TO BEAR WITNESS TO THE TRUTH: Catholic Missionaries Martyred in 2009

2 01 2010

December 31, 2009. The Vatican has published the names of all the missionaries who died violently in 2009. In all 37 people were killed on active duty, the highest number in the past decade. Among them, is a lay person, 2 seminarians, 2 nuns and 30 priests.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2471 Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he “has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” The Christian is not to “be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord.” In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep “a clear conscience toward God and toward men.”

2472 The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it. This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known.
All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation.

2473 Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. “Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God.”

2474 The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs. They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood:
Neither the pleasures of the world nor the kingdoms of this age will be of any use to me. It is better for me to die [in order to unite myself] to Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. I seek him who died for us; I desire him who rose for us. My birth is approaching. . . I bless you for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among your martyrs…. You have kept your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him, who is with you and the Holy Spirit, may glory be given to you, now and in the ages to come. Amen.

Posted by Fr Felix Au

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Are we saved by faith or by works?

16 08 2009

Mother Teresa of Kolkata

These are some passages from the Bible that teach us about faith and works:

  • For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. (Eph 2:8-9)
  • What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. (Jam 2:14-18)
  • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Mt 7:21-23)

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 161) we are informed: Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. “Since “without faith it is impossible to please (God) ” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.'”

Catholics therefore must accept the necessity of faith for salvation. The question for us is ‘what is faith’? Faith is not only an intellectual belief in Jesus. True faith is faith that moves us to repentance, enables us to trust Jesus, compells us to obey God and enables us to have a loving relationship with Jesus. In a way, it is a state of being, a state of our relationship with the Lord.

This kind of relationship with God will certainly manifest itself in good works. St John emphatically says, ‘We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 Jn 4:19-21).

Christ and the Good Thief

The good thief was promised paradise by Jesus because he repented and had faith in Jesus; he did not merit it by good works. Similarly, a person who is incurably paralyzed will not be able to perform good works. However, he too is saved if he is repentant, knows and loves the Lord. This would in turn make him able to love others, and express that love, not through physical service but perhaps through prayers and by offering his sufferings for others.





What is the Trinity?

26 07 2009

Take a look at the video clip in which Father Robert Barron gives us a beautiful explanation of the mystery of the Holy Trinity. The Trinity is a mystery not because it is a puzzle or enigma that we cannot understand, but rather it has a meaning so deep and so vast that the human mind’s able to comprehend a tiniest bit of its truth. It is when we see God face to face (which is beatific vision) that we will grow in our knowledge of God as Trinity and as love.  It’ll take eternity to plumb the depths of this infinite and glorious mystery.

NB. Fr Robert Barron is a sought-after speaker on the spiritual life-from prestigious universities to YouTube to national conferences and private retreats. The prominent theologian and podcasting priest is one of the world’s great and most innovative teachers of Catholicism. His global media ministry called Word on Fire has a simple but revolutionary mission – to evangelize the culture.





St John Vianney, Confessor Par Excellence

24 07 2009

‘The good Lord knows everything. Even before you confess, he already knows that you will sin again, yet he still forgives you. How great is the love of our God: he even forces himself to forget the future, so that he can grant us his forgiveness!’

Cure of Ars…he sought in every way, by his preaching and his powers of persuasion, to help his parishioners to rediscover the meaning and beauty of the sacrament of Penance, presenting it as an inherent demand of the Eucharistic presence

The saintly Curé… said: ‘It is not the sinner who returns to God to beg his forgiveness, but God himself who runs after the sinner and makes him return to him.’ ‘This good Saviour is so filled with love that he seeks us everywhere.’

“The Curé of Ars dealt with different penitents in different ways. Those who came to his confessional drawn by a deep and humble longing for God’s forgiveness found in him the encouragement to plunge into the ‘flood of divine mercy’ which sweeps everything away by its vehemence. If someone was troubled by the thought of his own frailty and inconstancy, and fearful of sinning again, the Curé would unveil the mystery of God’s love in these beautiful and touching words: ‘The good Lord knows everything. Even before you confess, he already knows that you will sin again, yet he still forgives you. How great is the love of our God: he even forces himself to forget the future, so that he can grant us his forgiveness!’

“But to those who made a lukewarm and rather indifferent confession of sin, he clearly demonstrated by his own tears of pain how ‘abominable’ this attitude was: ‘I weep because you don’t weep’, he would say. ‘If only the Lord were not so good! But he is so good! One would have to be a brute to treat so good a Father this way!’

“He awakened repentance in the hearts of the lukewarm by forcing them to see God’s own pain at their sins reflected in the face of the priest who was their confessor. To those who, on the other hand, came to him already desirous of and suited to a deeper spiritual life, he flung open the abyss of God’s love, explaining the untold beauty of living in union with him and dwelling in his presence: ‘Everything in God’s sight, everything with God, everything to please God… How beautiful it is!’ And he taught them to pray: ‘My God, grant me the grace to love you as much as I possibly can.’”

Extracted from Pope’s Benedict’s Letter to Clergy on the Year for Priests, 5 July 2009





Are we saved already?

23 07 2009

Cross of salvation

For those who believe in Jesus, accept him as Lord and have been reborn through the waters of baptism, Holy Scripture gives us 3 levels of answers; all are true but they must be understood correctly.

We are already saved through Jesus’ work of redemption on the cross. Objectively, salvation has  been won for us. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Cor 5:17)

However, we are also being saved. God’s power is constantly at work in the faithful to purify and deliver them from the bondage of sin. Christians are saved on condition they remain faithful to the Gospel preached to them. Through it (the Gospel) you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. (1 Cor 15:2 NAB) NB. NIV renders it ‘you are saved’.

We will be saved: Christians must not commit the sin of presumption. Rather, they should manifest confident hope that God will give them the grace of perseverance; that they will respond to divine grace and continually accept the gift of salvation until death. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! (Romans 5:9)





Pope Benedict XVI condemns ‘corruption and illegality’ of politicians and businesses

11 07 2009

The Pope condemned the “corruption and illegality” of politicians and businesses across the world as he called for a new order based on the common good.

By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Published: 7:00AM BST 08 Jul 2009

In a detailed critique of modern social, economic and environmental problems, delivered on the eve of a summit of the G8 leaders in Italy, Pope Benedict XVI warned that globalisation risked triggering a worldwide crisis.

He criticised the UN and said a new organisation “with real teeth” is needed to prevent another financial crisis, bring about peace and reduce the gap between rich and poor.

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Why Do We Baptize Babies?

5 07 2009

Infant baptism

Fundamentalists often criticize the Catholic Church’s practice of baptizing infants. According to them, baptism is for adults and older children, because it is to be administered only after one has undergone a “born again” experience—that is, after one has “accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.” At the instant of acceptance, when he is “born again,” the adult becomes a Christian, and his salvation is assured forever. Baptism follows, though it has no actual salvific value. In fact, one who dies before being baptized, but after “being saved,” goes to heaven anyway.

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