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Audio Meditation of the Prelate: Easter Sunday

Transcript and audio recording in English of reflections by Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz on the meaning of Holy Week (fourth in a series of four).

Lumen Christi! The light of Christ! These are the words that the Church makes resound in our ears at the start of the Easter Vigil, which begins in the darkness of the night.

Lumen Christi! This is repeated three times, while the candles of those participating in the liturgical celebration are being lit. The light of Christ opens up a path through the darkness of sin and death. Jesus has risen! This is the joyful message that we will soon receive once again.

Over the past days we have been meditating on Jesus’ total self-giving for us, from the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper to his death on the Cross.

Now we see that the darkness of Calvary is not the final word. The holy women, who had the strength to accompany our Lord in his Passion, lead the way towards the light of the Resurrection. Jesus rewards the love that moved them to want to embalm his Body, and makes them the first bearers of the joy of Easter.

The news of the Resurrection offers us, like the holy women, new light for our lives during this time, which is so painful for all humanity. Saint Paul reminds the Romans that we Christians are united to our Lord’s death “so that, just as Christ was raised from among the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4).

Easter announces to us that we are not tied down by our past sins, by the weight of our previous mistakes. Nor are we tied down by the limitations we can see in our lives, or by situations, however difficult, like those of the present time. And so the Apostle repeats again: “Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:11).

As we commemorate the Resurrection of Jesus, we want to respond to this invitation of our Lord to “walk in newness of life.”

But what newness are we talking about? The rhythm of our lives is marked by the same things repeated over and over again: the same work, the same places, the same people. Perhaps we have noticed this even more clearly at this time, if we have been obliged to remain at home because of the pandemic.

What is the sense of newness that Easter brings? It is the light of faith that illumines our lives, and that is enlivened by charity and sustained by hope.

As Saint Josemaria said: “This certainty which the faith gives enables us to look at everything in a new light. And everything, while remaining exactly the same becomes different, because it is an expression of God’s love.”[1]

Yes, by faith we know that Jesus is walking at our side in our daily life, revealing to us its true meaning and value. Faith leads us to find Jesus waiting for us, perhaps in a request by someone in our family, or in a favor we can do for a neighbor, or in a call to someone who is feeling lonely…

Through faith we know that work done for love is always valuable, because it becomes an offering to our Father, God. Perhaps right now we realize that so many things are beyond our control, and that we cannot rely on our own strength alone to achieve our goals. Perhaps a temptation to discouragement is beginning to creep in.

Remembering that the Risen Jesus is at our side will help us as we are struggling to work in trying circumstances, thinking of our family and the whole world. If we are working with Christ, all our efforts are meaningful, even when we do not achieve the results we were hoping for, because the echo of the deeds we do for love always reaches Heaven.

After announcing the news of Jesus’ Resurrection to the holy women, the angel adds: “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you” (Mk 16:7). The disciples are to return to Galilee, to the place where everything began, to the land through which they had daily travelled with the Master during the years of his preaching.

The same call is addressed to us: to go back to our Galilee, to our daily life, but bringing to it the light and the joy of Easter.

Pope Francis reminded us of this a few years ago: “To return to Galilee means above all to return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched me at the start of the journey. From that flame I can light a fire for today and every day, and bring heat and light to my brothers and sisters.”[2] How much it helps us, in difficult moments, to remember the times when our Lord made his presence felt in our lives, and to renew our trust in Him.

Let us accept our Lord’s invitation. Let us often consider the meaning of the joy of Easter – a joy that is compatible with suffering. And let us receive the light He wants to give us and share it with those around us.

Like the holy women, let us announce joyfully the truth that Christ is alive. And may that conviction be reflected in our lives: in the serenity, the hope and the charity with which we want to imbue each of our days. To do so, let us turn to our Lady’s intercession. On the day of the Resurrection we see her radiant with joy at her Son’s return. That moment will also arrive for each of us, and by God’s power, if we are faithful, we will live forever in Christ Jesus.


[1] Christ is Passing By, no. 144.

[2] Pope Francis, Homily at the Easter Vigil, 19 April 2014.

Opus Dei, A Communio Beyond an Institution.

Opus Dei has 3 elements: 1) Laity, 2)Ministers, 3) Act of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which is the act of self-gift given to both priests and laity. As such Opus Dei is not (properly speaking) an “objective” institution but a “subjective” communion where each element cannot do/be without the others.

“… (O)n November 1982, Pope John Paul II signed the Apostolic Constitution Ut sit, establishing Opus Dei as a personal prelature. This was a decisive event in the process whereby Opus Dei assumed the canonical structure suited to its theological and spiritual reality. A few months later, on 19 March 1983, the oral promulgation of the Constitution took place in a ceremony during which Archbishop Romolo Carboni papal nuncio to Italy, solemnly presented the papal bull to the prelate of Opus Dei.”



Pedro Rodriguez writes:

“Opus Dei’s social arrangement as a ‘Christian community’ stems from what we have called the ‘internal dimension of the Church’s structure.’ That is, it is born of mutual relations of laity (christifideles) and ministerial priests (‘sacred ministers,’) or, if you prefer, it derives from the two ways of participating in Christ’s priesthood. That is also why Opus Dei as a social reality in the Church is organic and undivided. Its lay faithful (men and women) and the priests who act as its clergy complement each other in exemplary adherence to the basic aboriginal relationship obtaining in the Church between lay faithful – called to live out the requirements and implications of their baptism – and the priests, who bring in, besides, the ‘ministerial’ consequences of the sacrament of Orders. As the Work’s Statues (no. 1) put it: ‘Opus Dei is a prelature embracing in its bosom… clerics and lay people.’ This statement is then developed: ‘The ministerial priesthood of the clergy and the common priesthood of the lay people are so intimately linked[2] that both, in unity of vocation and government, require and complement each other… in striving for the end proper to the prelature’… (the spread of sanctity in ordinary life). “So, what we find in Opus Dei, different yet complementing one another are the two ecclesial forms of participating in Christ’s priesthood.” Both laymen and ministers are priests since they mediate to each other as self-gift. “We find both the ‘substantial’ priority of Opus Dei’s lay faithful, at whose service is the priestly ministry, and the ‘functional’ priority of the sacred ministry, in whose head (the prelate) resides the sacra potestas that governs the prelature. The clergy’s ‘functional’ priority was described by the founder when he said that the ministerial priesthood ‘impregnates with its spirit our personal life and all our apostolic work’… Graphically, the founder told the Work’s priests that their task is to be a ‘carpet’ for others. He wrote: ‘In Opus Dei we’re all equal. There’s only a practical difference: priests are more bound to place their hearts on the floor like a carpet, so that their brothers and sisters may tread softly.’”[3] (p. 38).
Hence, Opus Dei is not another structure in the Church, but “a little bit of the Church” herself, as remarked by the founder (Rodriguez, p. 1). The novelty of Opus Dei is that it is the Church itself writ small. It is not another structure of the Church, although it is a hierarchical communio in the Church. It can only be understood by analogy to a particular Church or diocese of the Church, but without geographical presence. Its specific characteristic[4] is “secularity” in that each faithful of the prelature, be he ministerial priest or lay faithful, achieves identity with Christ in the exercise of professional, secular work. Its mission is the diffusion of this spirit of becoming “another Christ,” and therefore Church, by the mastery of self and gift of self in the execution of work.
As “a little bit of the Church,” Opus Dei is not an added structural institution in the Church. It is like David who offered himself to do battle with Goliath. Saul, fearful himself, dressed David in his armor: helmet, shield, breast-plate, etc. David, however, having never used such an impediment was not able to walk and removed it all save the loin cloth and the sling shot. Ratzinger commented: “There are some very real grounds to fear that the Church may assume too many institutions of human law, which then become the armor of Saul making it difficult for the young David to walk. We must always ascertain if institutions which were once useful still serve a purpose. The only the people of God, centered on the Eucharist” (“30 Days” No. 5 – 1998 p. 22).

