How can I strengthen my relationship with the Lord Jesus?
The basic thing is to read the passages of the four holy Gospels of Our Lord. And then, as you read them, silently close your eyes and meditate on the words you read. Think about what it was like in the time of Our Lord. Ask for light to understand how you can live those words right now, in your present life. Remember the people in your life who need the Lord and during your Gospel prayer and meditation, think about them also and try to bring Christ to them in a joyful and generous spirit. God bless and take care! Fr. Angel
Hi Father! I was in quite a desperate (seemingly hopeless) situation and I prayed to St. Jude to pray for me. God answered my prayer with His *INCREDIBLE* mercy and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for how I can pay it forward and thank God. Truly, I am so grateful for what happened and I just want to know how to praise and thank Him adequately. Also, any recommendations on encouraging devotion to St. Jude? Thank you and God bless.
My suggestion is to ask your priest where you attend Mass if he has a suggestion. There may be a special need in the community that you can help with.
As far as spreading devotion to St. Jude, you could offer to place holy cards with prayers to St. Jude in the vestibule of the Church. Or you could frame a beautiful portrait of St. Jude and place it somewhere in Church or in the catechism classrooms. Some people even buy a statue of St. Jude for the Church, although that’s more expensive. Plus, you can reblog St. Jude stuff for your blog or Facebook and use the internet to spread devotion and love to this great saint. God bless and take care! Fr. Angel
Hello Father ! Happy Advent ! Father I have one question. My last confession went a bit strange. I forgot to write all my sins down and when I went to the priest I told him all I could remember by memory. But when i started saying the last prayer before forgiving my sins I remembered one which I forgot to say. I don't think it's a mortal sin but still. I didn't interrupt him so he forgave my sins without sharing this last moment one. Does that mean that my sins are not forgiven by God now ?
If you remember a sin while the priest is absolving you, don’t worry about it. The absolution of the priest still serves to forgive your sins. Later, at your next confession, you can mention the sin that you were not able to state in your confession. No need to interrupt. God bless and take care! Fr. Angel
Hello Father! Thank you for all you do here on tumblr. Is it true that guardian angels can come from any of the nine choirs of angels? Also, is it alright to pray to one of the nine choirs specifically; for example asking the Virtues for their intercession during times of bad weather? Thank you!
You are welcome :)
I am not sure where God picks our guardian angels from. There are various theories, but nothing is found in the Bible. And I see nothing wrong with praying to one of the nine choirs specifically. God bless and take care! Fr. Angel
Hi Fr. Angel, I was having a discussion with my mom about being Catholic but getting married outside like on a beach or in a park and why that is wrong. She thought that it shouldn't be wrong because if the couple is Catholic and you are being married by a Catholic priest surrounded with your friends and family in nature (God's creation) why should it be wrong? I know that as Catholics we're supposed to get married in a physical church but I'm just not sure why. How should I respond to my mom?
Marriage is a very tricky and delicate area of pastoral care for the Church. Even though the bride and groom say, “this is my marriage” on one hand, on the other, the sacrament or ritual itself belongs to the Church. The flowers, photographers, reception, music are contracted by the couple. And yet all of those private, family things are mixed in and part of the ceremony of the Church.
The Church is possessive, passionate, and very demanding with her sacred rituals and ceremonies, as much as the bride and groom are just as demanding and passionate about the details of a wedding that they pay for and arrange also.
Because the parish building or chapel is the Church’s “home” and it has been consecrated or blessed by the bishop, the Church is very demanding and particular that her ceremonies and rituals be celebrated there. Even the marriage ritual or sacrament “belongs” to the Church before it belongs to the bride and groom.
When you have a special gathering for your family, you usually want to be in your home. So it is with the Church. And the Church wants to convene the community for prayer, convoke the rest of the faithful to witness that a sacrament is taking place. This is why they used to publish “marriage banns” or notices on the church doors in the old days. It was a way of saying, “Mr. and Miss so and so wish to get married. Do you all agree that we should marry them?”
