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33  Forums / Saints' & Spiritual Life General Discussion / Re: Quote for the Day on: November 08, 2020, 11:02:14 AM
The Annunciation
Meditate then on the greatness of this day’s solemnity. Let your heart rejoice, and the day be crowned with holy mirth : a day hitherto unheard of since the beginning of time. A day devoted to the honor of God the Father who celebrates the nuptials of his Son, espoused to human nature, which he has inseparably united to himself. A day sacred to the wedding of the Divine Son, and to his entrance into the virginal womb, through which he has to pass into the world. A day solemn to the Holy Ghost, by whose singular and wonderful co-operation the work of the Incarnation was effected : and whose extraordinary benignity this day began to show itself to mankind. A day of glory to our blessed Lady, who on the same was acknowledged and assumed by the Father for a Daughter by the Son for a Mother by the Holy Ghost for a Spouse. A day of rejoicing to the whole heavenly choir, on account of the work of their reparation commencing from it ; but more especially to mankind, on account of their salvation, redemption, and reconciliation ; for on this day properly was the whole human nature exalted and deified.

Saint Bonaventure Life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Chapter 3
34  Forums / Book Study / Re: A Treasury of Wisdom: The Words of Jesus on: November 06, 2020, 04:11:37 PM
"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom God."
When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
The Gospel according to Saint Matthew "19:24-26"
35  Forums / Book Study / Re: The Five Books of Psalms on: November 06, 2020, 04:08:44 PM
Reflection on Psalm 7
O Lord my God, in whom I place all my trust, save me from all that oppress me on every side! Free me from the snares and wickedness of the devil!
For the enemy prowls about as a hungry lion, seeing those who weak that he may pray upon them as the wounded antelope.
Lord, by my sins, I am weak and wounded! Do Thou Lord, be my Saviour! Do Thou my God, be my Salvation!
For I cry to Thee, O Blessed Trinity! Lord Jesus, take away from me all that is evil! Heavenly Father, help me to be Thy son in truth! Holy Spirit, protect me from the spirit of this world!
Lord Jesus, be Thou my redemption and my Redeemer! Heavenly Father, be Thou my hope and my saving joy! Holy Spirit, be Thou my sanctification and my justification!
Lord, I have sinned, I have sinned innumerable times! I have fallen into the pit. I cannot escape, for by my own foolishness and sin I become a victim of the enemy!
Lord I cry to Thee, save me from the pit as you once did all those who brought up out of Hades!
Lower to me the Ladder of Thy Sacred Cross! That I might humbly climb to salvation and rejoice in Thy great Redemption!
For Thou O Lord art a loving God, merciful and true! Righteous and Holy are all Thy works and all things rightly give you praise!
Defend me from the enemy who pursues my life, for I am weak and of little merit!
Defend me Christ Champion! Defend me Jesus my Hero! Defend me Immanuel my Dread Lord! For all the angels fear Thee and give Thee honor!
For I have no glory but am but dust and ashes, bone and flesh have I but glory have I not. Any glory that Thou hast given me I have squandered in my sins!
But as Thou didst promise to the Thief upon the Cross the grace of Eternal Paradise, promise me my Lord and my God that Thou wilt remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom!
For I have no hope but in Thee O God! I have no joy but in Thee O Lord! I have no rest but in Thy presence O Lord and the goodness of Thy face do I seek!
I seek Thy face at every morning and I seek Thy face at every eve! Tis not but a moment where I do not seek Thee, Thou I am often distracted by vanity!
Yet even in vanity, Thou hast called to me "Repent and live!" "Repent and believe the Gospel!"  "The Kingdom of Heaven is near!"
Where Lord may I find this Kingdom for whom my soul longs for and whose Law I delight in?
"The Kingdom of Heaven is in you"
O Mystery of God! How can Thy perfect Kingdom reside in me, a sinner? But I dare not question the Divine Word!
For the Word spoken from the mouth of God is sufficient and true!
Raise up O Lord, Thy people and be not angry with us, show mercy on us and those who have wronged us and show mercy to us who have wronged others!
For we know not what we do!
Be exalted O Lord! Be exalted and show Thy great mercy by pardoning sinners!
Be exalted O Lord! Save us for the times are evil and we have no hope but in Thou!
Inscribe in our hearts Thy precepts O Lord! With Thy All Holy Spirit teach us the Truth! For we long to live in Thy presence O Lord and we long to belong to You!
For Thy goodness is everlasting! For Thy beauty is all divine! For Thy Name is the joy of repentant sinners! For Thy mercy is holy and divine!
Speak softly O Lord, Thy Commandments! Do not terrify us with Thy trumpets! But gently whisper in the hollow of our hearts and we shall follow You!
For Thou art a God above all so called gods! Thou art a King above all kings! Thou art the Only and True God! And we celebrate and praise You!
For Thy goodness we long for by daylight! For Thy glory we keep watch at night! All Thy angels, sing joyfully, for they all look gladly upon You!
Raise up O Lord Thy congregation! Raise up Thy Church, fair and true! Raise up O Lord, Thy people, that they may all ascend by grace to You!
For all nations and peoples shall you bring into Thy glorious Kingdom! All tongues and tribes shall praise You!
All shall be judged my the Lord according to His justice and righteousness and truth!
For our God is gracious and righteous! Our God is merciful and kind! Our God desires not the death of any sinner but they should repent and not die!
Our God is an everlasting God! Our God shall bring the wicked to judgment but the righteous you shall direct in their hearts that they might be lead by You!
For the hearts and the veins are searched by God, for He knows all that we are!
Though, dust and ashes we shall depart, in glory and spirit we shall appear before You!
For our help is the Lord of heaven and our God is the God of gods!
Our Lord will purify the hearts of men and save those who are just and true!
For God is the Judge, Almighty and Everlasting, perfect in patience and love!
His love revealed by the Holy Cross! His power unveiled by the Resurrection of Truth!
For God shall wipe away the sins of all who repent! There is hope with the Almighty God!
The Lord shall wage war against all our sins but it is up to us to fight for Him!
With the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, make war against the untrue!
With prayers like arrows fills your enemies with blessings and show that the Almighty God's love is true!
For our weapons are not weapons for slaying flesh and blood but mighty to pull down strongholds!
Our enemies are not those who walk upon earth but defile the heavens with their proud boasts!
Hate only the devil, the demons and all untruth! Hate every unclean and unjust way! Hate evil, love good and practice the faith which you know to be good and true!
Love man, love God, love the brethren! Love your enemies, bless and pray for them! For there is nothing more pleasing to God, than that a sinner should turn and repent!
For by the instrument of death, the Cross has become the sign of eternal life! For by the great pit of Hades, even the dead had the Gospel proclaimed to them!
For the sorrows intended for Christ were turned on the head of satan! By the precious blood of the only Son all mankind has escaped the snare!
By Christ's blood and His flesh we have life in us and the promise of the unfading crown of life!
For all these and many more I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness for by His Holy Cross, He has redeemed the world.
I will sing to the name of the Lord Most High for by His death, He has conquered death and by His life we have eternal life!
Let nothing convince you otherwise, for nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
36  Forums / Book Study / Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus on: November 06, 2020, 03:34:48 PM
Chapter 8 reflection part 3
All praise be to God! All Glory be to God! All thanksgiving be to God! O ineffable One! Thee we acclaim! Thee do we worship! Father, Son and Holy Spirit! The Undivided Trinity and Supreme Unity: whom Angels adore and Saints proclaim!
We may not speak of God as lacking anything nor does God lack natural generative power: and generative power means, the power of producing from one’s self.
For it is the nature of a natural father and mother to generate with mutual cooperation, a child, thus God, who is greater than all things, who needed no cooperator, generated the Son ineffably before all ages.
God being independent of the necessity of the natural union of two complementary genders because He is incorporeal but also because He is the one and only God, and stands in need of no co-operation:
When we speak of generation we speak of production from one’s own proper essence, that which is like in nature to one’s self.
Generation means that the begetter produces out of his essence offspring similar in essence.
For a deer begets a deer, a fish begets a fish, a man begets a man, and True God begets True God; True Light begets True Light; hence why we say Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten, not made, One in Essence with the Father
Concerning the generation of the Son, it is an act of impiety to say that time comes into play and and it is foolishness to insist that the existence of the Son's origin is later in time than that the of Father who is without beginning.
For the Son is the Beginning from the Beginning, the Father who is beginning less is the beginning of the Son and the Father is without origin in time.
For we hold that it is from God, that is, from the Father’s nature, that the Son is generated and it is from the Father's nature that the Holy Spirit is produced and proceeds, from the Father and received through the Son, in whom the Spirit lives and abides in love and wisdom. 
We profess that the Son co-existed from the beginning with the Father, by Whom He was begotten.
We deny any attempt to introduce change into the Father’s person, because then by foolishness we would insist wrongly, that God not being the Father, He subsequently became the Father.
Furthermore God's creation, even though it originated later, is nevertheless not derived from the essence of God as some fools have speculated.
God's creation is brought into existence out of nothing by God's will and power, and does not introduce change into God nor touch or affect God’s nature.
But creation and making mean that the creator and maker produces from that which is external, and not out of his own essence, a creation of an absolutely dissimilar nature.
Wherefore in God, Who alone is passionless and unalterable, and immutable, and ever so continueth, both begetting and creating are passionless.
God is perfect in glory and in peace, all His works declare His glory and those who trust in God He rewards with His presence and peace.
God is without end, never ceasing to act or to be because He is without beginning, or time, or end, and ever continues the same.
For that which has no beginning has no end: but that which through grace is endless is assuredly not without beginning, as, witness, the angels who have no end but began in time.
Accordingly the everlasting God generates His own Word which is perfect, without beginning and without end, that God who is One and Holy, Whose nature and existence are above time, may not beget in time.
But with man clearly it is otherwise, for generation is with him a matter of sex, and destruction and flux and increase and body clothe him round about , and he possesses a nature which is male or female.
For it is certain that the male requires the assistance of the female to bear his child.
But may God, our Father Who surpasses all, and transcends all thought and comprehension, be gracious to us and grant to us the Eternal Kingdom where we may dwell with the Lord Christ Jesus, in the Holy Spirit. Amen
37  Forums / Catholic General Discussion / Re: Roman Catholic v/s Coptic orthodox on: November 05, 2020, 09:58:39 PM
1.  For Catholics, the trinity is basically an equilateral triangle.  Therefore, 3 persons, one nature, all are equal.  With Orthodoxy, the trinity is the Father, then the Son, then the Holy Spirit. To draw it would be the Father, then an arrow downwards to the Son, and then an arrow downwards to the Holy Spirit.
I just wanted to point out that this is incorrect: the Orthodox believe in the three co-equal person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With the key difference being that they believe soundly in the monarchy of the Father where the Father is the sole principle of the Trinity, being that the Father is not from another, the Son begotten of the Father and the Holy Spirit produced by the Father. This is given as testimony by Saint John of Damascus. It was Origen who wrongly believed in a Father who was greater than Son and Son who was greater than the Holy Spirit. The Greek Orthodox believe in the Seven Ecumenical counsels while the Oriental Orthodox believe in the the first four Ecumenical Counsels but denied the Counsel of Chalcedon because of misunderstanding of the word physis in Greek meaning nature so they are called Miaphysites because they believe in One Nature of Christ as opposed to the Chalcedonian Definition of Jesus's two unconfused and unmixed natures of perfect humanity, from Mary and perfect divinity from the Father.
their creed has a major flaw wherein they recite '"We believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father" . For Catholics this is an error since we say "We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,"
It is not a flaw, the Latins added the verse "God from God" and the verse "from the Son" into their version of the Creed when the original canons explicitly prohibited any additions or subtractions from the Creed.
Byzantine Catholics do not say "from the Son" and it is now optional to say even in the Latin Rite for the laity.
The Lord Jesus was not mistaken then He Himself said that the "Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father."