To be more explicit, the only powers the Church needs to conquer hearts are those of the Person of Christ: the sacrament of Baptism, the sacrament of Orders and the action of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. That is the reality of the prelature. Its mission is the diffusion of the flame of self-giftedness of the person.
And so, on May 2, 1986, Pope John Paul II did not accept the suggestion of St. Josemaria that La Hermita de la Santa Cruz be the site of the Prelatic Church, but rather the oratory of Santa Maria de la Paz of Cavabianca where Escriva himself is buried, giving us to understand that Escriva Himself as “Ipse Christus,” “alter Christus,” is the cornerstone on which Opus Dei rests. This brings me back to the letter sent to us by Javier Echevarria in 1995 that read: “In order to se rve the Church in Opus Dei, everyting must always be understood and carried out, taking as its starting point out Father’s foundational charism. This charism, which was a gratuitous supernatural reality, endures in the Work, endowing it with well defined characteristics. The Holy Spirit didn’t place it in our Father’s soul merely with a view to his personal response to God, but so that it would give shape for centuries to come to the Work our Lord was entrusting him with. This charism cannot become, therefore, a mere historical reference taking us back to the past. It is, through God’s mercy, a living and effective reality in Ops Dei, a power, a grace, from which we all ought to draw nourishment and which we all have the duty of guarding and passing on … At some time in the 1960’s we received an article about the Work written by a religious in very affectionate terms. Describing the early period of our history, he referred to ‘Don Josemaria Escriva and his companions.’ Don Alvaro wrote a note in the margin saying clearly that ‘we weren’t the Father’s companions,’ but his children, who sought to follow him faithfully.’ In the Work there have never been ‘companions’ of our Father – that was not the Will of God (in fact, this was another way in which God emphasized the unity which is proper to the Work). There were just sons and daughters: children, who were clearly ware that our Father, and he alone, was the Founder and Father of this portion of the People of God., which was coming into being like those Christian communities in the early days of the Church.


“On 2 October 1928 our Father, who in his humility used to describe himself as an inept and deaf instrument saw the Work for the first time. On that day God infused in his soul a powerful light, a profound interior motion, a clear awareness of the divine will and he saw the Work for the first time. On that day God infused in his soul a powerful light, a profound interior motion, a clear awareness of the divine will and he saw the nature and mission of Opus Dei in the Church and in the world. He saw, we could say, the essential nucleus of Opus Dei, in the way God had defined and planned it. That day, as our Father was later to comment and put in writing, our Lord founded his Work. Opus Dei, as an act of mercy of God in human history, was already a reality in time, through our Founder’s presence alone.
“That first radical manifestation of the foundational charism which took place on October 1928, that illumination regarding the whole Work, was later complete by other divine interventions which guided and directed our Father. He allowed himself to be led in complete docility to God’s Will. All the different aspects of the gift that our Father received, gradually unfolded throughout his personal life. Thus he carried the whole process of the foundation through to its conclusion, in that spirit of generosity with which at every moment of his life he responded to the grace he had received on that blessed 2 October 1928.”


[1] John F. Coverdale, “Saxum” Scepter 2014, 131.
[2] Opus Dei is essentially the “organic convergence” of these two irreducibly different ways of living the one priesthood of Christ dynamized by the act of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the occasion of work in the secular world.
[3] Rodriguez, op cit. 38.
[4] See “Christifideles Laici” #15.

May 2 – Anniversary of the Inauguration of the Prelatic Church of Opus Dei, “Santa Maria de la Paz,” in Villa Tevere by D. Alvaro.

“… (O)n November 1982, Pope John Paul II signed the Apostolic Constitution Ut sit, establishing Opus Dei as a personal prelature. This was a decisive event in the process whereby Opus Dei assumed the canonical structure suited to its theological and spiritual reality. A few months later, on 19 March 1983, the oral promulgation of the Constitution took place in a ceremony during which Archbishop Romolo Carboni papal nuncio to Italy, solemnly presented the papal bull to the prelate of Opus Dei.”

Pedro Rodriguez writes:

“Opus Dei’s social arrangement as a ‘Christian community’ stems from what we have called the ‘internal dimension of the Church’s structure.’ That is, it is born of mutual relations of laity (christifideles) and ministerial priests (‘sacred ministers,’) or, if you prefer, it derives from the two ways of participating in Christ’s priesthood. That is also why Opus Dei as a social reality in the Church is organic and undivided. Its lay faithful (men and women) and the priests who act as its clergy complement each other in exemplary adherence to the basic aboriginal relationship obtaining in the Church between lay faithful – called to live out the requirements and implications of their baptism – and the priests, who bring in, besides, the ‘ministerial’ consequences of the sacrament of Orders. As the Work’s Statues (no. 1) put it: ‘Opus Dei is a prelature embracing in its bosom… clerics and lay people.’ This statement is then developed: ‘The ministerial priesthood of the clergy and the common priesthood of the lay people are so intimately linked[2] that both, in unity of vocation and government, require and complement each other… in striving for the end proper to the prelature’… (the spread of sanctity in ordinary life). “So, what we find in Opus Dei, different yet complementing one another are the two ecclesial forms of participating in Christ’s priesthood. We find both the ‘substantial’ priority of Opus Dei’s lay faithful, at whose service is the priestly ministry, and the ‘functional’ priority of the sacred ministry, in whose head (the prelate) resides the sacra potestas that governs the prelature. The clergy’s ‘functional’ priority was described by the founder when he said that the ministerial priesthood ‘impregnates with its spirit our personal life and all our apostolic work’… Graphically, the founder told the Work’s priests that their task is to be a ‘carpet’ for others. He wrote: ‘In Opus Dei we’re all equal. There’s only a practical difference: priests are more bound to place their hearts on the floor like a carpet, so that their brothers and sisters may tread softly.’”[3] (p. 38).
Hence, Opus Dei is not another structure in the Church, but “a little bit of the Church” herself, as remarked by the founder (Rodriguez, p. 1). The novelty of Opus Dei is that it is the Church itself writ small. It is not another structure of the Church, although it is a hierarchical communio in the Church. It can only be understood by analogy to a particular Church or diocese of the Church, but without geographical presence. Its specific characteristic[4] is “secularity” in that each faithful of the prelature, be he ministerial priest or lay faithful, achieves identity with Christ in the exercise of professional, secular work. Its mission is the diffusion of this spirit of becoming “another Christ,” and therefore Church, by the mastery of self and gift of self in the execution of work.
As “a little bit of the Church,” Opus Dei is not an added structural institution in the Church. It is like David who offered himself to do battle with Goliath. Saul, fearful himself, dressed David in his armor: helmet, shield, breast-plate, etc. David, however, having never used such an impediment was not able to walk and removed it all save the loin cloth and the sling shot. Ratzinger commented: “There are some very real grounds to fear that the Church may assume too many institutions of human law, which then become the armor of Saul making it difficult for the young David to walk. We must always ascertain if institutions which were once useful still serve a purpose. The only the people of God, centered on the Eucharist” (“30 Days” No. 5 – 1998 p. 22).

