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I found this in a PDF and am passing it on. 

St. John Chrysostom on Keeping a Fast

We have this fast too as an ally, and as an assistant in this
good intercession. Therefore, as when the winter is over
and the summer is appearing, the sailor draws his vessel
to the deep; and the soldier burnishes his arms, and
makes ready his steed for the battle; and the husbandman
sharpens his sickle; and the traveler boldly undertakes a
long journey, and the wrestler strips and bares himself for
the contest.
So too, when the fast makes its appearance, like a kind of
spiritual summer, let us as soldiers burnish our weapons;
and as husbandmen let us sharpen our sickle; and as
sailors let us order our thoughts against the waves of
extravagant desires; and as travelers let us set out on the
journey towards heaven; and as wrestlers let us strip for
the contest.
For the believer is at once a husbandman, and a sailor,
and a soldier, a wrestler, and a traveler.
Hence St. Paul saith, “We wrestle not against flesh and
blood, but against principalities, against powers. Put on
therefore the whole armour of God.” Hast thou observed
the wrestler? Hast thou observed the soldier? If thou art a
wrestler, it is necessary for thee to engage in the conflict
naked. If a soldier, it behooves thee to stand in the battle
line armed at all points.
How then are both these things possible, to be naked, and
yet not naked; to be clothed, and yet not clothed! How? I
will tell thee. Divest thyself of worldly business, and thou
hast become a wrestler. Put on the spiritual armour, and
thou hast become a soldier. Strip thyself of worldly cares,
for the season is one of wrestling. Clothe thyself with the
spiritual armour, for we have a heavy warfare to wage with
demons.
Therefore also it is needful we should be naked, so as to
offer nothing that the devil may take hold of, while he is
wrestling with us; and to be fully armed at all points, so as
on no side to receive a deadly blow.
Cultivate thy soul. Cut away the thorns. Sow the word of
godliness. Propagate and nurse with much care the fair
plants of divine wisdom, and thou hast become a
husbandman. And Paul will say to thee, “The
husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the
fruits. He too himself practiced this art. Therefore writing
to the Corinthians, he said, “I have planted, Apollos
watered, but God gave the increase.” Sharpen thy sickle,
which thou hast blunted through gluttony–sharpen it by

fasting. Lay hold of the pathway which leads towards
heaven; rugged and narrow as it is, lay hold of it, and
journey on.
And how mayst thou be able to do these things? By
subduing thy body, and bringing it into subjection. For
when the way grows narrow, the corpulence that comes of
gluttony is a great hindrance. Keep down the waves of
inordinate desires. Repel the tempest of evil thoughts.
Preserve the bark; display much skill, and thou hast
become a pilot. But we shall have the fast for a
groundwork and instructor in all these things.
I speak not, indeed, of such a fast as most persons keep,
but of real fasting; not merely abstinence from meats; but
from sins too.
For the nature of a fast is such, that it does not suffice to
deliver those who practice it, unless it be done according
to a suitable law. “For the wrestler,” it is said, “is not
crowned unless he strive lawfully.” To the end then, that
when we have gone through the labour of fasting, we
forfeit not the crown of fasting, we should understand
how, and after what manner, it is necessary to conduct
this business; since that Pharisee also fasted, but
afterwards when down empty, and destitute of the fruit of
fasting.
The Publican fasted not; and yet he was accepted in
preference to him who had fasted; in order that thou
mayst learn that fasting is unprofitable, except all other
duties follow with it. The Ninevites fasted, and won the
favour of God. The Jews fasted too, and profited nothing,
nay they departed with blame.

Since then the danger in fasting is so great to those who
do not know how they ought to fast, we should learn the
laws of this exercise, in order that we may not “run
uncertainly,” nor “beat the air,” nor while we are fighting
contend with a shadow. Fasting is a medicine; but a
medicine, though it be never so profitable, becomes
frequently useless owing to the unskillfulness of him who
employs it.
For it is necessary to know, moreover, the time when it
should be applied, and the requisite quantity of it; and the
temperament of body that admits it; and the nature of the
country, and the season of the year; and the
corresponding diet; as well as various other particulars;
any of which, if one overlooks, he will mar all the rest that
have been named. Now if, when the body needs healing,
such exactness is required on our part, much more ought
we, when our care is about the soul, and we seek to heal

the distempers of the mind, to look, and to search into
every particular with the utmost accuracy.
I have said these things, not that we may disparage fasting,
but that we may honour fasting; for the honour of fasting
consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing
from sinful practices; since he who limits his fasting only
to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially
disparages it.

Dost thou fast? Give me proof of it by thy works! Is it said
by what kind of works?

If thou seest a poor man, take pity on him!

If thou seest an enemy, be reconciled to him!

If thou seest a friend gaining honour, envy him not!

