Thursday, November 16, 2023

"Faith is a Practice" --Tammy Peterson

Jordan Peterson and Tammy Peterson, his wife, give testimony to her newly discovered Catholic faith, through the power of the daily Rosary in an ordeal with terminal cancer. Tammy is now preparing to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church next Easter.

Jordan: One of the conclusions that Job comes to, as a consequence of his trials, was that, when the Hell of suffering--unjust suffering--opens up around you, you can make it much worse by also being bitter and resentful and ungrateful, and shaking your hands at fate and God,...perhaps at yourself too. And so, Tammy didn't do that. She certainly faced her impending fate with grace, and attempted to do that consciously. And prayer was an aid in that endeavor.

Tammy: I just constantly prayed. I never allowed myself to worry. I just gave myself to God and to the prayer, to take me where I needed to go...where He needed me to go. Whatever He needed me to go through. I decided that it wasn't up to me anymore. And I think I had led my life that way for a very, very long time. And this trial--this challenge--was given to me to come to this realization now. And I did. Thank the Lord!

Jordan: She wasn't praying to live. She wasn't praying that God would give here some special dispensation. She was praying that she could conduct herself as appropriately as could possibly be managed given the situation at hand. And that's what it means in some ways to put yourself in the hands of God. You don't know what the right outcome is, and maybe it's that you live, and maybe it isn't. What you can pray for is that you handle what's thrown at you in the best possible manner, whatever that is. And that can be a very demanding aim. and that's a terrible thing to be called upon to do, but all other pathways merely make Hell deeper.

[When she was terminally ill in the hospital a friend came and taught her to pray the Rosary, praying it with her daily for five weeks. A priest then gave her a scapular and a novena to be prayed for healing, during which she was healed.]

Learning and praying the Rosary with her friend--daily--Tammy got better at confronting her destiny with grace. She also learned to value herself more. Not in the narcissistic sense that elevates someone above anyone else, but in the sense that you should extend to yourself the same love that you would extend to someone for whom you cared. And she prays about an hour a day, in the morning, and that gives her the best state of mind,...a childlike gratitude.

Tammy: Things have changed for me a lot since I stared praying the Rosary. The more you follow what God wants you to follow the more adventurous and the more challenging everything becomes. I've been accepting to do things that I never would have accepted before. So it has very much changed my life. Now when we go on tour [Jordan] asked me to come and open shows for him, which is unbelievable for me to go up on a stage where there are five thousand, six thousand, ten thousand, thirteen thousand people in the crowd. I ask for courage and strength before I go out on stage.

Jordan: Likely what she's discovered, more particularly, as a consequence of moving in the Catholic direction is that she's discovered the identity between Christ and the truth. Now, people don't understand what that means, but there are lots of things that are true that people don't understand.

Tammy: Prayer is a practice. Faith is a practice. The Rosary is a practice. Why are they practices? Because you're going to go through hard times in your life and nothing will survive except for the things you practice. When life ends and everything is obliterated, the only thing that you will find in the ashes are the things that you practiced. OK? Decide what that's going to be.

Let us pray.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women. And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

"Faith is a practice, not just an abstract spirituality."

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Saint John Lateran, 1700 Years Old

The Lateran Basilica turns 1700 years old, it is the mother church of Christianity: the lands were donated by Constantine

