The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for May, 2009

Pentecost: Meditation On The Coming Of The Holy Spirit

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 31, 2009

First point: The first thing that St Bonaventure meditates in this sublime gift is that Christ our Lord in heaven, moved by His love as well as by the lamentations and prayers of his disciples, and especially by those of His Holy Mother, prayed and besought the Eternal Father to send down the Holy Ghost, and entreated the Holy Spirit Himself to descend upon them.  Wherefore, yielding to His supplications, the Holy Ghost came down and consoled and strengthened them with His might.  Meditate thou in like manner; rejoice to have such an intercessor in heaven; implore Him affectionately to pray for thee, and to obtain the Holy Ghost for thee as He did for His disciples.

Second point: Consider what St Luke relates, viz., that suddenly there was heard a sound as of a mighty wind from heaven; and he adds, that it came “suddenly,” not because it found them unprepared or unexpectant, but in order to signify that they did not obtain it by their efforts or diligence, but solely by the will and favor of God; and “from heaven,” because every good gifts comes to us from God.  Whence thou hast two things to learn: first, that all good things come to thee from God, and secondly, that they spring not from thy merits, but from His divine mercy and liberality.  Be not then puffed up if thou receive some gift, but rather humble thyself the more efore the throne of God, giving Him thanks for it, acknowledging it as a favor from His hand, and recognising thy unworthiness to receive it.

Third point: Consider how the Holy Spirit came down on that holy family of the Lord, and how, as St Luke tells us, He filled them all and the whole house with His spirit and sanctity; such is His liberality, and such the abundance and generosity with which He does mercy to His elect, that he fills them with all grace, giving to each according to his capacity.  Praise Him and be grateful to Him for this liberal plentitude whith which He does mercy to His own; beseech Him to manifest the like towards thee, and not to be sparing towards thy soul, since He is liberal towards all, but to communicate to thee His gifts as He so liberally communcated them on this day to His disciples.

Forth point: Consider the effects produced by the Holy Ghost in that holy company; contemplate the ineffable joy with which He inundated their souls, the light He gave to their intellects wherewith to comprehend the divine mysteries, the fire of divine love which He enkindled in their hearts, the energy and resolution He gave to their spirits in order to preach Christ to the world, and to give a thousand lives if they had them for His sake.  Ponder how He banished from their souls the darkness of incredulity and the fear they had of the Jews, and how they went forth to preach to them, despising honor and life and all that the world worships.  Cry out to heaven and to the Holy Spirit, saying, “Come, O Divine Spirit, and fill our hearts with the fire of your love; strengthen them with Thy grace and animate them with Thy fervour, in order that we may love, serve, extol, and glorify to the utmost of our strength our Lord Jesus Christ.  Banish all darkness, inflame our hearts, strengthen our wills, purify our souls, cleanse our consciences, and give power to our weakness, in order that we die for His love.”~DAILY MEDITATIONS ON THE MYSTERIES OF OUR HOLY FAITH, by Rev. Father Alonso De Andrade, S.J.

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Four Sermons For Pentecost Sunday

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2009

I’ve made each of these sermons (except one) available in two different formats: PDF and Word Document.

Pentecost, Homiletic sketch (Word) Pentecost, Homiletic sketch (PDF)

Pentecost, Doctrinal Sermon (PDF)

Pentecost, Symbolic Sermon (Word)  Pentecost, Symbolic Sermon (PDF)

Pentecost, Moral Sermon (Word)  Pentecost, Moral Sermon (PDF


Posted in Bible, Books, Devotional Resources, Morality, Quotes, SERMONS | Leave a Comment »

Month Of Mary, Day 31: The Rosary and Peace in Our Day

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2009



The Rosary for Peace in our Day

The Encyclical Rerum novarum with which, Leo XIII, the “Pope of the Rosary”, in 1891, began the modern history of the social doctrine of the Church ends with a hymn to charity, queen of the social virtues: “those in whose hands lies the care of the general welfare … must do all they can for the good of the people, particularly by way of strenuous efforts to nourish in themselves and to inspire in others the practice of charity, mistress and queen of all the virtues. For indeed it is from a great outpouring of charity that the desired results are principally to be looked for. It is of Christian charity that we speak, the virtue which sums up the whole Gospel law. It is this which makes a man ever and entirely ready to sacrifice himself for the good of others. It is this which is man’s most effective antidote against worldly pride and immoderate love of self” (n. 45). Christian charity, as the Encyclical says in another beautiful and well-known passage, paragraph 21, makes it possible to go beyond social friendship to brotherly love.