Catechism of the Catholic Church The Father and the Son revealed by the Spirit

243 Before his Passover, Jesus announced the sending of "another Paraclete" (Advocate), the Holy Spirit. At work since creation, having previously "spoken through the prophets", the Spirit will now be with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them "into all the truth". The Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another divine person with Jesus and the Father.

244 The eternal origin of the Holy Spirit is revealed in his mission in time. The Spirit is sent to the apostles and to the Church both by the Father in the name of the Son, and by the Son in person, once he had returned to the Father. The sending of the person of the Spirit after Jesus' glorification reveals in its fullness the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

245 The apostolic faith concerning the Spirit was confessed by the second ecumenical council at Constantinople (381): "We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father." By this confession, the Church recognizes the Father as "the source and origin of the whole divinity". But the eternal origin of the Spirit is not unconnected with the Son's origin: "The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is God, one and equal with the Father and the Son, of the same substance and also of the same nature. . . Yet he is not called the Spirit of the Father alone,. . . but the Spirit of both the Father and the Son." The Creed of the Church from the Council of Constantinople confesses: "With the Father and the Son, he is worshipped and glorified."

246 The Latin tradition of the Creed confesses that the Spirit "proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque)". The Council of Florence in 1438 explains: "The Holy Spirit is eternally from Father and Son; He has his nature and subsistence at once (simul) from the Father and the Son. He proceeds eternally from both as from one principle and through one spiration. . . . And, since the Father has through generation given to the only-begotten Son everything that belongs to the Father, except being Father, the Son has also eternally from the Father, from whom he is eternally born, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son."

247 The affirmation of the filioque does not appear in the Creed confessed in 381 at Constantinople. But Pope St. Leo I, following an ancient Latin and Alexandrian tradition, had already confessed it dogmatically in 447, even before Rome, in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon, came to recognize and receive the Symbol of 381. The use of this formula in the Creed was gradually admitted into the Latin liturgy (between the eighth and eleventh centuries). The introduction of the filioque into the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed by the Latin liturgy constitutes moreover, even today, a point of disagreement with the Orthodox Churches.

