So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Monday, November 2, 2015

Truth and mercy. Re-redefining mercy.

Mercy is today's buzzword. It is a word subject to the revisionism of the relativists who are attempting to privatize it and limit it to an empty form.

Apparently, only those of a contemporary liberal bent who suggest obstinate sin is not a barrier to the reception of Holy Communion are entitled to be associated with mercy, while anyone who asserts the Lord's call to conversion from sin is dismissed as a troll of some sort or another.

Those infected by a liberal (permissive) mindset routinely reduce the Gospel to a set of ideals. The Gospel is not about ideals. The Gospel is about reality—the reality of redemption from sin and death. Grace is available from God to help sinners abandon sin and rise to newness of life.

The liberal-religionist answer to sin is tolerance of sin and a gradualism of the law. These same folk thrive on the idea that everyone is saved (heresy of universalism). Thus, they canonize every person upon his or her death because they fear or cannot tolerate the thought that someone might be damned. For the liberal-religionist, divine justice and damnation are incompatible with their understanding about their comfortable god. That is, the god of the agnostic and the hedonist. Perhaps the thought they fear most is that they didn't do enough to convince someone to convert from a sinful life. It is easier, then, for them to proclaim that Joe or Jane is in heaven and thus avoid any feelings of guilt or culpability for their tepid witness to Jesus.

Sadly, the self declared mediators of mercy, i.e., liberal-religionists, are profoundly misguided and completely out of step with the Lord's design for man and the necessity of conversion in order to worthily receive Holy Communion. Mercy, after all, comes with a price, a price paid by Jesus on the cross. The mercy of God is not cheap.

A spoonful of sugar?

Strangely, some Catholics think that the Eucharist can be used as medicine by those who do not discern the Body of Christ, i.e., by those who do not accept what Christ Himself said about the Holy Eucharist [St. John 6:48-69].
I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. 
Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that should betray him. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
“(M)edicine is for the sick, not the dead.
The sacrament of reconciliation is the sacrament that raises the dead to life, 
which then makes the living capable of receiving Holy Communion.”
—Michael Hichborn citation at the Lepanto Institute.

The truth is...
the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.—Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans 3:21-26.
We are all sinners in need of God's grace.

Too often, these days, well meaning Catholics—priests and people alike—are confuse mercy with tolerance for sin. Mr. Hichborn, citing Aquinas, provides us with the necessary clarity to temper our eagerness to toss the Holy Eucharist around like chips and dip at a party:
Reply to Objection 2. Every medicine does not suit every stage of sickness; because the tonic given to those who are recovering from fever would be hurtful to them if given while yet in their feverish condition. So likewise Baptism and Penance are as purgative medicines, given to take away the fever of sin; whereas this sacrament (Holy Communion) is a medicine given to strengthen, and it ought not to be given except to them who are quit of sin.
Saint Paul answers those folk who think the Holy Eucharist can be received by obstinate sinners [1 Corinthians 11:27]:
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.
Once again citing St. Thomas Aquinas in a response to an unfortunate article by Elizabeth Scalia concerning the "medicinal Eucharist", Michael Hichborn rebuts a popular and misguided notion about the reception of Holy Communion by obstinate (i.e., unrepentant) sinners.
Ms. Scalia flippantly asks what St. Paul meant about receiving the Eucharist unworthily. Rather than turn to the Doctors of the Church for an answer, she admits ignorance and then presents a feel-good anecdote as evidence of her position:
What did Saint Paul mean when he warned about “unworthy” reception of communion? Did it have more to do with confessing real belief, or a sinless state? I don’t know. I know an atheist, though, who kept receiving Holy Communion because she felt drawn to it; now she is a nun. This suggests that Grace isn’t ours to boss around or to limit.
St. Thomas Aquinas has the answer for Ms. Scalia:
I answer that, In this sacrament, as in the others, that which is a sacrament is a sign of the reality of the sacrament. Now there is a twofold reality of this sacrament, as stated above (Question 73, Article 6): one which is signified and contained, namely, Christ Himself; while the other is signified but not contained, namely, Christ’s mystical body, which is the fellowship of the saints. Therefore, whoever receives this sacrament, expresses thereby that he is made one with Christ, and incorporated in His members; and this is done by living faith, which no one has who is in mortal sin. And therefore it is manifest that whoever receives this sacrament while in mortal sin, is guilty of lying to this sacrament, and consequently of sacrilege, because he profanes the sacrament: and therefore he sins mortally.
GOD'S PLAN, NOT OURS.

God gave us His design for mankind. He calls us to live that design [Deuteronomy 30:15-18]
See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you this day, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you this day, that you shall perish(.)
God provides the grace to live His design. Jesus, the Lord, reminds us that if we keep His commandments (God's restored design for man), we will be known as His disciples [St. John 14:15]
If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Jesus shows us the way to life [St. John 13:34-35].
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
If we live according to His way, we will live forever [St. Matthew 16:24].
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
THE CALL TO CONVERSION
The truth is we are all sinners. We need God's grace in Jesus Christ to recover our dignity.

Jesus meets us "where we are at" and calls us out of our sinful lives [St. John 8:11].
And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.
Jesus does not leave us in our sins. Jesus says, "Go, and sin no more." He does not bless sin.

Jesus, the Second person of the Blessed Trinity, mercifully restored man to friendship with God [Isaiah 53:5].
But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
We are free to accept His invitation to friendship. If we accept Jesus' invitation, we are required to live according to His word. Having been proposed the Gospel, those who then reject Jesus risk the loss of their souls forever.

SHOWING MERCY

What is more merciful?
Watching someone persist in sin without mentioning to him or her a better way?
Or, taking a lively interest in the person who needs to know his or her behaviour is putting them at risk and sharing with him or her a remedy?
Neither timidity nor belligerence becomes a disciple of the Lord. Zeal, yes; belligerence, no. Charity, yes; violence, no. Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with love for the person while calling him/her out of sin and slavery.

People need information. The Catholic Faith is vital information for a love-starved and hope-deprived world. We, all of us, have an obligation to make known in the most prudent and charitable ways possible the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Bishop Hlib Lonchyna, bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London, reminds us to
“Be compassionate, because we’re all sinners,”(.) “If someone is falling, it won’t help to just yell at him that he fell. I need to extend a helping hand and help him to get up.”
Mercy is God’s gift, the bishop said, available only through His grace, not by our efforts.—LifeSiteNews
We should remind ourselves that we can do nothing apart from Jesus. Pray, therefore, that our witness will be faithfully wed to Jesus Christ and His Church.

Want to be Catholic? Speak with a Catholic priest. Attend Mass.

Already Catholic and been away awhile?—call a priest and make a good confession. The Church eagerly awaits your return.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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