Prayer for peace that produces charity

A little more than a century later, in the Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, (the Rosary of the Virgin Mary), John Paul II teaches that the Rosary “is also a prayer for peace because of the fruits of charity which it produces” (n. 40). He points to Christian charity, that Leo XIII put at the root of peaceful civic coexistence. This charity depends largely on prayer, especially on our prayer as we recite the Rosary. Peace, understood according to the teaching of Pacem in Terris, whose 40th anniversary we will soon celebrate, is “an order founded on truth, built according to justice, vivified and integrated by charity, and put into practice in freedom” (n. 167). Peace is a fruit that we can fully obtain only thanks to “an intervention from on high” (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 40) and due to a new orientation of hearts that will produce the fruits of charity.

Marian spirit: Mary’s leading us to Christ inspires charity and peace

The Holy Father, enlightening us about the bond between peace and the Rosary, invites us to consider the entire social teaching of the Church and its ultimate goal, peace, the gift of God, through the medium of the Christian virtue of charity, in their close connection with prayer and, especially, with Marian prayer. The Pope asks us to locate the development of the Church’s social teaching in the perspective of the contemplation of Christ to be fostered by praying the Rosary.

In this way he calls us to consider the Marian spirit of the social teaching of the Magisterium, the centrality of the mystery of Mary in the Church’s social doctrine. The Pope’s Apostolic Letter on the Rosary sheds new light on the role of the Blessed Virgin in the Church’s social teaching. This teaching, since “it proclaims God and his mystery of salvation in Christ” (Centesimus annus, n. 54), is firmly centred on the “yes” that Mary spoke to the Angel, a “yes” that was the fruit of charity, an act of charity, giving birth to charity. What the Church expresses in her social doctrine is also a “yes”: it is the acceptance of God’s design for humanity; a “yes” to renewed social relations, not only of friendship but also of fraternal love; to the dedication to serve one’s brothers and sisters, to see them with eyes illumined by the light that shines from the Face of Christ whom we contemplate in prayer. In elaborating her social doctrine, the Church, in harmony with Mary, Mother of the Church, invites us to do whatever Jesus tells us (cf. Jn 2,5). The Church also presents Christ to all peoples as if they were in the cave of Bethlehem and calls for the realization of the virtues in daily life as if they associated with Jesus in family activities of the home of Nazareth. The Church formulates her social doctrine imitating Mary who kept in her heart (cf. Lk 2,19) the will of the Lord, to accompany humanity with “Christ who made man’s way his own, and who guides him” (Centesimus annus, n. 62). The Church’s social teaching is born at the foot of the Cross where Mary kneels: with this teaching the Church takes on sufferings and wrongs, and points out to everyone the horizons of a new world: “Behold, I make all things new” (Apoc 21,5).

Mary in the Church leads to Christ

The Marian mystery illumines the message of peace that the Church’s social doctrine conveys, and embeds it more firmly in her origins, in Christ. In various perspectives, the Marian theological dimension of the Church is still waiting to be explored and deepened.

The Pope’s Apostolic Letter on the Rosary implictly suggests this relationship and asks for this deepening. It should not be forgotten that his last two social Encyclicals both end with a thought and a prayer addressed to Mary.

In this relationship between the social doctrine of the Church and Marian prayer, so full of theological references which have yet to be fully appreciated, we can find the close link between the Rosary and peace which is the subject of paragraph 40 of the Pope’s recent Apostolic Letter. Through Mary as his/her “way”, the Christian can say with St Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2,20).