248 At the outset the Eastern tradition expresses the Father's character as first origin of the Spirit. By confessing the Spirit as he "who proceeds from the Father", it affirms that he comes from the Father through the Son. The Western tradition expresses first the consubstantial communion between Father and Son, by saying that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque). It says this, "legitimately and with good reason", for the eternal order of the divine persons in their consubstantial communion implies that the Father, as "the principle without principle", is the first origin of the Spirit, but also that as Father of the only Son, he is, with the Son, the single principle from which the Holy Spirit proceeds. This legitimate complementarity, provided it does not become rigid, does not affect the identity of faith in the reality of the same mystery confessed.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, definitely was and is without original sin, but because they don't accept Papal Infalliblity or even any dogmatic statements of the Catholic Church the Orthodox have not correctly accept this truth dogmatically.
38  Forums / Book Study / Re: The Five Books of Psalms on: November 05, 2020, 10:23:36 AM
I am very much enjoying these and deeply appreciate you efforts.  I have wondered several times whether you have enjoyed CS Lewis' Reflections on the Psalms.  I very much like some parts, and his writing style in general, but sometimes I just seem to get overloaded by his comments.
I have only read commentary's by Saints on the Psalms. Here is Saint Basil the Great's Homily on Psalm 1 and speaking on the value of Psalms in General
SCRIPTURE is INSPIRED by God and is useful, composed by the Spirit for this reason, namely, that we men, each and all of us, as if in a general hospital for souls, may select the remedy for his own condition. For, it says, ‘care will make the greatest sin to cease.’ Now, the prophets teach one thing, historians another, the law some- thing else, and the form of advice found in the proverbs something different still. But, the Book of Psalms has taken over what is profitable from all. It foretells coming events; it recalls history; it frames laws for life; it suggests what must be done; and, in general, it is the common treasury of good doctrine, carefully finding what is suitable for each one. The old wounds of souls it cures completely, and to the recently wounded it brings speedy improvement; the diseased it treats,  and the unharmed it preserves. On the whole, it effaces, as far as is possible, the passions, which subtly exercise dominion over souls during the lifetime of man, and it does this with a certain orderly persuasion and sweetness which produces sound thoughts. When, indeed, the Holy Spirit saw that the human race was guided only with difficulty toward virtue, and that, because of our inclination toward pleasure, we were neglectful of an upright life, what did He do? The delight of melody He mingled with the doctrines so that by the pleasantness and softness of the sound heard we might receive without perceiving it the benefit of the words, just as wise physicians who, when giving the fastidious rather bitter drugs to drink, frequently smear the cup with honey. Therefore, He devised for us these harmonious melodies of the psalms, that they who are children in age or, even those who are youthful in disposition might to all appearances chant but, in reality, become trained in soul For, never has any one of the many indifferent persons gone away easily holding in mind either an apostolic or prophetic message, but they do chant the words of the psalms, even in the home, and they spread them around in the market place, and, if perchance, someone becomes exceedingly wrathful, when he begins to be soothed by the psalm, he departs with the wrath of his soul immediately lulled to sleep by means of the melody.

(2) A psalm implies serenity of soul; it is the author of peace, which calms bewildering and seething thoughts. For, it softens the wrath of the soul, and what is unbridled it chastens. A psalm forms friendships, unites those separated, conciliates those at enmity. Who, indeed, can still consider as an enemy him With whom he has uttered the same prayer to God? So that psalmody, bringing about choral singing, a bond, as it were, toward unity, and joining the people into a harmonious union of one choir, produces also the greatest of blessings, charity. A psalm is a city of refuge from the demons; a means of inducing help from the angels, a weapon in fears by night, a rest from toils by day, a safeguard for infants, an adornment for those at the height of their vigour, a consolation for the elders, a most fitting ornament for women. It peoples the solitudes; it rids the market place of excesses; it is the elementary exposition of beginners, the improvement of those advancing, the solid support of the perfect, the voice of the Church. It brightens the feast days; it creates a sorrow which is in accordance with God. For, a psalm calls forth a tear even from a heart of stone. A psalm is the work of angels, a heavenly institution, the spiritual incense. Oh! the wise invention of the teacher who contrived that while we were singing we should at the same time learn something useful; by this means, too, the teachings are in a certain way impressed more deeply on our minds. Even a forceful lesson does not always endure, but what enters the mind with joy and pleasure somehow becomes more firmly impressed upon it. What, in fact, can you not learn from the psalms? Can you not learn the grandeur of courage? The exactness of justice? The nobility of self-control? The perfection of prudence? A manner of penance? The measure of patience? And whatever other good things you might mention? Therein is perfect theology, a prediction of the coming of Christ in the flesh, a threat of judgment, a hope of resurrection, a fear of punishment, promises of glory, an unveiling of mysteries; all things, as if in some great public treasury, are stored up in the Book of Psalms. To it, although there are many musical instruments, the prophet adapted the so-called harp, showing, as it seems to me, that the gift from the Spirit resounded in his ears from above. With the cithara and the lyre the bronze from beneath responds with sound to the plucking, but the harp has the source of its harmonic rhythms from above, in order that we may be careful to seek the things above and not be borne down by the sweetness of the melody to the passions of the flesh. And I believe this, namely, that the words of prophecy are made clear to us in a profound and wise manner through the structure of the instrument, because those who are orderly and harmonious in soul possess an easy path to the things above. Let us now see the beginning of the psalms.

(3) ‘Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly.’ When architects raise up immensely high structures, they put under them foundations proportionate to the height; and when shipbuilders are constructing a merchantman that carries 10,000 measures, they fix the ship’s keel to correspond with the weight of the wares it is capable of carrying. Even in the generation of living animals, since the heart is the first organ formed by nature, it receives a structure from nature proportionate to the animal destined to be brought into existence. Therefore, since the body is built around in proportion to its own beginnings, the differences in the sizes of animals are produced. Like the foundation in a house, the keel in a ship, and the heart in the body of an animal, this brief introduction seems to me to possess that same force in regard to the whole structure of the psalms. When David intended to propose in the course of his speech to the combatants of true religion many painful tasks involving unmeasured sweats and toils, he showed first the happy end, that in the hope of the blessings reserved for us we might endure without grief the sufferings of this life. In the same way, too, the expectation of suitable lodging for them lightens the toil for travellers on a rough and difficult road, and the desire for wares makes mediants dare the sea, while the promise of the crop steals away the drudgery from the labours of the farmers. Therefore, the common Director of our lives, the great Teacher, the Spirit of truth, wisely and cleverly set forth the rewards, in order that, rising above the present labours, we might press on in spirit to the enjoyment of eternal blessings. ‘Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly.’ What is truly good, therefore, is principally and primarily the most blessed. And that is God. Whence Paul also, when about to make mention of Christ, said: ‘Ac- cording to the manifestation of our blessed God and Saviour Jesus Christ/ For, truly blessed is Goodness itself toward which all things look, which all things desire, an unchangeable nature, lordly dignity, calm existence; a happy way of life, in which there is no alteration, which no change touches; a flowing fount, abundant grace, inexhaustible treasure. But, stupid and worldly men, ignorant of the nature of good itself, frequently bless things worth nothing, riches, health, renown; not one of which is in its nature good, not only because they easily change to the opposite, but also because they are unable to make their possessors good. What man is just because of his possessions? What man is self-controlled because of his health? On the contrary, in fact, each of these possessions frequently becomes the servant of sin for those who use them badly. Blessed is he, then, who possesses that which is esteemed of the greatest value, who shares in the goods that cannot be taken away. How shall we recognise him? *He who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly/