In 2024 the Lateran Basilica, the Mother Church of Christianity, an irreplaceable point in the history of the West, turns 1700 years old. For over ten centuries it was the papal residence before the Popes moved to Avignon, during the period of the Avignon captivity, and subsequently decided to move the residence to the Vatican. Two hundred and fifty Councils took place within its walls, five of which were ecumenical, including the Lateran IV, in 1215, considered by historians to be the most important of the entire Middle Ages as it was entirely aimed at ensuring a universal Christian society.
The Lateran Basilica was consecrated on 9 November of the year 324 by the then Pope Sylvester I, who later became a saint, whose pontificate coincided with the long empire of Constantine, the first Roman emperor to accept Christianity, marking the transition from pagan Rome to Christian Rome. It was Constantine who donated that land to the Church to build a domus ecclesia. According to the Annals of Tacitus, the lands and properties that initially stood there belonged to the powerful Lateran family. In 65, however, Nero confiscated their assets because they participated in the "Piso" conspiracy. When the conspiracy failed, the consul Plautius Lateran was sentenced to death and was expropriated of his wealth which passed to the Imperial Exchequer.
Pope Sylvester will name the patriarchal Lateran archbasilica after Christ the Savior. Only during the 12th century was it also dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. Originally the sacred building became famous for its splendor and was the object of continuous and important donations from emperors, Popes and other benefactors, as is testified in the Liber Pontificalis.
In the Lateran palace the most significant facts of history were intertwined with the dynamics of the Church.
Coronation of emperors, audiences with kings and queens, including the signing of the Lateran Pacts, signed by the Vatican Secretary of State Gasparri and the then head of government Benito Mussolini. The original of the document is kept on a desk in the Hall of the Pontiffs, which has now become a museum. Until the 19th century all Popes were crowned in the Lateran, but after the breach of Porta Pia the custom was abandoned. The building that we know today has undergone various phases of design, expansion and modifications compared to the initial early Christian building. On 28 July 1993 the side entrance and part of the facade of the building were seriously damaged by a bomb attack commissioned by the mafia which damaged the facade.
The original early Christian building has undergone several changes throughout history also because it was damaged by some earthquakes. The earthquake in 896, for example, destroyed the basilica almost entirely which was almost completely restored by Pope Sergius III (904-911). Later the church was also heavily damaged by fire in 1308 and 1360. The peak of the glory of the new Lateran basilica however came on 22 February 1300, when Pope Boniface VIII proclaimed the first Jubilee there.
Until the 14th century the Palace was the residence of the Popes, then the headquarters was moved to Avignon, France (1304-1377). Once he returned to Rome, the pontiff of the time found himself managing the entire Lateran area which was now in a state of total abandonment, the palace had been looted over the years and the surrounding areas had become a place of brigandage. The degradation was almost total. The papal residence thus moved to the Vatican.

Today's Lateran basilica has five front doors, one for each nave, punctuated by massive columns supporting monumental arches. The central bronze doors are Roman originals from the Senate in the Imperial Forums. The rightmost door is the Holy Door which is only opened during the Holy Year (once every 25 years). It will reopen in 2025. In front of the left wall is the statue of Emperor Constantine. The twelve enormous niches that Francesco Borromini created in the columns of the central nave contain majestic marble statues of apostles. Despite Borromini's rigorous renovation, some historical evidence remains clearly visible. In particular the magnificent floor in the Cosmatesque style and the gilded wooden ceiling, created by Giacomo della Porta based on a design by his patron, Michelangelo.
The definitive renovation of the current church was commissioned by Pope Sixtus V who entrusted the work to his trusted architect Domenico Fontana.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Purgatory, All Souls Day

In Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI wrote this about Purgatory, the after-death purification of the faithful yet in need of final purification.

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (cf. Lk 16:19-31), Jesus admonishes us through the image of a soul destroyed by arrogance and opulence, who has created an impassable chasm between himself and the poor man; the chasm of being trapped within material pleasures; the chasm of forgetting the other, of incapacity to love, which then becomes a burning and unquenchable thirst. We must note that in this parable Jesus is not referring to the final destiny after the Last Judgement, but is taking up a notion found, inter alia, in early Judaism, namely that of an intermediate state between death and resurrection, a state in which the final sentence is yet to be pronounced.

45. This early Jewish idea of an intermediate state includes the view that these souls are not simply in a sort of temporary custody but, as the parable of the rich man illustrates, are already being punished or are experiencing a provisional form of bliss. There is also the idea that this state can involve purification and healing which mature the soul for communion with God. The early Church took up these concepts, and in the Western Church they gradually developed into the doctrine of Purgatory. We do not need to examine here the complex historical paths of this development; it is enough to ask what it actually means. With death, our life-choice becomes definitive—our life stands before the judge. Our choice, which in the course of an entire life takes on a certain shape, can have a variety of forms. There can be people who have totally destroyed their desire for truth and readiness to love, people for whom everything has become a lie, people who have lived for hatred and have suppressed all love within themselves. This is a terrifying thought, but alarming profiles of this type can be seen in certain figures of our own history. In such people all would be beyond remedy and the destruction of good would be irrevocable: this is what we mean by the word Hell[37]. On the other hand there can be people who are utterly pure, completely permeated by God, and thus fully open to their neighbours—people for whom communion with God even now gives direction to their entire being and whose journey towards God only brings to fulfilment what they already are[38].