If thou seest a handsome woman, pass her by!

For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and ear,
and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our
bodies.

Let the hands fast, by being pure from rapine and avarice.
Let the feet fast, but ceasing from running to the unlawful
spectacles.

Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves
rudely upon handsome countenances, or to busy
themselves with strange beauties.

For looking is the food of the eyes, but if this be such as is
unlawful or forbidden, it mars the fast; and upsets the
whole safety of the soul; but if it be lawful and safe, it
adorns fasting.

For it would be among things the most absurd to abstain
from lawful food because of the fast, but with the eyes to
touch even what is forbidden.

Dost thou not eat flesh? Feed not upon lasciviousness by
means of the eyes.

Let the ear fast also. The fasting of the ear consists in
refusing to receive evil speakings and calumnies. “Thou
shalt not receive a false report,” it says.

 

Fasting is about more than food.  Fasting is about saying no to that which will harm our souls.  Fasting is about doing good works and reconciling relationships.  Lent is a time to grow in our faith. 

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I attended classes at Franciscan University and earned my associates degree from there. I spent a couple of summers there and thoroughly enjoyed attending the conferences. There are conferences for adults and teenagers. If you haven’t attended at least one conference I highly recommend you attend one. The atmosphere is amazing. Something I will never forget. Franciscan University helped me to become closer to God. Here are the different conferences: Defending the Faith,Summer Youth, Catholic Charismatic, Applied Biblical Studies, Priests Deacons and Seminarians, and St. John Bosco. Here is the site that has information on the various conferences — http://www.franciscanconferences.com/. I truly believe that Franciscan University is a special place. The video is of Life On The Rock spending a weekend at a Franciscan University Youth Conference.

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Peter_AdamAndEveInTheGardenOfEden

 

I am planning on having a series of posts where various issues are going to be debated between atheists and Christians, or people of faith.  Before I start a series debating theological topics with atheists/agnostics/skeptics I have some questions on the Creation Story for people of all faiths.

I believe that God is the Author of all of creation from the heavens, earth, fish, birds, humans – male and female, light, darkness, sky, animals, trees, plants, sea, other creatures and much more.  Do you believe that God made everything within 6 days, what we think of as 6 days? Or do you think that what the Bible calls “days” may be representative of a different time period, different from the time period we attribute to a day at present day?

In 1981 then Cardinal Ratzinger , now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, gave four homilies on Creation in which he identified three principles that the exegete needs to consider when reading the Creation Story.  While defending exegetes that go beyond a literalist reading of  Genesis, Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco explains how to interpret the Creation Story using Cardinal Ratzinger’s (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) homilies.

First Principle — The difference between form and content:

First, he proposes that the exegete “must distinguish between the form of portrayal and
the content that is portrayed.”
He must keep in mind that the Bible is, first and
foremost, a religious book and not a natural science textbook. Thus, Cardinal Ratzinger
concludes that Genesis does not and cannot provide a scientific explanation of how the
world arose. Rather, it is a book that seeks to describe things in such a way that the
reader is able to grasp profound religious realities. It uses images to communicate
religious truth, images that were chosen from what was understandable at the time the
text was written, “images which surrounded the people who lived then, which they used
in speaking and in thinking, and thanks to which they were able to understand the
greater realities.”  In other words, the Catholic exegete is called to respect the text as it
is. He is called to read Genesis as its human author wished it to be read, not as a
scientific treatise, but as a religious narrative that communicates profound truths about
the Creator.

Cardinal Ratzinger’s first criterion for exegesis echoes the teaching of the Second
Vatican Council. In Dei verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Revelation, the Council
Fathers taught that,

Those who search out the intention of the sacred writers must, among other things,
have regard for “literary forms.” For truth is proposed and expressed in a variety of
ways, depending on whether a text is history of one kind or another or whether its form
is that of prophecy, poetry, or some other type of speech. The interpreter must
investigate what meaning the sacred writer intended to express and actually expressed
in particular circumstances as he used contemporary literary forms in accordance with
the situation of his own time and culture.

Moreover, though Cardinal Ratzinger does not provide a theological justification for this
criterion, the Second Vatican Council did. According to the Council, we need to respect
the form of the text because “God speaks in sacred Scripture through men in human
fashion.”
Thus, the exegete “in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate
to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and
what God wanted to manifest by means of their words.”10 In other words, the Catholic
exegete should respect the form of the Sacred Scriptures because in doing so, he
respects the action of God who authored the sacred text without violating the freedom,
identity, and idiosyncrasies of the human authors who wrote in different forms.

