Just where is the Catholic Church going. It once was special and through revelation over time she had conceived a beauty all of her own. The Altars were made of the finest materials and fittingly designed to feature the tabernacle. The words we used to pray and to worship were uplifting, we sang Hymns (not songs) and they in their poetic way reminded us of the doctrines of the church, the attributes of God and His Saints. Everything today is banal and dragged down to the lowest common denominator, the consensus of ugliness. A level not of our Church but of the darkness and lack of grace in other denominations.
Devotions like the Sacred Heart have all but vanished. Very few attend the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The Sacraments, those Holy Mysteries given by Christ to aid in our salvation are a thing of the past. The reverence for the presence of God in the Tabernacle and in His house is cast away. The sanctuary has become a place for common gossip and very few can pray before Mass or after, due to the bedlam that breaks out when the priest leaves the altar. Children are allowed to run wild and are never reminded that Christ is present and therefore learn no respect. Altar rails are removed and fools rush around the Tabernacle often turning their back to God as they pursue their prideful way. I have heard illogical statements when I speak to many on this subject; the most fatuous of which was you cannot see Jesus in Altar rails. I can and I do they remind me of the awful, terrible beauty of the Altar. That place where Christ comes at the Transubstantiation and offers Himself in an unbloody manner for My and our redemption and salvation. They remind me how often I separate myself from God by rejecting Him through sin and more than likely I am not worthy. So therefore with the rails I can approach Him as Paul says on my knees to receive His worthiness from Him.
whats mine is always yours
I have no knowledge of how many have read these blogs or if anyone has. If there are some who have, then their response will be similar to uptight, upright scholastically trained theologians. I have written to more than a few of these and their consensus seems to be I am deluded. One or two have majestically spouted Luther’s scriptural accusation against the Church “even the Devil can appear as an Angel of Light” which he quoted in his malicious haste to destroy the grace in the Holy Church, a grace he claimed for himself. I see no difference between Luther and the catholic hierarchy today. Let me ask, I wonder how many of God’s graces have been squandered while those in the Church who should, do not bother to discern or just pass off God’s words, given through the most unlikely individuals, with banalities.
Why then do I write? I hope not boastfully, a vice many claim for me or accuse me of as they follow in Luther’s footsteps of denial by personally denying that Grace might exist in me. They are easily as malicious as he is. I once found in an introduction written by Fr George Maloney SJ., in “The Discourses of Symeon the New Theologian” (949-1022) a description that is very apt for the Church today. He shows that St Bernard who was writing, at the same time as Symeon, was locked in a strenuous battle with Peter Abelard and other philosophers. The Abelards were separating Mystical Theology from speculative theology. Abelard won and scholasticism became the Queen of all sciences.
What then is my point? I fear we are suffering the same events today between the two so very different elements of theology. I mean the uptight head-trip scholastic theology of the Hierarchy today and the true mystical theology of Symeon and the Benedictine Fr Louismet Sauvignon. I hope that I have not lost any reader so far but I warn you worse is yet to come. In the Latin Church today a renewal has come, attempting to bring us back to the simple, beautiful illumination of the Holy Spirit. I mean the bright light of which St Symeon wrote. Outside the Church, and there are many inside, we can find the Pentecostals who though on the right trail are far removed from the Light of God. Unfortunately, many priests today are so badly formed they cannot give good guidance or let alone be a spiritual guide, even stand before the mistaken ones and say you are wrong. Even St Faustina admits to this in her diary. She certainly scoffed at the behavior of many priests who tried foolishly to test her in the confessional and rightly so.
The basic advice from which we should start is, follow the good Church teachings that tell us we should be purified thoroughly before we embark on this spiritual journal. Wait; is some asking how this purification takes place? I do not think many will because they already claim holiness through low gifts for which Christ tells them, “Away with you, you cursed ones”. Knowing this let me tell you the way to the Light as the Catholic and Apostolic Church demands and teaches, it is in the use of the sacraments or Holy mysteries, constant repentance and asceticism, nothing less will do.
Now it is time for my confession. Why do I write of my personal interior life? Answer me this, “Do you really think that what is happening to me is mine and mine alone?” Foolish men what happens to me is for you all. The fervent practicing catholic, following the Church’s instructions, repenting and doing penances accepting the Eucharist in a state of grace will slip deeper and deeper into what we call the abyss of God’s Love. This catholic is a true mystic. God guaranteed it through His Son, His Promised Word. I wish and hope that by now you are no longer calling me boastful and presumptuous because of my faith. A faith that believes that nothing I have is mine and that what happens to me is for you all. It is for you to discover the way. I can only describe mine and plead you will try it too. I hope that your attitude towards me stops short of accusing me of exhibitionism. May God not allow it, that is for me to be an exhibitionist. I write being mindful of God’s gifts which He has bestowed upon me from my conception until now and write in gratitude and thanksgiving to make you aware of the talents he wants us to use and not to bury or waste. Ask yourselves deep in your interior life where God wants to dwell, providing we clean up His temple from the product that comes from the nether end of the bull, spread like manure in our mind by our jealous enemy satan.