Life of grace in the totality of existence

This is Christian spirituality: not just devotion, but above all, the acceptance of the life of grace in the totality of our existence. With the prayerful contemplation of the mystery of Christ, who was born, crucified and rose for us, the Rosary nourishes the spirituality of the Christian which is never separation or detachment from daily life and society. In Laborem exercens John Paul II teaches that the problem of the development of the human being and of work can only be resolved with a new spirituality of work (n. 26). Of course, this applies not only to work but to every other area of historical and social activity, as John XXIII clearly teaches in Mater et Magistra: “As often, therefore, as human activity and institutions having to do with the affairs of this life, help toward spiritual perfection and everlasting beatitude, the more they are to be regarded as an efficacious way of obtaining the immediate end to which they are directed by their very nature” (n. 257).

Christian spirituality is not evasion but elevation. Holy lives have always produced great works, because Christian ascetical effort is not contempt of the world but the ability to accept and purify it.

Learn from Mary practical charity

This is the central message of paragraph 40 of the Apostolic Letter on the Rosary. Prayer and contemplation of Christ through the “way” of Mary produce, as I said earlier, fruits of charity. The joyful mysteries contemplate the hidden life of the Child Jesus and induce one to accept and promote life. In the mysteries of light we contemplate the proclamation of the Kingdom of Christ and this impels us to live in daily life the beatitudes. In the sorrowful mysteries, we fix our gaze on the crucified Christ and, like Simon of Cyrene, this involves bending over suffering man. In the glorious mysteries we contemplate the risen Christ, but this means our dedication to making all things new. The paragraph concludes this perspective and points out to us, in a synthesis, the essential function of the Rosary that “by focusing our eyes on Christ, [it] also makes us peacemakers in the world”.

The Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, presents a demanding and fascinating programme for us. It is a personal and community programme of Marian prayer, which also produces abundant fruits of charity. It is a programme, that is personal and for the community, for relearning the social doctrine of the Church and of her teachings, reinterpreted in their Marian theological dimension. The Rosary is at the centre of both programmes, each of which is a reliable way to obtain progress on the path of peace.

Posted in Catechetical Resources, Devotional Resources, Our Lady, Quotes | Leave a Comment »

How Atheism Undermines Human Reason

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2009

Hierothee of Cosmos~Liturgy~Sex has a post up (the first in a series)  entitled Why Philosophical Materialism Undermines Human Reason.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

I recently had the displeasure of running across a post on Rod Dreher’s blog where Dreher had made reference to an internet discussion hosted by Stanley Fish of Terry Eagleton’s new book on the silliness of contemporary atheism. Fish had in this discussion given his own public unmasking of the epistemological naivete of philosophical materialism. A bunch of people who seem to crosspost one another so as to gang up against theists in comment boxes had put together a string of comments attempting to dismiss Eagleton and Fish. Their comments were, as is usually the case with these people, embarrassingly ignorant and shallow.

I decided to enter into the fray, pointing out to these sadly ignorant atheists that the implicit assumption of philosophical materialism or naturalism would, if its implications were truly understood, lead to skepticism of all forms of knowledge. Of course, many atheists tend to presume that science undermines Christian faith. They view themselves as the upholders of reason and science against the obfuscations of Christian belief. Little do they realize that the scientific materialism that they have embraced, in whatever particular form it may take with them, undermines the valid achievements of human reason altogether, including the achievements of science. Atheism, in other words, and not religious faith, undermines science.

Needless to say, my comment was met by blank incomprehension and by evasion. It tended to annoy these shallow atheists, mostly trained in engineering methods but not in the exercise of human reason as applied to ultimate issues. Unfazed by their ignorant and uncomprehending dismissals, I have decided to demonstrate here, in a series of posts, why it is that the embrace of philosophical or scientific materialism must lead ultimately to a skepticism toward all knowledge. I shall demonstrate, in effect, that postmodern relativism is the inevitable outcome of believing that the only things in the world that are real are those entities that are in principle capable of being discovered by modern scientific investigation.

