More on Theological Epistemology – For Today

Blogger: Pay attention to the theological epistemology involved here. Mystical knowing is seeing God in the cloud. However, when one speaks with God [prayer as an act of going out of self], the person himself becomes light. Think of Christ speaking with the Father on Mt. Tabor and being transfigured. Anyone who speaks with Christ in everyday life, irradiates light. Moses had to put a veil over his face for others to speak with him. Everyone has the veil over his mind insofar as he is into himself. Revelation takes place when prays, serves and goes out self. This takes place when we “turn all of our actions into occasions of loving – serving.

    These readings of Exodus and the Eastern Father, St. Theophilus, are extraordinary insights into understanding the reality of the 21st c. now, and what has to be done in order to know God, self, the others and what is real.

Wed of the Third Week of Lent [March 22, 2017]

Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside the camp, at some distance from the camp. He called it the Tent of Meeting. Anyone who had to consult the Lord would go out to the Tent of Meeting, outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the Tent, all the people would rise. Every man would stand at the door of his tent and watch Moses until he reached the Tent; the pillar of cloud would come down and station itself at the entrance to the Tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. When they saw the pillar of cloud stationed at the entrance to the Tent, all the people would rise and bow low, each at the door of his tent. The Lord would speak with Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would turn back to the camp, but the young man who was his servant, Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the Tent.

  Moses said, ‘Show me your glory, I beg you.’ And he said, ‘I will let all my splendour pass in front of you, and I will pronounce before you the name, “The Lord.” I have compassion on whom I will, and I show pity to whom I please. You cannot see my face,’ he said, ‘for man cannot see me and live.’ And the Lord said, ‘Here is a place beside me. You must stand on the rock, and when my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and shield you with my hand while I pass by. Then I will take my hand away and you shall see the back of me; but my face is not to be seen.’
  And the Lord descended in the form of a cloud, and Moses stood with him there.
  He called on the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness; for thousands he maintains his kindness, forgives faults, transgression, sin; yet he lets nothing go unchecked, punishing the father’s fault in the sons and in the grandsons to the third and fourth generation.’ And Moses bowed down to the ground at once and worshipped. ‘If I have indeed won your favour, Lord,’ he said ‘let my Lord come with us, I beg. True, they are a headstrong people, but forgive us our faults and our sins, and adopt us as your heritage.’
  When Moses came down from the mountain of Sinai – as he came down from the mountain, Moses had the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands – he did not know that the skin on his face was radiant after speaking with the Lord. And when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, the skin on his face shone so much that they would not venture near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron with all the leaders of the community came back to him; and he spoke to them. Then all the sons of Israel came closer, and he passed on to them all the orders that the Lord had given him on the mountain of Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever he went into the Lord’s presence to speak with him, Moses would remove the veil until he came out again. And when he came out, he would tell the sons of Israel what he had been ordered to pass on to them, and the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he returned to speak with the Lord.
Responsory  
℟. Moses put a veil over his face so that the people of Israel would not see its brightness;* all of us, however, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord who is the Spirit, transforms us into his very likeness, in an ever greater degree of glory.
℣. To this very day their minds are covered with the same veil;* all of us, however, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord who is the Spirit, transforms us into his very likeness, in an ever greater degree of glory.

