requires explanation.  For there is an asymmetry in the gloss which is not present in the literal text.  As an example, what if someone not conscious of mortal sin receives Communion and actually receives absolution afterwards, all on Divine Mercy Sunday itself?  To me, this would be a fulfilment of Our Lord’s conditions.  (I am, of course, assuming that St Faustina has transmitted them correctly, though there is no obligation to believe this, even in the case of a devotion such as Divine Mercy which has been approved by the Church.)
On a personal note - because of the shortage of priests on Divine Mercy Sunday, I and other priests have sometimes heard Confessions from well before Mass, all the way through.   It is difficult to believe that penitents “missed out” on Our Lord’s promise, simply by coming after Holy Communion.
Against the “liberalism” of the gloss – often interpreted to mean the Confession can be weeks prior  - one might attempt a reductio ad absurdum – why not then say, by parity of reasoning, that the Communion too can be weeks earlier?  For the text allows one as much – or as little – as the other.
There is however a possible defence here – praxis.  Experts in the field assure us that in Poland, where the devotion originated, there was always this “liberal” view of the time for Confession.  Whereas it seems agreed on all sides that the Communion needs to be on Divine Mercy Sunday itself (often interpreted, I think rightly, as including reception at the Saturday vigil Mass, since liturgically this is Sunday).
Why did Our Lord not express Himself with greater precision?  Perhaps He wished to emphasize especially Confession being received on Divine Mercy Sunday itself (some take Him as requiring this, for the promise to be fulfilled), and before the Communion, which He mentions second.  Ceteris paribus, the shorter the interval between the two Sacraments, the greater the chance of maintaining the state of
grace for this time.  However (on this hypothesis) Our Lord deliberately used a form of words sufficiently vague as to allow His giving the same grace to a soul confessing, say, three weeks prior to Divine Mercy Sunday, and then maintaining the state of grace all the way through up to and including the receiving of Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday itself.  It would be surprising if He “penalized” such a person, for even those with the strictest view of His words, agree that a notorious sinner who makes a good Confession on Divine Mercy Sunday itself, and then immediately receives Communion, if he dies there and then, goes straight to Heaven without having to pass through Purgatory; whereas the one who maintains the state of grace for three weeks before his Communion, has actually done more.
Often it is said the Confession may be up to 20 days after Divine Mercy Sunday itself.  Is there sometimes confusion here between the promise of Our Lord – which will never be revoked – and something with the same effect:  the plenary indulgence associated with Divine Mercy Sunday, which the Church has granted (29 June 2002) and therefore could also take away?  For the latter, it is indeed sufficient to make the Confession afterward, if it is sufficiently close.  For the plenary indulgence however – unlike Our Lord’s promise – more than just Confession and Communion is required; one of several extra conditions is freedom of attachment to sin – even venial sin.  This condition, though challenging, is not as hard as it may seem.  The key word is attachment, not attraction.  The feelings may be strongly attracted to sin, but the condition is still satisfied if sin is firmly rejected by the will.
 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pope Francis: The Church is called to reflect the Trinity's goodness


Image result








.- Through God's mercy the Church can become an image of the communion and goodness of the Trinity, Pope Francis said Sunday in St. Peter's Square.
“The Christian community, though with all its human limitations, can become a reflection of the communion of the Trinity, of its goodness and beauty,” he said Jun 11 during his Angelus address.

“But this – as Paul himself testifies – passes necessarily through the experience of the mercy of God, of his pardon.”
The Pope's address on Trinity Sunday reflected on the “mystery of the identity of God,” which so affected St. Paul.
“God is not distant and closed in on himself,” Francis reflected, “but rather is the Life which wishes to communicate itself; he is openness; he is the Love which redeems man’s infidelity."
God's revelation “has come to completion in the New Testament thanks to words of Christ and to his mission of salvation,” he said.

