Tag Archives: Faith

Counsels in the time of a left-wing panic

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

A group of lawyers, who are not believers, asked me for counsel yesterday, here in Italy. They are terrified of dying from the Wuhan virus and do not know what to do.

Wherever I go, I find more fear among what we call, in the USA, liberals, that is, those of a left leaning or fallen political affiliation.

But among believers, not so much.

However, since we are all humans, and we are prone to following a herd when it sets off in a stampede, we need to draw, now more than ever, upon the riches of our Holy Faith to be counter cultural and counter-panic. This is part of our witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and if we fail in it, God and history will judge us.

A great scandal is being given the world, and it is not the Wuhan virus. It is Bishops closing the doors of Churches and/or abolishing the public offering of the Sacraments of our Holy Faith.

Let us be clear. The Bishops have no right to do this. Their duty is to minister the sacraments, in season and out of season, as the great Saint Paul the Apostle teaches.

We must show our divine faith that Christ Jesus is the God of Life, the Author of Creation and as Author of the Sacraments has chosen sacramental forms which are in NO way dangerous to the health of anyone, body or soul.

To entertain doubts on this is a mortal sin against the Faith.

For since Christ can rise from the dead, He has power over not only all the living, or the dead, but over all life, and indeed, not only has He power over life, but

HE IS LIFE!  HE IS HEALING!  HE IS THE CURE OF CURES!

And as such He must be our HOPE!

Now is the time to bear witness to this to your local clergy. Tell them they will merit eternal hell fire if they fail in faith in this crisis. You should resist them if they want to close your churches and end the celebration of the sacraments. And you should threatened them with civil lawsuits, if possible. You should make it clear that they will never again merit from you any financial support. And if you can organize the men of our parish, you should use even force if necessary to keep YOUR church open. Because, after all, it is YOUR MONEY which built that Church.

If they clergy will not serve the faithful in times of need and grave crisis, what good are they. They might as well leave the priesthood and attempt to huskster their fake sentimental vocation to another religion.

And, as for those laymen, who are urging the Bishops and Clergy to shut Churches and stop services, they can be assured of thrones in Hell Fire alongside Judas Iscariot.

What can I do in addition?

Obviously, go to confession. And if the priest refuses you confession, remind him that he only needs to hear your confession, you can shout it from the sidewalk as he sits in the window on the second or third floor of the Rectory.

Second, resolve to sin nor more.

Third, resolve to live for God and pledge yourself first to the care of your own family and relatives, especially those who are apt to be at risk right now.

If you have extra time or if you are free of these obligations because you have no one who needs your help, consider helping those around you, your neighbors, whether they be believers or not, Christians or not, who have need.  It is precisely in crises such as this, that our works of charity and mercy will convert the hardest of sinners to the Faith, for they will see in our faces and hands and feet, anxious to serve others, the truth that indeed, Christ has risen from the dead!

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CREDITS:  The Featured Image is a photo by Br. Bugnolo of a painting here at Rome, featuring the Consolation of Saint Joseph, to die accompanied by Our Lord and Our Lady. Our Lord points to Heaven to reassured Saint Joseph of his imminent Resurrection.

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There is no Faith without the Cross

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

God could have forgiven sin by simply willing it. He did not have to order His Son to become incarnate and die on the Cross to redeem us.

Yet, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that all who believe in Him, may not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16, Vulgate).

God’s incarnation was a scandal to the Jews, who refused to admit that God could take flesh and remain God. So they had Him betrayed by a false apostle and buffeted Him, falsely condemned Him and put Him to death.

But since He was God of Life, He rose from the dead, as the Saving God and as the Redeeming Man.

The passage of Jesus Christ from the glory of Palm Sunday through the horrors of the Cross to the Glory of Easter Sunday is the Mystery of Faith.

Here I use “mystery” and ”faith” differently that what you might suppose. I use the former as in a crime novel, and the latter as the theological virtue.