Second Reading
From the book addressed to Autolycus by Saint Theophilus of Antioch, bishop
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God
If you say, “Show me your God,” I will say to you, “Show me what kind of person you are, and I will show you my God.” Show me then whether the eyes of your mind can see, and the ears of your heart hear.
  It is like this. Those who can see with the eyes of their bodies are aware of what is happening in this life on earth. They get to know things that are different from each other. They distinguish light and darkness, black and white, ugliness and beauty, elegance and inelegance, proportion and lack of proportion, excess and defect. The same is true of the sounds we hear: high or low or pleasant. So it is with the ears of our heart and the eyes of our mind in their capacity to hear or see God.
  God is seen by those who have the capacity to see him, provided that they keep the eyes of their mind open. All have eyes, but some have eyes that are shrouded in darkness, unable to see the light of the sun. Because the blind cannot see it, it does not follow that the sun does not shine. The blind must trace the cause back to themselves and their eyes. In the same way, you have eyes in your mind that are shrouded in darkness because of your sins and evil deeds.
  A person’s soul should be clean, like a mirror reflecting light. If there is rust on the mirror his face cannot be seen in it. In the same way, no one who has sin within him can see God.
  But if you will you can be healed. Hand yourself over to the doctor, and he will open the eyes of your mind and heart. Who is to be the doctor? It is God, who heals and gives life through his Word and wisdom. Through his Word and wisdom he created the universe, for by his Word the heavens were established, and by his Spirit all their array. His wisdom is supreme. God by wisdom founded the earth, by understanding he arranged the heavens, by his knowledge the depths broke forth and the clouds poured out the dew.
  If you understand this, and live in purity and holiness and justice, you may see God. But, before all, faith and the fear of God must take the first place in your heart, and then you will understand all this. When you have laid aside mortality and been clothed in immortality, then you will see God according to your merits. God raises up your flesh to immortality along with your soul, and then, once made immortal, you will see the immortal One, if you believe in him now.

“Slit the Fig,” For the New Evangelization

or    The Relation Between Gospel and Culture:  This culture will never mature without the Cross of Christ

In explaining the relation between faith and culture[1], Joseph Ratzinger quoted the Old Testament prophet Amos who said: “I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees” (Amos 7, 14). He went on: “The Greek version, the Septuagint (LXX) translation of this prophetic book [which is not merely a transliteration of the Hebrew], renders the latter expression more vividly as follows: ‘I was one who slits the fruit of the sycamore.’ The translation is based on the fact that the fruit or ‘figs’ of the sycamore must be slit before they are picked so that they will ripen within a few days. In his commentary on Isaiah 9, 10, Basil presupposes this practice, for he writes:

“The sycamore is a tree that bears very plentiful fruit. But it is tasteless unless one carefully slits it and allows its sap to run out, whereby it becomes flavorful. That is why, we believe, the sycamore is a symbol for the pagan world: it offers a surplus, yet at the same time it is insipid. This comes from living according to pagan customs. When one manages to slit them by means of the Logos, it [the pagan world] is transformed, becomes tasty and useful.” 

“Christian Gnilka comments as follows upon this passage:

“In this symbol are found the plenteousness, the wealth, the luxuriance fo the pagan world…, but its deficiency is found therein as well. As it is, it is insipid, unusable. It needs a complete transformation, whereby the change does not destroy its substance; rather it is recognized as an advantage… On the other hand, the necessary transformation can scarcely be more keenly evident in this image than through the fact that what formerly could not be enjoyed, now becomes edible. In the ‘running out’ of the sap, furthermore, the process of purification is suggested.”“One other point: The necessary transformation cannot come from the tree itself and its fruit – and intervention of the dresser, an intervention from outside, is necessary. Applied to the pagan world, to what is characteristic of human culture, this means: The Logos itself must slit our cultures and their fruit, so that what is unusable is purified and becomes not only usable but good…. Yes ultimately only the Logs himself can guide our cultures to their true purity and maturity, but the Logos makes us his servants, the ‘dresser of sycamore trees.’ The necessary intervention requires understanding, familiarity with the fruit and its ripening process, experience, and patience…. The gospel does not stand ‘beside’ culture. It is addressed, not merely to the individual, but to the culture itself, which leaves its mark on the spiritual growth and development of the individual, his fruitfulness or unfruitfulness with respect to God and to the world. Evangelization is not simply adaptation to the culture, either, nor is it dressing up the gospel with elements of the culture, along the lines of a superficial notion of inculturation that supposes that, with modified figures of speech and a few new elements in the liturgy, the job is done. No, the gospel is a slit, a purification that becomes maturation and healing. It is a cut that demands patient involvement and understanding, so that it occurs at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way, a cut, then, that requires sympathy and understanding of the culture from within, an appreciation for its dangers and its hidden or evident potential. Thus it is clear also that this cut ‘is not a momentary effort that is automatically followed by a ripening process.’ Rather, an ongoing and patient encounter between the Logos and the culture is necessary, mediated by the service of the faithful.”