To be more explicit, the only powers the Church needs to conquer hearts are those of the Person of Christ: the sacrament of Baptism, the sacrament of Orders and the action of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. That is the reality of the prelature. Its mission is the diffusion of the flame of self-giftedness of the person.
And so, on May 2, 1986, Pope John Paul II did not accept the suggestion of St. Josemaria that La Hermita de la Santa Cruz be the site of the Prelatic Church, but rather the oratory of Santa Maria de la Paz of Cavabianca where Escriva himself is buried, giving us to understand that Escriva Himself as “Ipse Christus,” “alter Christus,” is the cornerstone on which Opus Dei rests. This brings me back to the letter sent to us by Javier Echevarria in 1995 that read: “In order to se rve the Church in Opus Dei, everyting must always be understood and carried out, taking as its starting point out Father’s foundational charism. This charism, which was a gratuitous supernatural reality, endures in the Work, endowing it with well defined characteristics. The Holy Spirit didn’t place it in our Father’s soul merely with a view to his personal response to God, but so that it would give shape for centuries to come to the Work our Lord was entrusting him with. This charism cannot become, therefore, a mere historical reference taking us back to the past. It is, through God’s mercy, a living and effective reality in Ops Dei, a power, a grace, from which we all ought to draw nourishment and which we all have the duty of guarding and passing on … At some time in the 1960’s we received an article about the Work written by a religious in very affectionate terms. Describing the early period of our history, he referred to ‘Don Josemaria Escriva and his companions.’ Don Alvaro wrote a note in the margin saying clearly that ‘we weren’t the Father’s companions,’ but his children, who sought to follow him faithfully.’ In the Work there have never been ‘companions’ of our Father – that was not the Will of God (in fact, this was another way in which God emphasized the unity which is proper to the Work). There were just sons and daughters: children, who were clearly ware that our Father, and he alone, was the Founder and Father of this portion of the People of God., which was coming into being like those Christian communities in the early days of the Church.


“On 2 October 1928 our Father, who in his humility used to describe himself as an inept and deaf instrument saw the Work for the first time. On that day God infused in his soul a powerful light, a profound interior motion, a clear awareness of the divine will and he saw the Work for the first time. On that day God infused in his soul a powerful light, a profound interior motion, a clear awareness of the divine will and he saw the nature and mission of Opus Dei in the Church and in the world. He saw, we could say, the essential nucleus of Opus Dei, in the way God had defined and planned it. That day, as our Father was later to comment and put in writing, our Lord founded his Work. Opus Dei, as an act of mercy of God in human history, was already a reality in time, through our Founder’s presence alone.
“That first radical manifestation of the foundational charism which took place on October 1928, that illumination regarding the whole Work, was later complete by other divine interventions which guided and directed our Father. He allowed himself to be led in complete docility to God’s W ill. All the different aspects of the gift that our Father received, gradually unfolded throughout his personal life. Thus he carried the whole process of the foundation through to its conclusion, in that spirit of generosity with which at every moment of his life he responded to the grace he had received on that blessed 2 October 1928.”


[1] John F. Coverdale, “Saxum” Scepter 2014, 131.
[2] Opus Dei is essentially the “organic convergence” of these two irreducibly different ways of living the one priesthood of Christ dynamized by the act of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the occasion of work in the secular world.
[3] Rodriguez, op cit. 38.
[4] See “Christifideles Laici” #15.

The Liberalism of John Paul II, i.e. Self Gift

  1. THE LIBERALISM OF JOHN PAUL IIby Richard John NeuhausMay 1997

It is no secret that when Centesimus Annus appeared in 1991 some of us viewed it not only as an important teaching moment but also as a vindication of our understanding of catholic social doctrine. There was a great temptation to declare triumphantly, “I told you so.” That temptation was not always resisted as it should have been. This contributed to a degree of polarization over the encyclical. Liberals who paid any attention at all to the document were not convinced of the demise of socialism and lifted up passages that they thought supportive of their collectivist dream. But, for the most part, liberals paid little attention. As with the other great teaching documents of the pontificate of John Paul II, the appearance of Centesimus Annus was for most liberal catholics a nonevent.

The stronger polarization developed between certain conservatives and those called neoconservatives, the former accusing the latter of hijacking this pontificate, and Centesimus Annus in particular, in order to gain magisterial legitimation for what is called democratic capitalism or liberal democracy. The neoconservatives are described, and sometimes describe themselves, as advancing “The Murray Project,” referring to the effort of the late Father John Courtney Murray to square catholic teaching with the American democratic experiment. The conservative critics”for instance, Professor David Schindler of the John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C.”accuse Murray and those like him of selling out authentic catholic teaching to a desiccated and desiccating liberalism.

Schindler writes in his recent book, Heart of the World, Center of the Church : “My argument, then, offered in the name of de Lubac and Pope John Paul II as authentic interpreters of the Second Vatican Council, has two main implications. First, it demands that we challenge the regnant liberalism which would claim that it (alone) is empty of religious theory in its interpretation of the First Amendment and indeed of Western constitutionalism more generally. Secondly, it demands that we seek a truly ‘Catholic Moment’ in America [as distinct from Richard John Neuhaus’ ‘Catholic Moment’], understood, that is, not as another Murrayite moment but as a truly Johannine (John Paul II) moment. This means that we must expose the con game of liberalism which enables it, precisely without argument, to privilege its place in the public order.”

In his book, and repeatedly in the pages of the English edition of Communio , of which he is the editor, Schindler assaults the liberal “con game” in which he thinks some of us are complicit. I confess that I find this somewhat frustrating. In my experience, David Schindler is a friendly fellow. We have engaged our differences in both private and public exchanges, after which he ends up agreeing that there is no substantive disagreement between us. I always look forward to our next amicable conversation, and brace myself for his next public attack.

I do think there is an important difference between us. It is not, or at least it is not chiefly, a difference over catholic theology. The difference, rather, is that Prof. Schindler and those who are associated with his criticism tend to put the worst possible construction upon the liberal tradition, and on the American cultural, legal, and political expression of that tradition. In doing so, I believe Prof. Schindler and his friends hand an undeserved victory to those who interpret the liberal tradition in ways that we all deplore. With John Courtney Murray, I suggest that our task is to contend for an interpretation of liberalism that is compatible with the fullness of catholic truth.

There is no doubt that the American experiment is constituted in the liberal tradition. Since we cannot go back to the eighteenth century and reconstitute it on different foundations, we must hope that the foundations on which it is constituted are not those described by Ronald Dworkin, John Rawls, Richard Rorty”and David Schindler. Toward the end of understanding the liberal tradition as consistent with catholic truth, Centesimus Annus is an invaluable guide.

Liberalism, needless to say, is a wondrously pliable term. There is the laissez-faire economic liberalism condemned by Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum , and also by John Paul II. In American political culture that liberalism goes by the name of libertarianism, and, despite its many talented apologists, including Charles Murray (no relation to John Courtney), it has never acquired many adherents beyond what Russell Kirk called its “chirping sectaries.” In the American context, libertarianism remains in the largest part a thought experiment for college sophomores of all ages.

The liberalism so fiercely criticized today is not limited to libertarianism. At the hands of the critics, the republican liberalism of virtue and the communitarian liberalism of Tocquevillian civil society come off little better than libertarianism. David Schindler has good ecumenical company in attacking liberalism tout court. Stanley Hauerwas, a Methodist theologian at Duke University, has in books beyond number been assaulting, hammering, pummeling, and battering it with magnificent aplomb. Liberalism and all its ways and all its pomps has more recently taken a severe beating from Oliver O’Donovan, Regius Professor of Theology at Oxford. Despite his Anglican bias against what he calls “papalism,” I most warmly recommend his book, The Desire of the Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology (Cambridge University Press). It is not only a devastatingly convincing critique of a certain version of liberalism, but also a fascinating examination of what the idea of “Christendom” might mean in our moment of modernity’s discontent.

We can summarize some of the salient points in the indictment offered by the Christian critics of liberalism and modernity (the two terms usually being more or less interchangeable). Whether it be the enchanted G. K. Chesterton, the near-magisterial Alasdair MacIntyre, the caustic George Grant, the swashbuckling Stan Hauerwas, the daring O’Donovan, or the melancholic David Schindler, the indictment tends to be much the same. Lest there be any misunderstanding, let me say that I find myself in warm agreement with the indictment of a certain kind of liberalism. The contention turns on what we mean by liberalism.