The path through the Cross and to the Resurrection was necessary for Christ’s Disciples. Because having become true Man, they could hear His teaching and accept it as either coming from a man or from the Son of God. Hence in them, both human faith in the man who stood before them and supernatural faith in the God who stood before them were joined together in a single act.

Human faith however cannot save. Only supernatural faith can save.

Of this supernatural faith, The Apostle Paul says, Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

Thus, to teach us to have supernatural faith it was necessary that Christ do something the acceptance of which would be impossible for human faith. And since human faith is a natural virtue and nature is inclined first of all to preserve its own life, the Cross was the necessary path through which Jesus Christ, as our Redeemer and our Teacher, had to walk to guide us by His example to eternal life.

This is why the Cross is inexplicable to the natural or carnal man. This is why our corrupt human nature draws back at the suggestion of penance, mortification, sacrifice and offering our lives up at risk for the sake of the Gospel. And this is why so few desire the grace of martyrdom, or even the lesser graces of being a victim soul or embracing a religious vocation of penance and sacrifice.

But only in the embrace of total self sacrifice, motivated out of Faith in Jesus, can we follow the call of truly supernatural faith, that which alone can lead us on the path from death to life, from this world to the Resurrection.

This is why, there is no Faith, no supernatural faith, without the Cross. And this is why we must embrace the Cross if we have faith, because that is what faith is about. And this is how we can renew the Church, each of us individually, while doing God’s will on earth.

Faith does not point the way to suicide, faith points the way of self sacrifice for God and neighbor, in the works of mercy, corporal or spiritual, and in the mortification of our corrupt nature in penance and conversion. We must begin with conversion of ourselves and the keeping of God’s commandments, but we must grow into the life of being merciful to others.

This is also why there is not fruit in the apostolate without the apostle accepting suffering. And this is why physical suffering is more necessary than any other kind of suffering. Physical suffering is the only kind that can kill you. Physical suffering, thus, is the only true sacrifice and risk. Though we should be cheerful when any suffering comes upon us on account of our service to God. When we embrace that with faith, we can merit great things for others.

And this is why Our Lord said, Greater love no man hath than he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).

Our Lord did not require that we do the greatest sacrifices. But He invites us to follow Him on that path. The salvation of countless souls depends upon that.

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CREDITS: The Featured Image is a photo by Br. Bugnolo of a grate to a side Chancel at Saint John Lateran.

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So Close, yet so far!

350 Meters, to be exact.

Yes, in that direction, 350 meters, dwells Christ’s Vicar on Earth: Pope Benedict XVI, in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, which is nearly at the geographical center of the Vatican City State.

So close, yet so far, because if the faithful were only free to speak with Him, I am sure we could convince him to take up again the Petrine Ministry and exercise again the Petrine Office which He has never renounced.

Many ask, when the present crisis in the Church will come to an end, if ever.

Many fear that we are in the end times and that all will go downhill from here.

But as regards prophecies, the Saints remind us that we know neither the day nor the hour of the End. Thus, we cannot omit good works and even heroic works to solve the problems in our own times.

If we had 50,000 Catholics standing with me hear at the wall, and willing to walk prayerfully and humbly to the Vatican, to unveil there our Banners and Flags can call for Pope Benedict to return, then I think that crisis would be nearer to the end.

Because, until at least some of us show God that we believe in the truth of the Religion He gave us, that we are willing to come to Rome en mass and demonstrate that Faith, I really do not think we deserve it.

If we are not willing to do that, while we remain willing to march on our national capitals for this or that political purpose, then I think we can rightly be said to be hypocrites.

And God despises hypocrisy. He came down to Earth to destroy pride and hypocrisy and to save the humble. — And, alas, the problem is that so few know this truth, and those of us who do, know about it through social media, which is a medium inclined to inform but not to motivate anyone to action.

But all true motivation, has only one source, the Holy Spirit, Who has never inspired anyone to sit on a couch and do nothing about evil.

And if you want the gifts of the Holy Spirit, it is not sufficient to ask and presume, you need to pray humbly and in secret and with ardent perseverance and confidence, that, in the doing of any good any holy work, which is necessary for the salvation of souls, He is with us!