The Meaning of “Culture”[2]
All of this is preceded by what Ratzinger had worked up on the meaning of culture. First, he made it clear that the gospel is not embedded into a mind that is a blank slate (tabula rasa). “Man is never alone; he bears the stamp of a community that provides him with patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting. This system of notions and thought patterns that preconditions the individual human being does by the name of culture. The first and foremost component of culture is the common language; then comes the constitution of the society, that is, the government with the subdivisions, then law, custom, moral concepts, art, forms of worship, and so on. ‘Culture’ is the system of the life into which the Word fo the gospel enters. It must make itself understood within it, and it should have some effect in it, make an impression on this entire pattern of life, be the leaven within it, so to speak, that permeates the whole thing. The gospel to a certain extent presupposes culture; it never replaces it, but it does leave its mark upon it. The nearest equivalent to our concept of culture in the Greek world is the word paideia – education in the highest sense, which guides a human being to genuine humanity. In Latin the same idea is expressed in the word erudtio: a man is freed from roughness [ex + rudis] and is trained in true manliness. In this sense the gospel is by its very essence paideia – culture, but in this education of man it joins forces with all the other factors that form humanity as a communal enterprise.”[3][1] J. Ratzinger, “On the Way to Jesus Christ,” Ignatius (2005) 42-47.
[2] It is worthwhile including that Karol Wojtyla philosophically crafted the meaning of culture in terms of the human person: “My reflection here on the constitution of culture through human praxis arise within the context of this controversy as well. They are intimately linked to an understanding of the human being as a person: a self-determining subject. Culture develops principally within this dimension, the dimension of self-determining subjects. Culture is basically oriented not so much toward the creation of human products as toward the creation of the human self, which then radiates out into the world of products;” “The Constitution of Culture Through Human Praxis” Person and Community Land (1993) 265.
[3] J. Ratzinger, op. cit. 43-44.

1 comment:

Anonymous said…

Fr. Bob: Good to find you here. Can you list the several citations where we find the references of being as truly being-for. I have the Introduction to Christianity chapters, I have found Gaudium et Spes 24, but I also believe there might have been some references to the Trinitarian concept of personhood in the writings of JPII. On this particular blog, you need to address the mystery of evil. A dialogue is going on while a lot of evil is happening. It is like saying, the parents need to talk while the kids are burning the house down. The Logos is talking to the culture, meanwhile the culture is murdering its people. A few comments on this gruesome fact would help. The problem of time is in there somewhere. See ya, White Wulff

St. Joseph: Engenderer and Mentor of the Son of God as Man

Feast of St. Joseph, March 20, 2017:

The central importance of St. Joseph was not realized until the 16th c. when St. Teresa of Avila brought it to focus. The second has been St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer. Both saints came to this through intimate experiences with the Christ. This is the basis of what the Church understands by the “development of doctrine.” As the Person of Christ is more personally experienced, the consciousness of the believer grows.

The ontological importance of St. Joseph (on two levels)

I

 By the supernatural faith of obedience to the divine command to take Our Lady as wife, he entered into engendering the God-man:

That is, as Mary became “cause” [Mother of God] of the humanity of the Creator by her free act of faith (“fiat”), so Joseph entered into the same causality by a similar act of faith in taking Mary as spouse. Read carefully:

There is a strict parallel between the “annunciation” in Matthew’s text and the one in Luke. The divine messenger introduces Joseph to the mystery of Mary’s motherhood. While remaining a virgin, she who by law is his “spouse” has become a mother through the power of the Holy Spirit. And when the Son in Mary’s womb comes into the world, he must receive the name Jesus. This was a name known among the Israelites and sometimes given to their sons. In this case, however, it is the Son who, in accordance with the divine promise, will bring to perfect fulfillment the meaning of the name Jesus-Yehos ua’ – which means “God saves.”

