Why pray for the holy souls in purgatory?

A baroque painting of Mary as the protectress of the poor souls in purgatory in the pilgrimage church of the Holy Trinity in Weihenlinden, Bavaria. The belief that love can reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today. Who would not feel the need to convey to their departed loved ones a sign of kindness, a gesture of gratitude or even a request for pardon? Now a further question arises: if “Purgatory” is simply purification through fire in the encounter with the Lord, Judge and Saviour, how can a third person intervene, even if he or she is particularly close to the other? When we ask such a question, we should recall that no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other—my prayer for him—can play a small part in his purification. And for that there is no need to convert earthly time into God’s time: in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded. It is never too late to touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in vain. In this way we further clarify an important element of the Christian concept of hope. Our hope is always essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too[40]. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well.      

-From Spe Salvi, by Pope Benedict XVI

Click here to read the rest of the encyclical.

Show Notes – A Good Habit 4/16/14

A Good Habit Show NotesHello, everyone.  Sorry these show notes are so late – between the last days of Holy Week and the Easter celebrations I completely forgot about posting this.

The music featured on the show was from the CD Lent at Ephesus by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.  You can find it on iTunes, Amazon, and at their website.

The Jimmy Akin article we mentioned, 6 Things to Know About the Triduum can be found Continue reading

Old keys, new hats

The most famous statue of St. Peter the Apostle is also a little mysterious.  The life-like bronze statue, displayed in St. Peter’s Basilica, is seated upon a marble throne, one hand holding the symbolic keys, the other hand raised in blessing.  The mystery lies in the fact that no one is certain how old the statue really is.  While historical evidence about the statue dates it to the 15th century, according to a long-standing tradition it dates back another thousand years.  It is said that Pope St. Leo the Great commissioned the statue in thanksgiving for the preservation of Rome from Attila the Hun’s attack.

Over the ages, countless streams of pilgrims kissing St. Peter’s foot, a sign of their unity with and obedience to Christ’s Vicar, have worn his foot down to a smooth, thin, sliver of bronze.  Today Pope Francis also honored St. Peter by reverencing the statue, which was arrayed in Papal vestments for today’s Feast of the Chair of Peter, after the Mass installing 19 new cardinals.

Pope Emeritus Benedict was there as well.  Seeing these two living popes share a fraternal embrace always gives us chills, as it reminds us of the amazing times we are living through in the Church today.

Below is a short video from Rome Reports with the highlights of today’s Mass.

St. Bonaventure

Many things can change in a year.  Just last year, Sunday, July 15th, Pope Benedict XVI, in his Sunday Angelus, spoke of St. Bonaventure, the tenth Doctor of the Church, who had a major influence on the Pope’s theological formation.

Here is what the Holy Father had to say about this renowned Franciscan Saint:

Today, 15 July, in the liturgical calendar is the Memorial of St Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, a Franciscan, Doctor of the Church and the successor of St Francis of Assisi at the helm of the Order of Friars Minor. It was he who wrote the first official biography of the “Poverello” and, at the end of his life, he was also Bishop of this Diocese of Albano.

Bonaventure wrote in one of his letters: “I confess before God that the reason which made me most love the life of Blessed Francis is that it resembles the birth and development of the Church” (Epistula de tribus quaestionibus, in Opere di San Bonaventura. Introduzione generale, Rome 1990, p. 29). These words refer us directly to this Sunday’s Gospel which presents the first occasion on which Jesus sent the Twelve Apostles out on mission. Jesus “called to him the Twelve”, St Mark recounts, “and began to send them out two by two…. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics” (Mk 6:7-9). After his conversion Francis of Assisi practised this Gospel to the letter, becoming a very faithful witness of Jesus; and, uniquely bound to the mystery of the Cross, was transformed into “another Christ”, exactly as St Bonaventure describes him.