To feel the burning presence of God as one prays, the loss when he does not show His grace, the loneliness and despair when prayers are constantly interrupted, the delight when one approaches and receives the Eucharist are all-magnificent. God will let you know He is there and it is not a human feeling, it is not sensuous to the brutish extreme that many claim today. I can say peace is not the claimed feeling of today’s holy ones nothing can be further from the truth. The agitation at the His loss becomes David’s prayer, “ Turn not your face from me, take not your Holy Spirit from me” a confession from the truth one’s soul knows from her experience and the resulting consuming terror that one has sinned is not peace. Peace is the feeling one gets when God’s test is finished and He calls you up into the next level of Heaven. Why does He do this, I find for two reasons One we cannot last the pace set by His Love. We would probably burn up if not out and two to question our faith in His ways, to see if we can stay the course. Paul could only claim the third heaven early on in his evangelistic life and he lamented often of the thorns that separated him from Jesus. There is a strong difference in claimed peace and the real presence of Christ in you. As for the Pentecostals, they are the conceited prideful inheritors of the mystery religions that agitated Paul so much. It can only be noted that they lack the Spiritual Guides that will open the eye of the needle for them, before it is too late
Indulgences have always been of the greatest help to me. I would write without any True Orthodox Catholic arguing this article is from a fool. We should use these aids for salvation for all who have passed on. In fact, Mary once asked some children to pray for the forgotten souls. Who are they? They are those whose relatives and friends, not believing, in Purgatory never pray for the repose of the souls of their relatives, friends and benefactors who have preceded them in death. Here is my effort to persuade you.
In our parish bulletin we were recommended to pray ‘The Prayer before A Crucifix’ to earn an indulgence. This is the way I have prayed most of my religious life. These prayers I believe and hope have been the greatest of benefits for those for whom my prayers were offered.
I have some personal thoughts on the subject of prayer for the poor souls in purgatory. These thoughts were formed by the Church’s teachings and they are particularly my own interpretation. The Church directs they can only be offered for the benefit of the dead. I ask which dead? I have absolutely no compunction in offering them for the living or the dead. I have no way of knowing if they are fallen souls as the Church calls those who are sinful, where they are. I cannot judge and sentence. I consider that to lay down the life of my soul, I mean surrendering my Eternal Life for another, was and is the greatest act of charity I could do. Yet I do know full well, that I could say the prayer again for myself, or rather use another prayer and the same sacramental confession and Holy Communion to gain a new plenary remittance that day.
I am not a sign seeker but I do thank God when I see results. Let me give you an example. I have a son who is a fallen catholic and yet when I offer this indulgence for him, I notice a great change in his behavior. He does move forward in faith and lately he never drops back to the depths of sin he seemed to be in before. Can I justify this? I believe so for this reason. My prayer and the fulfillment of the conditions for the reception of the plenary indulgence gained for him places him in a state of grace no matter how temporary. This I believe allows the Holy Spirit to dwell in him for a short while at least and helps him to hear the voice of God, the urgings of God’s love and do himself a little good for his soul.
I mentioned a plenary indulgence and perhaps it is a phrase many of us are not familiar with. The official Church teachings are, It is a complete forgiveness of our sins, including any temporal punishment they have or we have earned. remeber Christ did say, "We will pay until every debt is canceled (A paraphrase on my part)
To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill three conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even to venial sin, be absent. The three conditions above may be fulfilled eight days (Octave) before or after the performance of the prescribed work or prayer; nevertheless it is fitting that Communion be received and the prayers for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff be said the same day the prayer is said or the work performed. In the Church today, it is enough to pray one Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory be, for the Pope and his intentions.
Perhaps you might find it difficult to agree with this thought? Consider it in this manner. The conditions of a plenary indulgence say it can be only earned eight days before or after the Sacrament of Confession is completed. Would it be wrong to interpret this condition, as the Church believes it is not likely we can stay free from sin for more than two weeks? That is let us say by changing the time limit to eight plus eight days after the work done. That is after the Act of Confession and repentance
Why then does the Church claim to be able to grant such a wonderful aid to our salvation and the raising of the dead into Heaven? How can She make such a charitable action on our part so valuable? The teaching of the Church which has not changed nor can be changed states as follows. Punishment like a shadow follows all sin, whether mortal or venial, and it is not usually remitted to the full when forgiveness is obtained. Eternal punishment, incurred by mortal sin, is always remitted with the guilt, but some temporal punishment generally remains due to the justice of GOD. This temporal punishment is inflicted by GOD, either in this life or in Purgatory; but a man may anticipate the divine justice by works of penance, or by means of Indulgences.
