Mary's Little Office

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

On The Way Back Home - Chapter 11


Christ intended that the Church He founded should remain one and undivided until the end of time.  Unity then must be a mark of the one, true Church.  "And there shall be," says Christ, "but one Fold and one Shepherd."  Nowhere but in the Catholic Church do we find the perfect example of such unity, all Catholics the world over believing the same doctrines, offering up the same sacrifice, and governed by the one visible head, the Pope, the Vicar of Christ upon earth.  This is the unity Christ Himself prayed for the night before He died.  "And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in Me;  that they all may be one, as Thou Father in me, and I in Thee;  that they also may be one of us, that the world may believe that Thou has sent Me."  (John 17; 20, 21) 

The night before He died Christ not only prayed that His Apostles would remain united and all those with them who through the preaching of the Apostles should believe in Christ but He also adds the prayer that the world witnessing the perfect unity existing in His Church, may be drawn to believe in Christ Himself.  Unity then must be an outstanding mark of the true Church.

Some non-Catholics like to talk of the Catholic Church as the Mother Church, as though it were a matter of merit to have sprung from the Mother Church.  But in reality it is of little merit to have sprung from the Mother Church when to have sprung or descended from the Catholic Church means that that you are now split away, divided from and cut asunder from the Church Christ founded.  Christ never meant that the Church He founded should give birth to a dozen others.  And in the back of the mind of many non-Catholics this feeling ever persists, as is exemplified in the story of the following conversion.  

Norway today is not the Catholic country it once was, and yet Norway too witnesses its conversions to the faith of its fathers.  One such was the conversion of Mrs. Marie Elizabeth Brataas.  She was the daughter of Peter Overn and Maren Flannum, both strict Lutheran Norwegians.  One Sunday, coming home from the Lutheran Church, she asked her husband also a Lutheran, what the minister meant when he preached about the one Fold and the one Shepherd.  She told him that she had always thought that the Lutheran religion was the one Fold but, to her amazement, she heard him say:  "No!  not the Lutheran but the Catholic is the one Fold and the One True Religion."  Her sister Petrea, in the meantime, had become a Catholic and a Carmelite nun.  When she asked her Pastor, Krogh Tonning, for permission to have her name taken off the church registers, as she was becoming a Catholic, he answered:  "You are taking the right path."  Later on he followed her into the Catholic Church.  

This unity of faith is not only one of the glories of the Catholic Church, a mark to show that she has been divinely instituted but it is a thing that Christ Himelf earnestly prayed for.  Holy Scripture is the revealed word of God.  Through it God speaks to us clearly and plainly.  And in the strongest words possible Christ makes it plain in Holy Scripture that His followers should persevere in the unity of faith, should admit no doctrines contrary to those He Himself had taught the Apostles.  St. Paul gives us a striking warning in this matter.  Speaking to the Galatians he says:  "But though we or an angel from heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.  As we said before, so now I say again:  if anyone preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema."  
(Gal. 1. 8-9)

To preach a doctrine then, other than that Christ taught the Apostles, is not to preach the Christianity of Christ.  To set up a division in Christianity to do this, that is to establish a sect, is directly contrary to the command of Christ.  For this reason the establishing of sects, divisions of Christian believers, is listed as one of the greatest of sins.  In his letter to the Galatians St. Paul says:  "Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatries, witchcrafts, enmities, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissentions, etc., of which I foretell you, as I have foretold you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.  (Gal. 5. 19-21)  Hence though millions of men have embraced this sect or that in the course of time, and particularly since the Protestant Reformation, it was neither the wish nor the intention of Christ, that they should save their souls anywhere else but in the bosom of the One True Church He Himself founded.  


Read ahead or behind by Clicking Below . . .

http://mymotherswayhome.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard

Pray Your Rosary Every Day


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Getting St. Peter's Sermon Right!

Bishop Robert Barron  April 22, 2018

Our first reading for today proposes a very serious challenge to the inclusiveness and non-judgmentalism that is taken for granted in our culture today. The chief of the Apostles says, “He is the stone rejected by you the builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” Stay with how uncomfortable this is—because in a way, that’s the point.
Mass Readings
Reading 1 - Acts 4:8-12
Psalm - Psalm 118:1-29
Reading 2 - 1 John 3:1-2
Gospel - John 10:11-18

Holy Communion Prayers


  Good Shepherd Sunday
or 
The Fourth Sunday after Easter
 
Prayer for Help
O my God help me to make a good Communion. Mary, my dearest Mother, pray to Jesus for me. My dear Angel Guardian, lead me to the Altar of God.

Act of Faith
O God, because Thou hast said it, I believe that I shall receive the Sacred Body of Jesus to eat, and His precious Blood to drink. My God, I believe that with all my heart.

Act of Humility
My God, I confess that I am a poor sinner; I am not worthy to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus on account of my sins. Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof; say but the word, and my soul shall be healed.