Do check out the remaining aritcle linked to above, and keep an eye open for future posts.

Posted in Apologetics, Logic, Quotes | Leave a Comment »

An Update on the Catholic Commentary On Sacred Scripture

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2009

First, I posted on this a few months back, as some of my readers may recall.

Second, this work (a series, really) should not be confused with the one volume A CATHOLIC COMMENTARY OF HOLY SCRIPTURE by Dom Bernard Orchard, or its revision.

The CCOSS states the following on its website:

The CATHOLIC COMMENTARY ON SACRED SCRIPTURE combines outstanding biblical scholarship with lively faith to help Catholics interpret Scripture and apply it to Christian life today. In seventeen volumes, the series aims to provide readable, informative commentary on each book of the New Testament. The CCSS responds to the desire of Catholics to study the Bible in depth and in a way that integrates Scripture with Catholic doctrine, worship, and daily life. Because of this, it is an invaluable resource for pastoral ministers.

Central to the commentary’s approach are the theological principles taught by Vatican II for interpreting Scripture “in accord with the same Spirit by which it was written”—that is, interpreting Scripture in its canonical context and in the light of Catholic tradition and the analogy of faith (Dei Verbum, 12). The CCSS helps readers grasp the meaning of texts both in their historical and literary context and in their relationship to Catholic doctrine and life in the present.

The first two volumes published in November 2008 have met with an enthusiastic response among Catholics and some Protestants as well. Clergy and laity have praised the usefulness of The Gospel of Mark and First and Second Timothy, Titus for personal study and lectio divina, the spiritual reading of Sacred Scripture.

I’ve read the first two volumes and found them very useful, in spite of the fact that I am already quite well read concerning the Gospel of Mark (and, to a lesser extent, the Pastorals).  I cannot imagine why any Catholic would want to pass up these insightful, well-formatted, and highly affordable books.  As noted in the quote above, two volumes are currently available, and you can selections from them online HERE.  Do check them out. UPDATE (3/24/11): There are now 5 volume available, with a 6th coming this summer. The five currently in print are (1) MARK,  (2) SECOND CORINTHIANS, (3) EPHESIANS, (4) PASTORALS, (5) MATTHEW. The pending volume is FIRST CORINTHIANS.

I recently received an update from Mary Healy, one of the general editors, informing me that two more volumes will be available latter this year (Ephesians and 2 Corinthians).  Previews of these two volumes are not yet available, I presume however that they will be once published.

Here are some descriptive points concerning the series:

  • Written in an engaging style that can be read for personal study and spiritual nourishment as well as referenced for exegetical information
  • Distinguished by a theological and pastoral hermeneutic rather than a focus on technical questions that legitimately interest scholars but have less relevance for Christian life
  • Interprets the canonical form of the text in light of the whole of Scripture and the Church’s faith
  • Shows the relationship between Scripture and Catholic doctrine, worship, and daily life
  • Aims to serve readers across a spectrum of Catholic opinion while remaining faithful to Church teaching
  • Applies the theological principles taught by Vatican II for interpreting Scripture “in accord with the same Spirit by which it was written”
  • Employs ordinary modern English that does not require “translation” for preaching and catechesis
  • Packed with features useful to preachers and teachers of the word, lay and ordained, and other Catholics interested in deepening their faith

And you can read the eidtors Preface HERE.

Posted in Bible, Books | 1 Comment »

Voice of the Clueless

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2009

LarryD of ACTS OF THE APOSTASY has a post up containing a statement by Voice of the Clueless regarding Father Cutie’s decision to leave the Church and become an Episcopalian minister.  Larry gives a good, and at times a humorous response to their statement, and I too would like to take the time post a response to part of it.  Words from the clueless are in red.

Our first thoughts are congratulations to Father Cutié.  This statement speaks volumes about its author/authors’ character in light of  the way in which Father Cutie handled himself during his own ministry, his lack of apology for the scandal he initiated, and his cowardice and lack of decency in not notifying his Bishop regarding his decision to leave the Church and valid ministry.