But, before I explain what it is ‘not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly/ I wish to settle the question asked at this point. Why, you say, does the prophet single out only man and proclaim him happy? Does he not exclude women from happiness? By no means. For, the virtue of man and woman is the same, since creation is equally honoured in both; therefore, there is the same reward for both. Listen to Genesis. ‘God created man/ it says, ‘in the image of God he created him. Male and female he created them/ They whose nature is alike have the same reward. Why, then, when Scripture had made mention of man, did it leave woman unnoticed? Because it believed that it was sufficient, since their nature is alike, to indicate the whole through the more authoritative part.

‘Blessed, therefore, is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly/ Notice the exactness of the wording, how each single word of the statement is fulfilled. It did not say, ‘who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly/ but ‘who hath not walked/ He who happens to be in this life, is not yet blessed, because of the uncertainty of his departure. But, he who has fulfilled what has fallen to his share and has closed his life with an end that cannot be gainsaid, that one is already safely proclaimed blessed. Why, then, are they who are walking in the law of the Lord blessed? Here Scripture regards as blessed not those who have walked, but those who are still walking, because they who are doing good receive approval in the work itself; and they who are fleeing evil are to be praised, not if, perhaps, they shun the sin once or twice, but if they are able to escape the experience of evil entirely. From the train of my reasoning another difficulty has presented itself to us. Why does Scripture proclaim as blessed, not him who is successfully performing a good act, but him who did not commit sin? Because in that case the horse and ox and stone will be considered blessed. For, what inanimate object has ‘stood in the way of sinners’? Or what irrational creature has ‘sat in the chair of pestilence’? Now, if you will wait a little, you will find the solution. It continues: ‘But his will is in the law of the Lord.’ However, the practice of the divine law falls only upon him who possesses intelligence. And we say this, that the starting point in acquiring the good is the withdrawal from evil. ‘Decline from evil/ it says, ‘and do good/

(4) Therefore, leading us on wisely and skilfully to virtue, David made the departure from evil the beginning of good. If he had put forth for you immediately the final perfections, you would have hesitated at the undertaking, but, as it is, he accustoms you to things more easily gained in order that you may have courage for those which follow. I would say that the exercise of piety resembles a ladder, that ladder which once the blessed Jacob saw, of which one part was near the earth and reaching to the ground, the other extended above, even to the very heavens. Therefore, those who are being introduced to a life of virtue must place their foot upon the first steps and from there always mount upon the next, until by gradual progress they have ascended to the height attainable by human nature. As withdrawal from the earth is the first step on the ladder, so in a manner of life in harmony with God the departure from evil is the first. Actually, idleness is in every way easier than any action whatsoever, as for instance, ‘Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not steal/ Each of these demands idleness and inactivity. ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself/ and ‘Sell what thou hast, and give to the poor,’ and ‘If anyone forces thee to go for one mile, go with him two/ are activities worthy of athletes, and requiring for success a soul already vigorous. Therefore, admire the wisdom of him who leads us on to perfection through things that are rather easy and more readily gained.

He put before us three acts which must be guarded against: walking in the counsel of the ungodly, standing in the way of sinners, sitting on the chair of pestilences. In accordance with the nature of things, he set up this order by his words. First, we take counsel with ourselves; next, we strengthen our resolution; then, we continue unchanged in what has been deter- mined. Primarily, therefore, the purity of our mind is to be deemed blessed, since the resolution in the heart is the root of the actions of the body. Thus, adultery, first enkindled in the soul of the lover of pleasure, causes destruction through the body. Whence, also, the Lord says that the things that defile a man are from within. And, since impiety is properly called the sin against God, may it never happen that we admit doubts concerning God through want of faith. It is ‘walking in the counsel of the ungodly/ if you should say in your heart, Is it really God who governs all things? Is God actually in the heavens, managing each individual thing? Is there a judgment? Is there a reward for each according to his work? Why, then, are the just poor, and sinners rich? Why are these sick, and those in good health? These dishonoured, and those held in esteem? Is not the world borne along without visible cause, and do not some unaccountable circumstances allot the lives for each without any order?’ If you have had these thoughts, you have walked in the counsel of the ungodly. Blessed, therefore, is he who has not admitted any doubt concerning God, who did not become weak in soul concerning the present, but awaits that which is promised, who did not hold any disloyal suspicion about Him who created us.

‘And blessed is that man who has not stood in the way of sinners/ Life, then, is called a way because each being that enters into life hastens toward its end. Just as those who are sleeping in ships are carried by the wind through its own force to the harbours, even though they themselves do not perceive it but the course hurries them on to the end, so we also, as the time of our life flows on, are hurried along as if by some continuous and restless motion on the unheeded course of life, each one toward his proper end. For example, you sleep, and time runs past you; you are awake, and you are busily engaged in mind. All the same, life is spent, even though it has escaped our notice. We run a certain course, each and every man urged on to his proper end; for this reason we are all on the way. And thus you should understand the meaning of ‘the way/ You are placed as a traveler in this life; you pass by all things, and everything is left behind you. You saw a plant or grass or water on the way, or any other worthwhile sight. You enjoyed it a little, then you passed on. Again, you came upon stones, gullies, peaks, cliffs, and palisades, or perhaps, even wild beasts, reptiles, thorns, and other troublesome objects; you were a little distressed, then you left them behind. Such is life, which holds neither lasting pleasures nor permanent afflictions. The way is not yours, neither are the present affairs yours. Among travellers, as soon as the first moves his foot, immediately the one after him takes a step, and after that one, he who follows him.

(5) Consider also the circumstances of life, whether they are not very much the same. Today you have cultivated the earth, tomorrow another will do so, and after him another. Do you see these fields and these costly houses? How many times has each of them already changed its name since it came into existence? They were said to be this man’s; then, the name was changed for another; then they passed on to that man; and now, finally, they are said to belong to still another. Is not our life a way, receiving one man after another successively and keeping all following one another? ‘Blessed, therefore, is he who has not stood in the way of sinners/ Now, what does the expression ‘has not stood mean? While we men were in our first age, we were neither in sin nor in virtue (for the age was unsusceptible of either condition); but, when reason was perfected in us, then that happened which was written: ‘But when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died/ Wicked thoughts, which originate in our minds from the passions of the flesh, rise up. In truth, if, when the command came, that is, the power of discernment of the good, the mind did not prevail over the baser thoughts but permitted its reason to be enslaved by the passions, sin revived, but the mind died, suffering death because of its transgressions. Blessed, therefore, is he who did not continue in the way of sinners but passed quickly by better reasoning to a pious way of life. For, there are two ways opposed to each other, the one wide and broad, the other narrow and close. And there are two guides, each attempting to turn the traveler to himself. Now, the smooth and downward sloping way has a deceptive guide, a wicked demon, who drags his followers through pleasure to destruction, but the rough and steep way has a good angel, who leads his followers through the toils of virtue to a blessed end.

