Author: mba

What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

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“Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is to attribute His operations to the opposite spirit, as says Basil the Great. How does one do this? Whenever one sees miracles brought about by the Holy Spirit or any of the other divine gifts in any of his brethren – that is compunction or tears, or humility, or divine knowledge, or a word of wisdom from on high, or anything else that is bestowed by the Holy Spirit on those who love God – and says that this comes from the deceit of the devil. But he also blasphemes against the Holy Spirit who works in them, who says that those who as sons of God are led by the divine Spirit, and perform the commandments of their God and Father, are being deceived by demons. This is what the Jews of old said against the Son of God.

“Like unbelievers and those completely uninitiated into the divine mysteries when they hear anything about divine illumination, or of the enlightenment of soul and mind, or of contemplation and freedom from passion, or of humility and tears that are poured out by the working and grace of the Holy Spirit, the eyes of their hearts are darkened rather than enlightened . . . They audaciously aver that these things come from the deceit of demons . . . To deny that at this present time there are some who love God and that they have been granted the Holy Spirit . . . that they have become gods by knowledge . . . and contemplation, that wholly subverts the Incarnation of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ! It denies the renewal of the image that had been corrupted and put to death, and its return to incorruption and immortality” (Saint Symeon the New Theologian, The Discourses).

God the Father to Mother Eugenia Ravasio

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“Even if your sins were as repulsive as mud, your confidence and your love will make Me forget them, so you will not be judged! I am just, it is true, but love pays for everything! . . . I make you a promise which will have an eternal effect. It is this: call Me by the name of Father, with confidence and love, and you will receive everything from this Father, with love and mercy . . . If you love Me and call Me by the sweet name of Father, you will begin to live, here and now, in the love and the trust which will make you happy in eternity and which you will sing in heaven in the company of the elect…..

“I would like to make My home in every family, as in My domain, so that all can say with absolute assurance: ‘We have a Father Who is infinitely good, infinitely rich and greatly merciful. He thinks about us and is close to us. He looks after us, supports us. He will give us everything we need if we ask Him. All his riches are ours, we will have everything we need.’ I am there precisely in order that you should ask Me for what you need. ‘Ask and you will receive.’ In My fatherly goodness I will give you everything provided that all regard Me as a true Father, living among His family as I indeed do…..

Father, I love You, I adore You, I worship You.

“You who especially need someone to take care of you in life, so that you can avoid evil, come to Me! I am the Father Who loves you more than any other creature will ever be able to do! Take refuge close, very close to Me, confide in Me your thoughts and your desires. I will love you tenderly. I will give you graces for the present and bless your future. You can be sure I will not forget you after fifteen or twenty-five or thirty years, having created you. Come! I see that you greatly need a sweet and infinitely good Father like Me….. (more…)

The Apostolic Pardon

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The infinite love and mercy of God are a scandal to many, including some in the Catholic Church itself.

As of late, writings have been appearing in some American sources about Purgatory, and the justice of God, that make it seem as though it is next to impossible for a common sinner not to end up spending, at least, some time in Purgatory after they die. This presentation of the Christian Faith is outright wrong in addition to removing hope from people, rather than giving them hope. But apart from the fact that these writers seem to never have heard of Saint Dismas, the good thief who ‘stole’ heaven at the last moments of his life and became an insta-saint to boot, what the said writers are propagating is a skewed subjectivist version of what the Catholic Church teaches about Purgatory.

For all who wish to know more, therefore, about the reality of personal sins and death, here is what the Church actually says in relation to the afterlife:

The name of God is Mercy – Pope Francis

If you die in a state of grace and obtain a plenary indulgence, you will go straight to heaven with zero time in Purgatory. Numerous are the plenary indulgences that can be obtained under the usual conditions. Consult the Manual of Indulgences for further information (older editions are invalid). Above all, however, there is one plenary indulgence that is so easy to obtain through the infinite love and mercy of God – and of which so few people (and even priests) know about – that it deserves particular mention. This is the Apostolic Pardon, which grants total remission of sins and punishment at the very moment of death. Here is what the Church teaches about it:

The Apostolic Pardon

  1. The faithful can obtain this plenary indulgence at the hour of death even if they have already acquired a plenary indulgence on that same day;
  2. A priest who administers the sacraments to someone in danger of death should not fail to impart the apostolic blessing to which a plenary indulgence is attached;
  3. If a priest is unavailable, Holy Mother Church benevolently grants to the Christian faithful, who are duly disposed, a plenary indulgence to be acquired at the point of death, provided they have been in the habit of reciting some prayers during their lifetime. In such a case, the Church supplies for the three conditions ordinarily required for a plenary indulgence;
  4. In this latter case, the use of a cross or crucifix in obtaining the plenary indulgence is commendable.

For those who may wish to carry with them the wording of the Apostolic Pardon for a priest’s use, here are two versions of it; one long, one short:

  1. By the authority which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a full pardon and the remission of all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Through the holy mysteries of our redemption, may Almighty God release you from all punishments in this life and in the life to come. May He open to you the gates of Paradise and welcome you to everlasting joy.

It is salutary to remember that just one single sin exists that cannot be forgiven, rather than unhealthily obsessing over sins: that is the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Consecration Prayer to the Divine Heart of God the Father in Spanish

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Below you can find the consecration prayer to the Divine Heart of God the Father (shown above) translated into Spanish. The Spanish translation of the prayer is also available for download from here: Consecration to the Divine Heart in Spanish.

Oración de Consagración al Divino Corazón de Dios Padre

Padre Celestial, fuente de Vida, Amor y Felicidad Eterna. Tú nos has otorgado el don precioso de la vida misma. Te imploramos, Padre Celestial, que nunca nos permitas dar por hecho este regalo. Es más, a lo que nos has llamado es a la santidad. Tú nos has llamado a participar en la vida de Tu Divina Familia a través de, con y en Jesu Cristo. Te pedimos que nos concedas, en Tu beneficencia, todas las gracias necesarias para vivir de acuerdo a Tu Divina Voluntad y ofrecerte, a cada momento, nuestra gratitud plena, nuestra veneración, nuestra acción de gracias y nuestra súplica. Nos consagramos formalmente a Ti, como hijos pródigos regresando al Padre que nos ama. Acéptanos y pon una diadema real en nuestro dedo. Cúbrenos con un manto de púrpura real y prepáranos para la fiesta, el banquete, que Tú has preparado para todos Tus hijos fieles. Amén.

 

The deification of the Virgin Mary: A brief response

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He was made man that we might become god (Athanasius of Alexandria, De Inc, 54.3).

Many individuals these days, both in the Catholic Church (especially in America) and in Protestant ecclesial communities, tend to make the claim that the Virgin Mary is not deified, was not deified at the very instance of her conception, and has never been deified. Such a claim seems to be originating from the deep-seated fear, likely Protestant in origin, that the Holy Virgin is being worshipped with the worship that should be reserved for God alone, instead of just being honored as the Mother of God. Both, however, are wrong in their above-referenced claims. They are also wrong in their comprehension and use of the terms deification and worship.

What is worship?

Two kinds of worship exist: the worship of latreia and the worship of proskynesis (Bartolo-Abela, 2017). Latreia is the worship that is reserved only for God, whereas proskynesis is the relative worship that can be legitimately given to the saints. Proskynesis is more commonly understood by the people as veneration. However, it is still worship, even though not the kind of worship that should be reserved for God alone.

What is deification?

God, you see, wants to make you a god; not by nature, of course, like the One whom He begot but by His gift and by adoption (Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 166.4).

Through Christ, the Word made flesh, man has access to the Father in the Holy Spirit and comes to share in the divine nature (Paul VI, Dei Verbum, 1965).

The Most High knew that Adam wanted to become a god, so He sent His Son who put him on in order to grant him his desire (Ephraim the Syrian, Nisb. Hymns, LXIX.12).

According to Dionysus the Aeropagite, deification is defined as “the attaining of likeness to God and union with Him so far as is possible” (EH 1. 3, PG 3. 376a). Maximus the Confessor called deification “the invocation of the great God and Father, the symbol of the authentic and real adoption, according to the gift and grace of the Holy Spirit, thanks to the bestowal of which the saints become and will remain the sons of God” (Ad Thalas 61, PG 90, 636C; Scholia 6, ibid. 644C). Thomas Aquinas stated that deification allowed “this name God [to be] communicable, not in its whole signification, but in some part of it by way of similitude so that those are called gods who share in divinity by likeness, according to the text I have said, ‘You are gods (Ps 82:6)’ (Summa Theologica, Response to I.13,9).