Joseph is visited by the messenger as “Mary’s spouse,” as the one who in due time must give this name to the Son to be born of the Virgin of Nazareth who is married to him. It is to Joseph, then, that the messenger turns, entrusting to him the responsibilities of an earthly father with regard to Mary’s Son.

“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (cf. Mt 1:24). He took her in all the mystery of her motherhood. He took her together with the Son who had come into the world by the power of the Holy Spirit. In this way he showed a readiness of will like Mary’s with regard to what God asked of him through the angel.[1]

II

THE GUARDIAN OF THE MYSTERY OF GOD

  1. When, soon after the Annunciation, Mary went to the house of Zechariah to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth, even as she offered her greeting she heard the words of Elizabeth, who was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Lk 1:41). Besides offering a salutation which recalled that of the angel at the Annunciation, Elizabeth also said: “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lk 1:45). These words were the guiding thought of the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater, in which I sought to deepen the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which stated the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully preserved her union with her Son even to the cross,”(5) “preceding”(6) all those who follow Christ by faith.

Now at the beginning of this pilgrimage, the faith of Mary meets the faith of Joseph. If Elizabeth said of the Redeemer’s Mother, “blessed is she who believed,” in a certain sense this blessedness can be referred to Joseph as well, since he responded positively to the word of God when it was communicated to him at the decisive moment. While it is true that Joseph did not respond to the angel’s “announcement” in the same way as Mary, he “did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife.” What he did is the clearest “obedience of faith” (cf. Rom 1:5; 16:26; 2 Cor 10:5-6).

One can say that what Joseph did united him in an altogether special way to the faith of Mary. He accepted as truth coming from God the very thing that she had already accepted at the Annunciation. The Council teaches: “‘The obedience of faith’ must be given to God as he reveals himself. By this obedience of faith man freely commits himself entirely to God, making ‘the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals,’ and willingly assenting to the revelation given by him.”(7) This statement, which touches the very essence of faith, is perfectly applicable to Joseph of Nazareth.

               2) Hebrews 5, 8: “Son, though he was he learned obedience frm what he suffered.”

               Jesus Christ has a created human will. Chalcedon teaches that Jesus Christ is One Person with Two natures: divine (uncreated) and human (created). Therefore , He has a created human will that He must determine in Himself just like you. That created human will was laden down with all the sin of all men of all time: He takes on the guilt of all the self-seeking, vanity, laziness, impurity, attachment to things, impoverity, etc.2 Cor. 5 , 21: “He made Him to be sin who knew nothing of sin.”  Christ turns all the self-seeking sin that He freely takes on, and turns it into obedience – to death, on the Cross.  This means that He lives out Who He is as pure and total relation to the Father by turning the acquire rebelliousness of our sin into obedience. That is, He had to learn obedience.

               And He learned it at the side of Joseph in the carpentry at Nazareth. He had to go through the apprenticeship of carpentry to learn how to subject his created human will to the Joseph’s authority and expertise. That is, the Creator of the world had to be told: No, you don’t do it that way. You do it this way. As 100% man (He is 100 % God), He must learn to be a carpenter.  And for that , He must learn obedience through His human will that is not annulled by the presence of the divine will.  The  two wills are not in parallel, but “one” in that the same divine “I” lives out His divinity through each.

               This obedience of Christ is prefigured in the obedience of Abraham who is told to kill his dearly beloved and first born son, Isaac. This is the prefigurement of the meaning of faith. Christ is the prototype by His obedience to death on the Cross. He as formed into this in the workshop of Joseph.

May we understand that obedience to the will of God in the ordinary life is precisely the divine way of sanctity in the world – and we learn it next to Joseph who is next to Our Lady.