Act of Sorrow
My God, I detest all the sins of my life. I am sorry for them, because they have offended Thee, my God who art so good. I resolve never to commit sin any more. My good God, pity me, have mercy on me, forgive me. Amen.

Act of Adoration
O Jesus great God, present on the Altar, I bow down before Thee, I adore Thee.


Act of Love and Desire
Sweet Jesus, I love Thee. I desire with all my heart to receive Thee. Most sweet Jesus, come into my poor soul, and give me Thy Flesh to eat and Thy Blood to drink. Give me Thy whole self, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, that I may live forever with Thee.

O most sweet Virgin Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, lend me, I beseech thee, thy Immaculate Heart to receive my Jesus: that so I may receive Him by thee, by  whom the world received Him.

O Jesus, I offer Thee Thy sinless Mother's Heart, with its perfect dispositions at the moment of Thy Incarnation and all her communions. Come to me now by her, as I came to Thee by her. With her heart let me receive Thee.



AFTER HOLY COMMUNION



O my Queen, thou hast given me Jesus in thy heart, therefore, now, with the same true heart, entertain Him for me. Adore Him, thank Him, and implore Him for the graces thou knows me to need-in particular . . . . .

ACT OF FAITH
O Jesus, I believe that I have received Thy Flesh to eat and Thy Blood to drink, because Thou hast said it, and Thy word is true.

ACT OF ADORATION
O Jesus, my God, my Creator, I adore Thee, because from Thy Hands I came and with Thee I am to be happy forever.

ACT OF HUMILITY
O Jesus, I am but dust and ashes, and yet Thou hast come to me, and my poor heart may speak to Thee.

ACT OF LOVE
Sweet Jesus, I love Thee; I love Thee with all my heart. Thou knows that I love Thee, and wish to love Thee daily more and more.

ACT OF THANKSGIVING
My good Jesus, I thank Thee with all my heart. How good, how kind Thou art to me, sweet Jesus. Blessed be Jesus in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

ACT OF OFFERING
O Jesus, receive my poor offering. Jesus Thou hast given Thyself to me, and let me give myself to Thee:


I give Thee my body, that it may be chaste and pure.


I give Thee my soul, that it may be free from sin.


I give Thee my heart, that it may always love Thee.


I give Thee every breath that I shall breathe. and especially my last; I give Thee myself in life and in death, that I may be Thine for ever and ever.


O Jesus, wash away my sins with Thy precious Blood.


O Jesus, the struggle against temptation is not yet finished. My Jesus, when temptation comes near me, make me strong against it. In the moment of temptation may I always say, "Jesus, mercy! Mary, help!"


O Jesus, may I lead a good life; may I die a happy death. May I receive Thee before I die. May I say when I am dying, "Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul."

Listen now for a moment to Jesus Christ; perhaps He has something to say to you. There may be some promise you have made and broken, which He wishes you to make again and keep. Answer Jesus in your heart, and tell Him all your troubles. Then pray for others.

O Jesus, have mercy on Thy Holy Church; take care of it.


O Jesus, have pity on poor sinners, and save them from hell.


O Jesus, bless my father, my mother, my brothers and sisters, and all I ought to pray for, as Thy Heart knows how to bless them.


O Jesus, have pity on the poor souls in Purgatory, and give them eternal rest.


Sweet Jesus, I am going away for a time, but trust not without Thee. Thou are with me by Thy grace. I will never leave Thee by mortal sin. I do not fear to do so, though I am so weak, because I have such hope in Thee. Give me grace to persevere. Amen.


    

Friday, April 20, 2018

On The Way Back Home - Chapter 10



By the Apostolicity of the Church is meant that the true Church must go back in an unbroken succession to the Apostles.  It must teach all the doctrines and only the doctrines that the Apostles taught, that they themselves received from Christ.  It must have the same authority to teach that they possessed.  It must administer the same sacraments they administered.  It must exercise the same authority to govern the faithful they administered. This in itself is a striking proof that the Catholic Church is the only true Church for the Catholic Church is the only Church that does go back in an unbroken line to Christ.  It was to the Apostle Peter alone and to his successors that Christ said:  "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."  Through Peter then and his successors, the Bishops of Rome, Christ's Church comes down to you.

This was the Church Christ commanded all men to listen to.  To the Apostles under Peter, He gave the direct command to teach;  to the faithful He gave the equally direct command to listen and accept their teachings.  "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, going forth out of that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.  Amen I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment than for that city." (Matt. 10; 14, 15) And in the Gospel of St. Luke we read:  "And He said to them, go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved but he that believeth not, shall be condemned." (Luke 16; 15, 16)

What is it then that Christ commands us to accept?  It is to receive Baptism at the hands of the Apostles and their successors and to believe the doctrines they would teach the faithful, the very same doctrines Christ taught His Apostles, the same doctrines the Catholic Church teaches today. "Going therefore," He said, "teach ye all nations, teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded thee."  (Matt. 28; 20)  The Catholic Church alone goes back directly to Jesus Christ in doctrine, in sacrament, in authority.  The Catholic Church alone then can be the true Church of Christ.  