Gross (1938/2002) explained that deification, [the] “divinization of the Christian is not an identification with God [but] an assimilation, a very eminent restoration of the original divine likeness [whereby one] participates by grace in the perfections that God possesses by nature . . . The Spirit transforms the soul to the image of the Logos, the natural Son of God, thus making the Christian an adoptive child of God. Affecting, it seems the very essence of the soul, this mysterious conformation is not of a moral nature only but of a physical nature; it is a veritable partaking of the divine nature and of the divine life” (p. 272). Aquinas further elaborated that in deification “the gift of grace surpasses every capability of created nature, since it is nothing short of a partaking of the Divine Nature, which exceeds every other nature . . . God alone should deify, bestowing a partaking of the Divine Nature by a participated likeness” (Summa Theologica, 2.1:112.1).

The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

He has given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature (2 P 1:4).

According to Pius IX (1854), “From the very beginning, and before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, he would be born into this world. Above all creatures did God so love her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight. Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints, so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.

“And indeed it was wholly fitting that so wonderful a mother should be ever resplendent with the glory of most sublime holiness and so completely free from all taint of original sin that she would triumph utterly over the ancient serpent. To her did the Father will to give his only-begotten Son — the Son whom, equal to the Father and begotten by him, the Father loves from his heart — and to give this Son in such a way that he would be the one and the same common Son of God the Father and of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was she whom the Son himself chose to make his Mother and it was from her that the Holy Spirit willed and brought it about that he should be conceived and born from whom he himself proceeds” (Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus, para. 1-2).

Note: This would become known as the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the Catholic Church, a dogma that was implicitly and not-so-implicitly held also by the early Fathers of the Orthodox Church, namely the Byzantine Fathers.

Discussion

Is it not written in your Law: I said, ‘You are gods?’ (Jn 10:34).

We are gods, not so by nature, but by grace. ‘But as many as received him he gave power of becoming sons of God.’ I made man for that purpose, that from men they may become gods. ‘I said: You are gods, all of you sons of the most High’ (Jerome of Stridon, Hom, 14).

When God was born to be man, the purpose was not that the Godhead should be lost, but that, the Godhead remaining, man should be born to be God (Hilary of Poitiers, De Trin, 10.7).

As can be seen from the above, the Virgin Mary is deified, was deified at the very instance of her conception, and has always been deified. Otherwise, she would not have been sufficiently worthy of being the Theotokos, the bearer of the sinless Word. The eternal Father Himself attested to Mary’s deification at the beginning of all time (Gn 3:15), as did her Son during the wedding at Cana (Jn 2:4) and the Archangel Gabriel during the Annunciation (Lk 1:28).

That having been said, the Virgin Mary is not God, nor has she ever been (or claimed to be) God. Deification does not mean that one becomes a god by nature – that is an erroneous understanding of deification; a false understanding borne of fear if not miseducation.

Deification is “God’s perfect and full penetration of man” (Staniloae, 2002, p. 362) and “all who share in this [divine] light are referred to as deified . . . above nature and virtue and knowledge . . . [as] this grace effects this ineffable union” (Gregory Palamas, 1338/1983). Hence as the Virgin Mary is, was, and will always be the Immaculate Conception, she is, as Palamas (2005) stated, the epitome of deification.

References

  • Bartolo-Abela, M. (2017). Icons as resistance: Challenging the new iconoclasm in the Catholic Church.
  • Dionysus the Aeropagite. EH 1. 3, PG 3. 376a.
  • Gregory Palamas. (1338/1983). The triads in defense of the holy hesychasts.
  • _____. (2005). Mary the Mother of God: Sermons by Saint Gregory Palamas.
  • Gross, J. (1938/2002). The divinization of the Christian according to the Greek Fathers.
  • Maximus the Confessor. Ad Thalas 61, PG 90, 636C.
  • _____. Scholia 6, ibid. 644C.
  • Pius IX. (1854). Ineffabilis Deus. 
  • Staniloae, D. (2002). The experience of God: Orthodox dogmatic theology, Vol. 2, The world: Creation and deification.
  • Thomas Aquinas. (1225-1274). Summa Theologica.

Pope Francis: ‘Say Abba, Father, but with the trust of a child’

“In the New Testament, the prayer seems to seek to arrive at the essential, to the point of being concentrated in a single word: Abba, Father. We have heard what Saint Paul writes in the Letter to the Romans: “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him, we cry, “Abba, Father” (8: 15). And to the Galatians, the Apostle says: “Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit Who calls out, “Abba”, Father (Gal 4: 6). Twice there returns the same invocation in which all the newness of the Gospel is condensed. After having known Jesus and listened to His preaching, the Christian can no longer consider God as a tyrant to fear; he is no longer afraid but rather feels the trust in Him flourish in his heart: he can speak to the Creator, calling Him “Father”. The expression is so important for Christians that often it is conserved intact in its original form: “Abba”.

“It is not only about using a symbol – in this case, the figure of the father – to link to the mystery of God; it is instead about having, so to say, all Jesus’ world poured into our heart . . . To say “Abba” is something much more intimate and more moving than simply calling God “Father”. . . We continue to say “Our Father”, but with the heart we are invited to say “Papa”, to have a relationship with God like that of a child with his father, who says “Papa” and says “Dad”. Indeed these expressions evoke affection, they evoke warmth, something that is projected to us in the context of childhood: the image of a child completely wrapped in the embrace of a father who feels infinite tenderness for him . . . Like a child in the arms of his father, his daddy. (more…)

What is the divine will of God? Response to a question

The question was asked, “What is the divine will of God?” The short, but complete, answer is, “That we all return to live in His Divine Heart from whence we were first conceived.”

The Third Passover, not the Second Coming

This bears repeating as questions keep coming about whether we are at the time of the Second Coming.

THE DIVINE HEART OF GOD THE FATHER

Why are you so afraid, O you of little faith? (Mt 8:26).

Many in the Church these days, in particular traditional and traditionalist Catholics, as well as Evangelical Christians, predominantly located in America and in the Anglo-Saxon world, believe that we are fast approaching the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. They speak, both in content and in tone, as though the end of the world is nigh. However, these Catholics and Christians are mistaken in both their ‘predictions’ and beliefs, not to mention their desires.

This is not the time of the Second Coming; the exact time and day of which is not even known to Christ, but to the Father alone. It is the time of the Third Passover, the crossing over from the era of sin and disorder into the era of holiness, peace, and order; the era of joy on earth, the Reign of…

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Merry Christmas 2018

Beuronese Nativity, a Beuronese-style icon by Nicholas Markell

Pope Francis again declares the inadmissibility of the death penalty

Pope Francis has once again confirmed the abolition of the death penalty in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its inadmissibility in the moral life of the 21st century. Speaking today to the Delegation of the International Commission Against Capital Punishment, Pope Francis said:

“Nei secoli passati, quando mancavano gli strumenti a nostra disposizione per la protezione della società e il livello di sviluppo attuale dei diritti umani non era ancora stato raggiunto, il ricorso alla pena di morte veniva talvolta presentato come una logica conseguenza. Anche nello Stato Pontificio si è ricorso a questa inumana forma di punizione ignorando il primato della misericordia sulla giustizia. Ecco perché la nuova formulazione del Catechismo implica anche assumersi la responsabilità per il passato e riconoscere che l’accettazione di questa forma di punizione era una conseguenza di una mentalità del tempo, che ha sacralizzato il valore delle leggi prive di umanità e misericordia.

“La pena di morte è sempre inammissibile perché viola la dignità della persona. Dio è un Padre che attende sempre il ritorno del figlio che, sapendo di aver commesso un errore, chiede perdono e inizia una nuova vita. Nessuno, quindi, può essere privato della sua vita o della speranza della sua redenzione e riconciliazione con la comunità. Capisco che per raggiungere l’abolizione in certi ambienti potrebbe essere necessario passare attraverso complessi processi politici. La sospensione delle esecuzioni e la riduzione dei reati punibili con la pena capitale, così come il divieto di questa forma di punizione per minori, donne incinte o persone con disabilità mentali o intellettuali, sono obiettivi minimi per cui i leader di tutto il mondo devono impegnarsi . . . c’e’ bisogno di una giustizia che oltre a essere padre sia anche madre” (The Holy See, December 17, 2018).

Translated:

“In previous centuries, when the means at our disposal for the protection of society were lacking and the actual level of development of human rights had not yet been attained, recourse to the death penalty was at times presented as a logical consequence. Even in the Pontifical State there was recourse to this inhumane form of punishment, ignoring the primacy of mercy over justice. That is why the new formulation of the Catechism implicates [the need to] assume responsibility for the past and the recognition that the acceptance of this form of punishment was the consequence of a mentality of the time, which sacralized the value of laws deprived of humaneness and mercy.

“The death penalty is always inadmissible because it violates the dignity of the human person. God is a Father who always awaits the return of the son who, knowing that he committed a mistake, asks forgiveness and starts a new life. No one, therefore, can be deprived of his life or of the hope of his redemption and reconciliation with the community. I understand that to attain the abolition [of the death penalty] in certain circles it may be necessary to pass through complex political processes. The suspension of executions and the reduction of [the number of] crimes punishable by the death penalty, likewise the prohibition of [the use of] the death penalty for minors, women who are pregnant, or persons with intellectual or physical disabilities, are minimum objectives toward which all the leaders of the world have to work . . . There is the need for a [form of] justice that apart from being father is also mother.”