We are sure he thought long and hard in coming to his decision.  What precedence has Father Cutie set which would give license to this surety?  Did he think long and hard about undertaking the ministry of a Catholic priest with its required vow of celibacy?  Did he think long and hard about breaking that vow in such a public manner?  How much hard and long thinking did he do during his “retreat” which he spent in the company of his girlfriend?

He can now be married and remain in ministry.  Let’s be correct here, he has embraced an invalid ministry by joining the Episcopal  ecclesial community (i.e., not a church), and from a Catholic theological perspective he is now just pretending to ministry.

In the history of the Church, the celibacy requirement for priests is “relatively” recent – only in the last thousand years!   The early Church, as shown in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, evidences a married leadership (including Peter).  As LarryD notes ” Umm, 1000 years is recent?!? You kidding me? A major problem with this statement of the clueless is that it obfuscates the issue, and apparently the author(s) is/are unaware of the fact that celibacy and marriage are not incompatible.  Although celibacy is often defined to mean the absence of marriage it does in fact have a broader meaning, particularly in Catholic usage, where it can refer to abstention from sexual relations regardless of one’s state in life. Celibacy and continence can and are often used as synonymous terms.  I am not aware of a single Church council or Church Father who held that married clergy could continue to engage in sexual relations with their wives.  I am aware of many ancient sources that witness to the fact that married clergy were required to remain continent.  These sources include: AD 305, canon 33, the Council of Elvira (;  AD 314, the Council of Arles, canon 29; AD 390, the Council of Carthage; Ad 385, the Directa of Pope Siricius; AD 386, the Cum in unum of Pope Siricius.  A lengthy exposition of witnesses and their statements can be found in THE APOSTOLIC ORIGINS OF PRIESTLY CELIBACY, by Christian Cochini, S.J, pages 139-427.

And note, there is no reference to “priests” in the New Testament.  A statement which is as ignorant as it is gratuitous.  The term priest is derived from the Greek word πρέσβυς (presbus, from whence presbyter).  The Greek term ἱερεύς (hierous=sacred) is never applied to ministers of the NT, probably because of its usage in reference to the Jewish priesthood which is of a different order.  This has led some to the conclusion that NT ministry is non-sacrificial in nature, but as the late Father John L. McKenzie notes in His DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE, the sacrificial nature of NT ministry is implicit in the NT.  But as I noted, the clueless statement on this point is thoroughly gratuitous and so I will not continue on this point.

The Bishop of Miami noted that celibacy does have a role. It allows for total dedication of life to ministry.  However, try to tell anyone with a career that marriage prevents dedication to that careerLarryD notes: Ummm….being a priest is NOT a career – it’s a vocation. Being married is a vocation, too, and in order to support a family, one or both of the spouses has to work. This is a strawman argument.  I would like to add that while the NT has nothing but respect for the institution of marriage and the family it is also unambiguous regarding the fact that these can prove a hindrance to one’s commitment to God and the Gospel.