The first charge is that Christian thinkers have been too ready to trim the Christian message in order to accommodate the ruling cultural paradigm of liberalism. I definitely agree. That, however, is more accurately seen as an indictment of Christian thinkers, not of liberalism. If we are hesitant to declare in public that Jesus Christ is Lord, the fault is in ourselves. We cannot plead the excuse that liberalism made us do it. John Rawls or Richard Rorty or the Supreme Court, claiming to speak in the name of liberalism, may have intimidated us, but the fault is with our timidity.

Other points in the indictment of liberalism are variously expressed. It is charged that liberalism is purely procedural. Excluding the consideration of ends, liberalism claims to be only about means, but in fact disguises its ends in its means. Thus Father Murray’s construal of the First Amendment as “articles of peace” is in fact”or so the indictment reads”a surrender to the inherently antireligious bias of liberalism. In short, the claimed “neutrality” of liberalism is anything but neutral. Liberalism, it is charged, is premised upon the fiction of a “social contract” that is, in turn, premised exclusively upon self-interest. Liberalism denies, or at least requires agnosticism about, transcendent truth or divine law, recognizing no higher rule than the self-interested human will. Liberalism’s idea of freedom is freedom from any commanding truth that might impinge upon the totally voluntaristic basis of social order.

These liberal dogmas, it is further charged, are inextricably tied to the dynamics of capitalism. Liberal dogma and market dynamics are the mutually reinforcing foundation and end of a social order that is entirely and without remainder in the service of individualistic choices by the sovereign, autonomous, and unencumbered Self. The wages of liberalism is consumerism, and consumerism is all-consuming. The end result is what some critics call “liberal totalitarianism.”

It is an impressive indictment, and it is supported by impressive evidence. Against each of the distortions mentioned, I have written at length, as have others who are favorably disposed toward liberal democracy or, as some prefer, democratic capitalism. But that is just the point: one may argue that the indictment is an indictment of the distortions of liberalism. If that is the case, we are contending for the soul of the liberal tradition.

A personal word might be in order. In the 1960s I was very much a man of the left. Not the left of countercultural drug-tripping and generalized hedonism, but the left exemplified by, for instance, the civil rights movement under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the latter half of the 1960s, this began to change with the advent of the debate over what was then called “liberalized” abortion law. By 1967 I was writing about the “two liberalisms””one, like that earlier civil rights movement, inclusive of the vulnerable and driven by a transcendent order of justice, the other exclusive and recognizing no law higher than individual willfulness. My argument was that, by embracing the cause of abortion, liberals were abandoning the first liberalism that has sustained all that is hopeful in the American experiment.

That is my argument still today. It is, I believe, crucially important that that argument prevail in the years ahead. There is no going back to reconstitute the American order on a foundation other than the liberal tradition. A great chasm has opened between the liberal tradition and what today is called liberalism. That is why some of us are called conservatives. Conservatism that is authentically and constructively American conservatism is conservatism in the cause of reappropriating and revitalizing the liberal tradition.

Toward that end, Centesimus Annus , as I said, is an invaluable guide. The document is often described as an encyclical on economics, but I suggest that is somewhat misleading. Certainly it addresses economic questions in considerable detail. One reason for that is that the encyclical is commemorating and developing the argument of Rerum Novarum , which was much and rightly concerned about the problems of the worker and the threat of class warfare in an earlier phase of capitalism. Another reason for the focus on economics is that the Pope is addressing the situation following the Western-assisted suicide of the Soviet empire, and that empire had justified itself by a false ideology that reduced the human phenomenon to the economic dimension. In explaining why that ideology is false and in pointing the way toward a more promising future, it was necessary for the encyclical to pay close attention to economics.

It is more accurate, however, to say that Centesimus Annus is about the free society, including economic freedom. The discussion of Rerum Novarum , of the right understanding of property and exchange, and of the circumstances following the momentous events of 1989, culminates in chapters V and VI, “State and Culture,” and “The Person Is the Way of the Church.” When we consider the encyclical in relation to American liberalism, several cautions are in order. Centesimus Annus is not a free-standing text. It must be understood within the large corpus of this most energetic teaching pontificate, and, beyond that, in the context of modern catholic social doctrine dating from Rerum Novarum . Even further, it must be understood in continuity with the Church’s teaching ministry through the centuries. Then too, we must always be mindful that the Pope is writing for and to the universal Church.

Keeping these and other cautions in mind, however, one cannot help but be struck by how much Centesimus Annus is a reading of “the signs of the time” with specific reference to the world-historical experiences of this century. The encyclical is not historicist, in the narrow sense of that term, but it is firmly and determinedly located in a historical moment. And, while it is not a free-standing text, one can through this one text trace the controlling themes of this teaching pontificate. Although it is written to and for the universal Church, the Church in each place is invited and obliged to read the encyclical as though it were addressed to its own specific circumstance.

Moreover, I am confident that we as Americans make no mistake when we think that the American experiment is a very major presence in Centesimus Annus . After all, the Western democracies, and the United States most particularly, are the historically available alternatives to the socialism that so miserably failed. I think it true to say that in this pontificate, for the first time, magisterial teaching about modernity, democracy, and human freedom has a stronger reference to the Revolution of 1776 than to the French Revolution of 1789. It is, then, neither chauvinistic nor parochial to read Centesimus Annus with particular reference to the American experiment. On the contrary, it is the course of fidelity, made imperative by the duty to appropriate magisterial teaching to our own circumstance, and by the powerful awareness of the American experiment in the mind of the encyclical’s author.

There is no more common criticism of the liberal tradition than that it is premised upon unbridled “individualism.” CA speaks of the “individual” and even of the “autonomous subject” (13), but most typically refers to the “person.” Citing the earlier encyclical Redemptor Hominis , John Paul writes that “this human person is the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling her mission . . . the way traced out by Christ himself, the way that leads invariably through the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption.” He then adds the remarkable statement, “This, and this alone, is the principle which inspires the Church’s social doctrine.” (53)

This, and this alone . He writes, “The Church has gradually developed that doctrine in a systematic way,” above all in the past century. Very gradually, we might add without disrespect. In the later encyclical Veritatis Splendor , John Paul pays fulsome tribute to modernity and its development of the understanding of the dignity of the individual and of individual freedom. Individualism is one of the signal achievements of modernity or, if you will, of the liberal tradition. Nor should we deny that this achievement was effected in frequent tension with, and even conflict with, the catholic Church. One important reason for such conflict, of course, was that the cause of freedom was perceived as marching under the radically anticlerical and anti-Christian banners of 1789. It is a signal achievement of this pontificate that it has so clearly replanted the idea of the individual and of freedom in the rich soil of Christian truth from which, in its convoluted and conflicted development, it had been uprooted. Only as it is deeply rooted in the truth about the human person will the flower of freedom flourish in the future.