Christ “has shown us the face of God, One in substance and Triune in Persons; God is all and only Love, in a subsisting relationship that creates, redeems, and sanctifies all: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
The Son of God showed that God first sought us, and revealed that eternal life is precisely “the immeasurable and gratuitous love of the Father that Jesus gave on the Cross, offering his life for our salvation.”
“And this love, by the action of the Holy Spirit, has irradiated a new light upon the earth and in every human heart that welcomes it.”
“May the Virgin Mary “help us to enter ever more, with our whole selves, into the trinitarian Communion, to live and bear witness to the love that gives sense to our existence,” Pope Francis concluded.




....
Taken from: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-the-church-is-called-to-reflect-the-trinitys-goodness-76906/




5K
0

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Devil’s Anti-Kingdom, based on lies



Image result for satan ape of god
 
by
 
Damien F. Mackey
 
 
 
“He who holds the entire world under his sway, instead dominates through lies. Jesus says of Satan: ‘He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies’ [John 8, 44]”.
 
Cardinal Caffarra
 
 
 
 
Cardinal Carlo Caffarra gave this talk at the Rome Life Forum on May 19, 2017.
It is a perfect illustration of Satan as the ‘ape of God’.
 
ROME, May 19, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” [John 12, 32]. “The whole world is under the power of the Evil One” [1 John, 5, 19].
 
Reading these divine words gives us perfect awareness of what is really happening in the world, within the human story, considered in its depths. The human story is a confrontation between two forces: the force of attraction, whose source is in the wounded Heart of the Crucified-Risen One, and the power of Satan, who does not want to be ousted from his kingdom.
 
The area in which the confrontation takes place is the human heart, it is human liberty. And the confrontation has two dimensions: an interior dimension and an exterior dimension. We will briefly consider the one and the other.
 
1. At the trial before Pilate, the Governor asks Jesus whether he is a king; whether - which is the meaning of Pilate’s question - he has true and sovereign political power over a given territory. 
Jesus responds: “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” [John 18, 37]. 
“Jesus wants us to understand that his kingship is not that of the kings of this world, but consists of the obedience of his subjects to his word, to his truth. Although He reigns over his subjects, it is not through force or power, but through the truth of which he is witness, which “all who are from the truth” receive with faith” [I. De La Potterie]. 
Thomas Aquinas puts the following words into the mouth of the Saviour: “As I myself manifest truth, so I am preparing a kingdom for myself”. Jesus on the Cross attracts everyone to Himself, because it is on the Cross that the Truth of which he is witness is resplendent.
Yet this force of attraction can only take effect on those who “are from the truth”. That is, on those who are profoundly available to the Truth, who love truth, who live in familiarity with it. Pascal writes: “You would not seek me if you had not already found me”.
He who holds the entire world under his sway, instead dominates through lies. Jesus says of Satan: “He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies [John 8, 44].
The wording is dramatic. The first proposition – “He was a murderer from the beginning” - is explained by the second: “and he does not stand in the truth”. The murder which the devil performs consists in his not standing in the truth, not dwelling in the truth. 
It is murder, because he is seeking to extinguish, to kill in the heart of man truth, the desire for truth. By inducing man to unbelief, he wants man to close himself to the light of the Divine Revelation, which is the Word incarnate. Therefore, these words of Jesus on Satan - as today the majority of exegetes believe - do not speak of the fall of the angels. They speak of something far more profound, something frightful: Satan constantly refuses the truth, and his action within human society consists in opposition to the truth. Satan is this refusal; he is this opposition.
The text continues: “because there is no truth in him”. 
The words of Jesus go to the deepest root of Satan’s work. He is in himself a lie. From his person truth is completely absent, and hence he is by definition the one who opposes truth. Jesus adds immediately afterwards: “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies”. When the Lord says “speaks according to his own nature”, he introduces us to the interiority of Satan, to his heart. A heart which lives in darkness, in shadows: a house without doors and without windows.
To summarise, this therefore is what is happening in the heart of man: Jesus, the Revelation of the Father, exerts a strong attraction to Himself. Satan works against this, to neutralise the attractive force of the Crucified-Risen One. The force of truth which makes us free acts on the heart of man. It is the Satanic force of the lie which makes slaves of us.
Yet, not being pure spirit, the human person is not solely interiority. Human interiority is expressed and manifested in construction of the society in which he or she lives. Human interiority is expressed and manifested in culture, as an essential dimension of human life as such. Culture is the mode of living which is specifically human.
Given that man is positioned between two opposing forces, the condition in which he finds himself must necessarily give rise to two cultures: the culture of the truth and the culture of the lie.
There is a book in Holy Scripture, the last, the Apocalypse, which describes the final confrontation between the two kingdoms. In this book, the attraction of Christ takes the form of triumph over enemy powers commanded by Satan. It is a triumph which comes after lengthy combat. The first fruits of the victory are the martyrs. “The great Dragon, serpent of the primal age, he whom we call the devil, or Satan, seducer of the whole world, was flung down to earth… But they [= the martyrs] overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony of their martyrdom” [cfr. Ap. 12, 9.11].
 