It is kind of weird when you think about it. In most Christian churches, not just the Catholic Church, marriage was considered an event of the church community which was totally governed by the congregations’ customs and etiquette. The bride and groom were expected to “fall in line” and obey the rules and traditions of the community.
Now, it is totally different. The marriage event is considered the bride and groom’s affair, and the Church is permitted (tolerated) to be present and to provide a minister to “take care of the religious stuff” and then be on their merry way. The bride and groom “dictate” what is to be allowed or not allowed, according to their wishes and the wishes of their families.
The Church, however, is stuck back in the old-fashioned days of the thinking that sacraments, all sacraments, should take place in the “home” of the community, which is the church building. The Church is still back in the old days of considering the sacrament as part of an ancient ritual and tradition, which the couple is expected to go along with AND respect!
Most of all, the Church considers the marriage sacrament as something which EVERYONE in the parish is invited to attend and witness.
They, the congregation, can’t go and witness marriages if each couple takes off to the four winds and goes to their own locations for their own weddings. Most couples would say, “So what?!? We didn’t invite THEM to our ceremony at the beach/mountains/park/riverside/etc!” LOL. And there you have the total clash of the old thinking of the Church, and the new thinking of most modern-day couples.
So, to sum up, the Church is very possessive and fanatical about the proper etiquette and decorum of each sacrament, including sacred matrimony. There is a concern of taking the ceremony off the grounds of the church building, because it makes the wedding Mass a “private” thing that the congregation is not expected to be invited to. And, worse, it gives the couple the idea that they can do every weird thing under the sun at “their” sacrament. In that case, the Church would lose total control over the proper celebration of a Catholic wedding.
So, there you have it. The Church wants weddings on sacred ground, the Church understands that the family members of Christ in the community may witness the Mass, and the Church wants the ceremony to proceed in total respect to the rules and regulations of a proper and dignified sacrament. God bless and take care! Fr. Angel
Evangelii Gaudium #247: “We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked.
This is explicit heresy. A heresy that was also privately taught by then Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI (see his books and Dominus Iesus) and first privately taught by John Paul II in the mid 1980’s. And it is due to this heresy that their dealing with the Jews, which are numerous and sinful, that have caused scandal to us all. But Pope Francis has put us in a bind! Now it is in an official papal document and it is explicit heresy. It puts into question his Pontificate. I must now ask myself, though I have no answer yet, is Pope Francis really the Pope? Is he now an Anti-Pope?
Now the confusion, I think, lies in the word “revoked.” The first meaning that pops into my head is “withdrawn" or "to take back." For example, if you are caught driving drunk you will have your license "revoked." But any dictionary will also say it means "to make void,” “to reverse," "to annul," or to "to officially cancel the power or effect." Obviously, God can never take back or withdraw His promises. But His promises can be rejected, as they were and are still. Making null and void the Old Covenant is exactly what Christ explicitly stated several times and at the Last Supper and explicitly did at His Passion. And, before I show you a short list of quotes to prove Francis wrong I am happy to say that even the Robber Council of Vatican II says: "His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant."
On Facebook I have already been accused of reading too much into it or simply not being charitable when I say that Pope Francis echoes Vatican II and his Conciliar predecessors. Recall what then Cardinal Ratzinger taught in Dominus Iesus:
“God’s grace, which is the grace of Jesus Christ according to our faith, is available to all. Therefore, the Church believes that Judaism, i.e. the faithful response of the Jewish people to God’s irrevocable covenant, is salvific for them, because God is faithful to his promises.”
There is that word: “irrevocable." I truly believe that he believes this to be fact. He believes, as did JPII and so does Francis, that the Jews of today, who obstinately reject Christ and violently combat against His Divine Catholic Church (see the ADL, UCLA, SPLC, B’nai B’rith, Freemasonry and Communism) can be saved outside the Catholic Church. Some of the below quotes will prove, infallibly, otherwise.