As long as each of us is a child, pursuing the pleasure of the moment, he has no care for the future; but, when he has become a man, after his judgment is perfected, he seems, as it were, to see his life divided for him between virtue and evil, and frequently turning the eye of his soul upon each, he separates the analogous traits that belong to each. The life of the sinner shows all the pleasures of the present age; that of the just reveals in a slight measure the blessings of the future alone. And, insofar as the future promises beautiful rewards, to that extent does the way of those saved offer the present toilsome works; on the contrary, the pleasant and undisciplined life does not hold out the expectation of later delights, but those already present. So, every soul becomes dizzy and changes from one side to the other in its reasonings, choosing virtue when things eternal are in its thoughts, but, when it looks to the present, preferring pleasure. Here it beholds the comforts of the flesh, there the enslavement of the flesh; here drunkenness, there fasting; here intemperate laughter, there abundant tears; in this life dancing, in that prayer; here flutes, there groans; here incontinence, there virginity. While, therefore, that which is truly good can be apprehended by the reason through faith (it has been banished far and the eye did not see it nor the ear hear it) , yet, the sweetness of sin has pleasure ready and flowing through every sense. Blessed is he who is not turned aside to his destruction through its incitements to pleasure, but eagerly awaits the hope of salvation through patient endurance, and in his choice of one of the two ways, does not go upon the way leading to the lower things.

(6) ‘Nor sat in the chair of pestilence/ Does he mean these chairs upon which we rest our bodies? What is the association of wood with sin, so that I flee the chair occupied before by the sinner as being harmful? Or, should we not think that a steady and lasting persistence in the choice of evil is called a chair? This we must guard against because the practice of assiduously occupying ourselves with sins engenders in our souls a certain condition that can scarcely be removed. An inveterate condition of the soul and the exercise of evil strengthened by time, are hard to heal, or even are entirely incurable, since, for the most part, custom is changed into nature. Indeed, not to attach ourselves to evil is a request worth praying for. But there remains a second way: immediately after the temptation to flee it as if it were a venomous sting, according to words of Solomon concerning the wicked woman: Do not set your eye upon her, but leap back; do not delay.’  Now, I know that some in their youth have sunk down into the passions of the flesh and have remained in their sins until their old age because of the habit of evil. As the swine rolling about in the mire always smear more mud on themselves, so these bring upon themselves more and more each day the shame of pleasure. Blessed is it, therefore, not to have had evil in your mind; but, if through the deceit of the enemy, you have received in your soul the counsels of impiety, do not stay in your sin. And, if you have experienced this, do not become established in evil So then, ‘do not sit in the chair of pestilence.’

If you have understood what Scripture calls a chair, that it means lasting persistence in evil, examine now of what pestilences it speaks. Those who are skilled in these matters say that the pestilence, when it touches one man or animal, is communicated to all those who are near at hand; for, the nature of the disease is such that all are infected with the sickness by one another. Of some such kind are the workers of iniquity. Since one gives the disease to one and another gives it to another, they are all sick together and perish at the same time. Or, do you not see the licentious persons sitting in the market place, who laugh at the chaste, relate their shameful acts, the works of darkness, and recount their disgraceful passions as deeds of prowess or some other manly virtues? These are the pestilences who are striving to bring their own evil upon all, and who vie emulously that many be made to resemble them, in order that by fellowship through evils they may escape censure. In fact, neither can a fire, which has seized upon material that is easily enkindled, be prevented from passing through all of it, especially if it meets with a favourable breeze that carries the flame, nor can the sin which has fastened upon one be prevented from going through all, if the winds of wickedness have kindled it. For, the spirit of impurity does not allow the disgrace to remain in the one, but, immediately, comrades of the same age are called in; carousels, strong drink, and shameful tales; a harlot drinking with them, smiling upon this one, goading that one on, and inflaming all to the same sin.

Is this pestilence, indeed, a small thing, or is the spreading of evil something small? But, surely, did not the emulator of the avaricious man or of one possessed of civil authority who is conspicuous for some other wickedness, or of him who holds the power among his people, or commands armies, and who then is contaminated with shameful passions, did not he, I say, admit the pestilence into his soul, making his own the evil of the person emulated? For, the distinctions acquired in life make the lives of those who are distinguished conspicuous; and soldiers strive, for the most part, to be like military commanders, and the common people in the cities emulate those in power. And in general, whenever the evil of the one has been considered deserving of imitation by the many, properly and fitly the pestilence of souls will be said to prevail in life. Even renown won in the midst of evil draws many of the unsteady to the same ambition. Since, therefore, one is filled with corruption by this man, and another by that one, let such be said to have the pestilence in their souls. Do not, therefore, sit in the chair of pestilence, nor participate in the council of seducers and corrupters, nor persist in counsels badly given.