46. Yet we know from experience that neither case is normal in human life. For the great majority of people—we may suppose—there remains in the depths of their being an ultimate interior openness to truth, to love, to God. In the concrete choices of life, however, it is covered over by ever new compromises with evil—much filth covers purity, but the thirst for purity remains and it still constantly re-emerges from all that is base and remains present in the soul. What happens to such individuals when they appear before the Judge? Will all the impurity they have amassed through life suddenly cease to matter? What else might occur? Saint Paul, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, gives us an idea of the differing impact of God's judgement according to each person's particular circumstances. He does this using images which in some way try to express the invisible, without it being possible for us to conceptualize these images—simply because we can neither see into the world beyond death nor do we have any experience of it. Paul begins by saying that Christian life is built upon a common foundation: Jesus Christ. This foundation endures. If we have stood firm on this foundation and built our life upon it, we know that it cannot be taken away from us even in death. Then Paul continues: “Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:12-15). In this text, it is in any case evident that our salvation can take different forms, that some of what is built may be burned down, that in order to be saved we personally have to pass through “fire” so as to become fully open to receiving God and able to take our place at the table of the eternal marriage-feast.

47. Some recent theologians are of the opinion that the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation “as through fire”. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God. In this way the inter-relation between justice and grace also becomes clear: the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love. Indeed, it has already been burned away through Christ's Passion. At the moment of judgement we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy. It is clear that we cannot calculate the “duration” of this transforming burning in terms of the chronological measurements of this world. The transforming “moment” of this encounter eludes earthly time-reckoning—it is the heart's time, it is the time of “passage” to communion with God in the Body of Christ[39]. The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. If it were merely grace, making all earthly things cease to matter, God would still owe us an answer to the question about justice—the crucial question that we ask of history and of God. If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all. The incarnation of God in Christ has so closely linked the two together—judgement and grace—that justice is firmly established: we all work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). Nevertheless grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our “advocate”, or parakletos (cf. 1 Jn 2:1).

48. A further point must be mentioned here, because it is important for the practice of Christian hope. Early Jewish thought includes the idea that one can help the deceased in their intermediate state through prayer (see for example 2 Macc 12:38-45; first century BC). The equivalent practice was readily adopted by Christians and is common to the Eastern and Western Church. The East does not recognize the purifying and expiatory suffering of souls in the afterlife, but it does acknowledge various levels of beatitude and of suffering in the intermediate state. The souls of the departed can, however, receive “solace and refreshment” through the Eucharist, prayer and almsgiving. The belief that love can reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today. Who would not feel the need to convey to their departed loved ones a sign of kindness, a gesture of gratitude or even a request for pardon? Now a further question arises: if “Purgatory” is simply purification through fire in the encounter with the Lord, Judge and Saviour, how can a third person intervene, even if he or she is particularly close to the other? When we ask such a question, we should recall that no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other—my prayer for him—can play a small part in his purification. And for that there is no need to convert earthly time into God's time: in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded. It is never too late to touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in vain. In this way we further clarify an important element of the Christian concept of hope. Our hope is always essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too[40]. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Google Doodle All Saints Day

Google Doodle, with the above advertisement today, again ignores the Christian holidays, opting rather to invent holidays nobody celebrates. Goodle Doodle needs to discover true religion, the Catholic faith!

Today is All Saints Day throughout the entire world. It is the meaning of All Hallowed's Eve (Halloween) yesterday evening. But, today, Google Doodle is celebrating "The Day of the Dead" which is not even a thing! It is a pure Google invention. It is analogous to Kwanzza, a pure secularist invention in an attempt to supplant the Christian culture of Christmas.

Happy All Saints Day, November 1, 2023, the day of the living, not of the dead! All Saints Day, today, a holy day of obligation, is the day of the living par excellence, because those who live in Christ, and only they, live for real; beyond the grave they are saints in heaven in eternal joy and peace.

Tomorrow is All Souls Day, November 2, 2023. It is the day of the faithful departed, a special day to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The Holy Souls in Purgatory are also alive. They are the souls of Christ's faithful who have died in the state of sanctifying grace but are still in need of purification for the total perfection necessary for heaven. All Souls Day is also a day of the living, not of the dead! We do not celebrate death but life!

"Jesus said to Saint Martha: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live: And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever." John 11:25-26
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