Gloria Olivae

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

Saturday, April 20, 2013

And He sent them TWO BY TWO

Pope Emeritus Benedict's  'new evangelization' was a continuation from John Paul II. And Pope Francis had expressed his intentions to pursue the same course as the main thrust of his Pontificate.

St. Thomas of Aquinas reminded us that there are two levels of knowledge; the natural and the supernatural. Catholic truths are in the supernatural level , like the 'new evangelization that leads to Faith.' To understand it one has to undergo an essential addition to his soul by being  fortified with grace and specially the supernatural virtue of Faith. Pope Benedict noticed that many did not  understand the 'new evangelization' within the Catholic Church. He had already described this topic from the time he was head of the CDF in his best seller 'Ratzinger Report,' pinpointed the cause for the total lost of Faith in the Church in his 'new evangelization' delivered to catechists in Rome, described in detail the steps to attain Faith in many of his talks during his Pontificate specially during the 'Year of the Priests'.....but still saw the continuing ignorance on the topic even during the latest Bishop's Synod. His move to leave his lesser pontifical functions to apply the more potent medicine of prayer to the ills of the Church is further sign of the unbelievable state of the Church. Quoting Blessed John Newman, one of his favorite author,  Pope Benedict noted the disunity in the Church... in effect saying that the Catholic Church has lost her visible signs. The visible signs remain among the few true Catholics. The signs are invisible to most Catholics.....showing  they have no Faith.

One of the elements of the 'new evangelization' enumerated by Pope Benedict during his Pontificate is that evangelizers should evangelize in communities or at least two by two. Christ said so. This is different from what is being taught in missiology.  To go two by two was how it was from the beginning, the preachers went two by two. One was a prophet the other was a preacher.

The prophet was not a guesser of future events. He was supernaturally gifted by the Holy Spirit enabling him to understand the deep meaning of the Divine Truths through contemplation. This is akin to he being a contemplative and even a mystic in his knowledge of Catholic truths. The prophet then adapts whatever he learned in a way easy to understand and shares this to the preacher who in turn puts the deep truths into more understandable language and shares it with unbelievers if possible accompanying  it with miracles. St. Paul writes; "Prophecy is for believers, miracles are for unbelievers."  Prophets talk to believers, preachers evangelizes unbelievers. Both have Faith, the preacher with a more perfect Faith so he cannot be understood by unbelievers while the preacher with the beginnings of Faith so he can easily adapt to unbelievers.

God did it this way to keep both evangelizers humble. The prophet cannot boasts of his superior knowledge  because he cannot preach what he had learned from contemplation. On the other hand the preacher cannot boast of his preaching because the subject of his preaching did not come from his own efforts but from the prophet, an outside source. The two remain dependent on each other. That is how it was at the beginning so when they went preaching Scriptures said; 'They went two by two." Another reason why evangelizers went two by two is this: one person can teach Faith. But it takes two to preach and show Charity. In fact Charity is better shown as a community where each loved one another. Thus St. Boniface, St. Augustine and the early monks preached as a community and not just two by two. Pope Benedict's 'new evangelization' emphasizes the need for a community rather than just two by two, which we shall explain later. The evangelizer cannot chose their partners. It is usually God who does it.

The practice today of preaching alone breeds self-sufficiency and pride. Without getting the materials for his preaching from contemplative prophets an external source,  the speaker will certainly depend on his own private judgment for the explanation of supernatural truths. This is protestantism that is rampant in the Catholic Church today. This is against the Faith of the Catholic Church that states that Faith is believing the Truths that God has revealed to us as proposed by the Catholic Church through her spokesman, the Pope. So the source of one's preaching should either be the Pope or a prophet. Both say the same thing. Faith is not based on personal, private judgment. It is based on the fact that God had spoken and said: when you preach go two by two.

Disobedience to the revealed command of Christ to preach two by two is the sign that there was no faith from the beginning. Pope Benedict, quoting Blessed John Newman reminded us that disobedience to one command of Christ is disobedience to all the commands of Christ....  a sign of no Faith.

The origin of this disobedience could have started after the great Council of Trent when seminaries were organized for the diocesan clergy. Because they did not live in communities but rather lived alone in parishes the lesson in preaching two by two was not emphasized. It was impractical in their situation. They were trained to preach one by one. This neglect of an important teaching on preaching prevented the seminarians from attaining  Faith due to their disobedience. And so most of them graduated to the priesthood without Faith. How can they lead souls to Faith? This disobedience was obvious in critical periods in the history of the Catholic Church like in the pontificate of Pius V and during the battle of Lepanto.  The known Catholic world was already faithless. The prayer of Pope Pius V who believed that the Papacy was an obstacle to his attainment of sanctity and salvation.....and his complete dependence in his suppliant prayer was what won the day for the Christian world.  Isn 't that precisely what Pope Benedict is doing today?

Pope Benedict corresponds more to the prophet because of his deep knowledge of the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church specially St. Bonaventure, the Seraphic Doctor.  Pope Francis corresponds more to the preacher because of his pastoral background. Could the preacher be anybody? Yes. But seeing that most bishops had no Faith do you think they will listen to another bishop? There is a need for another Pope. What is needed is a prophet and a preacher. The title of either is totally immaterial.  Without one there would be no evangelization.

The refusal to obey this one command of Christ that could have begun since Trent means that from the beginning seminaries were not producing faithful priests. This lack of Faith cascaded down from the priests who disobeyed down to their listeners and parishioners, and from those who later on became bishops down to their priests. Just imagine the damage this could have done in two generations. And it has been happening through the last 500 years. That would be enough to wipe out Faith in the face of the earth.  If Christ came suddenly would He find Faith on the earth? He, himself answered it; NO!

Catholic Faith is knowledge of the all the  teachings of Christ and obedience to all the commandments of Christ. These are all found in the Liturgy and in the Catechism, specially the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict. God gave us a memory so we do not forget any of the doctrines and commandments. If, by neglect, we forget one or two we are bound to restudy and relearn them to regain our Faith. Pope Benedict knew he had to evangelize the Church. He knew he had to do it two by two, or better still by a whole evangelizing community. That is what he said commenting on the 'new monasticism' of St. Bonaventure. And he felt he had to lead the way by example. And what he just did is the example. With a new conclave he got his preacher, they are now two. The Church is now in better hands.

Imagine how the Catholic world lost her Faith.....just by one act of disobedience to a command of Christ. See how mankind was to be saved;  by one act of obedience.  Adam and Eve disobeyed  only one command. And the angels disobeyed only one command. See the consequences. When a soul disobeys a command, he becomes weak and opens himself to disobey the next command. Following that principle imagine how a soul can deteriorate in an hour. And this had been happening for the last 500 years.  The lost of Faith begins with the rejection of just one truth. A domino effect follows. This rejection of truths is happening in all levels of the Catholic Church today. Nothing had been spared and so the probability is great that the Catholic Church is almost totally without Faith. The few who has are hidden, silent and nowhere to be found. On the other hand we can be saved just by one act of perfect obedience to a command of Christ......even if we just obey perfectly this one go two by two. Isn't this the reason why we have two parents to save  the child's soul?

There was a difference between monasteries and seminaries. The emphasis in monasteries is community life; where two or three are gathered together in the name of Christ. There was an emphasis on the importance of being one heart and one mind in the community. And there was no deadline in attaining this. Everyone knew it would take a lifetime.

Diocesan seminaries, on the other hand, were focused on serving the parishioners. They usually lived alone due to circumstances. Community life was not taken seriously though attempts at reforms of the Diocesan clergy was always centered on living in community, it was impossible to implement it due to existing situations. While monasteries emphasized contemplative prayer that united the community like St. Benedict's 'ORA' diocesan seminaries neglected the 'Ora' that united souls and raises them to the supernatural level. Diocesan seminaries looked at the natural, good welfare of the parish.....while teaching supernatural Catholic Truths but interpreting these truths using private interpretation due to lack of contemplative Pope Benedict's repetitious reminder that evangelizers should be contemplatives.

Diocesan seminarians, though they lived together, did not observe community life thus fomenting same sex attraction.   Though most monasteries today are just like seminaries devoid of community life where both theology professors and students are in the natural level. There was no prophet - preacher teamwork.....where  prophets are high in spirituality having both the three theological virtues and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. short are saints. Contented with their natural, human  ambiance all learn only the doctrinal wordings of supernatural truths but not their supernatural meanings. In this state both professors and students would be without Faith. And those who will be under their tutelage will most probably end up without Faith either. This spiritual state is the root of all evils in the Catholic Church today. And it continues in that priests and bishops are just talking of natural topics like gun control and immigration topics that are in the natural level and has nothing to do with the salvation of souls.

Exactly this state of affairs prevailed after Vatican II. The documents of a council are supernatural in nature and only the Catholic Church through her spokesman the Pope can interpret it. Everyone should have waited for its interpretation before saying anything. But many could not wait. So theology schools, Bishops and priests begun interpreting Vatican II even before the proper authority had done so. Everyone ended by giving their own individual private interpretation.  "I think....""I believe...."this is the interpretation." Who am 'I'? My private self interpretation. We are back with Adam and Eve's private interpretation of God's command that caused the fall of the human race.....always an act of Disobedience to God's Will in favor of our own selfish will.We do not believe that supernatural truths are over and above our capabilities and, therefore, we should wait for God's spokesman.

It is most natural that all men when confronted by a decision to be made consult his own private judgment. Everyone outside the Catholic Church had been doing it. Catholics are forbidden to do it in favor of doing God's Will. But today most Catholics are following their private interpretation. Blessed John Newman described it as the worst thing that could happen to the world. Since the Catholic Faith is the only thing that can conquer all the world's problems without Faith the world is doomed. Both the two, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis had expressed the importance of this Year of Faith. May they continue to speak, two by save at least the few. Faith is to believe that this is the way to do it right.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

FAITH - The desire to SEE God

Pope Benedict had always talked about the desire to see the face of God. This desire had always been in the Psalms and prayed by the whole Catholic world. And he actually went to Manopello to see the resurrected face of Christ imprinted in an almost transparent handkerchief.

He also mentioned the need to see the face of Christ in a homily on the Gospel on the Transfiguration of Christ after announcing his stepping down. And the main reason he gave was.... in order to pray....which is another way of saying to pray with the hope of seeing the face of Christ.  Peter, the first Pope, saw the face of the Transfigured Christ before the Passion together with two chosen disciples James and John representing the Catholic Church with perfect Faith. Is it possible that Pope Benedict was also instructed to leave the plains to climb the mountain of contemplation to see the face of God together with a small community with perfect Faith in preparation for the passion of the Catholic Church?

St. Thomas of Aquinas enumerates four levels in the desire to see the Face of God. The FIRST LEVEL is the innate desire to see the Face of God. This is innate, inborn, natural but given by God to all creatures. All men are born with that innate desire to know the God who created nature. And as he recognizes the God of creation he tend to love Him with his heart. The SECOND LEVEL is the desire to see the Face of God with elicited knowledge added to one's innate knowledge. The elicited knowledge consists in fruits of rationalization wherewith man discovers the natural attributes of God. These attributes of God could be from the Old Testament. This is followed by the heart loving the better known God. The THIRD LEVEL is the level of supernatural Faith where the soul is raised by God to the supernatural level through infusion of the virtue of Faith. Here the soul is infused with the teachings of Christ as revealed in Divine Revelation. The soul learns all the supernatural teachings of the Catholic Church and is able to obey all the commandments of Christ. It is here that souls truly become Catholics or enter the Kingdom of God. And the soul's heart also develops the corresponding love for the God who is better known supernaturally. The FOURTH LEVEL in the desire to see the Face of God is when the soul sees with his mind elevated by grace the Face of God. This is not permanent. It  will be permanent in the Beatific Vision in heaven. This level is often described as a Mystical experience.

THE THIRD LEVEL -The beginnings and perfection of Faith.
 When did the Apostles begin to have little Faith and when did they reached the perfection of Faith. St. Thomas of Aquinas writes that the Apostles received the supernatural virtue of Faith when Christ called each one of them and told them to leave all things, their boats, their nets,  and their father. They were able to leave all things because of the virtue of Faith that God gave them. Without Faith they would not have been able to leave all things. This is the beginning of Faith, it is little or weak Faith. It has to be developed and nourished by many means like through the sacraments, through monasticism or devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. But these means are useless if there is no Faith to develop. Note that here Christ invited the first disciples one by one to enter the door of Faith. Pope Benedict reminded us in Aparecida that the 'new evangelization' is to be done 'one on one', like what Christ did. Never by the hundreds or thousands as in Protestant gatherings.

The perfection of the apostles' Faith occurred during the passion. Peter's Faith was specially tested. He failed but immediately recovered to a higher level of Faith. After Easter Sunday all the apostles had perfect Faith after which they all saw the face of the Risen Christ. The Jews saw the face of the humanity of Christ but not his resurrected face because they had no Faith. Thomas had a little problem perfecting his Faith. Christ had to appear again to the apostles to help Thomas. The Apostles had to see the face of the Resurrected Christ before they could preach, as the Gospel narrated because how can you preach the Christ you have never seen. Thomas saw the wounds of the humanity of Christ. And then saw the face of the Divinity of Christ thus exclaiming 'My Lord and my God.' Faith had been perfected.

To see the face of God  is the fourth level, the face we yearn as we recite the Psalms. And this is what Pope Benedict wants to see. Like the Apostles after Easter he wants to see the face of the Resurrected Christ because like the Apostles he would not be able to preach to all nations unless like all the apostles and St. Thomas, he saw the face of the Resurrected Christ..This is given only to those who have, not only the beginnings of Faith, but who have the perfection of Faith leading to Hope. Only after Easter, after the Apostles saw the face of the resurrected Christ did He formally commanded them to go and preach.

Both the beginnings of Faith and the perfection of Faith are both in the supernatural level. No one can know or much less do either without being raised to the supernatural level through grace. This is why when Pope Benedict described the way that led to Faith no one understood it because he was describing something in the supernatural level. He was working on the assumption that he was talking to people with at least the beginnings of Faith and lead them to the perfection of Faith in the hope that they see the face of God which is the reward for those who have perfect Faith. But he noticed that no one understood him. It only means one thing. That he was talking to people without Faith at all.....people who live by the flesh and not by the spirit.

For those with the beginnings of Faith, those in the third level (strictly speaking,  the true Catholics) they would need a Pope who is already in the fourth level to lead them higher. The Pope must see the face of Christ to show the same face to others. That is the final goal of the Church and the Papacy. St. Peter had to remain on the roof praying. He should not go down to feed the widows. The Pope cannot go down to the third level to raise the Church to the fourth level. He must rise to the fourth level and then pull the Church up. Who will take care of the widows in the lower levels? It is the work of evangelizers who should be in the third level to raise up those who are in the first and second levels. 

To be faithful to his assigned role of leading the Church to the fourth and perfect level of knowledge and love of God  Pope Benedict must rise to the perfection of Faith and as a reward see the face of Christ.  Like St. Peter on Mt. Tabor, he knows that there are Catholics somewhere who have perfect Faith or at least know the way towards perfect Faith........made so by the grace of God alone and not by human efforts. This is symbolized by James and John and the 153 fishes caught in Lake Tiberias. He has to lead them. And to do so he must first see the face of Christ to be able to show them the way towards seeing the same face. Like St. Peter praying on the roof top, he cannot go down now to feed the widows. His job is to stay up the roof and continue praying for the Church. This is not relinquishing one's responsibility but engaging in one's greater responsibility. While praying in the roof top somebody have to feed the widows. Why not Deacons?  Why not bishops? Why not another Pope?

The crisis of Faith is that most so-called catholics are stuck in the first level. For most their innate knowledge and desire had been adulterated with poisonous errors due to original sin.  That knowledge and desire are not sufficient for salvation. The way people reacted to Pope Benedict's stepping down shows they are only in the natural level and not in the supernatural level of Faith. The reaction of most souls to the more understandable moves of Pope Francis shows they can only understand what is easily understandable, the natural level while they are unable to understand the teachings of Pope Benedict like the 'new evangelization' that leads towards 'porta fidei' which is in the supernatural level. The more recent demeaning of Pope Benedict over Pope Francis even by Cardinals show the non-existing Faith of Catholics in the highest places. Until now, the revamping of the seminary curriculum mentioned during the 'Year of the Priests' had not been implemented. We are still producing priests with no Faith. And these will be the future priests and cardinals who will attend the next conclave. Nobody understands anything Catholic. Why? 'Believe that you may understand'...St. Augustine reminds us. We do not believe. Pope Benedict declared this year the 'Year of Faith'. Pope Francis said he will push this program. Each Catholic must check if he has the true Faith. The year is half gone and and nobody is doing it. Everyone one is working on the false assumption that he has Faith. Isn't presumption a sin against the Holy Spirit?

What we see  happening to the Catholic Church is a test of Faith. Those with Faith understands what is going on. Those without Faith cannot understand what is going on. 'Believe that you may understand.' How often should we repeat that. It is the ACT OF FAITH. That is the crux. It has not been described in word nor in print anywhere. Pope Benedict had described it in detail from the year 2000 when he first described the 'new evangelization' up to his stepping down ....and nobody seems to have read or heard it. The lost of countless souls is at stake. The work is overwhelming. We probably need, indeed, two Popes, two to pilot the boat in a very stormy sea as Pope Benedict described the Church.....a Church that has lost its 'UNITY.' Did anyone get what he said. Blessed John Newman, a favorite of Pope Benedict, said that if the Church has no 'UNITY' she does not have all the visible signs of the Catholic Church. It means the Church has no Faith. There is no Catholic Church.

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