It is a mistake to pit, as some do pit, modern individualism against a more organic catholic understanding of community. Rather should we enter into a sympathetic liaison with the modern achievement of the idea of the individual, grounding it more firmly and richly in the understanding of the person destined from eternity to eternity for communion with God. The danger of rejecting individualism is that the real-world alternative is not a catholic understanding of communio but a falling back into the collectivisms that are the great enemy of the freedom to which we are called. As CA reminds us, “We are not dealing here with humanity in the ‘abstract,’ but with the real, ‘concrete,’ ‘historical’ person.” The problem with the contemporary distortion of the individual as the autonomous, unencumbered, sovereign Self is not that it is wrong about the awesome dignity of the individual, but that it cuts the self off from the source of that dignity. The first cause of this error, says ca, is atheism. (13)

“It is by responding to the call of God contained in the being of things that man becomes aware of his transcendent dignity. Every individual must give this response, which constitutes the apex of his humanity, and no social mechanism or collective subject can substitute for it.” (13) The great error of both collectivist determinism and of individualistic license is that their understanding of human freedom is detached from obedience to the truth. (17) Culture is a communal phenomenon, but it is in the service of the person’s response to transcendent truth. In one of the most suggestive passages of the encyclical, John Paul writes, “At the heart of every culture lies the attitude a person takes to the greatest mystery: the mystery of God. Different cultures are basically different ways of facing the question of the meaning of personal existence.” (24)

We are brought back to the remarkable proposition about the flourishing of the human person. “This, and this alone, is the principle which inspires the Church’s social doctrine.” This is not individualism in the pejorative sense, but it is commensurable with the modern achievement of the idea of the individual. It is commensurable with the constituting ideas of the American experiment, in which the state is understood to be in the service of freedom, and freedom is understood as what the Founders called “ordered liberty””liberty ordered to the truth. And there are, as the Declaration of Independence declares, “self-evident truths” that ground such freedom and direct it to the transcendent ends of “Nature and Nature’s God.”

May 2nd: Anniversary of the Church of the Prelature: Santa Maria de la Paz – 73 Bruno Buozzi, Roma, With the Body of St. Josemaria Escriva as Cornerstone. [informative post]

“At the same time as he established Opus Dei as a personal Prelature with the Apostolic Constitution Ut Sit, St. John Paul II also established that the oratory of Our Lady of Peace should be the Church of the Prelature. Under its altar lie the sacred remains of St. Josemaria. Bl. Alvaro del Portillo officiated at the solemn ceremony of dedication on the 2nd of May 1986, after a number of necessary works had been completed.

Among the images used by Sacred Scripture to speak of the church is one which is especially appropriate today. St. Paul compares it to a building which God has built on earth, making use of the Apostles as instruments. The Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the cornerstone.

Escriva had prepared for this need of a cathedral church for Opus Dei years before when it was definitively approved as “a little bit of the [whole] Church” herself i.e. by analogy to a diocese. In the 60’s, he prepared what is today a large chapel annexed to the buildings of Cavabianca, the central house of formation of numerary laymen and priests of the Work. Its basilar cornerstone was to be an image of Jesus Christ crucified – case in bronze and gilded – , peaceful, eyes open and looking out – peacefully – at each one of us.

The canonical documentary preparation took place in the following way:

“In an audience on October 10, 1964, Pope Paul VI told Escriva that the documents being prepared by the council [Prestyerorum Ordinis  of Vatican II] might contain a solution (to how laymen [men and women] and priests engaged in ordinary  work and family life at the center of the  world) could fit in the same juridical category in the Church. The decree Presbyerorum ordinis did…. Allow for the creation of personal prelatures, a legal structure admirably suited to reflect the reality of Opus Dei. In the mid-1960’s, several papal documents fleshed out the necessary framework. Del Portillo played a role in the writing of the most important of these, the motu proprio Ecclesiae Sanctae. Now, for the first time in the history of Opus Dei, an appropriate legal category existed in the Church’s legislation. But rather than request the immediate transformation of Opus Dei into a personal prelature, Escriva preferred to continue to wait and pray for the right moment. Don Alvaro joined fervently in his prayer.”[1]

    ECCLESIAE SANCTAE

Motu Proprio Implementing Four Council Decrees

POPE PAUL VI August 6, 1966

“4. Moreover, to carry on special pastoral or missionary work for various regions or social groups which are in need of special assistance, prelatures composed of priests from the secular clergy equipped with special training can be usefully established by the Apostolic See. These prelatures are under the government of their own prelate and possess their own statutes.

It will be in the competence of this prelate to establish and direct a national or international seminary in which students are suitably instructed. The same prelate has the right to incardinate the same students and to promote them to sacred orders under the title of service for the prelature.

The prelate must make provision for the spiritual life of those whom he has ordained according to the above title, and for the continual perfecting of their special training and their special ministry making agreements with the local Ordinaries to whom the priests are sent. He must likewise provide for their proper support, a matter which must be provided for through the same agreements, either from the resources which belong to the prelature itself or from other suitable resources. In like manner he must provide for those who on account of poor health or for other causes must leave the task assigned to them.

Laymen, whether single or married, may also dedicate themselves with their professional skill to the service of these works and projects after making an agreement with the prelature.

Such prelatures are not erected unless the episcopal conferences of the territory in which they will render their services have been consulted. In rendering this service, diligent care is to be taken to safeguard the rights of local Ordinaries and close contacts with the same episcopal conferences are always to be maintained.”

Preface of the book “Opus Dei in the Church,” Scepter (1993):

“… (O)n November 1982, Pope John Paul II signed the Apostolic Constitution Ut sit, establishing Opus Dei as a personal prelature. This was a decisive event in the process whereby Opus Dei assumed the canonical structure suited to its theological and spiritual reality. A few months later, on 19 March 1983, the oral promulgation of the Constitution took place in a ceremony during which Archbishop Romolo Carboni papal nuncio to Italy, solemnly presented the papal bull to the prelate of Opus Dei.”

  1. Pedro Rodriguez explains the “something new which breaks with the traditional – [but] never totally because there is a chain from the apostolic period.” He explains: “Opus Dei’s social arrangement as a ‘Christian community’ stems from what we have called the ‘internal dimension of the Church’s structure.’ That is, it is born of mutual relations of christifideles and ‘sacred minister,’ or, if you prefer, it derives from the two forms of participating in Christ’s priesthood. That is also why Opus Dei as a social reality in the Church is organic and undivided. Its lay faithful (men and women) and the priests who act as its clergy complement each other in exemplary adherence to the basic aboriginal relationship obtaining in the Church between christifideles – called to live out the requirements and implications of their baptism – and sacred ministers, who bring in, besides, the ‘ministerial’ consequences of the sacrament of Order. As the Work’s Statues (no. 1) put it: ‘Opus Dei is a prelature embracing in its bosom… clerics and lay people.’ Three numbers later this statement is developed: ‘The ministerial priesthood of the clergy and the common priesthood of the lay people are so intimately linked[2] that both, in unity of vocation and government, require and complement each other… in striving for the end proper to the prelature’…

“So, what we find in Opus Dei, different yet complementing one another are the two ecclesial forms of participating in Christ’s priesthood. We find both the ‘substantial’ priority of Opus Dei’s lay faithful, at whose service is the priestly ministry, and the ‘functional’ priority of the sacred ministry, in whose head (the prelate) resides the sacra potestas that governs the prelature. The clergy’s ‘functional’ priority was described by the founder when he said that the ministerial priesthood ‘impregnates with its spirit our personal life and all our apostolic work’… Graphically, the founder told the Work’s priests that their task is to be a ‘carpet’ for others. He wrote: ‘In Opus Dei we’re all equal. There’s only a practical difference: priests are more bound to place their hearts on the floor like a carpet, so that their brothers and sisters may tread softly.’”[3] (p. 38).

Hence, Opus Dei is not another structure in the Church, but “a little bit of the Church” herself, as remarked by the founder (Rodriguez, p. 1). The novelty of Opus Dei is that it is the Church itself writ small. It is not another structure of the Church, although it is a hierarchical communio in the Church. It can only be understood by analogy to a particular Church or diocese of the Church, but without geographical presence. Its specific characteristic[4] is “secularity” in that each faithful of the prelature, be he ministerial priest or lay faithful, achieves identity with Christ in the exercise of professional, secular work. Its mission is the diffusion of this spirit of becoming “another Christ,” and therefore Church, by the mastery of self and gift of self in the execution of work.