2. In this second section, I would like to respond to the following question: in our Western culture, are there developments which reveal with particular clarity the confrontation between the attraction exerted over man by the Crucified-Risen One, and the culture of the lie constructed by Satan? My response is affirmative, and there are two developments in particular.
The first development is the transformation of a crime [termed by Vatican Council II nefandum crimen], abortion, into a right. Note well: I am not speaking of abortion as an act perpetrated by one person. I am speaking of the broader legitimation which can be perpetrated by a judicial system in a single act: to subsume it into the category of the subjective right, which is an ethical category. This signifies calling what is good, evil, what is light, shadow. “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies”. This is an attempt to produce an “anti-Revelation”.
What in fact is the logic which presides over the ennoblement of abortion? 
Firstly, it is the profoundest negation of the truth of man. As soon as Noah left the floodwaters, God said: “Whoever sheds the blood of a man, by a man shall that person’s blood be shed, for in his own image God made man” [Gen. 9, 6]. 
The reason why man should not shed the blood of man is that man is the image of God. Through man, God dwells in His creation. This creation is the temple of the Lord, because man inhabits it. To violate the intangibility of the human person is a sacrilegious act against the Sanctity of God. It is the Satanic attempt to generate an “anti-creation”. 
By ennobling the killing of humans, Satan has laid the foundations for his “creation”: to remove from creation the image of God, to obscure his presence therein.
St Ambrose writes: “The creation of the world was completed with formation of the masterpiece which is man, which… is in fact the culmination of creation, the supreme beauty of every created being” [Exam., Sixth day, Disc 9, 10.75; BA I, page 417]. At the moment at which the right of man to order the life and the death of another man is affirmed, God is expelled from his creation, because his original presence is denied, and his original dwelling-place within creation - the human person - is desecrated.
The second development is the ennoblement of homosexuality. This in fact denies entirely the truth of marriage, the mind of God the Creator with regard to marriage.
The Divine Revelation has told us how God thinks of marriage: the lawful union of a man and woman, the source of life. In the mind of God, marriage has a permanent structure, based on the duality of the human mode of being: femininity and masculinity. Not two opposite poles, but the one with and for the other. Only thus does man escape his original solitude.
One of the fundamental laws through which God governs the universe is that He does not act alone. This is the law of human cooperation with the divine governance. The union between a man and woman, who become one flesh, is human cooperation in the creative act of God: every human person is created by God and begotten by its parents. God celebrates the liturgy of his creative act in the holy temple of conjugal love.
In summary. There are two pillars of creation: the human person in its irreducibility to the material universe, and the conjugal union between a man and woman, the place in which God creates new human persons “in His image and likeness”. The axiological elevation of abortion to a subjective right is the demolition of the first pillar. The ennoblement of a homosexual relationship, when equated to marriage, is the destruction of the second pillar.
At the root of this is the work of Satan, who wants to build an actual anti-creation. This is the ultimate and terrible challenge which Satan is hurling at God. “I am demonstrating to you that I am capable of constructing an alternative to your creation. And man will say: it is better in the alternative creation than in your creation”.