Judaism, in any of its forms, is not salvific today. If you believe that then you are a heretic and excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
Now this document from the CDF was released in 2000. In August 2002, the USCCB held a inter-faith conference with the perfidious Jews and that resulted in the document called “Reflections on Covenant and Mission.” In its preface it stated the following:
A deepening Catholic appreciation of the eternal covenant between God and his Jewish people, together with a recognition of a divinely given mission to Jews to witness to God’s faithful love, lead to the conclusion that campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church.
This is false and a sinful command. According to this I cannot create the “Confraternity for the conversion of the Jews.” What an admirable apostolate! But the American heirarchy and the Vatican would never approve of it. And it speaks falsely of the Old Covenant as “eternal” and that they too, along side of us, have a unique mission to witness to God’s faithful love, which “must not be curtailed by seeking the conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity." (Reflections) You may try to read it differently and accuse me of a false interpretation but the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults once stated (for it was later retracted by the USCCB after Robert Sungenis wrote a 12 page letter to the USCCB) “the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them" HERESY.
The Reflection document was later clarified but not enough to rectify the false teachings and implications. In fact, it did nothing but keep its heresy. They never once repudiated its sinful command nor has the Vatican, under Benedict or Francis, repudiated it. I assume then that they support it and I can tell that they do by their words and deeds.
This is only a tiny fraction of the dots one can connect to see the larger picture here. The Conciliar Church teaches heresy and Francis himself has placed that same heresy explicitly in a papal document. This causes me to question if the seat is empty or not.
Below I offer you some quotes from Councils and saints to PROVE to all you all that the Jews must be converted TODAY. Make every effort to convert every last one of them so that they many not fall into Hell.
"In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.” - 1st Corinthians 11:25
"For this is the chalice of My blood, of the new and eternal testament: the mystery of faith: which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins.” - Consecration of Chalice Prayer (TLM)
“..for the perfidious Jews: that Our Lord and God may lift the covering off their hearts, so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ Our Lord.” - Traditional Good Friday Prayer for the Jews
“It [The Holy Roman Church] firmly believes, professes and teaches that the legal prescriptions of the old Testament or the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, holy sacrifices and sacraments, because they were instituted to signify something in the future, although they were adequate for the divine cult of that age, once our lord Jesus Christ who was signified by them had come, came to an end and the sacraments of the new Testament had their beginning.” - Council of Florence
“The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatic can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her…” - Council of Florence [there are only 3 ways, 4 if you are one of the Jews converted at the End of Time, to be joined with the Church: 1) Baptism of Water 2) Baptism of Desire 3) Baptism of Blood. Invincible Ignorance is not a means of Salvation but those in it can get to Heaven.]
Doesn’t the Church every day triumph more fully over the Jews in convicting or converting them than if once and for all she destroyed them with the edge of the sword: Surely it is not in vain that the Church has established the universal prayer which is offered up for the faithless Jews from the rising of the sun to its setting, that the Lord God may remove the veil from their hearts, that they may be rescued from their darkness into the light of truth. For unless it hoped that those who do not believe would believe, it would obviously be futile and empty to pray for them.” - St. Bernard of Clairvaux (quoted in A Quo Primum)