As “a little bit of the Church,” Opus Dei is not an added structural institution in the Church. It is like David who offered himself to do battle with Goliath. Saul, fearful himself, dressed David in his armor: helmet, shield, breast-plate, etc. David, however, having never used such an impediment was not able to walk and removed it all save the loin cloth and the sling shot. Ratzinger commented: “There are some very real grounds to fear that the Church may assume too many institutions of human law, which then become the armor of Saul making it difficult for the young David to walk. We must always ascertain if institutions which were once useful still serve a purpose. The only the people of God, centered on the Eucharist” (“30 Days” No. 5 – 1998 p. 22).

To be more explicit, the only powers the Church needs to conquer hearts are those of the Person of Christ: the sacrament of Baptism, the sacrament of Orders and the action of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. That is the reality of the prelature. Its mission is the diffusion of the flame of self-giftedness of the person.

And so, on May 2, 1986, Pope John Paul II did not accept the suggestion of St. Josemaria that La Hermita de la Santa Cruz be the site of the Prelatic Church, but rather the oratory of Santa Maria de la Paz of Cavabianca where Escriva himself is buried, giving us to understand that Escriva Himself as “Ipse Christus,” “alter Christus,” is the cornerstone on which Opus Dei rests. This brings me back  to the letter sent to us by Javier Echevarria in 1995 that read: “In order to se rve the Church in Opus Dei, everyting  must always be understood and carried out, taking as its starting point out Father’s foundational charism. This charism, which was a gratuitous supernatural reality, endures in the Work, endowing it with well defined characteristics. The Holy Spirit didn’t place it in our Father’s soul merely with a view to his personal response to God, but so that it would give shape for centuries to come to the Work our Lord was entrusting him with. This charism cannot become, therefore, a mere historical reference taking us back to the past. It is, through God’s mercy, a living and effective reality in Ops Dei, a power, a grace, from which we all ought to draw nourishment and which we all have the duty of guarding and passing on … At  some time in the 1960’s we received an article about the Work written by a religious in very affectionate terms. Describing the early period of our history, he referred to ‘Don Josemaria Escriva and his companions.’ Don Alvaro wrote a note in the margin saying clearly that ‘we weren’t the Father’s companions,’ but his children, who sought to follow him faithfully.’ In the Work there have never been ‘companions’ of our Father – that was not the Will of God (in fact, this was another way in which God emphasized the unity which is proper to the Work). There were just sons and daughters: children, who were clearly ware that our Father, and he alone, was the Founder and Father of this portion of the People of God., which was coming into being like those Christian communities in the early days of the Church.

“On 2 October 1928 our Father, who in his humility used to describe himself as an inept and deaf instrument saw the Work for the first time. On that day God infused in his soul a powerful light, a profound interior motion, a clear awareness of the divine will and he saw the Work for the first time. On that day God infused in his soul a powerful light, a profound interior motion, a clear awareness of the divine will and he saw the nature and mission of Opus Dei in the Church and in the world. He saw, we could say, the essential nucleus of Opus Dei, in the way God had defined and planned it. That day, as our Father was later to comment and put in writing, our Lord founded his Work. Opus Dei, as an act of mercy of God in human history, was already a reality in time, through our Founder’s presence alone.

“That first radical manifestation of the foundational charism which took place on October 1928, that illumination regarding the whole Work, was  later complete by other divine interventions which guided and directed our Father. He allowed himself to be led in complete docility to God’s W ill.  All the different aspects of the gift that our Father received, gradually unfolded throughout his personal life. Thus he carried the whole process of the foundation through to its conclusion, in that spirit of generosity with which at every moment of his life he responded to the grace he had received on that blessed 2 October 1928.”

[1] John F. Coverdale, “Saxum” Scepter 2014, 131.

[2] Opus Dei is essentially the “organic convergence” of these two irreducibly different ways of living the one priesthood of Christ dynamized by the act of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the occasion of work in the secular world.

[3] Rodriguez, op cit. 38.

[4] See “Christifideles Laici” #15.

FYI – from a Mother of a Beautiful Down Syndrome Child

Under Obama-Biden, FDA May Have Purchased Skin of 21-Week-Old Down Syndrome Baby Killed in Abortion

NATIONAL   MICAIAH BILGER   APR 28, 2021   |   10:00AM    WASHINGTON, ased-skin-of-21-week-old-down-syndrome-baby-killed-in-abortion

Within just a few short hours on a day in June 2014, a potentially viable unborn baby with Down syndrome was killed in their mother’s womb, dissected for its valuable organs, packaged, labeled with a price and shipped to scientific researchers.

And American taxpayers may have paid for it.

Details of the gristly aborted baby body parts harvesting practices that occurred under the Obama-Biden administration continue to surface through Freedom of Information Act requests and other documents.

The information about the aborted baby with Down syndrome came out in a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Investigation. The investigation report includes a procurement log from Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), a human tissue procurement group that works with Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities, listing the available organs from the aborted baby and the “fee” for each part.

According to the log, the aborted baby was 21 weeks old and had Down syndrome (Trisomy 18), and he or she was aborted sometime in June 2014 at an independent abortion facility. The log lists the baby’s skin, brain, liver, eyes, lower limb and thymus for “specimen fees” ranging from $325 to $650.

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Advanced Bioscience Resources told the U.S. Senate investigation that its procurement technicians work inside the abortion facilities, packaging and shipping the aborted baby body parts “on the day they are procured.” This means that within a few hours, an unborn baby is aborted, handed over to ABR technicians for dissection and processing and then shipped to researchers, according to the investigation.

ABR told the Senate committee that it provided aborted baby body parts to about 125 researchers, and it estimated that 40 to 50 of them received taxpayer funding through the federal government.

Here’s more from The Federalist:

Whether or not the FDA itself purchased any of this tissue, the fact it entered a contract with a company that makes money off of selling the body parts of children with Down Syndrome is beyond inhumane.

It’s worth looking closely at this chart to see the level of dehumanization inflicted on this child. Each baby (“specimen”) is given a number (“No. xxx602”) and its individual body parts are sold to different customers. A 21-week old child who could have survived outside of the womb becomes just another statistic.

Under the Obama administration, at least $77 million tax dollars were spent on research projects that used aborted baby body parts, according to The Hill.

“We’ve done business with the F.D.A. for many years …” an ABR employee wrote in an email to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration contract specialist, dated July 18, 2017. The watchdog group Judicial Watch recently obtained the email through a Freedom of Information Act request.

These transactions happened under pro-abortion President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, unbeknownst to American taxpayers. Some of the aborted babies’ organs were used to create “humanized mice” for scientific experiments funded by the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Senate investigation revealed even more details about these transactions involving human life:

“… on one day in June of 2014, the ABR technician obtained a 20-week-old fetus at a [Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest] clinic. From that one fetus, ABR sold its brain to one customer for $325; both of its eyes for $325 each ($650 total) to a second customer; a portion of its liver for $325 to a third customer; its thymus for $325 and another portion of liver for $325 to a fourth customer; and its lung for $325 to a fifth customer. … So from that single fetus, for which ABR paid PPPSW a mere $60, ABR charged its customers a total of $2,275 for tissue specimens, plus additional charges for shipping and disease screening.”

Several years ago, David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress uncovered evidence of potentially illegal sales of human body parts by Planned Parenthood. The undercover investigation found abortionists allegedly putting women’s lives at risk by altering abortion procedures to better harvest aborted baby parts. The investigators also found evidence of possible patient privacy violations.

Heightened outrage due to the Center for Medical Progress investigation and other reports prompted President Donald Trump’s administration to stop funding these unethical purchases.

However, earlier this month, President Joe Biden’s administration reversed Trump’s actions and allowed tax dollars to be used for research using aborted baby body parts again.

Astounding Reciprocal Indwelling of Divine Persons, and They in Us and We in Them. And Christ in us “Naturally” [ since He is Flesh and Blood, and we are flesh and blood, and eat Him].