This is the frightful strategy of the lie, constructed around a profound contempt for man. Man is not capable of elevating himself to the splendour of the Truth. He is not capable of living within the paradox of an infinite desire for happiness. He is not able to find himself in the sincere gift of himself. And therefore - continues the Satanic discourse - we tell him banalities about man. We convince him that the Truth does not exist and that his search is therefore a sad and futile passion. We persuade him to shorten the measure of his desire in line with the measure of the transient moment. We place in his heart the suspicion that love is merely a mask of pleasure.
The Grand Inquisitor of Dostoevsky speaks thus to Jesus: “You judge of men too highly, for though rebels they be, they are born slaves …. I swear to you that man is weaker and lower than You have ever imagined him to be! Man is weak and cowardly.”
How should we dwell in this situation? In the third and final section of my reflection, I will seek to answer this question.
The reply is simple: within the confrontation between creation and anti-creation, we are called upon to TESTIFY. This testimony is our mode of being in the world.
The New Testament has an abundantly rich doctrine on this matter. I must confine myself to an indication of the three fundamental meanings which constitute testimony.
Testimony means to say, to speak, to announce openly and publicly. Someone who does not testify in this way is like a soldier who flees at the decisive moment in a battle. We are no longer witnesses, but deserters, if we do not speak openly and publicly. The March for Life is therefore a great testimony.
Testimony means to say, to announce openly and publicly the divine Revelation, which involves the original evidence, discoverable only by reason, rightfully used. And to speak in particular of the Gospel of Life and Marriage.
Testimony means to say, to announce openly and publicly the Gospel of Life and Marriage as if in a trial [cfr. John 16, 8-11]. I will explain myself. I have spoken frequently of a confrontation. This confrontation is increasingly assuming the appearance of a trial, of a legal proceeding, in which the defendant is Jesus and his Gospel. As in every legal proceeding, there are also witnesses in favour: in favour of Jesus and his Gospel. 
Announcement of the Gospel of Marriage and of Life today takes place in a context of hostility, of challenge, of unbelief. The alternative is one of two options: either one remains silent on the Gospel, or one says something else. Obviously, what I have said should not be interpreted as meaning that Christians should render themselves… antipathetic to everyone.
St Thomas writes: “It is the same thing, when faced with two contraries, to pursue the one and reject the other. Medicine, for example, proposes the cure while excluding the illness. Hence, it belongs to the wise man to meditate on the truth, in particular with regard to the First Principle …and to refute the opposing falsehood.” [CG Book I, Chapter I, no. 6]. 
In the context of testimony to the Gospel, irenics and concordism must be excluded. On this Jesus has been explicit. It would be a terrible doctor who adopted an irenical attitude towards the disease. 
Augustine writes: “Love the sinner, but persecute the sin”. Note this well. The Latin word per-sequor is an intensifying verb. The meaning therefore is: “Hunt down the sin. Track it down in the hidden places of its lies, and condemn it, bringing to light its insubstantiality”.
I CONCLUDE with a quotation from a great confessor of the faith, the Russian Pavel A. Florenskij. “Christ is witness, in the extreme sense of the word, THE WITNESS.
At His crucifixion, the Jews and Romans believed they were only witnessing a historical event, but the event revealed itself as the Truth”. [The philosophy of religion, San Paolo ed., Milan 2017, page 512].
 
 
Years ago, from her convent, Sr. Lucia wrote a letter to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, saying: “Do not be afraid … Our Lady has already crushed his head.”
 
Image result for when did jesus crushed satan's head