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JPII and St. Nicholas

Thursday, October 29, 2015

4 Marks of the Church


Knowledge and sight of the true Church allows men to know who they’re fighting for and defending against the world, flesh, and the devil.  These latter enemies seek to show the Church as divided, Corrupt, Limited, and Chauvinistic.  The True Marks are: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic-- as the Nicene Creed indicates.  My first realization of the reality of the Marks of the Church was at a Diocesan Men’s Conference in which the local Bishop celebrated Mass after men had opportunities for confession and adoration.  This event opened my eyes to the fact that the Body of Christ is united, set apart, multi-faceted, and composed of true Servants of servants.

St. John Paul II wrote about the Marks of the Church as they relate especially to the Eucharist[1]:

We can apply to the Eucharistic mystery the very words with which, in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, we profess the Church to be ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic’. The Eucharist too is one and catholic. It is also holy, indeed, the Most Holy Sacrament. But it is above all its apostolicity that we must now consider (#26).

He goes on to explain the importance of the Apostles and their successors in handing down Catholic Tradition:

the Church is apostolic in the sense that she ‘continues to be taught, sanctified and guided by the Apostles until Christ's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of Bishops assisted by priests, in union with the Successor of Peter, the Church's supreme pastor’.  Succession to the Apostles in the pastoral mission necessarily entails the sacrament of Holy Orders, that is, the uninterrupted sequence, from the very beginning, of valid episcopal ordinations.  This succession is essential for the Church to exist in a proper and full sense (#28).   

As I said, I truly saw this reality unfold at a Men’s Conference themed, ironically, on the Eucharist.  I did not connect the words of the Creed with what I saw at that time, but I vision returned to me often when I heard the words of the Creed.  I was teaching a Catechism Class in Detroit when it finally dawned on me that the Marks captured exactly what I saw at the Conference: “Uno, Sancta, Catolica, y Apostolica” as the Catechist book titled Una Sola Fe, Un Solo SeƱor.  The faith is literally understood in every language and by every people across the globe! 



[1] POPE JOHN PAUL II.  ENCYCLICAL LETTER ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA.  Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 17 April, Holy Thursday, in the year 2003

Thursday, October 22, 2015

“He Himself knew what was in man.…” (Jn. 2:25)



This man, who had witnessed at first hand the very worst of the twentieth century, who had intimate experience of how twisted and wicked human beings can be, spoke over and over again this exhortation: “Be not afraid.” There was, of course, absolutely no political or cultural warrant for that exhortation, no purely natural justification for it. It could come only from a man whose heart was filled with the supernatural sense that the Holy Spirit is the Lord of history.[1]

Bishop Robert Barron has an excellent write up on the feast of St. John Paul II (10/22).  There, he traces the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love with a heroic emphasis throughout the life of Karol Wojtyla.  It is a very fitting illustration of the true character of the Saint [and future Doctor of the Church].
 

Fr. Thomas Dubay has this to say about what constitutes "Heroic Virtue":

It is goodness to a superlative degree, a degree that far surpasses the mere natural resources of the human person.  Over the course of the centuries the Church developed a detailed theology of saintliness, a theology that included definite criteria for determining in canonization processes the eminent perfection to which God calls us.  Heroic virtue is a specific human quality that shows itself in actions that are (1) promptly, easily & joyfully done; (2) even in difficult circumstances; (3) habitually, not just occasionally; (4) present actually, not just potentially; (5) found mingled with all the virtues (Faith, Hope, Love & Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance).  [2]

Also worth sharing:

A Prayer to St. John Paul II for the Family


st jpii
St. John Paul II, you said: “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”  You said, “At the start of a millennium which began with the terrifying attacks of September 11, 2001 … one cannot recite the Rosary without feeling caught up in a clear commitment to advancing peace.”  Then you added: “A similar need for commitment and prayer arises in relation to another critical contemporary issue: the family, the primary cell of society, increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological and practical planes, so as to make us fear for the future of this fundamental and indispensable institution and, with it, for the future of society as a whole.”

You knew that the family was as important as peace, and attacks on it were as disastrous as terrorism.
You worried for our future because so much depends on the family.  You said: “Families will be the first victims of the evils that they have done no more than note with indifference.”

You insisted on openness to life in marriage: “The two dimensions of conjugal union, the unitive and the procreative, cannot be artificially separated without damaging the deepest truth of the conjugal act itself.”

You insisted on indissolubility and fidelity: “To bear witness to the inestimable value of the indissolubility and fidelity of marriage is one of the most precious and most urgent tasks of Christian couples in our time.”

You gave each of our families our mission statement: “The Christian family is called to enlighten by its example and its witness those who seek the truth.”
Emilia_and_Karol_Wojtyla_wedding_portraitYou loved the family because of the witness of your own parents, whose wedding picture you kept on your desk throughout your life, and whose losses affected you so profoundly.

We have so much joy to thank you for.

We love the religious and priestly vocations you inspired, but we often forget about the marriage vocations that exist because of you.  Many of us met and fell in love in the Church you gave us: The Church of World Youth Days, of the New Evangelization and of the theology of the body.

Many of our children exist because you reached us with the teaching of the Church — so many of our John Pauls celebrate you on their name day each Oct. 22!

Many of us sacrificed to keep our families together through hard times because of your teaching — and we discovered the far greater love that follows sacrifice.

Thank you for filling our lives with happiness through your uncompromising teaching on the family.
You entrusted the family to Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  Now that you are by their side in the Father’s House, entrust the family, and the Church’s efforts for the family, to them once again.  Pray for families, St. John Paul the Great. Pray that we will always live up to the call you made so clear.



[1] http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/st-john-paul-ii-the-heroic-pope/4958/
[2] Dubay, Thomas. Authenticity: A Biblical Theology of Discernment.  Ignatius: San Francisco, 1997
[3]http://www.catholicvote.org/a-prayer-to-st-john-paul-ii-for-the-family/#sthash.GKCqfvww.dpuf