The guilt, then, of sin is one thing, the punishment another. The guilt is remitted when a man truly repents, either with or without the Sacrament of Penance; but though the punishment, or a portion of it may be remitted with the guilt, some usually remains, as a debt of satisfaction, to be paid in this world or the next. This truth is clearly indicated in the sacramental penances which always accompany Absolution. These penances have, in course of time, under pressure of external circumstances, lost much of the severity which characterized them in earlier ages, but they still testify to the principle that after forgiveness satisfaction remains due. The comparative lightness of modern sacramental penances ought to suggest that they alone are not sufficient to satisfy the justice of GOD, and that they should be supplemented either by other penances, self-inflicted or patiently accepted at the hand of GOD. This should include personal suffering or fasting, or by some equivalent means. Yet in the case of sins forgiven either indirectly in the Sacrament, or by means of act of perfect contrition alone, the satisfaction remaining due is left altogether to the individual's patience under chastisement from GOD, or to his personal activity in applying himself either to works of penance, or to some equivalent. That equivalent is to be found in Indulgences.
What, then, is an Indulgence? An Indulgence is the remission by the Church, on specified conditions, of the whole or a part of the debt of satisfaction remaining due for sin. The Church has power to absolve from guilt; she has also power to remit the punishment. The one she exercises in the Sacrament of Penance; the other she exercises when she grants an Indulgence. And it is clear from what has been said that an Indulgence is supplemental to Absolution, and presupposes the forgiveness of the guilt of sin in the Sacrament of Confession.
Theologically considered; an Indulgence is not, a mere exercise of spiritual power and authority on the part of the Church; it is truly a payment of the debt, made out of her Treasury of satisfactory merits; for in this are stored up the superabundant merits of Jesus Christ and the accumulated merits of our Lady and all the Saints. With this inexhaustible fund at her command, she has the means of satisfying the debts due from her children to the justice of GOD.
In form; an Indulgence emanates from the Pope, leaving out of the account the limited power exercised by Bishops in favor of their flocks and by Cardinals, Nuncios and others; and it is registered in a Decree of the Congregation of Indulgences; or some similar document. It attaches to a specified prayer or good work an additional satisfactory value, such value being expressed in the terms of an ancient canonical penance, viz., so many days, or Quarantines (which lasted forty days), or years, to which the Indulgence is thereby declared to be equivalent. The earliest Indulgences were, in fact, remissions of these very penances.
Indulgences are either Plenary or Partial, according as a remission of all, or of part, of the debt of punishment due is granted. In either case the actual benefit obtained depends upon the dispositions of the penitent, and the care and accuracy he employs in fulfilling the conditions laid down. It only remains to add that, though the Church has no direct jurisdiction, over the Souls in Purgatory, she authorizes and encourages, as a work of supreme charity, the application of Indulgences, by way of suffrage, to the needs of those afflicted souls; and we may confidently assure ourselves that these suffrages are most acceptable to the Divine Majesty, and that what the Church would thus, as it were, indirectly loose in Purgatory is speedily loosed also in Heaven, amid the rejoicing of all the heavenly court, to the great glory of GOD, and to the incalculable benefit, as well of the suffering souls of their earthly benefactors.
Labels: Fasting, Indulgences; Greatest of Charities; Confession; Purgatory, remission of Sin
Where many might find themselves
When one reads all the private writings and even among the versions authorized by the Church we find so many of the sojourners seem to have toured Hell. They talk of either going up from hell to heaven or conversely going down from Heaven in to hell, as though it is the same building with stairways between each floor for easy access. Let me tell you of my experience, for what it is worth.
One night seven or eight years ago, I awoke from a sound sleep with a strong voice calling me and instructing me to come to Him. So I did.
I went from the bedroom into the living room and the light was so bright I could count the pine needles on the trees across the lake 100 metres away. Where I lived at that time was way beyond city limits and at night there was not even a glow from any city lights, there was one street light a long way up the road.
I heard the voice say, "Sit down", so I did and immediately the world went the blackest I have ever experienced. It was a cmplete absense of even the dullest glimmer of light. My heart ached with loneliness. I thought that I was having a heart attack but it was not the same pain. It was the knowledge God had gone from me with all His graces. It was David's phrase , "Turn not your face from me or take your Holy Spirit away". I knew that there was nothing I could do He had left and I would never experience Him again in the way we all feel His influences. I ached with the loss. One could say my desolation was complete and final. I knew somehow this feeling was the hell we may all earn and I tell you this, the place where I was I knew of a certainty there would be no more access to Him from there. He was gone. I had lost Him for all eternity. Most of you who read this from all accounts will be in this state for all eternity. I wish those feelings I had on no one. How long it lasted I cannot say but the time it took for me to be there was enough for me.