"By the death of our Redeemer, the New Testament took the place of the Old Law which had been abolished; then the Law of Christ together with its mysteries, enactments, institutions, and sacred rites was ratified for the whole world in the blood of Jesus Christ. For, while our Divine Savior was preaching in a restricted area - He was not sent but to the sheep that were lost of the House of Israel - the Law and the Gospel were together in force; but on the gibbet of His death Jesus made void the Law with its decrees fastened the handwriting of the Old Testament to the Cross, establishing the New Testament in His blood shed for the whole human race. “To such an extent, then,” says St. Leo the Great, speaking of the Cross of our Lord, “was there effected a transfer from the Law to the Gospel,from the Synagogue to the Church, from the many sacrifices to one Victim, that, as Our Lord expired, that mystical veil which shut off the innermost part of the temple and its sacred secret was rent violently from top to bottom.” Pope Pius XII, in the encyclical Mystici corporis (1943)
"The Jews knew that Christ was the son of David. And even now they hope for His Coming. It is hidden from them that He has come, but it is hidden because they willed it so. For, not acknowledging Him on the cross, the knowledge of Him reigning in glory should not be theirs … Why are the Jews hoping for what has already come, and not fearful for what is to come? For Our Lord Jesus Christ … referred Himself as “the Stone” (Matthew xxi.44), that whoever stumbles upon it shall be bruised; but upon whom it shall fall, it will grind to powder … Lying on the ground, it shakes whoever falls over it; coming from on high, it crushes the proud. The Jews have already been shaken by their previous stumble. What awaits them is to be crushed by His Coming." ~ St. Augustine
“But at any rate the Jews say that they, too, adore God. God forbid that I say that. No Jew adores God! Who says so? The Son of God says so. For He said, ‘If you were to know My Father, you would also know Me. But you neither know Me nor do you know My Father.' Could I produce a witness more trustworthy than the Son of God?” - St. John Chrysostom
”The faithlessness of the Synagogue is an insult to the Savior. Therefore, He chose the barque of Peter and deserted the boat of Moses; that is, He rejected the faithless Synagogue and adopted the believing Church … Of these two ships, one is left at the shore, idle and empty; the other, loaded filled, is launched into the deep. For the Synagogue is left idle on the beach. Because of its own fault, it has lost Christ along with the warnings of the prophets. But the freighted Church is taken out into the deep, because it received the Lord together with the teaching of the Apostles. The Synagogue, I say, remains on the land, held fast as it were to earthly things. The Church is called forth to the deep, as though to search into the profound mysteries of Heaven.” ~ St. Ambrose
Go, so that cured by Christian faith, you may not die in Jewish unfaith, but may live forever with Jesus Christ Our Lord. ~ St. Peter Chrysologus
So clearly was the transition then made from the Synagogue to the Church that, when the Lord gave up His soul, the veil of the Temple was rent in two. ~ Pope St. Leo the Great
Therefore, the Jewish system is destroyed, for it was only a shadow; but that of the Church is firmly established, for it is built on the Rock, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. ~ St. Athanasius
Since His spouse, the Synagogue, refused to receive Him, Christ answered: “This is a harlot!” And He gave her a bill of divorce, as we read in Isaias (50:1): “Thus says the Lord: Behold, you are sold for your iniquities; and for your evil deeds have I put your mother away. Because I came and there was not a man; I called and there was no one who would hear.” And so the Jews, the sons of the harlot, were repudiated. ~ St. Vincent Ferrer
We are told by the Apostle that when the time is ripe all Israel shall be saved. But those who die beforehand will remain in death. ~ St. Bernard of Clairvaux
“You [Bl. Pope Eugene III] also have obligations toward unbelievers, whether Jew, Greek, or Gentile” - St. Bernard of Clairvaux
I knew in my faith that the Jews were accursed and condemned without end, except those who were converted. ~ Bl. Juliana of Norwich
"Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of that race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may It now descend upon them, a laver of redemption and of life.” -Consecration of Human Race to Christ the King.
"Take heed to yourselves and be not like some piling up sins and saying that the covenant is theirs as well as ours. It is ours, but they lost it completely just after Moses received it - Epistle of Barnabas 4:6-7 [not a completely orthodox letter but equally telling]
I offer you links to various articles on this same topic
You have demonstrated clearly that in Catholic history, from many saints and doctors of the Church, there is a record of animosity and rebuke toward the Jews. Why? Because they did not recognize the time of their visitation, and would not accept Our Lord Jesus Christ as the true Messiah and eternal Son of the eternal Father. But I would approach these many quotes and pronouncements with a few clarifications:
1) Use of the words “dogma” and “heresy.”
—When is something “dogma” for a Catholic? Well, that is not as simple as you may wish to define it. A dogma is a truth revealed by God in Scripture or Sacred Tradition, and proposed by the Catholic Church as such. Truths from God can be 1) explicitly revealed (divinity of Christ) 2) implicitly revealed (transubstantiation) or 3) virtually revealed (a truth of philosophy, such as the powers of the human soul).
—When is someone a heretic? Well, they can be a material heretic, by denying a truth of faith they do not understand or grasp properly, or they can be a formal heretic, in that they deny a truth of faith which they have come to clearly understand, but still reject.
—What is denial of truth? Well, that depends. Not all dogmas are grasped equally as necessary for salvation. Denying the teaching of the Seven Sacraments is not the same as denying the teaching on whether angels and humans are to be classified as different species of creatures.
—What is meant as “proposed or taught by the Church?” Does everything taught in a “dogmatic council” become dogma? When Trent asked priests to give men more training before Holy Orders, was that considered a dogma? And do the propositions or dogmas of a Council or a pope admit of differing interpretations, or are they always to be accepted at face value, without any need of clarification from the Church?
—If the dogmas of the Church need no clarification or discussion among the theologians, then what is the reason for maintaining the schools of theology, especially the Pontifical Universities? And if any lay person can give meaning and interpretation to a dogma, of what purpose is the Magisterium of the Catholic Church? Does the Magisterium exist only to give pronouncements, but no explanation?
—If the Magisterium is said to be the teacher of souls, then at what point may a Catholic, even a layman, lay aside the interpretation of the Pope or a later Council of the Church, in favor of a personal interpretation? The Catholic Church says that personal interpretation may not guide Biblical teaching or “sola scriptura.” However, is it permitted for an priest or layman to give interpretation to dogma in contradiction to the meaning which is given by the Magisterium?
—Is there such a thing as “sola traditio” or an individualistic interpretation to dogmas from Tradition? Can this be accepted as a Catholic approach to dogma? Does that mean that, therefore, the interpretations of the Pope can be laid aside, and the Pope denounced as a heretic, even by untrained laymen who have given personal interpretation to the dogmas of the Church?
These questions need to be explored before a person should just assume that Pope Francis is now a heretic. For the role of the Jews in God’s plan of salvation is a subject of many controversies in Catholic theology.
An article which looks at the subject of Catholic dogma and heresy is found at:
God bless and take care! Fr. Angel
Hi Father, I am currently having a 'essay crisis' .. I'm supposed to be writing about how 'Eastern Christianity is a highly symbolic and mystical tradition' .. but I know almost nothing about the Eastern rites (or for that matter about the Orthodox) ... I haven't slept for days, I'm really ill and I just want to cry!!! I don't think I can do this ... do you know of any reliable sources of information about the Eastern Churches I can use in my essay? Thanks Father :)
I’m so sorry. I must plead ignorance about good sources for Eastern Christianity. Write:
I’m in a fog and my Claritin-D is not helping. Eastern Christian followers—help! God bless and take care!
Hi Father, I've always wondered what the term "heavenly hosts" means. I thought it meant the armies of angels lead by the archangels, but I don't know. I'm thinking of the instance in Psalm 148 you will see " praise him all his angels, praise him all his hosts". Thanks Father :)
Yes, that is totally correct. The term “heavenly hosts” is a reference to the armies of angels. It is a military term, describing the formations of thousands and thousands of soldiers. It doesn’t matter which rank the angels are. When there are thousands of them gathered, the are the “hosts” of the Lord, who is called “Lord of armies” in the Bible. God bless and take care! Fr. Angel
Hi Fr. Angel! I recently attended a (Skype) talk by Fr. James Martin, SJ about joy and happiness (re his book Between Heaven and Mirth). One thing he said was that the Mass should be joyful, as well as solemn, at the proper times. This made me wonder: I can see how an Ordinary Form Mass can be joyful and solemn. But what about a Latin Mass? I see how it can be solemn, but how can it be joyful? Thanks in advance, and happy Advent :)
The joy of worship is expressed very different in the Extraordinary Form Mass, or Tridentine Mass. Whereas in the Ordinary Form Mass, there is contemporary or classical music that the people often join in and sing, and there are responses from the people which are loud, and gestures that people make with their arms and hands to show they are happy, the Tridentine Mass does not have any of that.