These are my thoughts and the subject of my prayers. — Br. Alexis Bugnolo

 

 

Why Stability in the One True Faith is important

“The whole principle of our doctrines has taken root from the Lord of the Heavens above” (St. John Chrysostom, Homily 1, “On Isaias”).

On the occasion of receiving the Doctorate in Sacred Theology, at the University of Paris, in 1252, St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, one of the two primary Doctors of the Church, gave a historical sermon on the Magisterial Authority of Jesus Christ, which remains, to this day, one of the most eloquent and theologically complete exposition of the Catholic Faith on the topic.  In what is now commonly referred to as n. 15, of that Sermon, the Seraphic Doctor has this to say:

From the aforesaid, therefore, there appears, the order by which and the author by whom one arrives at Wisdom. — For the order is, to begin from the stability of the Faith and proceeds through the serenity of reason, to arrive at the savoriness of contemplation; which Christ hinted at, when He said: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And in this manner is fulfilled that verse of Proverbs 4:6: The path of the just as a splendid light goes forth and grows even unto the perfect day. To this order did the Saints hold, attentive as they were to that verse of Isaiah, according to the other translation: Unless you will have believed, you will not understand. This order the philosophers ignore, who neglecting the Faith and totally founding themselves on reason, could in no manner arrive at contemplation; because, as St. Augustine says in the first book On the Trinity, « the sickly keenness of the human mind is not fixed in such an excellent light, unless it be cleansed through the justice of the Faith ».

From time immemorial, it has been an intrinsic and infallible truth of the Catholic Faith, that by faith is a man-made pleasing to God,* a faith founded upon the assent of the mind to revealed truth, accompanied by an act of repentance from all wickedness.  It is St. Paul, himself, who taught us that without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6).  And in this dogmatic teaching of the Apostle of the Gentiles, one can easily discern a profound commentary on the words of Our Lord and Master:  God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

Worshiping God in truth, requires, obviously, first of all, that man knows the truth regarding God; and this truth is the truth God has revealed about Himself, partially in the writings and teachings of the Prophets of the Old Testament, fully in the self-revelation of Himself when He became Man, known to faith and history as Christ Jesus, faithfully and clearly in the teachings of the Apostles, of whom we have the letters of St. Paul, St. Peter, St. James, St. Jude, and St. John, and the Gospels of the Evangelists, St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and, again, St. John.

Down through the ages, in the fulfillment of the words of Christ, Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against Her. (Matthew 16:18), and, again, I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may never fail, and so that when you are converted, you may strengthen your brethren. (Luke 22:31), the Roman Pontiffs have at times used their divinely conferred authority, to strengthen the whole Church in the Faith of Christ, that is, the faith which Christ taught.  They did this in letters, at councils, and in promulgating decrees and other documents, wherein they specified with precise terminology, what is to believed, and what is not to be believed, so that the faith of all Christians might find stability and unity in the profession of the same authentic doctrine which Christ taught and which He handed down and willed to be kept, through the Apostles, in the Catholic Church, until the tend of time.

Stability in the faith, therefore, is nothing to be ashamed about; rather it is something of which every faithful Catholic should glory, knowing as he does that this is a necessary blessing, without which a man founders in a sea of error, especially in those times of life or in those ages in which the fallen spirits wage more openly their war against the righteous.

Stability in the One True Faith, without which it is impossible to be saved, requires, consequently a loyalty to the One True Faith, which was given by Christ and passed from the Apostles in the Church, through the Magisterium, faithfully, unchanged, for tewnty centuries.  Hence, fidelity to Christ requires that every Catholic hold fast to this historic deposit, and that thus, if in any aspect of the life of the Church, there has been a falling away from this Holy Faith, that he dedicate himself to restoring what was lost in practice.

Lost in practice, because in truth, the Church has never lost Her Faith, regardless of how many clergy, religious, or even Bishops, might abandon it or its practice. Lost in pratice, not in the whole Church, but in many members of Her, because the Holy Spirit is always at work inspiring some members to keep what He Himself wishes restored in the Church, even if the vast majority have forgotten or abandoned His inspirations and handiwork.