French, St. Hilary of Poitiers. Contemporary of St. Athanasius. both waged war with Arianism that did not transcend the Greek mind of conceptual categories. Christ reveals Himself and the Father as constitutively relational. Arius ontologically categorical and therefore the Son as engendered by the Father must be “less” ontologically than the Father. Hence, the Son cannot be equally God. Let’s call it ontological rationalism. Hilary and Athansius (contemporaries) fought together for an ontological relationality of Persons whereby Father and Son are not the same but equally God.

This has also been the burden of Vatican II against the rationalism of the regnant Scholasticism of a millennium and a half. The Shiboleth of Vatican II has been the formulation of the human person as “the only earthly being God has willed for itself… (he/she) finding self by the sincere gift of self” (GS #24). The antidote to this has been Anselm who would not assign any earthly conceptual category to God, not even “Being.” The ultimate name of reality is not “Being” but “Person.” (Blogger)

His Flesh is His very Self as total Self-Gift to the Father empower us to be total self-gift to the Father, i.e. “Other Christs.”

Second Reading
From the treatise on the Trinity by Saint Hilary of Poitiers

The unity of the faithful in God through the incarnation of the Word and the sacrament of the Eucharist

If the Word has truly been made flesh and we in very truth receive the Word made flesh as food from the Lord, are we not bound to believe that he abides in us naturally? Born as a man, he assumed the nature of our flesh so that now it is inseparable from himself, and conjoined the nature of his own flesh to the nature of the eternal Godhead in the sacrament by which his flesh is communicated to us.  He himself testifies that we are in him through the sacrament of the flesh and blood bestowed upon us: In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you. If he wanted to indicate a mere unity of will, why did he set forth a kind of gradation and sequence in the completion of that unity? It can only be that, since he was in the Father through the nature of Deity, and we on the contrary in him through his birth in the body, he wishes us to believe that he is in us through the mystery of the sacraments. From this we can learn the perfect unity through a Mediator; for we abide in him and he abides in the Father, and while abiding in the Father he abides in us as well – so that we attain unity with the Father. For while Christ is in the Father naturally according to his birth, we too are in Christ naturally, since he abides in us naturally.  He himself has told us how natural this unity is: He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him. No-one can be in Christ unless Christ is in him, because the only flesh which he has taken to himself is the flesh of those who have taken his.  He had earlier revealed to us the sacrament of this perfect unity: As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me. He lives because of the Father, and as he lives because of the Father so we live because of his flesh.  Every comparison is chosen to shape our understanding, so that we may grasp the subject concerned by help of the analogy set before us. To summarise, this is what gives us life: that we have Christ dwelling within our carnal selves through the flesh, and we shall live because of him in the same manner as he lives because of the Father.

Responsory

℟. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood,* he abides in me and I in him, alleluia.℣. There is no other great nation that has a god so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us.* He abides in me and I in him, alleluia.

Benedict XVI comments:

“God the Father, being all love, is able to communicate the fullness of his divinity to the Son. I find this phrase of St. Hilary to be particularly beautiful: “God only knows how to be love, only knows how to be Father. And he who loves is not envious, and whoever is Father, is so totally. This name does not allow for compromise, as if to say that God is father only in certain aspects and not in others” (ibid. 9:61).

For this reason, the Son is fully God without lacking anything or having any lessening: “He who comes from the perfect is perfect, because he who has everything, has given him everything” (ibid. 2:8). Only in Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, does humanity find salvation. Taking on human nature, he united every man to himself, “he became our flesh” (“Tractatus in Psalmos” 54:9); “he took on the nature of all flesh, thus becoming the true vine, the root of all branches” (ibid. 51:16).

Precisely because of this motive, the path to Christ is open to all — because he drew everyone into his humanity — even though personal conversion is always required: “Through the relationship with his flesh, access to Christ is open to everyone, provided that they leave aside the old man (cf. Ephesians 4:22) and nail him to his cross (cf. Colossians 2:14); provided they abandon their former works and are converted, in order to be buried with him in baptism, in view of life (cf. Colossians 1:12; Romans 6:4)” (ibid. 91:9).

St. Louis de Montfort

Remembering the author of “True Devotion to Mary” on the 305th anniversary of his death

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Today (April 28, 2016) marks the 300th anniversary of St. Louis de Montfort’s death, a saint who has been hailed by many as one of the most influential persons of recent history. His inspiration has remained constant over the past three centuries and has shaped the hearts of many holy men and women, including the beloved St. John Paul II.

Montfort is most well known for his book True Devotion to Mary and for the “total consecration to Jesus through Mary” that he proposed in it. John Paul II highlighted this “total consecration” in his papal motto, a phrase he used up until his death: “Totus Tuus.” The entire phrase from St. Louis de Montfort is expressed as “Totus tuus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria” (“I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart”).

Yet, John Paul II was not the only saint or pope to bring attention to Montfort and his writings. Over the past 200 years, at least five popes have expressed their gratitude to Montfort and encouraged the Church to dive deeper into his Marian spirituality:

  • Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) promoted it as one of the best forms of Marian devotion, and gave the decree, “the Venerable Servant of God, Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, practiced the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity toward God and neighbor, the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance, and the related moral virtues, to an heroic degree.” Pius IX was also the pope who solemnly defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
  • Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), known as the “Rosary Pope,” beatified Montfort in 1888, was highly influenced by True Devotion and decreed a plenary indulgence for those who practiced Montfort’s Marian consecration. Pope Leo also wrote a total of eleven encyclicals on the rosary during his pontificate.
  • Pope St. Pius X (1903-1914) adopted much of Montfort’s Marian language in his encyclical on the Immaculate Conception, Ad diem illum, writing, “since it is through Mary that we attain to the knowledge of Christ, through Mary also we most easily obtain that life of which Christ is the source and origin.” He also granted an Apostolic Blessing for anyone who reads True Devotion.
  • Pope Pius XII(1939-1958) canonized Louis de Montfort on July 20, 1947, where he highly praised the new saint, saying, “[Montfort’s] great secret of attracting and giving souls to Jesus was his devotion to Mary. All his activity was founded upon her, all his confidence rested in her. In opposition to the joyless austerity, melancholy fear and depressing pride of Jansenism, he promoted the filial, trustful, ardent and expansive love in action of a slave of Mary.” In the spirit of Montfort’s “total consecration” and in response to Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Pius XII wrote in an Apostolic Letter how he “consecrated the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mother of God, [and] in a most special way … we dedicate and consecrate all the peoples of Russia to that same Immaculate Heart.”
  • Pope St. John Paul II(1978-2005) was highly influenced by Montfort, and recounted how he “read and reread many times and with great spiritual profit” Montfort’s writings. He also encouraged the faithful to follow the example of Montfort, saying, “In repeating every day ‘Totus tuus,’ and living in harmony with her, one can attain to the experience of the Father in limitless confidence and love, to docility to the Holy Spirit, and to the transformation of self according to the image of Christ.” He singled out Montfort’s writings again and again in the many documents he wrote on the Blessed Mother and even considered proclaiming him a “Doctor of the Church.”
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As we can see through the example of these five popes, Montfort’s Marian spirituality has not lost its potency over the years and remains for us a pathway to a deeper union with Christ.Tags:POPE JOHN PAUL II

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Oklahoma’s Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law Monday three new measures “protecting the lives of the unborn” from effectively all abortions.

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 26, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – , though at least two of the laws are likely to be put on hold by the courts before taking effect.

KOKH reports that the first law makes it a homicide to abort any baby with a detectable heartbeat. The second law makes it “unprofessional conduct” to abort a baby for any reason other than to save a mother’s life, regardless of whether a heartbeat can be detected. The third law forbids anyone other than board-certified OB/GYNs from performing abortions. All three are slated to take effect November 1.