My speech, however, is still in its introduction, yet, I see that its extent exceeds due proportions, so that it is not easy either for you to retain more, nor for me to continue my lecture because of the natural weakness of my voice which is fail- ing me. Although my words are incomplete, since flight from evil has been taught, but perfection through good works omitted, nevertheless, in commending the present matters to attentive hearers, we promise, if God permits, to complete the omissions, if only we do not experience complete silence henceforth. May the Lord grant us the reward for our words, and you the fruit of what you have heard, by the grace of Christ Himself, because to Him is glory and power forever. Amen Amen.
39  Forums / Saints' & Spiritual Life General Discussion / Re: Quote for the Night on: November 04, 2020, 07:42:01 PM
"As you go through life, equip yourself with prayer. When you arrive at your destination, stretch out your hands. Scourge your enemies with the name of Jesus, for there is no weapon more powerful in heaven or on earth. When you are free from the pestilence of fear, glorify Him who has saved you. If you persist in being grateful, He will forever guard you."
Saint John of the Ladder from the Ladder of Divine Ascent Step 21
40  Forums / Saints' & Spiritual Life General Discussion / Re: Quote for the Day on: November 04, 2020, 12:51:10 PM
An old man said: "These three things are of utmost importance---fear of God, continual prayer and doing good to one's neighbor."
Sayings of the Egyptian Fathers verse 101
41  Forums / Book Study / Re: The Five Books of Psalms on: November 03, 2020, 10:25:03 AM
Psalm 7
1Psalmus David, quem cantavit Domino pro verbis Chusi, filii Jemini. Domine Deus meus, in te speravi ; salvum me fac ex omnibus persequentibus me, et libera me,
2nequando rapiat ut leo animam meam, dum non est qui redimat, neque qui salvum faciat.
3Domine Deus meus, si feci istud, si est iniquitas in manibus meis,
4si reddidi retribuentibus mihi mala, decidam merito ab inimicis meis inanis.
5Persequatur inimicus animam meam, et comprehendat ; et conculcet in terra vitam meam, et gloriam meam in pulverem deducat.
6Exsurge, Domine, in ira tua ; et exaltare in finibus inimicorum meorum ; et exsurge, Domine Deus meus, in præcepto quod mandasti ;
7et synagoga populorum circumdabit te : et propter hanc in altum regredere.
8Dominus judicat populos. Judica me, Domine, secundum justitiam meam, et secundum innocentiam meam super me.
9Consumetur nequitia peccatorum ; et diriges justum, scrutans corda et renes, Deus.
10Justum adjutorium meum a Domino, qui salvos facit rectos corde.
11Deus judex justus, fortis, et patiens ; numquid irascitur per singulos dies ?
12Nisi conversi fueritis, gladium suum vibrabit ; arcum suum tetendit, et paravit illum.
13Et in eo paravit vasa mortis, sagittas suas ardentibus effecit.
14Ecce parturiit injustitiam ; concepit dolorem, et peperit iniquitatem.
15Lacum aperuit, et effodit eum ; et incidit in foveam quam fecit.
16Convertetur dolor ejus in caput ejus, et in verticem ipsius iniquitas ejus descendet.
17Confitebor Domino secundum justitiam ejus, et psallam nomini Domini altissimi.
Douay Rheims
1The psalm of David which he sung to the Lord for the words of Chusi the son of Jemini. [2 Kings 16.]
O Lord my God, in thee have I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me.
2Lest at any time he seize upon my soul like a lion, while there is no one to redeem me, nor to save.
3O Lord my God, if I have done this thing, if there be iniquity in my hands:
4If I have rendered to them that repaid me evils, let me deservedly fall empty before my enemies.
5Let the enemy pursue my soul, and take it, and tread down my life on the earth, and bring down my glory to the dust.
6Rise up, O Lord, in thy anger: and be thou exalted in the borders of my enemies. And arise, O Lord my God, in the precept which thou hast commanded:
7and a congregation of people shall surround thee. And for their sakes return thou on high.
8The Lord judgeth the people. Judge me, O Lord, according to my justice, and according to my innocence in me.
9The wickedness of sinners shall be brought to nought: and thou shalt direct the just: the searcher of hearts and reins is God.
10Just is my help from the Lord: who saveth the upright of heart.
11God is a just judge, strong and patient: is he angry every day?
12Except you will be converted, he will brandish his sword: he hath bent his bow and made it ready.
13And in it he hath prepared the instruments of death, he hath made ready his arrows for them that burn.
14Behold he hath been in labour with injustice; he hath conceived sorrow, and brought forth iniquity.
15He hath opened a pit and dug it; and he is fallen into the hole he made.
16His sorrow shall be turned on his own head: and his iniquity shall comedown upon his crown.
17I will give glory to the Lord according to his justice: and will sing to the name of the Lord the most high.
Brenton Septuagint
1A Psalm of David, which he sang to the Lord because of the words of Chusi the Benjamite.
O Lord my God, in thee have I trusted: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me.
2Lest at any time the enemy seize my soul as a lion, while there is none to ransom, nor to save.
3O Lord my God, if I have done this; (if there is unrighteousness in my hands;)
4if I have requited with evil those who requited me with good; may I then perish empty by means of my enemies.
5Let the enemy persecute my soul, an take it; and let him trample my life on the ground, and lay my glory in the dust. Pause.
6Arise, O Lord, in thy wrath; be exalted in the utmost boundaries of mine enemies: awake, O Lord my God, according to the decree which thou didst command.
7And the congregation of the nations shall compass thee: and for this cause do thou return on high.
8The Lord shall judge the nations: judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to my innocence that is in me.
9Oh let the wickedness of sinners come to an end; and then thou shalt direct the righteous, O God that searchest the hearts and reins.
10My help is righteous, coming from God who saves the upright in heart.
11God is a righteous judge, and strong, and patient, not inflicting vengeance every day.
12If ye will not repent, he will furbish his sword; he has bent his bow, and made it ready.
13And on it he has fitted the instruments of death; he has completed his arrows for the raging ones.
14Behold, he has travailed with unrighteousness, he has conceived trouble, and brought forth iniquity.
15He has opened a pit, and dug it up, and he shall fall into the ditch which he has made.
16His trouble shall return on his own head, and his unrighteousness shall come down on his own crown.
17I will give thanks to the Lord according to his righteousness; I will sing to the name of the Lord most high.
42  Forums / Catholic General Discussion / The Value And Importance Of Spiritual Communion from Saint Gertrude the Great on: November 02, 2020, 05:15:56 PM
Chapter XXXIII: Of The Value And Importance Of Spiritual Communion.
THIS holy spouse of Jesus Christ had usually an extreme and ardent desire to receive the Body of Christ, and it happened that once, when she prepared for Communion with more than ordinary devotion, she found herself so weak on Sunday night, that she feared she would not be able to communicate ; but, according to her usual custom, she consulted her Lord, to know what would be most pleasing to Him.
He replied : " Even as a spouse who was already satisfied with a " variety of viands would prefer remaining near his bride to sitting at table with her, so would I prefer that you should deprive yourself of Communion through holy prudence, on this occasion, rather than approach it." " And how, my loving Lord, can You say that You are thus satiated ?"
The Lord replied : " By your moderation in speech, by your guard over your senses, by all your desires, by all your prayers, by all the good dispositions with which you have prepared to receive My adorable Body and Blood these are to Me as the most delicious food and refreshment. "
When she came to Mass, though still in a state of extreme weakness, and had prepared for spiritual Communion, she heard the sound of a bell announcing the return of a priest who had gone to a village to give communion to a sick person.
" Life of my soul !" she exclaimed ; "how gladly would I receive Thee spiritually, if I had time to prepare myself worthily!"
"The looks of My Divine mercy," replied the Lord, " will impart to you the necessary preparation ; " and at the same time, it seemed to the Saint that the Lord cast a look upon her soul like a ray of sunlight, saying : "I will fix my eyes upon thee " (Ps. xxxi.)
From these words she understood that the look of God produces three effects in our souls, similar to those that the sun produces in our bodies, and that the soul ought to prepare in three ways to receive it.

First, the glance of Divine mercy searches the soul, and purifies it from every stain, making it whiter than snow ; and we obtain this favor by a humble acknowledgment of our defects.
Secondly, this look of mercy softens the soul, and prepares it to receive spiritual gifts, even as wax is softened by the heat of the sun, and becomes capable of receiving any impression ; and the soul acquires this by a pious intention.
Thirdly, the glance of Divine mercy on the soul makes it fruitful in the different flowers of virtue, even as the sun produces and ripens different sorts of fruit ;
and the third effect is obtained by a faithful confidence, which causes us to abandon ourselves entirely to God, confiding assuredly in the superabundance of His mercy, believing that all things will contribute to our eternal welfare, whether they appear favourable or adverse.

