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  • Scripture Speaks: The Most Holy Trinity
    Sunday as we contemplate all that God has revealed to us about Himself in salvation history In this reading we have an opportunity to see another occasion of human amazement over revelation God has made to mortals like us See how Moses can barely restrain himself as he expresses his amazement over the first stage of God s revelation within time and space Ask now of the days of old before your time ever since God created man upon the earth ask from one end of the sky to the other Did anything so great ever happen before Was it ever heard of Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking and live Moses simply can t find words enough to describe the awe the Israelites should experience for God s revelation of Himself in their midst God had made it abundantly clear to His people that none of the so called gods of Egypt could prevent Him from delivering His people from bondage there Thus the first stage of revelation was accomplished The Lord is God in the heavens above and on earth below there is no other Then just as Jesus did when He confirmed the full revelation of God as Father Son and Holy Spirit in our Gospel reading Moses exhorted the people to live as God had directed in His statutes and commandments That kind of life is the one that prospers That is the life for which we are made So long before Israel learned about the Trinity they knew about God the Father their Father God is One Nothing has changed that In time in space mankind then learned that God is One in Three Persons In ancient polytheistic religions it was thought that many gods inhabited the universe each with its own story and cultic following There could be rivalry and petulant competition among them The first stage of God s revelation had to establish the Oneness of God The final stage established the Three in Oneness of God a perfect unity He is a Communion Who invites us into communion Let s use Moses words to respond to this Did anything so great ever happen before Possible response Blessed Trinity to know that You are a Communion of love helps me understand why my own vocation is love too Please help me live it today Psalm Read Ps 33 4 6 9 18 20 22 This psalm praises many of God s characteristics but one is especially evident kindness It is in three of its four stanzas Interestingly in the one stanza not containing the word kindness we see a muted foreshadowing of the Trinity By the word Jesus of the Lord the heavens were made by the breath the Holy Spirit of His mouth all their host The psalmist would not have known that he was actually describing the Three in Oneness of God He simply wanted to extol God s rich kindness to His people Now in our

    Original URL path: http://catholicexchange.com/scripture-speaks-the-most-holy-trinity (2016-05-01)
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  • The Story of Ash Wednesday
    those who were about to die were laid on the ground on top of sackcloth sprinkled with ashes The priest would bless the dying person with holy water saying Remember that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return After the sprinkling the priest asked Art thou content with sackcloth and ashes in testimony of thy penance before the Lord in the day of judgment To which the dying person replied I am content In all of these examples the symbolism of mourning mortality and penance is clear Eventually the use of ashes was adapted to mark the beginning of Lent the 40 day preparation period not including Sundays for Easter The ritual for the Day of Ashes is found in the earliest editions of the Gregorian Sacramentary which dates at least to the 8th century About the year 1000 an Anglo Saxon priest named Aelfric preached We read in the books both in the Old Law and in the New that the men who repented of their sins bestrewed themselves with ashes and clothed their bodies with sackcloth Now let us do this little at the beginning of our Lent that we strew ashes upon our heads to signify that we ought to repent of our sins during the Lenten fast As an aside Aelfric reinforced his point by then telling of a man who refused to go to Church on Ash Wednesday and receive ashes the man was killed a few days later in a boar hunt Since the Middle Ages at least the Church has used ashes to mark the beginning of the penitential season of Lent when we remember our mortality and mourn for our sins In our present Ash Wednesday liturgy we use ashes made from burned palm branches distributed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year The priest blesses the ashes and imposes them on the foreheads of the faithful making the sign of the cross and saying Remember man you are dust and to dust you shall return or Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel As we begin this holy season of Lent in preparation for Easter we must remember the significance of the ashes we have received We mourn and do penance for our sins We again convert our hearts to the Lord who suffered died and rose for our salvation We renew the promises made at our baptism when we died to an old life and rose to a new life with Christ Finally mindful that the kingdom of this world passes away we strive to live the kingdom of God now and look forward to its fulfillment in heaven In essence we die to ourselves and rise to a new life in Christ As we remember the significance of these ashes and strive to live it during this time of Lent we must allow the Holy Spirit to move us to charity toward our neighbors Our Holy Father in his Message for Lent 2003