 II

     As Jesus is 100% God, He is also 100% man. He is fully God and fully man. The reality is that Christ is one Person with two complete natures: divine and human, They are ontologically distinct as uncreated and created but one, not in parallel, because the one Person of Christ, being divine, assumed the created human nature into His divine Person.

   The point that must be made is the need to form and develop the human nature. The human nature needs the affirmation of another. Joseph is the key to the development of Jesus Christ as man.

    I add the pertinent psychological findings on the formation of persons:

 “The source of the feeling of self-worth is always another person – the ‘significant other’ – who can either give or withhold it. The process whereby a person receives his or her feeling of self-worth from the ‘significant other’ is for every human being a bonum fundamentale. In a very special relationship with the significant other, the person is seen and experienced by the other as good, worthwhile and lovable. The pleasure of the approving and loving other is perceived in such a manner that the person literally feels this through his or her entire being.[2][3]
Persons Related to by Affirmation: “can be said to have received the gift of themselves. They feel worthwhile, significant and lovable. They possess themselves as man or woman. They know who they are. They are certain of their identity. They love themselves unselfishly. They are open to all that is good and find joy in the same. They are able to affirm all of creation, and as affirmers of all beings are capable o f making others happy and joyful, too. They are largely other-directed. They find joy in being and doing for others. The find joy in their love relationship with their Creator. They can share and give of themselves, be a true friend to others, and feel at ease with persons of both sexes. They are capable of finding happiness in marinate of the freely chosen celibate state of life. They are free from psycho-pathological factors which hamper one’s free will and are therefore sully responsible – morally and legally – for their actions.”[4]
 Unaffirmed Persons: “can be said to have been born only once; their second or psychological birth never took place (or, since it is a protracted process, was never complete). They were not made to know and feel their own goodness, worth and identity. They have been thrown back upon themselves by denial on the part of significant others in their life. They are like prisoners – locked in, lonely, and self-centered – waiting fort someone to come and open the door of their prison, waiting to be opened to their own goodness and that of others. No measure of success in business, profession or otherwise can adequately compensate for their feelings of inferiority, inadequacy, uncertainty and insecurity. Both the married life and the celibate life accentuate the fundamental loneliness of these persons and their inability to relate to others as equals. Their spiritual life suffers as time goes on, and their basically joyless way of life changes more and more to a state of depression until death seems the only way out.
                “Most importantly, unaffirmed persons have only one concern and need: to become affirmed, to be loved for who they are and not for what they do. They are literally driven to find someone who truly, unequivocally loves them. This is in marked contrast to affirmed individuals who look for someone with whom they can share their love, who can give love as well as receive, who can wait and are not hurried, driven, or compelled to find someone who will love them. If affirmation by a significant other is not forthcoming, many unaffirmed persons wells use their talents, intelligence and energy to try to convince themselves and the world in a variety of ways that they are worthwhile, important and significant, even though they don’t feel that they are. The most common ways of doing this are by the acquisition, display and use of material goods, wealth, power, fame, honor, status symbols, or sex.”[5]
St. Joseph is the “significant other” as father in the formation of Christ as man. The divine does not compensate the human, but fulfills it. The development of Jesus Christ as man needed the masculine affirmation in social relationships and the expertise in professional work as carpenter. God had to learn to live as man socially and professionally through the human love, mentoring and instruction of Joseph.

[1] John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos, Apostolic Exhortation, August 15, 1989.

[2] Note that John Paul II, writing to Teresa Heydel, remarked: “Everyone… lives, above all, for love. The ability to love authentically, not great intellectual capacity, constitutes the deepest part of a personality. It is no accident that the greatest commandment is to love. Authentic love leads us outside ourselves to affirming others.”  A month later, he wrote: “After many experiences and a lot of thinking, I am convinced that the (objective) starting point of love is the realization that I am needed by another. The person who objectively needs me most is also, for me, objectively, the person I most need. This is a fragment of life’s deep logic… The great achievement is always to see values that others don’t see and to affirm them. The even greater achievement is to bring out of people the values that would perish without us. IN the same way, we bring our values out in ourselves” (G. Weigel, “Witness to Hope” Cliffside Books [1999] 101-102].