Then, as some of the community communicated at Mass, our Divine Lord appeared to give Himself to each with His own Hand, making the sign of the cross as the priest does; the Saint, marvelling at this, said to Him: "Lord, have not those who have received Thee in this Sacrament obtained greater grace than I, whom Thou hast gratuitously favoured with so many benefits!"

"Who is esteemed most worthy," replied our Lord, " he who is adorned with pearls and precious stones, or he who has an immense treasure of pure gold hidden in his house! " making her understand by these words, that while he who communicates sacramentally receives without doubt immense grace, both spiritually and corporally, as the Church believes, still, they who abstain from receiving the Body of Christ through obedience and holy discretion, and purely for the glory of God, and who, being inflamed with Divine love, communicates spiritually, merits to receive a benediction like that given to the saint, and obtains from God more abundant fruit, although the order and secret of this conduct is entirely hidden from the eyes of men.
43  Forums / Book Study / Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus on: November 02, 2020, 03:59:07 PM
Reflection on Chapter 8 part 2
Beauty beyond sight! Voice without sound! True Brightness, True Light, True Life! Holy God, hear our prayers!
We believe in the One and the Only-begotten Son of God, our Lord, Jesus Christ: begotten of the Father, before all the ages: Light of Light, true God of true God:
Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, who is Lord and Savior and Redeemer: Begotten of the Father's substance before all ages, the Divine Expression of the Pure Mind of God, Light from Light, True God from True God:
Begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father, through Him all things are made:
When we say He was before all the ages we shew that His birth is without time or beginning we speak of the ineffable generation of the Word of God in the Perfect Mind of God the Father:  
Ineffably begotten, not made, of one essence or substance with the Father and the Holy Spirit, being the Word of God, all things were made through Him:
We say that He eternally Was, and forever Is, and always Will Be, being Eternal from the Eternal, for we say that He was before all ages we express that His generation or "birth" is without time or beginning.
For we do not say that there ever was a time when the Son was not, nor was there ever a time when the Father did not produce the Holy Spirit, for the Trinity is eternally unchanging, immutably rooted in the simplicity and eternity of the Godhead.
The Only-begotten Son of God was not brought into being or created out of nothingness, for Jesus Christ, the Word of God is the effulgence of the glory of the Father, the impress of the Father, the image of the Invisible God.
For God always possessed Wisdom and did not require time to come to a conclusion nor did God need to consider, for those who consider do not know, but God being the Prime Knower, knew prior to the existence of what was known:
This Primal Wisdom generated the Divine Expression and the Divine Expression of Primal Wisdom acted out the Holy Will of God creating heaven and earth and all things in them.
Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God and Word of God is the Virtue and Wisdom of the living God, the Truth and Light of God, the Christ and Gift of the Father, existing within the Holy Trinity while possessing Divine Personhood..
The Word possessed interior subsistence or personhood, distinguishable from God, being from God, but undivided from the Godhead, being one in substance and eternally united to the Father and the Holy Spirit in Supreme Unity without confusion or dissolution of the persons.
The Word is the essential and living image of the unseen God, the power of God to act via fiat, for God thinks, and His thought is spoken and His Word is accomplished without any delay between, thought, speech and action,
for it is the supreme omnipotence of God to directly will and to accomplish without fail His divine will. For the Word and the Holy Spirit are of the same will as God whom they have their being from.
Jesus Christ is the essential and perfect and living image of the unseen God.
The Word is always with the Father and the Holy Spirit and in the Father and the Holy Spirit and the Father and the Holy Spirit are always with and in the Word.
Jesus who is the Beginning and the End is from the Beginningless and the Endless One.
The Word is eternal and begotten of the Father, who is the Father of Lights, the Father of Truth, the Father of Love, the Father of Peace, the Father of Goodness, the Father of Beauty, the Father of all Divine Attributes.
There never was a time when the Father was and the Son was not, nor a time when the Father was and the Holy Spirit was not, nor a time when the Father and the Son were but the Holy Spirit was not.
Nor was there a time when the Spirit did not proceed from the Father nor a time when the Spirit did not dwell within the Word.
For there was always the Father and always the Son and always the Holy Spirit: the Word was begotten of the Father, existed together with the Father and the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit was produced by the Father and existed together with the Father and the Son.
The Father could not be called Father without the Son; for a parent without offspring is no parent at all.
For the Father could not have received the name Father apart from the Son: for if Father were without the Son, He could not be the Father:
Neither do we impiously say that Christ was adopted at His baptism, for Christ Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, was truly the Son of the Father even prior to the Incarnation.
And if we say that Jesus Christ thereafter became the Son of the Father, thereafter the Father became the Father, not having been the Father prior to this, and God was changed from that which was not the Father and became the Father.
And if the Father at some point later had the Son, then the Father became the Father, not having been the Father prior to this, and then we introduce into God change from He who was was not the Father and became the Father.
This is the worst form of blasphemy to introduce change into the Immutable Godhead.
44  Forums / Book Study / Re: A Treasury of Wisdom: The Words of Jesus on: November 02, 2020, 03:21:44 PM
"Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." St Luke 18:17
45  Forums / Book Study / A Treasury of Wisdom: The Words of Jesus on: November 02, 2020, 03:20:37 PM
This lovely book contains only the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and I love its simplicity.
The first quote is
"But take heed, I have told you all things beforehand." St Mark 13:23
46  Forums / Book Study / The Blessed Virgin from The Fountain of Catholic Wisdom on: November 02, 2020, 02:59:13 PM
Continuing my transcription of chapters from the Catholic Fountain of Wisdom we turn to The Blessed Virgin: All Glory Be To God!