Jesus Christ is the inspiring centre of St Bonaventure’s entire life and likewise of his theology. We rediscover this centrality of Christ in the Second Reading of today’s Mass (Eph 1:3-14), the famous hymn of St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians that begins: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”. The Apostle thus shows in the four passages, that all begin with the same words: “in him”, with reference to Jesus, how this plan of blessing was brought about. “In him”, the Father chose us before the creation of the world; “in him” we have redemption through his blood; “in him” we became his heirs, predestined to live “for the praise of his glory”; “in him” all those who believe in the Gospel receive the seal of the Holy Spirit. This Pauline hymn contains the vision of history which St Bonaventure helped to spread in the Church: the whole of history is centred on Christ, who also guarantees in every era new things and renewal. In Jesus, God said and gave all things, but since he is an inexhaustible treasure, the Holy Spirit never ceases to reveal and to actualize his mystery. So it is that the work of Christ and of the Church never regresses but always progresses.

Dear friends, let us invoke Mary Most Holy whom we shall be celebrating tomorrow as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, so that she may help us, like St Francis and St Bonaventure, to respond generously to the Lord’s call to proclaim his Gospel of salvation with our words and, first and foremost, with our lives.

A golden thread in the tapestry of the Church

Miniature of St. Benedict

It’s hard to overstate the influence of St. Benedict of Nursia.  He is the Father of Western Monasticism, whose rule of life became the strong root from which so many religious orders grew.  Were it not for St. Benedict, the light of truth, wisdom, learning, art, history, music, and the works of ancient philosophers may never have survived, for without his influence, there might not have been numerous monasteries of resilient monks to rebuild and restore civilization after the barbarian invasions.

We want to share a wonderful address given recently by Fr. Thomas Rosica at the Catholic Media Convention in Denver, Colorado.  We especially loved the way he links the great Saint Benedict of Nursia with our own Saint Francis of Assisi, and Pope Emeritus Benedict with our present Pope Francis.  Using a beautiful quote from the celebrated book on Saint Francis by GK Chesterton (a quote which we  just happened to hear for the first time when Dale Ahlquist was on our radio show a couple weeks ago),  Father Rosica draws the parallels between these four men, whose names and missions intertwine in a way that shows the marvelous workings of the Holy Spirit.  Four men in different times, different centuries, and yet interwoven together in the amazing tapestry of the Church.  We hope you find it as inspiring as we did.

Click here to read Fr. Rosica’s address at the Catholic Media Convention.

Link

 

Adopt a Cardinal today!

We know all of you are praying for the upcoming conclave, and for all the Cardinals who will be electing our next Holy Father.  But you can go one step further and adopt a Cardinal to pray for specifically.  Click on the above link to adopt a Cardinal today!

One Chair, One Church

In yesterday’s Gospel Our Lord warns “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.  Therefore do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example.”

The Chair of Moses was not just a figure of speech, it was an actual chair, which symbolized the authority held by Moses.  After Moses died, this authority passed to Joshua, then to the Judges, then to the prophets, and then to the Great Assembly.

In Exodus Moses says, “… the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of God and his decisions.”

God has now fully revealed Himself to us through His Son, and He still has a representative on earth who preserves the statues of God.  He sits on the Chair of Peter.  He is the Pope.  The significance of the Feast of the Chair of Peter, which we celebrated last week, is that the man sitting in the Chair of Peter (the new Chair of Moses) has teaching authority.  His task is to preserve the purity of doctrine, so that we can be certain we are professing the true faith, or as the Catechism says, so the People of God can abide “in the truth that liberates” (CCC 890).

For more on the continuity between the Chair of Moses and the Chair of Peter see Steve Ray’s website here.

The Catholic Church has been led by many successors to St. Peter 264 to be exact.  Some have been holy, some have been martyrs, and some were downright scoundrels.  But no matter how awful their personal lives were they never defiled the purity of doctrine which it was their duty to preserve.  The Holy Spirit guides and protects Christ’s Church.

The great blessing of our times is that we have had popes whose example we can follow.  They teach not just with doctrine but by their personal holiness.  The one thing you hear over and over again from those who meet Pope Benedict is that he is so humble. He truly lives what Our Lord said, “The greatest among you must by your servant.  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”