Instead, the joy of worship is expressed in the solemnity and splendor with which the altar is adorned. The Solemn High Mass has many large and small candles burning, providing the beauty of candlelight. There are exquisite flower arrangements and beautiful, fine cloths that drape the altar and ambo.
Then the organ intones much more solemn and deeply moving Gregorian melodies which are chanted. Very little of the Tridentine Mass is recited when the Mass is solemn and joyful. Most of the Mass is chanted between the priest and the choir, with even the Scripture lesson and Gospel being sung in Gregorian melody, accompanied with candles and incense and great pomp.
Finally, in the Solemn High Mass of the Extraordinary Form, you have a priest, a deacon, and a subdeacon, in matching and beautiful vestments. There are many gestures, such as bows and genuflections, which convey a sense of grandeur as the three of them move from one part of the Mass to the next. Because of the Gregorian chants, nothing is rushed or busy, but carried out with great seriousness and deliberation. This is why the Tridentine Mass in its most solemn and joyful form always has a Master of Ceremonies.
The choreography of movement, combined with song, gesture, incense, and gestures, communicates intense emotions and feelings which are indeed heavenly and raise the mind to God. Although the people themselves do not participate, their attention is usually rapt in the unfolding drama of ancient ritual carried out with a deep sense of prayer and adoration of the one, True God.
In other words, it is a different kind of expression of joy. It is not a “feeling” thing, as with the Ordinary Form Mass, but an interior sense that the congregation is being swept up into another dimension of existence. Even small children are known to remain silent and in awe as they see the grandeur of the Solemn High Mass.
If you ever see a fine ballet, where the dancers are silent, but where the movements of ballet communicate intense emotion and meaning, you will understand what I mean. I would say that the Ordinary Form Mass lets people make noise, and move their body, like a country dance which is fun and entertaining.
The Tridentine Mass, however, is more like watching the ballet “Swan Lake” and having such intention emotion in your heart that even though no one makes a sound, many in the audience are weeping when the ballet is finished. God bless and take care! Fr. Angel
Hello Father! My name is Peter and I have a hypothetical question regarding baptism of a catechutemate (15years or+) who has not been baptized before. Let's say he discovers Christ and finally understand what it means when Christ came down&saved us undeservingly. This moment of sudden realization, doesn't the Holy Spirit come down on that person? What does this mean when a person is baptized sacramentally... isn't that redundant with that grace appearing twice?
God’s grace is an ever increasing infusion of new life. This life of God, which is His very love, is never redundant.
Imagine if your mom said, “I love you son” when you came to visit. And then when you left home, and she said goodbye, she said, “I love you” again. Would you tell her, “Mom, that’s redundant”? LOL. Hopefully, you would answer no to that question. Because we are speaking of a relationship that continues, it grows, it is incremental, and increases as long as we do not destroy that relationship.
With God’s grace, He gives a “prevenient” grace before the sacraments. He prepares the soul with inspirations, with light, with increased understanding. Then, when the soul is ready to confess faith in the Lord Jesus, our heavenly Father sends a special and unique grace of the Holy Spirit.
The grace of baptism is what we call a “sacramental” grace and it establishes a person firmly in the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. This outpouring of God’s love is to “seal the deal” and firmly imprint on our souls the mark, or character, of divine sonship (or daughtership, for the ladies).
The sacraments give us a special and unique grace which follows upon the prevenient graces, or graces of preparation, which God gives to get us ready for deeper life in the Church of Christ. Greater life, deeper life, is another way of saying deeper love, in the friendship of God.
God bless and take care! Fr. Angel