Mat 19:27  Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have?
Mat 19:28  And Jesus said to them: Amen I say to you, that you who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Mat 19:29  And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.
Mat 19:30  And many that are first, shall be last: and the last shall be first.1Co 7:29  This therefore I say, brethren: The time is short. It remaineth, that they also who have wives be as if they had none:
1Co 7:30  And they that weep, as though they wept not: and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not: and they that buy as if they possessed not:
1Co 7:31  And they that use this world, as if they used it not. For the fashion of this world passeth away.
1Co 7:32  But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord: how he may please God.
1Co 7:33  But he that is with a wife is solicitous for the things of the world: how he may please his wife. And he is divided.
1Co 7:34  And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord: that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world: how she may please her husband.
1Co 7:35  And this I speak for your profit, not to cast a snare upon you, but for that which is decent and which may give you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment.
1Co 7:36  But if any man think that he seemeth dishonoured with regard to his virgin, for that she is above the age, and it must so be: let him do what he will. He sinneth not if she marry.
1Co 7:37  For he that hath determined, being steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but having power of his own will: and hath judged this in his heart, to keep his virgin, doth well.
1Co 7:38  Therefore both he that giveth his virgin in marriage doth well: and he that giveth her not doth better.Luk 14:16  But he said to him: A certain man made a great supper and invited many.
Luk 14:17  And he sent his servant at the hour of supper to say to them that were invited, that they should come: for now all things are ready.
Luk 14:18  And they began all at once to make excuse. The first said to him: I have bought a farm and I must needs go out and see it. I pray thee, hold me excused.
Luk 14:19  And another said: I have bought five yoke of oxen and I go to try them. I pray thee, hold me excused.
Luk 14:20  And another said: I have married a wife; and therefore I cannot come.
Luk 14:21  And the servant returning, told these things to his lord. Then the master of the house, being angry…

Mat 24:36  But of that day and hour no one knoweth: no, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone.
Mat 24:37  And as in the days of Noe, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Mat 24:38  For, as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noe entered into the ark:
Mat 24:39  And they knew not till the flood came and took them all away: so also shall the coming of the Son of man.

From all of this I think it rather absurd to treat of celibacy of the clergy in such a shoddy manner.

The reasons for celibacy are probably more nuanced. At the time the formal rule of celibacy was declared there were issues of property inheritance and gross abuses related to sexuality.  LarryD catches the absurdity of this statement: But wait! I thought there were gross abuses related to sexuality because of celibacy! That’s what VOTF has been saying since the sexual abuse crisis started. So which is it? How can it be both? I would note that the statement also takes no account of the Eschatological value of celibacy which some of the above biblical quotations witness to.

And there had been a long theological theme going back to St. Augustine equating sexual relationships with baser instincts and evil inclinations, but needed for procreation.    Another worthless statement for two reasons: 1. this is cheap innuendo.  “Theological themes” among theologians are not necessarily equivalent to “themes,” doctrines, and disciplines  of the Church.  2. It sounds as if the author(s) of this statement have relied on Julian the Pelagian heretic’s polemical and dishonest assessment of St Augustines views, but:

“Julian had twisted Augustine’s strictures on con­cupiscence, as though they implied a negative judgment on the attraction between the sexes, or on sexual pleasure in marital relations. Augustine vigorously denies Julian’s charges that he had ever condemned sexual differences or union or fruitful­ness: “He asks us whether it is the difference in the sexes which we ascribe to the devil, or their union, or their very fruitfulness. We answer, then, nothing of these qualities, inasmuch as sex­ual differentiation pertains to the bodies of the parents, while the union of the two pertains to the procreation of children, and their fruitfulness to the blessing pronounced on the mar­riage institution. But all these things are of God. . . . “[28]

And in a later passage he reiterates that he has nothing to object to Julian’s praise (by which he seeks to lead the thoughtless astray) “of the works of God; that is, his praising of human nature, of human seed, of marriage, of sexual intercourse, of the fruits of matrimony: which are all of them good things.” [29] When Augustine condemns concupiscence, therefore, he con­demns none of these divinely-given values of sexual nature. Now a further point is to be noticed. Augustine makes it clear that what he regards as the disorder of concupiscence is not synonymous with sexual pleasure either.

This point needs to be specially stressed since, given the vigor with which Augustine criticizes the yielding to concupiscence, a superficial reader might easily be led to con­clude that he is criticizing the actual seeking of pleasure itself in marital intercourse. A proper reading shows that this is not so.  For an assessment of St Augustine views which isn’t ignorant go HERE.

Posted in Apologetics | 2 Comments »

Month of Mary, Day 30: St Bernardette

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2009

I have a lot to do today and so was unable to devote much time to this post.  Argent By The Tiber’s archives sure came in handy

~From a letter by St. Marie Bernadette Soubiros, virgin

I had gone down one day with two other girls to the bank of the river Gave when suddenly I heard a kind of rustling sound. I turned my head toward the field by the side of the river but the trees seemed quite still and the noise was evidently not from them. Then I looked up and caught sight of the cave where I saw a lady wearing a lovely white dress with a bright belt. On top of each of her feet was a pale yellow rose, the same colour as her rosary beads.