Second Principle — The unity of the Holy Bible:

“In his Lenten homily from 1981, Cardinal Ratzinger brings up the same question asking, is the distinction
between the image and what is intended to be expressed only an evasion, because we
can no longer rely on the text even though we still want to make something of it, or are
there criteria from the Bible itself that attest to this distinction?” In response, he
proposes a second criterion for sound Catholic exegesis — the exegete should interpret
a text from within the context of the unity of the Bible. Applying this criterion to the
interpretation of the six-day creation account, we discover that the creation accounts in
the Old Testament — the Hexaemeron is only one of several found in Genesis and in
Psalms — are clearly “movement[s] to clarify the faith” and are not scientific or
historical narratives. For instance, Cardinal Ratzinger notes that a study of the origins of
the creation texts in the Wisdom literature especially reveal that they were written to
respond to the Hellenistic civilization confronted by the Israelites. Thus, it is not
surprising that the human authors of these accounts did not use the image of the six
days to assert their faith in the one Creator God. This image would not have been
appropriate for their time and would not have been understood by their Greek
contemporaries. In contrast, a study of the origins of the Hexaemeron, the six-day
account of creation, found in the first chapter of Genesis reveals that it was written to
respond to the seemingly victorious Babylonian civilization confronted by the Israelites
several centuries before their encounter with the Greeks. Here, the human author of the
sacred text used images familiar to their pagan contemporaries to refute the Enuma
Elish, the Babylonian creation account that claimed that the world was created when
Marduk, the god of light, killed the primordial dragon.Thus, as Cardinal Ratzinger
points out, it is not surprising that nearly every word of the first creation account
addresses a particular confusion of the Babylonian age. For instance, when the Sacred
Scriptures affirm that in the beginning, the earth was without form and void (cf. Gen.
1:2), the sacred text refutes the existence of a primordial dragon. When they refer to the
sun and the moon as lamps that God has hung in the sky for the measurement of time
(cf. Gen. 1:14), the text refutes the divinity of these two great celestial bodies believed
to be Babylonian gods. These verses, and they are only two of many examples,
illustrate the intent of the human author of the Hexaemeron. He wanted to dismantle a
pagan myth that was commonplace in Babylon and assert the supremacy of the one
Creator God. Cardinal Ratzinger concludes: Reading Genesis with Cardinal Ratzinger
Thus, we can see how the Bible itself constantly readapts its images to a continually
developing way of thinking, how it changes time and again in order to bear witness, time
and again, to the one thing that has come to it, in truth, from God’s Word, which is the
message of his creating act. In the Bible itself the images are free and they correct
themselves ongoingly. In this way they show, by means of a gradual and interactive
process, that they are only images, which reveal something deeper and greater.

Third Principle — Christ as the interpretive key of the Holy Bible: 

Finally, the second criterion raises another important question: Why should the Sacred
Scriptures be treated as a unity? What is the source of this unity? In response, Cardinal
Ratzinger provides his third and final criterion for interpreting the sacred text: We are to
read the Sacred Scriptures “with Him in whom all things have been fulfilled and in whom
all of its validity and truth are revealed.” It is Christ who unifies the Bible. The entire
Bible is about him. Thus, Genesis has to be read in the context of its fulfillment in Christ.
Therefore, the Holy Father asserts that the first creation account cannot be read without
reference to the conclusive and normative scriptural account of creation which begins:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God …
All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was
made” (John 1:1;3, Revised Standard Version). For Cardinal Ratzinger, it is Christ who
sanctions readings of the sacred text that move beyond a strict literalist reading
because it is Christ who wishes to communicate profound theological truths that
penetrate the human heart and soul: “Christ frees us from the slavery of the letter, and
precisely thus does he give back to us, renewed, the truth of the images.”

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In “Song of the Sparrow” Fr. Murray Bodo O.F.M. explained that “the Franciscan charism is intimately tied up with loving those who are seemingly unlovable or who return love with hatred and contempt.”

It is easy to love our friends, family members who are easy to get along with, and those who share our same beliefs. It can be extremely tough to love people who trust us horribly, people who are insensitive, those who are grumpy or angry, someone who holds opposite beliefs as we do, and family members who are rub you the wrong way.

Expressing our love through actions is very important.  Helping the needy, visiting the sick, being friendly to cantankerous relatives who you may not see eye-to-eye with, and teaching the Faith to kids in Faith Formation or adults in RCIA are all ways to show love for others.

We are called to follow The Golden Rule, treating others as we would want others to treat us.

Loving individuals doesn’t mean abandoning Truth to please others. It does mean loving the person as a human being while also being respectful if there is a disagreement.  We are called to teach the fullness of the Faith: from the Sacraments, Saints, the Mass, the Ten Commandments, Catechesis, Catholic Social Teaching, Catholic Doctrine, Morality, to Respect for Life.