The Catholic Church is accused of adoring the Blessed Virgin and giving her divine honor, and placing her before and above her Redeemer in the work of man's Redemption, and salvation.
In other words, the Church is charged with being guilty of the heinous and abominable crime of idolatry.
This accusation is false, wicked and cruelly unjust.
The Church abhors the sin of idolatry and has labored for centuries to destroy it from the face of the earth, and she teaches that the Blessed Virgin is a mere creature and that Christ is her Redeemer as well as of all the other children of Adam; [the Church teaches] that she is a creature, it would be a damnable sin to adore her [as God] or give her divine honors; [the Church teaches] that there is an infinite distance between God the Creator and a mere creature; [the Church teaches] that God is infinite perfection and that creature is finite and that to God alone should reserved supreme worship and divine honor and adoration.
And hence of God alone we ask grace and mercy, but of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints we only ask the assistance of their prayers.
 But we honor the Blessed Virgin, because she is the Mother of Jesus Christ our God and Redeemer, because she is the type most perfect creature that ever issued from the hands of God.
But the honor we pay to her is not the supreme honor due to God [alone], but the lesser and infinitely different honor which is due to even the most perfect creature.
We call her blessed because she herself, inspired by the Holy Ghost, prophesied that all generations should call her blessed.
God honored her when he hailed and greeted with being "full of grace," and as having God with her in a special manner. And surely it is right and proper to honor her whom God Himself so much honored.
Besides, in honoring her we but honor the gifts and graces which God so abundantly bestowed upon her and which crowned her with honor and glory.
We also pay an inferior honor to the Saints because they are the friends of God, and thus do we, in accordance with the injunction of the Psalmist, praise God in His Saints.
As the moon shines by the reflected light of the sun, but does not dim its light [by reflecting it], nor does the moon rob the sun of the effulgence of its rays, so the Blessed Virgin and the Saints shine by reflecting the glorious light of God's beauties and perfections, that is, by His grace and His gifts.
But instead of diminishing the honor and glory which are essentially God's, they but serve to increase and intensify it.
Of God we ask mercy and pardon, but only ask the Saints to pray for us. Is there any harm in this? Was it wrong for Saint Paul to ask the prayers of his disciples, and, if not, how can it be wrong for us to ask the prayers of the Saints reigning with God in glory?
It is on this principle of invocation and intercession that we actin daily life.
Witness persons wanting government appointments asking the influence of respected friends of the government.
It is of the Blessed Virgin that the inspired writer spoke of when he exclaimed “Who is she that cometh forth like the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible like an army in battle array!” Saint John in the Apocalypse (12:1) describes her as “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”
Even Protestant poets, inspired by faith as well as poetic genius paid er the highest tributes of reverence and honor. Thus Wordsworth sings: ?“Woman whose virgin bosom was uncrossed,?By the least shade of thought to sin allied,
Woman above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature’s solitary boast,
Pureer than foam on central ocean tossed,
Fairer than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast,
Thy image falls to earth, yet some I ween
The suppliant knees might bend?As to a visible power in which doth blend
All that was mixed and reconciled in thee;
Of mother’s love with maiden purity
Of high with love, celestial with terrene.”
47  Forums / Book Study / Re: My Way of Life by Fathers Walter Farrell and Martin Healey on: October 31, 2020, 07:18:23 PM
If you are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, then you are part of the priesthood, even if you do not have the official title as Priest
Catechism of the Catholic Church
871 "The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been incorporated in Christ through Baptism, have been constituted as the people of God; for this reason, since they have become sharers in Christ's priestly, prophetic, and royal office in their own manner, they are called to exercise the mission which God has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in accord with the condition proper to each one."

940 "The characteristic of the lay state being a life led in the midst of the world and of secular affairs, lay people are called by God to make of their apostolate, through the vigor of their Christian spirit, a leaven in the world"

941 Lay people share in Christ's priesthood: ever more united with him, they exhibit the grace of Baptism and Confirmation in all dimensions of their personal family, social and ecclesial lives, and so fulfill the call to holiness addressed to all the baptized.

942 By virtue of their prophetic mission, lay people "are called . . . to be witnesses to Christ in all circumstances and at the very heart of the community of mankind"

943 By virtue of their kingly mission, lay people have the power to uproot the rule of sin within themselves and in the world, by their self-denial and holiness of life

944 The life consecrated to God is characterized by the public profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, in a stable state of life recognized by the Church.

945 Already destined for him through Baptism, the person who surrenders himself to the God he loves above all else thereby consecrates himself more intimately to God's service and to the good of the whole Church.

Canon Law Concerning The Christian Faithful

Can. 204 §1. The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been incorporated in Christ through baptism, have been constituted as the people of God. For this reason, made sharers in their own way in Christ’s priestly, prophetic, and royal function, they are called to exercise the mission which God has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in accord with the condition proper to each.

§2. This Church, constituted and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church governed by the successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him.

Can. 205 Those baptized are fully in the communion of the Catholic Church on this earth who are joined with Christ in its visible structure by the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical governance.

Can. 206 §1. Catechumens, that is, those who ask by explicit choice under the influence of the Holy Spirit to be incorporated into the Church, are joined to it in a special way. By this same desire, just as by the life of faith, hope, and charity which they lead, they are united with the Church which already cherishes them as its own.

§2. The Church has a special care for catechumens; while it invites them to lead a life of the gospel and introduces them to the celebration of sacred rites, it already grants them various prerogatives which are proper to Christians.

Can. 207 §1. By divine institution, there are among the Christian faithful in the Church sacred ministers who in law are also called clerics; the other members of the Christian faithful are called lay persons.

§2. There are members of the Christian faithful from both these groups who, through the profession of the evangelical counsels by means of vows or other sacred bonds recognized and sanctioned by the Church, are consecrated to God in their own special way and contribute to the salvific mission of the Church; although their state does not belong to the hierarchical structure of the Church, it nevertheless belongs to its life and holiness.
48  Forums / Book Study / Redemption through Christ alone from the Fountain of Catholic Wisdom on: October 31, 2020, 06:00:19 PM
Out of my love for you all and the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and the True Faith that She preserves I will transcribe chapters for you from my newly acquired Fountain of Catholic Wisdom
Again, it is said that the Church ignores our Saviour and depreciates the work of the Redemption, and robs the Atonement of its all-sufficient value. The accusation is utterly false, unjust and calumnious.
The Catholic Church teaches that Christ is the Incarnate Son of God, that He is the Redeemer and Saviour and Teacher of mankind, that He is very God and very Man, having one divine personality,
"that He is our only Mediator of Redemption, that there is no salvation in any other name under Heaven given to men whereby they can be saved."
She teaches that one drop of the blood of Christ would have been sufficient to redeem ten thousand guilty worlds, and that in shedding His Blood for us He purchased us with a great price;
that blood shed on Calvary ascended up through all the ages to the very gates of Paradise in its power, and that it in principle and potency washed away the guilt of all the ages;
[She teaches] that no child of Adam ever entered Heaven or can enter Heaven save through the merits of the Atonement of Christ. All her prayers are offered up in the name of Christ Jesus, and her children bow the head in loving reverence and adoration at the very sound of that name, thus carrying out in spirit the worlds of Saint Paul, that in the name of Jesus every knee shall bend, of those that are in Heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus is the glory of the Father; and they believe the same Apostle that "neither death, nor life nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, nor height, nor depths , nor any other creature shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus Our Lord" (Romans 8:38,39).
She at all times defended the Divinity of Christ against unbelievers. For three hundred years she defined the Divinity of Christ against the Arians. She assembled councils and condemned their destructive heresy. She endured the anger of kings and empowered in defense of this fundamental doctrine of Christian faith, and her bishops, priests and children suffered persecution, exile and death to uphold it. And yet we are confidently and impudently but most falsely told that the Church ignores Christ and His Redemption.
Millions of her children, bishops, priests, monks, and nuns have consecrated themselves to lives of voluntary poverty, chastity, and obedience in imitation of Christ their Redeemer, and for His dear sake have given up the world and its pleasures, allurements, and seductions to consecrate themselves to the service of the poor, the ignorant, the sick, the suffering, and the afflicted. The Catholic Church opposed to Christ?! Why, if it were not for her it is most doubtful if Faith in Christ would exist in any corner of the earth today.
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