Wrong catecheses – 1

Mary

Incorrect catecheses abound these days about Catholicism even among those who pride themselves on being hard-identity Catholics who try to teach the Faith to others.

Below are three statements that have been made publicly about Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary during ‘evangelization’ efforts. These statements are quite misleading, if not outright distorting, in terms of the One True Faith. For the sake of accuracy, the fullness of the Catholic Faith and the faith of the people, they are addressed herewith:

1) Statement: “She [the Virgin Mary] remains human . . .  she is now a saint sitting at the feet of her Son praising His glory for all eternity.”

The above statement contains two errors: (1) that Mary “remains human,” and that (2) she is “sitting at the feet of her Son.”

Fact in relation to the first error: Mary, as she is in heaven, is human, but not a ‘common’ human. She is a deified human (as are all human persons in heaven) with the level of her deification being the highest attained by all those who have been created from both the angelic and human realms.

Fact in relation to the second error: Mary praises her Son for eternity, but she does not sit at His feet. That is just a romanticized idealization. The Virgin Mary is at the right hand of Christ, namely, At your right hand stands the queen clothed in the gold of Ophir (Ps 45:9).


2) Statement: “Only through the will of her Son . . . only by His will is it granted” [that Mary can hear intercessions].

The above statement contains three errors: two blatant, one hidden.

Fact in relation to the first error: It is not “through the will of her Son” or “only by His will is it granted” that the Virgin Mary can hear people on earth asking for her intercession. It is through the will of the Almighty Father, whose will is supreme. The will of the Unbegotten Father is paramount. Thus it is also the will of both the begotten Son and their Holy Spirit.

Fact in relation to the second error: Mary hears our intercessions in heaven in and through the Holy Spirit – who is nowhere mentioned in the above statement.

Fact in relation to the third error: The ability in heaven to hear the intercessions of people on earth is not restricted to Mary. Everyone in heaven other than God, high status or low status, knows what is happening on earth. This because every creature who is in heaven, whether angelic or human, is living in the overt fullness of the Holy Trinity.


3) Statement: “There can be no greater friend, after Christ, than His mother.”

Fact in relation to the error: The greatest of friends is the Almighty Father because Christ Himself said, The Father is greater than I (Jn 14:28). Further, Christ became incarnate and died on the Cross not so that we could know Him, but so that we could once more regain intimacy with God the Eternal Father through the Way Who is not the end in Himself.

 

 

 

Thy Kingdom Come – 3

The Intermediate Coming – The Coming of the Kingdom of the Divine Will

“We know that the coming of the Lord is threefold: the third coming is between the other two and it is not visible in the way they are. At his first coming the Lord was seen on earth and lived among men, who saw him and hated him. At his last coming All flesh shall see the salvation of our God, and They shall look on him whom they have pierced. In the middle, the hidden coming, only the chosen see him, and they see him within themselves; and so their souls are saved.

“The first coming was in flesh and weakness, the middle coming is in spirit and power, and the final coming will be in glory and majesty.  This middle coming is like a road that leads from the first coming to the last. At the first, Christ was our redemption; at the last, he will become manifest as our life; but in this middle way he is our rest and our consolation. 

“If you think that I am inventing what I am saying about the middle coming, listen to the Lord himself: If anyone loves me, he will keep my words, and the Father will love him, and we shall come to him. Elsewhere I have read: Whoever fears the Lord does good things – but I think that what was said about whoever loves him was more important: that whoever loves him will keep his words. Where are these words to be kept? In the heart certainly, as the Prophet says I have hidden your sayings in my heart so that I do not sin against you.

“Keep the word of God in that way: Blessed are those who keep it. Let it penetrate deep into the core of your soul and then flow out again in your feelings and the way you behave; because if you feed your soul well it will grow and rejoice. Do not forget to eat your bread, or your heart will dry up. Remember, and your soul will grow fat and sleek.

“If you keep God’s word like this, there is no doubt that it will keep you, for the Son will come to you with the Father: the great Prophet will come, who will renew Jerusalem, and he is the one who makes all things new. For this is what this coming will do: just as we have been shaped in the earthly image, so will we be shaped in the heavenly image. Just as the old Adam was poured into the whole man and took possession of him, so in turn will our whole humanity be taken over by Christ, who created all things, has redeemed all things, and will glorify all things” (Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermon 5 – In Adventu Domini).