Read ahead or behind by Clicking Below . . .

http://mymotherswayhome.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard


Pray Your Rosary Every Day


Thursday, April 19, 2018

On The Way Back Home - Chapter 9


Today we have the Anglican Church, the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Congregational Church and so many others representing themselves as the Church of Christ that the claim is now made, in view of the fact that all these denominations claim to be the Church of Christ, that it is impossible to discover the true Church Christ founded.  It can not be impossible however for Christ would not found His Church and command all men to enter it unless it were possible for it to be known as such.  In this 20th century, surrounded by so many Christian sects it is not easy to find the one, true Church as it was in the 10th century when all Europe possessed the one true Faith.  Though it is not as easy, still, it is not impossible.

I say 'though it is not as easy nowadays to find the one True Church as it was formerly' and I think we can all admit that, in the present state of things, for many people it is not as easy.  When a child has been brought up from its tenderest years in a belief and a practice different from that of the Catholic Church, it is not so easy for him to find his way back home.  For I may live in a false religion, and may not know it to be a false religion.  It may never occur to me to investigate the position in which I find myself and the means of investigation may not be within my reach.  I may be what is termed-invincibly ignorant-of the truth.  If I am, no blame may be attached to me for not knowing the truth.  God does not expect the impossible of anyone.  But in these days of widespread education, when books, periodicals and other means of enlightenment are within the easy reach of all, no intelligent well-eaning man need be invincibly ignorant of the Church Christ founded.  A man's religion is his most important possession upon earth, since religion is the means God has instituted to help save his soul.  Whether then we be Lutherans or Episcopalians or Catholics, we are convinced on reasonable grounds that the Lutheran religion or the Episcopalian religion or the Catholic religion is the religion Christ Himself founded and the one in which He intended us to work our our salvation and no other.

But are there any distinguishing marks by which a person living in the 20th century can know with certainty which religion is the true religion?  Yes, there are.  There are four great signs or marks, trademarks as it were of Christ, stamped on the true religion to make it stand out as the Church of Christ.  The true religion should be Apostolic;  it should be One;  it should be Catholic;  it should be Holy.  Let us examine these separately in order to see if the Catholic religion possesses them in their entirety.  


Read ahead or behind by Clicking Below . . .

http://mymotherswayhome.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard


Pray Your Rosary Every Day



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

On The Way Back Home - Chapter 8


The one great reason why one should enter any church is to seek the salvation of his soul.  On the other hand, the reason why the Catholic Church makes the claim that she alone is the Church in which Christ intended all men should save their souls is that she is the only Church Christ Himself founded, whose teachings Christ commanded all men to listen to and to accept.

For over 1900 years now the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Christ.  In the course of that time various groups broke away from union with her to found churches of their own.  Not one of them can claim then to have had Christ as their founder.  Some broke away because they refused to recognize the Bishop of Rome, who is the successor of St. Peter, as the lawful head of the Church.  The Greek Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church are in this position.  Though these churches deny the authority and supremacy of the Pope, in theory at least they do not deny the doctrines of the Catholic Church.

Other groups however have cut themselves off from the Church in a more complete manner.  These groups not only deny the authority of the Pope but they also repudiate many of the doctrines of the Church.  Catholics call them sects,  meaning cut off.  Against such divisions that might arise in the Church St. Paul warns the Ephesians:  "Be careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,  One Body and one Spirit:  as you are called in one hope of your calling.  One Lord, one faith, one baptism."  (Ephesians 1,4,3-6)

The first great sect to arise in the Church to threaten its unity was promoted by the priest Arius and was called Arianism.  In the fourth century under the lead of Arius, this sect denied that Christ was the Son of God.  After Arianism other sects arose at different times denying this article of faith or that, but none of them was of a permanent character until what is known as the Protestant Reformation which took place in the 16th century.

Protestantism began with Martin Luther who was himself a Catholic priest.  History tells us that he left the Catholic Church, denied the authority of the Pope, rejected one Catholic doctrine after another and finally established his own brand of Christianity, Lutheranism.

Henry the VIII was then King of England and England was entirely Catholic.  Upon Luther falling away from the Church, Henry wrote a book condemning Luther and upholding the doctrines Luther had denied.  But because the Pope refused to grant Henry a divorce from his lawful wife Catherine, Henry subsequently followed the example of Luther and denied the authority of the Pope.  Henry's action led to the introduction of the doctrines of Lutheranism in England and finally to the establishment of the Anglican Church in England.  The division of Christianity under Protestantism had now begun.  Sect upon sect arose until now there are hundreds of different sects, divisions, groups calling themselves Christian churches, all teaching doctrines more or less different and worshipping in different ways.