At this I rubbed my eyes, thinking I was seeing things, and I put my hands into the fold of my dress where my rosary was. I wanted to make the sign of the cross but for the life of me I couldn’t manage it and my hand just fell down. Then the lady made the sign of the cross herself and at the second attempt I managed to do the same, though my hands were trembling. Then I began to say the rosary while the lady let her beads slip through her fingers, without moving her lips. When I stopped saying the Hail Mary, she immediately vanished.

I asked my two companions if they had noticed anything, but they said no. Of course they wanted to know what I was doing and I told them that I had seen a lady wearing a nice white dress, though I didn’t know who she was. I told them not to say anything about it, and they said I was silly to have anything to do with it. I said they were wrong and I came back next Sunday, feeling myself drawn to the place….

The third time I went the lady spoke to me and asked me to come every day for fifteen days. I said I would and then she said that she wanted me to tell the priests to build a chapel there. She also told me to drink from the stream. I went to the Gave, the only stream I could see. Then she made me realise she was not speaking of the Gave and she indicated a little trickle of water close by. When I got to it I could only find a few drops, mostly mud. I cupped my hands to catch some liquid without success and then I started to scrape the ground. I managed to find a few drops of water but only at the fourth attempt was there a sufficient amount for any kind of drink. The lady then vanished and I went back home.

I went back each day for two weeks and each time, except one Monday and one Friday, the lady appeared and told me to look for a stream and wash in it and to see that the priests build a chapel there. I must also pray, she said, for the conversion of sinners. I asked her many times what she meant by that, but she only smiled. Finally with outstretched arms and eyes looking up to heaven she told me she was the Immaculate Conception.

During the two weeks she told me three secrets but I was not to speak about them to anyone and so far I have not.

Posted in Our Lady | Leave a Comment »

Preparing For Pentecost, Post #9: Aquinas’ Sermon Notes

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2009

Joh 14:26  But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.

In these words, which treat of the mission of the Holy Ghost, three points are to be noted.  Firstly, the authority of those who sen Him: “Whom the Father will send in my name.”  Secondly, the benignity of Him Who is sent: “The Comforter.”  Thirdly, the usefulness of His mission: “He shall teach you all things,” &c.

I. On the first head it is to be noted, that God the Father and God the Son are They Who send God the Holy Ghost, for these breathe forth the Holy Spirit, and so the Spirit with one motion proceeds from the Father and the Son.  “When the Comforter is come Whom I will send unto you from the Father” (Jn 15:26).  Now, if to breathe be to send Him forth, and the Father and the Son both send the Holy Ghost, it is obvious that both the Father and the Son breathe out the Holy Spirit, and so we gain an insight into the doctrine of the whole Trinity.  God the Father is he Who sends, God the Son the means through Whom the Father sends, and God the Holy Ghost is he Who is sent.

II. On the second head is to be noted the benignity of Him Who is sent.  The word Paraclete signifies comforter or advocate; now both these offices imply especially the exercise of goodness, and goodness is a peculiar attribute of God the Holy Ghost, so He is said to be our Comforter in trouble and our Advocate in blessings.  He is our Advocate in respect of blessings or benefactions, since the law of divine goodness of which the Holy Ghost charged with a commission on our behalf (because goodness is attributed to Him) is the means by whom the blessings of God flow down upon us.

  • God the Holy Ghost is our Advocate in respect of three kinds of blessings and benefits.
  1. Those of nature: “Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created” (Ps 104:30), by which words it is declared that all blessings of nature flow from God the Holy Ghost.
  2. The blessings of grace: “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” (Rom 6:5).
  3. The blessings of glory: “The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom 14:17).
  • God the Holy Ghost is our Comforter in a threefold way in all our miseries.
  1. By giving heavenly consolations in tribulations: “In much affliction with joy of the Holy Ghost” (1 Thess 1:6).
  2. By increasing the gifts of His special graces in trials: “We glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience” (Rom 5:3); “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress” Ps 4:1).
  3. By showing how great are those by which suffering will be rewarded: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18).

