Gloria Olivae

To promote the messages of Pope Benedict XVI and harness small monastic Benedictine communities in his and the service of the Church.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

SIGNUM MAGNUM-The Church

"Behold a Great Sign appeared in heaven: a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet....and being with child....And behold a great red dragon...And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven... he stood before the woman."

This is the Introit for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe where it showed that Mary was the woman of the Apocalypse. The feast is describing both an eschatological and ecclesiological phenomenon : the Apocalyptic Woman.

The Catholic Church has many regimes - - different stages in her development from the garden of Paradise until the end of the world. She looks different at every stage. These are often called "types". We saw her in the Old Testament (in the Chosen People); and in the time of Christ (in the first disciples). But few know her after Pentecost, the beginning of the Church of the Apocalypse.

From Adam and Eve, through the old testament, through the New Testament and Pentecost, this Bride was conceived, established, grows and becomes more beautiful as she matures.

A child growing up with his parents to maturity will always know his parents. But if he hasn't lived with his parents for many years, he will hardly recognize them. He who is not in the Church will not recognize her in her different regimes.

The Catholic Church has been prepared for the coming of Christ. She received the fullness of Christ during his lifetime; and the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, receiving the power to extend that fullness of Christ throughout the world. Today, the Church looks quite different.

The problem of Evangelization, (already noted by Pope Benedict XVI, first in his circular " The New Evangelization," and in his address to the Brazilian Bishops, and repeated in his address to the Curia, and then completed by a memo of the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith on Evangelization), is clear. But many are still unable to point to the true Church. Many parishes, dioceses, and even religious orders are unable to prove their Catholicity.

The Fathers of the Church never hesitated to describe the Woman of the Apocalypse as the Blessed Virgin Mary. But it wasn't a popular idea. The Woman was always described as the Church, which she was. But Mary wanted to point out in Guadalupe that She was the woman of the Apocalyse, as if saying: "That's really me and don't ever doubt that." In 1531 we have entered into the era of the Apocalypse, "novissimis."

The steps toward Christian perfection are : repentance, faith, hope then charity. The story of Fatima showed the inability of Christians to repent. Without repentance souls cannot have faith and enter the Church. No repentance, no faith, no Catholics. Both Vatican I and II were working on ecclesiology: what is the Church and how does one enter the Church? Both questions were anwered by "Lumen Gentium" and Chapter 12 of the Apocalypse. The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe where she appeared as "Signum Magnum" is important because it teaches us that in the final regime of the Church on earth, she will have the added characteristic of being Marian. St. Robert Bellarmine mentioned so even before Vatican II. But we need faith to see it. The Church of the Apocalypse is a sight only for true Catholics.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Friday, January 04, 2008

IT IS NATURAL TO BE CATHOLIC.

G. K. Chesterton once said something to the effect that if everybody would just sit down, be quiet and think, the whole world would become Catholic. But the world won't sit down, won't be quiet and won't think. No wonder the world is in a mess; it has not turned Catholic; and the Catholics are, instead, becoming worldly.

Pope Benedict has repeatedly echoed the same thing, especially at Regensburg. Even Pope John Paul II's "Fides et Ratio" said the same thing.

God created man with a mind, an intellect. And He filled this intellect with ideas (an entity separate from the intellect) containing His truths. God wanted to make sure that we get the right idea about God and His truths. But our intellect has to read these truths, by an act of thinking, in order to know them. In fact the first act of thought is for the intellect to acknowledge these truths. These God-given innate ideas, accessible to the intellect by thinking, are the margins within which the natural truths of the Catholic Religion are enclosed. Therefore it should be natural for all to be Catholic.

Think of these innate God- given ideas as in the form of a pyramid. At the top of the pyramid are the preambles of faith. The base could be the whole summa theologica of St. Thomas. It is a matter of reflecting on the preambles to know the Summa. After all, where else could St. Thomas have gotten his Summa if not by reflection on the preambles of faith. God gives the preambles; but we have to extract the entire Summa from them through reflection.

The Catholic faith is founded on the natural. Faith begins with the assent of the natural mind on natural truths before it rises to the supernatural theological virtue of Faith, making man a Catholic. All men are born with the natural truths of the Catholic Church (called natural theology); so why did they fail to reflect on them?

Man is a rational animal. He is part spiritual and part animal. The pagans knew this. So they portrayed men as centaurs and women as mermaids. He thinks and wills. Call this the faculties of the soul. His animal side is the seat of his instincts or concupiscence. This latter is what prevents man from thinking!

We cannot serve two master, since we will love one and hate the other. If we hate our selfish selves (concupiscence) we would love to think and love what we are thinking. If we love ourselves (our concupiscence) we would hate to think, thus preventing us from becoming naturally Catholics.

When man acknowledges the God-given innate ideas in him, he knows the truth. When his free will accepts the truth, he knows he loves the truth. God is both truth and good. So man, by nature, even from his conception, possesses what it takes to be a Catholic who knows and loves God, thus becoming a saint, as Chesteron has observed: "If all man would just sit down, be quiet and think, they would all become Catholics" and we may add "become saints."

This is the goal of Fides et Ratio and all the declarations of the Church on the importance of reason for the act of faith. It is what Pope Benedict XVI was hoping to accomplish in his Regensburg address and which he reminded the Diplomatic corps in his "State of the World" address of 2006. THINK, and we will solve all the problems of the world (without saying why...."because we will all become Catholic.")

 Blogroll Me!