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Direct abortion bans such as the first two laws, which take effect well before the Supreme Court’s “fetal viability” threshold, are generally not expected to ban abortion in the near term, because they are consistently enjoined by lawsuits from the abortion industry. SUBSCRIBEto LifeSite’s daily headlinesSUBSCRIBEU.S. Canada World Catholic

Instead, states typically enact them in hopes of provoking a legal battle that would hopefully reach the nation’s highest court and instigate a review of Roe v. Wade, thereby potentially overturning decades of pro-abortion legal precedent and freeing the states to set their own abortion laws. Such a case would present the biggest test yet of former President Donald Trump’s three appointees to the Supreme Court, and whether they will help comprise the majority needed to finally overturn Roe.

The third law, meanwhile, is meant to prevent situations such as that of the infamous Philadelphia abortionist and convicted killer Kermit Gosnell, who delegated parts of the abortion process such as administering anesthesia to non-physician employees, one of whom was only 15 years old. It may face lawsuits as well, but stands a better chance of taking effect as the Supreme Court has upheld a wide range of abortion regulations enacted in the name of a mother’s safety. 

In recent years there has been a push by the abortion lobby for non-doctors to be allowed to commit abortions.

Oklahoma joins Georgia, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota in enacting laws to limit abortions as early as a fetal heartbeat can be 

AGAIN: This is the “new” (380-450) evangelization

Each One of Us Is Called To Be Both a Sacrifice To God and His Priest. Like Christ, each of us is both priest and victim as gift of self, and this because the person, divine and human, is the meaning of “TO BE.” P

by St. Peter Chrysologus

July 30: Feast of St. Peter Chrysologus
 

Christological Anthropology of Vatican II found in Gaudium et Spes #22 and #24 – the total gift of self [matter and spirit] – grounded here and marvelously experessed in Peter Chrysologus, father of the Church (circa 380-450).

2nd Reading from the Office of Readings of the Liturgy of the Hours for Tuesday of the 4th Week of Easter

From a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop

I appeal to you by the mercy of God. This appeal is made by Paul, or rather, it is made by God through Paul, because of God’s desire to be loved rather than feared, to be a father rather than a Lord. God appeals to us in his mercy to avoid having to punish us in his severity.

Listen to the Lord’s appeal: In me, I want you to see your own body, your members, your heart, your bones, your blood. You may fear what is divine, but why not love what is human? You may run away from me as the Lord, but why not run to me as your father? Perhaps you are filled with shame for causing my bitter passion. Do not be afraid. This cross inflicts a mortal injury, not on me, but on death. These nails no longer pain me, but only deepen your love for me. I do not cry out because of these wounds, but through them I draw you into my heart. My body was stretched on the cross as a symbol, not of how much I suffered, but of my all-embracing love. I count it no less to shed my blood: it is the price I have paid for your ransom. Come, then, return to me and learn to know me as your father, who repays good for evil, love for injury, and boundless charity for piercing wounds.

Listen now to what the Apostle urges us to do. I appeal to you, he says, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. By this exhortation of his, Paul has raised all men to priestly status.

How marvelous is the priesthood of the Christian, for he is both the victim that is offered on his own behalf, and the priest who makes the offering. He does not need to go beyond himself to seek what he is to immolate to God: with himself and in himself he brings the sacrifice he is to offer God for himself. The victim remains and the priest remains, always one and the same. Immolated, the victim still lives: the priest who immolates cannot kill. Truly it is an amazing sacrifice in which a body is offered without being slain and blood is offered without being shed.

[Blogger: this cannot be understood without crossing the threshold of the experience of the “I” as the entrance into true epistemological realism. The ultimate ontological reality is the “I Am” of Jahweh rendering His subjective Self as Object for us to call upon. We are enabled to experience the subjectivity of the “I” imaging His “I – Am” by any and every service to Him and others. This is all invovled in the self being both priest [subject] and victim [object]. Wojtyla’s work “The Acting Person” has been the prelude for many to be able to enter into giving an account of this].

The Apostle says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice.Brethren, this sacrifice follows the pattern of Christ’s sacrifice by which he gave his body as a living immolation for the life of the world. He really made his body a living sacrifice, because, though slain, he continues to live. In such a victim death receives its ransom, but the victim remains alive. Death itself suffers the punishment. This is why death for the martyrs is actually a birth, and their end a beginning. Their execution is the door to life, and those who were thought to have been blotted out from the earth shine brilliantly in heaven.

Paul says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy.The prophet said the same thing: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you have prepared a body for me. Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest. Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, gird yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Your breastplate should be the knowledge of God that he himself has given you. Keep burning continually the sweet smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit. Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires not death, but faith; God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will.

Notice the ascetical result. ” God desires not death, but faith; God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will.” The asceticism of the small things. God is looking for the smallest inclination of affection and good will to be overjoyed. This is Ratzinger’s observation on Escriva on the occasion of his canonization” – transcending the meaning of “heroic virtue” for sanctity as for “the greats.” Now even the little guys who fail but want to give themselves in details of the itsy bitsy with good will and cointinue to begin again and again become the greats.

St. Peter Chrysologus’ Text of the Christological Anthropology of the Priestly Soul [The Phenomenology of the Fathers of the Church]

This is the phenomenology of the Fathers of the Church. This is the meaning of the priestly soul in Opus Dei. It is the knowledge of Christ by becoming Christ (love before knowing). This is “wisdom” that can experientially say: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ This is really what the Greek philosophy can’t quite say and callsit “natural law” when it is really the law of the person. This is what I learned from Wojtyla’s “Person and Community.”  This is the shift that took place in Vatican II but most still don’t get it and continue to approach it asymptotically attempting to square the circle. Not getting it is the “danger of orthodoxy.” It is what is right about Francis and the Greek mind doesn’t get and is scandalized. 

From a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop

Each one of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest

I appeal to you by the mercy of God. This appeal is made by Paul, or rather, it is made by God through Paul, because of God’s desire to be loved rather than feared, to be a father rather than a Lord. God appeals to us in his mercy to avoid having to punish us in his severity.  Listen to the Lord’s appeal: In me, I want you to see your own body, your members, your heart, your bones, your blood. You may fear what is divine, but why not love what is human? You may run away from me as the Lord, but why not run to me as your father? Perhaps you are filled with shame for causing my bitter passion. Do not be afraid. This cross inflicts a mortal injury, not on me, but on death. These nails no longer pain me, but only deepen your love for me. I do not cry out because of these wounds, but through them I draw you into my heart. My body was stretched on the cross as a symbol, not of how much I suffered, but of my all-embracing love. I count it no less to shed my blood: it is the price I have paid for your ransom. Come, then, return to me and learn to know me as your father, who repays good for evil, love for injury, and boundless charity for piercing wounds.  Listen now to what the Apostle urges us to do. I appeal to you, he says, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. By this exhortation of his, Paul has raised all men to priestly status.  How marvellous is the priesthood of the Christian, for he is both the victim that is offered on his own behalf, and the priest who makes the offering. He does not need to go beyond himself to seek what he is to immolate to God: with himself and in himself he brings the sacrifice he is to offer God for himself. The victim remains and the priest remains, always one and the same. Immolated, the victim still lives: the priest who immolates cannot kill. Truly it is an amazing sacrifice in which a body is offered without being slain and blood is offered without being shed.  The Apostle says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Brethren, this sacrifice follows the pattern of Christ’s sacrifice by which he gave his body as a living immolation for the life of the world. He really made his body a living sacrifice, because, though slain, he continues to live. In such a victim death receives its ransom, but the victim remains alive. Death itself suffers the punishment. This is why death for the martyrs is actually a birth, and their end a beginning. Their execution is the door to life, and those who were thought to have been blotted out from the earth shine brilliantly in heaven.  Paul says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy. The prophet said the same thing: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you have prepared a body for me. Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest. Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, gird yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Your breastplate should be the knowledge of God that he himself has given you. Keep burning continually the sweet smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit. Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires not death, but faith; God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will.