Hence it is a good and holy thing to be a restorationist, in this sense; and those who say otherwise, have been deceived by the world, the flesh, or the Devil.

But faithfulness, does not mean legalism.  A legalist sees only laws, and not the truths upon which they are founded, or the end for which they were instituted.  A legalist, for example, who is faithful to Vatican II, might forget that it was merely a pastoral council, that it intended above all the salvation of souls and the conversion of the world to Christ.  A legalist who remains loyal to the Council but forgets these greater truths, might insist upon the Council even to the destruction of the faith, of the salvation of souls, or to driving away souls from the Church; or worse, to confirming the enemies of Christ in their hatred for the Faith.

A VICE DIRECTLY CONTRARY TO STABILITY IN THE FAITH

Directly contrary to the stability with which the Catholic believer is blessed, is the vice and curse of impulsiveness.

Impulsiveness is that vice of consenting to violent movements of passion, emotion, feeling or sentiment, which assail a man from within his own soul.  A man poorly trained in the use of his reason, easily falls to such movements, confusing the movement for a free act which comes from himself; and giving himself up to it, such that he considers it an inspiration in the general sense of a worthwhile thought; or worse, an inspiration in the specific sense, as something from God.

In truth, many such violent movements come from the effects of original sin in the soul and body; still others come from the fallen spirits which are ever afoot to harm souls. Such movements are more frequent in souls beholden to some sinful and vicious preoccupation with things, with some sort of idolatrous devotion to wordly values or goals. They are most frequent in souls which glory in their own impulsiveness, or who think that such impulsiveness comes from God, which last stage of this vice is the worst of all, since no one in good conscience can escape noticing, that the God of Truth is a God of order, not disorder, peace non violence.

Impulsiveness occurs when a man does not submit his reason and judgement to faith; fails to examine his conscience, omits humility which would cover his mind with a suspicion about such instantaneous outbursts.  Since a humble man knows that of himself he is nothing but dung and capable of evil; he knows well that instantaneous violent movements within him, DO NOT COME FROM GOD.  He eschews impulsiveness, as a vice which leads to imprudent destructive action.

If a man, however, is stable in the One True Faith, he has a stable norm for mortifying his inner self; and from this comes the strength of will and reason to recognize impulsiveness for what it is, a vice, and to combat it with humility, self-reflection, and self-criticism.

In this way, as St. Augustine says, Faith leads to the purification of the mind and heart; and in this way the light which has come to us in Baptism, the light of faith, grows from the faintest dawn to the full day of holiness (Proverbs 4:6).

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*  When we say, that a man is made pleasing to God by faith, we speak of “faith” as a theological virtue and in regard to the order of instrumental causality, since, obviously, it is God who by giving us faith as a free gift, justifies us; that is God works faith in those whom He calls to salvation, and by faith conforms the mind of the believer to His own mind.  Justification, however, is thus not by faith alone, as Luther taught, because there is necessary for justification, that (1) a man be disposed to accept God’s teaching and the movements of the Holy Spirit in his soul, (2) that hear the word of God preached to him, (3) that he believe the Gospel message contained therein and all that Christ and the Apostles and Prophets taught, (4) that He love the God who has thus revealed Himself, (5) that he hope in fulfillment of what God has promised in Christ Jesus’ Resurrection and teaching, (5) that he purposefully and firmly resolve to accept Baptism in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, and in particular (6) do so in penance of all his sins and vices, because a man who believes without repentance, has believed in vain. After Baptism, if a man sins, he has the blessing of the help of Christ Jesus offered in the Sacrament of Confession, which Christ taught and instructed the Apostles to give to repentant sinners, when He said: Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them, whose sins you hold bound, are held bound! He who hears you, hears Me; and he who rejects you, rejects Me! The 12 Apostles in ordaining Bishops and priests established the Catholic Hierarchy, which extends down through time to our day, and which forms that 1 true Church which is known to men as the Catholic Church.