[3] C. Baars, “I Will Give Them a New Heart” St Pauls (2008) 12.

[4] Ibid 190.

[5] Ibid 190-191.

The Spiritual Physiognomy of St. Joseph and the Spirit of Opus Dei

St. Josemaria  wrote : “How is it possible for devotion to St. Joseph to have taken such deep root in the Work when it is a relatively recent devotion, having begun to flourish in the West only about the sixteenth century? The answer is the previous post.

Feast of St. Joseph, March 20, 2017:

The ontological importance of St. Joseph (on two levels)

  1. By the supernatural faith of obedience to the divine command to take Our Lady as wife, he entered into engendering the God-man:

That is, as Mary became “cause” of the humanity of the Creator by her free act of faith (“fiat”), so Joseph entered into the same causality by a similar act of faith in taking Mary as spouse. Read carefully:

“There is a strict parallel between the ‘annunciation’ in Matthew’s text and the one in Luke. The divine messenger introduces Joseph to the mystery of Mary’s motherhood. While remaining a virgin, she who by law is his “spouse” has become a mother through the power of the Holy Spirit. And when the Son in Mary’s womb comes into the world, he must receive the name Jesus. This was a name known among the Israelites and sometimes given to their sons. In this case, however, it is the Son who, in accordance with the divine promise, will bring to perfect fulfillment the meaning of the name Jesus-Yehos ua’ – which means “God saves.”

Joseph is visited by the messenger as “Mary’s spouse,” as the one who in due time must give this name to the Son to be born of the Virgin of Nazareth who is married to him. It is to Joseph, then, that the messenger turns, entrusting to him the responsibilities of an earthly father with regard to Mary’s Son.

“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (cf. Mt 1:24). He took her in all the mystery of her motherhood. He took her together with the Son who had come into the world by the power of the Holy Spirit. In this way he showed a readiness of will like Mary’s with regard to what God asked of him through the angel.[1]

II

THE GUARDIAN OF THE MYSTERY OF GOD

  1. When, soon after the Annunciation, Mary went to the house of Zechariah to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth, even as she offered her greeting she heard the words of Elizabeth, who was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Lk 1:41). Besides offering a salutation which recalled that of the angel at the Annunciation, Elizabeth also said: “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lk 1:45). These words were the guiding thought of the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater, in which I sought to deepen the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which stated the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully preserved her union with her Son even to the cross,”(5) “preceding”(6) all those who follow Christ by faith.

Now at the beginning of this pilgrimage, the faith of Mary meets the faith of Joseph. If Elizabeth said of the Redeemer’s Mother, “blessed is she who believed,” in a certain sense this blessedness can be referred to Joseph as well, since he responded positively to the word of God when it was communicated to him at the decisive moment. While it is true that Joseph did not respond to the angel’s “announcement” in the same way as Mary, he “did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife.” What he did is the clearest “obedience of faith” (cf. Rom 1:5; 16:26; 2 Cor 10:5-6).

One can say that what Joseph did united him in an altogether special way to the faith of Mary. He accepted as truth coming from God the very thing that she had already accepted at the Annunciation. The Council teaches: “‘The obedience of faith’ must be given to God as he reveals himself. By this obedience of faith man freely commits himself entirely to God, making ‘the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals,’ and willingly assenting to the revelation given by him.”(7) This statement, which touches the very essence of faith, is perfectly applicable to Joseph of Nazareth.

               2) Hebrews 5, 8: “Son, though he was he learned obedience frm what he suffered.”