III. On the third head it is to be noted, that the usefulness of the mission of God the Holy Ghost is twofold for us.

  1. He teaches all things: First, that we may know what is good; and second, that we may perform it.  Now, there are five kinds of knowledge which are necessary for salvation:

A.  The fear of the Lord: Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom” (Job 28:28).
B.  To depart from evil: “To depart from evil is understanding” (Job 5:28).
C.  To do good.
D.  To endure wrongs.
E.  To persevere in all things.  “This,” says St Augustine, “is the science or the learning of the saints, to d good, to endure wrings, and to persevere in all things.”

2. He rings all things to remembrance, He advises what is good, and exhorts us to follow it in a threefold manner.

A.  As if compelling us to do good: “The breath (or Spirit) of the Lord like a stream of brimstone” (Isa 30:33); “The love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Cor 5:14).
B.  By enticing or alluring: “O how good and sweet is Thy Spirit, O Lord, in all things” (Wis 12:1).
C.  By giving Himself a pledge for the certainty of the reward: “Given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Cor 1:22), which pledge is of equal value with the thing itself, for he who possess the earnest or pledge of the spiritual inheritance is secure about obtaining the heavenly inheritance in due time. ~St Thomas Aquinas.  These notes are for a sermon different than the one I posted earlier.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Devotional Resources, Quotes, SERMONS, St Thomas Aquinas | Leave a Comment »

Month of Mary, Day 29: St Augustine

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2009

Mary, a disciple of Christ

“But look here, my brothers and sisters, concentrate more, I beg you, on what follows, concentrate more on what Christ the Lord said as he stretched out his hand over his disciples: This is my mother and these are my brothers; and whoever does the will of my Father who sent me, that person is a brother to me and a sister and a mother (Mt 12:49-50). Didn’t the Virgin Mary do the will of the Father? I mean, she believed by faith, she conceived by faith, she was chosen to be the one from whom salvation in the very midst of the human race would be born for us, she was created by Christ before Christ was created in her. Yes, of course, holy Mary did the will of the Father. And therefore it means more for Mary to have been a disciple of Christ than to have been the mother of Christ. It means more for her, an altogether greater blessing, to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been Christ’s mother. That is why Mary was blessed, because even before she gave him birth, she bore her teacher in her womb.

Just see if it isn’t as I say. While the Lord was passing by, performing divine miracles, with the crowds following him, a woman said: Fortunate is the womb that bore you. And how did the Lord answer, to show that good fortune is not really to be sought in mere family ties? Rather blessed are those who hear the word of God and keepit (Lk 11:27-28). So that is why Mary, too, is blessed, because she heard the word of God and kept it. She kept truth safe in her mind even better than she kept flesh safe in her womb. Christ is truth, Christ is flesh; Christ as truth was in Mary’s mind, Christ as flesh in Mary’s womb; that which is in the mind is greater than what is carried in the womb.

Mary is holy, Mary is blessed, but the Church is something better than the Virgin Mary. Why? Because Mary is part of the Church, a holy member, a quite exceptional member, the supremely wonderful member, but still a member of the whole body. That being so, it follows that the body is something greater than the member. The Lord is the head, and the whole Christ is head and body. How shall I put it? We have a divine head, we have God as our head.

St. Augustine, Sermon 72/A, 7

Posted in Catechetical Resources, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Our Lady, Quotes | Leave a Comment »

Preparing For Pentecost, Post #8: The Gifts of the Spirit

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2009

The following short talks were delived by Pope John Paul II during his Wednesday audiences in 1989.

Posted in Catechetical Resources, Devotional Resources, Quotes, SERMONS | 1 Comment »

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