On the very face of things, this can hardly be what Christ intended.  If the all-wise and all-knowing Son of God went to the trouble of coming upon this earth and taking upon Himself our flesh, becoming man to redeem mankind, He certainly would not have established ten different varieties of Christianity instead of one, teaching ten different doctrines and leading the faithful in ten different directions.  If he did He would have been directly responsible for the woeful state of confusion, disunity and division that exists among the Christian sects today.  Upon establishing His Church, Christ had promised that He would be with her even to the end of the world and that the Gates of Hell, that is the forces of error and division would never prevail against her.  But the Gates of Hell would have prevailed if the Church had even once taught false doctrines or was unable at any time to correct whatever evils and abuses might have arisen in the administration of Church affairs.  And the Gates of Hell assuredly would have prevailed if, to secure whatever reformation was needed, the Church Christ founded must needs be split asunder into a hundred and more different sects, each one having its own particular interpretation of the doctrine Christ taught, each practicing Christianity in a different way.

At the time the Protestant Reformation started, there were undoubtedly things that needed reformation in the Church.  It is reasonable to suppose however, that if reformation was needed, that reformation should have come from within.  After founding His Church, Christ did not leave the Church in the hands of angels.  He left the Church in the charge of the Apostles and their successors.  The Apostles and their successors were men with the weaknesses of men.  Christ had promised them His assistance in order that as far as His doctrines were concerned, the Church would ever teach the truth.  The administration of the Church, however, would remain subject to the weaknesses of human nature.  It is not surprising then that at times this or that scandal would arise.  In His own body of Apostles there was one who had betrayed Him.  But unless the promises of Christ were false, the Church He founded has His Perpetual assistance so that she could correct abuses, remedy evils, overcome scandals, in other words, reform herself if reformation was needed.  And herein lies one of the most fundamental mistakes of Protestantism.  In the supposed attempt to remedy the evils that existed, in the Church, the founders of Protestantism stepped outside the Church Christ founded, they forfeited His assistance and they became an easy prey to the spirit of error, division and confusion that has divided Christianity and goes on dividing it outside the Catholic Church. 


Read ahead or behind by Clicking Below . . .

http://mymotherswayhome.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard

Pray Your Rosary Every Day




Tuesday, April 17, 2018

On The Way Back Home - Chapter 7

Catholic Evidence Guild, Hyde Park, 1948


Today there are hundreds of thousands of men and women who, though they claim to be Christians, belong to no particular church. They are living in practical indifference to God and are risking the salvation of their immortal souls. They will have much to answer for when they stand before the judgment seat of the Almighty. For if Christ founded a Church upon earth, he meant that men should enter it. If He commanded that all men receive Baptism, He meant that they should become members of His Church. If He commanded that all men listen and accept the teaching of His Apostles, He meant that all men should be docile members of that Church He would build upon Peter, the head of the Apostles.  To such men this little book makes its appeal. The invitation which God gives you now, you must not put off too lightly. As the Scripture warns us: "The night cometh when no man can work." And again: "Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation." The invitation, which God gives you now, may not be given again.

As you read these pages however, it may seem to you that what is written here is Catholic propaganda. As a matter of fact, in the good sense of the word, it is. Propaganda in it original sense means anything that is written or spoken or depicted in order to encourage and promote a movement, an idea, a faith. This is the honest and true type of propaganda the Church practices at the command of Christ Himself. Upon establishing His Church He gave the clear command to the Apostles: "Go forth and teach all nations."

In the sense in which the word propaganda is often used today, it signifies anything said, written or done in a partly false manner to influence people into accepting some belief or some idea not entirely true. The Catholic Church does not employ this false type of propaganda. It realized that no true conversion will ever be made by force, by deceit, or by trickery. It presents its claims honestly and openly to your reason and to your conscience. It invites your full investigation into its history, its dogmas and its practices. Only then when the truth prevails under the impulse of God's assistance can a true conversion be made.  

If the Catholic Church fulfills the duty given it by Christ, she must never cease teaching the doctrines  of Christ to all men. Catholic missionaries have in fact carried the message of Christ to all parts of the world. All parts of the world have responded to their appeal. On the other hand, there could be more effort made at times by the ordinary lay Catholic at home, and even by the priest at times, to restate Catholic doctrine to their Protestant brethren. Secure in his faith, content with his faith and not wishing to impose his faith upon the unwilling, the Catholic layman usually makes little effort to propagate it. The ordinary priest, moreover, is so immersed in the duties of taking care of his congregation that he has little energy and time left over for the work of reconverting those who have strayed. Christ Himself, however, gave us the injunction to work for the conversion of those not as yet in His fold. "Other sheep I have," He says, "that are not of this fold; them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd."

It is strange and yet it is true, that the Catholic Church, although two thousand years old, remains largely unknown to a large part of the modern world. A certain convert in Alaska once remarked:  "What kind of a church do you people run? Is it a closed corporation? It seems as difficult to enter it as it is to pry open the door of a bank vault. I have been coming to your church now for the past six weeks, assisting at the services on Sundays, and I have not as yet met the priest in charge." In some cases then the approach to the Church is difficult.  To make it less difficult, is the purpose for which this book is written.


Pray Your Rosary Every Day


Read ahead or behind by Clicking Below . . .


http://mymotherswayhome.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard


Monday, April 16, 2018

On The Way Back Home - Chapter 6


There is a very interesting book called "Through Hundred Gates."  It is published by the Bruce Publishing Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  In it is related a short account of the conversions of some forty and more noted men and women of today, and in all parts of the world.  The Catholic Church appeals to all men.  This is nowhere better proven than in the long list of her illustrious converts from all the corners of the globe-England, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, Spain, France, Holland, Russia, Hindustan, India, China, Japan, everywhere in fact where the human heart seeks God.  Men from all nations and races have not only embaced the faith, but men from all nations have returned to the faith their fathers once lost.  I shall quote here the testimony of but a few to emphasize how carefully they examined the claims of the Catholic Church to be the one, true Church of Christ before they came back home.

In the coming into the Church Dr. Erik Peterson of the University of Bonn, Germany, said:  "I am now forty years old.  I have studied theology circumspectly for twenty years.  My action (in embracing the Catholic faith) was prompted by my conscience that I might not be a castaway of God.  Whoever judges me, let him know that I shall appeal against his judgment to the judgment seat of God."

Bishop Duane G. Hunt of Salt Lake, Utah diocese tells us why he came into the Church.  "It was during a post-graduate course in a law school that I finally made up my mind that I must be and would be honest with myself, and that since logic led me unmistakably to the Catholic Church, I would follow.  I could not be a mental coward, I came into the Catholic Church, therefore, because I could not stay out."

Augustine J. Roth, another illustrious convert, gives us his reasons.  "The answer to the question, why I became a Catholic, can be summed up in a few words.  I became a Catholic because, after an extensive investigation lasting years, I found the Catholic Church to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  I became a Catholic for the same reason that nearly half a million souls became Catholics last year, for no man can know the true Church and feel content to remain outside her communion.  I hated the Catholic Church so thoroughly that I would have abandoned the inquiry even though it meant staking my salvation and losing what little faith I had left.  That I took the step later on is a proof for the mysterious working of God's grace in my life, which took me step by step through the emptiness of other churches and then bestowed upon me the greatest of all gifts, the gift of Faith."

Dr. Expedit Schmidt, a German scholar, has this to say of his conversion.  "The logic of Catholic doctrine, if this expression is permitted, led me into the Catholic Church, just as the lack of logic drove me away from Protestantism.  At the time of my conversion I was nineteen, and to this day I have not regretted for a single moment that I then followed the superior logic of Catholic dogma or, shall I say, the superior promptings of God's grace"  

Says Hans Carl Wendlant, noted religious writer of Germany:  "Next to the grace of God and the intercession of the Blessed Mother, I attribute my conversion to the recognition that Truth and Love have found their highest expression in the Catholic Church."  

Professor Dr. Paul Kotaro Tanaka, Professor of Law at the Imperial University of Tokyo writes:  I became a Catholic through God's grace eleven years ago.  All I would say is God forcibly took hold of me, and I took hold of Him more and more.

Photo:  Jesuit novices taking a break from working the vineyards of the Sacred Heart Novitiate.
Location:  San Jose, California, 1953
Photgrapher:  Margaret Bourke-White 



Read ahead by Clicking on the Book Below . . .

http://mymotherswayhome.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard

Sunday, April 15, 2018

On The Way Back Home - Chapter 5

Photo:  Among The Stones
Jesuit novices reading their breviaries during contemplative prayer amidst the tombstones of Jesuit priests at Los Gatos Novitiate. 
Location:  San Jose, California, 1953
Photographer:  Margaret Bourke-White

The fundamental reason then why one should enter the Catholic Church is that it is the Church established by Jesus Christ, in which he intended that all men work out the salvation of the soul entrusted to them. Of course there are many reasons why one might be attracted to the Church, reasons that sometimes impel men to enter the Church. One might be attracted by the splendor and beauty of Catholic worship, by the dignity and learning of her priests, by the staunch way in which the Church upholds the sacredness of the married state or because at times one's friends are Catholics or one's husband or wife. But while all of these are things that might attract us toward the Church, one's motive in entering the Church should be more substantial than the mere beauty of Catholic worship or the fact that my friend or my wife or husband is a Catholic.  

Nor should a true conversion ever mean "hitting the sawdust trail" as it is sometimes vulgarly termed. For conversion to God means much more than the sole declaration that you accept Christ after listening to a sermon or two. An emotional sermon that stirs up an emotional response is hardly sufficient ground for the full acceptance of all that Christianity implies. It is true that emotions have their place in religion, but no one should rely on them alone either in his acceptance of religion or in his religious life afterwards. One should enter the Catholic Church after reasonable inquiry into her doctrines, convinced that this is the Church Christ Himself founded, and hence there is a solemn obligation in conscience binding one to enter.
 
The salvation of one's immortal soul is the most important business man has to transact in this life.
God demands of us that we take it seriously. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God," Christ says to us. On the other hand just as no one should enter the Church unless from solid motives, so no one should remain in a Church unless he is sure that it is the Church established by Christ, and in which Christ meant him to work out the salvation of his soul. To embrace the Catholic faith then a certain amount of reasonable reflection is always necessary, a knowledge of her doctrines and an honest inquiry into her claims of being the One Church divinely instituted by the Savior of mankind.



Read ahead by Clicking on the Book's Cover . . .

http://mymotherswayhome.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard


Saturday, April 14, 2018

On The Way Back Home - Chapter 4

Photo:  German Konrad Adenauer praying on election day, 1953.
Location:  Heppenheim, Germany
Photographer:  Ralph Crane

There are many people in this world who, though they practice religion to some extent, are not much concerned whether the religion they practice is the true religion or not. There are others who have strayed so far from the notion of religion or the practice of religion that they will ask: "Why should I embrace any particular faith or practice any religion? What's the good of it? Why is it necessary?" In answering these questions I shall be forced to make this chapter a little longer than those preceding.

"The proper study of man," says the great Grecian philosopher Aristotle, "is man." In other words after the study of God Himself, there is no study so usful, so important as the study of man. It is useful to try to understand the nature of trees, of rocks, of animals and of the forces of nature, but it is more useful and far more necessary for man to understand man himself.  And in the study of man there is no consideration more profitable than the study of man's eternal destiny. From the beginning of the world, nothing has occupied man's attention more than this. Where did I come from? Why am I here on this earth? Whither am I going? These three questions have troubled the minds of men since the very beginning of human history. Taken together they form the mighty problem of what is called the riddle of existence. That riddle must be solved if man's life upon this earth is to have a solid, worthwhile purpose, if man's religion is to be reasonable.


Let us suppose that instead of the millions of men that live upon earth, there were but one. Suppose that that one, upon being ushered into existence, should as it were, find himself in a small rowboat in the middle of a vast ocean with nothing but water all around him stretching to the horizon. The rowboat seems to be headed in some direction, but East, West, North or South, the rower knows not. If you were that man, sooner or later, probably sooner, you would ask yourself these questions:  from what port did I set out? Why am I traveling at all? To what port am I headed? If you could give yourself no answer, you would most likely quit rowing. If I do not know for what port, if any, I am headed, why row? If I don't know, why I am rowing, why row? The oars seem to have been given to me for a purpose the boat seems to be made to carry me somewhere: the water itself seems to have been intended to sustain the boat.  But if with all this I am going nowhere in particular, I am embarked upon a ridiculous journey.  


Yet that is your position and the position of every man that ever lived upon this earth. Out of the womb of eternity when you existed not, you came and, with the speed of the fastest airplane that ever winged its way across the sky, you are traveling forward toward another eternity. What am I supposed to do while I am on this momentous journey? Is the journey after all worth taking seriously? Should I try to direct my way or should I just let myself drift? Storms will come in this journey through life as they would come to the rower upon the ocean. Storms will come in the shape of trials and disappointments, sickness, and, at times, the loss of fortune and friends and in the end, death. If there is no purpose in life other than to live, why should I try to bear up under such disappointments and trials? Why should I endeavor to rein in my passions or curb my selfish interests?  Or is there possibly a port toward which I am headed, for which it would be worth while steering a straight course and suffering the buffets of this life to reach?


There is such a port. Its existence gives awful significance to this life. The rower was given a pair of oars to row with;  you were given your reason to find out the direction in which you should steer your boat, the port toward which you should tend, in other words to know the grand purpose of life.  For unless you were put here by God, to live a short time on probation, to prove yourself amid the trials and temptations of this life as worthy of the life to come, then your lot is sand indeed. All through this life your heart will be yearning for happiness. You will go through life so wistfully enjoying a bit of it here, a bit of it there.  In the end your heart will still be yearning. It will never be completely satisfied. This is the testimony of every man that ever lived. Solomon, supposed to be the wisest and the richest of the kings of earth, surrounded with all the honors and the pleasures of life, in the end testified that it was all in vain. "Vanity of vanities," he exclaimed, "and all is vanity." Useless, worthless, dissatisfying, empty.


And at the moment of death, you will be unwilling to die. You will want more life. Your whole being will be crying out for eternal life. Yet you with your human heart, you wonderful intellect, your magnificent will, your marvelous imagination, you, the masterpiece of creation will be the greatest disappointment, the saddest wreck, the one great blunder in all the universe unless you honestly admit what your reason tells you: I was created by God, I am destined for God, and only the possession of God can one day fill my heart to overflowing with all happiness. Riches and honors and earthly enjoyments all pass away. Only God and eternal life remain forever. The great St. Augustine was a man who in his life tasted most of the pleasures that this life affords. In the end however like Solomon, he turns away from them with emptiness in his heart, exclaiming: "Thou has made me for Thyself, O Lord, and my heart will not rest unless it rest in Thee."