               Jesus Christ has a created human will. Chalcedon teaches that Jesus Christ is One Person with Two natures: divine (uncreated) and human (created). Therefore , He has a created human will that He must determine in Himself just like you. That created human will was laden down with all the sin of all men of all time: He takes on the guilt of all the self-seeking, vanity, laziness, impurity, attachment to things, impoverity, etc.2 Cor. 5 , 21: “He made Him to be sin who knew nothing of sin.”  Christ turns all the self-seeking sin that He freely takes on, and turns it into obedience – to death, on the Cross.  This means that He lives out Who He is as pure and total relation to the Father by turning the acquire rebelliousness of our sin into obedience. That is, He had to learn obedience.

               And He learned it at the side of Joseph in the carpentry at Nazareth. He had to go through the apprenticeship of carpentry to learn how to subject his created human will to the Joseph’s authority and expertise. That is, the Creator of the world had to be told: No, you don’t do it that way. You do it this way. As 100% man (He is 100 % God), He must learn to be a carpenter.  And for that , He must learn obedience through His human will that is not annulled by the presence of the divine will.  The  two wills are not in parallel, but “one” in that the same divine “I” lives out His divinity through each.

               This obedience of Christ is prefigured in the obedience of Abraham who is told to kill his dearly beloved and first born son, Isaac. This is the prefigurement of the meaning of faith. Christ is the prototype by His obedience to death on the Cross. He as formed into this in the workshop of Joseph.

May we understand that obedience to the will of God in the ordinary life is precisely the divine way of sanctity in the world – and we learn it next to Joseph who is next to Our Lady.

[1] John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos, Apostolic Exhortation, August 15, 1989.

Teens Being Fed Fake News By the Secular Media

by Kathleen M. Gallagher

Teen Vogue is a magazine for teen and pre-teen girls that focuses on fashion, makeup, shopping and pop culture. Its Facebook page has been “liked” by almost six million people, undoubtedly most of them teenagers.

The online magazine currently contains a slide show titled “What to Get a Friend Post-Abortion.” It’s essentially a top 10 list of best gifts to give a friend after she’s had an abortion.

It details the best movie to stream to help with the cramps, the newest underwear to help soak up the blood, and an “angry uterus” heating pad to ease the pain. (I am not making this up.)

It suggests hobbies to keep your friend’s mind occupied: a sign-up sheet to become an abortion clinic escort, a “we won’t go back” needlepoint project, and a Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg coloring book. (Really.)

It suggests attire to empower your bestie, including a “girl power” cap and an “F-U” piece of jewelry, proceeds from which go to Planned Parenthood, naturally. And it rounds the list off with a book of poetry and a box of chocolates.

The piece is so offensive and insensitive that it’s hard to put into words. It is blatant in its transparent attempt to sell abortion to young people, to market it as a mainstream “good,” and to treat it as casually as a manicure. In fact, it’s downright celebratory over abortion, ensuring readers who abort that they are smart, strong, powerful and resilient change-makers.

Teen Vogue advises girls that if your BFF chooses the abortion pill, she’ll need a heating pad because the cramps can be bad. The writer describes the cramps as feeling “like two throbbing hot balls of lead are trying to escape your body.”

Nope. It’s not lead that leaves your body in an abortion, it’s a baby. A small, defenseless unborn human baby. There is nothing strong or powerful about destroying an innocent unborn baby, especially when it’s yours.

Even the Supreme Court has admitted that abortion is unlike other medical procedures, “because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.” (Harris vs. McRae, 1980)

Despite the abortion industry and pop culture denials, abortion is a profound life-altering event.

Don’t young women deserve to at least know what abortion is and get all the facts before they make their “choice”? Shouldn’t they be informed that at some point post-abortion they may indeed feel sorrow, doubt and shame, and that counseling and other assistance is available to them?

Does modern feminism have so little confidence in women that it has to brainwash teenage girls into believing that abortion is the normal natural choice, and that the choice doesn’t matter all that much, it’s the post-abortion gifts that really count?

I don’t know about you, but this kind of thing just makes me want to cry. Our teenage children are being fed fake news, and it breaks my heart, because at some point in their lives, the reality of their abortion is likely to break theirs.


Gallagher is the director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference.