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 Have Confidence, I have overcome the world, by Luiz Sergio Solimeo

 

An abyss separates the world (understood here not in its cosmological but moral sense) from the Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ. The world neither accepts being guided by, nor comprehends the Light that came to illuminate it.[1] The world does not live for God or for life eternal, but for itself. Closed off in its naturalist egoism, it divinizes the present, the passing moment.

 

The World’s New Emperor: the Media

That is why the world wastes no chance to attack the Church by distorting facts or taking advantage of the weakness of Her members, to come up with sophisms and mockeries that echo Voltaire’s sardonic laughter.

Not only does the world not accept being guided by the truth of which the Church is the custodian, but, through its emperors (as in the times of old) or the media (the new powers that be) it even wants to rule over the Mystical Spouse of Christ.

 

Taking Advantage of the Pope’s Resignation

Pope Benedict XVI disembarking a plane

Thus, the way the media is taking advantage of Benedict XVI’s resignation from the Papacy to force the Church to accept its secular agenda is not surprising in the least.

By this agenda, his resignation should become standard procedure in the Church, making future Popes as transitional as heads of government in present-day democracies, who govern for a few years and are replaced.

From this secularist agenda’s perspective, the Popes should be elected not just by the cardinals, but also by the bishops, and even by the faithful.

Last but not least, they want the new Pope to change Church teaching, making fornication, adultery, homosexual practice, divorce and abortion normal and morally acceptable.

 

False Theologians, Worldly Catholics

Catholics identified with the spirit of the world, as well as “liberal” or “progressive” theologians and lay leaders who have long abandoned the dictates of Revelation and the Magisterium, echo this agenda and invent sophisms which they present as theological arguments.

There is no doubt that His Holiness’ resignation was unexpected and thereby shocking. Even truly Catholic commentators have emphasized how this resignation can, at the present time, convey the impression of creating a new paradigm for the exercise of the Papacy.

 

Let Us Have Confidence

As Our Lord entered Jerusalem, welcomed and acclaimed by the populace, He alone saw the Passion ahead, and how these same people would clamor for His Crucifixion and Death. But He was not perturbed.In this situation, the most important thing that we, the Catholic faithful, must do is not to allow ourselves to be carried away by the media harping on one issue or another, with its spinning of hypotheses and counter-hypotheses, or burying us beneath an avalanche of known and unknown facts, which can leave us stunned, uncertain, and discouraged.

No matter what happens — and we should be prepared for huge surprises — it is essential that we hold fast to the promise of our Divine Savior that the Church is immortal and that the gates of hell will not prevail against Her.[2]

In the titanic struggle between the world’s naturalist mentality and the Church, we may suffer setbacks, we may be tempted, but we must never allow ourselves to become discouraged, as this fight has already been won:

Have confidence, I have overcome the world.”[3]

 

Confidence: Not a Fruit of Optimism, But of Faith

The confidence that comes from these words of the Savior does not mean optimism, superficiality, or willful ignorance of threats and danger. Above all, it does not mean giving up the fight.

It means that amid confusion, disinformation, and the fleeting victories of liberal Catholics and of the world, in the end, the Church will always triumph.

 

The Church Will Remain Faithful to Her Divine Foundation

By divine institution, the Church is a monarchy whose visible head is the Pope. He represents — but does not replace — the true monarch of Whom he is the Vicar on earth: Our Lord Jesus Christ, the invisible head of His Mystical Body, the Holy, Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

 Statue of Saint Peter holding keysThou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” [Matthew16:18]

Amid the confusion, disinformation, chaos or fleeting victories of liberal Catholics and of the world, we have the promise of Our Lord, and His words shall not pass away.

The Church’s institutional form cannot change, nor can Her doctrine or morals.

By natural law and by Revelation — interpreted consistently in the same way for two thousand years by the Magisterium — adultery, fornication, homosexual practices, divorce and abortion will never be made good and acceptable. And no Pope has the power to change the sinfulness of such practices because, as the First Vatican Council reaffirmed, upon promulgating the dogma of Papal Infallibility,

the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth.”[4]

 

Fidelity to the Church

Let us therefore have confidence. Let us pray and ask God that He protect His Church. Let us have recourse to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of the Church, asking that these times of trial be abbreviated, and begging Her to help us remain faithful to the One, Holy, Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church, “the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,”[5] the Mystical Spouse of Christ, “without spot or wrinkle.”[6]

 


Notes:

1.John 1:1-9.
2.Cf. Matt. 16:18.
3.John 16:33.
4.Pastor Aeternus, Chap. IV, Denzinger, no. 1836 [translated by Roy J. Deferrari].
5.Apoc. 21:2.
6.Eph. 5:27


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 23, 2020

The purer are your words and your glances, the more pleasing...

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November 23

 

The purer are your words and your
glances,
the more pleasing will you be to the
Blessed Virgin. And
the greater will be the
graces that she will obtain for you
from her Divine Son.


St. John Bosco


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Columban

He struggled with purity, and desperate to dedicate himself...

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St. Columban

Columban was born about the year 543 in County Meath, in the Irish province of Leinster, to respectable parents. He was well-educated in grammar, rhetoric, geometry, and the Holy Scriptures. The young Columban resolved early to embrace monastic asceticism and dedicate himself to a strict and disciplined life, abstaining from many of the pleasures of the world. However, he struggled with purity, and desperate to dedicate himself wholly to God, asked the advice of a religious woman who had lived as a hermit for many years.

His mother tried her utmost to deter him from the course of action proposed by the saintly hermit, but Columban took the holy woman’s advice and left Leinster to become a cloistered monk at the monastery of Bangor in County Down. He remained there a number of years before gaining permission from his superior, St. Congall, to evangelize in foreign lands. With twelve companions he traveled to Gaul and set about preaching and teaching the Gospel.

In 590, news of these monks reached Guntramnus, the King of Burgundy, who was so inspired by the holy men that he gave the Irish monk and his companions the ancient Roman castle of Annegray, in the region’s Vosges Mountains, in which to establish a monastery. Within a few years, the increasing number of followers obliged Columban to expand and, with the help of one of the King’s ministers, he obtained from the King another ancient Roman fortification named Luxeuil, on the site of some ancient Roman baths. A third monastery soon followed to house the growing number of disciples. The monks followed a harsh discipline similar to the unusual characteristics of Celtic Christianity: they carried out penances for every transgression, no matter how small, fasted, performed bodily mortifications and prayed at length.

Twenty years after his first monastic foundation, Columban and his fellow Irishmen were expelled from the country. Brunhilda, the wicked and corrupt queen regent, disliked the holy man for his reproach of the immoral ways of her court and ultimately exiled him in 610.

Columban and his monks traveled to Italy where they were welcomed by Agilulf, King of the Lombards. Agilulf gave the monks a dilapidated church at Bobbio to reestablish themselves. Columban himself did much of the repairs in spite of his seventy years of age.

He died at Bobbio in 615 having spent the last few years of his life praying and preparing for death. His followers established monasteries all over Europe.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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