    Original URL path: http://catholicexchange.com/story-ash-wednesday (2016-05-01)
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  • Why Priests Are Called Father
    intend to prohibit calling a father by the title father rather He prohibited misusing the title We do use these titles in our common parlance We call those who instruct us and others teacher our male parent father and Jewish religious leaders rabbi Especially in a religious sense those who serve the Lord and represent His authority as a teacher parent and especially a priest must be mindful of exercising it diligently humbly and courageously To use this authority for self aggrandizement is pure hypocrisy Jesus said at the end of this passage Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted Since the earliest times of our Church we have used the title Father for religious leaders Bishops who are the shepherds of the local Church community and the authentic teachers of the faith were given the title Father Consequently St Peter may well have been addressed as Father Peter in that sense of spiritual father The likelihood of this address is supported by St Paul who identifies himself as a spiritual father In writing to the Corinthians he said I am writing you in this way not to shame you but to admonish you as my beloved children Granted you have ten thousand guardians in Christ you have only one father It was I who begot you in Christ Jesus through my preaching of the Gospel I beg you then be imitators of me This is why I have sent you Timothy my beloved and faithful son in the Lord 1 Cor 4 14 17 Until about the year 400 a bishop was called father papa this title was then restricted solely to addressing the Bishop of Rome the successor of St Peter and in English was rendered pope In an early form of his rule St Benedict d c 547 designated the title to spiritual confessors since they were the guardians of souls Moreover the word abbot denoting the leader in faith of the monastic community is derived from the word abba the Aramaic Hebrew word father but in the very familiar sense of daddy Later in the Middle Ages the term father was used to address the mendicant friars like the Franciscans and Dominicans since by their preaching teaching and charitable works they cared for the spiritual and physical needs of all of God s children In more modern times the heads of male religious communities or even those who participate in ecumenical councils such as Vatican II are given the title father In the English speaking world addressing all priests as Father has become customary On a more personal note the title for me is very humbling As a priest Father reminds me that I am entrusted with a grave responsibility by our Lord His faithful people Just as a father must nourish instruct challenge correct forgive listen and sustain his children so must a priest do so for his spiritual children The priest must especially meet the spiritual needs of

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  • Temptation: 12 Things to Know
    grows and it grows and if one does not stop it it fills everything Temptation is contagious and closes us in an environment where you can t get out easily At times of temptation he said We do not hear the Word of God we don t hear We don t understand Temptation closes us in takes away the ability to see ahead closes every horizon and in this way leads us to sin Pope Francis said that The Lord tells those who are tempted Lift up your eyes look at the horizon do not be closed do not close in on yourself The Pope stressed this Word will save us from falling into sin in the moment of temptation This reminds us of the Psalmist who wrote I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you Psalm 119 11 12 Things to Know About Temptation A Summary Temptation is an attraction either from outside oneself or from within to act contrary to right reason and the commandments of God CCC 538 The capital sins pride greed envy anger lust gluttony and sloth laziness are at the root of all temptation Man is never wholly free from temptation but with patience and true humility we become stronger than any enemy Pope Benedict XVI The patience and humility required to defeat the enemy come by following Christ every day and from learning to build our life not outside of him Pope Benedict XVI The victory that conquers the world is our faith 1 John 5 4 When we fall begin again in faith The gift of faith is dynamic It leads us into God s victory over temptation and sin The opposite of faith in God is pride because a proud person thinks that everything depends on him as if God did not exist in his life Self reliance in the face of temptation is folly Temptation closes us in takes away the ability to see ahead closes every horizon and in this way leads us to sin Pope Francis Christ is always willing to teach us how to escape from temptation Jesus is great because he not only brings us out of temptation but also gives us more confidence Pope Francis If our faith becomes lukewarm and has no expression God can allow us to fall God does not want evil but may want its consequences since the consequences of evil impart grace and the call to be converted Fr Tadeusz Dajczar No trial has come to you but what is human God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength but with the trial he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it 1 Cor 10 13 When our bond of love for God is fortified by sacramental confession our spiritual armor is strengthened for resisting continuous temptations from the world the flesh and the devil image Renata Sedmakova Shutterstock com

    Original URL path: http://catholicexchange.com/temptation-12-things-know (2016-05-01)
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  • Mary’s Message for Belgium: Beauraing and Banneux
    away from God in many ways We mock the laws of God and give license to sin Now is the time for us to turn ourselves back to God Over and over again Mary asks her children for conversion Yes that means the conversion of those who perform such hateful acts as we witnessed in the new reports but it also means our conversion There is an absence of peace in our world and in our hearts In these tumultuous times it behooves us to listen to what Mary said back in 1932 and 1933 to six children Even in Belgium Mary s words of motherly concern never grow old Pray for peace in the world Pray for the conversion of sinners Pray for healing The best way to do this if you ask me is to pray the rosary That s what Mary asked in 1917 at Fatima and it seems to be a prayer which pleases God Mary Mother of God the Immaculate Virgin Queen of Heaven pray for our world Grant us what we ask the grace of conversion and healing Our Lady of Beauraing Pray for Belgium Pray for us Our Lady of Banneux Pray for Belgium Pray for us image Madonna de Banneux by Dries Declercq Wikimedia Commons Tagged as Adele Brise Belgium Best of Week Mary Our Lady of Banneux Our Lady of Beauraing Our Lady of Good Help terrorism By Fr Edward Looney Fr Edward Looney was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Green bay Wisconsin on June 6 2015 A member of the Mariological Society of America Fr Looney publishes regularly on Marian topics including the approved 1859 Wisconsin apparition His latest devotional book is A Rosary Litany To learn more visit arosarylitany com Subscribe to CE It s free More on Catholic Exchange God the Father s Messages to St Catherine The Apostles Squabble Scripture Speaks The Peace of the Lord Go to Catholic Exchange homepage Jane Ellen Hautanen I enjoyed Belgium too even though it was mostly a throughway to the East or West Prayers Adam Hovey Okay so I have a direct link not so much with Belgium although two of my mother s Brothers my uncles are adopted and I think they are both 100 Belgian and their families actually came from Belgium I do however have a link with our lady of the Bannaeux There is near Chattanooga Tennessee I went there with my sister it s under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Knoxville a shrine to the virgin of the poor Go there and check it out it needs some repairs so if you can help out with that please do http www edwardlooney com Fr Edward Looney I know that the devotion to Banneux spread throughout the world Next time I m in Tennessee I ll have to visit W K Simpson Thank you for Banneux write up Once did a harrowing cycle trip across traffic ridden Belgium to Banneux and Beauraing Prayer given to Marie Beco and said every evening at the shrine Blessed Virgin of the Poor lead us to Jesus the source of grace Blessed Virgin save all the nations Blessed Virgin of the Poor alleviate suffering Blessed Virgin of the Poor relieve the sick Blessed Virgin of the poor pray for each one of us Blessed Virgin of the poor we believe in you Blessed Virgin of the poor believe in us Blessed Virgin of the poor we will pray a lot Blessed Virgin of the poor bless us Blessed Virgin of the poor Mother of God Mother of the Saviour we thank you Here in London Peggy Palmer RIP was a great devotee and did many vigils and put a statue of Our Lady of Banneux in Walsingham village Marie Hare continues to do pilgrimages to Banneux from London http www edwardlooney com Fr Edward Looney I can t imagine cycling from Beauraing to Banneux I drove it and that was enough for me Thanks so much for sharing this litany I do believe I have it on a prayer card in my Belgium travel box Every night the rosary is prayed at 7pm in Banneux and I m assuming this prayer follows it Lynne O People have to know what sin is in order to denounce it and repent Everyone seems to accept abortion contraception broken marriages unmarried couples living together homosexual relationships and marriage etc Priests either accept these practices or are unwilling to preach about them Even the Pope has caused great confusion as to what is sinful and what isn t How do you get people to repent when they don t see anything that is wrong Nicholas Jagneaux It is a plan of mine to make a walking pilgrimage from Beauraing to Banneux My wife is from Barvaux sur Ourthe I tried to make a walking pilgrimage from Barvaux to Beauraing one year Because I had not done the appropriate strengthening exercices my inexperienced legs gave out on my after lunch I stopped to eat and then I just couldn t walk any more To my shame I had to call my wife to come pick me up and drive me the rest of the way A couple of years later on a return trip to Belgium I did succeed in walking from Barvaux to Banneux It was a GREAT pilgrimage One day I will do both with a stopping point overnight in Barvaux God willing O L of Beauraing pray for us O L of Banneux pray for us kirk Lynne I agree with your opening line people have to know what is sin in order to denounce it and repent But in some respects I have to ask why you include broken marriages I know there is a sinful mindset among some that one can jump from one marriage to another and never a thought for the propriety of it But the majority of broken marriages are out of great suffering

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  • Easter Mysteries
    ask how much we also compromise our faith to please those we love Peter also has a tense relationship with Mary Magdalene due in part to her history as a woman with a past but also due to Peter s own blustering lack of confidence It irks him that Jesus seems to confide things to her and favor her more than himself He frets he claims that Jesus reputation will be harmed by associating with her but it is abundantly clear that his real fear is that she outranks him in terms of status To compensate he makes huge declarations of undying loyalty accompanied by equally huge declarations about what Jesus will and will not forgive should Peter not keep his outsized promises In so doing Peter becomes an image of how our own pride can often wind up replacing God and creating the temptation to despair After his denial of Christ Peter comes near to pridefully imagining that his sin is so uniquely terrible that even God cannot forgive him Peter s hostility toward Mary Magdalene is also on full display when she and not he is vouchsafed the first encounter both with the angels at the tomb of Jesus and with the Risen Jesus himself His petulant complaint demanding to know why angels should appear to her and his cruel mockery of the women when they return from the tomb shows a fully human and deeply insecure man whom Jesus treats not with contempt but with the mercy Peter lacks In his threefold confession of faith in response to Jesus threefold question Peter do you love me Peter is restored from what he thought in his pride was the unforgivable sin of his triple denial Another aspect that of the Passion story that is given a distinctly contemporary application is the figure of Judas Iscariot In an age of Eat Pray Love spirituality which imagines that all choices are good merely because we chose them and one can simply fly from one s responsibilities at any moment without any consequences Judas is shown as a figure who believes that once he gives his thirty pieces of silver back to the Temple priests who paid him then all the evil he has done Jesus in betraying him will simply go away Similarly the trio of judges Caiaphas of the Sanhedrin Pilate the Roman and Herod Antipas are a study in shared refusal of responsibility each of them evading their blameworthiness for helping put Jesus to death with the words I wash my hands of you and finally handing him over to the decision of a mere mob Like Judas they are past masters of the strangely contemporary habit of everybody agreeing that it is nobody s fault even as they choose to put an innocent man to death Finally one interesting and challenging aspect of the play is the discussion of the words This is my body and This is my blood at the Last Supper Like John the

    Original URL path: http://catholicexchange.com/easter-mysteries (2016-05-01)
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  • What Downton Abbey Can Teach Us About Beauty and Tradition
    is one that can only be found by looking heavenward This reality stands in stark contrast with the world before our present day The average person lived in a humble simple home Life had a plainness to it Homes were beautiful certainly but beautiful in a very simple way To enter even the humblest of Catholic churches was to encounter a striking contrast to ordinary life Even the simplest of log cabin chapels hewn together on the outer bounds of the American frontier used satin vestments sacred vessels made of gold and age old ritual in their liturgies It is striking when one drives through the inner city streets of a major American city and finds one Catholic church after another each one grander than the last These churches weren t built by wealthy folk but by poor working class families who sacrificed every penny they could to erect such edifices For these people worshipping at these grand churches each week afforded them more beauty than any other aspect of their lives An immigrant family in poverty might never own their own home let alone have stained glass windows and chalices of gold therein But for at least one hour a week they were a part of a home that did Immersed in that beauty in that ritual they looked to God and found rest Thankfully the Church prevails despite the worst of architectural choices and even in the least aesthetically pleasing of churches the ritual is retained It is a ritual reminiscent of courtly life the bowing the kneeling the genuflecting the solemnity and most importantly the beauty In the presence of the Lord of Lords called to be his servants as well as his children and heirs to his throne souls find the satisfaction they long for It is for this reason that so many millennials especially those who have remained in the Church are drawn to the Extraordinary Form or to pastors who are dedicated to offering the Ordinary Form with an attention to the beauty of the liturgical ritual A generation raised on the meager offerings of liturgy in the 1980s and 90s has begun to discover the richness of its Catholic heritage and they can t be persuaded away from the feast There is still very much a tone of rebellion which is also attractive to young people to this traditionalism As is the case with many good rebellions it is a reclaiming of what was lost People gasp and stare at the sight of a priest in a cassock but the young flock to him for a blessing and a selfie Older choir directors roll out the Latin responses for Lent and other penitential seasons but the young clamor for the use of Gregorian chant and traditional hymns in their churches year round These young men and women line up for regular Confession and search for perpetual adoration chapels as if it were their job Although many were taught to embrace liturgical dance and

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  • Review of the New Biblical Movie: Risen
    suspected of having played a part in the body s disappearance A known associate of the Nazarene Mary Magdalene is questioned There is talk of sightings all of which makes no sense to those investigating And then the twist that most reading this will know from the end of the Gospel story It is unlikely to be giving too much away to say that this tribune s Stoic world comes crashing down around him when whilst searching for a place known as the Upper Room he encounters the body he seeks but the only thing is it is not a dead body The movie s strengths are its locations look and feel clearly influenced by films such as The Passion and The Nativity Story The small details have been clearly worked on both historical and Biblical and so also have certain aspects of Christian Tradition around the events of Easter There is for example an explicit reference to the Shroud of Turin Taken as evidence by the Roman soldiers searching for the truth that something has occurred That said this latest Biblical epic lacks the deeper spirituality of either of the aforementioned films Styling itself as a thriller Risen lacks pace And the basic plot device that the Easter story is a thriller like mystery albeit a good one is hardly new The 1953 classic The Robe followed a similar trajectory but did so with much more tension and panache Whereas in that earlier work Richard Burton s Roman soldier was haunted by the events of Calvary Fiennes character is much more hunter than haunted And when the moment of conversion does come in this latest film it is less dramatic less tortured and therefore less interesting than in Burton s performance it just happens and then the story moves on Herein lies the real problem with Risen it is a story whose plotlines many will anticipate long before they are revealed on screen The fact that the script does not do enough to make us suspend belief or forget any preconceived ideas in the end makes it hard for the film to hold one s interest for nearly two hours As a mystery it is just not mysterious enough and for a thriller there are just not enough thrills On the plus side the acting throughout is good Fiennes cuts an heroic figure and looks and sounds the part of the hard bitten soldier The new man that he becomes by the end is a harder act to pull off however not least because of the script Colin Firth s Pontius Pilate is equally as good His performance as a world weary politician is an interesting take on a role that has always been one of the most rewarding on screen of Gospel accounts Why is it so much easier to play the more morally suspect characters on screen than the virtuous The question leads us to the Apostles who prove much harder to portray It is a difficult

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