This then is the sole purpose of life, so to live as to prove ourselves worthy of God. It answers the question what is the good of religion, why it is necessary for me to embrace any religion and to enter any church. God creates the soul of each man who enters this world.  He infuses that soul into the body. Because of that soul man becomes a human personality with the dignity of having been created by the hand of God and in God's own image. Man then possesses this dignity but he also possesses a destiny equal to his dignity. That destiny is one day to possess God and to live happily with God throughout all eternity. But to merit eternal life with God, man must fulfill certain conditions. Man in this life then is on a short probation. For God intends that man shall obtain his salvation by living up to God's commandments with the divine assistance. This present life is but a sojourn upon earth. We have not here a lasting dwelling place, for heaven is man's true home. The great purpose of life then, and the great good and necessity of worshipping God in the true religion is to achieve the salvation of one's immortal soul. This is the fundamental reason for entering the Catholic Church, the only Church established by Jesus Christ. Why then should you be concerned about religion? Why?  Because God demands it of you and because the salvation of your immortal soul is at stake. The greatest evil that can ever befall you is the loss of your immortal soul. The late World War, or a war a hundred times more destructive, is of no consequence compared to the loss of your soul.  "What doth it profit a man," says Holy Writ, "if he gain the whole world, yet suffer the loss of his soul."



Read ahead by Clicking on the Book's Cover . . .

http://mymotherswayhome.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard


Friday, April 13, 2018

On The Way Back Home - Chapter 3


But why change one's religion?  Why reenter the Catholic Church?  Isn't one religion as good as another?  The plain answer to this important question is an emphatic, No.  This saying for the most part is the work of those who in reality are indifferent to all religion, and make this an excuse for their indifference.  A little reasoning should suffice to prove that one religion is not as good as another religion.  If it were there would have been no need of Christianity in the first place.  For there were other religions existing upon earth at the time Christ established His Church.  There were Confucianism and Buddhism and Judaism and Paganism.  Were one religion as good as another, it would have been sufficient for God to have allowed these religions to function without establishing another.  Christ, however, did establish another.

In His dealings with man, God has always been definite and exact.  After the fall of Adam, God promised that in due time He would send a Redeemer to satisfy for man's sin.  But in order to keep the knowledge of the one, true God among men until that time, God called Abraham to be the father of His chosen people.  Hence he established the Jews as the one true and divinely appointed guardian of His law until He should send the promised Messias.  The Jewish Church, then, was the one, true religion up to the time of Christ.  God Himself then gives the answer to the question, "Is not one religion as good as another?"  He Himself established one religion as the true religion up to the coming of Christ.  Christ in His turn established but one Church, and He proclaimed that that Church would last to the end of time.  "Thou art Peter," He says, "and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it."  (Matt. 16, 18.)  Christ said "Church" not "Churches", and He meant church, not churches.  And again He says:  "And there shall be one Fold and one Shepherd."


It is evident from many other considerations that there can be but one, true religion.  As there is only one God, there can be but one, true worship of God.  Truth itself is one, and it cannot be contradictory.  At one and the same time, two and two cannot be four and six and nine.  If it were, what confusion would result in the field of mathematics.  In the field of morality, what terrible evils would result if it were equally good and true to murder one's parents and to protect their lives.  Likewise were it equally true that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and not the Son of God, if it were equally true that Baptism is a Sacrament and absolutely necessary for salvation and neither a Sacrament nor necessary for salvation, what doubt, uncertainty and confusion would arise in the minds of Christians.  The disastrous state of division and disunion that exists in the Christian sects outside the Catholic Church today is partly the result of following the theory that one religion is as good as another.  Christ manifestly would not come upon earth to found fifty-seven different churches teaching different doctrines to confuse men's minds.  He came upon earth to found the one true Church that would be the one sure and safe path to salvation. 


Photo: Morning Mass
Location: San Juan Capistrano Mission, San Antonio, Texas, 1945
Photographer:  Alfred Eisenstaedt


Read ahead by Clicking on the Book's Cover . . .

http://mymotherswayhome.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard

Thursday, April 12, 2018

On The Way Back Home - Chapter 2

 

Scripture tells us that the beauty of the king's daughter is within.  It is hidden from the eyes of those who gaze upon it only from without.  In like manner the beauty of the Catholic worship, the truth of Catholic doctrine, the peace and security of Catholic life are beauty and peace and security and truth that are within.  They cannot be rightly known or full appreciated by anyone not a Catholic.

