11 01, 2024

Every Vocation Is Built Upon the Interior Life

By |2024-01-11T13:38:35+00:00January 11th, 2024|Theology|

A couple from another state texted me: "Hi Father, Thank you for the awesome Epiphany homily. I have some 'boots on the ground' thoughts for you. Seeing as how our parish is the fastest growing [trad. cong.] parish in North America (per Fr A.), I’d say the trends here are worth considering as we look at the end times prophecies.  The vast majority of solid families who made the Exodus to [our state in NW] are very young. They are simple, solid and unwavering. Most adults are converts or reverts. The oldest of whom have oldest children entering teen years. It is becoming clear that each large family will produce [...]

26 12, 2023

Overturning Envy at Christmas

By |2023-12-25T14:53:37+00:00December 26th, 2023|Theology|

p/c St. Mary's of Pine Bluff, WI. There's an English gentleman named Tom Holland (who I don't think considers himself a Christian) who recently wrote a book called Dominion about what is unique about Christianity.  He wrote about how Christianity conquered the West not through violence but through the enduring of the cross.  One reason he did this is because he saw with his own eyes crucifixions done by ISIS several years ago.  Holland realized the inverted power-structures that we still value in even the post-Christian West essentially come from early Christianity.  Holland compared Medieval Christian monarchs to pre-Christian Roman monarchs in the introduction to his book: "That the Son [...]

21 12, 2023

The Holy Fools of Christ

By |2023-12-21T16:48:59+00:00December 21st, 2023|Theology|

Matins for the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle in the old Rite Roman Breviary includes this reading today: For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we [...]

23 11, 2023

Should You Recall Past Sins?

By |2023-11-23T11:10:34+00:00November 23rd, 2023|Theology|

Should you recall past sins?  The basic answer to this is one that most of you already know:  Do not beat yourself up about sins you have confessed because those sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus.  (Or, if you are an adult convert, your sins were washed away in baptism.) Keep in mind in St. Luke chapter 15, we have the Prodigal Son parable:  After a significant stint of sin, he returns to the Father and he is planning on saying, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your [...]

21 11, 2023

The Ladder of Divine Ascent for Lay People

By |2023-11-15T10:34:36+00:00November 21st, 2023|Theology|

One of the greatest works of the early Desert Fathers is The Ladder of Divine Ascent.  It is considered to be a masterpiece of ascetical theology, but it is primarily for monks.  Thus, I was surprised when a married man with children started telling me about how this is one of his favorite books.  This layman (about my age) usually does one hour of mental prayer a day and lives very impressive asceticism.  (He was not bragging to me, but he admitted he and his family try to make their home a little monastery.) Nevertheless, I still wondered if The Ladder of Divine Ascent should be the goal of the [...]

22 08, 2023

You Can’t Please Your Enemies (So Don’t Try)

By |2023-09-20T17:47:00+00:00August 22nd, 2023|Theology|

Even though he's not completely Thomistic in his treatment of the virtues, C.S. Lewis brilliantly explains in chapter 2 of Mere Christianity the difference between vanity and pride: That is why vanity, though it is the sort of pride which shows most on the surface, is really the least bad and most pardonable sort. The vain person wants praise, applause, admiration, too much and is always angling for it. It is a fault, but a childlike and even (in an odd way) a humble fault. It shows that you are not yet completely contented with your own admiration. You value other people enough to want them to look at you. [...]

17 08, 2023

Maximalism and Minimalism

By |2023-08-16T18:35:04+00:00August 17th, 2023|Theology|

Recently, I read about a certain African female saint in the ancient Roman Martyrology:  "At Cyrene, in Lybia, St. Cyrilla, a martyr, in the persecution of Diocletian. For a long while she held on her hand burning coals with incense, lest by shaking off the coals she should seem to offer incense to the idols. She was afterwards cruelly scourged, and went to her spouse adorned with her own blood." Notice that St. Cyrilla not only refrained from putting incense on idols (which certainly would have been enough to win her martyrdom under Diocletian) but many Catholics today might even add that she didn't "know her theology enough" to know [...]

3 08, 2023

The Cardinal Virtues Can’t Contradict Each Other

By |2023-08-03T15:20:04+00:00August 3rd, 2023|Theology|

Many seminarians and potential-seminarians to the Catholic Church are thrilled about salvation history.  And this is a good thing.  Indeed, new seminarians love to study how Joshua and Caleb took the Holy Land from the pagans.  We all love how the underdogs could beat the Canaanites and all surrounding tribes.  We all know the spoils of the Land of Milk and Honey did not go to merely the legalistic, but to the courageous.   In fact, Joshua and Caleb were the only two of the original twelve spies to even enter what we now call "Israel."  They obeyed the call to execute great fortitude against all odds: Have I not [...]

20 07, 2023

Pilgrimage as a Life of Penance

By |2023-07-20T12:51:32+00:00July 20th, 2023|Theology|

It hath also seemed good to the holy Synod, to subjoin, to the preceding doctrine on penance, the following on the sacrament of Extreme Unction, which by the Fathers was regarded as being the completion, not only of penance, but also of the whole Christian life, which ought to be a perpetual penance.—Council of Trent, Chapter 14, On the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, Second Session. The key words I want to focus on from Trent above is that "the whole Christian life...ought to be a perpetual penance."  Why does this sound distasteful to even traditional Catholics? First, even good Catholics today tend to see Christianity through a post-Protestant-revolt lens.  One [...]

18 07, 2023

Remedies to Self-Centeredness in the Spiritual Life

By |2023-07-19T14:46:28+00:00July 18th, 2023|Theology|

Many of you already know that the best remedy to self-centeredness in the spiritual life is to do the corporal works of mercy {to feed the hungry; to give drink to the thirsty; to clothe the naked; to harbor the harborless; to visit the sick; to ransom the captive; to bury the dead.} However, since many of you already know that, I want to discuss some other remedies in this post. When I was a charismatic before becoming a traditionalist, I was discerning a good group of Franciscans in the Bronx.  (I still consider them quite faithful and evangelical, so this isn't a now I've moved on blogpost.)   One [...]

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