First docudrama in Hebrew and English about the Archangel Michael based on the Babylonian Talmud, the Torah (Yahwist / Elohist / Priestly Sources), the Midrashim, the Septuagint, the Summa Theologica, and Catholic / Orthodox tradition.
I desire mercy, not sacrifice (Mt 9:13).
It is sad that so many people, Catholics included, only know or perceive the Heavenly Father as Justice. They miss out on one very simple fact: the Name of the Father is Mercy. It is His highest attribute and that is because He is both a Father and Infinite Love.
Related to the above is another simple fact: do not judge and you will not be judged by your own yardstick.
A couple of points to consider when discerning demagoguery from piety, under the rationalizations of evangelization and the presentation of the One, True Faith:
- Is the piety manifest being covertly, or overtly, used to encourage and/or increase support for one or another political party, especially when the leading members of the latter live and act in open contradiction to the Christian Faith?
- Does the inherent message set forth address the fullness of the Faith and its doctrines? Or is it being subtly skewed by omission, if not outright commission, in order to proof-text support for a personally-favored party, NGO, or association?
The Devil is the father of lies and he knows both Scripture inside out and the sayings of all the saints.
Discern contexts carefully to not end up being deceived.
There is a strong tendency these days in popular culture, especially American culture, to call people evil – evil this, evil that – and this is occurring even within Church circles (a related phenomenon is the ‘demonization of the other’). Such parlance, however, is not only harmful and linguistically wrong. It is ontologically incorrect. In other words a lie.
No human person can be validly called evil as no one is evil. There is no such thing as an “evil human being” or an “evil person,” despite the ever-increasing proliferation of this kind of language, at times unwittingly by those who should know better, but deliberately and malevolently by pharasaical demagogues within the Church itself. No one is evil. Not even those, in many people’s minds, who might be considered the worst persons ever to walk this earth are evil (e.g., serial murderers, pedophiles, and so on). This because the image of the Triune God resides untarnished in every single human person.
It is the likeness that gets fractured by human actions and sin, not the image. Never, the image. Thus, to call a person or a group of people “evil” is to manifest wild ignorance about both the ontological reality of humankind (and one’s own ontology) and to extend that very definition to God Himself.
There is no other way to know God than by the vision of the Light which comes from Him (Symeon the New Theologian).
Deification – the restoration of the likeness (not the image) – is the true aim of humankind, not just salvation, because deification is 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 (Palamas, Ad Thalas 61, PG 90, 636C; Scholia 6, ibid. 644C). It is deification that allows 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)’ (Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Response to I.13,9).
The Mystical Body of Christ – the Church
A lot of questions, contentions and assertions, often contradictory, have arisen lately about the matter of who is, or is not, part of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Some have been correct. However, by far, the larger part of the contentions and assertions have all been either just partially correct or flat-out wrong. Some have been fueled by inadequate knowledge; others have been fueled by partisan denominational agendas. Misunderstandings and misrepresentations abound. Let us look, therefore, at who and what constitutes the Church.
The Church is made up of three parts: the (1) Church Triumphant, which consists of all those persons who are now in Heaven, enjoying the Divine Family in a direct manner. The (2) Church Suffering, which consists of all those souls who are still being purified in Purgatory, but who have now attained the assurance of reaching Heaven once their purification has ended. And (3) the Church Militant, the visible Church that consists of all those people on earth who are part of the Body of Christ.
How does one become part of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church?
Entrance into the Body of Christ is through baptism of which there are three kinds: (1) the baptism of water, (2) the baptism of blood, and (3) the baptism of desire. Any person who receives any one of the above kinds of baptism is Christian, hence part of the Mystical Body of Christ (Paul VI, 1964. Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church). This is the official teaching of the universal Church, the fullness of which resides in the Catholic Church. (more…)
The question was asked, “What it God’s will for only Satan and demons to be in Hell?” The answer is, it was never God’s will that anyone be in Hell (angel or human) or that Hell even be made to exist in the very first instance. Hell resulted from the fall of the most beautiful angel to ever have been created, Lucifer, and the cohort of angels that decided to rebel together with him.
The statement was made that “Hell is for demons” – a statement that, at its most basic, is incorrect. Hell is not just for demons, but also for all those who die with at least one single mortal sin on their soul and of which they have not genuinely repented. That is the stark reality.
Preach the Gospel and if necessary use words – Saint Francis of Assisi
More than a few Christians in America and beyond these days, but particularly in the United States, attempt to evangelize by thumping others on the head with their ‘values’ under a variety of rationalizations. Their judgmentalism, moreover, can oftentimes be considered nothing short of phenomenal. There can be no doubt that many of these Christians, including Catholics, are fundamentally sincere in their underlying intentions. However, they seem to have forgotten (1) that the above is not evangelization, but proselytization (which is “nonsense” – Pope Francis); (2) the words of Saint Paul in his first Letter to the Corinthians, and (3) the words of Christ in the Gospel of Matthew: “By their fruits you shall know them.”
Look at how much they love one another – Tertullian
No one has ever been attracted or won over to the One, True Faith by force. On the contrary. The more one name-calls others in a self-congratulatory manner in an attempt to ‘convert’ them – you know, those “over there” – the more seekers are driven away not brought closer to God. They are repulsed.
God gave every man and every woman free will when He created humankind in His own image and likeness. He, in fact, respects the decisions taken by our free will even when some of our choices cause Him great grief and sorrow. The sole conclusion that can, therefore, be reached from all of the above is that these Christians and Catholics do not know God other than by Name because if they did – if they knew Him, if they had truly met Him, at the very least, deep down in their hearts – they would know beyond doubt that, first and foremost, God is Love; Infinite Love.
Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, You have driven me this day away from the ground; and from Your face I shall be hidden; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will slay me.”
Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.”
And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden (Gn 4:2-16).
Some claim to be ‘pro-life.’ In fact, they will stop at nothing to hold back a mother-to-be from aborting her baby-in-the-womb, for abortion is manslaughter-by-another-name at the very least. And rightly so.
It should be noted, however, that the many of those who call themselves pro-life these days and actively belong to that movement in the US are not genuinely pro-life. They are simply pro-birth and pro-rationalization of whatever will quieten their conscience in the moment, to retain their personal and public delusions of being ‘a true Christian’ or ‘a faithful Catholic,’ despite the intractable beliefs with different intent which remain deeply in their hearts.
You shall not kill (Ex 20:13).
Specifically, these individuals defend capital punishment – the death penalty; another name for homicide – tooth and nail, despite the fact that only God and no one else has the right to take the life of another human person, no matter the actions, honorable or dishonorable, of the latter. In a celebratory manner reminiscent of that of a herd of fools rather than that of a herd of sheep, these individuals and this movement disregard the teachings of the Church and the repeated calls of Saint John Paul II, among others, to end this “cruel and unusual” punishment. It is a punishment that only declared barbarians, irrevocable sadists, radical extremists, and those possessed by Satan would ever endorse in this day and age.
Here are some excerpts of Saint John Paul II’s calls in relation to the death penalty:
Human life belongs only to God: for this reason, whoever attacks human life, in some way attacks God Himself . . . Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God Himself pledges to guarantee this . . . God, who preferred the correction rather than the death of a sinner, did not desire that a homicide be punished by the exaction of another act of homicide (Evangelium Vitae, 1995).
A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary (Homily at the Papal Mass in the Trans World Dome, St. Louis, Missouri, January 27, 1999).
May the death penalty, an unworthy punishment still used in some countries, be abolished throughout the world (Prayer at the Papal Mass at Regina Coeli Prison in Rome, July 9, 2000).