We live in a world today in which Christianity is a divided Christianity.  A hundred and one, if not a thousand and one, different churches represent themselves as being christian.  But this was not always so.  Some four hundred years ago all the nations of the Western world presented a united front;  all of the English people, all of the German people, the French, the Swedish, the Danish, all Europe in a word was staunchly Catholic.  These were, in all likelihood, your own ancestors.  They understood and appreciated the beauty and the truth of their Catholic faith.  They had practiced this faith for centuries.  Since that time, however, in what is known as the Protestant Reformation, great numbers fell away and great numbers were led away from the Catholic Church. Having withdrawn from the Church of their fathers, they have by now strayed so far from home that things, that once were so familiar and that they loved so deeply, have now become utterly strange and badly misunderstood.  But there should be nothing strange to a Protestant returning to the Cahtolic Church, just as there should be nothing strange to a Jew entering it.  


I remember the case of a Jewish lady who had become a Catholic.  Someone asked her how it felt to become a Catholic.  It was at a festival breakfast just after her Baptism.  She answered that in reality she didn't know.  She had always been a Catholic, she said, only at last she had found the Messias.  Everything else was what she had always wanted and, in a way, lived up to.  


For the Protestant it would not mean finding the Messias.  It would mean simply finding one's way back home to the bosom of the Church the Messias founded.  Hence I have entitled this little work, "Simple Chapters to be read on the Way Back Home."  Becoming a convert to a new religion could mean a turning to embrace something new.  In this case, however, the something new is in reality something very old, something that all your forefathers  believed in and prized before you.  It means turning away from the uncertainty, the doubt, and the confusion in which men live today, back to the security and peace that exists in the Church Christ established.


The First Christians were all converts.  Peter, upon whom Christ established His Church, was a convert, together with all the other Apostles.  And they were so inflamed with zeal for the new religion Christ taught them, that they set out gladly over the whole world to give their lives to the task of converting the world to that to which Christ had converted them.  Since that time many Jews have entered the Church, pagans in all parts of the world have entered the Church, and many Christians, who for one reason or another had lost the light of that faith, re-entered her Fold to place their feet once more on the true path to salvation.  This is the path Christ Himself pointed out, He who declared: "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life."


Photo:  Evening Prayer
Townspeople gather to say their evening prayers.
Location:  Quebec, Canada - 1942
Photographer:  John Phillips

Continue Reading by Clicking on the Book Below.

http://mymotherswayhome.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

On the Way Back Home - Chapter 1


Photo:  On The Way Back Home
Location: Missouri, USA, 1945
Photographer:  Alfred Eisenstaedt


Chapter 1

Scripture tells us that the beauty of the king's daughter is within.  It is hidden from the eyes of those who gaze upon it only from without.  In like manner the beauty of Catholic worship, the truth of Catholic doctrine, the peace and security of Catholic life are beauty and peace and security and truth that are within.  They cannot be rightly known or fully appreciated by anyone not a Catholic.

We live in a world today in which Christianity is a divided Christianity.  A hundred and one, if not a thousand and one, different churches represent themselves as being christian.  But this was not always so. Some four hundred years ago all the nations of the Western world presented a united front;  all of the English people, all of the German people, the French, the Swedish, the Danish, all Europe in a word was staunchly Catholic.  These were, in all likelihood, your own ancestors. They understood and appreciated the beauty and the truth of their Catholic faith.  They had practiced this faith for centuries.  Since that time, however, in what is known as the Protestant Reformation, great numbers fell away and great numbers were led away from the Catholic Church.  Having withdrawn from the Church of their fathers, they have by now strayed so far from home that things, that once were so familiar that they loved so deeply, have now become utterly strange and badly misunderstood.  But there should be nothing strange to a Protestant returning to the Catholic Church, just as there should be nothing strange to a Jew entering it.  

I remember the case of a Jewish lady who had become a Catholic. Someone asked her how it felt to become a Catholic.  It was at a festival breakfast just after her Baptism.  She answered that in reality she didn't know.  She had always been a Catholic, she said, only at last she had found the Messias.  Everything else was what she had always wanted and, in a way, lived up to.  For the Protestant it would not mean finding the Messias.  It would mean simply finding one's way back home to the bosom of the Church the Messias founded.  Hence I have entitled this little work, "Simple Chapters to be read on the Way Back Home." Becoming a convert to a new religion could mean a turning to embrace something new.  In this case, however, the something new is in reality something very old, something that all your forefathers believed in and prized before you.  It means turning away from the uncertainty, the doubt, and the confusion in which men live today, back to the security and peace that exists in the Church Christ established.

The first Christians were all converts.  Peter, upon whom Christ established His Church, was a convert, together with all the other Apostles.  And they were so inflamed with zeal for the new religion Christ taught them, that they set out gladly over the whole world to give their lives to the task of converting the world to that to which Christ had converted them.  Since that time many Jews have entered the Church, pagans in all parts of the world have entered the Church, and many Christians, who for one reason or another had lost the light of that faith, reentered her Fold to place their feet once more on the true path to salvation.  This is the path Christ Himself pointed out, He who declared:  "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life."

Continue Reading by Clicking on the Book Below.

http://mymotherswayhome.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard