Monday, May 17, 2010
Life-Giving Love Conquers Death by Death. "He breathed on them, and said to them 'Receive the Holy Spirit'". (Jn 20:22) God is the God of paradoxes. If life is to triumph over death, and if Jesus is supposed to free us from the bonds of sin and death, then how is it that Jesus Christ dies? Yet it is precisely because He dies that He lives; it is because He dies that He can raise us to life. For in freely accepting death, (Jn 10:18) Christ makes the greatest act of Love, for "greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". (Jn 15:13) And the ultimate act of Love enables Man to receive the greatest "good" - the Divine Spirit of God. Indeed, "by embracing in his human heart the Father's love for men ... in suffering and death [Christ's] humanity became the free and perfect instrument of his divine love", (Catechism, 609) a Love that "confers on Christ's sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction". (Catechism, 616) Perfect Love seeks to unite, and "the existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all". (Catechism, 616) God "made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the rightouesness of God", (2Cr 5:21) reconciling us "by the death of his Son". (Rm 5:10) It was because He "loved us and gave Himself up for us", (Gl 2:20) dying in Love, that Christ destroyed "him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and delivered all". (Hb 2:14) Jesus dies "on our behalf", (Hb 9:24) Jesus became the Suffering Servant, who "makes himself an offering for sin" when "he bore the sins of many" and "their iniquities", in order to "make many to be accounted righteous". (Is 53) Christ gave up His body and His blood (Mt 26:28ff; Lk 22:19ff) so that upon Him could come the punishment for all the sin of the world, culminating in the most cruelest of deaths. But God is the God of paradoxes, and it is through the death of Christ that God brings "new life" - an overflowing of life that exceeds the life that flourished before death. (Lk 6:37) So God "raised Him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it", (Ac 2:24) for Love is more powerful than death and will always triumph over it. And because Christ, while sharing our human nature, died and rose from the dead, "he enables us as the members of his Body to share in what he lived for us", (Catechism, 521) for through this new unity with Christ, we have been "adopted" as his own sons (Catechism, 441) and have become "children of God" (1Jn 3:1) and Christ's brothers, (Catechism, 654) making it possible for "us to live in him all that he himself lived, which he lives in us". (Catechism, 521) Suffering, still part of the human condition, can now be offered redemptively (Catechism, 457) for the expiation of sins and the salvation of men (Cl 1:24) when we willingly "deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow after Him". (Mk 8:34) Our death, too, is no longer the end, but the beginning of new and eternal life. For by Christ's death, He has freed us from sin; and by His resurrection, He has opened for us the way to new life. (Catechism, 654) And that is the self-giving Love of God, that "God became Man so that Man might become God", (Catechism, 460) so that "if we have died with him, we shall also live with him". (2Tm 2:11)
[FROM CHAPTER 3: STRATEGIES and TACTICS]
Deus Caritas Est: “God is Love”. Pope Benedict XVI shocked the Church and the world when he came out with his first encyclical. Having spent 20 years as the Late-Great Pope John Paul II’s “enforcer”, being Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the “Office of the Holy Inquisition”, he had earned the nickname “God’s Rottweiler”, due to his penchant for “putting the liberals” in their places for the crime of “spreading false doctrine”. And yet, his first encyclical was not a condemnation of the world’s “modern errors” or a stern warning against the “heretical cancer” rampant in the Church. Rather, it was all about love. Yes, the first encyclical of the Holy Father – which for every Pope always sets the tone for the entire papacy – is entitled Deus Caritas Est, or “God is Love”. The first half was devoted to laying out a proper definition of the word “love”, with special attention given to reconciling romantic and sexual love with the self-giving love that Christianity has always stressed. The second half was devoted to the Church’s charitable outreach, our obligations to it, the various charitable works of the Church and the Christian, and the greatest models of charity – including the Saints and especially the Virgin Mary.
Encyclical as Promoting Christianity to the World. There are basically two reasons why the Holy Father issued his first encyclical on love, and has continued to stress this theme in all his speeches and homilies. And these two reasons necessitates that he is addressing his message about love to two different audiences. First of all, Benedict sees a world that is searching, groping, starving for love. Most people seem to be "looking for love in all the wrong places". They look for it in money, they look for it in sex and pleasure, they look for it in popularity, success, and a whole host of other places and things. But it leaves them empty. What the Holy Father wishes to proclaim to all people is that since they are looking for love (and by their very nature human beings do seek love – as we have said), and since God is love, what people are really looking for is God. This is the message the Holy Father wishes to proclaim to the world – and thus his first audience is to people without the Church, the people “in the world”. Though hardly anyone outside the Church read it, every media outlet mentioned it, and though most people knew nothing about its contents expect for the title, that title alone made an impact. The message that the Holy Father wanted to send to the world was loud and clear, even to those who had merely heard the title – “if you are looking for love, we in the Church have what you are looking for”.
Encyclical as Leading Christians Back to Essence of their Faith: Love. Secondly, the Holy Father is trying to not only promote to the world but also to recall Christians to Christianity as being a relationship of love as opposed to a "set of rules" or a "legalistic structure" that so many either perceive it to be or treat it as in their lives of faith. The Holy Father begins his encyclical with these words: “‘God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him’ (1 Jn 4:16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny”. (DCE, 1) In other words, the “heart of the Christian faith” is not “faithfully attending Sunday Mass” or “saying your rosary everyday”, but rather, “Love” – the Love of God and the Love of neighbour. That is what it means to be a “Christian”, and for centuries, so many men and women of the Church just “didn’t get it”. It is easy for men and women of the Church to get caught up in a spirit of “Phariseeism”, where professed believers are very “devoted” to their “religion”, saying their prayers faithfully and “obeying the commandments and precepts” of the Church, but out of obligation, or because one derives a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment in “fidelity” to one’s “religious duties”, and not chiefly from the motive of Love, for their hearts are not really converted. (Mt 23) Some people who are quite diligent in “practicing their faith” – in attending daily Mass and praying their daily rosary – can also be very cold, mean, angry, and unwilling to help others. Exactly why this has happened (and still happens today) will be discussed in greater detail later. For now, it is enough to say that this “Phariseeism” has been part of the reason why the revolutions were able to successfully get so many to reject the Church. As we spoke about regarding the Quiet Revolution, there was a certain “hypocrisy” in a Church preaching about a “God who is Love” and apparently holding Him up as the model to follow, while many of Her ministers and members seemed to be far removed from this ideal, even doing the opposite at times of “what Jesus would do”. Not only has this led to a rejection of the Church as “hypocritical”, but is also an impediment to evangelization, as people continue to not only see this “hypocrisy”, but also perceive Christianity to be just a “set of rules” since that is all it apparently is to some of its “hypocrites”. The Holy Father wants to lead Christians to abandon this “false piety” or “false devotion”, and help re-form them in their faith so that their Christianity becomes a relationship of Love, in which all devotions and rules flow out of, and which are done solely for the motive of Love – as a motivator and a means of acquiring it in greater measure. The Holy Father speaks of this Phariseeism when at the beginning of his encyclical, when stating the reason for its subject matter, he writes: “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. ... it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us. ... In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence, this message is both timely and significant. ... For this reason, I wish in my first Encyclical to speak of the love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others”. (DCE, 1) This is the message he wishes to address to people within the Church. For he knows that a return to the essence of our faith - the living of a deep and true Christian love – will be the necessary catalyst for evangelization in the modern world.
“Pruning the Tree”. The Holy Father, shortly after his election to the papacy, gave another indication as to the direction his papacy would take. He spoke of “pruning the tree” – something he had mentioned earlier, when he was still a Cardinal Prefect. According to this principle, the Church, though nominally very large, was unhealthy and decaying in many places, in a great number of its branches. This situation was caused by things such as false teaching and the effects of secularization, and was the cause of a stagnation in the growth of the Church. A popular saying in Germany that the Holy Father is wont to cite in regards to the Church today is roughly translated as: “pruned, the tree grows again”. According to the Holy Father’s vision, God Himself is in the process of “pruning the ecclesiastical tree” – something He has a long history of (Is 18:3-8; Lk 13:6-9; Rm 11:17-24) – so that it will grow again. That means the Church will be reduced in its numbers, but that “remnant” – the result of the pruning work of the Lord (Is 10:20-23; Rm 11:1-5) – will be much more faithful and holy. The Holy Father, for his part, is trying to “form” that remnant into a deeply loving community that will witness powerfully through its great charity. We must remember that “believers can have more than a little to do with the rise of atheism. To the extent that they ... fail in their religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than to reveal the true nature of God and of religion”. (CCC 2125) To the degree the Church consists of “dead weight” or “dead branches” is the degree the Church will scandalize the people and continue to spread disbelief rather than lead people to belief. On the other hand, to the degree the Church is healthy is the degree the Church will effectively witness and attract people to Herself.
8. A. Holding Hands at the Our Father; Using the Orans Position During the Our Father. Regarding holding hands at the Our Father and using the orans position during the Our Father (the extending of one’s arms and raising of one’s hands), it is clear that neither of these actions are provided for in the rubrics. The practice of holding hands at the "Our Father", it seems, was introduced to show unity. However, if that was the case, it logically follows that we should hold hands throughout Mass. This, however, would be a “duplication of signs”, because our singing or reciting of prayers together also expresses our union. In any case, as Rome says: "The prolonged holding of hands is [strictly] a sign of communion" (Notitiae 11  226). This is problematic, because the ultimate sign of communion is the reception of the Eucharist. As Scripture says: "Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf [body of Christ]" (1 Cor. 10:17). If ultimate unity is achieved through Holy Communion, why would we even bother introducing another posture of unity that is inferior to one that we are going to experience very shortly? The holding of hands, on the contrary, is in general merely a sign of personal unity from a human or physical perspective, not a spiritual one, and usually arises spontaneously only among small groups. If the hand holding is meant to express peace, as some claim, it fails to do so: "The prolonged holding of hands is of itself a sign of communion rather than of peace" (Notitiae 11  226). Furthermore, we already have a gesture for that at the Rite of Peace: "For according to the tradition of the Roman Rite, this practice does not have the connotation either of reconciliation or of a remission of sins, but instead signifies peace [primarily], communion [as one of many signs] and charity before the reception of the Most Holy Eucharist" (RS, 71). This is what happens when gestures that are not officially liturgical are introduced into the Mass apart from the proper authorities. Whatever the merits of the argument might be, the fact remains that the introduction of this practice by the liturgists was just another attempt to take the focus off Jesus in the Eucharist - in this case, the Eucharist as sign and instrument of communion, and place it instead on the community.
[FROM CHAPTER 4: OPTIONS]
4e. Silent Canon. It is also permissible to say the Canon silently. A priest may choose to do so in order to convey the notion that he alone offers sacrifice in the strict sense, and at this peak moment of the Mass, intercedes for the people with the Lord, and offers sacrifice on their behalf. He may also choose to do this to make for a more solemn atmosphere, as the Eucharistic prayer out loud in the vernacular sometimes takes some of the mystery and reverence out of the consecration. When the canon is recited in the same tone and manner as the rest of the Mass, it does not seem as though it is any more important than the Confiteor or the Collect. When the people observe the priest praying the Canon in silence, they immediately realize there has been a shift in meaning and importance, and if bells are not used, it is essential to make clear to the people that we have entered a more solemn and important time and event in the Mass. Even if bells are used, the silence accentuates the solemnity.
E2. The Holy Father on the Silent Canon. The Holy Father attaches a great deal of importance to the Canon, as it is the high point of the entire liturgy – in fact, the entire life of the Christian. Thus, the Holy Father comes out strongly in favour of the “silent canon”. So we read: “Silence especially, might constitute communion before God. . . . In the West the silent Canon - overlaid in part with meditative singing - became the norm. . . . It is really not true that reciting the whole Eucharistic Prayer out loud and without interruptions is a prerequisite for the participation of everyone in this central act of the Mass” (The Spirit of the Liturgy, 215). “The first words of the various prayers should be said out loud as a kind of cue for the congregation, so that each individual in his silent prayer can take up the intonation and bring the personal into the communal and the communal into the personal. Anyone who has experienced a church united in the silent praying of the Canon will know what a really filled silence is. . . . Here everyone does pray the Canon together, albeit in a bond with the special task of the priestly ministry.” (Ibid., 215). But “in no sense does the whole Canon always have to be said out loud” (Ibid., 214).
B. The Hijacking Begins
8. When the Second Vatican Council came to a close on December 8, 1965, the responsibility for implementing the Conciliar teachings and decrees naturally fell upon the bishops. After all, the conciliar document Christus Dominus, which the Council Fathers had approved just weeks earlier, explained that the bishop was the Chief Shepherd and Teacher of the people in his diocese:
"The bishops themselves, having been appointed by the Holy Spirit, are successors of the Apostles as pastors of souls. Together with the supreme pontiff and under his authority they are sent to continue throughout the ages the work of Christ, the eternal pastor. Christ gave the Apostles and their successors the command and the power to teach all nations, to hallow men in the truth, and to feed them. Bishops, therefore, have been made true and authentic teachers of the faith, pontiffs, and pastors through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to them" (Christus Dominus, 2).
9. However, the bishops were not exactly prepared for the task assigned to them. The entire conciliar experience confronted them with issues that they had never given a second thought to (7). Furthermore, “many of the council fathers, after they had returned to their dioceses, seemed themselves to be in a state of confusion over what they had done” (8). All of a sudden, “’Renewal experts’ sprang up everywhere, and the most contradictory explanations of the council were offered to Catholics thirsting for guidance” (9). The bishops, for their part, offered little or no catechesis themselves, leaving that task instead to the “experts”. After all, many bishops were not theological experts themselves, and up until that time, they placed a great deal of faith in their theologians. (10) When the bishops themselves began looking for guidance, they naturally turned to their theologians, trusting that they knew what they were doing and talking about. (11) However, many of the theologians were imbibed with the Modernist spirit, and they were committed to seeing their ideas permeate the entire life of the Church. This was true in two major areas—doctrine and liturgy.
10. Soon after the council, a new catechism was published under the auspicies of the Dutch bishops. The Modernist Dutch peritus, Fr. Schillebeeckx, was behind the production of the new catechism. This "Dutch Catechism" espoused what came to be known as "creedless Christianity", because it eliminated many Catholic teachings and watered down Catholic truth to a point where traditional Catholic teaching could no longer be discerned within its covers. (12) There is no mention of original sin, redemption through the Cross, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Trinity, the existence of angels, the reality of the ordained priesthood, or any other central Catholic tenets. (13) The Mass was described as a community meal, but not as a propitiatory sacrifice. The priesthood of all believers was taught to the exclusion of ordained ministry. And conscience, rather than the infallibility of the Magisterium, was emphasized as the arbitor of truth. (14) The teachings of the Dutch Catechism, though there was some Catholic truth in them, was completely harmonious with the Modernist system and Modernist ideas. Nonetheless, the Dutch Catechism was translated and published in numerous languages, and sold in massive quantity. (15) Though the Vatican expressed grave dissatisfaction, the popularity of the work left Catholics with the impression that the Modernism of the Dutch Catechism was "where the Church is at today", that the content of the catechism was the "theology of Vatican II".
11. No soooner did Sacrosanctum Concilium come out that implementation began. Shortly after the conclusion of Vatican II, more and more of the Mass was being said in the vernacular to the point where the Vatican reluctantly gave into the request of the bishops to allow the entire Mass to be said in the language of the people. (16) The Vatican recommended freestanding altars in 1964 in order to allow priests the option to celebrate Mass facing the people, (17) and practically overnight every priest had turned around and was facing the people during the celebration of Mass. Valuable high altars were destroyed and artwork removed in expensive renovations. Holy Communion, once given only by priests, was now being distributed primarily by handfuls of lay ministers. Wreckless liturgical "experimentation" took place, including "clown Masses" where priests would put on a clown costume rather than a chasuble and stole in order to "perform" while offering Mass; nuns "celebrating Mass" in place of priests; and the replacement of bread and wine at the consecration with cookies and soda or pizza and beer. (18) In short, there was a strong push to "horizontalize" the Mass, making it a community celebration rather than divine worship. And it was all justified in the "name of Vatican II", which called for "fully conscious and active participation" (SC, 14) and whose purpose was to "meet the needs of modern times" (SC, 1). These liturgical novelties, it was explained, were in the "spirit of Vatican II".
Notes: 7. Dr. James Hitchcock: "Off the Rails: Was Vatican II Hijacked?" (Crisis; June, 2004).
10. Msgr. George A. Kelly: "If I Were a New Bishop" (Catholic Dossier; May/June, 2000).
12. Lorene Collins, Salvation Redefined (Toronto: Life Ethics Information Centre, 2003), 5.
13. Ibid., 14.
14. Jack Taylor: "The Modernist Persona" (This Rock; November, 1996).
15. Collins, 14.
16. Following the promulgation of the New Order of Mass, the instruction Liturgicae Instaurationes, 11, issued by the Vatican, provided for the translation of the Missal completely into vernacular languages. Once this had been done, the Latin-only Missale Romanum, practically speaking, had become obsolete, as vernacular missals were used almost exclusively.
17. The 1964 Vatican instruction Inter Oecumenici, 91, states: "The main altar should preferably be freestanding, to permit walking around it and celebration facing the people". Note, this is only a "preference". However, not only were freestanding altars placed in newly constructed buildings; but in practically every Church, a freestanding altar was placed and used exclusively in churches. At times, the high altars, besides falling into disuse, were even removed, many of them being shattered to pieces and carted out to the dumpster.
[FROM CHAPTER 7: MISUNDERSTANDINGS CLARIFIED]
4. Liturgical Music and Language
Shortly after the close of the Council, the vernacular completely replaced the use of Latin at the Mass and in all liturgies. Thus, today, any use (or attempted use) of Latin in the liturgy is labeled “Pre-Vatican”. As a result, the long tradition of Gregorian Chant came to a virtual end, being replaced with modern compositions and vernacular ordinaries. As well, folk music and jazzed-up, rocked-up music began to be used in the so-called “Rock Masses”, “Polka Masses”, and the like.
Although Vatican II stated that "since the use of the [vernacular] may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended," (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36) the Council mandated that “the use of the Latin language [was] to be preserved” in the liturgy. (SC 36) Only the readings, the prayers of the faithful, and sometimes the “propers” (prayers that change from Mass to Mass) were to be in the vernacular, while the ordinary parts of the Mass (the parts that do not change) were to be said in Latin, which is why "steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them." (SC, 54) Likewise, the elimination of Gregorian Chant was unjustified, for "the treasure of sacred music [was] to be preserved and fostered with great care," (SC, 114) since the Church's “musical tradition [is a] treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art" (SC, 112). The pearl of this treasure in the Christian tradition was Gregorian Chant, which is why "the Church acknowledges [it] as specially suited to the Roman liturgy” and sought to ensure it “be given pride of place in liturgical services.” (SC, 116). The Council even made provisions that “an edition [of Chant] be prepared containing simpler melodies, for use in small churches," (SC, 117) thus ensuring its use everywhere. Therefore, Gregorian Chant was to be the rule rather than the exception. Other forms of music were not to be excluded, (SC 116) and of course, “people . . . have their own musical traditions [which] play a great part in their religious and social life [requiring] due importance [be] attached to their music, and a suitable place . . . given to it." (SC, 119) However, these were not supposed to exercise a monopoly, or even dominate.
Chapter 1: "Knowing and Assessing the Enemy"
The World Created in Love. Man Receives the Spirit of Love. Love is Life-Giving. Sex as the Sign and Instrument of Love. Fallen Angels Reject Love through Abuse of Free Will. Envious Satan desires the Fall of Man. Man Rejects Love after being Tempted and Deceived by Satan. Life-Giving Love Versus Death-Causing Selfishness. Love Versus Selfishness in Biblical Salvation History. Sinful Man Fails to Triumph Over Death. The Immaculate Conception: Blessed Virgin Mary. The Incarnation: Jesus Christ. Life-Giving Love Conquers Death by Death. Evil Defeated but Still Active. Love Over Selfishness in Ecclesial Salvation History: Age of the Martyrs. Age of Celibate Evangelists. Age of Christendom. Age of Saint-Reformers. Satan’s Seven Revolutions. An Eighth Revolution: The Sexual Revolution.
Chapter 2: Battlegrounds and Fortifications
Sex as the Ultimate Battleground. Society Destroyed through Sexual Revolution. Affects of Contraception: Selfishness. Affects of Contraception: Culture of Death. Contraception the Segway to the Slippery Slope. The Birth Control Pill. Sexuality Confused through Feminism. Egoism Over the Cross. Authority and Supremacy of the Church. Abuses and Scandal in the Church. Sexual Revolution Provoked by the Church. Apostasy Leads to Exile. Christianity Versus Islam. Christianity Subject to Exile. A Sexual Restoration Led by the “Remnant”.
PART II: WHITHER
Chapter 3: "Strategies and Tactics"
Deus Caritas Est: “God is Love”. Encyclical as Promoting Christianity to the World. Encyclical as Leading Christians Back to Essence of their Faith: Love. “Pruning the Tree”. “The New Evangelization”: Building a “Eucharistic Civilization of Love”. The Theology of the Body. Eros and Agape. The Definition (and Mis-Definition) of Love. Strategic History: A History of Evangelisation. Conversion of Sexuality. “Divine Accommodation”. Negative Accommodation. Positive Accommodation. “Ecclesial Accommodation”. “Theological Accommodation”. The Widening Chasm between the Church and the (Modern) World. The Development and Causes of this Chasm. Comparing Israel and the Church: The Kingdom of Israel and the Church as a Kingdom of Priests, The “Politicization” of the Kingdom of Israel and the Church, Divine Judgment upon Israel and the Church, The “Reform” and the “Restoration” of Israel and the Church, The Providential but Concessionary and Temporary “Retreating behind the Fortress” of Israel and the Church. The Need for Ecclesial and Theological Accommodation. Accommodation a Chief Principle in Scripture and Church History. Bridging the Gap between the Church and the World. Stages of Bridging the Gap. I. Practical Christianity. Christianity “Works”. Irrationality of Contemporary Man and Society. Dialogue not Argument. 1. All Have Share in the Truth. 2. Fidelity to Doctrine but Adjustment of Message based on Audience. 3. Open to Learning. 4. Dialogue Methods: Universal but Varied. “Inculturation” of the Gospel. The Division Between the Gospel and Culture. Evangelisation of / through / with the Media. 1. Synthesis of Faith and Reason, of Revelation and Wisdom. 2. Philosophy and the Intelligentsia as Greatest Influence on World. 3. Anti-Religious Art and Artists as Greatest Promoters and Shapers of Culture. Applying the Gospel to the Media. 1. The Religious Nature of Art and Artists. 2. God Uses that which Satan Perverts to Defeat Satan. 3. Turning the Tables on Satan: Using the Media against Him. Making Use of Art and Artists. Contemporary Evangelism. The “Kernel of Truth” in the Media. Three-Point Process of Inculturation of Pop Culture. Elements of Pop Culture as Bridge to Gospel. Example of Pop Inculturation. Process Applied to Example. “Rock and Roll” Music. Examples. Creative Examples. Caveat: Selective Use. Gospel Leaven. 1. Dynamic Involvement. 2. Solidarity. 3. Success in Temporal Affairs. Falsely Dividing “Secular” and “Religious”. Attraction to Christianity through Worldly / Temporal Success. Christian Contributions to Pop Culture. Allegory. Analogy. Christianity as All Things. Caveat: Quarantine. “Pre-Evangelisation”. II. Theoretical Christianity. III. Eschatological Christianity. The Areopagus.
Chapter 4: "Recruitment and Training"
Evangelization Begins with Catholics. The Need for Ongoing Catholic Formation. Uprooting “Phariseeism” in the Church. “Religion vs. Relationship”. Alterior Motives for Practicing Religion. The Effects of Religious Hypocrisy on Evangelism. Dealing with the “Church’s Sins”. “Head” and “Heart”. Balancing the “Baltimore Catechism” and the “Charismatic Renewal”. Evangelizing Even in the Midst of Religious Hypocrisy. Types of “False” or “Impure” Christianity: “Critical”, “Scrupulous”, “Superficial”, “Presumptuous”, “Inconstant”, “Hypocritical”, and “Self-Interested” Christians. Marks of “True Christianity”: Interior, Trustful, Holy, Constant, Disinterested. Love at the Root of Christianity. How Catechism has “Love” at the Root of All Tenets. Defining “Practicing Catholics” as those who Love. Religious Practice does not Automatically Lead to Love. The Need for Healing. The Church must become a Loving Community.
[NOT WRITTEN: OUTLINED AND PROPOSED]
Responding to the World’s Challenges in Love and Humility, not Sarcasm or Anger. Realization that Hostility towards the Church is Often Born from a Reaction to Church Abuses. The Vocations Crisis. A Renewed Priesthood and Religious Life as a Key to the New Evangelization. The Choosing of Bishops Based on Political Savvy or Holiness? Renewed Homiletics an Essential Key. A New “Catholic” Feminism.
Chapter 5: "Allies"
Satan as the Only Real Enemy. Satan’s Strategy: Divide and Conquer. The Tower of Babel and Examples of Modern-Day Equivalents. Seeing Non-Catholics Not as Enemies but as Would-Be or even Current Allies. Interreligious Dialogue and Conversions. Prayer. Evangelization as Love and as Loving.
Chapter 6: "Weapons and Instruments of War"
Theology of “Holy War”. Scriptural Look at Holy War. Fall of Jericho: Liturgical Battle. Christians Conquer Roman Empire through Love while Jewish Zealots are Slaughtered Trying to Accomplish the Same End. Liturgical Renewal and Revolution a Key to the New Evangelization. The Power of the Mass (Historical Examples). The Rosary and Other Forms of Prayer and Spirituality. The Media. The Power of Truth. Politics. The Allure of Honesty and Integrity. Scripture as Applied to All Things and as Applied to the Modern World and Everyday Life. Holiness and Its History in Evangelization (and the Failure of Mere Apologetics). Penetrating and Living Holiness in Every Area and Aspect of the World.
Chapter 7: "Commanders and Leaders"
Saints: among the Church Triumphant and among the Church Militant.
1. The Liturgy Defined
The Liturgy. The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The Priesthood. Substance and Accidents. Difficulties and Eucharistic Miracles. The Sacraments and Sacramental Signs. Efficacy of Sacraments. Holy Communion. Worthy Reception. Corporal Union. Daily Mass. The Blessed Sacrament. Sacrifice. The Sacrifice of Christ. The Sacrifice of the Mass. Calvary and the Mass: Differences. Sacrifice of the Church. The Mass as a Memorial. Ends of Mass: Divine Life. The Mass: Blessing. The Mass: Response. The Mass: Source and Summit. Names for the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Dispositions. The Saints on the Mass. The Passover. The Passover Lamb. The Fourth Cup. Connections. The Passover Fulfilled. Eating the Passover Lamb. The Mass Prefigured. Other Prefigurements. The Eucharist Prefigured. The Heavenly Liturgy. The Wedding Banquet of the Lamb. Old Testament Connections. New Testament Connections. The One Remaining Sacrifice. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.
2. Propitiatory Sacrifice Versus Community Meal
Two Views of the Mass. Changes in the Mass. Modernism Defined. Modernist View of the Mass. Brief History of Modernism. The Mass as Defined by the Church. The Mass as Sacrifice and Meal. The Altering of Language. The Meaning of Worship. The Holy Father on the Nature of the Mass.
3. The Reform of the Reform
Reform of the Reform. Theological Shift in the Mass. Transcendence and Immanence. Results of the Initial Reform. Return to the “Pre-Conciliar” Liturgy (Tridentine Mass)?. Reforming the Liturgical Reform. Principles. Letter of Vatican II: Documents. Spirit of Vatican II: Intention. Preservation and Renewal. Definitions and Concepts of the Mass. The Mass as a Sacrifice and the Priesthood. The Mass as the Source and Summit of the Christian Life. The Mass as the “Heavenly Liturgy”. General Principles of Reform. Adaptation in Line with Tradition. Restoration and Renewal. Mutable Elements in Need of Change. Research and Investigation. Adaptation and Inculturation. Prerequisites for Change: the Good of the Church, and Organic Growth. Simplicity, Clarity, Understandability of Rites and Texts. Active Participation. The Nature of Active Participation. Role of the Pastors. Word of God (Scripture). Sense of Community. Liturgical Commission.
4. Loyalty to Liturgical Law
Liturgical Law. The Reason for Liturgical Law. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. The Holy Father on Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. Liturgical Abuses. The Affects of Liturgical Abuse. The Holy Father on Creativity. The Holy Father on Banality and Restoration of the Sacred. The "Clericalism" of Liturgical Abusers. Legitimacy of Church Law. Correcting Liturgical Abuse. Various Issues.
5. Issues Priests May Have to Address
Sacred Silence, Silence in the Liturgy of the Word. Missing Mass, Arguments for Missing Mass, Lay Services, Abuse of Lay Services. Dress for Mass, Enforcing the Dress Code. Chapel Veils, Chapel Veils and Abrogated Custom, Reasons for the Abrogation of Chapel Veils, Contemporary Use of the Chapel Veil. Liturgical Dress for Priests, Liturgical Dress for Ministers. Gender Issues: Gender Neutral/Inclusive Language, Gender Inclusive Language, The Use of the Term “Father” by Jesus, Quandary of Objectors to the Use of the Title “Father”, Reason God is Called “Father”, The Influence of Feminism, The Charge of Causing Offense, The Charge of “Confusion”, The Appropriateness of Calling God “Father”. Washing the feet of Women. Women Priests, Reasons for the Teaching, Jesus Ordaining Only Men, The Apostles Ordaining Only Men, The Magisterium, Reason for the All-Male Priesthood, Differences in Roles and not Discrimination, Authority and “Rights”. Women Ministers: Altar Girls, Reason for Exclusive Use of Altar Boys, Problems with Altar Girls, Groups of Boys Retained, Arguments for Altar Girls, The "Right" to Altar Service, Reserved to the Priest. Lay Preaching and Recitation of the Eucharistic Prayer. Prayers of the Faithful. Standing Around the Altar During the Consecration, Causing an Obstruction and Distraction. Holding Hands at the Our Father and Using the Orans, Motives for the Holding of Hands, Using the Orans Position. Dramatic Acting at Mass. Liturgical Dance. Clapping and Applause at Mass. Sunday School, Problems and Solutions. External and Internal Participation.
6. Holy Communion
Communion in the Hand vs. Communion on the Tongue: Memoriale Domini, Memoriale Domini Summarized, The Indult, Liceity of Communion in the Hand, Communion on the Tongue and the Last Supper, Motives behind Communion in the Hand. Communion Under Both Species: Liceity of Communion Under Both Species, The Benefits of Communion Under Both Speices, Problems with Communion Under Both Species, Preference for Intinction, Intinction and Scriptural Injunctions. Intercommunion: Eastern Orthodox and Holy Communion, Protestants and Holy Communion. Kneeling vs. Standing: Kneeling in Scripture – the Old Testament, Kneeling in Scripture – the New Testament, Kneeling as a Sign of Adoration, Kneeling at the Consecration, Kneeling after Holy Communion, Kneeling in the Early Church, The Holy Father on Archaeologism, The Holy Father on Kneeling and Standing. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHCs): Necessary Qualities Required of EMHCs, EMHCs in Liturgical Law, Proper Use of EMHCs, Communion Under Both Species and EMHCs, Receiving Holy Communion First, Arguments and Motives against the Priest Receiving First, Blessings from EMHCs, Alternatives to Blessings from EMHCs. Self-Communication, Role of the Laity. Breaking the Host. Sacred Vessels, The Communion Plate.
7. Options Reserved to the Priest
Latin in the Mass: Defining "Latin Mass", The Use of the Vernacular, Balancing Latin and the Vernacular, The Reason for Latin, The Late Introduction of Latin, Full Active and Conscious Participation, The Holy Father on “Active Participation”, The ‘Divisive’ Nature of Latin, The Holy Father on Latin, Introducing Latin. Ad Orientam vs Ad Populum: "Facing East", Theological Reasons for Ad Orientam, Practical Reasons for Ad Orientam, Community over Sacrifice, Objections to Ad Orientam, Ad Populum in the Early Church, Practical Reasons for Ad Populum, The Missal Presupposes Ad Orientam, The Holy Father on Ad Orientam, The Holy Father on Ad Populum, Introducing Ad Orientam. The Sign of Peace, Omitting the Sign of Peace, Objections to the Sign of Peace Answered, How to Exchange the Sign, The Priest Leaving the Sanctuary, The Holy Father on the Sign of Peace. Eucharistic Prayers, Reason for Multiple Eucharistic Prayers, Abuse of Norms, When to Use the Eucharistic Prayers. Silent Canon, The Holy Father on the Silent Canon. Homilies, The Holy Father on Homilies, Manner of Preaching. "Smells and Bells": Incense, Bells, The Use of Veils.
8. Sacred Music
Sacred Music, Secular Music, Music Proper to Sacred Liturgy, Various Secular Styles, The Holy Father on Church Music. Instruments, Restrictions on Instruments. Gregorian Chant: The Development of Gregorian Chant, Practical Use of Gregorian Chant, The Holy Father on Gregorian Chant, Introducing Gregorian Chant. Lyrics, Community-Centered Songs, Theologically Suspect Eucharistic Songs, Protestant Songs, Elimination of "Bad" Songs, Post-Liturgical Crisis.
9. Sacred Art
Crucifix vs. Cross, The Crucifix a Later Development. Statues and Images: Two Artistic Abuses, Modern Art according to Vatican II, Vatican II on Modern Art Explained, Iconoclasm According to Vatican II, Iconoclast Arguments, Images a "Distraction", Images Contrary to "Noble Simplicity", Images a Reminder of Heavenly Realities, The Holy Father on Images and Iconoclasm, Other Purposes of Images, Motives of Iconoclasts, The Holy Father on Sacred Art, Images of Non-Catholics and Secular Figures.
10. Sacred Architecture
The Tabernacle: Proper Placement of the Tabernacle, Problems in Removing the Tabernacle, The Preference for a Centralized Tabernacle, Objections to a Centralized Tabernacle, Objections to Central Tabernacle Answered, No Practical Confusion, Tabernacle in the Early Church, Uniqueness of St. Peter’s Basilica, The “Blessed Sacrament Chapel”, The Holy Father on the Tabernacle. The Altar: Motives Behind Replacing "Altars" with "Tables", Practice of the Early Church, The "Altar" at the Last Supper, The Development of the Altar, Placement of the Ambo, Removal or Elimination of the "High Altar". The Presidential Chair. Communion Rails, The Need for Communion Rails. Seating, Problems with the "Fan Shape", Pews. The Choir, Making Changes in the Choir. Renovations and Modern Churches: Aesthetical Problems with Renovated and Modern Churches, Raising our Hearts and Minds to the Heavens, Problems with Modern Churches, The Church as the Archetype of Heaven, Mixing the Secular and the Profane, "Beautifying" Churches.
11. The Tridentine Mass and the Novus Ordo Missae
Quo Primum: Requirements for Infallibility, "Infallibility" of Quo Primum, Purpose of Quo Primum, "Perpetuity" of Quo Primum, Mutability of Liturgical Rites, "Fixing" of Tridentine Mass, Popes Authorized to Alter Missal, Missal Fixed "Indefinitely", Reason for Universalization of the Missal, Motives for the "Dogmatizing" of Quo Primum. The Ottaviani Intervention: Points in the Critical Study, Validity of the Arguments, Attacks on the GIRM and not the Missal, Attacks on the Novus Ordo but only as Popularly Celebrated, Attacks on Problems which have been Rectified, Attacks on Changes Compensated for Elsewhere, Attacks on Options, Attacks on Intricate Issues. Novus Ordo Proper: Prayers/Rubrics of the New Missal, The Penitential Rite, Offertory, Eucharistic Prayers, The Institution Narrative, The Memorial Acclamation, Rites. "Authors" of the New Mass. "Bad Fruits". Reason for the Novus Ordo. Conclusion: Necessity of Catechesis, Catechesis the Solution, Problems Rooted in Poor Catechesis. Tridentine Missal Situation-Specific. The Holy Father on the “Tridentine Mass”, The Holy Father on the “Novus Ordo Missae”. Two Extremes.
12. Ite, Missa Est
Liturgy Directed towards "Sending Forth". The Ideal Mass. The Typical Mass. Legitimate Variations, Objection to Legitimate Variations. Difficulties in Proscribing the Ideal Mass. The Holy Father on Variations. The "Community Mass" for Small Groups. Gradual Change. Popularizing the Ideal Mass. Phariseeism. Minimalism. "Pomp and Ceremony". Essentials of the Mass.
Part I: The Story behind Vatican II 1. Pope John's Council
A Surprising Convocation. Inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Expectation and Excitement. Pope John's Opening Speech: the Purpose of the Council. Pope Paul's Closing Speech: Optimism. Post-Conciliar Crisis. Betrayal of the Council. Pope Paul's Diagnosis: Demonic Attack. Contemporary Evaluation of the Council?.