 

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links_image1

Apparently there has been some hullabaloo about news sites claiming that Pope Francis as Cardinal Bergoglio endorsed civil unions back in 2010. That’s a bunch of hooey. According to one of the Pope’s confidants Francis was faced with gay “marriage” being thrust upon citizens in Argentina so he offered the lesser of two evils as to have further discussion on the matter. It is the same when voting for a piece of legislation. Canon law allows for the politician voting for the legislation that is the lesser of two evils when there is no good option.

Woites’s statements contradict a New York Times article published yesterday stating, “Faced with the near certain passage of the gay marriage bill, Cardinal Bergoglio offered the civil union compromise as the ‘lesser of two evils,’ said Sergio Rubin, his authorized biographer. ‘He wagered on a position of greater dialogue with society.'”

Here is the article http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bergoglio-didnt-suggest-endorsing-homosexual-civil-unions-in-2010-says-conf

Fr. Orsi at Ave Maria is taking bishops to task for being unwilling to refuse Holy Communion to politicians who are in grave sin those who support abortion and euthanasia.  I’d add being in support of same-sex marriage to the list. Both Biden and Pelosi received Communion at Pope Francis’ installation mass. These type of politicians have been obstinate for so long and the bishops’ pastoral approach hasn’t worked over a lengthy period of time that a more visible act of standing for the faith and against scandal is necessary.  Here is a bit of what Fr. Orsi has to say:

Politicians such as Biden and Pelosi have been stubborn and contumacious in their pro-abortion policies and in presenting themselves for reception of the Eucharist. They know that the American bishops, for the most part, prefer a “pastoral approach,” which means basically let’s talk to them and help them to see the error of their ways. It has not worked, and there is no indication that it will. The topic of this essay is proof enough! They also know that Catholic priests are instructed not to cause a scene on the Communion line and that the person be permitted to receive. Thus, they opt to take advantage of these charitable loopholes.

There is a solution and perhaps some hope for stronger enforcement of Church policy on offending pols. The Vatican should clearly state that politicians who promote a culture of death, abortion, and euthanasia, are subject to excommunication by their bishop. Pope-Emeritus  Benedict XVI  made an unofficial statement on a trip to Mexico, in 2007, stating  that excommunication for pro choice legislators was not arbitrary and is part of canon law.  This would strengthen Canon 915 and some bishops’ backbones.

It is well known that Pope Francis forbade pro- choice politicians from receiving Holy Communion in his diocese, in Argentina.  Perhaps the new Pope can move this project along?

By the bishops refusing to take strong action, such as excommunication, politicians will continue their “in your face” attitude toward the church and her leaders. Such a failure will also continue to allow Catholics and people of good will to be scandalized. Even worse, it gives the impression that others may follow the behavior of wayward  politicians with impunity.

Biden and Pelosi only did at the Vatican what they have been allowed to do at home.  As the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonheoffer stated so well, dear bishops;  Not to act is to act!

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/ave-maria-law-priest-takes-bishops-to-task-for-failing-to-deny-communion-to?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=80c9604d99-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines_03_20_2013&utm_medium=email

Dang those sequester cuts. Bang. Bop. That hurts… Wait!!! Hold on… stop listening to the MSM meme. Were there really cuts to government agencies because of the sequester? To Find out you can visit The Sequester Lies: Where are the Republicans? at Conservative Hideout. It’s all laid out neatly in a graph.

The Conservative Lady has a post titled A New “Most Dangerous” Man in America?   This person is a mayor of a major city but he has much influence over national politics.  He is a radical who wants to change (er take away) your rights using force.  He is not only against illegal guns but is also against legal guns.

1CatholicSalmon has a good post called Palm Sunday – the day after tomorrow, and Holy Week begins. Doesn’t it seem like Lent has flown by? Hard to believe it’s already almost one day before Holy Week begins.

Biltrix has a great post called Father, Forgive Them!  Fr. Jason Smith explains about having the urge to throw away his anger toward Judas betrayal when he hears the words “Father forgive them.”  This had me questioning, should we really be angry at Judas? Wasn’t he apart of God’s divine plan? An essential part? Without Judas would Jesus have died to save our sins? Possibly…. but since this is what happened in God’s divine plan to save all of humanity from sin wouldn’t giving thanks to Judas be more appropriate?  We all sin and whether the sin be big or small if we ask for forgiveness God will grant His mercy and forgive us. For this reason and with there being conflicting accounts of Judas’ death  I do believe that it is possible that Judas repented before his death. This would mean that Judas would have been forgiven by God just as the rest of us are forgiven when we repent in Reconciliation.

 

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Questioning does not necessarily mean that you don’t believe. But questioning can lead to the sin of unbelief. If the reason why you are questioning is to further understand something about the Faith that is a good thing. But if you are a skeptic of certain teachings questioning those teachings and uncertain whether you should believe this or that doctrinal teaching then you are giving way to the sin of unbelief.

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