2. Before Vatican II: The Modernist Heresy
The Catholic Faith Explained. Heresies. Modernism Explained. Misleading Modernist Terminology. Modernist Critique of Christ and Christian Revelation. Modernism Before the Council. The Spread of Modernism.
3. During Vatican II: Two Factions
The "Conservatives" and the "Progressives". The Conservative Camp. The Progressive Camp. Modernist Presence? Compromise. Examples of Ambiguity. Modernist M.O.? The True "Catholicity" of the Final Documents, Properly Interpreted.
4. After Vatican II: The Implementation Hijacked
A Climate Ripe for a Modernist Explosion: Modernist Agenda; Pre-Conciliar Catechetical and Liturgical Time Bombs; Biased Media Coverage; Vigil of the Social and Sexual Revolution; The So-called "True Spirit of Vatican II"; Proof-texting the Council.
B. The Hijacking Begins: Episcopal Implementation; Bishops Cede to "Experts"; The "Dutch Catechism"; Crisis in Liturgical Reform; Doctrinal Confusion.
C. Humanae Vitae: The Death Knell of Church Authority: New Views on Contraception; Catholic Support for Infallibility; Liberals Search for One Issue on which to Promote Dissent; The Pro-Contraception Commission; Reaction to Humanae Vitae; Institutionalized Dissent.
D. Reaction rather than Implementation: A Practical Schism; Liturgical and Doctrinal Battles Render Implementation Impossible.
E. The Council "Misimplemented": The "Hijacking" of Vatican II and its Implementation.
Part II: The Relevance of Vatican II
5. Forty Years Later: The Place of the Council Today
A. Three Views of Vatican II: The "Modernist" View, The "Traditionalist" View, Searching for the Middle Ground, The "Progressive Conservative" View, Work of the Holy Spirit: Divine Power over Human Politics.
B. Response to Both Extremes: Response to the Modernist View, The Magisterium: Key to Discerning “Spirit of the Council”, “Pre-Conciliar”. Response to Traditionalists, Delay of Judgment on Merits of Vatican II, Case in Point: Council of Nicaea, A Doctrinal and Pastoral Council, So-Called “Bad Fruits” and their True Source, Continuity of Vatican II, Summary and Balance.
C. Reasons for the Second Vatican Council: Why the Second Vatican Council? "To consummate the truncated First Vatican Council", "The attitude of the Church toward the world", "New ways to express old truths", "The role of the laity in the Church", "Greater participation in the ecumenical movement and in Interreligious Dialogue", "Reform of the Liturgy", "To be faithful to the will of the Holy Spirit". Problems with “Pre-Conciliar” Church.
D. The Relevance of Vatican II Today: A Grace and Gift but Not Fully Implemented. “True Council” vs “False Spirit”. Expectations Turned on their Head. False Interpretations. Partial and Selective Reading. The “True Council”. Remains to be Implemented. Full-Flowering of the Council Still Expected. Prophetic Nature of Vatican II. Vatican II Not A Mistake. Negative Answer: Sin: “Sin of Commission" - Phariseeism, “Sin of Omission” - Lack of Appreciation. The Positive Answer: God’s Providence. Examples in Church History. Positive Affect: Greater Interiority and Appreciation. Vatican II Prepared Church for Social Revolution. The Place of Vatican II in the Future of the Church. Lack of Vision / Focus. “Reform of the Liturgical Reform”. “Re-Implementation of Vatican II”. Recovery and Preservation of Vatican II. Return to the Documents of Vatican II.
6. The Future: Implementing Vatican II Anew
A. Central Conciliar Theme: “The New and the Old” (Mt 13:52). Re-Implementation. Ressourcement and Aggiornamento. Radical “Aggiornamento”. Ressourcement and Aggiornamento: Complimentary rather than Contradictory. Ressourcement Leads to Aggiornamento. False Understanding of Ressourcement. Sacred Scripture. Sacred Tradition: Patristics. Relevancy of the Sources. Aggiornamento.
B. Principles for Reform (7 Part Plan). Return to the Letter; Return to the Spirit; Ressourcement / Aggiornamento (Catholic Tradition; Updated) (against Traditionalists); Reflection on Initial Reform; Reflection on Initial Reform: Church; Reflection on Initial Reform: World; Rooted in the Paschal Mystery. Goal: Deeper Reception - Interior Assimilation and Practical Implementation. Pastoral Program.
C. The Pastoral Plan Explained. Ways and Means to Achieve Pastoral Plan: Points 1, 2, 5. Ways and Means to Achieve Pastoral Plan: Point 3 (Diocesan Synod). Model #1: The Monastery of Cluny. Model #2: Charles Borromeo and the Diocese of Milan. Modern Example of Both Models. The Need for a Model Diocese and a Model Parish to Spur the Re-Implementation. Pastoral Plan: Method of Execution. Saints, not Reformers. The Next Generation. Commending this Work to the Holy Spirit.
Part III: Quoting Vatican II
7. The "False Spirit of Vatican II": 14 Misunderstandings of Vatican II Clarified
1. Authority of Councils. 2. The Sacraments. 3. The Mass. 4. Liturgical Music and Language. 5. Sacred Art and Architecture. 6. Papal Authority. 7. The Priesthood. 8. Church Doctrine. 9. Dissent from Church Doctrine. 10. Scripture and Tradition. 11. The Role of the Laity. 12. Ecumenism. 13. Interreligious Dialogue. 14. Life and Sexual Issues.
8. "Pre-Vatican": 10 Alleged 'Errors of Vatican II' Refuted
1. “This one Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church”. 2. Orthodox: "Sister Churches". 3. "No Salvation Outside the Church?" 4. Common Prayer and Worship. 5. Ecumenical Dialogue. 6. Blame for Separation. 7. Interreligious Dialogue. 8. Religious Liberty. 9. “Non-Catholic” Teachings. 10. World Unity.
9. The "True Spirit of Vatican II": 50 Key Teachings of Vatican II Presented
I. FAITHFUL: 1. Communion (Unity) through Service, (according to) Charisms. 2. Holiness through Charity. 3. Evangelisation and the Missions. 4. Temporal Renewal; Building up the World; Collaboration with Men of Good Will. 5. Devotion to Prayer and Participation in the Liturgy. 6. Integrity of Life.
II. PASTORS: 7. The Pastor as Priest (Sanctifying Office). 8. The Pastor as Prophet (Teaching Office). 9. The Pastor as King (Ruling Office).
III. BISHOPS: 10. Pastoral Role. 11. Holiness of Life and Pastoral Charity. 12. Preaching, Teaching, Evangelism; Role in the Modern World. 13. Relationship with Other Clerics.
IV. PRIESTS: 14. Holiness; Priestly Qualities; Evangelical Counsels. 15. Priest Sanctifying through Prayer and Liturgy. 16. Priest as Prophet, Teaching and Preaching, Concern for Evangelism and the Missions. 17. Priest as Ruler, in his Role of Pastoring. 18. Priest: Spiritual, Sacramental, Prayer Life. 19. Relationship with Brother Priests.
V. SEMINARIANS and SEMINARIES: 20. Priestly Life. 21. Pastoral Training and Dialogue. 22. Spiritual Formation. 23. Personal Formation. 24. Teaching Methods; Philosophy; Theology.
VI. RELIGIOUS: 25. Christ as Model for Religious Life; Interior Renewal of Religious. 26. Return to Sources. 27. Share in the Life of the Church. 28. Adjustments in a Spirit of Renewal; Union and Consolidation.
VII. LAITY: 29. The Laity: Evangelism. 30. The Laity: Sanctifying the World. 31. Charity (Soul of Apostolate) and Unity of Life. 32. Work in the Church. 33. Lay Apostolate. 34. Marriage and the Family. 35. Special Groups. 36. Renewal of the State.
VIII. EASTERN CHRISTIANITY: 37. Eastern Christianity.
IX. EDUCATION: 38. Education: Purpose; Ways and Means. 39. Catholic Schools, Colleges. 40. Teachers, Professors, Exegetes, Catechists.
X. LITURGY: 41. Liturgical Reform. XI. MARY and the SAINTS: 42. Devotion to Mary and the Saints.
XII. MEDIA: 43. Social Communication: the Media.
XIII. ECUMENISM: 44. First Principle: Truth and Fairness towards Separated Brethren. 45. Second Principle: Dialogue. 46. Third Principle: Cooperation, Common Prayer.
XIV. INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE: 47. Interreligious Dialogue. XV. SOCIAL JUSTICE: 48. Social Justice: Purpose and Ways and Means; Peace; Economic Development; Culture.
XVI. MODERN WORLD: 49. The Church in the Modern World. 50. “Practical Christianity” and Inculturation: Bridging the Gap.
1. Pope John's Council
Saturday, May 15, 2010
The New and The Old: Synopsis, Outline, and Excerpt
An Acceptable Sacrifice: Synopsis, Outline, and Excerpt
Overcoming the World: Synopsis, Outline, and Excerpt
4. Without Spot or Wrinkle: A Theology of the Body
5. Providence: A Spiritual Autobiography (ongoing)
5. Understanding Reconciliation
1. Collected Spiritual Reflections and Insights (ongoing)
2. Collected Theological Speculations and Insights (ongoing)
3. Collected Biblical Reflections and Interpretations (ongoing)
ARTICLES (or ARTICLE SERIES)
5. “And He Is Divided”
1. An Acceptable Sacrifice: Reforming the Liturgical Reform (2003-2007)
2. The New and The Old: Implementing Vatican II Anew (2002-2008)
3. Overcoming the World: The New Evangelization as a Love Revolution (2008-pr)
1. A Compact Apology for Catholic Christianity (2000-2002)
2. A Compact Catechism of Catholic Christianity (1999-2002)
3. A Compact Gospel according to Catholic Christianity (c. 2000)
4. Understanding the Mass: And Getting More Out of It (c.2000-2002)
ARTICLES (or ARTICLE SERIES)
1. “The Priesthood: What Needs to Change?” (8-part) (2002-2003)
(New Title - "A Changing of the Priesthood?")
2. "Discerning the Spirits: A Fresh and Balanced Look at Medjugorje" (7-part) (2010)
FRAGMENTS (F) and LOST (L), INCORPORATED (I), or SHELVED (S) WORKS
1. (L) Manuscript: [Untitled Apologetics Work] (1997-1998)
2. (L) Tract: Did You Know? (1998)
3. (LF) Compilation: [Untitled Apologetics Compilation] (c. 1998-2000)
4. (F) Manuscript: Total Apologetics (c. 1999-2002)
5. (LF) Booklet: Logical Apologetics (c. 2001)
6. (S) Manuscript: An Apology for Orthodox Christianity (c. 2002)
7. (L) Booklet: A Blueprint for the New Evangelization (c. 2001)
8. (L) Pamphlet: “Bad Homilies” (c. 1999)
9. (I) Pamphlet: “The Rise and Fall of Modernism” (c. 2001)
10. (I) Pamphlet: “Seeing Catholics as Christians” (c. 2000)
11. (I) Pamphlet: “Our Catholic Identity” (c. 2000)
12. (I,S) Tract: “Why Be Christian?” (c. 2000)
13. (L) Tract: [Untitled Tract] (c. 2000)
14. (I) Booklet: The True Spirit of Vatican II (2002-2003)
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." No, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. ... Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Romans 14:13, 15, 17-19
Let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. … If your brother is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. … Do not let your good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
Romans 15:1-3, 5
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me." … May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another.
1Corinthians 13: 4-7, 13
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ... So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Galatians 5: 14-15, 26
The whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another. ... Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.
Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions.
Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Speak the truth in love.
Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger
Ephesians 4:29, 31-32
Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. … Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 – 5:2
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Philippians 2:2-4, 14-15
Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others…. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
I (do not) complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.
Lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father … He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
We exhort you, brethren, to [love your neighbour] more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands … so that you may command the respect of outsiders, and be dependent on nobody.
Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
If any one will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.
2Timothy 2:14b, 16, 22-24
Avoid disputing about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. … Avoid such godless chatter, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness … Aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing.
Remember your leaders ... consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.
Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart.
Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly.
Have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing. For "He that would love life
and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile; let him turn away from evil and do right; let him seek peace and pursue it.
Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace … in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.
Rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you.
Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.
Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. … If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting
James 1:19-20, 22
Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. … But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man's religion is vain.
James 2:1-5, 8-9
My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "Have a seat here, please," while you say to the poor man, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? ... If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
Speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment.
What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law.
Be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors. As an example of suffering and patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we call those happy who were steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments. … By this we may be sure that we are in him: he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
From St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Rockford: Tan Books and Publishers.
1. Imitating the Crucified Christ. Remember that Our Lord saved us by suffering and enduring injustices, contradictions, and afflictions. ... [so] too we have to merit our salvation by suffering and enduring contradictions, injustices, and afflictions with the greatest possible gentleness. (120)
A. [Thus], frequently contemplate Jesus Crucified, naked, calumniated, overcome with sadness and afflictions, and consider:
(a) How your sufferings are in now way comparable to His ... Never will you suffer for Him what He has suffered for you.
(b) The sufferings of the martyrs; and
(c) The sufferings of so many unfortunate people.
Remind yourself that your pains bear no comparison with theirs. (125)
2. Responding to Accusations.
A. If you are correctly accused of some fault, be humble and recognize that you deserve the reproaches made against you.
B. But if you are wrongly accused:
a. Deny your culpability firmly; you owe this to the truth as well as to the edification of your neighbour. b. But if, after having rendered justice to the truth, the accusation persists, be neither troubled nor insistent; after having done your duty regarding the truth, do it now regarding humility, so that you neglect neither the care that you ought to have for your reputation, nor the love that you ought to have for peace, gentleness of heart, and humility. (122)
3. Complaining about and Accepting Wrongs. Complain as little as possible about the wrongs (122) done to you because, ordinarily, he who complains sins, and this all the more since self-love always assesses injustices to be greater than they actually are.
A. (a) Above all, do not complain to those who are easily indignant and quick to think evil.
B. If you must speak about these wrongs – either to remedy the offense or to satisfy your peace of mind – confide in peace-loving and God-loving people. Otherwise, instead of giving you comfort, they will unsettle you all the more; and instead of excising the thorn pricking you, they will plunge it ever more deeply.
4. Complaining about and Accepting Evil.
A. (a) The truly patient person neither complains about an evil he is suffering nor looks for anyone’s pity.
(b) He speaks of it frankly, simply, truthfully, without whining, without attempting to make himself pass for something greater than he is in reality.
(c) If he receives sympathy, he accepts it simply. (123)
0. Vainglory. Vainglory is the glory that we give ourselves: either (a) for what is not really in us, or (b) for what is in fact in us but not owing to anything we did, or (c) for what is in us and owing to us but which does not deserve to be the cause of a boast. / (126)
1. True Greatness. All that is needed to know if a man is truly wise, learned, generous, and noble, is to see if his gifts tend to humility, modesty, and consideration. Then they are indeed true gifts. But if they ... seek to be visible, they are less authentic (127) to the extent that they are more on display.
2. Intellectual Pride. Learning is hardly honourable when it degenerates into conceit and pedantry. [Some] expect to be honoured and respected by everyone because of a little learning, as if everyone ought to enrol in their school and have them for teachers. (Such are called pedants). / All such is vain in the extreme, stupid, and quite inappropriate, and any glory coming from such nonsense is vain, stupid, and quite frivolous.
3. Temptation of Honours. If we are (a) too jealous about rank, position, and titles ... we render them vile and contemptible, [and] altogether ugly when [they are] (b) demanded, sought after, and insisted upon. However, those who (c) love them too dearly and who seek them too eagerly, deserve only censure and reproof.
A. The pursuit and love of virtue is the beginning of our becoming virtuous, while the pursuit and (128) love of honours is the beginning of our becoming quite despicable.
4. Accepting Honours.
(a) [Honours] give a nice feeling to those who are aware of them from afar and in passing, without becoming attached to them or valuing them too highly.
(b) Certainly, everyone ought to take his rightful place, but humbly, simply, and without fanfare.
(c) Those in pursuit of virtue accept the rank and the honours due them, but only on the condition that they do not cost them too much care and attention and do not burden them with trouble, unrest, disputes, and struggles. (129)
0. Humility perfects us with respect to God, and meekness or gentleness with respect to our neighbour.
Charity reaches perfection when it is simultaneously patient, gentle, and good. (147)
1. True and False Gentleness and Humility. Be careful that ... gentleness and humility [are] always truly in your heart, because one of the devil’s greatest tricks is to have us exhibit only (147) the outward appearances of these two virtues.
A. This can be seen to be the case when, in spite of their appearance of gentleness and humility, they become irritated and annoyed at the slightest contradictory word or the least offense.
B. (Y) When humility and gentleness are genuine, they keep us from the “swelling” in the heart which injuries and maliciousness can cause. (N) If, however, when stung and bitten by slanders we become proud, “swollen”, and irritated, it is because our humility and our gentleness are not true and sincere, but false and illusory. (148)
0. This poor life is but a journey toward the blessed life, and we are not to become angry with each other on the way. (148) Let us walk on the way with our brothers and companions gently, peacefully, and amiably.
1. Resist All Anger. If possible, never become angry; never open the door of your heart to anger. Did not St. James say that man’s anger never effects God’s judgment?
2. Correction and Rebuking must be Purified of All Anger. It is important, however, to resist evil and to correct the faults of those placed in our care, and (148) this must be done constantly and courageously, but gently and peacefully. (149)
A. A correction made with passion and anger is never as well-accepted – even when it is reasonable – as one which has no other origin than reason alone.
B. Why? Because man is endowed with reason and submits to passion only when forced to do so by some form of tyranny. Given that, when reason is accompanied by passion, it is considered odious and its otherwise just domination is debased by the contact with tyranny.
C. (Y) When reason rules and exercises its chastisements, corrections, and reprimands peaceably, even if it does so severely, everyone loves and approves it. (N) But when it is accompanied by anger and wrath ... it is assessed as more frightening than amiable and always finds itself wounded and weakened by them.
3. Vigilance Against Anger. It is ... simply to refuse all entry to anger – however just – rather than give access to it, however little it may be.
A. Once you allow it entrance, it is very difficult to make it leave. It enters as a little shoot, but before you (149) know it, it is as big as a stump!
B. And the longer it remains, the more it runs the risk of becoming hatred, and then there is almost no way of undoing it.
4. Justifying One’s Anger. [Anger] feeds itself upon false convictions inasmuch as every angry man believes his anger to be just.
5. Repulsing Anger. If, because of our weak and imperfect nature, we have let ourselves be surprised by anger, we must quickly repulse it and not negotiate with it, because no matter how little time we give to it, it makes itself mistress of the place. How do we repulse it?
A. As soon as you are aware of its first attacks, gather your forces, rapidly but not harshly, gently but seriously. ... It can also happen that in our desire to cool our anger with too much violence we disturb our heart more than we should, and thus agitated, it is no longer its own master.
B. After this peaceful effort, ask for the Lord’s help. ... Pray, (150) therefore, but – as with everything that we do against this evil – pray gently, peacefully, and without violence.
6. Reparation when Succumbing to Anger. As soon as you perceive that you have succumbed to anger, repair your fault by an act of gentleness directed promptly toward the person with whom you are irritated. ... Repair it immediately by some act of gentleness. Fresh wounds are always easier to heal.
8. Building up Resistance to Anger. When you are calm and have no reason to be irritated, store up a good provision of gentleness and patience; speak and act as calmly as possible.
9. Consistency and Integrity. Remember that you must not only have a kind word for your neighbour and for strangers, but also for the people with whom you live and your closest friends. Those who are angels abroad but devils at home fail seriously in this respect. (151)
10. Conclusion: Better No Anger than Moderate Anger. It is therefore better to discipline oneself to live without anger than to attempt to use it moderately and wisely. (149)
V. Appropriate Conversation.
1. Avoiding Careless Words. Be on guard against every careless word.
A. Even if said with no evil intention, it can be taken badly by those who hear it.
2. Christian Manner of Speech. Speak only frank, (217) courteous, pure words. (218) Let your speech be mind, candid, sincere, frank, simple, and honest. (234)
3. Mockery (Sarcasm) Forbidden. Mockery must have no place in your conversation. ... The greatest way to offend our neighbour through speech is to mock him.
(ex) Why? Because every other offense can be given while still having a certain measure of esteem for the one offended, whereas one never mocks without somewhat despising the one mocked. (218)
4. Teasing Commendable. “Pleasant conversation” ... permits us to entertain ourselves with the friendly and pleasant enjoyment we take in the amusing little situations which human imperfections provide us with from time to time. Teasing, accompanied by a few gentle words, causes simple, friendly, and open laughter. Only we must be careful never to go beyond the bounds of well-bred pleasantry to cruel mockery. (218)
5. Disagreements. (Y) Unless there is sin or harm to speak against, it is preferable to avoid disputes and quarrels by not contradicting others. (N) But, if it is necessary to make known your opinion, do so gently and with utmost tact so as not to arouse anger, for nothing is gained by harshness.
5. Moderation of Words. “To speak little” – so highly recommended by wise men – does not consist in uttering few words, but in not speaking useless words. It is not their quantity but their quality that counts. (235)
VI. Judging Rashly.
1. Three Reasons Man’s Judgments are Rash. (a) The judgments of men are always rash, because men are not judges of one another and when they judge, they usurp Our Lord’s office. (b) Such judgments are always rash because the principal malice of sin depends upon the intention of the heart – and that remains secret. (c) They are rash too because everyone has enough to do in judging himself without undertaking the judgment of his neighbour.
2. Seven Forms or Manifestations of Rash Judgments. Rash judgments must be corrected according to (220) its cause.
A. Some temperaments are naturally bitter and sour, and they render bitter and sour anything they receive ... It is dangerous because it introduces and causes both rash judgment and backbiting to reign in the soul. (221)
B. Others are prone to rash judgment ... through pride, persuaded that they elevate themselves to the extent that they tear others down. Arrogant, presumptuous spirits, they so admire and esteem themselves that they consider the rest of humanity quite inferior. (221)
C. Some do not possess this obvious pride, but instead take a certain self-satisfaction in discovering evil in another in order subtly to relish, and cause to be relished by others, the contrary good with which they deem themselves endowed. This self-satisfaction is so subtle, so nearly imperceptible, that – unless one has good eyesight – he cannot perceive it, and even those who are afflicted by it do not see it unless it is brought to their attention. (221)
D. To flatter and to excuse themselves and to lessen their own remorse of conscience, some blithely accuse others of being tainted by the very vice (221) they practice, or by some other vice equally serious. They believe that the greater the number of those guilty, the less blameable are they in their sin. (222)
E. Some people are prone to rash judgment for the sole pleasure of speaking and philosophizing about morals and characters, somewhat like a mental game, and if, unhappily, their judgments prove to be correct, their audacity and their preference for this exercise increase so greatly that one can correct them only with difficulty. (222)
F. Others judge everything according to their own passions, judging good what they love, and evil what they hate – except in certain astonishing circumstances ... where their excessive love compels them to judge as bad what they love ([this is] jealousy). (222)
G. Finally there remain fear, ambition, and other weaknesses of spirit which frequently contribute to arousing suspicions and rash judgments. (222)
3. Remedy for Rash Judgment. Those absorbed with pride, envy, ambition, and hatred, and who no longer see anything that is not blameable, out to drink the sacred wine of charity, which will calm them and deliver them from th[ese] evil dispositions. (222) Everything appears yellow to the jaundiced, and this sin is a spiritual jaundice, which makes everything seem evil to the eyes of those tainted by it. ... If their heart is kind, their judgments will be kind; if it is charitable, their judgments will be charitable.
A. Charity fears to encounter evil; with all the more reason it does not look for it; and when it encounters it, it turns away from it and strives to ignore it. At first noise that it hears it shuts its eyes and, by a holy simplicity, believes that it is not evil, but only has the appearance of evil. And if it is forced to recognize it, it strives to forget it as quickly as possible. (223)
B. Judge your neighbour as charitably as possible.
a. If an action has a hundred faces, you (223) must look at the one that is most favourable to the neighbour. (224)
b. When the just man is unable to excuse either the deed or the intention of one whom he knows otherwise to be a good person, he does not judge it; but, removing such a thought from his mind, leaves its judgment to God. (224)
c. Our Saviour on the Cross could not excuse the sin of those who tortured Him, but by attributing it to ignorance, He at least lessened its malice. When we are unable to excuse the sin, let us render it worthy of compassion by attributing its cause to what is most tolerable, such as ignorance or weakness. (224)
C. But ... can one never judge his neighbour then? Never. (225)
a. To see or to know something, however, is not to pass judgment on it. Judgment presupposes some amount of obscurity, real or apparent, which must be clarified. (225)
b. There is no sin in having doubts about the conduct of a neighbour, for we are not forbidden to doubt, but to judge. It is permitted to doubt or suspect in the strict sense and as far as proof and arguments compel us to do so. Otherwise, suspicion itself becomes rash. (225)
D. Do not go out in search (225) of things concealed among the cloudy actions of a neighbour or examine the lives of others, [but rather], to avoid encountering them, keep recollected in [your]selves and work for [your] own improvement.
E. I make exception, naturally, for those in charge of others, whether in the family or in the community, since a part of their duty consists in checking to see that others are doing their duty.
a. Let them, then, perform this duty with love, and having done so, let them be content with watching over themselves.
1. Slander Forbidden. Never slander anyone, either directly or indirectly. (228)
A. Refrain from imputing imaginary faults to your neighbour, from revealing those which are secret, and from exaggerating those which are obvious. (228)
B. Be on your guard as well against interpreting good actions as evil. Do not deny the good that you know to be true about someone by falsifying it maliciously or by lessening it. (228)
C. (a) Do not generalize from a particular instance. ... In order to be able to attribute a vice or a virtue to someone, that person must have practiced one or the other habitually and with some progress in it. ... And even if he practiced (229) these vices over a long period, you would still risk accusing him falsely by treating him as if he were still vicious. (230) (b) God’s goodness is so great that a single instant is sufficient to obtain the grace of conversion. Therefore, what right do we have to say that a man who yesterday was a sinner is still one today? Yesterday does not permit us to judge today, nor today to judge yesterday; only the last day will judge all days. We can never say that someone is vicious without danger of falsifying. (231) (c) In a situation where it is necessary to speak, we can say that this man once committed such and such a reprehensible act, or that once he led a bad life, or that he is now living a bad life. But that does not allow anyone to draw conclusions from yesterday for today, or from today for yesterday, and still less for tomorrow. (230)
2. Reprehensible Forms of Slander.
A. There are some who, before actually slandering someone, say something good about him. These are the most subtle and venomous of slanderers. (228)
B. But the cruellest slander is that combined with mockery. Slander ... is registered more ferociously in the hearer’s mind when combined with some witty or clever word. (229)
3. Opposite Extreme: Praising the Vice. If we must be extremely careful not to slander our neighbour, we must also be on our guard against the contrary excess and begin to praise the vice in order to avoid the slander! (230) In our attempt to eschew the vice of slander, we must not favour, flatter, or nourish other vices.
4. What and What Not to Say. In short, when speaking of my neighbour ... I [must] say neither too much nor too little. (232)
A. By promptly and frankly calling evil evil and by blaming things that are blameable, we work for God’s glory. (231) Neither must we fear denouncing the errors of avowed enemies of God and the Church. It is charity [to do so]. (232)
B. Under very precise circumstances, labelling as [evil] someone’s vices is justified if it seems useful to those about whom we are speaking or to those to whom we are speaking. ... Unless we think another occasion is more appropriate and less harmful to the one about whom we are speaking. (231)
C. And above all, while blaming the vice, I must as much as possible spare the person committing the vice. (232)
D. True, we can speak openly about public criminals whose crime is known by all. Yet, this too must be done with charity and compassion, with neither disdain nor presumption, nor as a pretext to take pleasure in another’s sin. (232)
E. Finally, we notice that everyone permits himself to judge and criticize rulers and to speak ill of entire nations according to his sympathies or (232) his antipathies. Do not fall into this failing, ... because it offends God and causes all kinds of quarrels. (233)
F. When I must speak up, I must do so in so balanced and just a way that I do not utter one word too many. (231)
6. Responding to the Slandering of Others. When you are in the presence of someone speaking ill of another:
(a) Begin as best you can to cast doubt on the accusation.
(b) If you cannot honestly do this, at least make excuses for his intention
(c) And if this too is impossible, show your compassion for the accused person and pass on to say something good about him if you are aware of any
(d) Bearing in mind – and discreetly reminding those present – that those who do not sin owe that solely to God’s grace. (233)
VIII. Being Fair and Just.
0. Hypocrisy. (a) We are human only because of our reason, and yet it is very rare to find people who are truly reasonable. Self-love frequently falsifies rationality and leads it into a thousand kinds of injustices. (249) (b) Judge for yourself whether or not what I am about to describe to you is unjust and unreasonable: We fault our neighbour for a trifle, but excuse ourselves for a major fault; We demand that justice be meted out in the house of another, but want mercy in our own; We wish people to take our remarks in the right light, but we are sensitive and prickly about what is said to us; (249) We readily complain about our neighbour, but are annoyed when he complains about us. (250) (c) In short, we have two hearts: one that is gentle, gracious, and courteous toward ourself; the other that is hard, severe, and rigorous toward our neighbour. We have two scales: one for weighing our interests to our advantage; the other for weighing those of our neighbour to his disadvantage.
1. Be just in all your actions, therefore, Philothea; (250) always put yourself in your neighbour’s place, and put your neighbour in yours, and then you will judge fairly.
2. Live generously, nobly, courteously, with a royal, just, and rational heart. Examine your heart often, to be assured that it is behaving toward your neighbour as you would want his to behave toward you. (251)
IX. Concerning Anxiety.
Anxiety Explained. The sadness we sometimes feel is nothing else than the sorrow that our spirit experiences from an evil that is contrary to our liking; exterior evil such as poverty, illness, disdain; interior evil such as ignorance, aridity, disgust, temptation. As soon as we sense this evil’s attack, we are displeased to have it and so are utterly saddened. We immediately seek a way to be rid of it, and up to that point we are right, because everyone naturally desires well-being and feels from what he thinks is evil.
Positive and Negative Responses. (Y) If it is the love of God which guides our steps, we shall seek the means for reaching the desired goal patiently and gently, humbly and tranquilly, placing our confidence more in Providence than in our own industry, cares, and efforts. (N) But if it is self-love which makes us search for our deliverance, we become agitated and hurry about as if it depended more on us than on God. I am not saying that we actually think this, but I am saying that we act as if we thought it. (300) And if we do not immediately experience some consolation, we experience anxiety and impatience. Anxiety and impatience do not provide solace for our pain, but aggravate it, leading us to a kind of breakdown in courage and strength because it seems that our pain has no possible remedy.
Dangers and Effects of Unchecked Anxiety. You see, Philothea, that this sadness, although justified at the beginning, engenders an anxiety which, in turn, engenders an extremely dangerous increase of sadness. And, after sin, this is the greatest evil that can befall us. Just as internal revolutions and troubles can cause the ruin of a state by weakening its capacity for resistance before the enemy, an anxious and troubled heart no longer has the strength to preserve the virtues acquired, nor the means to resist the assaults of the enemy, who then multiplies his efforts to fish in troubled waters. Therefore anxiety is born from the inordinate desire to be delivered from the harm we feel and to acquire the good we hope for; and yet there is nothing which increases this evil so much, and keeps the good so far removed! It is like birds which are caught in the hunters’ nets and which struggle in such a wild fashion to escape that they become more and more entangled.
Dealing with Anxiety. When you are pressured with the desire to be delivered from some evil, or to achieve some good:
A. Begin by putting your mind at peace; restore calm to your judgment and will, and then pursue your goal very gently and mildly, while taking the appropriate means in orderly fashion. (301). When I say “very gently” I do not mean to say negligently, but calmly and without agitation, trouble, or anxiety. If you fail to act thus, you will ruin everything and put yourself more than ever into a quandary.
B. Examine your conscience ... several times a day, but at least in the morning and evening, to see if you “have your soul in your hands” or if some passion or some anxiety has not snatched it away. Check to see if your heart is still under control, or if it has escaped from your hands to become ensnared in some disordered passion of love, hatred, envy, fear, uneasiness, or joy. And if it has gone astray, look for it and bring it back very gently into the presence of God. Restore your affections and your desires under His obedience, and your conduct under His divine will.
C. Those who fear to lose something precious hold on to it very tightly. Never permit your desires, however small and unimportant they may be, to disturb you, because following little desires, greater ones will find your heart still more inclined to trouble and confusion. When you feel anxiety coming, recommend yourself to God and, no matter how long it lasts, resolve to do nothing about what your desire (302) insists on until your mind has regained peace, unless, of course, it is a question of things which cannot be postponed. In that case, gently make the effort to moderate the current of your desires, and act according to reason and not passion.
D. If you can share your anxiety with your spiritual director or some trusted friend, calm will be restored more quickly, because confiding the heart’s troubles brings about the same effect to the soul as blood-letting to the body.
X. Sorrow or Spiritual Sadness.
1. Effects of Sorrow and Spiritual Sadness. Sorrow or spiritual sadness can be good or bad, depending on its effects. But in truth it has more bad than good effects. In my opinion, it has only two which are good, compassion and repentance; whereas, it has at least six that are bad: anxiety, sloth, wrath, jealousy, envy, and impatience. (304) Evil sorrow or sadness troubles the soul, plunges it into anxiety and inspires in it inordinate fears; (304) it turns it away from prayer and overwhelms its spirit, preventing it from making wholesome judgments or good resolutions, or from having the courage to carry them out. Just as winter despoils all earth’s beauty and numbs all creatures, spiritual sadness casts out all sweetness from the soul and renders it almost completely disabled and powerless in its faculties. (305)
2. Satan’s Use of Sorrow and Spiritual Sadness. The devil uses sorrow to tempt good people. Just as he urges wicked people to find joy in sin, he also tries to make good people sad, even over their virtuous good works. Just as he can drag people to evil only by making it seem good, so he can deter people from good only by making it seem disagreeable. Because he himself is sad, and will be so eternally, the devil would like everyone else to be sad too. (304)
3. Remedies for Sorrow and Spiritual Sadness. Philothea, if you ever happen to suffer from this sadness, use the following remedies:
 Pray. Prayer is the sovereign remedy; it elevates the soul toward God, who is our joy and consolation. Pray, therefore, with confidence and love.
 Vigorously oppose any inclinations to sadness that you experience. Even though it may seem that you are doing everything very coldly, sadly, and in a cowardly manner, do them nonetheless. The devil’s intention is to discourage you with this sadness from doing good deeds. If he sees that you are doing them, even though without joy (which makes doing them even more meritorious), he will cease bothering you.
 Sing., if you wish, some hymn or song.
 Vary your occupations., as a distraction from what preoccupies you.
 Force yourself to perform some exterior acts of fervor. [Do this] even if you do so without relish. For example, embrace the crucifix, or speak to God in words of confidence and love.
 Do penance., but do so in moderation, so that (305) it does not overwhelm you further.
 Receive Holy Communion as often as possible., because the Bread of Life strengthens the heart and rejoices the spirit.
 Open your conscience humbly to your confessor., and reveal both the sentiments and suggestions which stem from your sadness. Seek the companionship of holy people.
 Finally, put yourself into God’s hands. Patiently accept this trial as a punishment for past vain joys; and never doubt that, after testing you, God will deliver you from this evil.
The Maxims of St. Alphonsus Liguori
A. [Before posting, ask yourself if you have recently been doing some if not all of the following]:
1. To desire ardently to increase in the love of Jesus Christ.
2. Often to make acts of love towards Jesus Christ. Immediately on [beginning to write, read, or post on a blog] to make an act of love, seeking always to unite your own will to the will of Jesus Christ.
4. Always to ask Jesus Christ for his love.
9. Often to speak of the love of Jesus Christ.
23. To pray as much as possible.
3. Often to meditate on his Passion.
14. To pray always for sinners and for the souls in purgatory.
5. To communicate often, and many times in the day to make spiritual Communions.
6. Often to visit the Most Holy Sacrament.
24. To practice all the mortifications that obedience permits.
25. To do all your spiritual exercises as if it were for the last time.
B. [Before posting, make sure you are abiding by most if not all of the following in your life and in your posts]:
39. Always to speak with mildness and in a low tone.
46. To humble yourself even towards inferiors.
47. Not to excuse yourself when you are reproved.
48. Not to defend yourself when found fault with.
35. To do good to those who do evil.
36. To speak well of all, and to excuse the intention when you cannot defend the action.
38. Neither to say nor to do anything that might vex [your neighbor]. And if you have been wanting in charity, to ask his pardon and speak kindly to him.
27. To suffer crosses patiently, saying, "Thus it pleases Jesus Christ."
40. To offer to Jesus Christ all the contempt and persecution that you meet with.
30. To drive away melancholy [i.e. gloom].
49. To be silent when you are disquieted [i.e. upset].